Trump unlikely to be able to renegotiate climate deal: U.N. climate chief

COLOGNE Donald Trump would be "highly unlikely" to be able to renegotiate the global accord on climate change if elected U.S. president, the U.N.'s climate chief said on Wednesday, as doing so would require the agreement of 195 countries. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told Reuters earlier this month he was "not a big fan" of the climate accord and would seek to renegotiate elements of the deal."As we all know, Donald Trump relishes making very dramatic statements on many issues, so it is not surprising, but it is highly unlikely that that would be possible," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told journalists at the Carbon Expo event in Cologne.The accord, struck in Paris last December, saw countries agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 with the aim of limiting the rise in the global average temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius. "An agreement that has been adopted by 195 countries would require 195 countries to agree to any new negotiation," she said.She added the current U.S. administration was a strong supporter of the deal because it benefits the country. Many of the accord's backers say it is in U.S. interests to limit greenhouse gas emissions, partly because cuts in the use of fossil fuels would also mean less air pollution, a big cause of disease. Trump has said in the past he believes global warming is a concept that was invented by China to hurt the competitiveness of U.S. business. The Paris Agreement will formally enter into force when 55 nations representing at least 55 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions have ratified it. China and the United States, representing 38 percent, say they will join this year.Figueres said if this happens the agreement could come into force as early as 2017. It would then be even harder for the U.S. to pull out, as rules state any nation wanting to leave has to wait four years from the date of the agreement's entry into force - the length of a U.S. presidential term. (Editing by Alexandra Hudson) Read more

IOC says 31 athletes could miss Rio after positive Beijing drugs re-tests

LONDON Thirty one athletes from six sports could be banned from this year's Rio Olympics after failing dope tests when 454 samples were reexamined from the 2008 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.The IOC also said it would start re-testing Sochi 2014 winter Games samples after allegations of tarnished samples were made last week by Russia's former top anti-doping scientist. Some 250 samples from the London Games will also be reexamined. In an effort to crack down on cheats during the Olympics, the IOC said this was targeted re-testing on athletes likely to be at the Rio Games starting on Aug. 5, and those found to have tested positive would not compete.An IOC official told Reuters no names would be made public at this stage until athletes had been informed and a second sample, or B-sample, tested as well."The aim is to stop any drugs cheats coming to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," the IOC said. "The (IOC) Executive Board agreed unanimously to initiate proceedings immediately, with the 12 National Olympic Committees concerned informed in the coming days."The re-tests, a regular procedure by the IOC as it looks to use newer methods or look for new substances, were carried out in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and international federations. The IOC said it had also called on WADA to launch a "fully fledged investigation" into allegations that testing during the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics by the on-site accredited laboratory had been subverted.The former head of Russia's anti-doping agency Grigory Rodchenkov said last week that the Sochi lab had tampered with samples.Russia is at the heart of the biggest drugs scandal in years, with the country's track and field athletes currently suspended and the Rio Games hopes in doubt, and their drugs testing lab and anti-doping agency undergoing complete overhaul. "All these measures are a powerful strike against the cheats we do not allow to win. They show once again that dopers have no place to hide," said IOC President Thomas Bach."The re-tests from Beijing and London and the measures we are taking following the worrying allegations against the laboratory in Sochi are another major step to protect the clean athletes, irrespective of any sport or any nation."Apart from tarnishing any competition, doping has also damaged the Olympics' reputation, with the IOC regularly stripping athletes of their medals, sometimes years after they competed, due to positive drugs tests. "By stopping so many doped athletes from participating in Rio we are showing once more our determination to protect the integrity of the Olympic competitions, including the Rio anti-doping laboratory, so that the Olympic magic can unfold in Rio de Janeiro," Bach said.The Rio Games run from Aug. 5-21. (Writing by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Dominic Evans and Alison Williams) Read more

