Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will compete at the Tokyo Olympics, despite the recent string of high-profile withdrawals. The Games have been hit by a spate of players deciding not to compete in Japan over the past few days, but the world number one will continue his quest for the Golden Slam in the next few weeks.
Djokovic has been completely dominant in 2021, winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles to move onto 20 Grand Slam titles.
The 34-year-old is now level with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and has the chance to complete an unprecedented Golden Slam by winning all the Majors and an Olympic gold medal in a single calendar year.
Such an achievement has never been done in men’s tennis, but Steffi Graf – an icon in the women’s game – did complete it in 1988.
Federer is among many players to withdraw from competing at the Olympics, but Djokovic says is still going to Tokyo despite concerns about a spike in coronavirus cases.
“I am very proud to pack for Tokyo and join our national team in the fight for the brightest medals in the Olympic arenas,” he wrote on Twitter.
“For me, the game for Serbia has always been a special joy and motivation and I will do my best to make us all happy! Let’s go.”
Djokovic’s confirmed involvement in the Games comes as a timely boost to the organisers, who have been hit by a succession of withdrawals recently.
While Federer’s announcement was due to a knee injury picked up at Wimbledon, many others have been prevented from travelling because of COVID-19.
British number ones Dan Evans and Johanna Konta are both not competing following positive tests.
Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Denis Shapovalov and Stan Wawrinka are not competing in the men’s singles.
Meanwhile, 2016 silver medalist Angelique Kerber, 2012 Olympic gold medallist Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are among the big names in the women’s game not playing in Japan.
Kerber said her “body needs a rest”, while Azarenka cited the “challenges from the pandemic” as her reason for withdrawing.
The Tokyo Olympics will take place behind closed doors, with no fans allowed to attend due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Japan.
The Olympics, which will be staged amid a state of emergency in Tokyo, will run from Friday, 23 July to Sunday, 8 August, with 339 events in 33 sports set to take place.
The tennis event runs from Saturday, 24 July to Sunday, 1 August on the hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park.
Marcus Rashford could miss the first two months of the season with Manchester United, with the striker reportedly set to undergo shoulder surgery. Rashford’s Euro 2020 came to a heartbreaking end when he missed his penalty in England’s shoot-out defeat against Italy at Wembley on Sunday – and that could be his last action for some time.
Rashford has been managing an injury in his left shoulder since November and, after a long season came to a close, he underwent scans on the problem area on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old has been using pain-killing injections to get through matches over the past eight months.
The surgery is not absolutely necessary because the torn muscle is not expected to get worse, but The Telegraph reports that he still wants to undergo surgery.
Rashford wants to have surgery as soon as possible, because he doesn’t want to keep taking pain-killing injections in the long-term.
The report says that Rashford won’t be able to have surgery until the end of July, with recovery time estimated at 12 weeks from that date.
NEW JERSEY (KDKA) — A 24-year-old woman who police say had been kidnapped along with her 2-year-old son this weekend was found dead off the side of a highway in Tennessee.
(Photo Credit: New Jersey State Police/Facebook)
An Amber Alert had been issued in multiple states, including Pennsylvania, for 2-year-old Sebastian Rios and his mother, Yasmine Uyar, on Friday after they were allegedly abducted by the boy’s father, 27-year-old Tyler Rios.
State police announced Saturday that the alert was called off after they found Sebastian was safe in Monterey, Tennessee.
But the mother had been still been missing early on Saturday, and her body was later recovered in a wooded area off of I-40.
Tyler Rios is facing charges of first-degree kidnapping, and officials say additional charges are to follow in connection to the death of Uyar.
Police began looking into Sebastian Rios’ and Uyar’s whereabouts after he did not arrive to daycare and she did not show up to her usual work shift, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady says.
From there, police stopped by to make a welfare check at Uyar’s home Friday morning but found no one inside, prompting the Amber Alert to be issued.
