A former Soviet army officer accused of being a Taliban fighter goes on trial on Thursday as the first military prisoner from Afghanistan to be tried in U.S. federal court. Irek Hamidullin, believed to be in his 50s, faces 15 criminal counts ranging from supporting terrorists to firearms charges related to his alleged orchestration of a 2009 attack on an Afghan Border Police base in eastern Afghanistan's Khost province. Judge Henry Hudson ordered it delayed to give Hamidullin's lawyers time to examine Defense Department evidence turned over on Saturday.
Dustin Johnson will make his Hong Kong Open debut in October, joining a field that will also include former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, the organizers said on Thursday. American Johnson, whose three-putt on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open last month handed victory to Jordan Spieth, said he was drawn by the history of a tournament won in the past by Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy. "You look at some of the names who have won the tournament... you realize there's a great history there," the 31-year-old said in a statement issued by Asian Tour, who will co-sanction the Oct. 22-26 event with the European Tour.
Dustin Johnson will make his Hong Kong Open debut in October, joining a field that will also include former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, the organisers said on Thursday. American Johnson, whose three-putt on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open last month handed victory to Jordan Spieth, said he was drawn by the history of a tournament won in the past by Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy. "You look at some of the names who have won the tournament... you realise there's a great history there," the 31-year-old said in a statement issued by Asian Tour, who will co-sanction the Oct. 22-26 event with the European Tour.
(The Sports Xchange) - Troy Tulowitzki was greeted by a standing ovation when he stepped to the plate for the first time as a Toronto Blue Jay in the first inning on Wednesday. After striking out in his first at-bat, the team's new shortstop gave the Rogers Centre crowd plenty to cheer about with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs in the Blue Jays' 8-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies, who are 9-2 since the All-Star break, had their five-game winning streak ended.
(The Sports Xchange) - Right fielder Bryce Harper hit a three-run, tiebreaking home run and added a second upper-deck blast, leading the Washington Nationals to a 7-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday at Marlins Park. Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor hit a solo homer in the eighth. "He's got such a forceful, violent swing," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said of Harper.
(Reuters) - The Texas Rangers have acquired starting pitcher Cole Hamels in a multi-player trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to multiple media reports on Wednesday. The Rangers will also receive left-handed reliever Jake Diekman in exchange for pitcher Matt Harrison, catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams and minor league pitchers Alec Asher and Jerad Eickhoff. Neither team has confirmed the move, though Major League Baseball's website was also reporting the deal. Hamels, 31, has spent his entire career with the Phillies, making his major league debut in 2006. ...
The NFL Players Association filed an appeal on behalf of Tom Brady in US District Court in Minnesota, hoping to vacate the New England Patriots star's four-game "Deflate-gate" ban. The legal move follows NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's decision Tuesday to uphold the four-game ban he imposed upon the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for likely knowing Patriots employees had underinflated footballs in a playoff game last January, giving him and his offensive unit an edge in gripping, grabbing and holding the ball. Brady maintained his innocence in a Facebook statement Wednesday and was backed by Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
New England Patriots soccer star Tom Brady denied on Wednesday he had destroyed his cell phone to avoid giving it to NFL investigators, saying the flap was "manufactured" to distract from "zero evidence" against him in the "Deflategate" scandal. Brady issued his statement a day after National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld a four-game suspension of the quarterback for his part in an alleged scheme to deflate footballs below league standards in the game that put the Patriots in the 2015 Super Bowl. A ball inflated below NFL standards could make it easier to grip, especially in cold weather games.
(Reuters) - Justin Rose has produced sparkling form over the past three months after a slow start to the PGA Tour season and says he is "excited" about his title defense at this week's Quicken Loans National in Gainesville, Virginia. World number seven Rose clinched last year's tournament after a playoff at Congressional Country Club in Maryland, and knows he faces a very different test at a new venue over the next four days at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. "So, it's a new test ... I don't certainly put any pressure on myself this week." Rose brings excellent form to the PGA Tour event hosted by Tiger Woods, having posted four top-10s in 13 starts this season, including a victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and a playoff loss at the Memorial Tournament in June.
