Reuters Sports News Summary

Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.

Smoke threat recedes as Australian Open approaches

Fears of more disruption to the Australian Open from bushfire smoke receded on Saturday as hundreds of children flooded the Melbourne Park precinct under sunny skies on Kid's Day at the year's first Grand Slam. Victoria's Environmental Protection Authority rated the air quality in central Melbourne as "good" and the final round of qualifying for the multi-million dollar tournament got underway on schedule.

NBA's investment in Africa to produce more stars: Biyombo

The National Basketball Association's investment in Africa will result in more star players from the continent shining in the NBA, Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo said. The Congolese player will feature in the first NBA game in France as the Hornets face the Milwaukee Bucks in Paris next Friday.

Tennis: Medvedev happy with the hype at Melbourne Park

Having suffered burn-out at the end of a brilliant 2019, Daniil Medvedev is feeling rejuvenated and worthy of the hype he is generating as one of the top contenders outside the 'Big Three' at the Australian Open. American great John McEnroe has tipped the U.S. Open finalist as the man most likely to break the Grand Slam stranglehold of Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer at Melbourne Park after a season featuring four titles and a Tour-leading 59 match wins.

Bulluck reliving fairytale run as Titans make Super Bowl bid

If anyone has an idea of what is going on right now inside the Tennessee Titans dressing room as they prepare for Sunday's showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs for a spot in the Super Bowl it would be Keith Bulluck. It has been over a decade since the three-time All-Pro linebacker suited up for the Titans but Bulluck clearly recalls what it was like in 2002 when Tennessee, after a horrific 1-4 start, made an unlikely run to the AFC championship game before losing to the Oakland Raiders.

Golf: Scheffler, Fowler shoot matching 64s for La Quinta lead

Scottie Scheffler shot an eight-under-par 64, despite chalking up a double bogey at his ninth hole, to tie Rickie Fowler for the second-round lead of The American Express in La Quinta, California, on Friday. Scheffler narrowly missed an eagle at his last hole, the ninth, to match Fowler's score as they completed the Nicklaus Tournament Course at 15-under 129.

Lloyd, Rapinoe anchor U.S. Olympic qualifying roster

The U.S. women's soccer team unveiled a 20-strong roster headlined by Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe for the Olympic qualifying tournament on Friday, as the four-time World Cup winners aim to reach their seventh consecutive Games. Team co-captain Lloyd will feature in her fourth consecutive Olympic qualifying event later this month alongside national team mainstays Rapinoe, winner of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at last year's World Cup, Tobin Heath and Becky Sauerbrunn.

Rybakina downs Zhang in Hobart to win second WTA title

Rising Kazakh talent Elena Rybakina overcame a gulf in experience to beat China's Zhang Shuai 7-6(7) 6-3 in the Hobart International final on Saturday and claim her second WTA title. Rybakina was playing her second final in a week after losing the title-decider at the Shenzhen Open but the 20-year-old made no mistake this time around, adding the Hobart crown to the Bucharest Open title she won last July.

More seasoned, less fearless, Osaka set for Australian Open defense

Naomi Osaka has learned to appreciate her victories more after enduring the "toughest" year of her fledging career and the Japanese world number three says mentally she is in a better place to launch her Australian Open title defense. Osaka started 2019 by winning her second straight Grand Slam title in Melbourne following her success at the 2018 U.S. Open but suffered early exits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Chicharito signs with Galaxy to become highest-paid MLS star: report

Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy have signed Mexican goal machine Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez from Spanish side Sevilla, the Los Angeles Times reported https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2020-01-17/chicharito-hernandez-signs-with-galaxy-to-become-highest-paid-player-in-mls on Friday. The article, which cited a person with knowledge of the negotiations, did not disclose terms of the deal for Hernandez but said the Galaxy will make Mexico's all-time leading scorer the highest-paid player in MLS.

Ex-White Sox RHP McDowell: La Russa had sign-stealing system

Former Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell added more nasty history to the sign-stealing scandal on Friday by going back to the 1980s and implicating former Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa, who is now a member of the Hall of Fame. McDowell, who debuted as a major league pitcher for the White Sox in 1987 but never played for La Russa, said the manager was responsible for installing a camera-aided sign-stealing system at old Comiskey Park.