British Airways is preparing to welcome an increased number of holidaymakers back to the skies from July 19th in time for the start of the school summer holidays.
Within a couple of hours of a statement from government around the elimination of quarantine for Britons who are double vaccinated yesterday, the airline had seen a 96 per cent increase in the number of views on its website as compared to the same day last week.
The top destinations being searched included Barbados, Palma, Ibiza, New York, Antigua, Malta and Malaga.
As it stands, British Airways flies to more amber and green list countries than any other UK airline, 43 in total.
To coincide with the announcement, British Airways has agreed further reassurance measures which mean customers travelling until September to a country which is added to the red list from amber while they are at their destination will be able to change their flight without any change to the cost of their flight, subject to availability.
The move is expected to support Britons when they travel to a country that might be on a government watchlist to help them get home.
The airline has already publicly confirmed that its rules around the wearing of masks will remain in place to protect travellers, provide reassurance and boost customer confidence.
Despite the relaxation of the mask rules, the government has also recommended the wearing of masks in busy public areas and British Airways asks its customers to remain mindful of the rules around mask wearing in airports at a destination.
Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive, said: “This is an important step for Britain as we start to make travel possible again after 18 difficult months.
“There is still more to do, including opening the US, but we are enthusiastic about welcoming more of our customers back over the summer period and reassuring them that British Airways is ready.
“Our people have been working relentlessly behind the scenes to make important changes to the customer experience that will ensure our customers receive a first-class experience and complete peace of mind.”
Sharing a video of himself from the hospital bed, Ben Shephard told fellow hosts of Good Morning Britain that following surgery, “the painkillers appear to be doing the job”. Aware that he has a “long, slow” recovery period ahead of him, Ben must prepare for the possibility that his knee may never be the same again. The NHS warned: “Your knee may not be exactly like it was before the injury, and you may still have some pain and swelling.”
People who experience an ACL injury have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee.
Reduce your risk of an ACL injury
Strengthen your core, including hips, pelvis and lower abdomen, and avoid moving the knee inward during a squat.
Also perform exercises that strengthen the leg muscles, particularly the hamstrings.
It will also be helpful to emphasise “proper technique” during sports training.
As well as tearing his ACL, Ben also tore his meniscus – a piece of cartilage in the knee that cushions and stabilises the joint.
This can be a “painful and debilitating” injury, noted WebMD, that is common in contact sports, such as football.
A meniscus injury typically occurs when a person suddenly changes direction while running – and it’s common to coincide with an ACL injury.
Symptom of a meniscus tear include:
Pain in the knee
A popping sensation during the injury
Difficulty bending and straightening the leg
A tendency for your knee to get “stuck” or lock up.
To speed up the recovery process, it’ll be helpful to rest, ice, and elevate the knee.
Anti-inflammatory painkillers are recommended, which will help with the pain and swelling.
It’s important to avoid “impact activities” during the recovery process, such as running and jumping.
However, if the tear is large, unstable, or causing locking symptom, surgery might be required.
Tens of thousands of Iranians will echo the message of the nationwide boycott of the regime’s election during the three-day Free Iran World Summit on July 10.
The ongoing strikes and protests are sending this message to the regime and the international community that Iranian people do not want this regime and demand regime change.” — NCRI
PARIS, FRANCE, July 3, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — In May, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (Iran) held a press conference intended to bring international attention to the unique circumstances surrounding the Iranian regime’s presidential election. In the conference, NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mohammad Mohaddessin highlighted a growing electoral boycott movement and predicted that its success would be an especially clear sign of a “looming nationwide uprising waiting in the wings,” the outbreak of which would be “far more intense and widespread” than even the November 2019 uprising that encompassed nearly 200 Iranian cities and towns.On June 18, the first part of the NCRI’s prediction came true when even the regime’s authorities recorded historically low voter turnout. The very next day was marked by new protests which underscored the population’s certainty that a change of presidential administration would do nothing to address any of the crises plaguing the economy, public health, and so on. That sentiment had previously been expressed through numerous protests in the run-up to the election, each featuring slogans that endorsed the electoral boycott movement that was being promoted by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
For two months in advance of the election, “Resistance Units” affiliated with the MEK staged public demonstrations and posted text and images in public spaces promoting the electoral boycott as a means of “voting for regime change.” Meanwhile, blue-collar worker, pensioners, and middle-class investors all staged their own protests and declared their intentions never to engage in the political process again for as long as it is run by the same tyrannical, theocratic system. “We have seen no justice,” many of those protesters explained, adding, “We will not vote anymore.”
