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Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 26, 2019

By Alison Bevege

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison named his new cabinet on Sunday, with most positions staying the same, saying the government had “a significant agenda” to deliver and it was time to get back to business.

“I have high expectations of my ministry and clear goals for each of their roles,” he said in an emailed statement.

Incoming Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, who served in the Army Reserves for almost three decades and rose to the rank of brigadier, replaces Christopher Pyne who has retired.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne retains her position as does Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Attorney General Christian Porter.

A priority of the re-elected Liberal National coalition is to deliver tax cuts by July 1, a cornerstone of its election campaign, as the central bank has called for stimulus to aid a slowing economy.

Morrison entered this month’s election at the head of a minority government after a series of defections, unable to pursue its legislative agenda without the support of independent lawmakers and minor parties.

A surprise victory, however, secured the coalition an outright majority, removing the legislative uncertainty.

Official counting has not yet finished with three seats still in doubt, but the Electoral Commission said Morrison’s coalition leads in an outright majority of 78 seats in parliament which has 151 elected lawmakers.

The opposition Labor party is expected to win 67 seats and there are six crossbenchers made up of minor parties and independents.

Morrison also created a national agency for Indigenous Australians which would report directly to new Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, the first Aboriginal cabinet minister.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

People take pictures of paramilitary officers marching in formation in Tiananmen Square in Beijing
People take pictures of paramilitary officers marching in formation in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

May 26, 2019

By Cate Cadell

BEIJING (Reuters) – It’s the most sensitive day of the year for China’s internet, the anniversary of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square, and with under two weeks to go, China’s robot censors are working overtime.

Censors at Chinese internet companies say tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.

“We sometimes say that the artificial intelligence is a scalpel, and a human is a machete,” said one content screening employee at Beijing Bytedance Co Ltd, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media.

Two employees at the firm said censorship of the Tiananmen crackdown, along with other highly sensitive issues including Taiwan and Tibet, is now largely automated.

Posts that allude to dates, images and names associated with the protests are automatically rejected.

“When I first began this kind of work four years ago there was opportunity to remove the images of Tiananmen, but now the artificial intelligence is very accurate,” one of the people said.

Four censors, working across Bytedance, Weibo Corp and Baidu Inc apps said they censor between 5,000-10,000 pieces of information a day, or five to seven pieces a minute, most of which they said were pornographic or violent content.

Despite advances in AI censorship, current-day tourist snaps in the square are sometimes unintentionally blocked, one of the censors said.

Bytedance declined to comment, while Weibo and Baidu did not respond to requests for comment.

SENSITIVE PERIOD

The Tiananmen crackdown is a taboo subject in China 30 years after the government sent tanks to quell student-led protests calling for democratic reforms. Beijing has never released a death toll but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.

June 4th itself is marked by a cat-and-mouse game as people use more and more obscure references on social media sites, with obvious allusions blocked immediately. In some years, even the word “today” has been scrubbed.

In 2012, China’s most-watched stock index fell 64.89 points on the anniversary day https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-stocks-tiananmen-idUSBRE8530F720120604, echoing the date of the original event in what analysts said was likely a strange coincidence rather than a deliberate reference.

Still, censors blocked access to the term “Shanghai stock market” and to the index numbers themselves on microblogs, along with other obscure references to sensitive issues.

While companies censorship tools are becoming more refined, analysts, academics and users say heavy-handed policies mean sensitive periods before anniversaries and political events have become catch-alls for a wide range of sensitive content.

In the lead-up to this year’s Tiananmen Square anniversary, censorship on social media has targeted LGBT groups, labor and environment activists and NGOs, they say.

Upgrades to censorship tech have been urged on by new policies introduced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The group was set up – and officially led – by President Xi Jinping, whose tenure has been defined by increasingly strict ideological control of the internet.

The CAC did not respond to a request for comment.

Last November, the CAC introduced new rules aimed at quashing dissent online in China, where “falsifying the history of the Communist Party” on the internet is a punishable offence for both platforms and individuals.

