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GENEVA, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) -The United Nations has shared the GPS coordinates of 235 protected sites in the Syrian province of Idlib, including schools and hospitals, with Russia, Turkey and US-led coalition amid fears of an all-out military assault, the Star quoted a senior UN aid official as saying late Thursday.

Panos Moumtzis, UN regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis, also quoted a Russian official as telling a humanitarian task force in Geneva that "every effort to find a peaceful solution to the problem is being made at the moment".

The United Nations is working 24/7 to ensure assistance if an estimated 900,000 people flee the rebel-held area of 2.9 million, Moumtzis said. "In no way am I saying we are ready. What is important is that we are doing our maximum to ensure a level of readiness."


LONDON, Sept 11, 2018 (News Wires) - England striker Harry Kane will be rested for Tuesday's friendly against Switzerland at Leicester City's King Power Stadium with manager Gareth Southgate keen to protect his talisman.

The 25-year-old Tottenham Hotspur forward, who won the Golden Boot at this year's World Cup with six goals, has started 61 matches in all competitions since the start of last season.

“I thought this is a good opportunity to do it,” Southgate said Monday. “Harry falls in the category in which we have several players where we have to watch how much they play.”

Southgate could make up to nine changes from the team that started England's Nations League campaign with a 2-1 defeat by Spain at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Kane's Spurs team mate Eric Dier will captain a side that is likely to include goalkeeper Jack Butland, defenders James Tarkowski, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fabian Delph, plus striker Danny Welbeck.

“It was a short break with no pre-season and everybody was back earlier than I am sure everybody would have expected for club matches, although that is entirely understandable,” Southgate told reporters Monday.

“We talked a bit after the World Cup about the demands of the modern player. Everybody has got to play a part in that but the clubs own the player and they have got to do the right thing for themselves.

“Normally we have not got opposing objectives and the clubs would be holding their breath and hiding behind their sofas watching our teams go out.

“But this is one of those occasions where what we want to look at with our squad ties in with doing the right thing with the players for our long-term benefit. So I thought this is a good opportunity to do it.”

Another Tottenham player, midfielder Dele Alli, has withdrawn from the squad with a minor muscle strain.

Alli, 22, picked up the injury against Spain and is set to return to his club for further treatment. He faces a race to be fit for Saturday's Premier League clash at home to Liverpool though Southgate said he should be ready for that match.

“Alli has just had a minor strain and should be fine for his club at the weekend I would think, but Tuesday's game will come too quickly,” he told a pre-match news conference.

England have called up Leicester City duo Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray from the Under-21s for the Switzerland friendly.

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland, Sept 8, 2018 (News Wires) - Kate Courtney is the first American to win the mountain bike world championships in nearly two decades, holding off Danish rider Annika Langvad to win the rainbow jersey.

Langvad took an early lead and Courtney spent much of the day decreasing a 20-second gap. The 22-year-old from California caught Langvad, the 2016 world champion, with a few laps left.

She eventually opened a 48-second advantage. That turned out to be the winning margin, with Emily Batty of Canada finishing third.

The US once dominated mountain biking, but the growth of the discipline in the late 1990s largely left the Americans behind. Alison Dunlap was the last to win a world championship in 2001.

SWITZERLANS, August 31, 2018 (News Wires) - Caster Semenya and Luvo Manyonga were the standout performers, leading a large group of South African athletes by successfully defending their titles at the first of two finals in the IAAF Diamond League series in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday evening.

Semenya, who lifted the Diamond League 800m trophy in 2016 and 2017, added a third straight series victory with a gun-to-tape win in the women's two-lap contest.

She completed the race unchallenged in 1:55.27, and Ajee Wilson of the United States, who finished second in 1:57.86, was the only other athlete to run under 1:58.00.

Locked in a hard-fought tussle with countryman Ruswahl Samaai, world champion Manyonga catapulted himself 8.36 metres with his final attempt to clinch a narrow victory in the Long Jump Men.

Samaai took second place with his fourth-round leap of 8.32m.

Cornel Fredericks put up a fight in the 400m Hurdles Men final, taking fifth place in 49.96 seconds in a race won by Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands in 48.08.

Among the South African sprinters, Carina Horn settled for seventh position in the 100m Women in 11.54, Luxolo Adams was seventh in the 200m Men in 20.51 and Pieter Conradie ended seventh in the 400m Men contest in 47.37. Wenda Nel finished eighth in the 400m Hurdles Women in 57.23.

Akani Simbine was scheduled to compete in the series finale in Brussels on Friday night, with the Commonwealth Games and African champion entering the blocks in the 100m Men race.

“Congratulations to our award-winning athletes for their achievements. It’s a pat on the back to their respective coaches and all their support staff for all the hard work.

“We are also very happy for all athletes who have had the chance to be part of the Diamond League because you only reach this level through performance. It’s been a long series and it tested our athletes well,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.

LONDON, July 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City on a long-term contract, the Premier League club said.

The details of the deal were not disclosed but local media said Shaqiri had joined on a five-year contract after Liverpool paid his 13.5 million pounds ($17.86 million) release clause.

“It’s a huge club with big history, big players and a fantastic coach (Juergen Klopp). So I’m really glad and happy to be here," Shaqiri, 26, said on the Anfield club's website Liverpoolfc.com.

Shaqiri started all of Switzerland's games at this year's World Cup, where they lost to Sweden in the last 16, and has scored 21 goals in 74 games for his country, including a last-minute winner against Serbia in the group stage in Russia.

The talented Swiss playmaker is Liverpool's third signing in the transfer window so far after the arrival of AS Monaco midfielder Fabinho and Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.

“...he (Shaqiri) is someone who makes a big difference to the squad and team, because he can fit in so many positions in oursystem. He gives us greater flexibility in how we can use our current players also," said Klopp.

Shaqiri began his career with FC Basel and joined Bayern Munich in 2012, spending 2- 1/2 years at the Bundesliga giants before a six-month spell with Inter Milan.

He won league titles in Switzerland and Germany plus the Champions League with Bayern in 2013.

“I know him well from his time in Switzerland and especially Germany – I have been a
long-time admirer," added Klopp.

"But the added bonus now is that he knows the Premier League and what it takes to perform in this uniquely intense environment. He also did really well at the World Cup – so he comes to us full of belief and confidence."

Shaqiri joined Stoke in 2013 and scored 15 goals in 84 league games over three seasons at the Midlands outfit, who were relegated from the top flight last season.

“As a player you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too but it didn’t happen," added Shaqiri, who was linked with Liverpool in 2014 when Bayern reportedly blocked a move.

"I’m really happy that now I’m finally here. I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, July 3, 2018 (News Wires) - Switzerland's dismal record in the knockout stages of major tournaments continued with a 1-0 defeat by Sweden.

The Swiss have not reached the World Cup quarterfinals since 1954 and they played Tuesday in St. Petersburg weighed down by that history.

Switzerland, ranked No. 6 in the world and favorite going into Tuesday's round of 16 match, was eliminated by a deflected shot from Emil Forsberg, but it was also a victim of its own overcautious play.

Switzerland had conceded first in both of its first two matches in Russia but managed to draw 1-1 with Brazil and beat Serbia 2-1. It drew 2-2 with Costa Rica in the group finale after twice taking the lead.

Against the well-drilled Sweden defense, there was no coming back.

The Switzerland team was made up largely of the same players who lost in the round of 16 to Argentina at the 2014 World Cup, and to Poland in the same stage at the 2016 European Championship.


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