Sports 

Coach-less Halep admits behind curve at Melbourne Park

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – World number one Simona Halep, flying solo after parting ways with coach Darren Cahill, feels refreshed after a long lay-off to recover from a back injury but also concedes she has risked her Australian Open campaign with scant preparations. Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 10, 2019 – Simona Halep of Romania during practice. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon French Open champion Halep warmed up for her run to the final at Melbourne Park last year by winning the Shenzhen Open in southern China but…

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Scottish government admits Salmond inquiry failure

The Scottish government has admitted it did not follow the correct procedures while investigating sexual harassment claims against Alex Salmond. Allegations against the former first minister, which he denies, were made to the Scottish government a year ago. The government has now admitted it breached its own guidelines by appointing an investigating officer who had “prior involvement” in the case. As a result, it has admitted defeat in its legal battle with Mr Salmond. The government’s admission that it had not followed the correct procedures came during a hearing at…

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Stakeknife: Alleged IRA spy admits extreme pornography charges

Image copyright Pacemaker Image caption Fred Scappaticci denies he was an Army agent within the IRA The man alleged to have been the Army’s highest-ranking IRA agent has pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of extreme pornographic images. West Belfast man Fred Scappaticci, 72, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday. The court heard the charges related to at least 329 images, including some involving animals. Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot sentenced Scappaticci to three months in custody, suspended for 12 months. She said: “You have not been before the court…

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Joe Schmidt: Ireland’s Johnny Sexton admits he had doubts about his head coach

Johnny Sexton (left) has been ever present in the Ireland side with Joe Schmidt (right) as head coach Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton has revealed his first impression of Joe Schmidt was that he was “too nice” to be a head coach. The pair have formed a formidable winning partnership for almost a decade with Leinster and Ireland. “I thought he was a bit too nice to be a head coach – how wrong could I have been?” Sexton told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast. “He is in fact the most…

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Trump defends Russia business links after ex-lawyer admits lying

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Donald Trump is currently in Argentina for the G20 summit Donald Trump has defended the business dealings he had with Russia before becoming president, again calling current investigations a “witch hunt”. On Thursday his ex-lawyer had admitted lying to Congress about a property deal Mr Trump was planning in Moscow. In a series of tweets, Mr Trump said the deals were “very legal”, he put up “zero money” and abandoned the project. A special counsel is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and whether…

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British sailor admits killing wife at sea

Image copyright PA/Broward Sheriff’s Office Image caption Lewis Bennett was given a seven-month jail sentence for smuggling stolen coins A British man who claimed his American wife had disappeared at sea after their catamaran sank off the coast of Cuba has admitted killing her. Lewis Bennett and Isabella Hellmann had been married three months when she was reported missing by her husband. Detectives later learnt that the boat had been deliberately sunk. Her body has never been found. On Monday Bennett, 41, admitted a charge of involuntary manslaughter at a…

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Man admits Gloucester wife and stepdaughter murders

Image copyright Gloucestershire Police Image caption Christopher Boon, 28, initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder A man has admitted murdering his wife, then turning his rage on his 11-year-old stepdaughter who had rushed from her bedroom to save her mum. The bodies of wedding planner Laura Mortimer, 31, and Ella Dalby were found in Dexter Way, Gloucester, on 28 May. They had been stabbed with a kitchen knife and were left lying side-by-side on the kitchen floor. Christopher Boon, 28, of Dexter Way, pleaded guilty to murder…

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Owen Farrell: England fly-half admits nerves over late tackle review

Highlights: England 12-11 South Africa: England edge topsy-turvy match Owen Farrell has admitted he did not know how the referee would rule on the huge 84th-minute tackle that sealed England’s 12-11 win over South Africa. Farrell’s crunching hit on Andre Esterhuizen was reviewed by the video official after England had kicked the ball dead to seemingly end the game. Referee Angus Gardner decided Farrell was not too high and made enough effort to wrap his arms in the collision. “Of course,” Farrell replied when asked if he was nervous during…

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National Action trial: ‘Neo-Nazi’ accused admits being a racist

Image copyright West Mids Police Image caption Adam Thomas said his son’s middle name Adolf reflected his “interest and admiration” for Hitler A father on trial accused of being a “fanatical” neo-Nazi terrorist has admitted being a racist. Adam Thomas, 22, also told a court he gave his baby son the middle name Adolf to reflect his “admiration” for Hitler. He admitted posing for photographs in Ku Klux Klan robes with his newborn son but said it “was just play”. Mr Thomas, along with partner Claudia Patatas, 38, and Daniel…

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Cot designer admits York choke baby death failure

Image copyright Ben Lack Image caption Craig Williams had denied manslaughter and fraud in relation to Oscar Abbey’s death A designer has admitted a health and safety failing after a seven-month-old baby “choked to death” in a cot. Oscar Abbey was found by his parents, caught in the side of his bed at their home in York on 3 November 2016. He had got his head stuck while trying to crawl through a gap in the cot sold by Craig Williams’s Playtime Beds Ltd. Williams, 37, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire,…

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