The new rules require assessment reports and site visits for any internet platform that could be used to “socially mobilize” or lead to “major changes in public opinion”, including access to real names, network addresses, times of use, chat logs and call logs.

One official who works for CAC told Reuters the recent boost in online censorship is “very likely” linked to the upcoming anniversary.

“There is constant communication with the companies during this time,” said the official, who declined to directly talk about the Tiananmen, instead referring to the “the sensitive period in June”.

Companies, which are largely responsible for their own censorship, receive little in the way of directives from the CAC, but are responsible for creating guidelines in their own “internal ethical and party units”, the official said.

SECRET FACTS

With Xi’s tightening grip on the internet, the flow of information has been centralized under the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department and state media network. Censors and company staff say this reduces the pressure of censoring some events, including major political news, natural disasters and diplomatic visits.

“When it comes to news, the rule is simple… If it is not from state media first, it is not authorized, especially regarding the leaders and political items,” said one Baidu staffer.

“We have a basic list of keywords which include the 1989 details, but (AI) can more easily select those.”

Punishment for failing to properly censor content can be severe.

In the past six weeks, popular services including a Netease Inc news app, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s news app TianTian, and Sina Corp have all been hit with suspensions ranging from days to weeks, according to the CAC, meaning services are made temporarily unavailable on apps stores and online.

For internet users and activists, penalties can range from fines to jail time for spreading information about sensitive events online.

In China, social media accounts are linked to real names and national ID numbers by law, and companies are legally compelled to offer user information to authorities when requested.

“It has become normal to know things and also understand that they can’t be shared,” said one user, Andrew Hu. “They’re secret facts.”

In 2015, Hu spent three days in detention in his home region of Inner Mongolia after posting a comment about air pollution onto an unrelated image that alluded to the Tiananmen crackdown on Twitter-like social media site Weibo.

Hu, who declined to use his full Chinese name to avoid further run-ins with the law, said when police officers came to his parents house while he was on leave from his job in Beijing he was surprised, but not frightened.

“The responsible authorities and the internet users are equally confused,” said Hu. “Even if the enforcement is irregular, they know the simple option is to increase pressure.”

(Reporting by Cate Cadell. Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Source: OANN

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Mets
May 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) watches his two run home run during the sixth inning against the Detriot Tigers at Citi Field. Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

Tomas Nido homered leading off the bottom of the 13th inning Saturday night as the New York Mets finally outlasted the Detroit Tigers, 5-4.

The Mets are 5-1 on a seven-game homestand. The Tigers have dropped 10 of 11.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out and failed to score in the bottom of the 11th before the Tigers did the same thing in the top of the 12th. Nido, who was the last player on the Mets’ bench when he entered in the 11th inning, capped a four hour and 11-minute duel when he hit his first walk-off homer off Buck Farmer (3-4).

Hector Santiago (1-0) tossed two innings for the Mets, who received two homers and four RBIs from catcher Wilson Ramos, who left for a pinch-runner in the 11th and was replaced by Nido. The two-homer game was the eighth of Ramos’ career and his first since last June 25.

Padres 19, Blue Jays 4

Austin Hedges hit his first career grand slam, Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers each homered twice and visiting San Diego set a franchise record with seven homers while defeating Toronto.

Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer also homered for the Padres. Hedges had five RBIs and Myers had four.

Right-hander Cal Quantrill (1-2) struck out nine in six innings to earn his first career win for San Diego. Quantrill, who is from nearby Port Hope, Ont., and the son of former major league pitcher Paul Quantrill, allowed three runs on two hits, both home runs, and two walks in his fourth career start.

Yankees 7, Royals 3 (Game 1)

Luke Voit’s two-run home run in the seventh inning helped lead New York past host Kansas City in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

With the win, the Yankees clinched the season series over the Royals for the fifth straight season. Since 2000, the Yankees have won 16 season series, with three splits and just one Royals series win (2014). The Yankees are 99-43 in the 2000s against Kansas City.

