NBA: Suns hire veteran coach Frank Vogel to lead franchise – report

AP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

The Phoenix Suns hired former NBA champion coach Frank Vogel on Friday to replace Monty Williams, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

FILE Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Phoenix Suns hired former NBA champion coach Frank Vogel on Friday, June 3, 2023, to replace Monty Williams, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. Photo: AP

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move.

The 49-year-old Vogel has been the coach of the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers during his career and now moves to the Suns, where he’ll try to help the franchise win its first title in its 55-year history.

Vogel led the Lakers to an NBA title in 2020 when the league finished its season in the Florida bubble. He has a 431-389 career record over 11 seasons and a 49-39 mark in the playoffs.

Phoenix fired Williams on May 13 despite four successful seasons, including an NBA Finals appearance in 2021 and a coach of the year award in 2022. But the Suns also experienced two straight embarrassing playoff exits — trailing by 30 points at halftime of elimination games at home.

New Suns owner Mat Ishbia hasn’t been shy about shaking up the franchise since he took over in February, adding 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant in a blockbuster trade deadline deal. Despite the bold move, the Suns lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets.

Now Ishbia has overseen a coaching change and it remains to be seen how aggressive the front office will be in reshaping the roster. The assumption is that three-time All-Star Devin Booker — who averaged nearly 36 points per game in a brilliant postseason performance — and Durant will be back.

The rest of the roster is in flux.

The biggest questions surround 12-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul and former No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton, who were both out with injuries by the end of the playoffs.

The 38-year-old Paul was solid when he was on the court for the Suns this season, but his body gave out again in the playoffs and he missed the final four games with a strained left groin. He’s under contract for next season with a partially guaranteed deal.

The 24-year-old Ayton was ineffective in the team’s second-round series against the Nuggets, averaging 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds, which were both well below his season and career averages. He suffered a rib contusion in Game 5 and watched the final game of the season from the bench.

This article was originally published by The Associated Press (AP).


Tennis: Djokovic, Alcaraz attempt to reach French Open last 16 as Pegula exits

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Novak Djokovic will bid to reach the French Open fourth round for a 14th consecutive year on Friday, after women’s third seed Jessica Pegula was dumped out of the tournament by Elise Mertens.

Serbia s Novak Djokovic speaks during a press conference on day four of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 31, 2023. AFP

Djokovic has made headlines for his comments about Kosovo this week but will be hoping his progress on Court Philippe Chatrier remains serene after two straight-sets wins so far.

He said after his second-round win over Marton Fucsovics that the message “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” he scrawled on a camera following his opening match was “something I stand for”.

His next opponent, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, will likely provide a sterner test, though. The Spaniard has slipped to number 34 in the world rankings this season but was runner-up at the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters last year.

Two-time champion Djokovic, who has reached the French Open quarter-finals in each of the past 13 years, will be the red-hot favourite.

The 36-year-old is hoping to break out of his tie with injured rival Rafael Nadal at the top of the men’s all-time list of major winners at Roland Garros.

He is just one title behind Serena Williams’ mark of 23 Slams and two adrift of Margaret Court’s overall record.

Djokovic has won two of his three matches with 29th seed Davidovich Fokina, but lost their last meeting in Monte Carlo 12 months ago.

World number one Carlos Alcaraz, considered the favourite and slated to meet Djokovic in the semi-finals, features in the night-session match against talented Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

The 20-year-old Spaniard has defeated players ranked outside the top 100 in his first two matches.

Shapovalov is of a far higher calibre, though, despite struggling for form in recent months.

The Canadian was ranked in the top 10 less than two years ago and was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2021.

Shapovalov is a big admirer of Alcaraz, who is bidding for a second straight Slam title after winning the 2022 US Open and missing this year’s Australian Open with injury.

“I think he’s a great guy. He’s super humble for achieving what he has at such a young age,” said the 24-year-old ahead of their night-session encounter.

“You can see how much he enjoys being on the court.”

– Pegula dumped out –

American Pegula’s hopes of a deep run in Paris were ended in comprehensive fashion by Belgian Elise Mertens.

The 28th seed cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 victory to reach the fourth round for the third time.

World number three Pegula, who only has two WTA Tour titles to her name, has still never passed the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam tournament.

“I’m very happy to win in two sets. She’s a very good player,” said Mertens.

