Liverpool fans already celebrating title after United win

LIVERPOOL, England – After providing the assist, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson wasn’t going to miss out on joining the celebrations.

Even if it meant racing the length of the field to slide into Mohamed Salah.

By that time, on a freezing winter’s evening on Merseyside, Salah was shirtless, torso exposed to the chill. The Liverpool jersey had been ripped off as the striker celebrated in front of the Kop after running onto Alisson’s long ball at the halfway line and scoring with the final kick of Sunday’s game against Manchester United.

It completed a 2-0 victory, and Salah’s exultation seemed like an unburdening for an uneasy Liverpool. However, it was anything but that for a team now 16 points in front at the top of the Premier League and 16 games remaining.

“The thought came to my mind that I would not score today,” Salah said. “But I came back mentally, I prepared myself, to keep calm.”

The slender score until stoppage time – established by Virgil van Dijk heading in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner in the 14th minute – belied Liverpool’s supremacy over its fiercest footballing foe in a game that exposed the divergent paths the sides are on.

While United is 30 points behind in fifth place, Liverpool is ready to end a 30-year English title drought.

With a formidable lead and a game in hand on distant second-place champion Manchester City, Liverpool has started the title party.

At least the fans on the Kop have.

“Now you’re gonna believe us,” they sang after Salah put the ball past goalkeeper David de Gea in the third minute of stoppage time. “We’re gonna win the league.”

The players or their manager won’t join in the chorus. Not while there’s a mathematical chance of being part of what would be the greatest collapse in the English game.

“Of course they are allowed to dream, to sing, whatever they want,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said, “as long as they do their job as well in the moment when we play, all fine. We will not be part of that party yet, but it is not a problem because we know our job.”

This is a group of players creating a new dynasty at a club which dominated English football through the 1970s and 80s. The Reds were the record 18-time champions until Alex Ferguson collected 13 titles for United to overhaul them and take the mark to 20 before retiring in 2013.

Even United never won the league in the manner this Liverpool side is doing so dominantly this season. It’s 22 games unbeaten, with the only dropped points in a draw at United in October.

Stretching into last season, when Liverpool was pipped to the title by Manchester City by a point, Liverpool has collected 91 of the last 93 available. At the same time, Liverpool has become European champions for a sixth time and world champions for the first time last month.

“It is special,” captain Jordan Henderson said. “We’re enjoying our football but you’ve got to stay hungry, you’ve got to keep learning and keep wanting more. To be fair, this group of players wants to do that.

“Of course, the manager is on us all the time to improve and we know we can certainly improve.”

United certainly can improve, but it’s showing little sign of doing so under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The domestic target now is just closing the five-point gap on fourth-place Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League.


Leicester missed a chance to join Manchester City sitting 16 points behind Liverpool when it threw away the lead at Burnley to lose 2-1.

Burnley striker Chris Wood cancelled out the first-half opener from Harvey Barnes 11 minutes into the second half and Ashley Westwood struck the winner in the 79th minute.

By ending a four-game losing run in the league, Burnley moved five points clear of the relegation zone.


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Rob Harris, The Associated Press

Police: Teen Injured in Shooting at Des Moines Apartment Building

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines police are investigating after a teen was shot at an apartment building on Sunday.

The shooting happened in the 1300 block of 8th Street around 3:30 p.m.

Police said the victim is in his late teens and was shot in the groin. According to police, the victim is alert and talking and his injuries do not appear to be life threatening. He told police he does not know who shot him.

Officers and medics are on the scene.

Biden Rips Sanders Campaign for Social Security Attacks

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden has called for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to “disown” what he calls “doctored video” that some Sanders supporters say shows the former vice president endorsing Republican calls to cut Social Security and Medicare.

“There’s a little doctored video going around … put out by one of Bernie’s people,” Biden told supporters Saturday in Indianola, Iowa, referring to a 2018 speech in which Biden discussed then-House Speaker Paul Ryan saying rising deficit demanded action on the popular entitlement programs.

“I’m looking for his campaign to come forward and disown it,” Biden continued, pointing to his 2020 campaign proposals designed to shore up Social Security. “But they haven’t done it yet.”

The video in question, circulated on Twitter by a top Sanders adviser, does not appear to be altered. But the short clip omits Biden’s larger argument over how Ryan handled the 2017 tax cuts and subsequent budget debates. A separate Sanders’ adviser included a transcript of Biden’s remarks in the video clip in a separate campaign newsletter. He added other, more extended video, of Biden as a U.S. senator in 1995 and presidential candidate in 2007 explaining his support for a more austere federal budget, including putting Social Security and Medicare “on the table.”

