U.S. military brings back remains from World War II battle of Tarawa

HONOLULU – The U.S. military has brought back the remains of more than 20 servicemen killed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

An Air Force cargo plane flew the remains from Tarawa atoll in the remote Pacific island nation of Kiribati (KEE-ree-bas) to Hawaii on Wednesday. Marines carried flag-draped caskets off the plane for a ceremony.

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The remains are among those discovered in March by History Flight, a nonprofit organization that searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen lost in past conflicts.

They’re believed to belong to Marines and sailors from the 6th Marine Regiment who were killed during the last night of the three-day Battle of Tarawa. More than 6,000 Americans, Japanese and Koreans died.

Forensic anthropologists with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will work to identify the remains using dental records, DNA and other clues.

Ex-Liverpool striker Sturridge given six-week ban over betting

Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been handed a six-week suspension from football and a £75,000 fine for breaching betting regulations, the Football Association has announced.

An independent regulatory commission found that Sturridge, capped 26 times by England, had instructed his brother to bet on a possible move to Sevilla during the January 2018 transfer window.

Nine of the 11 charges against the striker were dismissed but the FA is appealing against the decision as well as the sanctions handed down to Sturridge, who is free to resume his career on July 31 as four weeks of his ban are suspended.

A statement from the FA said: “The regulatory commission found proved charges 3 and 4, which alleged that, in that same transfer window, Mr Sturridge had instructed his brother, Leon, to bet on a possible move by him (Daniel) to Sevilla FC.

“In issuing that instruction, the regulatory commission found that, as a matter of fact, Mr Sturridge had provided his brother with inside information for that purpose.

By way of sanction, the Regulatory Commission imposed on Mr Sturridge a six-week suspension from participation in any domestic football matches (including friendlies), such suspension being effective from 17 July 2019.

“Four weeks of that ban have been suspended until 31 August 2020, meaning that Mr Sturridge will be able to resume participating by 31 July 2019 in the event he commits no further breaches of FA Rule E8.

“In addition, the Regulatory Commission imposed a fine of £75,000 on Mr Sturridge.

“The FA respectfully disagrees with the regulatory commission’s findings and will be appealing against the charges which were dismissed and the sanction which was imposed.”

Sturridge ended up switching to West Brom for the second half of the 2017-18 campaign after a move to LaLiga side Sevilla broke down.

The 29-year-old is currently without a club after being released by Liverpool at the end of last season, having scored 67 times in 160 appearances during his six-and-a-half year spell at Anfield.


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Liverpool legend tells Klopp to buy reported Man Utd target

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol thinks Jurgen Klopp should buy Leicester City midfielder James Maddison as he would improve their starting XI.

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The Reds are unlikely to make any major additions this summer but could bring in replacements for Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno, who left on free transfers.

Despite that, Nicol – who played well over 300 times for Liverpool – thinks Klopp should be looking to bring in Maddison after the England international contributed seven goals and seven assists for the Foxes last term.

“Maybe a starter, for me [he would be] a starter, James Maddison,” Nicol told ESPN.

“He’s a player who does, in my opinion, all the things that Klopp wants his middle three to do right now.

“You put him in the middle. I’d suggest because Jordan Henderson’s the captain right now it’d have to be ahead of Gini Wijnaldum.

“I think Wijnaldum starts right now because he has a goal or two in him but for me, Maddison would take over that because he has a goal or two in him [as well].

“He’s a guy that gets around, does the hard work, can get from box to box and has an eye for a pass.

“You’ve got a player coming in [in Maddison] who makes the starting eleven better already.”

Maddison was linked by The Sun last month with a £60million move to Manchester United.


Journalist reveals ‘increased’ valuation of key Man Utd target

Manchester United will have to pay at least £54million to land Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes this summer, according to a journalist.

The Red Devils have pursued the Portugal playmaker all summer with a number of enquiries being rebuffed by Sporting.

There have been various conflicting reports in the Portuguese press over a deal for Fernandes but they all agree on one thing: a bid from United is imminent.

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And journalist Duncan Castles has claimed that Fernandes’ agent Miguel Pinho has told Sporting that United will make an offer this week.

“It’s welcome news to Sporting, whether it turns into the transfer that a lot of Manchester United fans are hoping for we will find out,” Castles said on The Transfer Window podcast.

