‘I’m a fighter. I’m confident I’ll be in Russia’ – Salah boosts World Cup 2018 hopes

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah says he is ‘confident’ he will recover from dislocating his shoulder during Saturday’s Champions League final in time for the Russia 2018 World Cup.

The Reds’ notoriously speedy winger is facing a race against time to be fit for Egypt’s first World Cup game of Russia 2018 against Uruguay on June 15. 

Egyptian Salah tweeted on Sunday: “It was a very tough night, but I’m a fighter. Despite the odds, I’m confident that I’ll be in Russia to make you all proud. Your love and support will give me the strength I need.”

Salah suffered the injury during a tussle with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, leaving the pitch tears after being forced off midway through the first half with the game goalless in Kiev. Liverpool went on to lose the match 3-1 without their 44-goal talisman on the field.

Despite Salah’s dislocated shoulder taking usually around 12 weeks to heal, the Ballon d’Or contender believes he will recover in time for Egypt’s opener versus the Uruguayans at Ekaterinburg Arena.

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A portion of Liverpool’s support were furious at Ramos’ challenge on Salah, some going as far as to create a petition titled: “UEFA & FIFA should punish Sergio Ramos for intentionally hurting Mohamed Salah” which had gained over 220,000 signatures.

The petition reads: “Sergio Ramos represents an awful example to future generations of football players. Instead of winning matches fairly, he uses tricks that defy the spirit of the game and fair play.

“UEFA and FIFA should take measures against Ramos and similar players, using the video recordings of matches to keep the spirit of the game.”

Other fans found a more familiar target for blame in Russian president Vladimir Putin. Social media users accused Putin of mysteriously arranging Salah’s injury so the player would not face Russia in their Group A match on June 19.

On the pitch, Karim Benzema put Real ahead on 50 minutes with help from a Loris Karius mistake before Sadio Mane leveled for Liverpool four minutes later.

Then Real’s Gareth Bale, two minutes after entering the field of play, produced one of the all-time great Champions League final goals with an overhead kick from a Marcelo cross on 62 minutes.

READ MORE: Liverpool fans’ petition for UEFA to ban Ramos reaches 150,000 signature target

Karius then again gifted Real a goal when Bale shot from 25 yards with seven minutes remaining. Despite the ball swerving and dipping, the German keeper should have caught Bale’s drive.

Instead, he simply palmed the ball into his own net, quite literally handing the Madrid side their third consecutive Champions League title.

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Body farm in UK? Britain ‘mulls’ creating grisly research center with decaying humans

Britain’s first body farm – a research facility where human remains are left to decay outdoors and in water – could soon be established in an effort to improve police forensics.

First established in the US during the 1970s, the grisly facilities involve donated cadavers being placed in a variety of settings in order to assess how skin, bones and hair decompose over time.

The idea is to provide a controlled environment where scientists can track how death wreaks havoc on the human body. According to the Sunday Telegraph, unnamed UK ministers are said to be considering whether such a facility would be beneficial to forensic investigators involved in murder cases.

READ MORE: ‘Human’ cells mixed with chicken embryos in bizarre scientific experiment

It’s thought that the University of Huddersfield might be a potential location for the center, with the government also in talks with the Human Tissue Authority, a regulator set up to guard the handling of human remains.

Dr. Anna Williams, a forensic anthropologist at Huddersfield University, said a body farm could help police solve murders.

“The benefits to science would help us in a number of ways,” she said. “We would be able to more accurately know when someone died, as well as being able to identify potential criminals, say from fingerprints or DNA on decomposed skin.”

READ MORE: Justice Department looks to ‘strengthen’ forensic science guidelines

Body farms already exist in a number of US universities such as Colorado Mesa and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. At Colorado Mesa, donated bodies are placed in an outdoor laboratory where they are left to decay naturally.

The facility is used by anthropologists studying taphonomy – the transition of organic material.