For countless protesters, this message was certainly intended to deny political legitimacy to the regime’s next president, Ebrahim Raisi. The current judiciary chief’s election on June 18 was never in doubt, thanks to the tight control over political proceedings wielded by unelected authorities including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Early on, Khamenei made it clear that Raisi was his choice to take over the presidency after the conclusion of Hassan Rouhani’s second term. As a result, the Guardian Council, a 12-member body empowered to vet legislation and candidates to high office, excluded virtually all other high-profile figures from the race for the presidency, thereby making the voting process even more of a mere formality than usual.
The Iranian regime has attempted to preserve a modicum of legitimacy for the latest election and for the regime itself by claiming that nearly fifty percent of eligible voters cast ballots in spite of the push for a mass boycott. But the MEK and the NCRI have rejected that claim, citing the testimony of 1,200 journalists from 400 localities as evidence that the actual rate of voter participation was less than ten percent. Thousands of video clips from June 18 show polling places that were empty or nearly empty and these images have only been contradicted by state media outlets that broadcast staged scenes of crowded activity at a polling place used by many government officials.
The NCRI would echo the message of the nationwide boycott of the regime’s election between July 10 and 12 when it holds its Free Iran World Summit. The event represents a revised approach to the annual gathering of Iranian expatriates and political supporters that was held in person near Paris prior to 2019, and at the MEK’s compound in Albania during the final summer before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Free Iran World Summit will presumably reiterate the message delivered to the international community by Mr. Mohaddessin in May, while also pointing to ongoing developments inside Iran as further evidence that his prediction is on the verge of being fulfilled.
Among the protests that broke out immediately following Raisi’s election, many have continued to grow and expand in the ensuing days, including labor strikes that now comprise thousands of workers in 60 companies representing the nation’s oil and petrochemical industries alone. On Saturday, Mrs. Rajavi issued a statement to the Iranian activist community, making particular reference to the youth and urging them to “support the striking workers” and reassert “the Iranian people’s general will to overthrow the anti-labor clerical regime.”
These strikes are in line with the major Iran protests that spread across Iran in 2018 and 2019. These strikes and protests are sending this message to the regime and the international community that Iranian people do not want this regime.
This was the core message that ultimately set the stage for the follow-up nationwide uprising in November 2019, as well as the mass boycott of the electoral process not just during the 2021 presidential election farce but also during the previous year’s parliamentary election. Each of these developments also served to reinforce the Iranian regime’s anxiety over the continuous challenges it is facing from an organized Resistance movement.
During the initial uprising in 2018, the regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei acknowledged – begrudgingly and for the first time in decades – that the MEK enjoyed powerful social influence and was capable of organizing mass demonstrations in favor of a change of government in Tehran.
With unrest currently ramping up among Iranian laborers and activists, it is highly likely that circumstances will be downright explosive and that the next nationwide uprising will be “looming” closer, in accordance with the NCRI’s prior prediction. If that is indeed the case, then various Western powers and non-governmental organizations will soon face the opportunity to help a beleaguered population to throw off the clerical dictatorship that has been depriving them of basic freedoms for more than 40 years. Furthermore, with that regime now being represented on the world stage by Raisi, a well-known human rights violator, it should be easy for those same powers to agree on a strategy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation in order to simultaneously hold him accountable for past crimes while signaling to the Iranian people that they have support in their fight against tyranny.
