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Samsung introduces Galaxy S10 ultimate edition

Gordon Kelly

WASHINGTON: I have argued against buying Samsung’s Galaxy S10 range due to significant software and hardware problems (1,2,3,4,5). And now Samsung has revealed a radical new model which may leave existing Galaxy S10 owners regretting their purchase…

Picked up by SamMobile, Samsung has confirmed a sooner-than-expected release date for the ‘Galaxy S10 5G’ launching April 5 in South Korea and a few weeks later in the US. This is barely a month after the standard editions. Furthermore, the Galaxy S10 5G delivers key upgrades in almost every area and for a significantly lower price than expected.

Aside from its headline-grabbing 5G connectivity, the Galaxy S10 5G goes big – quite literally – on the rest of its spec.

The display is a massive 6.7-inches (Vs 6.4-inches on the Galaxy S10 Plus), it has next-generation storage and RAM delivering twice the performance with less battery consumption and combines this with a massive 4500 mAh battery (Galaxy S10 Plus – 4100 mAh, Galaxy S10 – 3500 mAh).

Moreover, the Galaxy S10 5G takes better photos. It adds a fourth rear camera (a Time of Flight module) which produces better low light shots, faster autofocus and much-improved depth perception. In fact, ToF will be the headline addition to Apple’s iPhone 11.

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SCTH introduces tour guide training in Madinah

Monitoring Desk

MADINAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) in Madinah organized two tour guide training sessions last week, in cooperation with the National Center for Human Resources Development (Takamul).

The five-day sessions took on 32 trainees, introducing them to the tasks of tour guides, including presenting historical information to people with no prior knowledge of the subject under time constraints, as well as teaching other skills the SCTH deems essential for the profession.

Specialists introduced trainees to the methods used to guide people through historical sites, museums and landmarks in Madinah, and to explain their significance in a concise, easily appreciated manner.

Faisal Al-Madani, director of the SCTH in Madinah, said the training sessions aimed to prepare people for a successful career in the tourism and hospitality industries, improve standards across the region, and introduce discipline and rigor in presenting research and information to groups of people.

He added that the SCTH in Madinah was looking forward to providing distinguished services for tourists.

Courtesy: (

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Ko Jin-young powers to LPGA Founders Cup title

LOS ANGELES (Agencies): South Korea’s Ko Jin-young’s seven birdies included a late string of three in a row that pushed her to a third LPGA title Sunday at the Founders Cup in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ko started the day four off the lead of China’s Liu Yu, but a bogey-free round of seven-under par 65 at Wildfire Golf Club carried her to a total of 22-under par 266 and a one-shot lead over Liu, Spain’s Carlotta Ciganda and American sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda. Ko, who seized the tournament lead with birdies at 14, 15 and 16, was on the practice green keeping warmed up for a possible playoff with Liu, who arrived at the 72nd hole at 22-under but made her only bogey of the day to cap a two-under par 70 for a 21-under total of 267.

“I don’t need to practice anymore!” a delighted Ko told well wishers when the victory was secured, later adding that she had played the whole round just trying to stay in the moment. “I didn’t think about winning today,” she said. “I had to really focus on my game. I just tried (to play) shot by shot and not thinking about the future, just, like, now. “So, amazing day,” she said of her first victory on US soil, after titles at the 2017 KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea and the 2018 Women’s Australian Open — part of her 2018 Rookie of the Year campaign.

Liu was trying to become just the second Chinese player to win on the LPGA tour after Feng Shanshan, who has nine titles. She started well enough with birdies at the second and fifth, but on a day when birdies abounded, she wouldn’t find another until the par-five 15th. That tied her with Ko’s clubhouse lead, but she was unable to get past — or force a playoff — as her par attempt at 18 slid past the edge of the cup.

Ciganda, who started the day one adrift, was 22-under through seven holes. She gave a shot back at the eighth, but her real trouble was a bogey at the par-five 11th — perhaps the easiest on the course, and one more birdie on the way to a three-under par 69 wouldn’t get the job done. The overnight leaders were under pressure on the back nine, not only from Ko but from both Kordas.