The former Australian Open semi-finalist will next face the winner of an all-Russian tie between Anastasia Potapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Russian Daria Kasatkina, a semi-finalist last year, raced into the second week by thrashing American Peyton Stearns 6-0, 6-1 in under an hour.

The ninth seed will face either compatriot Anna Blinkova or Elina Svitolina on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.

Ukrainian Svitolina has reached the third round on her first Grand Slam appearance since the 2022 Australian Open.

She is now on a seven-match winning run after also winning the title in Strasbourg last week, beating Blinkova in the final.

Svitolina refused to shake her Russian opponent’s hand after that match and will likely repeat that stance on Friday.

 This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Tennis: World number two Sabalenka powers into French Open second week

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Aryna Sabalenka booked her place in the French Open last 16 for the first time with a straight-sets win over Russian Kamilla Rakhimova at Roland Garros on Friday.

Belarus Aryna Sabalenka plays a backhand return to Russia s Kamilla Rakhimova during their women s singles match on day six of the Roland- Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on June 2, 2023. Photo: AFP

The Belarusian second seed is yet to drop a set in the tournament after a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win against the world number 82.

Sabalenka is one of the favourites for the championship after a fine start to the year, including securing her maiden Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne and lifting the Madrid Open title.

“Every tournament is a different tournament, Roland Garros is completely different to Australia, a different surface,” she said.

“It’s really good to have a Grand Slam in your pocket — it gives you so much confidence.”

Sabalenka will face either former US Open champion Sloane Stephens or Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in the fourth round.

The first four games were shared before Australian Open champion Sabalenka reeled off the next seven in succession to take total control of the match.

She ended a run of three consecutive third-round exits on the Paris clay after only 67 minutes.

 This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Tennis: Sonego comeback shocks Rublev at French Open

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Italian Lorenzo Sonego battled back from two sets down to knock seventh seed Andrey Rublev out of the French Open on Friday and reach the last 16 for the second time.

Italy s Lorenzo Sonego celebrates a point against Russia s Andrey Rublev during their men s singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris on June 2, 2023. Photo: AFP

The world number 48 was two points from defeat during a fourth-set tie-break but prevailed 5-7, 0-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 after three hours and 42 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Sonego will face Russian 11th seed Karen Khachanov for a possible quarter-final meeting with 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.

“Incredible comeback today,” he said. “I played more aggressive than in the first and second sets because when he’s aggressive it’s tough to compete against him.

“I played with the right attitude and I changed everything.”

It was a surprise defeat for Russian Rublev who had reached the last eight on each of his past three Slam appearances and won the Monte Carlo Masters this season.

Rublev led 5-4 in the fourth-set breaker but the momentum switched when Sonego forced a decider which he took thanks to a break of serve in the eighth game.

 This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Tennis: Mum’s the word as Svitolina reaches French Open last 16

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina won a tough three-set battle to defeat Anna Blinkova of Russia to reach the French Open last 16 on Friday in her first Grand Slam since becoming a mother.

Ukraine s Elina Svitolina (L) and Russia s Anna Blinkova (C) compete during their women s singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Simonne-Mathieu in Paris on June 2, 2023. Photo: AFP

Svitolina came through 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 against an opponent she had also defeated in the Strasbourg final last weekend.

Once again, Svitolina chose not to shake hands with her rival in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A three-time quarter-finalist in Paris, Svitolina had to twice serve for the match in the 10th and 12th games of the decider.

She claimed victory on a third match point with a crunching backhand winner to see off Blinkova who had knocked out fifth-ranked Caroline Garcia in the last round.

“I wasn’t moving well in the first set but I tried to fight and find my game,” said Svitolina, watched courtside by her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils.

“After the first set, I was playing better and better and just tried to give everything.

“I played well under pressure and just decided to leave everything out there.”

Svitolina, who hit 37 winners in Friday’s win, will face another Russian, ninth-seeded Daria Kasatkina, for a place in the quarter-finals.

 This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Tennis: Djokovic blasts ‘disrespectful’ French Open fans

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Novak Djokovic blasted French Open fans as “disrespectful” after he defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a tense third round clash on Friday.

Serbia s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning against Spain s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina during their men s singles match on day six of the Roland- Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on June 2, 2023. Photo: AFP

Djokovic, chasing a third Roland Garros title and men’s record 23rd Grand Slam crown, came through 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 against the 34th-ranked Spaniard to reach the last 16 for a 14th successive year.

During an often fractious afternoon, Djokovic earned the ire of fans when he took a medical timeout for treatment on his left thigh at the end of the second set having been on Court Philippe Chatrier for the best part of three hours.