  • Schiff proposes postelection 9/11-style commission to study coronavirus response
    Yahoo News

    Schiff proposes postelection 9/11-style commission to study coronavirus response

    Rep. Adam Schiff's proposal for a 9/11-style commission to study the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak would give the president the power to appoint the chairman, and would not begin its work until after the 2020 election in November. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was the central Democratic figure in the impeachment trial of President Trump in January, serving as the prosecutor. As a result, his political profile has greatly increased but has also become much more sharply partisan.

  • As coronavirus ravages Spain, doctors get a grim order on 'futility of care' for the very old and very sick
    Yahoo News

    As coronavirus ravages Spain, doctors get a grim order on 'futility of care' for the very old and very sick

    On Thursday, a gray and gloomy day in Barcelona — normally sunny and festive this time of year — residents awoke to unsettling news. According to regional newspaper LaVanguardia and other sources, a document circulated by the health department of Catalonia — the northeast region of Spain that has Barcelona as its capital — recommends that emergency teams and health care workers stop using ventilators for patients older than 80, and further recommends that extremely ill victims of COVID-19 be allowed to die at home rather than being taken to the hospital.

  • Revealed: food bank shortages expected to hit Washington state by mid-April
    The Guardian

    Revealed: food bank shortages expected to hit Washington state by mid-April

    Agencies and organisations tasked with feeding children, the poor and the elderly in Washington state during the coronavirus crisis will experience shortages of food and supplies as early as mid-April, according to state government emergency planning documents obtained by the Guardian. A 27 March situation report (SitRep) document produced by the Unified Command of Washington's State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) projects that a combination of acute demand at food banks and schools, supply problems for food and cleaning supplies, plus staffing shortages, will mean government and NGOs will struggle to provide for hungry people whose incomes have disappeared as the state's economy stutters. This raises the prospect of food bank shortages in Washington but also nationwide, as food banks across the US are being increasingly utilized by unprecedented numbers of people in an economy that has been abruptly slowed to fight the spreading pandemic.

  • Fact check: No, coronavirus did not lower the death rate in Chicago
    USA TODAY

    Fact check: No, coronavirus did not lower the death rate in Chicago

    It's a debate of particular significance to cities like Chicago, which has experienced high levels of violent crime. As of April 1, the virus has sickened over 3,000 people in Chicago and killed 39 — even as Illinois officials attempt to contain the spread through a stay-at-home order. "In Chicago, Covid-19 actually LOWERED the death rate," the post stated, over a background of laughing emojis.

  • Lebanon repatriates nationals in rare flights despite virus
    AFP

    Lebanon repatriates nationals in rare flights despite virus

    Lebanon on Sunday started repatriating nationals who were stranded abroad in its first flights in weeks since it closed its international airport to stem the novel coronavirus. The first of four planes touched down at the Beirut international airport late in the morning bringing in 78 passengers from Riyadh, local television reported. A second carrying 79 passengers from Abu Dhabi followed in the afternoon, the National News Agency said.

  • Coronavirus: Germany and France accuse US of taking face masks as international tensions rise
    The Independent

    Coronavirus: Germany and France accuse US of taking face masks as international tensions rise

    Germany and France have accused the US of taking face masks already ordered by Europe as the coronavirus pandemic continued to cause rising international tensions. Politicians in Berlin and Paris both said America had been using unfair means to undermine their own attempts to secure personal protective equipment. A city leader in Paris, meanwhile, said unidentified Americans had paid excessive prices to secure Chinese-made masks that had already been ordered by France.

  • North Korea's official coronavirus count: Zero. Why that claim is hard to believe
    LA Times

    North Korea's official coronavirus count: Zero. Why that claim is hard to believe

    If the country is to be believed, North Korea is one of maybe a dozen nations not yet invaded by a deadly virus that has spread across the globe from remote islands in the South Pacific to outposts nestled high in the Pyrenees or the Greater Himalayas. China, its erstwhile backer and most important trading partner, has more than 80,000. As recently as this week, a state health official rebuffed suspicions that the country was being less than forthcoming about its coronavirus situation, telling foreign reporters in Pyongyang that not a single person had come down with COVID-19 thus far.

  • China honors virus victims with 3 minutes of reflection
    Associated Press

    China honors virus victims with 3 minutes of reflection

    With air raid sirens wailing and flags at half-staff, China held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection on Saturday to honor those who have died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic. Commemorations took place at 10 a.m. in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, the industrial city where the virus was first detected in December. Wuhan was placed under complete lockdown on Jan. 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and has been lauded as a “heroic city” by the nation's communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.

