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The Best FIFA Football Awards
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – The Best FIFA Football Awards – Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain – September 24, 2018 Marta after winning the Best Women’s Player award Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

May 26, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil striker Marta is a doubt for their women’s World Cup opener against Jamaica next month after the country’s soccer confederation (CBF) said on Saturday she had picked up a hamstring injury in training.

Marta, named Women’s Player of the Year a record six times, picked up the injury at Brazil’s camp in Portugal and while the CBF did not clarify how serious the injury was coach Vadao told a Globo website she could miss their June 9 opener.

“Our worry is just about the first game,” he said, “and whether she has time to recover or not.

“She feels fine. We’ll wait a couple of days for the medical department to give me a more concrete appraisal.”

The absence of Marta, who has scored a record 15 women’s World Cup goals, would make Brazil’s life even more difficult at the June 7 to July 7 tournament in France, where they also meet Australia and Italy in the group phase.

The finalists in 2007 come into the tournament having lost their last nine matches, their worst ever run.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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The Best FIFA Football Awards
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – The Best FIFA Football Awards – Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain – September 24, 2018 Marta after winning the Best Women’s Player award Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

May 26, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil striker Marta is a doubt for their women’s World Cup opener against Jamaica next month after the country’s soccer confederation (CBF) said on Saturday she had picked up a hamstring injury in training.

Marta, named Women’s Player of the Year a record six times, picked up the injury at Brazil’s camp in Portugal and while the CBF did not clarify how serious the injury was coach Vadao told a Globo website she could miss their June 9 opener.

“Our worry is just about the first game,” he said, “and whether she has time to recover or not.

“She feels fine. We’ll wait a couple of days for the medical department to give me a more concrete appraisal.”

The absence of Marta, who has scored a record 15 women’s World Cup goals, would make Brazil’s life even more difficult at the June 7 to July 7 tournament in France, where they also meet Australia and Italy in the group phase.

The finalists in 2007 come into the tournament having lost their last nine matches, their worst ever run.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 25, 2019 Switzerland’s Roger Federer attends a training session on the eve of the start of the tournament REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

May 26, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Roger Federer tops the bill at the French Open on opening Sunday when he makes his long-awaited return to the Parisian clay with a first-round match against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

The 37-year-old Swiss, whose one Roland Garros title came 10 years ago, has been absent from the claycourt Grand Slam since 2015 and says he has missed it.

“I’m very happy to be back, maybe a tiny bit more because when I have missed the last three editions, and when you miss something in life, you’re happy to be back there again.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will play in the third match on the revamped Court Philippe Chatrier, returns as the third seed behind world number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times champion Rafael Nadal, neither of whom are in action on Sunday.

The Swiss has played down his chances of winning the title, although 73rd-ranked Sonego, making his main draw debut at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying last year, should not cause him undue alarm as he reacquaints himself with his surroundings.

“Center court looks very different. There has been a lot of upgrades and investments made,” Federer said.

“But I feel it is still the old Roland Garros, it’s kept its flair and everything.”

A connoisseur of style, Federer will no doubt be interested to see the brand new Court Simonne Mathieu — set in the picturesque Serres d’Auteuil botanical gardens and flanked by greenhouses containing rare and exotic plants.

Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza will hope the beautiful setting will help her recover some form as the 19th seed christens the court against American Taylor Townsend.

Women’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber will hope the ankle injury that has ruined her preparation will not be factor as she opens proceedings on Chatrier against Anastasia Potapova.

Germany’s Kerber is seeking to win the only Grand Slam to elude her and is one of several women that could take over as world number one at the end of the French Open.

Another one, second seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, closes play on Chatrier against American Madison Brengle.

Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the young brigade being tipped as a title contender, will also get his tournament started when he takes on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.

Two Grand Slam champions will be on show on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Marin Cilic plays Italian Thomas Fabbiano while later last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens faces Misaki Doi.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 25, 2019 Switzerland’s Roger Federer attends a training session on the eve of the start of the tournament REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

May 26, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Roger Federer tops the bill at the French Open on opening Sunday when he makes his long-awaited return to the Parisian clay with a first-round match against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

The 37-year-old Swiss, whose one Roland Garros title came 10 years ago, has been absent from the claycourt Grand Slam since 2015 and says he has missed it.