“Sporting have been informed by Bruno Fernandes’ agent, his brother—in-law Miguel Pinho, that an offer will come in from Manchester United this week.”

On the new valuation, Castles added: “Sporting have retained their pricing on the player. In fact, they’ve slightly increased it I think, given this news from the brother-in-law, and they are saying that they will not sell the player for less than €60m [£54m].

“The flaw of course is that Miguel Pinho has been telling Sporting that an offer would be coming in from major clubs for several months now, so I think there’s a degree of scepticism at the Portuguese club that this offer will come.

“But they are ready to sell if the money is right and remain hopeful that they will be able to cash in on the player.

“As we’ve told you before, Fernandes is the figure in their squad that they identified as a player they wanted to sell this summer to raise cash, their most valuable player given the goals he scored last season, and they are ready to deal at the right price.

“I’m also told from the Sporting end that there is some interest from French clubs.

“Again, whether that transpires into a bid or not remains to be seen.”


The top (and only) ten Englishmen to have played in La Liga since ’92…

Kieran Trippier has now completed his move to Atlético Madrid, becoming the first Englishman to represent the club in its 116-year history. Although Danny Mills is worried he might “slip off the radar” in Spain (that well-known footballing backwater), to most of us it is refreshing to see an English player leave the Premier League bubble and have a crack at La Liga. There are 135 Spaniards to have played in the Premier League since its inception, but just ten Englishmen have played in La Liga in the same period, with varying degrees of success. Here we take a look at the ten who blazed the trail for Trippier…


10) Charlie I’Anson (Elche 2013-2014)
Probably the least familiar name on this list, Charlie (as he is mononymously known in Spain) was born in Luton but raised in Málaga after his parents moved there when he was a child. After starting his career at Grimsby Town, the defender returned to Spain to join Elche in 2012 at the age of 19. He made two appearances for the Alicante-based side after their promotion to La Liga in 2013, and to date these remain his only top-flight appearances. After leaving Elche in 2015, he had spells at Valencia B and Granada, and is now a key player for Real Murcia in the Segunda División B.


9) Mark Draper (Rayo Vallecano 2000)
When Draper fell out of favour at Aston Villa in 2000, his quest for first-team football took him to the slightly left-field destination of Vallecas. He played four times in an unremarkable loan spell for Rayo, scoring once, before returning whence he came. The most noteworthy episode of his short spell in Spain was his doomed attempt at speaking the local language. “Permiso, permiso” he would shout to his team-mates, believing he was asking them to pass him the ball. In fact, he was shouting “driving licence, driving licence”.


8) Patrick Roberts (Girona 2018-2019)
Manchester City’s perennial loanee Roberts spent last season at City Football Group-owned Girona, with the hope that competitive top-flight football would help with his development. In truth, it didn’t quite pan out like that. Roberts only managed six starts and emerged from the bench 13 times, but he failed to make the impact that he and his parent club would have desired, and didn’t register a single goal or assist as the Catalan side slipped to relegation.


7) Jermaine Pennant (Real Zaragoza 2009-2010)
Pennant elected to join Real Zaragoza in 2009, craving a fresh start after having been released by Liverpool. But as was so often the case throughout his career, poor performance and ill-discipline marred his time in Aragón. Punished by the club for turning up for training late three times in a fortnight, it was clear Pennant didn’t want to be in Spain, and he left the club for Stoke after one underwhelming season. His defining moment in Zaragoza was leaving his Porsche parked at the railway station for five months after forgetting he owned it. It’s by no means the worst thing he’s done involving a car, but it’s still pretty bad.


6) Stan Collymore (Real Oviedo 2001)
Just five years after becoming the most expensive English footballer ever, Collymore’s career had taken a sharp downturn amid periods of off-pitch controversy and struggles with mental health. He was transfer listed by Bradford City at the start of 2001 in an effort to reduce the wage bill, and found himself an unlikely new home in the north of Spain. Given a hero’s welcome on his arrival in Asturias, Collymore was unable to find form or fitness, and retired from football altogether just over a month after his arrival in Spain. He played just three times for Oviedo, and failed to trouble the scorers.