Once the body goes through the process of decay, Colorado Mesa says they store people’s bones in a collection, which can be visited by family members.

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‘Unprecedented institutional clash’: Italy fails to form govt over anti-EU economic minister

Italy’s PM-designate Giuseppe Conte said he’s given up on attempts to form a government after President Sergio Mattarella rejected his candidacy for economy minister. The country may now face a new election by the end of 2018.

“President [Mattarella] has received Prof. Giuseppe Conte …. who returned the mandate given to him on May 23 to form the government. The president has thanked him for his effort in fulfilling this task,” Ugo Zampetti, an official within the presidential administration, told RAI. After the talk, Mattarella said that he was going to make a decision on the new parliamentary vote in the country in the coming hours.

Conte confirmed his failure to form “the government of change” in Italy, saying: “I can assure you that I did my utmost to try to fulfill this task.”

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Guideppe Conte addresses the media for the first time in his new role.

Mattarella told the media that he “agreed to all the ministers except the finance minister” proposed by the coalition. “I asked for a figure, who would mean not risking an exit from the euro,” he explained.

As for the possibility of a new election, the president said that he will “take decisions on the basis of how the situation evolves in parliament.”

The president had summoned Conte to his office in order to find a way to break the two-months-long deadlock on forming the coalition government after a similar meeting on Friday ended fruitlessly.

The candidacy for economy minister has been the main stumbling block for the creation of the new cabinet in the country. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and its rightist coalition ally Lega Nord, which won the most parliamentary seats in the March vote, insist on having Paolo Savona in the vital role.

M5S was outraged by Mattarella’s decision, with 5-star leader Luigi Di Maio calling it “an institutional clash without precedent” in a Facebook live video.

“What’s the point of going to vote if it’s the ratings agencies that decide?” Di Maio fumed.

Paolo Savona is a distinguished economist who served as the industry minister in 1993-94 and also worked at the Bank of Italy. But Mattarella has been refusing to appoint the 81-year-old due to concerns over his criticism of euro, the EU and Germany’s economic policies. In a book, which Savona co-authored in 2015, he argued that Italy should have a “plan B” to leave the eurozone with minimum damage if the situation calls for it.

Earlier on Sunday, Savona made a public statement to clarify his views, saying that he stands for “a different Europe, stronger, but more equal.” He said that he believes Italy’s debt should be reduced through targeted investment and stimulation of the economy, but not austerity or tax cuts.

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‘Soaked in Spice’: UK inmates smoking ‘solicitor letters’ dipped in mind-altering drugs

Violence in UK jails is being fueled by smuggled psychoactive drugs like Spice, according to Justice Secretary David Gauke, who said inmates are smoking letters dipped in mind-altering chemicals.

The Conservative Party MP was speaking about the growing problem of illegal substances in jails, and said that more staff are being recruited to combat drug-fueled disturbances throughout the country’s prisons.

He said that authorities are also aiming to beef up surveillance in prisons using sniffer dogs and body scanners, after uncovering attempts to smuggle drugs like Spice, which is a concoction of plants and chemicals.

READ MORE: Tory plans to tackle prison crisis slammed as inmates run riot

“These new psychoactive substances like Spice, for example. There’s always been an issue with drugs in prison but it is deteriorating because of these new substances. To give you an example of how it might get smuggled in, what you get is purportedly a solicitors letter, it’s actually not, but it’s soaked in Spice and then it comes in and is smoked,” Gauke told Sky News Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

Spice has been labelled a ‘zombie drug,’ with the UK government warning that users can experience extreme anxiety and hallucinations.

With gang violence in London under the microscope, Justice Secretary David Gauke said middle-class partygoers who take drugs should feel guilty for funding the illegal narcotics trade.

“There is a responsibility for middle-class people who take cocaine at a dinner party, that when they see a story about a 15-year old being stabbed in Hackney, they should feel a degree of guilt and responsibility,” Gauke said.

