Motorsports 2019

What’s next for Spain as elections loom?

MADRID -- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday called a snap national election for April 28 after his draft budget was rejected in parliament, potentially spelling months of uncertainty.

At the head of a fragile minority government, Sanchez had to rely on the support of 17 Catalan separatist MPs who withdrew their backing in protest at separatist leaders being put on trial for their role in a 2017 attempt to break Catalonia from Spain.

Grand Canyon battles uranium claims

ENVIRONMENT -- As the Grand Canyon National Park marks its centenary, it is fighting to prevent nearby lands from contamination by new uranium mining. A 20-year ban on mining remains in force, but is under review.

“Mission complete” for Mars Opportunity rover

WASHINGTON -- NASA has called time on its Opportunity Mars rover after the robot geologist last contacted Earth in June 2018 -- just before it was engulfed in a huge dust storm -- 15 years after it landed on the planet.

Airbus abandons iconic A380 superjumbo

TOULOUSE -- European aerospace giant Airbus is to end production of its 500-plus-seat A380 superjumbo in 2021 after Emirates reduced its total order by 39 planes.

Presidential elections in Nigeria

ABUJA -- Two men in their 70s are vying for the presidency in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, where most of the electorate is under 40.

EU jobs at risk from hard Brexit

HALLE -- If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on international trade -- a “hard Brexit” -- more than 435,000 jobs will be affected across the bloc, according to a new study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research.

El Chapo faces “Supermax” prison

COLORADO -- “El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped from two high-security Mexican prisons before his ultimate capture, will likely spend the rest of his life imprisoned in ADX Florence, a “Supermax” prison called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

Trading with Iran via special purpose vehicle

PARIS -- Germany, France and Britain have launched an EU-backed “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to insulate trade with Iran from U.S. sanctions on Tehran. Called INSTEX, the SPV is a mirror image transaction system.

Venezuela oil flows continue despite sanctions

LONDON -- Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA is shipping around 1.15 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude and refined products unimpeded by U.S. sanctions and payment restrictions, according to Refinitiv Eikon.

Orbex Prime rocket could launch from UK

SPACE -- Orbex is a British-Danish-German startup hoping to send small commercial satellites into orbit from a launch pad on the A’Mhòine peninsula in the Scottish highlands as early as 2021.

Apple iPhone sales fall a fifth in China

CUPERTINO -- Apple’s 2018 iPhone sales in China fell by a fifth year-on-year, while sales of smartphones from Chinese rival Huawei soared 23 percent, suggesting that the company ate into Apple’s market share.

Bid to cut knife crime in Britain 

LONDON -- Knife crime offenders in London will have to wear GPS trackers upon release from prison in a bid to tackle violence in Britain’s capital. Last year there were 132 homicides in London compared with 289 in New York.

Vietnam for second Trump-Kim summit

HANOI -- Vietnam, communist-run but with capitalist leanings, hosts the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in
Hanoi on February 27 and 28.

U.S.-backed forces launch fight for last Islamic State

SYRIA -- U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces have begun what could be the final battle against so-called Islamic State militants in Syria, after a five-month campaign to liberate the Euphrates River valley from the jihadist group.

Iran Islamic Revolution anniversary

TEHRAN -- Four decades ago the United States-backed Shah of Iran’s government fell after the triumphant return from exile of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He proclaimed an Islamic Republic on April 1.

First private spacecraft shoots for the moon

SPACE -- An Israeli nonprofit group is aiming to lead the first privately funded mission to land a probe on the moon, following in the footprints of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. and China.

Magnetic north pole moves towards Siberia

LEEDS -- The position of the Earth’s magnetic north pole is moving far faster than it previously has, sprinting toward Siberia at almost 50km a year, pulled by a magnetic field “tug-of-war.”

Pakistan dependent on massive foreign loans

ISLAMABAD -- China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are providing billions of dollars in financial support to Pakistan as the country burns through its foreign currency reserves at the fastest pace in Asia.

Iran unveils new long-range cruise missile

TEHRAN -- Iran has announced the “successful test” of a new cruise missile, the Hoveizeh, with a range of more than 1,350km, during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

U.S. quits cold war-era nuclear arms treaty

WASHINGTON -- The United States is suspending its compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, raising the spectre of a dangerous and costly arms race in Europe.

Africa’s heroin highway to Western markets

AFRICA -- A rising share of the heroin crop from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is being shipped along a network of maritime routes to East and southern Africa in a so-called “smack track” to the West.

“Defeated” Islamic State preparing for comeback

TERRORISM -- Despite President Donald Trump’s claim that so-called Islamic State has been defeated, it has yet to be finished off in Iraq and Syria, and affiliated groups remain a threat around the world.


Mar 17: Formula 1 rule changes for 2019

F1 -- Rule changes, laying the groundwork for wholescale changes due in 2021, make the cars look noticeably different this season – with aerodynamic alterations intended to improve overtaking opportunities.

Feb 14: Europa League Last 32, 1st leg

SOCCER -- Europa League Round of 32 first leg matches include a contest between Galatasaray and Benfica, both currently lying in second place in the Turkish and Portuguese leagues respectively.

Feb 12: Champions League Last 16

SOCCER -- Manchester United, rejuvenated under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clash with Paris St-Germain at Old Trafford, while Roma look for their first victory over Porto at the Stadio Olimpico.

Mar 10: MotoGP World Championship 2019

MOTOGP -- Marc Marquez will be aiming for a record sixth MotoGP championship when the season commences in Qatar. It comprises a total of 19 Grands Prix and concludes in Valencia, Spain in November.

Feb 1-Mar 16: Six Nations rugby 2019

RUGBY -- France and Wales open the tournament in Paris, followed by Scotland’s clash with Italy at Murrayfield, while reigning champions Ireland begin the defence of their title against England in Dublin.

Feb 12-13: UEFA Champions League Last 16

SOCCER -- On Tuesday, Manchester United face Paris St-Germain without the injured Neymar, and Roma take on Porto, while Ajax take on Real Madrid and Tottenham face Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

Feb 15: Super Rugby Championship 2019

RUGBY -- The southern hemisphere’s top rugby union club tournament gets underway, with New Zealand’s Crusaders aiming for a third successive title after victory over South Africa’s Lions in last season’s final.

Sep 20-Nov 2: Rugby World Cup 2019

RUGBY -- The Rugby World Cup takes place in Japan, with 20 teams competing to be crowned World Champions. The 2019 tournament marks the first time it has been held in Asia, outside rugby's traditional heartlands.

May 11-Jun 2: Giro d’Italia 2019 route

CYCLING -- The 2019 Giro d’Italia features three individual time trials and seven summit finishes in a balanced but testing route which ramps up into a brutal second half raced almost entirely uphill.

Jul 6-28: Tour de France 2019 route

CYCLING -- The 2019 Tour features 30 categorised climbs and five mountain finishes in what organisers promise will be “the highest Tour in history”, designed to encourage breakaways and attacks.

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