Justin Rose has produced sparkling form over the past three months after a slow start to the PGA Tour season and says he is "excited" about his title defence at this week's Quicken Loans National in Gainesville, Virginia. World number seven Rose clinched last year's tournament after a playoff at Congressional Country Club in Maryland, and knows he faces a very different test at a new venue over the next four days at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. "So, it's a new test ... I don't certainly put any pressure on myself this week." Rose brings excellent form to the PGA Tour event hosted by Tiger Woods, having posted four top-10s in 13 starts this season, including a victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and a playoff loss at the Memorial Tournament in June.
In the wake of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to uphold a four-game suspension of New England Patriots star Tom Brady, the league has asked police to watch Goodell's home in the region. Police in Scarborough, Maine, said they were contacted by the NFL over security concerns for Goodell's $6.5 million (6 million euro) house after Goodell rejected Brady's appeal of his ban stemming from the "Deflategate" scandal. "They did reach out and let us know about the decision and that it might not be popular," Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton told the Portland Press Herald.
Russia on Wednesday said its national basketball teams have been banned from all competitions by the sports ruling body FIBA. "The Russian basketball federation received a letter from FIBA, which said that all Russian national teams have been banned," Sergei Chernov, honourary president of the Russian basketball federation, told the TASS news agency. "For the moment Russia's FIBA membership was also temporarily suspended.
World number one Rory McIlroy's ankle injury which prevented him from playing at The British Open forced him to withdraw on Wednesday from next week's World Golf Championships event. McIlroy, who won the WGC event at Firestone Country Club last year, is also an uncertain starter for the final major of the season the PGA Championship in two weeks at Whistling Straits, where he is also the defending champion. "Unfortunately, I will not be defending my World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational title," McIlroy said.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft backed embattled "Deflategate" quarterback Tom Brady while coach Bill Belichick evaded the issue as the reigning Super Bowl champions began pre-season workouts Wednesday. "I continue to believe and unequivocally support Tom Brady," Kraft said. The Patriots remain uncertain who will be the starting quarterback when they face Pittsburgh in September in the NFL season opener since Brady, a four-time Super Bowl winner, has been suspended for four games by the league but is taking the case to court in a union-backed appeal.
After being a last-day British Open contender and the lowest-scoring runner-up in Masters history, Justin Rose is working toward another major title opportunity in two weeks at the PGA Championship. The Englishman tees off Thursday on his 35th birthday as defending champion at the US PGA Quicken Loans National, but on a different course as the Tiger Woods-hosted event moves from Congressional Country Club to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. "I feel like you're half defending champion," Rose said.
By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Basketball Federation (RFB) has been suspended by governing body FIBA, putting their participation in the 2016 Olympics in doubt. The RFB published a letter from FIBA on their website on Wednesday stating that the Russian federation had been immediately disqualified from competition. This comes after years of instability at the RFB, which culminated in a June court decision that forced the federation to hold new presidential elections.
Fears about Rory McIlory's participation in the U.S. PGA Championship increased on Wednesday after the injured world number one withdrew from next week's PGA Tour event, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. American Jordan Spieth, the winner of the season's first two majors, could replace the Northern Irishman at the top of the world rankings if the American wins next week's WGC event. McIlroy has been out of action since he ruptured a ligament in his left ankle while playing soccer with friends on July 4.
(recasts with details) * McIlroy sidelined after rupturing ligament * Spieth could take over as world number one LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - Fears about Rory McIlory's participation in the U.S. PGA Championship increased on Wednesday after the injured world number one withdrew from next week's PGA Tour event, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. American Jordan Spieth, the winner of the season's first two majors, could replace the Northern Irishman at the top of the world rankings if the American wins next week's WGC event. McIlroy has been out of action since he ruptured a ligament in his left ankle while playing soccer with friends on July 4.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fired back at the NFL upholding a four-game ban on him in the "Deflate-gate" saga, taking to Facebook on Wednesday to defend himself. "I am very disappointed by the NFL's decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me," Brady posted on his Facebook page. One of the most high-profile athletes in American sport, Brady was found by Goodell to have been at least "generally aware" of a plot by Patriots staff to improperly reduce the air pressure of balls used by Brady during the American Conference final against Indianapolis earlier this year.