Call for Supporting Iran’s People and Opposition Against the Religious Fascism
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“All I was thinking was, when can I eat?” Don’t mind me, I say, and she laughs – something she does more than you might expect. The Caribbean-born, Birmingham-raised star is known the world over for her smart, sensitive songs like Love And Affection and Me, Myself And I. So, it’s hard to believe Joan once found walking on stage terrifying and would stare at the floor rather than make eye contact with the audience.
“I was very shy,” she tells me. “I was never interested in fame. I just wanted people to hear my songs – to know the songs I wrote.”
Now 70, Joan describes herself as “an introverted extrovert”, adding “I’m still shy, I’m just better at hiding it. I’m a quiet person, I like to keep myself to myself, but I’m there to boast about my songs. I love making records.”
Her new album Consequences, already a Top Ten hit, is crammed with gems ranging from the jaunty pop of Natural Rhythm to the delicate embrace of To Be Loved.
“Making this album was no different for me from making the first one,” she says. “I just like writing songs, recording them and people hearing them.”
I ask which track is her favourite and Joan replies “Track one,” adding with a laugh “and two and three…” going all the way through to ten.
Joan, 70, describes herself as an ‘introverted extrovert’ (Image: Getty )
“I think the whole album is uplifting,” she says. “The last one, Not Too Far Away, was very emotional. I played it to a small group of friends and they all cried. This is different, this makes you smile and jump up.”
A perfect cure for pandemic blues, although Joan recorded it between January and May last year, so it’s not technically a lockdown album. It is all her own work, however. “I write alone,” she says. “I play everything. And that choir you hear, that’s just me.”
Armatrading is full of surprises. When I ask what she listened to at 13, Joan reels off a list of cherished BBC radio comedies: “Round The Horne, The Clitheroe Kid, Beyond Our Ken, Take it From Here…I was completely into radio comedy. I wasn’t listening to music; I never went to concerts. I never even went to my annual school concert. I was 19 when I bought my first album. It was Led Zeppelin, and the next one was by The Faces.”
Comedy still tickles her fancy.
Joan, who smiles easily, adores “Tim Vine, Ricky Gervais, Will Farrell in conversation with his landlady – it’s so funny. Motherland is hilarious. I like Chris Rock and another American comedian called Deon Cole…”
The star refuses to be defined by her colour or gender (Image: Getty )
Would you do stand-up? “People tell me when I’m on stage I’m a bit of a comedian. Dawn French did accuse me once of taking her job.”
Stage fright is a thing of the past.
These days, Joan is fearless. “I’ve abseiled and done zipwire,” she says. “I ran the New York marathon at 58…”
No wonder her school nickname was Armour-plating.
Joan, who now lives near London, was born in Basseterre, St Kitts, in what was once the British Leeward Islands. At seven, she flew to Birmingham on her own to be reunited with her parents who had emigrated here. Her song Mama Papa is about growing up with four brothers and a sister:‘Seven people in one room, no heat, one wage and bills to pay…’
Joan’s father was a carpenter, and later a railway worker. “He also played guitar,” she says. “He’d been in a band in the West Indies but here he’d hire the guitar and play it in secret. We weren’t allowed to see it, let alone play it.
“I’m absolutely sure that is why I played the guitar – because it was forbidden.
Joan started writing songs when she was just 14 (Image: Getty )
When Joan was 14, her housewife mother bought a piano “as furniture, before the delivery guys had even put it down, I had the lid up and was playing it with one finger. You could dust a piano and sound good.”
Her mum then swapped two old prams for a £3 pawn shop guitar. “Even now I play guitar nonstop,” she says. “As a musician you never stop learning.” She pauses and adds with a grin, “I feel as if I’m making some kind of progress…”
A self-taught musician, Joan left school “at 15 or 16”, but achieved a history degree from the Open University in 2001.
Last September she was awarded an Ivor Novello Academy Fellowship in recognition of her four decades of music-making.