  • 27 Best Home Office Decor Ideas to Keep You in the Zone
    Architectural Digest

    27 Best Home Office Decor Ideas to Keep You in the Zone

    Work from home and keep your sanity with these decor ideas that will help Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

  • Coronavirus: Trump says teenage son Barron ‘isn’t as happy as he could be’ as quarantine frustrations hit White House
    The Independent

    Coronavirus: Trump says teenage son Barron ‘isn’t as happy as he could be’ as quarantine frustrations hit White House

    Donald Trump offered a rare personal insight into the life of his 14-year-old son Barron Trump and how he is faring in quarantine during his latest White House briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. Mr Trump was later asked about his own youngest child, forced into isolation like millions of others across the US. Despite the starkness of his opening remarks, in which the president warned that the pandemic is approaching its peak and “there will be a lot of death, unfortunately... There will be death”, he swiftly returned to making the case for reopening the US for business, whatever the risk of worsening the spread of the Covid-19 contagion.

  • 3M pushes back at Trump over order to produce more face masks
    Yahoo News Video

    3M pushes back at Trump over order to produce more face masks

    Manufacturing giant 3M pushed back Friday against criticism from President Trump over production of face masks that are badly needed by American health care workers.

  • Boris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds suffers coronavirus symptoms
    The Telegraph

    Boris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds suffers coronavirus symptoms

    Boris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds has revealed she has "spent the past week in bed" after suffering coronavirus symptoms but is now recovering. Shortly after his announcement, Ms Symonds - who usually lives with the Prime Minister in the Number 11 flat - shared a photograph of herself self-isolating in Camberwell, south London, with the couple's dog Dilyn. While pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract coronavirus than the general population, pregnancy itself alters the body's immune system and response to viral infections in general.

  • 1st federal inmate to die of coronavirus wrote heartbreaking letter to judge
    NBC News

    1st federal inmate to die of coronavirus wrote heartbreaking letter to judge

    The man, Patrick Jones, had been locked up for nearly 13 years on a nonviolent drug charge. “I feel that my conviction and sentence was also a punishment that my child has had to endure also and there are no words for how remorseful I am,” Jones wrote to U.S. District Judge Alan Albright in a letter dated Oct. 15, 2019. Jones had been arrested in 2007 after cops found 19 grams of crack and 21 grams of powder cocaine inside the apartment he shared with his wife in Temple, Texas.

  • Drive-by blessings in virus-hit Philippines
    AFP

    Drive-by blessings in virus-hit Philippines

    Priests delivered blessings from the back of trucks and motorised tricycles in the Philippine Sunday, adapting the deeply Catholic nation's traditions to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Locals lined up in front of their homes in a district of Manila, which is entering its fourth week of a lockdown that has brought the frenetic metropolis nearly to a halt. The priests made signs of the cross as they rolled past waving residents marking Palm Sunday, the start of the week that culminates with the observance of Easter.

  • Tokyo area sees daily coronavirus cases topping 100 for first time: NHK
    Reuters

    Tokyo area sees daily coronavirus cases topping 100 for first time: NHK

    Some 118 people were newly infected with the novel coronavirus in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, NHK public broadcaster reported on Saturday, citing metropolitan government officials. It marked the first time that daily confirmed cases exceeded 100 in the Tokyo area, bringing the number of confirmed cases there to 891, NHK said. Tokyo's metropolitan government has strongly urged people to stay at home at the weekend as the mega-city faces a rising number of cases and as speculation simmers that Japan may declare a state of emergency, leading to lockdown.

  • Coronavirus live updates: Cloth masks in public now recommended; US death toll passes 7,100; nation lost 701K jobs in March
    USA TODAY

    Coronavirus live updates: Cloth masks in public now recommended; US death toll passes 7,100; nation lost 701K jobs in March

    Health authorities changed their position Friday on the widespread use of non-medical masks and federal emergency workers say they are working around-the-clock to meet demand for medical supplies in an increasingly deadly COVID-19 outbreak in New York. "So it's voluntary, you don't have to do it," President Donald Trump said of the recommendation for wearing masks. Also Friday, a record streak of job growth in the United States ended as the Labor Department said over 700,000 jobs were lost in March, showing the widespread economic impacts of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

  • Experts are questioning China's reported coronavirus case and death counts. Here's why it's so important to get the data right.
    Business Insider

    Experts are questioning China's reported coronavirus case and death counts. Here's why it's so important to get the data right.