5) Jonathan Woodgate (Real Madrid 2004-2006)
Woodgate’s spell in Spain is the stuff of legend, but for all the wrong reasons. He was an unusual signing for Los Blancos at the height of the galáctico era, but he was an undeniably talented player who had the potential to be one of the best defenders of his generation. Unfortunately that potential was never realised in Madrid. It got off to an inauspicious start as he famously scored an own goal and was sent off on his debut, and it didn’t get an awful lot better as he spent most of his time at the club on the treatment table. Voted the ‘worst signing of the 21st century’ by readers of Marca in 2007, it is a shame that a man of his talents is remembered as a laughing stock in Spain, but there can be no denying that his spell in Madrid was not a happy time for El Woody.


4) Michael Owen (Real Madrid 2004-2005)
Owen looked like he would be a good fit when he followed England team-mate David Beckham to Real Madrid in 2004. Still just 24, he would be the fourth Ballon D’Or winner in the squad, alongside Luís Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo. But he found it difficult to break into that talent-laden side, and more often than not found himself on the bench. He still managed a respectable 13 league goals in his solitary season at the club, but his short spell in Spain can only really be viewed as a disappointment.


3) Vinny Samways (Las Palmas 2000-2002, Sevilla 2002-2003)
Samways was in a bit of a rut when he left Everton for Las Palmas in 1996. The Londoner struggled to settle in the north-west after his move from Spurs, and after a couple of loan spells in the old Division One, he was offered a permanent home in the year-round sun of Gran Canaria. He settled well and became a popular figure at the club, helping them back to the top flight and taking the captain’s armband along the way. After six years at Las Palmas, he moved to Sevilla where he played for a season alongside the likes of Dani Alves and José Antonio Reyes. He still lives in Spain to this day, and acted as a broker in the recent takeover of Las Palmas by an American consortium.


2) David Beckham (Real Madrid 2003-2007)
By far the most famous player on this list, Beckham was a key part of the ‘galáctico’ side that was assembled at great expense by Florentino Pérez. His performances in general were pretty good, but it was a relatively barren era for Real Madrid in spite of their massive outlay. Beckham won the club’s player of the year award in 2006, but was frozen out of the team in January 2007 after announcing he would be heading to LA Galaxy the following summer. His professional attitude in training gave manager Fabio Capello little choice but to recall him to the side, and his contribution proved vital to Madrid’s title-winning campaign – the only major title Beckham won in his spell at the Bernabéu.


1) Steve McManaman (Real Madrid 1999-2003)
Beckham may be the most famous Englishman to play in Spain in the modern era, but McManaman is the most successful. He arrived in Madrid on a free transfer at a time when the club was experiencing plenty of dressing-room disquiet, but he won the respect of his manager and team-mates for his professional attitude and impressive performances on the pitch. His consistency and bonhomie contributed to Madrid’s return to winning ways, and his haul of two La Liga titles and two Champions League winners’ medals is an impressive return from his four years in Spain.

Dan Bridges

Tokyo hopes to keep GSOMIA military information-sharing pact with Seoul, Foreign Minister Taro Kono says

SEOUL – In a newspaper interview published in South Korea on Wednesday, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono indicated Tokyo’s preference to continue a bilateral accord on sharing military intelligence with Seoul that is set to be renewed next month.

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Kono’s written interview, which was published by the South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo, comes amid mounting concern over the potential impact of worsening South Korea-Japan ties on the security cooperation accord between the two countries.

“The ties between the two countries are in a very difficult condition, but Japan will continue to cooperate with South Korea on the agenda on which it should cooperate, including the North Korea issue,” Kono was quoted as saying.

South Korea and Japan signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement, a military intelligence-sharing pact often shortened as GSOMIA, in November 2016.

The accord, which went into effect immediately, has since been renewed every year. But there are worries that it may not be renewed this time, as ties between the key U.S. defense allies in Asia have frayed to their most fragile condition in years.

The intelligence-sharing arrangement can be terminated if either party notifies the other of its intention to cancel the accord at least 90 days before the end of each one-year period.

Regarding South Korea’s position, the Dong-A Ilbo, another South Korean newspaper, reported Wednesday that the office of President Moon Jae-in has determined that South Korea should maintain the intelligence-sharing accord with Japan.

