Oct 182018
US, Europe shun Saudi conference over journalist Khashoggi's disappearance

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior ministers from Europe on Thursday pulled out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, deepening the kingdom’s isolation amid an uproar over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Officials from some of Saudi Arabia’s leading Western allies joined a slew of corporate bigwigs who are now shunning next week’s gathering, touted as a high-powered showcase for the economic reforms of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In an announcement that sent stocks tumbling on Wall Street, Mnuchin said he had decided with President Donald Trump that he would “not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia”. The decision was given in a terse tweet after Trump and Mnuchin were briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has just returned from Saudi Arabia and Turkey to probe for answers over the journalist’s disappearance in Istanbul. Mnuchin gave no explanation. But Britain and France — which like the United States are leading suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia — made clear their disquiet over Khashoggi’s fate as they yanked their own representation at the Riyadh conference. “We have taken this decision in a coordinated manner among Europeans,” President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at an EU summit in Brussels. “It is what’s required in the short term, taking account of the gravity of the facts, in the absence of (Saudi) clarification,” he said, after French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed he was staying away from Riyadh. British International Trade Secretary Liam [Read More…]

Oct 152018
US women headed back to World Cup

LOS ANGELES, California: The United States will defend their Women’s World Cup title next year, securing their berth with a 6-0 rout of Jamaica in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF regional qualifier on Sunday.Canada also punched their ticket to France in emphatic style, thumping Panama 7-0 in Frisco, Texas, to set up a blockbuster clash with the USA in the final of the CONCACAF women’s championship on Wednesday.The United States, three-time World Cup winners who were stung by a quarter-final exit at the Rio Olympics, put Jamaica away early. Tobin Heath opened the scoring and added her second in the 29th — part of a five-goal first half that also included goals from Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan.The US cruised through the second half, adding an exclamation point with Morgan’s penalty in the 84th minute.While both finalists secured World Cup berths, all was not lost for Panama and Jamaica. The winner of the third-place match on Wednesday will also gain direct entry to the World Cup, while the fourth-placed team will play off for a berth against Argentina.That means Panama’s women can still duplicate the Panamanian men’s achievement of reaching the World Cup for the first time at Russia 2018.And Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz are still in with a chance of becoming the first Caribbean side to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.In the first match of the day’s double-header, Christine Sinclair and Adriana Leon scored two goals apiece and Jessie Fleming, Janine Beckie and Rebecca Quinn added one [Read More…]