The 36-year-old Djokovic, a polarising figure in tennis, gave spectators a sarcastic round of applause and a thumbs-up.

In the third set, he launced a ball skywards in frustration which again brought jeers.

Djokovic mocked his tormentors by mimicking their boos and nodding his head in weary acceptance.

“I think the majority of the people come to enjoy tennis or support one or the other player. But there are people who love to boo every single thing you do,” said Djokovic.

“That’s something that I find disrespectful and I frankly don’t understand that. But it’s their right. They paid for the ticket. They can do whatever they want.

“Actually 99 percent of the time I will stay quiet but sometimes I will oppose that because I feel when somebody is disrespectful he or she deserves to have an answer to that.”

Djokovic’s issues with the notoriously hostile Paris crowd came a day after US player Taylor Fritz pressed his finger to his lips to shush fans after knocking out Arthur Rinderknech, the last remaining French player in the draw.

Fritz then blew kisses to the Court Suzanne Lenglen crowd.

“Up and down,” said Djokovic when asked to describe his love-hate relationship with the Paris crowd who have made no secret of their fondness for the now retired Roger Federer and the absent Rafael Nadal over the years.

On Friday, world number three Djokovic had to come back from breaks down in both opening sets, saving a set point in the second after Davidovich Fokina had failed to serve for the first.

Djokovic dropped serve five times in the match as Davidovich Fokina, a quarter-finalist in 2021, matched him blow for blow in the first two sets.

However, the physical effort took its toll as Djokovic, the champion in 2016 and 2021, swept through the third set.

“I knew it would be a difficult and physical match. We played three hours just for the first two sets. I thought if I lost the second set that we would play for five hours,” said Djokovic.

“He’s an amazing fighter and there aren’t many weaknesses in his game.

“But a win is a win and I am very proud of the way I played today.”

Next up for the former world number one is a clash with either Polish 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz or Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas.

Djokovic was sluggish throughout the first set.

He retrieved a break to level in the sixth game but was broken again in the 11th, his low-energy mood not helped by a code violation for taking too long between points.

Davidovich-Fokina, who had defeated the Serb on clay in Monte Carlo last year, was unable to back up his second break of the set and Djokovic, suddenly out of his slumber, claimed the tie-break off a blistering forehand service return.

The first set had taken 85 minutes in which the former champion managed just eight winners.

The second set featured six breaks of serve before Davidovich Fokina squandered a set point in the 12th game.

Djokovic claimed the breaker, and bellowed at the crowd. Spectators jeered him as he argued with the umpire before calling the medical timeout.

He then stretched out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the decider and briefly won back the affection of some of the crowd when he helped his opponent courtside after a nasty fall.

This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

War disrupts Ukrainian-Russian mafia bond

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Sitting at a cafe in the Ukrainian port of Odesa, a local smuggler drew on his cigarette as he explained how the war has disrupted long-established underworld ties between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukrainian police officers attend a briefing prior to their night shift in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa, on May 25, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. AFP

“The vast majority of Ukrainian criminals took the side of Ukraine,” said 59-year-old Kirim, who spoke on condition that he be given a pseudonym.

“But there are also those who continue to cooperate with Russia,” he noted, speaking only once a waiter had delivered the coffees and left.

The cross-border network of drugs, guns and people trafficking that developed between Ukraine and Russia from the rubble of the Soviet Union had been considered one of the world’s strongest.

Those links have been disrupted but persist.

When Moscow’s troops attacked Ukraine in February 2022 it resulted in the severing of a smuggling highway that ran westward for hundreds of kilometres toward Europe from the border with Russia.

Organised crime operations between the two nations — sharing cultural, linguistic and historic links — had flourished since the 1990s along with vast corruption.

“This was one of the tightest criminal ecosystems in Europe. They were one and the same,” said Tuesday Reitano, deputy director at the non-profit Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

‘Patriotic’ criminals

The war threw up physical barriers, in the form of frontline combat and checkpoints, as well as rage over the massive destruction and suffering the invasion inflicted.

“The us-against-them sentiment has been strong in Ukraine, so that even criminals feel patriotic,” said Reitano.

Kirim identified himself as a patriot and claimed to have cut 100 percent of his smuggling ties with Russians, while noting that some criminals have put money toward the war or charity efforts.

Some have also reportedly joined fighting on the front, but Reitano noted that criminals can use war to try to rebrand themselves or win leniency from authorities in exchange for support.

