Monthly Archives:June 2019

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World No.

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1 Serena Williams has the chance to make Hopman Cup history after regaining her winning mojo to power the US into Saturday’s final of the mixed-teams event.

Needing to win their tie against the Czech Republic 3-0 in order to qualify for the decider, the US shot out to a 2-0 lead following singles wins to Williams and John Isner.

Williams overcame the wobbles in the second set to beat Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (8-6), before Isner defeated Adam Pavlasek 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 at Perth Arena.

The Czech Republic only needed one rubber win to reach Saturday’s final, but the US pipped them courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 triumph in the mixed doubles.

Williams now has the chance to become the first person to win three Hopman Cup titles, with the US to take on either Poland, France or Great Britain in the final.

“It would really mean a lot for me to come out and to do well and win the event,” Williams said.

“I’m excited because our backs were against the wall. We play well under pressure.”

The 18-time grand slam champion complained of fatigue in her recent matches against Eugenie Bouchard and Flavia Pennetta, but the 33-year-old felt energised on Thursday night.

“I have an ache here and there, but physically I feel like I can run a 10km,” Williams said.

“It feels so much better than I did a couple of days ago. I feel really good now.

“I feel like I’m getting back in the groove. I’m not moving as well as I was last year. But I’m going to try to improve that. I know I can. I’m getting there.

“I needed that win. I was over losing to her in Perth. It feels really good to get through that.”

Williams banged her racquet in frustration during the second set of her singles win, but her fighting spirit spurred her on during a see-sawing third set.

“I just never give up,” Williams said.

“I have been through so much in my life and on the tennis court, I just keep fighting and just keep doing the best that I can and just keep going for it.”

Isner served 20 aces during his 67-minute demolition of world No.239 Pavlasek.

The big-serving American was full of praise for Williams’ efforts.

“That was one of the best singles games I’ve ever seen,” Isner said.

“She did her job. I was sweating bullets in the locker room watching.

“But then I was able to win my match and then win the mixed doubles.”

The Ivory Coast midfielder joins Samuel Eto’o as the only players to win the continent’s top individual award four times but only Toure has done it in successive years, starting in 2011.

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His latest triumph came ahead of two other finalists, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, in a poll of the coaches and captain’s of Africa’s national teams.

“I’ve been very blessed all these years,” Toure said at the ceremony. “I want to thank all the football fans and say ‘Thank you Africa’.” Toure’s award comes on the back of his stellar performances for Manchester City in the Premier League rather than his achievements with the Ivory Coast.

The Ivorians failed to reach the second round at last year’s World Cup in Brazil and struggled through the qualifiers for the 2015 African Nations Cup.

The 31-year-old Toure scored in Manchester City’s League Cup final win over Sunderland in March and notched 20 goals in helping his side regain the Premier League title, a feat for a midfielder that only Frank Lampard had managed before him.

However, Toure suffered heartbreak in Brazil when the Ivory Coast were denied progress from their World Cup group by a last minute Greece goal. He captained the Ivorians in two of their three games ahead of Didier Drogba.

Toure will lead the team at this month’s African Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea.

He had won the award ahead of Seydou Keita (Mali) in 2011, Drogba in 2012 and John Obi Mikel of Nigeria in 2013. Aubameyang and Enyeama were finalists for the first time at the 2014 awards.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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NEW YORK (AP) – Apple is turning its retail stores into art galleries featuring the work of professional photographers and other artists who use iPads, iPhones and Mac computers to create.

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Travel photographer Austin Mann used an iPhone 6 to take otherworldly panoramic photos of an Icelandic glacier.

Mann, who recalls mowing lawns as a young high school student to save up for his first, bright green iMac in 1998, says his use of an iPhone and high-end cameras is “split pretty even” when it comes to professional work.

“In the photography industry especially, when you are getting started you are always seeking gear, ‘If I could only get this $1000 lens’,” he says.

Using just an iPhone to take great photos encourages people to “shift away from focusing on gear and equipment”.

Apple commissioned the work of 12 artists at various stages of their career to create works meant to inspire. Showcasing the people who use its technology – in this case, painters, photographers, filmmakers and other visual artists – is a shift for a company long focused on making its products front and centre.

The artwork, done on iOS devices and Macs using various apps, is displayed on Apple’s website as part of an ad campaign called “Start something new”.

And the California-based company is replacing all product signage in its retail stores with the artwork.

Just as technology has transformed the way we work and interact with one another, it has also changed the way we create. For painter Roz Hall, that’s meant shifting away from the canvases and acrylic paint he started out using in art school to an iPhone app called Brushes.

After not painting for many years, Hall in 2010 read about a group of artists who started using their iPhones and sometimes iPads, which had just come out.