Last autumn, the South Korean Supreme Court ordered some Japanese firms to pay damages to Koreans who said they had been forced to work at their factories or mines in Japan during World War II. Japan views the issue of compensation as having been settled under a 1965 bilateral accord.

This month, Japan tightened export rules for several materials needed by South Korean companies to make semiconductors and display panels, prompting South Korea to accuse its neighbor of engaging in economic retaliation.

“It was South Korea that unilaterally broke a legal promise after over 50 years,” Kono said in the interview, referring to the 1965 agreement, under which Japan provided South Korea with $500 million in grants and loans.

The foreign minister added that the court rulings came as a “disappointment” not only to the Japanese government but also to many Japanese people who hope to maintain a good relationship with South Korea.

Kono also urged South Korea to agree to third-party arbitration as spelled out under the 1965 agreement to settle the dispute stemming from the court rulings. Japan has made the request, and Thursday is the deadline for South Korea’s response.

With regard to Japan’s recent export curbs against South Korea, Kono strongly denied the allegation that the tighter controls were retaliatory.

Kono said he is closely coordinating with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha, but did not clearly respond to a question about whether he thought the leaders of the two countries should have a summit to calm the situation.

Japan and South Korea had originally planned to sign the intelligence-sharing agreement in 2012, but South Korea, then under President Lee Myung-bak, postponed the process at the last minute, due to a surge in domestic opposition stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Four years later, on Nov. 23, 2016, the agreement was signed under Moon’s predecessor Park Geun-hye, in response to growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

School workshops that foster political engagement prove popular in Japan

Workshops at schools that use comedy or games to encourage young people to get involved in politics are becoming more widespread in Japan ahead of Sunday’s House of Councilors election, the third national poll to be conducted since the lowering of the voting age from 20 to 18.

The lecturers often incorporate entertainment aspects into the workshops to help students understand political issues more easily, in the hope of persuading them to go to the polls.

According to the internal affairs ministry voter turnout for teens stood at 46.78 percent in the 2016 Upper House election, in which people aged 18 and 19 cast votes for the first time ever. But young voter turnout fell to 40.49 percent in the 2017 election for the House of Representatives, the Diet’s lower chamber.

Nana Takamatsu, 26, a comedian and board director at Shokasonjuku, a Tokyo-based company that raises questions about social issues through comedy, has been holding workshops at high schools across Japan together with other comedians, aiming to convince students that they can change politics through casting their ballots.

Over 10,000 students have participated so far in the company’s workshops.

Example activities at the events include students engaging in policy discussions, by role-playing as corporate employees, or trying to identify who is the bad politician in a game based on werewolf, a traditional party game.

At one high school, voter turnout among third-year students topped 80 percent after the workshop was given.

“If everyone in their teens and 20s goes to the polls, they can exert a considerable influence,” Takamatsu said. “Because I believe that democracy would become rotten if people become too complacent about it, I want (the youngsters) to perceive not voting as a loss.”

Kosuke Furui, 24, a fourth-year student at Keio University, runs Poteto Media, an advertising agency specializing in politics.

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Through workshops that use playing cards or online games, the agency shows students that politics can be the solution to poverty or other problems that they cannot overcome on their own.

“The problem is that politics has moved away from young people, rather than young people moving away from politics,” Furui said. “I hope more policies focused on young people, such as making education free of charge, will be implemented.”

At a workshop held at a high school in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, students took a test that asked 10 questions about politics.

Kotone Kajiwara, 18, a third-year student at the school, said she had a hard time answering questions about elections as they were very difficult. But she also said, “I want to think hard and vote because people have the right to elect politicians.”

Teppei Enomoto, 17, also a third-year student, said the workshop made him eager to go to the polls. “I want politicians to bring the opinions of young people to politics,” he said.

£36m Man Utd-linked Brazilian set to undergo Arsenal medical

Arsenal are reportedly inching closer to a deal for Gremio’s Everton Soares as the forward is set to undergo a medical in Brazil ahead of a move to London.

The Gunners have intensified their pursuit of the Brazil international over the past month and appear to have finally struck a deal.

It is now reported that medics from Arsenal have on Monday boarded a flight to Porto Alegre to assess the condition of the star ahead of a €40m (£36m) switch to north London.

