LE MANS, June 16 -- Full race results of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe, round eight of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Late heartbreak for the #7 Toyota crew hands victory to Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima in the final hour of the race, while there is GTE success for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso claimed back-to-back victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, overtaking the rival Toyota on the final hour before holding on to win the famous sportscar race.The #8 Toyota of Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi also became 2018-2019 World Endurance Champions after the sister car, the #7 Toyota, was beset by problems in the final hour, including a puncture that denied them what had seemed like a certain victory. Former F1 world champion Alonso was part of Toyota's winning team a year ago on his first outing at the event.
LE MANS, June 15 -- Lights are out and racing is underway at the Circuit de La Sarthe for the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, with an all-Toyota front row led by the #7 car of trio of Mike Conway, Kamui Koboyashi and Jose Maria Lopez.
Second after Thursday’s qualifying is the #8 car of last year’s winners Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and former Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso. The 37-year-old Spaniard is hoping to add back-to-back Le Mans 24 Hour titles to his two F1 trophies in his last appearance at the classic race. Alonso is one of the main drawcards at the 2019 event – despite an almost certain win for the Toyota hybrids, barring an accident. The Japanese team was unchallenged last year after Porsche and Audi pulled out, leaving Toyota Gazoo Racing as the only manufacturer in the top LMP1 category.
But it’s far from just the elite prototype class that brings the 250,000 spectators to the Le Mans 24 Hours, with professional race drivers mixing it with amateurs in the other LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am categories. The top LMP2 starter is the #28 TDS Racing Oreca of François Perrodo, Loïc Duval and Mattheiu Vaxiviere, who inherited the category pole after the Graff squad was stripped of it, following Vincent Capillaire’s failing to come in for a random weight check by the stewards. Aston Martin took top spot in the GTE Pro class thanks to Marco Sorensen who put the #95 Vantage ahead of Ford, Corvette and Porsche. Porsche also locked out the top three places in GTE Am, with Matteo Cairoli taking pole in the #88 Dempsey-Proton car with a best time of 3m51.439s.
PARIS, June 15 -- The mass demonstrations in France are continuing for the 31st week in a row, as people take to the streets of Paris and other cities to show their indignation at French President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms.
The wave of yellow vests rallies started in France in mid-November over a planned hike in fuel taxes. While the French government has abandoned its plans to raise fuel taxes and introduced other measures aimed at improving the country's socioeconomic situation, protesters have continued to take to the streets across the country every weekend to express their discontent with government policies. The rallies frequently lead to damage and clashes between the police and activists.
PARIS, June 11 -– A man died in Paris after his electric scooter collided with a lorry, sources said on Tuesday (June 11), the first such fatality involving the increasingly-popular devices in the French capital as concern grows over their safety.
The 25-year-old was riding the scooter in the bustling Goutte d’Or neighbourhood in the north of the city when the accident happened late Monday. He was rushed to hospital where he died of his injuries, the Paris emergency services said. The lorry driver has been detained with prosecutors opening an investigation into “involuntary homicide”. A source close to the case, who asked not to be named, said the lorry driver had priority on the road at the time. It was the first deadly accident involving an electric scooter within the city limits, police and the mayor’s office confirmed. According to press reports, an 81-year-old man died in April in Levallois-Perret outside Paris, days after being knocked over by an electric scooter.
Just a year after they first appeared on the Paris streets, mushrooming electric scooters have become a gigantic headache for the Paris authorities who are now rushing to implement some kind of framework for their use. Monday’s deadly accident has “underlined the need to emphasise the elementary rules that users must respect,” deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said. “The police need to act to penalise users who, for example, cross a red light,” he said. Mayor Anne Hidalgo had on Thursday announced a ban on parking electric scooters on the pavement and said their speed on roads should be limited to 20kmh. Paris has already introduced fines of €135 (S$209) for riding electric scooters on the pavement. Fans have embraced scooters as a quick and cheap way to get around, since the "dockless" devices are unlocked with a phone app and can be left anywhere when a ride is finished.
DAMASCUS, June 10 -- Authorities in northeast Syria have been urging Western countries to take back citizens who joined Islamic State.