READ MORE: Sweet rewards: Violence drops at notorious youth prison after inmates given candy

It comes after Simon Kempton of the Police Federation, the largest association of constables and sergeants, indicated that drug prohibition has not worked. Gauke also said the UK’s jail population is too high, with the government looking at non-custodial sentences and the issue of re-offending as a means to bring those levels down.

“I think the level is higher than I would want it to be. I don’t think one should have an arbitrary number but when you put it in context 25 years ago we have 44,000 people in prison, today it is 84,000. I think that’s too high.”

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Reds boss Klopp sings away the blues after Champions League heartbreak (VIDEO)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not dwell on the Champions League defeat, and instead sang away his cup final blues with travelling fans, saying that “Madrid had all the luck.”

Saturday’s defeat, which saw Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius gift Real Madrid their opener, is Klopp’s third cup final loss at the helm of the Premier League club.

READ MORE: Liverpool fans’ petition for UEFA to ban Ramos reaches 150,000 signature target

And the Reds boss could have been forgiven for jetting straight out of Kiev in a mood after Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in Europe’s top competition. However, the energetic German is not one for ignoring fans, and he appeared in good spirits while hanging out with Liverpool’s travelling support at Boryspil International Airport.

Footage of Klopp engaging in a sing-song with boisterous Liverpool fans in the early hours of Sunday morning has been shared thousands of times online.

It shows the Liverpool gaffer wearing a backward cap, singing about Madrid having all the “f****ing luck.” Earlier Klopp attempted to deflect the blame away from his goalkeeper, saying his team had been hit by bad luck on that night.

“I really feel for [Karius]. The mistakes were obvious we don’t have to talk about it… it’s all clear. It was not his night,” Klopp said.

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US warships sail near disputed South China Sea islands – report

Two US warships reportedly sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Sunday. The maneuvers come days after Washington “disinvited” Beijing to the Pacific Rim 2018 naval exercises.

USS ‘Higgins,’ an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and USS ‘Antietam,’ a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, came within 12 nautical miles of the islands, two US officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The ships reportedly carried out maneuvers near Tree, Lincoln, Triton and Woody Islands in the Paracels.

China’s Defense Ministry said that its ships and aircraft have warned off the US vessels that entered the country’s territorial waters without permission. The ministry has condemned the arrival of the US warships near the islands, calling it a “provocation” and an infringement upon China’s sovereignty.

Beijing has been building artificial islands and deploying military infrastructure on the Paracels, as well as on the Spratly Islands. This has resulted in protests from other neighboring nations claiming the territory, but also from Washington, which often criticizes China’s “influence in the region” while also trying to expand its own.

The resource-rich South China Sea is the subject of conflicting claims by a number of countries, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The US has been sending its vessels and airplanes to carry out patrol missions in the disputed area, repeatedly causing outcry from Beijing.

This week, the US has also revoked the Chinese navy’s invitation to participate in the RIMPAC 2018 naval drills, citing China’s “continued militarization of the South China Sea.” The US military said that the issue was the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy presence in the Spratly Islands. 

Earlier in May, Beijing carried out drills in the South China Sea which involved Xian H-6 strategic bombers, which were developed on the basis of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 aircraft. The drills angered neighboring Philippines, which vowed to protect “every single inch” of its territory in the area. 

READ MORE: Chinese navy jets master daring night maneuvers on aircraft carrier (VIDEO)

In March this year, USS ‘Mustin,’ an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, reportedly came within 12 nautical miles the Spratly Islands archipelago. The Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the reports and said that Chinese Navy vessels ‘Huangshan’ and ‘Zhenjiang’ “took immediate action… to warn off and dispel” the US warship. 

In January, USS ‘Hopper,’ a guided missile destroyer, encroached on the Chinese-claimed Huangyan Dao Island in the South China Sea. China accused the US of violating “sovereignty and security interests” as well as posing a “grave threat” to its forces stationed in the area.