The move could be completed in the next few days with the player already confirming he’s unlikely to feature in the Copa do Brasil quarter-final against Bahia this Wednesday.

“Really. I do not know what can happen. I have a proposal. I cannot talk to the club,” he said.

“I do not guarantee that I will play against Bahia on Wednesday, we will see.”

These reports have been backed up by respected Brazilian journalist Sergio Araujo, who claims Arsenal have struck a deal for Everton, with the deal set to take a significant step closer if Gunners club doctors are satisfied.

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Fox Sports claim that a £36million fee has been agreed with Gremio, confirming that the medical is set.

Manchester United had also been linked with a move for the 23-year-old and had scouted him.


Man Utd 4-0 Leeds Utd: Pogba MOTM as rivals beaten

Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put Manchester United on course for a comprehensive pre-season win against Leeds in Australia.

Just 37 miles separate Old Trafford and Elland Road, but it was Perth’s mammoth Optus Stadium that played host to these sides’ first meeting since September 2011.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds showed flashes of quality but were eventually rolled over, with Man United winning 4-0 despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completely rotating his side at half-time.

A fine move involving the impressive Paul Pogba and new boy Aaron Wan-Bissaka led to 17-year-old Greenwood’s first senior goal, with Rashford doubling that advantage with a fine strike after a dizzying turn.

Rashford and Daniel James – so nearly a Leeds player in January – hit the post in the first half and United continued in the ascendancy after the break, with Phil Jones heading home before Anthony Martial slotted home a spot-kick in front of 55,274 fans.

The atmosphere and competitiveness was unlike most friendlies, which United follow by heading to Singapore to face Inter Milan – the side attempting to sign striker Romelu Lukaku.

The 26-year-old was again conspicuous by his absence after picking up a new knock on the eve of the game, but the striker was not missed in Perth.

Bielsa, who took his place on his trusty blue bucket after arriving Down Under on Tuesday, saw his side overawed for the most part, with Rashford hitting the woodwork inside two minutes.

Solskjaer’s side required just five more to open the scoring as Pogba’s defence-splitting pass found Wan-Bissaka, whose first-time cross was prodded home by Greenwood.

Pogba bossed the midfield in the first half and had several attempts to score, while Sergio Romero – in for the ill David De Gea – somehow kept out Patrick Bamford with his feet in a positive period for Leeds.

That spell jolted Man United into life. Greenwood went close before Scott McTominay surged forward and fed Rashford, whose stunning drop of the shoulder left Gaetano Berardi on the deck and was followed up by a cool 28th-minute finish.

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James hit the post after Rashford and Pogba linked up well, with Solskjaer’s side continuing strongly despite 11 half-time changes.

Andreas Pereira saw a shot from distance tipped over but Jones scored from the resulting corner after losing Kalvin Phillips to head home in the 51st minute.

Angel Gomes had an attempt as the match became a little stop-start, with the Leeds fans in fine voice despite seeing their side fall further behind.

Tahith Chong’s turn fooled Liam Cooper and earned a penalty that Martial dispatched in the 69th minute, sending Kiko Casilla the wrong way.

Jesse Lingard directed wide and tempers frayed following an Ashley Young challenge as United’s 100 per cent start to pre-season continued.


Police hunt for suspect after boy, 17, stabbed at Saitama home

SAITAMA – A 17-year-old male high school student was stabbed early Tuesday at his home in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, by a suspected intruder, police said.

The boy sustained wounds to his neck and other parts of his body, but the injuries were not life-threatening, according to authorities. Police said they had received an emergency call around 3:30 a.m.

When the police arrived at the boy’s house, the windows of his bedroom on the second floor were unlocked and they found footprints that do not belong to any of his family members on the balcony, according to investigators.

The 42-year-old father told the police he was in a different room of the second floor when he heard a scream from his son’s bedroom. The father had initially told the police that he was on the first floor.

He then saw his son running out of his room followed by a man in dark clothes, believed to be in his 20s or 30s and about 175 cm tall.

The two are living with a 33-year-old woman at the house and they were all sleeping on the second floor when the incident happened, according to the police.

Police are treating the incident as a case of attempted murder.