Springsteen’s E Street Band loses key figure with death of Clarence Clemons

NEW YORK, N.Y. – E Street will never be quite the same.

The death of saxophone player Clarence Clemons ripped a hole in Bruce Springsteen’s music and onstage life, taking away a figure who had served him loyally for decades and never failed to add joy to the E Street Band’s epic performances.

Clemons died Saturday at age 69, about a week after he suffered a stroke at his home in Singer Island, Fla.

It’s not the first loss for the rock world’s best-known and most accomplished backup band. Keyboard player Danny Federici died in 2008 of melanoma. Steve Van Zandt, Springsteen’s youthful friend and closest partner, left for several years in the 1980s and was replaced on guitar by Nils Lofgren. When Van Zandt returned, Lofgren stayed.

Yet Clemons’ loss cuts deeply into the soul of the band. His importance was acknowledged whenever Springsteen performed “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out,” when he sang, “We made that change uptown and the Big Man joined the band,” inevitably followed by a wail of Clemons’ sax and a roar from the crowd. The two men met in 1971 on the New Jersey bar band circuit, and when Springsteen released his debut album two years later, Clemons left a more successful outfit for a new Boss.

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Inevitably Clemons’ introduction was the climax every night when Springsteen presented the individual band members to the audience, accompanied by a variety of regal nicknames like “Master of the Universe” and “King of the World.”

“Do I have to say his name?” Springsteen would shout to the crowd.

“No!” came the roar back. He did anyway.

Last fall’s release of “The Promise,” which included a DVD of a 1978 Springsteen concert performance, underscored the central role of Clemons in the act. The two men were a marked physical contrast: a bedgraggled, slightly scrawny white guitar player and a 6-foot-5-inch, 270-plus-pound black man with a sax – known simply as the Big Man -who would be intimidating if he didn’t so often carry a smile.

They would stalk each other on the stage, staring with ferocious eyes, and play their instruments as they stood back to back, leaning on the other for support. They’d even kiss, their relationship sending a message of brotherhood, family and – given racial undertones – tolerance and respect for all.

The relationship was captured memorably with a giant photo of the two men on the cover of Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album.

Clemons was musically vital, too, particularly given the longer, structurally ambitious songs Springsteen was writing in the 1970s, a potent mixture of rock, soul, jazz and folk. Clemons’ sax kicked “Born to Run” into overdrive, and his solo was a key moment in the majestic “Jungleland.” He had a deep, booming voice not often displayed, although he added hearty “ho-ho-ho’s” during seasonal renditions of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”

Truth be told, Clemons’ role in the E Street Band diminished as the years went on. Springsteen’s simpler song structures left less space for the sax, and the instrument competed to be heard in a dense wall of sound anchored by three electric guitar players. Clemons would add maracas or tambourines to some of Springsteen’s compositions.

Clemons’ physical ailments also made him a less active presence onstage. He underwent spinal surgery last year after many years of back pain and spent time in a wheelchair after double knee replacement surgery.

Springsteen generously made accommodations for the ailments, installing an elevator on the stage set for when Clemons couldn’t negotiate the stairs, according to Caryn Rose and Glenn Radecki of the Springsteen website Backstreets. A throne-like golden chair was placed onstage for when Clemons needed his rest.

Clemons’ death is unlikely to bring an end to the E Street Band, which Springsteen alluded to in a statement posted on his website Saturday announcing the death.

“We are honoured and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly 40 years,” he said. “He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.”

But the loss leaves Springsteen with a real challenge moving forward. While Federici’s contributions were valued and respected, he was a back bencher, tied to the shadows of the stage and his replacement not a major issue for the casual fan.

Clemons was different, and his loss will inevitably change the onstage dynamic. The saxophone is such a major presence in Springsteen’s music that it’s difficult to imagine many of his songs being performed without it. They will be big shoes for anyone to fill.

“As long as we tell the stories, as long as we play the songs, the Big Man will always be with us,” Rose and Radecki wrote on Backstreets following Clemons’ death.

Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez resigns with team on long losing streak

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Through it all, Edwin Rodriguez kept his sense of humour. The Florida Marlins’ manager talked about ghost stories and the team’s hotel. He joked about moving the calendar ahead to July in hopes of escaping an awful June.

As it turns out, that long losing streak hurt more than he showed.

Rodriguez, the first Puerto Rican-born manager in major league history, unexpectedly resigned Sunday after less than one year on the job.

Bench coach Brandon Hyde managed the last-place Marlins as they dropped their 10th straight game, 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays. But the club will begin a search for an interim manager and potential candidates include 80-year-old Jack McKeon, the special assistant to the owner who led Florida to a World Series title in 2003.

Rodriguez said it was difficult to leave, given the “positive way the organization is moving, a new ballpark next season and the young core of players.”

“I can’t say enough about the effort that this staff and these players have put into this season,” he said in a statement released by the team. “I could tell that they continued to give 100 per cent effort each and every day on the field. I wish this organization and players nothing but success in their futures.”

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Rodriguez became interim manager June 23 of last year after Fredi Gonzalez was fired. He was given the job permanently five days later.

“It’s been extremely frustrating for everyone,” Florida president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “I think everyone here knows what is going on – the way we’ve played, the way we’ve performed. It’s tough on everyone, especially him.

“He communicated with me early this morning that this was something he was thinking about, and when I got to the ballpark we accepted his resignation.”

Florida went 46-46 under Rodriguez, who opened the 2010 season as the Marlins’ Triple-A manager in New Orleans.

“This was an extremely frustrated, proud man,” Beinfest said. “This kind of caught us a little off guard. I know there’s been a lot of speculation, everything, but this is not something I thought was going to happen today.”