By Julian Linden KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Song Andong, the first Chinese-born player drafted to play in the National Hockey League, got a first-hand look on Wednesday at the giant shoes he is trying to fill. Since being picked this year by the New York Islanders, the 18-year-old Song has been billed as the NHL's answer to Yao Ming, the towering Chinese basketballer who made the NBA such a big hit in east Asia. Song said he would love nothing more than to emulate Yao by introducing millions of Chinese to another American professional sport, but the enormity of his task became evident when he stood next to the 2.29 meter (7ft 6in) Yao at a news conference on Wednesday.
By Julian Linden KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Standing 2.29 meters (7ft 6in) tall, Yao Ming has never been able to hide in the background. With the International Olympic Committee to vote in Kuala Lumpur on Friday whether to award the games to Beijing or Almaty, Yao has become the public face of China's campaign and in high demand in the Malaysian capital. When Yao was in the NBA, he was banned from ever skiing or skating in fear that he might slip over and injure himself but said he had no hesitation in volunteering to join Beijing's bid team.
A Beijing court has dismissed a trademark case brought by US basketball superstar Michael Jordan against a company using a similar name and logo to his Nike-produced brand, a report said. The former Chicago Bull is arguably the most popular international basketball star in China and is known in the country as "Qiaodan", a Chinese version of his name. As well as the name, Qiaodan's products carry a silhouette of a leaping basketball player resembling the "Jumpman" logo used by US sporting goods giant Nike to promote its Air Jordan brand.
The New York Yankees came back with a vengeance, parlaying an 11-run second inning into a 21-5 triumph over the Texas Rangers. Trailing by five runs after the first inning, the Bronx Bombers came up with the highest-scoring second inning in club history and a rout was on. Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius delivered a career-high four hits to go along with three runs-batted-in and two runs scored.
Jen Welter, a former rugby and professional gridiron player hired as a coaching intern with the Arizona Cardinals, said she never dared dream she would coach in the NFL. "I could not have dreamed big enough to imagine this day could ever come," Welter said at her introductory press conference. The Cardinals had announced the hiring on Monday, adding Welter to their staff to work with inside linebackers during training camp and the pre-season.
Boston center fielder Mookie Betts went all-out Tuesday trying to deny Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu a home run, but ended up only with a possible concussion for his pains. Betts departed in the sixth inning of the White Sox' 9-4 victory over the Red Sox after he was sent sprawling over a wall and into Boston's bullpen. Betts had raced from center to right-center field, taking a couple of steps after he caught the ball before running into the short wall and toppling over backward.
US golfer Billy Hurley has made an emotional plea for help in locating his father, who has been missing for nine days. Speaking to the media in the build up to the US PGA Tour National, Hurley said his father Willard Hurley Jnr drove off in his truck on July 19 with some clothes and cash. Hurley’s mother filed a missing person's report on Monday in Virginia.
Mo Martin produced a touch of magic to win the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale last year. The 32-year-old suffered a thumb injury the week after her famous triumph on England's Lancashire coast and she spent months on the sidelines.
(Reuters) - The Toronto Blue Jays swapped All-Star shortstops with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, acquiring Troy Tulowitzki while shipping Jose Reyes to Colorado in a blockbuster, multi-player exchange. In another high-profile move on Tuesday ahead of Friday's non-waiver deadline, six-time All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Washington Nationals for pitching prospect Nick Pivetta. Papelbon, 34, who won a World Series with the Phillies in 2007, will upgrade an erratic Nationals bullpen where Drew Storen will switch from ninth-inning duties to a set-up role.
By Steve Ginsburg WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday upheld a four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his role in deflating footballs used in the game that put the New England Patriots in the 2015 Super Bowl, saying for the first time that the star quarterback had his phone destroyed to keep it out of hands of investigators. In the latest turn in the scandal, known as "Deflategate," Goodell said he affirmed the suspension in part because of the new revelation that Brady made "a deliberate effort" to keep investigators from reading text messages stored on the device.