France and the Netherlands have taken custody of 14 French and Dutch orphans of Islamic State (IS) fighters in northeast Syria, an official in the Kurdish-led administration there said on Monday. Authorities in northeast Syria have been urging Western countries to take back citizens who joined IS and their relatives after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the group's last enclave earlier this year. Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of the foreign relations committee of the administration that runs the northeastern quarter of Syria held by the SDF, said it had handed over the children to foreign ministry delegations from France and the Netherlands. France took back 12 orphaned French children from IS families and the Netherlands took back two Dutch orphans, he said in Tweets. Last week, the Kurdish-led authorities said they had repatriated two US women along with six children. Few countries have yet seemed willing to take back their citizens, who may be hard to prosecute. The Kurdish-led administration and the SDF have said they cannot indefinitely hold thousands of foreigners, but no clear international policy has emerged over how to handle the issue. Many of the relatives of captured IS fighters are located in al-Hol, a camp for displaced people where aid agencies have warned of dire humanitarian conditions.
Under British and international law, it is illegal to make an individual stateless. Britain, however, can make its citizens stateless if they have dual nationality. Critics of the move claim that Javid made the decision to revoke Begum's citizenship because she would be eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship because of her parents' heritage. The Bangladesh government has rejected the UK claim that she is a Bangladesh citizen.
On Sunday, one of Britain's most senior judges questioned Javid's decision to revoke Begum of her British citizenship. Jonathan Sumption, who retired as a justice of the Supreme Court in December, indicated that the Home Secretary may have broken international law with his actions. Speaking on the BBC's Reith Lecture, Lord Sumption said: "I am frankly surprised at the suggestion that she can be regarded as the citizen of a country with which she has never had anything to do [with], but that is the government's position and I have no doubt it will be tested in the courts in due course." Asked if the removal of citizenship also meant a person lost their standing under human rights, Lord Sumption said: "What they lose is their citizenship. That doesn't necessarily deprive them of their standing when it comes to human rights. "I have no problem with the notion of depriving people of their citizenship who have gone abroad to fight in foreign wars save this. "It's an established principle of international law that you cannot deprive somebody of his or her citizenship if the result would be to render them stateless. "And whatever they may have done in Syria or anywhere else, that rule has always been applied and will no doubt be applied in this case." Two independent legal challenges have been launched in response to Javid's decision to revoke Begum of her citizenship.
PARIS, June 9 -- The number of demonstrators who gathered in the French capital last Saturday for a rally marking the 30th week of protests saw the lowest turnout since the movement began.
According to the Midi Libre paper, French police have resorted to using water cannons and tear gas against yellow vests protesters in the southern city of Montpellier, as the demonstrations swept across the nation for the 30th Saturday in a row. Yellow vests protesters took to the streets of Paris and other cities on Saturday to show their indignation at police violence as well as French President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms. In addition, about 2,000 yellow vest protesters marched in France's southern city of Montpellier on Saturday, police used tear gas and water cannons against the demonstrators, local media reported. The activists gathered in the centre of Montpellier at around 10 a.m. (08:00 GMT). Police used tear gas and water cannons against the protesters at noon, the French Midi Libre newspaper specified. According to French media, more than 10,000 protesters took part in the demonstrations across France. Two people received injuries as a result of the clashes and two people were arrested, according to the daily.
ISTANBUL, June 8 -- German footballer Mesut Ozil has tied the knot, with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.
The Turkish-German midfielder married his fiance, actress and model Amine Gulse, on Friday at a ceremony along the Bosporus in Istanbul that was attended by many statesmen and celebrities. Photos of the wedding showed a smiling Erdogan and his wife Emine standing next to the couple as their marriage was formalised. Ozil and Gulse, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2014, also made a hefty donation to the Turkish Red Crescent to provide a meal to some 15,000 Syrian refugees.
Ozil announced in March this year that he had asked Erdogan to be his best man. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was part of a chorus of criticism of the invitation. Helge Braun of Germany's leading party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told Bild newspaper at the time that it "makes one sad" that Ozil would make such a move despite having been sharply criticised by the German public over his first meeting with Erdogan. The footballer whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Erdogan in May 2018. Criticism intensified after Germany crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russia.
After the summer defeat, Ozil posted a lengthy statement announcing his resignationfrom the national team and accusing German football officials of racism. Ozil, who now plays for Arsenal, had made 92 appearances for Germany and played a key role in their 2014 World Cup victory. He said he was being blamed for Germany's disappointing World Cup performance. Ozil also said the German Football Association head, Reinhard Grindel, failed to support him when he received hate mail, threatening phone calls, and racist comments on social media after Germany left the World Cup. "I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil said, adding that despite his successful history with the team, the way he was treated made him "no longer want to wear the German national team shirt". Without Ozil, Germany started their UEFA Nations League journey with three consecutive bad results. They drew with France 0-0 at home, were defeated by the Netherlands 3-0 and by France 1-2 in an away match. Germany also lost six of their last 10 matches and were relegated to League B in the UEFA Nations League. Erdogan often attends marriages of Turkish celebrities, whom he particularly seeks out during election campaigns. His presence at Ozil's marriage comes ahead of a mayoral election in Istanbul on June 23, required after the original voting in March was annulled following a narrow victory for the main opposition Republican People's Party.