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Liverpool fans’ petition for UEFA to ban Ramos reaches 150,000 signature target

Over 150,000 outraged Liverpool fans have signed a petition to retroactively punish Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos after he was involved in a tussle with Mo Salah that left the latter with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

The petition, titled “UEFA: UEFA & FIFA should punish Sergio Ramos for intentionally hurting Mohamed Salah” has already reached its target of 150,000 signatures.

The petition informs fans: “Salah is counting on you.” Its target has since been raised to 200,000 signatures. 

Egyptian Salah was forced off in the first half of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final between the two sides in Kiev. He suffered a shoulder injury as he and Madrid captain Ramos tumbled to the ground while challenging for the ball.

Many observers felt Ramos had deliberately held onto Salah’s arm as he fell to intentionally injure the striker. Liverpool went on to lose the match 3-1 without their stricken talisman, who had netted 44 times last season for the Reds.

It is not yet known whether the injury will keep Salah out of this summer’s World Cup 2018 tournament in Russia, which kicks off in Moscow on June 14.

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The petition’s description reads: “Sergio Ramos intentionally kept Mohamed Salah’s arm under his armpit, causing dislocation of his shoulder. Not only missing the rest of the game, but also missing the FIFA World Cup 2018.

“In addition he kept acting that Liverpool players fouled him falsely, causing the referee to give Manne a yellow card he did not deserve.

“Sergio Ramos represents an awful example to future generations of football players. Instead of winning matches fairly, he uses tricks that defy the spirit of the game and fair play.

“UEFA and FIFA should take measures against Ramos and similar players, using the video recordings of matches to keep the spirit of the game.”

However, while Liverpool fans have used Ramos as a target for their frustrations, some Twitter users directed their anger at Russian president Vladimir Putin.

They claimed Putin had mysteriously managed to arrange the injury so Russia would not have to face Salah in their World Cup Group A clash with Egypt on June 19.

After his injury, Salah left the field in tears to be replaced by Adam Lallana. After a goalless first half, Real Madrid took the lead through Karim Benzema in the 50th minute with help from a Lloris Karius mistake before Sadio Mane leveled for Liverpool four minutes later.

Super-sub Gareth Bale then produced a moment of brilliance for Madrid, with an overhead kick that will surely go down as one of the greatest Champions League final goals with just over an hour played.

READ MORE: Stunning Gareth Bale double wins Real unprecedented third UCL title in a row

Bale doubled his tally in the 82nd minute when his long range shot forced another howler from the German keeper, who palmed it into his own net to hand Real their 3rd successive Champions League title.

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Berlin clubbers oppose AfD march with dance party (VIDEO)

Thousands of supporters of Germany’s rising far-right party, the AfD, are marching in Berlin on Sunday. The demonstration is being met with counter-protests by several groups including some from the city’s renowned club scene.

Up to 10,000 people are expected to take part in the march entitled ‘Future for Germany,’ according to its organizers, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The event sees protesters walk from Berlin’s main train station to the Brandenburg Gate.

The right-wing populist party, known for its anti-migrant and anti-Muslim stance, became the largest opposition party to Angela Merkel’s coalition government after last year’s federal elections.

A counter-demonstration called ‘Stop the Hatred’ has been organized in the city’s government district. The counter-protest will involve the techno and dance scenes, with several DJs expected to travel through the city playing loud music to encourage a street party of sorts. There will also be a protest on boats on the Spree River.

Organizers predict attendance at the counter-demonstrations to exceed 10,000. Dozens of  groups, politicians and nightclubs have joined forces to face off with AfD protestors. Organizers say they intend to block the AfD’s route.

“We want to attract so many demonstrators that the AfD won’t be able to take a single step,” spokesperson Nora Berneis told Deutsche Welle, adding that they were willing to engage in “civil disobedience” to achieve their goal.

The police are preparing for a major operation with more than 2,000 officers scheduled to be on duty.

