Mick Jagger, 72, to become father for eighth time

LONDON Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, 72, is to become a father again for the eighth time.A spokesman for the veteran rock band on Friday confirmed media reports saying that Jagger's girlfriend, 29-year-old American ballerina Melanie Hamrick, was pregnant.Jagger, who turns 73 on July 26, already has seven children. He became a great-grandfather in 2014. Jagger's band mate Ronnie Wood became a father again at the age of 68 in May, when his wife Sally, 38, gave birth to twin girls. (Reporting By Mike Davidson; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian) Read more

Ali's gloves, Frazier's jockstrap from famed 1971 fight go on sale

A jockstrap worn by boxer Joe Frazier when he defeated Muhammad Ali for the combined heavyweight title hit the auction block on Monday, along with the gloves Ali wore in that 1971 bout dubbed the "Fight of the Century." The jockstrap - expected to sell for $10,000 - already met its minimum bid of $5,000 bid by mid-morning, said Ken Goldin, owner of Goldin Auctions of Runnemede, New Jersey.No bids had yet been received for the gloves, which are expected to sell for more than $1 million, Goldin said.The auction concludes with live bidding on Aug. 4. "People used to make jokes about auctioning off jockstraps as an example of something outrageous," Goldin told Reuters. "Here we got one consigned for sale."The memorabilia went on sale just over a month after Ali's death at an Arizona hospital at age 74. Frazier died in 2011. Both fighters were undefeated when they met up in the match on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Frazier defeated Ali in a unanimous, 15-round decision. After the fight, Frazier gave the jockstrap to corner-man David Wolf, according to Goldin. Wolf, who was in the Frazier corner for all three of his fights with Ali, later became a manager for Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and other boxers.The jockstrap was found in Wolf's apartment in New York after his death in 2009. Minimum bids were set at $5,000 for the jockstrap and $250,000 for the gloves."Similar (Ali) gloves have sold in the millions,” Goldin said. "And that was before he died." (Reporting by David DeKok in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; editing by Barbara Goldberg and G Crosse) Read more

Floods in China kill almost 130, wipe out crops

SHANGHAI Severe flooding across central and southern China over the past week has killed almost 130 people, damaged more than 1.9 million hectares of crops and led to direct economic losses of more than 38 billion yuan ($5.70 billion), state media said on Tuesday.Premier Li Keqiang traveled on Tuesday to Anhui, one of the hardest-hit provinces, where he met residents and encouraged officials to do everything they could to protect lives and livelihoods. Li was also to visit Hunan province.Heavy rainfall had killed 128 people across 11 provinces and regions and 42 people are missing, state news agency Xinhua reported.More than 1.3 million people have been forced out of their homes, it said.Weather forecasts predicted more downpours during what is traditionally China's flood season.Xinhua said more than 1.9 million hectares (4.7 million acres) of cropland had been damaged and another 295,000 hectares had been destroyed, resulting in direct economic losses of 38.2 billion yuan. More than 40,000 buildings have also collapsed, it added.It was not clear how that would affect the summer grain harvest, which was expected to reach 140 million tonnes this year. The stormy weather also took a toll on farm animals.In Anhui, the flooding killed some 7,100 hogs, 215 bulls and 5.14 million fowl, the China News Service reported.In the southern province of Hunan, torrential rain and flooding had forced more than 100 trains to stop or take detours since midnight on Sunday, Xinhua reported. In one city, about 3 tonnes of gasoline and diesel leaked from a petrol station on Monday, contaminating floodwater that flowed into a river, it said.Water in 43 rivers in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River had exceeded warning levels and patrols were monitoring dykes, Xinhua quoted Chen Guiya, an official with the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission, as saying. (Reporting by John Ruwitch; Addititional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel) Read more