Jessica Korda, in her first tournament of the year after time off to recover from a forearm injury, surged up the leaderboard with an eight-under par 64 that included six birdies and two eagles — at the 11th and 15th.

“I had a lot of rust at the beginning of the tournament. I didn’t hit a lot of great shots out there, But it’s slowly coming back together,” Korda said. Nelly Korda, winner of the women’s Australian Open in February, joined the group sharing second with a final-round 66.

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Australia appoint Cooley as Ashes bowling coach

MELBOURNE (Agencies): Australia have appointed Troy Cooley as bowling coach for the Ashes, turning to the man who played a key role in England’s drought-breaking 2-1 win in the 2005 series.

Cooley replaced former bowling coach David Saker, who resigned in February, for the recent tour of India and the ongoing tour of the United Arab Emirates, where Australia are midway through a one-day international series against Pakistan.

Governing body Cricket Australia confirmed 53-year-old Cooley’s Ashes appointment on Monday. Cooley came to prominence after being appointed England’s bowling coach for the 2005 Ashes and was credited for helping Michael Vaughan’s bowlers win the urn for the first time since 1986/87.

Australia currently hold the Ashes after beating Joe Root’s England 4-0 in the 2017/18 series on home soil.

The 2019 series will be held in England in August and September. Since replacing Saker, Cooley has overseen a turnaround in Australia’s one-day international fortunes, with Aaron Finch’s team riding a five-match winning streak which included the recent 3-2 series win over Virat Kohli’s India.

Australia lead 2-0 in the five-game ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE. Cricket Australia added that Tasmania head coach Adam Griffith has been appointed bowling coach for the World Cup in England, reuniting him with head coach Justin Langer. Griffith has experience working with Australia as an assistant coach on the 2016 tour of the West Indies and was also an assistant coach to former boss Langer at Western Australia.

“I’ve worked with Adam in the past at the WACA and been pleased with how hard he’s worked to establish himself as one of the best young coaches in Australia,” Langer said in a media release.

“(Troy) has been a fantastic addition to our coaching team, and brings a great wealth of knowledge, experience and success having coached Australian and England teams in England.”

“At the completion of the World Cup and Ashes Series we’ll review the overall coaching structure and assess the best path moving forward based on the upcoming schedule, player needs and team direction under Justin,” Cricket Australia’s interim performance chief Belinda Clark said. The Cricket World Cup, being hosted by England and Wales, begins on May 30.

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Cardiff to claim Sala transfer ‘null and void’: report

LONDON (Agencies): Cardiff are set to tell FIFA that the £15 million ($19.8m, 23m euros) deal they agreed to pay Nantes for Emiliano Sala became “null and void” after he died in a plane crash, a report said on Monday.

The 28-year-old Argentine forward was killed when the small plane carrying him came down in the Channel on January 21, two days after he completed his transfer from the French Ligue 1 side.

The Daily Telegraph said Sala signed a contract with Cardiff that was rejected by the Premier League and died before a revised one could be signed, adding that there is a dispute about whether he had agreed to sign a new deal.

According to the report, a source close to Cardiff said the agreement stipulated that Welsh and French football authorities had to confirm to both clubs that Sala “has been registered as a Cardiff City FC player and that the player’s International Transfer Certificate has been released”.

The source said this had not happened before Sala died. “The transfer agreement between Cardiff and Nantes was subject to several conditions,” the source told the paper. “If any were not satisfied, the contract would be deemed null and void, with no payment due. Nantes proposed that clause. They asked for the strict notification requirements.”

Nantes reportedly plan to dispute Cardiff’s case, saying the club completed the required paperwork. The club last month referred their dispute with Cardiff over the transfer to FIFA, football’s governing body.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) previously said the plane carrying Sala, piloted by David Ibbotson, did not have a commercial licence. But it said the journey would have been allowed as a “private” flight in which costs are shared between pilot and passenger.