Thunder dispatch Spurs, advance to West finals

(The Sports Xchange) - For much of the season, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs seemingly were on a collision course. The teams with the two best records in the NBA were predestined to meet in the Western Conference finals, while the up-and-down Oklahoma City Thunder were an afterthought.However, after a grueling series against the Spurs, it is the Thunder who will face off with the defending champion Warriors for a chance to reach the NBA Finals.Kevin Durant scored 37 points, and Oklahoma City earned the coveted spot with a 113-99 victory Thursday in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.Third-seeded Oklahoma City advances to face the top-seeded Golden State in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is Monday in Oakland, Calif."Game 1 they just outplayed," Durant said of the Spurs, who won the series opener by 32 points. "Game 3, I think we gave the game away, and we didn't want to do that again. We were huge on the road, though. Russell (Westbrook) was huge last game. I think that propelled us into having a good game tonight."We're not done yet. We have to keep improving. Keep getting better and get ready for the next series."Durant shot 12-for-24 from the field. He was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line and pulled down nine rebounds.Westbrook posted 28 points and 12 assists, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder.Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs with 22 points on 9-of-23 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 14 rebounds. In what may have been his final game in the NBA, Tim Duncan scored 19 points in 34 minutes of action.Duncan wasn't ready to announce his future plans after the game. "I will get to that once I get out of here," Duncan said.After trailing by 28 points, the Spurs cut the lead to 15 points with less than seven minutes in the game. Westbrook missed a layup, and Leonard dribbled the ball upcourt with all the momentum on San Antonio's side.However, Westbrook came from the back to poke the ball away for the steal. Thunder guard Andre Roberson (14 points) threw the ball ahead to Durant, who was fouled while hitting a tough layup. The ensuing free throw pushed the gap back to 18 points.The Spurs scored the next five points, including a layup by Duncan with 5:21 left in the game to cut lead to 97-84.Durant then drove from midcourt to throw down a dunk. and the Thunder came up with back-to-back defensive stops before Danny Green nailed a 3-pointer to slice the margin to 12. Durant turned the ball over, and Duncan took the ball in for a dunk. However, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (eight points, 10 rebounds) came up with a blocked shot. That led to another dunk by Durant and a 101-88 advantage with 3:06 left.San Antonio's David West hit a jumper, but Westbrook answered with a 3-pointer. After Leonard missed a shot, Westbrook connected on a layup to seal the win."I think to start the fourth, we kind of lost our way offensively. Got a little stagnant," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We knew at some point they were going to make a run. They have too much character and are too good of a team. But our guys weathered it and got through it, and we found a way to close the game out."The Thunder continued their rebounding dominance with a 50-40 advantage. They turned the ball over 12 times, while the Spurs gave the ball away just 10 times. Oklahoma City outshot San Antonio from the floor, 47.1 percent to 43 percent. Oklahoma City is headed to the Western Conference finals for the fourth time in six years. The Thunder were 0-3 against Golden State in the regular season, but they are looking forward to taking on the defending champions."It's going to be fun," Durant said. "We're just excited to get this opportunity. Not too many teams get this opportunity. We're looking forward to it."Duncan looked rejuvenated in the first quarter. He hit his first three shots from the field, and the Spurs had a quick 12-8 lead.It didn't last long, though. Led by Westbrook and Durant, Oklahoma City gathered itself and began to attack the Spurs. The duo combined for 18 points in the quarter as the Thunder grabbed a 25-19 lead.The Thunder bench subsequently took control of the first half. Waiters, Randy Foye and Enes Kanter came in and kept the pressure on the Spurs on both ends of the court and helped stretch the lead to 18 points. That included Waiters dishing out four assists.With the Thunder leading by 24 at halftime, the Spurs started the second half with Duncan on the bench and Manu Ginobili in the starting lineup, and the change made a small dent in the margin."You have to play until the buzzer sounds," Durant said. "They are not going to give up. They are a class organization. They play hard every second. They pushed us all series. I know for both teams, it was a grind all series. They have so many great players. It was just a joy to match up with Kawhi Leonard for six games. I'm excited we came out here and played well." (Editing by Peter Rutherford) Read more

UK prosecutors to weigh up sex crimes allegations against Cliff Richard

LONDON Prosecutors said they would consider whether singer Cliff Richard, one of Britain's best-known entertainers, should face charges over alleged historical sex crimes after being handed a file of evidence by police on Tuesday.Richard, 75, has twice voluntarily met officers from South Yorkshire Police after it launched an inquiry in 2014 into allegations against him that date back to the 1980s and involve an under-age boy. The singer has never been arrested and has always said the allegations against him are false.The Crown Prosecution Service said it had received a "full file of evidence" from the police."We will now carefully consider its contents ... in order to establish whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and whether it is in the public interest to do so," it added in a statement. Richard was first interviewed by detectives after police raided his home in August last year when he was on holiday. The search was filmed by the BBC after the broadcaster was given advance warning.That raid led to criticism from lawmakers who described the co-operation between the police and the BBC as "inept" and causing "irreparable damage" to the singer's reputation. Richard, born Harry Webb in 1940 and who was called Britain's Elvis Presley early in his career, has had 14 No. 1 singles in Britain. He is the only singer to have topped the UK singles chart in five consecutive decades, from the 50s to the 90s, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1995. With his backing group The Shadows, Richard was one of Britain's most successful performers in the pre-Beatles era of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His early hits include "Summer Holiday" and "Living Doll." (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison) Read more

LED-lit pigeons illuminate New York skies in art exhibit

NEW YORK Thousands of pigeons with tiny LED lights strapped to their legs swooped through the darkening skies in a jaw-dropping display of beauty, but savvy New Yorkers gazing up at the performance art knew enough to keep their mouths shut.As evening fell over the Brooklyn Navy Yard, once home to the nation's largest naval fleet of carrier pigeons, artist Duke Riley opened an enormous coop and released the homing pigeons of his "Fly by Night" project.At the call of his whistle, the massive flock took off and circled for 30 minutes late Thursday over the deck of their temporary home on a decommissioned U.S. Navy ship, following a bamboo pole waved in the air by Riley. What resembled air-borne embers swirling from a campfire were actually LED lights in the birds' leg bands, which historically were used to carry messages."It is a collaborative project between me and the pigeons," Riley said. "It's a performance or maybe it's just a drawing that they are doing in the sky." The show will be repeated every weekend evening from May 7 through June 12.Riley's flock includes a variety of specially trained pigeons, some of which are his own, while others were purchased or borrowed from pigeon fanciers. After the project ends, Riley will keep many of them as his pets. "Fly by Night," which was presented by the non-profit organization Creative Time, comes three years after Riley's 2013 performance piece "Trading With the Enemy," in which trained pigeons carried cigars from Havana to Key West, Florida, to protest the U.S. embargo of Cuba and challenge American spying capabilities since the birds evade surveillance equipment. The New York City project pays homage to pigeon keeping, whether for sport, service or companionship. Once a popular pastime on city tenement rooftops, the hobby has dropped off amid escalating real estate prices.While dubbed by some New Yorkers as "rats with wings," pigeons have been revered for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Christians of Cappadocia in Turkey, who valued the birds for their excrement, a rich fertilizer. Pigeon droppings were also at the top of the minds of wary art lovers on Thursday, as 2,000 birds flew overhead, threatening to anoint onlookers with what some superstitions define as good luck. "It was not a concern of mine at all because most animals, including humans, usually don't like to defecate while they are exercising," Riley said.Evidence on a reporter's purse, however, proved otherwise. (Additional reporting by Elly Park and Lucas Jackson; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum) Read more

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