'Walkers on water' overwhelm Italian lake installation

SULZANO, Italy A yellow fabric walkway floating on Lake Iseo in northern Italy has attracted twice as many visitors as expected and has been forced to close at night for essential repairs and cleaning.Last Saturday, Bulgarian-born artist Christo opened "The Floating Piers", a 3 km (two mile)-long walkway from Sulzano on the mainland to the Monte Isola and San Paolo islands, usually accessible only by boat.Authorities in the area 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Milan had expected around 40,000 visitors a day and to keep the walkway open around the clock. But after 97,000 came on Wednesday alone, they decided to close it between midnight and 0400 GMT. Made of some 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes covered with shimmering yellow fabric, the piers have suffered more wear and tear than expected. The linked cubes are anchored to the bed of the lake, forming a 16 meter-wide, 35 centimeter-high surface designed to move gently with the waves.Admission is free. Volunteers are on hand in case anyone falls into the water. The installation closes on July 3. (Writing by Isla Binnie; editing by Andrew Roche) Read more

76ers take Australian Simmons with top pick of Draft

NEW YORK The Philadelphia 76ers added to their youthful core with a versatile big man by taking Australian Ben Simmons from Louisiana State University with the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday.The pick set the tone for a decidedly international night as a record 14 foreign-born players were selected in the first of the two-round draft at the Barclays Center, topping the previous record of 12 in 2013.The 19-year-old forward, an excellent rebounder who thrives in transition as a scorer or passer, joins a Philadelphia team that finished last overall with a 10-71 record during the NBA's 2015-16 season.Simmons, who becomes just the second Australian to be taken with the top pick after the Utah Jazz selected Andrew Bogut in 2005, averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for LSU in his only college season."It's a weight off my chest," said the 6-10, 240-pound Simmons, who was widely expected to go first overall."I've been looking forward to this day for a while, so I'm glad I've made history, not only for myself but my family and Australian basketball."The Los Angeles Lakers had the second pick, the first of their post-Kobe Bryant era, and took shooting guard Brandon Ingram from Duke University. Ingram, a good passer and excellent three-point shooter at 6-9 with keen court awareness, scored 17.3 points a game for Duke along with 6.8 rebounds on average.Asked about concerns that he needs to bulk up to compete in the NBA, Ingram said: "I am only 18. The weight is going to come naturally. But I am focused on getting stronger right now."I have the inner strength that no one knows about and I am just continuing to get stronger each and every day." The Boston Celtics chose small forward Jaylen Brown of California third overall, while the Phoenix Suns used the fourth pick on Croatian power forward Dragan Bender, a 7-footer who has been playing for Ironi Ramat Gan in Israel.The Minnesota Timberwolves, who have four players under the age of 23 playing regularly, used the fifth pick on point guard Kris Dunn of Providence. The New Orleans Pelicans made Bahamian shooting guard Buddy Hield of Oklahoma the sixth choice before the Denver Nuggets took Canadian Jamal Murray, who averaged 20 points for Kentucky, at No. 7.Taken eighth by the Sacramento Kings was Marquese Chriss, a forward from Washington, with Jakob Poeltl, a center from Utah, going ninth to the Toronto Raptors as the first Austrian in the NBA. Rounding out the top 10 was Sudanese-born Australian 7-footer Thon Maker, who has been playing at Canada's Athlete Institute and was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks.The international flavor carried on the rest of the first round with eight more foreign players selected among the 30 picks, not counting Domantas Sabonis, son of Lithuanian hoops great Arvydas Sabonis, who was born in the United States and taken 11th by Orlando.Others selected were Georgios Papagiannis of Greece (13th-Phoenix); Spain's Juan Hernangomez (15th-Denver); France's Guerschon Yabusele (16th-Boston); Ante Zizic of Croatia (23rd-Boston); Timothe Luwawu of France (24th-Philadelphia); Turkey's Furkan Korkmaz (26th-Philadelphia); Pascal Siakam of Cameroon (27-Toronto), and Haitian Skal Labissiere (28th-Phoenix). (Editing by Frank Pingue/Peter Rutherford) Read more

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