The 2020 campaign flap highlights long-standing philosophical fissures between the progressive Sanders, who has spent decades arguing for a massive expansion of the federal government, and the more centrist Biden. Those differences have come to the forefront as Biden and Sanders are bunched with Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren atop early state polls weeks before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Responding to Biden’s remarks Saturday, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said, “Joe Biden should be honest with voters and stop trying to doctor his own public record of consistently and repeatedly trying to cut Social Security.”

“The facts are very clear: Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security — he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions,” Shakir said in a statement. “The vice president must stop dodging questions about his record, and start explaining why he has so aggressively pushed to slash one of the most significant and successful social programs in American history, which millions of Americans rely on for survival.”

In a Jan. 1 tweet, Sanders adviser Warren Gunnels wrote that it “is soul-wrenching” to have heard “Biden say ‘Ryan was correct.’” He attached a 20-second video clip taken from an April 2018 speech Biden delivered at the Brookings Institution.

“Paul Ryan was correct when he did the tax code. What’s the first thing he decided we had to go after?” Biden continued, leaning into the microphone. “Social Security and Medicare … That’s the only way you can find room to pay for it.”

It was part of a broader speech in which Biden outlined his economic vision. He previewed his 2020 campaign emphasis on the middle-class, but declared that billionaires are not “the problem,” an implicit contrast with progressives. The statement that Gunnels highlighted reflects a common Biden argument from the 2020 campaign: that Republicans pushed a tax cut whose benefits are tilted to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, knowing it would balloon the deficits, so the GOP could then justify cutting Social Security and Medicare.

“What I’d do is I make sure that we expand Social Security coverage,” Biden insisted Friday when a voter in Iowa asked him about the program.

Biden, like most Democrats, proposes raising the cap on the level of income that is subject to the payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. That cap is set at $137,700 for the current tax year, meaning any income beyond that threshold is still subject to personal income tax, but not payroll taxes. Biden, and many other Democrats, propose lifting that cap to increase the tax revenue flowing into the Medicare and Social Security trust funds.

Sanders’ camp, meanwhile, maintains that Biden’s history is more important than his current proposals. Another of their favorite video clips shows then-Sen. Biden, in the first years after Republicans’ 1994 midterm election romp, calling for a more austere approach. “When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security, as well,” Biden said at the time. “I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits. … And I not only tried it once. I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time.”

Just as the Biden campaign argues that Republicans would lambaste the Vermont senator as a socialist if he wins the Democratic nomination, Sanders’ backers retort that Trump would use the same video clips they cite to harm Biden with older voters who will prove critical in battleground states in November.

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Gilles, Poirier rebound from unusual wardrobe malfunction to win short dance

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Piper Gilles leaned in to inspect one of the bottom buttons on Paul Poirier’s shirt on Friday, then pulled a silvery hair from the button.

“There’s still hair coming off his costume,” Gilles said with a laugh.

The country’s top ice dance team had just overcome an awkward wardrobe malfunction to win the short dance at the Canadian figure skating championships. 

Their quickstep program went awry just seconds in when Gilles looped under Poirier’s arm and caught the top of her braided crown of hair in Poirier’s button. It took several seconds – with Gilles stuck, bent at the waist, her mouth agape in shock – for Poirier to unhook them.

“I even said ‘Should we stop?’” Gilles said. “No, no, no.”

The duo went on to score 88.86 points, well ahead of Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, last year’s world junior champions, who were second with 77.26. Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus scored 75.83 to finish third. 

Keegan Messing is the leader after the men’s short program, while Alicia Pineault won the women’s short program.

Wardrobe malfunctions are a hazard in the glittery, gauzy, sequined sport of figure skating. Skaters have split pants and bared breasts. At the Pyeongchang Olympics, the strap on Gabriella Papadakis’s dress broke, exposing her breast. She and French partner Guillaume Cizeron won ice dance silver behind Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Getting stuck, Gilles said, was a first for her.

“We’ve decided you can throw really anything at us after that,” said Gilles, a 28-year-old from Toronto. “Thank god we’ve got some random cues for how to pick up things.”

“Romance” was their cue word for that portion of the program.

“So we were ‘Romance! Romance! Romance!’” Gilles said. “It’s great we have these cues but, god, it’s a laugh, that’s for sure.”

Gilles skated the program with a portion of her pulled loose.