Another Odesa underworld operator also said he is a patriot who refuses to work with Russians.

However, 40-year-old debt collector Aleksandr, another pseudonym, said the criminals’ code bars any cooperation whatsoever with the state, which he described as fundamentally corrupt.

“I don’t want to fight for them (army), but I will fight for my city,” he added, sipping his second late-morning beer and wearing aviator sunglasses.

Both self-identified Odesa underworld associates said that Ukrainian security services had told criminals to lay off their activities when Russia invaded, and welcomed information on Russians.

Some have apparently not followed the advice.

Ukraine’s security service told AFP it “neutralised” in spring 2022 a powerful criminal group in Odesa, which had cooperated with the enemy and “terrorised and intimidated locals”.

‘Odesa is Odesa’

As the war broke out, figures in high-level, international organised crime groups left Russia and Ukraine for Central Asia, the Gulf States and elsewhere.

“We know that there is still plenty of cooperation between the underworld of Russia and the underworld of Ukraine outside of Ukraine,” said Reitano.

Europol also pointed to the very high likelihood that gangsters from the two nations are continuing to work together.

The agency noted there is never just one route for smuggling, so shutting down one does not definitively staunch the flow of contraband, and international crime groups are diverse as well as agile by definition.

“They look at the profits and even with the war, they continue their criminal business, and they look for the best opportunity,” said Catherine De Bolle, the agency’s executive director.

“We do not see at the moment a split between the Russian and Ukrainian mafia,” she added.

Whether it is with Russians or not and despite the war-imposed barriers to their rackets — the criminals are still at work on the port city’s streets.

“Nevertheless, all this goes on. Odesa is Odesa,” Kirim the smuggler said with a very slight shrug.

This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Tanzania declares end of deadly Marburg virus outbreak: WHO

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Tanzania on Friday declared the end of a deadly outbreak of the Marburg virus, more than two months after it was first confirmed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

A total of nine cases, eight confirmed and one probable, and six deaths were recorded in the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever in the northwestern region of Kagera, the WHO said in a statement.

The UN health agency said it was the first such outbreak in Tanzania, an East African country with a population of almost 62 million.

The last confirmed case tested negative on April 19, setting off the 42-day mandatory countdown to declare the end of the outbreak, it added.

Neighbouring Uganda, which witnessed its last outbreak in 2017 and shares a porous border with Tanzania, had gone on high alert after Marburg was confirmed by Tanzania’s health ministry on March 21.

Uganda had just emerged in January from an almost four-month-long Ebola outbreak, which killed 55 people.

The WHO said Tanzania’s health authorities, with help from the UN agency and other partners, had “immediately rolled out outbreak response to stop the spread of the virus and save lives”.

The Marburg virus is a highly virulent microbe which causes severe fever, often accompanied by bleeding and organ failure.

No vaccines

It is part of the so-called filovirus family that also includes Ebola, which has wreaked havoc in several previous outbreaks in Africa.

Fatality rates from Marburg in confirmed cases have ranged from 24 percent to 88 percent in previous outbreaks, according to the WHO.

The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials, it says.

There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments, but the WHO has said potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies, as well as early candidate vaccines are being evaluated.

Tanzania’s outbreak coincided with cases in the West African state of Equatorial Guinea, where the death toll had risen to 12 according to health ministry figures issued on April 24.

Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been also reported in South Africa, Angola, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The virus takes its name from the German city of Marburg, where it was first identified in 1967, in a lab where workers had been in contact with infected green monkeys imported from Uganda.

This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Kosovo PM accuses Serbia of organising clashes

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Kosovo’s prime minister on Friday accused Serbia of orchestrating clashes between ethnic Serbs and NATO-led peacekeepers amid intensified Western pressure on both Belgrade and Pristina to ease tensions.

People hold a giant Serbian flag during a protest in the town of Zvecan, northern Kosovo, Wednesday, May 31, 2023. AP

More than 80 people, including 30 peacekeepers, were injured in a north Kosovo town on Monday when NATO-led KFOR troops clashed with ethnic Serb protesters who threw rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails.

“The escalation of the situation on May 29 was planned, well-organised and had an author,” Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti told the lawmakers in parliament.

“The author is official Belgrade.”

Kurti accused Serbia of having “mobilised criminal groups” to provoke the clashes and said many Kosovo Serbs were “forced (by Belgrade) to serve as human shields for such criminal attacks”.

Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority boycotted April local elections in the volatile north, allowing ethnic Albanians to take control of local councils despite a turnout of less than 3.5 percent.

Many Serbs are demanding the withdrawal of Kosovo special police forces as well as the ethnic Albanian mayors they do not consider as their true representatives.

Since Monday’s clashes in Zvecan, hundreds of ethnic Serbs have gathered daily in front of the town hall which is sealed off with barbed wire and encircled by KFOR troops in full riot gear.

But, Kurti estimated that the rallies are held upon orders from Belgrade.

He did not announce any concrete measure to ease tensions.

On Thursday, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after meeting Belgrade and Pristina leaders on the sidelines of a summit that they had urged Kosovo to allow new elections in four disputed northern municipalities.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken also urged both Pristina and Belgrade to dial down the tensions, warning they were putting their aspirations of European integration at risk.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he had talked with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell about the “irresponsible behaviour of Pristina institutions”.

“We want peace, not tear gas and shock bombs” and “We are not criminals, we just want freedom”, read some of the banners carried by the protesters on Friday in front of the Zvecan town hall.

Municipal employees want Kosovo special police to immediately leave the town hall so they can return to work, their representative Natasa Aksentijevic said.

“We want peace to reign here … and that the fake mayor does not come to our Zvecan since we didn’t elect him,” she told reporters.

Serbs, who make up around six percent of Kosovo’s majority-ethnic Albanian population, have remained largely loyal to Belgrade, especially in the north where they are a majority.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade — along with allies China and Russia — still do not recognise the move.

This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.

Asian, European markets surge on Fed rate hopes

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Asian markets rallied Friday on hopes the US Federal Reserve will decide against lifting interest rates this month as officials assess the impact of more than a year of tightening.

A pedestrian passes by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange electronic screen in Hong Kong, Friday, June 2, 2023. AP

With US default worries out of the way after senators passed a debt ceiling bill for President Joe Biden to sign following months of wrangling, attention has returned to the US central bank’s drive to defeat decades-high inflation.

Traders welcomed data Thursday that showed private hiring slowed in May — albeit at a slower pace than forecast — and wage growth eased for a second straight month.

The news bodes well for the release later in the day of the more closely followed non-farm payrolls figure, which the Fed uses as one of its crucial guides for its rates decisions.

Monetary policy officials have said a softer labour market and much lower inflation were key to the bank being able to stop lifting borrowing costs.

“Wage-driven inflation may be less of a concern for the economy despite robust hiring,” said Nela Richardson of payroll firm ADP, which released Thursday’s figures.

“This is the second month we’ve seen a full percentage point decline in pay growth for job changers.”

Expectations were already running high that the Fed will hold its horses on rates for the first time in more than a year when it meets later this month, but comments from two officials added to the optimism.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker urged policymakers to “at least skip this meeting in terms of an increase”.

And Fed governor Philip Jefferson, who has been put forward as a vice chair and who regularly chimes with Chairman Jerome Powell, said holding fire would allow for an assessment of the impact of past rates but not signal a pause.

Analysts said there was now a 24 percent chance of a hike, compared with 69 percent priced in last Friday, while bets on a July increase were also falling.

But some at the Fed remain in favour of another increase, including St Louis Fed boss James Bullard, who thinks rates are in the lower band of where they need to be to tackle inflation.

Wall Street and European markets Thursday ended with healthy gains, and Asia followed suit on Friday.

Hong Kong led the way, soaring four percent thanks to a rally in tech firms and after an extended period of losses fuelled by worries over China’s uncertain economic outlook.

Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Manila were also deep in positive territory.

London, Paris and Frankfurt extended their rally in early business and US futures were also up.

“With the core of the (policy) committee seemingly on board with a June skip, the dovish Fed repricing of the June… meeting catalysed a modest move higher in global equities, some dollar weakness, gold upside and even a rally in beleaguered oil markets,” said SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes.

“The good news for risk markets is the Fed seldom, if ever, surprises the market Fed expectation pricing going into a meeting.”

Key figures around 0810 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 31,524.22 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 4.0 percent at 18,949.94 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,230.07 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,523.11

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0765 from $1.0762 on Thursday

Dollar/yen: UP at 138.95 yen from 138.79 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2527 from $1.2525

Euro/pound: UP at 85.92 pence from 85.90 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.2 percent at $70.91 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.2 percent at $75.18 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 33,061.57 (close)

This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.