It added that the basis on which Sala was a passenger had not been established. The investigators also said since the pilot’s logbook and licence were not recovered, it was unclear whether Ibbotson was authorised to fly at night. Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage early last month but Ibbotson’s body has not been found.

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Sindhu, Srikanth eye consistency

NEW DELHI (Agenices): India’s badminton stars PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth said Monday they are looking for a consistent run leading up to the 2020 Olympics, starting with the India Open tournament this week. Olympic silver medallist Sindhu suffered a first-round exit in the women’s singles of the All England Open early this month.

Former world number one Srikanth lost in the men’s quarter-finals in Birmingham. But 23-year-old Sindhu, who claimed the World Tour Finals in December last year, said she has put the All England loss behind her to focus on qualifying for the Olympics. Qualification for next year’s Tokyo Games will depend on badminton world rankings between April 29, 2019 and April 26, 2020. Two players each from men’s and women’s category will be allotted an Olympic berth if they are ranked in the top 16. “2019, it wasn’t a really good start. I have been losing and winning,” world number six and top seed Sindhu told reporters ahead of the India Open starting Tuesday.

 “It is these three tournaments (India, Malaysia and Singapore) and then the Olympic qualifications will also start. I have to be mentally and physically fit to give my best. “I felt bad for a few days (after the All England loss) but then I thought it’s not over with this and there is a lot more to come. Every time you can come back much more stronger and learn from your mistakes,” said the lanky star. Sindhu will open against compatriot Mugdha Agrey and is expected to face a sterner test later in the week with Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and Chinese third seed He Bingjiao also in contention. Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen — top seed and world number four — leads the men’s field in the $350,000 tournament that will see many Indian players in action.

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Pakistan have players that can win any tournament: Lara

Monitoring Desk

Jamaica: West Indies’ former skipper, Brian Lara believes Pakistan are not consistent with their performance, but they know the art of winning key tournaments.

The stylish left-handed batsman was not surprised when Pakistan defeated all odds to win the Champions Trophy in 2017 in England, beating the tournament favourites, India in the final.

“I was not surprised when Pakistan won the Champions Trophy a couple of years ago,” he said. “Even though they are an inconsistent team, but they do have the players that can win any tournament.”

The West Indian batting maestro termed England a tough opposition in their backyard but also highlighted that they fail to deliver on big occasions.

“World Cup will be very dependent on weather, you never know how the English summer will be, it is very hard to pick a team,” he said. “England in England is always a tough proposition, but it is also a team that knows how to lose important matches.”

The global cricketing event will be played in England from March 30th to July 14th, where the reigning champions, Australia will defend their title against nine other sides.

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Djokovic downs Delbonis, Halep battles into next round

MIAMI (Agencies): Novak Djokovic remains on course for a record seventh Miami Open title, but the world number one admitted to a loss of focus in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over spirited Federico Delbonis which booked his place in the last 16.

Djokovic is hoping to eclipse Andre Agassi’s six ATP crowns in South Florida over the next week and although the 31-year-old endured some shaky moments at Hard Rock Stadium, he still possessed enough quality during the key moments to see off the battling Delbonis. The Serbian, though, wasn’t happy with letting a 5-2 advantage slip in the first set and became furious with himself as the second squirmed from his grasp.

He will need to tighten up his game if he is to reach next Sunday’s final with Roberto Bautista Agut waiting in the fourth round after the Spaniard defeated Italian Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4. “To be honest, I lost my focus,” said Djokovic who smashed 36 winners compared to 24 from Delbonis. “I should have done better I think mentally than I have done at the end of the first two sets.

“I managed to really play well last couple games of first set, go up a break, put myself in front, then I played a couple of really bad service games. Credit to Federico, he stepped in.” Djokovic had looked impressive in the second round win over Bernard Tomic and the Serbian continued his decent form by immediately imposing himself onto the Argentine. Djokovic moved 5-2 ahead but after he missed a set point opportunity on the Delbonis serve, his game deserted him and suddenly, the South American had a spring in his step.