“I think the trick to getting these awards is to live a long time,” she chuckles.
Singer-songwriter Joan found fame with her self-titled third album, which spawned the smouldering classic Love And Affection, a hit in 1976.
“It’s my favourite,” she says. “It got me known all over the world, in Japan, in South Africa…”
Joan will stream a live show at the end of this month from a ‘character-full church’ (Image: Getty )
That wonderful first line – ‘I’m not in love, but I’m open to persuasion…’ – came to Joan while she was standing outside a shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea.
Music critics hailed her as Britain’s answer to Joni Mitchell. But this world-renowned chronicler of relationships keeps her own love-life private. She entered into a civil partnership with artist Maggie Butler in 2011 but never discusses it.
She’s much happier talking about her lifelong love of comic books.
She’s collected comics since she was small and in 1983 Joan even featured in the Beano’s Tom, Dick & Sally strip – giving Sally a slap-up tea in a recording studio (“Terrific, slurp!”).
The memory of her mum throwing away all of her comic collection (ranging from Mandy to Whizzer & Chips) when she was 21 still stings.
Joan started writing songs when she was 14, and – aside from an early collaboration with Pam Nestor –writes everything solo. “The only other contributor is the audience,” she says.
Before finding fame, Joan appeared in Hair with Paul Nicholas and Richard O’Brien but was never naked. “There is no amount of money that would make me happy about taking my clothes off in public,” she insists.
Radio One DJs John Peel,“Whispering Bob“Harris and Johnnie Walker were among Joan’s earliest supporters helping to make her the first globally successful British female singer-songwriter.
The star has never allowed anyone to put her in a box, refusing to be defined by her colour or gender, or even to stay in one genre. In 2007 she released the Grammy-nominated Into The Blues, evoking memories of Muddy Waters and BB King. A soft rock album, and then a jazz album, followed.
Don’t be surprised if heavy metal comes next – she’s still a fan.
Joan has no tours lined up, but will stream a live show at the end of this month from “a character-full church”. When venues open up, she will play live again but not too often. “I want to be enthusiastic on stage, so I’ve decided to cut down on performances.”
The singer’s bluesy ballad Willow is a firm crowd favourite (Image: Getty )
Joan doesn’t drink, or eat meat. She has never smoked or taken drugs, and has always swerved makeup. Feminists loved her but she wasn’t a feminist – or a politician. “I write about people and how they get along, and their emotions”.
She certainly tugs the heartstrings. Her touching, bluesy ballad Willow is a firm crowd favourite. “So many people have named their children after it. My mum used to say, ‘Play Willow so I can cry’.”
But our Joan isn’t about misery. “I’m a very positive person,” she says. “The thing I took most from reading comics is how positive everything is. It’s good for young people to know that you can always get through stuff.”
Consequences by Joan Armatrading is out now. Details of her live-streamed concert on 31stJuly can be found atjoanarmatrading.com
Umpires check the hat and glove of Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for foreign substances after the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 28, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Meg Oliphant | Getty Images
Los Angeles Dodgers superstar pitcher Trevor Bauer on Friday was placed on a week-long administrative leave by Major League Baseball amid a criminal investigation of claims by a woman that Bauer sexually assaulted her in a brutal incident.
Bauer’s forced leave was announced on the same day President Joe Biden hosted the Dodgers at the White House to mark their World Series win last fall.
Bauer, who won the 2020 National League Cy Young Award, in February agreed to a three-year contract with the Dodgers that will could pay him $ 102 million, making him one of the highest-paid baseball players. He was next to due pitch on Sunday.
“MLB’s investigation into the allegations made against Trevor Bauer is ongoing. While no determination in the case has been made, we have made the decision to place Mr. Bauer on seven-day administrative leave effective immediately,” MLB said in a statement.
“MLB continues to collect information in our ongoing investigation concurrent with the Pasadena Police Department’s active criminal investigation. We will comment further at the appropriate time.”
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.