“I had the whole pile flapping on the side on my head. Like, yup, it’s still there. How ridiculous do I look right now?” she laughed. “Because I was laughing about my hair, I don’t think I was so focused on my feet and I just let myself go on autopilot and let the training do its work.

After competing in the shadows of Virtue and Moir for years, Gilles and Poirier, a 28-year-old from Unionville, Ont., are aiming for their first Canadian title. They’ve been runners-up four times, either to Virtue and Moir, or Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who are taking the season off and could also retire.

In women’s singles, Pineault landed three triple jumps to score 63.15 points for her program to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”

“A year ago I was in a wheelchair in the stands,” said the 20-year-old from Montreal.

She’d suffered a high ankle sprain just before leaving for last year’s Canadian championships, and tried to practise without success.

“It was really hard both physically and mentally trying to recover so quickly,” Pineault said. “I did it give a try but at the end of the day, time was missing.”

Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., scored 60.66 points, while world bronze medallist Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., struggled throughout her program to finish third (59.51).

“I am absolutely pissed off at how I skated,” Daleman said. “It was awful, it was not me or how I’ve been training. And I’m going to put it behind me and focus on (Saturday) and what I need to do, not focus on scores, not focus on placement, just focus on me and what I need to do.”

The 22-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., has had a laundry list of ailments in the past couple of seasons, and sat out a good chunk of last season to deal with mental health issues. She finished fifth at the Canadian championships last year, but was a late addition to the world team after proving fitness. She finished 11th at the world championships, her worst result in five years.

Daleman said last week she was dealing with pneumonia, and had missed a few weeks of training earlier in the season with an ankle injury.

It showed Friday, as she stumbled out of a jump, and had difficulty reaching her blade with her hand on what would normally be a beautifully-executed and routine layback spin.

“Strategy is I was just going into the skate doing what I know how to do, it’s been awhile for competition, but at the end of the day it’s no excuse, injury is no excuse, pneumonia is no excuse, I’m not going to be one of those people who’s going to blame it on something,” she said. “It was a bad skate, I’m an athlete, it happens and I’m going to put it behind me.”

In men’s singles, Messing opened with a huge quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop en route to scoring 92.61 points. Nam Nguyen was second with 88.04, while Roman Sadovsky was third (85.02).

The national event determines the team for the world championships in Montreal in March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Canadian airline Westjet to launch Manchester to Halifax route in June

Passengers could soon fly to eastern Canada from Manchester Airport as a new route launches in June with carrier Westjet. The service to Halifax will cross the Atlantic in just more than six hours on the way to Halifax, and five hours on the return making it Manchester Airport’s shortest long-haul route. Halifax is the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and is a major economic centre with a large concentration of government and private sector companies. The route will offer onward connectivity to Westjet’s hub in Calgary and the rest of its domestic network including Ottawa and

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Isabel dos Santos: Africa’s richest woman ‘ripped off Angola’

Image copyright Getty Images Leaked documents reveal how Africa’s richest woman made her fortune through exploiting her own country, and corruption. Isabel dos Santos got access to lucrative deals involving land, oil, diamonds and telecoms when her father was president of Angola, a southern African country rich in natural resources. The documents show how she and her husband were allowed to buy valuable state assets in a series of suspicious deals. Ms Dos Santos says the allegations against her are entirely false and that there is a politically motivated witch-hunt by the Angolan government. The former president’s daughter has made

The post Isabel dos Santos: Africa’s richest woman ‘ripped off Angola’ first appeared on

Sonny Bill Williams a spectator as Wolfpack win pre-season game Sunday

CASTLEFORD, England – Star signing Sonny Bill Williams was a spectator Sunday as the Toronto Wolfpack scored 10 second-half points to defeat Castleford Tigers 16-10 in their one official pre-season game in advance of Super League play.

Toronto coach Brian McDermott had said prior to the contest that he did not want to rush the former All Black who is returning to rugby league from rugby union. That was confirmed when Williams did not make the game-day roster.

While the 34-year-old Williams has switched between rugby’s codes several times during his career, he has not played league since 2014 (with the Sydney Roosters in Australia’s NRL). McDermott also said Williams was nursing a few minor knocks from training.

Two other newcomers did make the Toronto matchday squad. Brad Singleton started at loose forward while James Cunningham was on the interchange bench.

Gareth O’Brien, Joe Mellor and Blake Wallace scored tries for Toronto. O’Brien and Wallace each added a conversion.