“I’m very happy to be back, maybe a tiny bit more because when I have missed the last three editions, and when you miss something in life, you’re happy to be back there again.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will play in the third match on the revamped Court Philippe Chatrier, returns as the third seed behind world number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times champion Rafael Nadal, neither of whom are in action on Sunday.

The Swiss has played down his chances of winning the title, although 73rd-ranked Sonego, making his main draw debut at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying last year, should not cause him undue alarm as he reacquaints himself with his surroundings.

“Center court looks very different. There has been a lot of upgrades and investments made,” Federer said.

“But I feel it is still the old Roland Garros, it’s kept its flair and everything.”

A connoisseur of style, Federer will no doubt be interested to see the brand new Court Simonne Mathieu — set in the picturesque Serres d’Auteuil botanical gardens and flanked by greenhouses containing rare and exotic plants.

Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza will hope the beautiful setting will help her recover some form as the 19th seed christens the court against American Taylor Townsend.

Women’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber will hope the ankle injury that has ruined her preparation will not be factor as she opens proceedings on Chatrier against Anastasia Potapova.

Germany’s Kerber is seeking to win the only Grand Slam to elude her and is one of several women that could take over as world number one at the end of the French Open.

Another one, second seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, closes play on Chatrier against American Madison Brengle.

Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the young brigade being tipped as a title contender, will also get his tournament started when he takes on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.

Two Grand Slam champions will be on show on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Marin Cilic plays Italian Thomas Fabbiano while later last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens faces Misaki Doi.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum
FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum, Sudan May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

May 26, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – A coalition of Sudanese protest and opposition groups on Friday called for two days of strikes in private and public enterprises next week as part of pressure on military rulers to hand over power to civilians.

The announcement, issued in a statement posted on social media, comes after talks between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and an alliance of protest groups on the composition of a sovereign body to lead the country during a three-year transition to democracy.

Talks were adjourned in the early hours of Tuesday, with no date set for resumption, but sources said contacts were continuing at a low level trying to reach a compromise.

Last month, Sudan’s military overthrew President Omar al-Bashir following months of protests against his three decades in power. The military has promised to hand over power to an elected government after a transitional period.

Sudan, one of Africa’s largest countries, is important for efforts to bring stability to an important area stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya.

In a statement distributed on social media, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) called for a strike starting at private and public enterprises that will include various professional sectors starting on Tuesday.

“The strike will continue for two days, and involved gathering at the protest squares in the national and state capitals,” the statement said.

The transitional military council has called for establishing a civilian government of technocrats. It has also said it was ready to share power with civilians in a transitional sovereign body but has been demanding overall control of the body.

A representative of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the DFCF said both sides were looking at proposals to break the impasse, including a rotating presidency, and for decisions to be made by a two-third majority rather than a simple majority, adding that a deal could be reached before next Tuesday.

In remarks published on Wednesday, the deputy head of the transitional council told an Egyptian newspaper that the military wanted to hand power to a democratically elected government as soon as possible.

But Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is widely known as Hemedti and leads the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said the military were impatient for a solution.

(Reporting by Hesham Hajali in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by David Gregorio)

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
May 25, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) looks on from the dugout during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

The Houston Astros put star outfielder George Springer on the 10-day injured list on Saturday, a day after he strained his left hamstring while chasing a foul ball.

Springer had missed four games with a stiff lower back, then returned to action Friday in a 4-3 home win over the Boston Red Sox. But as he and two teammates chased a Xander Bogaerts foul ball in the eighth inning, Springer slid so that he wouldn’t collide with the wall and grabbed his hamstring.

He left the game then, limping off the field. He was 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly on the night.

“Going for the ball, giving it as much as I can, and the hamstring locked up,” said Springer, who led the American League in homers (17), and RBIs (43) while batting .308 in 48 games going into Saturday’s game.

–The San Francisco Giants called up outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 28-year-old made his major league debut after more than 700 games over six-plus seasons in the minors.

Yastrzemski started in left field and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a run scored in a 10-4 loss to Arizona.

–Dustin Pedroia left his rehab game Friday night because of discomfort, and the Boston Red Sox are bringing him back to the city for the team’s medical staff to look at his ailing left knee on Monday.

He had two at-bats for Double-A Portland on Friday before he pulled himself out of the game.