J.A. Happ (4-3) picked up the win after giving up three runs on four hits in six innings. Relying mostly on his fastball, Happ struck out 10 Royals.

Athletics 6, Mariners 5

Matt Chapman hit a home run, and Mike Fiers pitched six quality innings as Oakland defeated visiting Seattle for their eighth consecutive victory.

Domingo Santana hit two solo homers, and Mitch Haniger had one for Seattle, which lost its fifth in a row, eighth of nine and 20th of 25.

Chapman lined a solo shot over the wall in right-center field in the first inning against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-2). Seattle twice tied the score after being down a run, but the Athletics never trailed.

Cubs 8, Reds 6

Jason Heyward, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. each hit home runs, and Chicago Cubs outlasted visiting Cincinnati.

Anthony Rizzo also drove in a pair of runs for Chicago, which evened the series at one game apiece heading into Sunday’s finale. The Cubs improved to 18-9 at Wrigley Field. Tucker Barnhart, Derek Dietrich and Yasiel Puig each homered for Cincinnati.

The score was tied at 6 in the eighth when David Bote delivered a go-ahead double to deep center field with Almora at second base and Russell at first. Almora scored, and Kyle Schwarber followed with a sacrifice fly to send Russell home and increase the advantage to 8-6 entering the ninth.

Diamondbacks 10, Giants 4

Arizona put up double-figure runs for a second consecutive game, pummeling host San Francisco.

After an 18-2 romp of the Giants on Friday night, the Diamondbacks recorded 10 or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time since September 2017.

Ketel Marte hit the second pitch of the game for a triple and led off the third inning with a solo home run, his 11th of the season, highlighting a 13-hit attack one day after the Diamondbacks belted out 21 hits.

Cardinals 6, Braves 3

Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to spark St. Louis to a win over visiting Atlanta.

Gyorko’s homer, his first of the season, came against reliever Dan Winkler (1-1) and highlighted a four-run rally. It was the first home run for Gyorko since Aug. 20, 2018, when he went deep against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals tied the game earlier in the inning when Matt Carpenter beat the shift with an RBI single to left field that scored Paul DeJong. Carpenter was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Rays 6, Indians 2

Charlie Morton struck out a season-high 10 batters and Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham each belted a two-run homer as visiting Tampa Bay beat Cleveland. Brandon Lowe added his team-leading 11th homer to go along with an RBI double for the Rays, who handed the Indians their fifth loss in six games.

Carlos Santana belted a solo homer and Leonys Martin had an RBI single for the Indians, who saw manager Terry Francona ejected for the first time since 2016 after arguing a called strike on a pitch that hit Jose Ramirez in the sixth inning.

Morton (5-0) allowed one run on three hits in six innings to improve to 8-0 during an 18-start unbeaten streak that dates back to Aug. 17.

Phillies 7, Brewers 2

Jake Arrieta pitched eight innings to win his first start in nearly a month, and Philadelphia moved a season-high 10 games over .500 with a victory over host Milwaukee.

The Phillies won their third straight and for the seventh time in nine games to improve to 31-21.

Andrew McCutchen and Cesar Hernandez hit early solo homers, while Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto hit back-to-back homers in the ninth as Philadelphia totaled 12 hits. Jean Segura contributed a bases-loaded walk and extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the ninth.

Twins 8, White Sox 1

Ehire Adrianza went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, C.J. Cron also drove in four runs and Kyle Gibson allowed one run on five hits over seven innings to help Minnesota beat visiting Chicago for its fifth straight victory.

Cron finished 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Jonathan Schoop and Eddie Rosario each scored two runs, and Jorge Polanco also had two hits for Minnesota, which matched its longest winning streak of the season.

Gibson (5-2) won for the fifth time in his last seven starts, walking one and striking out nine to improve to 8-4 in 15 career starts against the White Sox.

Nationals 5, Marlins 0

Patrick Corbin, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract in December, pitched a four-hitter, and Yan Gomes hit a three-run double to lead host Washington to a win over Miami.

In his seventh year in the majors, this was just Corbin’s second career shutout and fifth complete game.