(Reuters) - New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia has been suspended for 162 games after testing positive for banned substances a second time, Major League Baseball said on Tuesday. The length of the ban is automatic for a second positive test, and equals the longest suspension in baseball for doping, matching the penalty handed New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez in 2013. Mejia’s suspension is effective immediately and is equivalent to an entire regular season.
Major League Baseball suspended New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia for 162 games on Tuesday after the Dominican failed a second drug test this season. Mejia, 25, returned on July 12 from an 80-game suspension that began in April for using a performance-enhancing drug. The ban matched the longest for performance-enhancing substances in major league history -- equalling that served by Alex Rodriguez last season.
The New England Patriots accused the NFL of "attempting to destroy" the reputation of Tom Brady on Tuesday after league commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the superstar quarterback's four-game "Deflate-gate" ban. "We are extremely disappointed in today's ruling by Commissioner Goodell," the Patriots said in a strongly worded statement. "We also believe that the laws of science continue to underscore the folly of this entire ordeal," said the statement from the team that has insisted the underinflated balls used by Brady and his team-mates during their AFC championship game win over Indianapolis could have been the result of a natural loss of air pressure.
(Reuters) - PGA Tour player Billy Hurley III made an emotional appeal on Tuesday for help in tracking down his father who went missing on July 19. Speaking ahead of this week's Quicken Loans National in his home state of Virginia, Hurley fought back tears as he told reporters that his father, Willard Hurley Jr., drove off in a truck with some clothes and cash and has not been seen since. "No one really knows why," said Hurley, whose father is a retired police officer.
Tom Brady's four-match ban over the "Deflate-gate" scandal was upheld on Tuesday as it emerged the New England Patriots star had ordered the destruction of a cellphone containing potentially crucial evidence. In a bombshell ruling which followed speculation that Brady's ban would be slashed or even cancelled, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said the original punishment would stand. Brady, one of the most high-profile athletes in American sport, had been suspended in May after an inquiry found he was at least "generally aware" of a plot by Patriots staff to tamper with the air pressure of balls used during the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts earlier this year.
(Reuters) - The Arizona Cardinals were being hailed as groundbreakers on Tuesday after hiring the National Football League's first female coach. The Cardinals on Monday hired Jen Welter, a 37-year-old former pro football player, to be a coaching intern during training camp this year, working with inside linebackers. Football fans took to Twitter to express their sentiments about Welter's hiring.
(Reuters) - The son and daughter-in-law of the first African-American golfer on the PGA Tour were charged with improperly spending more than $1 million belonging to the late legendary Charles Sifford Sr, officials said on Tuesday. A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Sifford's son, Craig Sifford, 48, and daughter-in-law, Sandra Sifford, 48, both of Brecksville, Ohio, with spending money meant for Charles Sifford's care on such items as travel, dining, clothes, jewelry and landscaping between 2010 and 2013, according to a statement released by the Ohio attorney general's office and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office. A spokesman for the attorney general's offense did not comment on whether or how Charles Sifford's care was affected by the theft the family members were charged with.
(Reuters) - The Toronto Blue Jays swapped All-Star shortstops with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, acquiring Troy Tulowitzki while shipping Jose Reyes to Colorado in a blockbuster, multi-player trade. Five-time All-Star Tulowitzki and veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins went to the Blue Jays in exchange for Reyes and minor league pitchers Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco before Friday's non-waiver deadline.
(Reuters) - Time is fast running out for Tiger Woods to salvage what he describes as a "frustrating" PGA Tour season after three missed cuts, a withdrawal and just one top-25 finish in eight starts. The former world number has plummeted to a mind-boggling 266th in the rankings, making him ineligible for next week's elite WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio where he has triumphed a record eight times. Woods attributes his woes to a "perfect storm" of trying to work through the latest swing change of his career while still recovering from back surgery, but he said on Tuesday things were "starting to come together".
A frustrated Tiger Woods never imagined it would take so long to regain top form after back surgery and swing changes, but he will stick with his comeback plan. Woods serves as host for this week's US PGA National at the par-71 Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, a 7,385-yard layout last used by top stars for the 2005 Presidents Cup. "I didn't think it would take this long, but I thought I would have my short game, which I didn't at the beginning of the year," Woods said.