The second baseman, 35, has played in just nine games for the Red Sox in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

–The Philadelphia Phillies placed right-handed reliever Pat Neshek on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.

Neshek, 38, is 0-1 with three saves and a 4.67 ERA in 19 bullpen appearances this season. The move is retroactive to Friday.

The Phillies also transferred right-hander David Robertson to the 60-day injured list and called up right-hander J.D. Hammer from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

–The Diamondbacks recalled right-hander Taylor Clarke from Triple-A Reno and designated catcher John Ryan Murphy for assignment.

Clarke, 26, was brought up to start Saturday’s game at San Francisco and got the win, allowing three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA and one save in three appearances for Arizona this season.

Murphy, 28, is batting just .177 with four homers and seven RBIs in 25 games this season.

–The Chicago White Sox placed catcher Welington Castillo on the seven-day concussion list and promoted catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte.

Castillo left in the eighth inning of Friday’s 11-4 loss in Minnesota after taking two foul tips off his mask.

Castillo, 32, is batting just .176 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 26 games this season.

–The Los Angeles Angels placed right-hander Matt Harvey on the 10-day injured list due to an upper back strain.

The move comes two days after Harvey served up four homers and was hammered for eight runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

The poor outing leaves the 30-year-old Harvey with a 2-4 record and 7.50 ERA in 10 starts this season.

–The Oakland Athletics designated struggling right-hander Fernando Rodney for assignment.

Rodney had a 9.42 ERA during 17 appearances this season. Opponents batted .345 against him in 14 1/3 innings.

The 42-year-old Rodney ranks 18th in major league history with 325 saves. He is 48-68 with a 3.79 ERA in 913 career appearances since 2002.

–Gerry Fraley, a veteran sportswriter who covered the Texas Rangers for three decades, passed away on Saturday morning after a lengthy cancer battle. He was 64.

Fraley spent the bulk of his career covering sports for the Dallas Morning News, taking up the Rangers beat in 1989.

“He covered this sport with a passion and intensity second to none,” a statement from the Rangers read. “He was as thorough as any writer in the game as was evidenced in his numerous contacts with players, coaches, baseball executives and scouts, and umpires.”

–Field Level Media

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PGA: Charles Schwab Challenge - Third Round
May 25, 2019; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Kevin Na walks to the 18th green atop the leaderboard by two strokes going into Sundays final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Kevin Na rebounded from a back-nine double-bogey to grab a two-stroke lead as Jordan Spieth moved into a tie for second after three rounds of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday.

Na shook off the double at the 11th hole to birdie the 13th on his way to a one-under par 69 at a Colonial Country Club layout made tough by breezy conditions.

While the birdies did not fall as frequently as they had on Friday when he shot 62, Na still had three in claiming the lead at nine-under 201.

Spieth continued his impressive putting to shoot 68 and tie with four others at seven under, Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (65), Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung (68) and Americans Jim Furyk (68) and Tony Finau (71).

Pan, who goes by the initials C.T., had grabbed the lead after Na’s double, but bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes.

Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, the second-round leader by a stroke, was never in contention after a first-hole bogey. He shot a four-over 74 to drop to four strokes off the pace.

World number three Justin Rose, the defending champion, also turned in a 74 to sit at five over par after 54 holes.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)

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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit Japan
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Japanese business leaders event in Tokyo, Japan May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

May 25, 2019

By Jeff Mason

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed concerns about recent missile launches from North Korea and said he was confident that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, would keep promises that he had made.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” he said on Twitter.

Trump is currently in Japan on a state visit.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by G Crosse)

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A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga
A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga, Latvia, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

May 25, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans vote on Sunday in an election expected to further dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe in the European Parliament, putting a potential brake on collective action in economic and foreign policy.

Right-wing populists top opinion polls in two of the big four member states – Italy and supposedly exiting Britain – and could also win in a third, France, rattling a pro-Union campaign championed by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

However, exit polls in some countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort. The Dutch Labour party, all but written off, looks to have finished first, helped by the visibility of having the EU socialists’ lead candidate, current EU deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans.

In the Netherlands, pro-Union parties scored 70%, up three points on the last European Parliament vote in 2014, and left the upstart anti-immigration party of Thierry Baudet fourth on 11%.