Corbin (5-2), who threw 116 pitches, allowed one walk and struck out five. He also induced three double plays and got first-pitch strikes on 17 of the 29 batters he faced. He got 21 called strikes and eight swinging.

(Field Level Media)

Source: OANN

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors
May 25, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on during the second half of game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

May 26, 2019

TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven assists, and the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The Raptors won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will open the Finals on Thursday night in Toronto against the Golden State Warriors.

Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and four blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.

The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the lead had dwindled to five entering the fourth.

Serge Ibaka’s dunk tied the game at 78 with 10:31 to play, and Siakam’s jumper and VanVleet’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to give Toronto a five-point lead.

Lowry’s steal and Leonard’s dunk increased the lead to eight with 6:46 remaining.

The Bucks came back with a 7-0 run to pull within one point on Antetokounmpo’s layup with 5:19 to play.

Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer had Toronto ahead by four, but Lopez reduced it to two with a layup at 3:29. The Raptors went up by five on Siakam’s tip in with 2:06 to play.

Lopez made two free throws with 29.6 seconds to play, cutting the lead to three, but Milwaukee never had the ball within one possession in the closing minutes. Siakam made one free throw, and Leonard made two foul shots in the final seconds.

The Bucks were 6-for-9 from 3-point range to earn a 31-18 lead after one quarter.

Ilyasova’s 3-pointer with 7:48 to play in the first half put the Bucks ahead 38-23.

VanVleet’s 3-pointer with 2:28 to play in the half cut the lead to seven.

Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 1:32 left had the Raptors within five points, and VanVleet’s jumped reduced the lead to three with 1:07 left.

The Bucks scored the final four points of the half to lead 50-43.

A 3-pointer by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, before Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:26 left in the third trimmed the lead to five.

But Middleton made a hurried 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and, after Leonard missed a shot, Eric Bledsoe came back with a 10-footer to put Milwaukee ahead by 13.

Middleton’s 3-pointer had the lead at 14 with 3:46 left in the third. The Bucks worked the lead to 15 before the Raptors went on a 10-0 run, with Leonard scoring eight. The Bucks led 76-71 after three quarters.

(By Larry Millson, Field Level Media)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan May 26, 2019. Kimimasa Mayama/Pool via Reuters

May 26, 2019

By Jeff Mason

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off the second day of a Japan visit on Sunday with a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, engaging in personal diplomacy aimed at smoothing tough discussions over differences on trade.

Trump, dressed in a red pullover, and Abe, wearing a blue blazer and white pants, met on a lawn and smiled for photographers before taking off for their game.

Abe’s office later posted a “selfie” picture on the course with Trump and Abe smiling together. Abe said in the post he hoped to make the Japan-U.S. alliance “even more unshakeable.”

The president’s state visit is meant to showcase the strength of the Japan-U.S. relationship, but tensions over trade have provided a backdrop of uncertainty.

Trump is unhappy with Japan’s large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached. The United States and China are engaged in an expensive trade war that has pounded financial markets worldwide.

During remarks to business leaders on Saturday night, Trump ribbed Japan over its trading “edge” while saying progress had been made.

“With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting closer,” he said.

“Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000. We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon, and some very big ones over the next few months.”

Fox News reported on Sunday that Trump planned to wait until after Japanese elections in July to push for a trade deal, and officials have played down prospects of any major progress on the president’s trip.

The two leaders are also likely to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Trump said on Sunday he was not concerned about recent missile launches from North Korea and was confident that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, would keep his promises.

After their golf game, Abe and Trump will attend a sumo tournament.

“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said about Japan’s national sport during a meeting with Abe in Washington last month. “So, in fact, we’re having a trophy made in this country. We’re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship.”

That trophy, now finished, weighs 60-70 pounds and is being called the “President’s Cup,” according to a White House official.

Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend such a tournament, according to another U.S. official, and the first to present a cup in the ring.