PARIS, June 6 -- US President Donald Trump said at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in northern France on Thursday that the bond between America and its allies “forged in the heat of battle” of World War II was “unbreakable”.
This despite previously badmouthing the transatlantic military alliance Nato and criticising European leaders.“To all of our friends and partners, our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable,” Trump said.He spoke at a US cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer in front of a beach, code-named Omaha during the landings, which saw 150,000 Allied troops rush ashore in the world’s biggest naval operation to liberate much of western Europe.“Those who fought here won a future for our nation, they won the survival of our civilisation and they showed us the way to love, cherish and defend our way of life for many centuries to come,” Trump said.
He began his speech with a tribute to around 60 US veterans who were in the front row, many of them in wheelchairs. “You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You are the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.
BRUSSELS, June 6 -- France is one of six EU nations unlikely to hit their 2020 renewable energy targets, putting the European Union's 20 per cent goal at risk, the bloc's auditors said on Thursday.
France is lagging in its bid to source 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, the European Court of Auditors said in a report. France sourced 16.3 per cent of its energy from renewables in 2017 and since 2005 has only raised this by 0.5 percentage point per year, the report said. Renewables can regularly cover 25 per cent of France's summer electricity needs, grid operator RTE said on Wednesday. While 11 EU countries have already met their targets, the Netherlands, Ireland, Britain, Luxembourg and Poland are also unlikely to reach their individual targets by 2020, the auditors said. Each would need to boost their reliance on renewables by more than 4 percentage points from 2017 levels, the report said. An additional eight EU members, including Germany and Spain, also need to accelerate their switch to renewables to meet their goals, it said.
If member states do not meet their national targets, an EU target of sourcing 32 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030 could be put into jeopardy, the auditors said. Ten EU members have already reached their 2020 targets, including Sweden, whose 54.5 per cent rate was the highest in the EU. Luxembourg at 6.4 per cent and the Netherlands at 6.6 per cent were the lowest. Between 2005 and 2017, the share of renewable energy used in the EU almost doubled to 17.5 per cent, just a few points short of the bloc's 20 per cent goal for electricity, heating, cooling and transport use. However, progress has slowed since 2014 when a number of EU countries reduced support for renewables to lighten the burden on consumers and national budgets. "The slowdown in shifting towards renewable electricity implies that we might not meet the EU 2020 target," the auditors said in a statement. The EU needs more wind and solar power to meet its renewables targets, the auditors said. The European Commission should urge EU member states to take action, such as through auction planning and investment in grid infrastructure, they said.
PORTSMOUTH, June 5 -- World leaders gathered on the coast of southern England on Wednesday (June 5) to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history and a feat that helped bring World War Two to an end.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May will be joined for the commemorative events in Portsmouth by veterans and by US President Donald Trump, who is on the final day of a state visit to Britain. French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and leaders and senior figures from 10 other countries are also due to attend. "As we unite to pay tribute to those whose bravery and sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in the Second World War, we will vow never to forget the debt we owe them," Mrs May said. "Their solidarity and determination in the defense of our freedom remains a lesson to us all."
In the early hours of June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 allied troops set off from Portsmouth and the surrounding area to begin the air, sea and land attack on Normandy that ultimately led to the liberation of western Europe from the Nazi regime. By the time of the Normandy landings, Soviet forces had been fighting Germany in the east for almost three years and Kremlin chief Josef Stalin had urged British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to open a second front as far back as August 1942. The invasion, codenamed Operation Overlord and commanded by US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, remains the largest amphibious assault in history and involved almost 7,000 ships and landing craft along a 80km stretch of the French coast.
Shortly after midnight, thousands of paratroopers were dropped. Then came the naval bombardment of German positions overlooking the shore. Then the infantry arrived on the beaches. Mostly American, British and Canadian men, some just boys, waded ashore as German soldiers tried to kill them with machine guns and artillery. Survivors say the sea was red with blood and the air boiling with the thunder of explosions. Thousands were killed on both sides. Line upon line of white crosses honor the dead in cemeteries across northern France. Even the code names of the sectors of the invasion - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword - can draw tears from veterans.