The Dutch also turned out in bigger numbers, albeit at just 41%, reinforcing hopes in Brussels of reversing a 40-year trend of declining turnout that critics cite as a “democratic deficit” that undermines the legitimacy of European Union lawmaking.

An exit poll after Friday’s vote in deeply pro-EU Ireland pointed to an expected “Green Wave”. Across the bloc, concerns about climate change and the environment may bolster the pro-EU Greens group and could mean tighter regulations for industry and for the terms the EU may set for partners seeking trade accords.

Britain also voted on Thursday and a new party focused on getting out of the EU was forecast by pre-vote opinion polls to come top, but there has been no exit poll data. Attention there has focused on the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May. Results will be out late on Sunday, when all countries have voted.

WAY AHEAD UNCLEAR

The challenges facing the European project include unprecedented transatlantic slights from a U.S. president who fetes Europe’s populists, border rows among its own members over migrants and an economy hobbled by public debt and challenged by the rise of China.

But parties seeking collective action on shared issues such as trade, security, migration or climate change should still dominate, albeit with a smaller overall majority.

Europeans are preparing to remember events that shaped the Union. It is 75 years since Americans landed in France to defeat Nazi Germany and since Russian forces let the Germans crush a Polish bid for freedom, and 30 since Germans smashed the Berlin Wall to reunite east and west Europe. But memories of wars, hot and cold, have not sufficed to build faith in a united future.

Mainstream parties pushing closer integration of the euro currency zone’s economy are struggling to capture the imagination of a public jaded by political elites.

Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy may pip the Christian Democrats of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s power broker, to become the biggest single party in the 751-seat chamber.

Right-wing ruling parties in Poland and Hungary, defying Brussels over curbs to judicial and media independence, will also return eurosceptic lawmakers on Sunday.

The results should be clear by late on Sunday, with exit polls in Germany at 1600 GMT and France at 1800 GMT setting the tone before the final end of voting, in Italy at 2100 GMT, sees the Parliament publish its own seat forecast.

The result will usher in weeks of bargaining among parties to form a stable majority in the Parliament, and among national leaders to choose successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other top EU officials.

Many expect a clash as early as Tuesday, when leaders meeting in Brussels are likely to snub Parliament’s demands that one of the newly elected lawmakers should run the EU executive.

(EU election graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvZs1M)

(Reporting by Alastair MacDonald; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Carb Day
May 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves during Carb Day practice for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – If Tiger Woods can get back in the winners’ circle Helio Castroneves says he sees no reason he cannot return to Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and finally claim a place in the Brickyard’s most exclusive club.

In more than a century of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) only three men — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears — have won the 500 four times and with a win on Sunday Castroneves would become the first non-American to join that group.

Now on the downside of his career, the 44-year-old no longer drives full-time on the IndyCar Series but Roger Penske continues to give his long-time employee a competitive car and a chance to get his name on the Borg-Warner trophy again.

The bubbly Brazilian has always been a driver to take motivation from wherever he can find it and this week is drawing inspiration from Woods, who completed one of sport’s all-time great comebacks last month when he ended an 11-year major title drought with a stunning victory at the Masters.

“You know it took Tiger Woods 10 years to go back and win another big one so maybe it could be this year (for me),” said Castroneves. “You’re always looking for positive ways to look and I’m always a positive guy and realistic at the same time.

“I can only imagine how special it would be. At this point you can dream big but you still have to execute first.”

Castroneves was quick to put his mark on the Indy 500, winning on his Brickyard debut in 2001 and repeating in 2002.

It was seven years before he returned to Victory Lane in 2009 and he has not found his way back since, though he has twice come agonizingly close, finishing as runner-up in 2014 and 2017.

In 2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay denied Castroneves victory by 0.0600 seconds, the second-closest finish in race history.

Castroneves said it was the memory of 2017 that haunted him most, recalling how Japan’s Takuma Sato powered past him with five laps remaining then bravely fought off the Brazilian to take the checkered flag.

“It’s hard to forget the ones you’ve missed,” said Castroneves, who has looked right at home back in his Penzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, qualifying 12th fastest in the 33-car field.

“Obviously great memories of the ones that happened but the ones you’ve missed stay in your mind.

“I mean 2017 with Takuma was really tough; I did everything I could but he did a really great job.

“Hopefully I don’t have to think this year about being a close call and just make it happen.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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