    US intelligence, the UK government, and some Wuhan residents reportedly say China has underreported its coronavirus cases and deaths. US officials say that inaccurate data may have hampered their ability to respond effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak. The first epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, Wuhan, China, is finally declaring victory over the virus and beginning to allow its residents to emerge from their homes.

  • Biden to name VP vetting team, thinking about Cabinet makeup
    Associated Press

    Biden to name VP vetting team, thinking about Cabinet makeup

    Joe Biden said Friday that he will announce a committee to oversee his vice presidential selection process and is already thinking about whom he'd choose to join his Cabinet. Biden, who holds a significant lead in delegates over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race but has yet to officially clinch the nomination, also said he's spoken to Sanders to let him know he'd be proceeding with the vice presidential vetting process. Biden, a former vice president himself, has previously committed to choosing a woman as his running mate.

  • Trump defends firing ‘terrible’ intel community watchdog as Republicans question sacking
    Politico

    Trump defends firing ‘terrible’ intel community watchdog as Republicans question sacking

    President Donald Trump on Saturday defended his decision to fire the intelligence community's top watchdog, calling the sacked official a “total disgrace” over his handling of a whistleblower complaint that led to the president's impeachment. “He took this terrible, inaccurate whistleblower report and he brought it to Congress,” Trump added. The initial report was largely corroborated by witnesses testimony and the summary describing Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine, which was the subject of the whistleblower complaint.

  • Coronavirus: Russian ventilators shared with US were built by company on Trump's sanctions list
    The Independent

    Coronavirus: Russian ventilators shared with US were built by company on Trump's sanctions list

    A delivery of ventilators, transported from Moscow to New York this week to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic, were manufactured by a Russian company that is currently subject to US sanctions. NBC News reports that as the boxes of desperately needed ventilators were unloaded at New York's John F Kennedy Airport, they were discovered to be a model of ventilator called the 'Aventa-M' — manufactured by the subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian firm. Russian media group RBC identified the manufacturer as Ural Instrument Engineering Plant (UPZ), based in Chelyabinsk, almost 1,000 miles east of Moscow.

  • Why wear face masks in public? Here's what the research shows
    The Conversation

    Why wear face masks in public? Here's what the research shows

    With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores. But can these masks be effective? President Donald Trump, in announcing the change in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on April 3, stressed that the recommendation was voluntary and said he probably wouldn't follow it.

  • Mexico murder rate reaches new high as violence rages amid Covid-19 spread
    The Guardian

    Mexico murder rate reaches new high as violence rages amid Covid-19 spread

    Photograph: Sergio Maldonado/Reuters Mexico s homicide rate raced to a new record in March, as violence raged even as Covid-19 spread across the country and authorities urged the population to stay home and practise social distancing. Mexico registered 2,585 homicides in March – the highest monthly figure since records began in 1997 – putting 2020 on track to break last year's record total for murders. The surge in killings comes as federal and state officials put resources into containing the Covid-19 crisis and confront the prospect of an already sluggish economy falling even further – potentially deepening the misery for the more than 40% of the population living in poverty.

  • Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirus
    AFP

    Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirus

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel's novel coronavirus outbreak. "In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities," Netanyahu's office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.

  • Indian state authorities warn coronavirus lockdown could be extended
    Reuters

    Indian state authorities warn coronavirus lockdown could be extended

    Authorities in some India states warned on Saturday that lockdowns to rein in the coronavirus pandemic could be extended in parts of the nation as the number of domestic coronavirus cases rose above the 3,000 mark. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a three-week lockdown of India's 1.3 billion people on March 24 to avert a massive outbreak of infections. But the world's biggest shutdown has left millions without jobs and forced migrant workers to flee cities to their villages in search of food and shelter.

  • Driver who said woman coughed on his bus has died of coronavirus
    USA TODAY

    Driver who said woman coughed on his bus has died of coronavirus

    A Detroit bus driver, who complained and warned in a Facebook video post about the dangers of the coronavirus, has died. Jason Hargrove died Wednesday night of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to Glenn Tolbert, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26. Tolbert, reached at home late Thursday, said he also had tested positive hours earlier and felt sick.