“I had an iPhone at home and I downloaded the Brushes app,” he says. “That was a wonderful, simple application.”

It was also challenging. When he painted on a canvas, he painted life-size works. Painting on a 3.5 inch-screen was an entirely different thing.

“What I liked about it was that there was no set-up,” Hall says. With all the prep work that comes with traditional painting, he says, “by the time you have everything out the moment has (often) passed.”

Hall, whose website lists exhibitions in cities from San Francisco to New York to Shanghai, says he has not painted traditionally for many years.

And he prefers painting on the iPad to using a traditional computer. Using the app Procreate to paint with his fingers on the iPad, “you don’t feel like you are fighting a computer to create your art. You feel connected to the artwork”, he says.

“When I first used an iPad, it made me think of cave paintings, or when a child first paints using their finger.”

While some artists may look at digital painting as “cheating” – after all, you can delete mistaken brush strokes – Hall, who lives in Britain, thinks it actually makes artists more daring.

“If you spent STG50 on canvas and another STG50 on paint, at some point you are going to get careful. You don’t want to waste what you spent,” he says.

For Apple’s display, Hall used Procreate to paint portraits of people he encountered at the university where he lectures.

They include a bearded, moustached young man with bright yellow glasses and an intense stare, and a woman in a floppy black hat lost in thought.

Alistair Taylor-Young, whose photography career spans two decades and has shot for fashion icons such as Armani and Fendi and magazines ranging from Conde Nast Traveller to French Vogue, took photos of rainy cityscapes with the iPhone 6 for Apple’s project. “Crystal Mosaic” uses the phone’s own camera app to bring drops of rain on glass into focus, showing ordinary scenes through a different perspective.

Taylor-Young bought an iPhone in 2007, when they first came out. Having worked with Polaroid cameras early in his career, he found the quality of the original iPhone’s camera very similar.

“It was quite soft and the colours were muted and distorted,” he says.

“The moment I picked up the phone and started taking pictures, it reminded me of photography in its infancy. You couldn’t focus, change exposure. You just saw something and took a photo.”

The quality of phone cameras has certainly improved in the last several years. But more importantly, the ease of use and always-in-hand nature of a smartphone camera has in many ways democratised photography, encouraging anyone to make a photo diary of daily moments, not just special events or trips.

“Digital hasn’t made any nicer pictures,” Taylor-Young says. “But they have opened up the world to people who would have not necessarily thought of taking pictures, or sharing them.”

Office workers stood shoulder to shoulder, buses and metros halted, and only the toll of bells and sound of weeping broke the silence as France honoured the 12 people massacred at Charlie Hebdo magazine.

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“Charlie will be free!” cried a woman joining a large crowd in front of Paris’ medieval Notre Dame cathedral a moment before noon on Thursday when the country observed a national minute of silence.

Among the hundreds gathered on the ancient square, many were in tears or stood with their eyes closed, while some prayed and a long line formed to enter the cathedral for a special memorial Mass.

Across the city, at the major rail station of Saint-Lazare, staff called on travellers and workers to pause at midday. “We must stick together and save our freedom of speech,” said Julie, 37, who works for the national SNCF rail company.

Another Paris icon, the Eiffel Tower, was to dim its lights at 8pm.

Charlie Hebdo: Thousands turn out for Melbourne, Sydney vigils

Ten people at Charlie Hebdo — including the chief editor and renowned cartoonists — were gunned down on Wednesday by two men who shouted they were taking revenge for the magazine’s repeated publication of cartoons widely seen as insulting to Islam.

Two policemen were also shot, one of them finished off at close range as he lay wounded on the sidewalk.

Shocked politicians led by President Francois Hollande were seen on television taking part in the minute of silence.

Sorrow and fear spread through a country that has long prided itself on freedom of expression, but which for decades has struggled to integrate its rapidly growing Muslim population.

In Bordeaux, capital of France’s most famous wine growing region, mourners gathered late into the night and continued to come by early Thursday leaving candles, flowers, inscriptions of support and old copies of Charlie Hebdo at a makeshift memorial.

In Nantes, in western France, a young man at a similar memorial was in tears, bearing the words “Je suis Charlie” or “I am Charlie” on his black T-shirt.

The phrase has gone viral at impromptu demonstrations and in social media campaigns over the last 24 hours, even featuring at a demonstration of several hundred people on the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

“They wanted to kill Charlie Hebdo, but they made it immortal,” the man in Nantes said.

In the neighbourhood where the Charlie Hebdo offices are located, Herve Roch, the father of two, said he’d told his children, “that evil people came to do bad things and the police would catch them.”