Delbonis had opportunities to steal ahead, yet calling on all his experience and mental resolve, the Serbian was able to hold firm and take the opener. The world number one was getting incredibly frustrated , he received a warning for racquet abuse and was furious for allowing a 3-1 lead to slip in the second, yet credit to Delbonis who stayed calm and served out confidently to force a decider, something which looked beyond him midway through the opening set.

He couldn’t keep the pressure on, however, and when Djokovic managed to get 3-1 ahead, this time there was no way back for the 28 year-old from Azul who rightly received an ovation from the center court crowd for his monumental efforts. “I think last four games were terrific, so I ended up in a positive way,” Djokovic added.

Defending champion John Isner blew Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas off court with serves touching 139 mph as the American sealed an ultimately comprehensive 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) win to set up an intriguing match with Kyle Edmund in the last 16 after the British number one impressively saw off Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4. In the women’s draw, Simona Halep kept alive hopes of regaining the world number one ranking Sunday, beating Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 to reach the last 16 where she will play Venus Williams. Halep, 27, lost her place at the top of the rankings following Naomi Osaka’s triumph at the Australian Open earlier this year.

But with the Japanese faltering here on Saturday, Halep can return to the position she last held at the end of 2018 if she lands the Miami Open for the first time. “It’s always tough against Venus,” said the current world number three, who has beaten the American in their previous three encounters. “I’m not going to say that it’s going to be easier because I won the last matches against her. It’s a big challenge for me.” Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, meanwhile, swept past Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1. “Simona always plays flawless tennis against me, so I have to be ready for that,” Williams said.

Elsewhere in women’s action, American Sloane Stephens’s title defense ended in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

It was another disappointing ending for Stephens, who fell in the third round at Indian Wells.

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Russia denies allegations of interference in US polls

Monitoring Desk

MOSCOW: Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov called “ungrounded” allegations about Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Commenting on the findings of the U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on the matter on Monday, Peskov said “the accusations that continue to be made against Russia are ungrounded”.

“It is difficult to find a black cat in a dark room especially if it is not there. The published part of the Mueller’s report does not contain anything new in support of accusations of Russian interference in the U.S. elections, only the recognition of the absence of any collusion,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

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Swedish soldier gets run over by combat vehicle

STOCKHOLM (Sputnik): The deadly incident occurred in the early hours of Monday morning outside the town of Överkalix in Norrbotten County, where international exercises involving 10,000 soldiers are being held.

A soldier was run down by a combat vehicle during the Northern Wind international military drill held in northern Sweden, the Swedish Armed Forces have confirmed.

The “serious accident” occurred in the eastern part of Norrbotten County. The soldier was confirmed dead after being run over by a Stridsfordon 90 combat vehicle.

“Only Swedish personnel were involved in the accident that occurred outside Överkalix. The Swedish Armed Forces’ own personnel provided the first aid, where upon medics and the police were called”, the Swedish Armed Forces informed.

A crisis support centre has been established.

Swedish Supreme Commander Micael Bydén called the news “painful and sad”.

“It’s now important to take care of each other. Simultaneously, work is underway to find the answer to what caused the accident. Meanwhile, the activities will continue in a safe manner”, Bydén said.

Northern Wind is a Swedish Army Exercise being conducted in the north-east part of Sweden in March 2019. A total of 10,000 personnel are participating in the exercise. Of these, only 3,000 are Swedish, whereas approximately 7,000 come from Sweden’s partner nations, including Finland, Norway, the US and the UK, and preparations began 18 months ago.

The stated goal of Northern Wind is to develop Sweden’s national defence and enhance its capability to conduct combat operations at brigade level with units from other nations.

As the drills are being conducted in a harsh climate, it is also aimed at honing foreign participants’ skills in winter warfare.

Sweden’s largest contribution to the drill is 192 Mechanised Battalion of the Norrbotten Regiment, with 800 soldiers and officers.

The international drill was made possible by the Host Nation Agreement ratified in 2016, which facilitates NATO’s operations in formally non-aligned Sweden during training or at times of conflict.

Last year, Sweden’s major Aurora drill, involving about 20,000 personnel and over 40 agencies, became the country’s largest military exercise in over 20 years.