“To be where we’re at now, in Super League and to get that first win in the pre-season at Cas (Castleford), we’re ecstatic at the minute,” said Wolfpack forward Adam Sidlow. “Long may it continue.”

Danny Richardson and Sosaia Feki scored tries for Castleford, which finished fifth last season in the Super League. Richardson booted a conversion.

The Wolfpack opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Josh McCrone, delaying a pass for a runner to reach him, fed O’Brien near the goal-line for a converted try.

Castleford tied the score in the 13th minute when Richardson finished off a smart passing play.

The home side pulled ahead 10-6 in the 50th minute after Tyla Hepi offloaded to Richardson, who beat a tackler and then sent Feki in for the Tongan international’s first try for Castleford.

Toronto answered three minutes later with a converted Mellor try for a 12-10 lead. Wallace beat a defender to free up Mellor for the score.

A Castleford try in the 57th minute was disallowed for double movement. Toronto crossed the line in the 67th minute but failed to get the ball down.

Wallace increased the Wolfpack lead to 16-10 in the 71st minute, finishing off an attack down the left side that saw Toronto outnumber the Castleford defenders. Tom Olbison started the break, offloading the ball to Hakim Miloudi, who drew in the Castleford fullback and then sent in Wallace alone. 

Miloudi was sin-binned in the 78th minute for a high tackle on Lewis Peachey.

Sunday’s game drew an announced crowd of 3,346 at Castleford’s home stadium, colourfully known as the Mend-A-Hose Jungle (after sponsor Mend-A-Hose Hydraulics).

It was a testimonial for Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton, who has played more than 300 games and scored more than 100 tries in his 15-year career.

The former England international, who spent two years at St. Helens, captained the Tigers to the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield as well as in the 2014 Challenge Cup Final and the 2017 Grand Final.

The transatlantic Wolfpack kick off their fourth season – and first in the top-tier Betfred Super League – for real on Feb. 2 against Castleford in a Super League doubleheader at Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

The Wolfpack’s home opener at Lamport Stadium is April 19 against Hull FC.


The Canadian Press

Skate Canada to wait on final decision for world championship team

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier headline the Canadian team that will compete at this year’s world figure skating championships, but Skate Canada is waiting until next month to make a final decision on several of their teammates.

Skate Canada named Gilles and Poirier to the team Sunday, one day after the duo captured the Canadian championship.

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha are the other ice dance duo named to the team for the world championships, March 16-22 in Montreal. 

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were named as one of Canada’s two pairs entries.

Canada’s lone men’s spot, two women’s entries and the second pairs team will be determined after the Four Continents championship, Feb. 3-9 in South Korea.

Roman Sadovsky, Nam Nguyen and Keegan Messing will compete at the Four Continents while Emily Bausback, Alison Schumacher and Alicia Pineault make up Canada’s women’s field for that event.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020.






The Canadian Press

Former 1,500-metre specialist Elmore Tokyo-bound after breaking marathon mark

HOUSTON – Malindi Elmore crushed the Canadian women’s marathon record on Sunday, all but booking her spot on the team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The 39-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., ran two hours 24 minutes 50 seconds at the Houston Marathon, shattering Rachel Cliff’s mark of 2:26.56 set in March of last year.

A trip to Tokyo would be 16 years between Olympics for Elmore. She ran the 1,500 metres at the 2004 Athens Games, then retired from track and field disheartened after missing both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London teams.

With her husband Graham Hood – a two-time Olympian on the track – writing her training program, she made her marathon debut at the same Houston race a year ago. Her time of 2:32.15 told her an Olympic spot was there for the taking.  

“I realize I have this narrow opportunity to do something really cool again in sport. If I went back (to the Olympics), I think it would be the most incredible full circle I could have, after 16 years of a lot of highs and a lot of lows – and then just somehow to have it come together would be amazing,” she told The Canadian Press last July.

She’d planned on racing the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, but was forced to withdraw with an injury.

Elmore missed the semifinals of the Athens Olympics by one spot. Either injuries or missed qualifying standards would keep her out of the next two Olympics.

She switched to the triathlon, and her Ironman time of 8:57:22, set in Arizona in 2016, was the fourth fastest in Canadian history.

While most runners move up to the marathon, Elmore had a big physical and psychological advantage moving down from the Ironman.

“Definitely the mentality (from triathlon) helps, the mindset. I left the race feeling there was a lot more in the tank, and it was a really positive experience and I had really enjoyed it,” she said of her marathon debut.

The Olympic women’s marathon standard is 2:29.30.



The Canadian Press