He is attending the final day of a 15-day tournament.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan May 26, 2019. Kimimasa Mayama/Pool via Reuters

May 26, 2019

By Jeff Mason

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off the second day of a Japan visit on Sunday with a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, engaging in personal diplomacy aimed at smoothing tough discussions over differences on trade.

Trump, dressed in a red pullover, and Abe, wearing a blue blazer and white pants, met on a lawn and smiled for photographers before taking off for their game.

Abe’s office later posted a “selfie” picture on the course with Trump and Abe smiling together. Abe said in the post he hoped to make the Japan-U.S. alliance “even more unshakeable.”

The president’s state visit is meant to showcase the strength of the Japan-U.S. relationship, but tensions over trade have provided a backdrop of uncertainty.

Trump is unhappy with Japan’s large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached. The United States and China are engaged in an expensive trade war that has pounded financial markets worldwide.

During remarks to business leaders on Saturday night, Trump ribbed Japan over its trading “edge” while saying progress had been made.

“With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting closer,” he said.

“Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000. We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon, and some very big ones over the next few months.”

Fox News reported on Sunday that Trump planned to wait until after Japanese elections in July to push for a trade deal, and officials have played down prospects of any major progress on the president’s trip.

The two leaders are also likely to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Trump said on Sunday he was not concerned about recent missile launches from North Korea and was confident that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, would keep his promises.

After their golf game, Abe and Trump will attend a sumo tournament.

“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said about Japan’s national sport during a meeting with Abe in Washington last month. “So, in fact, we’re having a trophy made in this country. We’re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship.”

That trophy, now finished, weighs 60-70 pounds and is being called the “President’s Cup,” according to a White House official.

Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend such a tournament, according to another U.S. official, and the first to present a cup in the ring.

He is attending the final day of a 15-day tournament.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

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)

Source: OANN

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)

Source: OANN

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)

Source: OANN

Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2019 Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Ferrari messed up on the biggest stage of all on Saturday, leaving local hero Charles Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix hopes in tatters.

With the 21-year-old Monegasque demanding answers after being left 16th on the starting grid, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto accepted the sport’s oldest and most successful team had, not for the first time, got their sums wrong.

“It is not a good day for us certainly,” the Italian told reporters in the team’s harbourside hospitality after a session that saw Ferrari’s qualifying blunder broadcast around the world.

“I think we made a mistake. It has been a misjudgment, a wrong evaluation of what we call the cut-off time.”

Leclerc had been told he did not need to do another lap in the first phase of qualifying, Ferrari believing his time was good enough for him to go through and that they could save a set of tyres.

It proved otherwise, with the drop triggered by his own team mate Sebastian Vettel, who had crashed in final practice, putting in a fast lap in the dying seconds to escape the bottom five and top the session.

Leclerc, pushed over the edge into the bottom five, was already in the garage and could do nothing.

“What happened today was the margin that we applied was not sufficient,” said Binotto, explaining that track conditions had improved significantly late in the session and the team’s calculations had not allowed enough for that.

Binotto said that, with dominant Mercedes having won the first five races in one-two formation and running away with both championships for the sixth season in a row, Ferrari had to be bold to close the gap.

“When you need to catch up, you need to take some risks as well,” he said.

“Today we took some risks to perform as well as we could in Q2 and Q3 (the second and third phases) against our competitors,” continued Binotto.

The risk, however, was also of not even getting to the later phases.

“We’ve got the right people,” added Binotto. “We’ve got the right procedures but we need to improve our tools. We are open to new opportunities of looking at what we did and how we may do it differently in the future.”

Leclerc, who had gone into the weekend hoping to become the first Monegasque to stand on his home podium since Louis Chiron in 1950, was stunned by the blunder that left him hoping for rain or chaos.

Monaco is famed as a circuit where overtaking is hard in the extreme, with the showcase race around the tight city streets one of the most watched but often processional and won by the driver on pole position.

“It’s disappointing to be out in Q1 in a Ferrari but even more so at home and even more on a track like this where you can’t overtake,” said the youngster.

“We can’t afford to do these things. It’s just a big, big disappointment.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN


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