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UK arms sales to Israel hit peak, as Prince William plans visit to Jerusalem

British defense companies made a record amount of money from selling weapons and military hardware to Israel, anti-arms campaigners’ data shows. New figures were revealed ahead of the royal trip to the country in June.

According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), defense contractors made at least £221 million ($ 294 million) last year from deals with Tel Aviv. That is a significant increase compared to £86 million ($ 114 million) in 2016. Export licenses to Israel issued by the UK government and tracked down by CAAT cover a wide range of military equipment, ranging from missile components and explosives to body armor and weapon sights.

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The news emerges just days after Prince William announced the date of his forthcoming trip to Israel and Palestine. He will arrive on June 25, and is scheduled to travel to Israel’s capital Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is based. His tour will be the first-ever official trip of a British royal to Israel.

The visit will take place during mass protests in Palestine, which have been continuing for several months and have resulted in multiple deaths and casualties. According to Human Rights Watch, the Israeli army killed over 100 people in Gaza and injured over 3,500 since the protests against Israeli occupation began there on March 30.

The IDF’s conduct has attracted widespread criticism from domestic and international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations for using live ammunition to quell the protests. The IDF blames Palestinian organization Hamas for the bloodshed and insists that the majority of the victims were members of terrorist groups aiming to infiltrate the country through the Gaza-Israeli border in order to attack Jewish troops and civilians.

The high death toll among Palestinians prompted a number of UK politicians to demand that the government stops providing military equipment to Israel, and prompted Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to call for a review of arms sales to the Middle Eastern country in April.

READ MORE: Saudi prince met by hundreds of protesters on arriving at Downing Street to meet PM (VIDEOS)

It is not the first time that the issue of weapon sales has caused discontent in British politics. Anti-arms-trade campaigners frequently stage protests against the government’s deals with states like Israel and Saudi Arabia, which regularly face accusations of human rights violations. One such recent protest took place in London in April, and last year activists tried to disrupt the UK’s biggest arms fair.

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Muslim man assaulted in northern India for ‘being friends’ with Hindu woman

A Muslim man has been threatened and assaulted by a group of attackers in northern India for being friends with a Hindu woman, local media reported. A video purportedly showing the attack was posted online and has gone viral.

The incident took place in the city of Kanpur in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh earlier in May. However, Indian media broke the news only this weekend.

The 24-year-old man identified in reports as Mohammad Rizwan went to a railway station to meet a Hindu woman, and was followed by an angry mob. In the video, the perpetrators can be seen cornering the man and slapping him, asking him about the nature of his relationship with the woman. One man can be heard saying that the Muslim “will have to pay for what he has done.”  

The attackers also tell the man that they will change their names “if we don’t ruin you.” It’s not yet clear if the victim had already met the woman before he was attacked. The woman is not seen in the footage.

READ MORE: Muslim man lynched in central India for ‘slaughtering cow’

Police later confirmed that they had opened a case against four attackers. “We are investigating why the youths beat him up. Prima facie, it seems he was meeting a Hindu woman at the time,” Railway Police Officer Rahul Pandey told the Indian Express. 

The victim later told NDTV that his attackers had claimed to be from right-wing groups. He said he was good friends with the woman and had gone to the railway station to meet her.  

Hindu-Muslim sectarian tensions are contentious in India. Muslims have faced attacks by so-called “cow vigilantes,” who accuse them of murdering cows, which Hindus consider sacred. Earlier in May, a Muslim man was beaten to death by an angry mob of villagers for allegedly killing a cow. Hindus make up almost 80 percent of India’s population, while Muslims account for 14 percent, according to 2011 census data.  

READ MORE: Leg wax lawsuit: Muslim beautician refuses to serve transgender woman

In January this year, violent riots erupted across the country after a controversial Bollywood epic ‘Padmavat,’ featuring a romance between a Muslim emperor and Hindu queen, was approved for screening.

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