The Marlins fell to 1-18 in June with Sunday’s loss to the Rays. Ace pitcher Josh Johnson is injured and star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, struggling through a miserable slump all season, also had been sidelined during a stunning skid that left the team 32-40 and last in the NL East.

Beinfest said the club would act quickly on an interim manager.

“So we can move ahead with the business of playing baseball and trying to win games,” he said. “When you have a change like this, with a popular person, I think it’s tough on a lot of people. You just need to go play baseball, and that’s first and foremost.”

Beinfest informed the players of Rodriguez’s decision during a team meeting before Sunday’s game.

Rodriguez was at the ballpark and talked with individual players in the manager’s office. He didn’t speak with reporters.

“It was surprising, I guess, but I think it’s more shocking,” infielder Wes Helms said. “Right now, nothing is going right for us. Right now, it’s all negative with the Marlins, that’s the way it is. It’s tough to swallow, it really is. I do know he did everything he could. We didn’t do our job as a team.

“I’m sure he had a lot of sleepless nights,” Helms added. “I can’t speak for him. … I’m sure it was just killing him or he wouldn’t have done it. There’s only so much you can take mentally and physically in anything in life. I’m just sure he had enough and couldn’t do it anymore.”

First baseman Gaby Sanchez said the players have to respect the decision.

“It’s definitely difficult,” Sanchez said. “We have to continue to play hard, go out there and keep fighting. The season is not over. It’s just one of those things where we have to move forward.”

The Marlins became the second big league team to change managers this season. Oakland fired Bob Geren on June 9 and replaced him with Bob Melvin for the rest of the season.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon believes Rodriguez was thinking about what was best for his team.

“He’s one of the nicest, most decent men I’ve met in this game, and it’s unfortunate that he has to feel the weight of this whole moment because it’s not his fault,” Maddon said. “He’s worked so hard to get to this point. They were doing so well a couple weeks ago. That’s the strange part about it. We just played them down there and they beat us two out of three. They were playing good baseball.”

Beinfest did not rule out additional changes.

“When you go the way we’ve been going, I think everything is on the table,” Beinfest said. “I’m probably on the table as well, and rightfully so. It’s been a very difficult period and I think when you go through these things you can’t rule anything out.”

Canada loses 13th straight at FIFA U-17 World Cup soccer tournament

PACHUCA, Mexico – Canada’s run of defeats at the FIFA U-17 World Cup was extended to 13 straight Sunday after a 3-0 loss to Uruguay in the tournament opener for both teams.

In five trips to the under-17 world soccer championship, Canada has yet to earn a point and has been outscored 45-3.

This Canadian side did not deserve to be lumped onto that ugly history. The Canadians showed flair against a well-organized South American side and had their chances but, as in pre-tournament friendlies, paid for their mistakes.

Two late goals made the scoreline seemed harsher that the game deserved.

Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau deserved a better fate, making several good saves, and had little chance on second-half goals by Juan Cruz Marcia and Guillermo Mendez.

Crepeau left on a stretcher in the 89th minute after being hurt in a collision with Marcia. Quillan Roberts replaced him and gave up a goal in injury time to Elbio Alvarez.

Uruguay’s opener came in the 52nd minute from Marcia, a highly touted striker who has already drawn the attention of Spain’s Atletico Madrid, on a sunny evening at Estadio Hidalgo.

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The goal came off an Alvarez corner that Canadian captain Bryce Alderson and Daniel Stanese failed to clear. The ball dropped at the feet of the Uruguay star who turned and fired it high into the net with his left foot from close range.

Defender Luca Gasparotto had let the ball run out, thinking it would be a goal kick but a corner was awarded instead. A replay suggested the ball had indeed come off the Canadian’s chest.

Gasparotto had a chance to redeem himself off a free kick in the 61st minute but his header was palmed over the bar by goalkeeper Jonathan Cubero. Keven Aleman also had a good chance in the 74th but was stopped by Cubero.

Mendez converted a penalty to make it 2-0 in the 85th minute. Canadian defender Adam Polakiewicz was booked on the play for bringing down the Uruguayan who was trying to get his own rebound after Crepeau stopped his header.

Uruguay, which finished second in South American qualifying, outshot Canada 21-7 (7-4 in shots on target).

This marks Canada’s fifth trip to the under-17 championships and first since 1995, having missing out on seven editions of the tournament before finishing runner-up to the U.S. in CONCACAF qualifying in February.

Canada hosted the tournament in 1987 and also qualified for the 1989 competition in Scotland, ’93 in Japan, and ’95 in Ecuador.

Uruguay had more of the possession in the first half with the Canadians looking to counter-attack. The South Americans outshot the Canadians 12-3 in the first 45 minutes but only 3-2 in shots on target.

Crepeau was called into action early parrying a hard shot from Juan San Martin in the seventh minute after Samuel Piette was dispossessed in his own half.

One minute later, the Canadians found themselves in disarray in their penalty box but the Uruguayans could not get a shot off in the mass of bodies.

A diving Crepeau stopped San Martin again in the 12th.

The Canadians responded with a nifty attack in the 14th minute but Michael Petrasso’s toe poke bounced off a defender. Petrasso had another chance soon after but he failed to get off a decent shot after a nice one-two with Sadi Jalali and Cubero easily gathered the ball.

Cubero stopped speedy Yassin Essa in the 33rd minute but the Canadian’s left-footed shot did not do justice to the buildup.

Alvarez forced a lunging Crepeau save in the 39th minute off a long-range, swerving free kick that was on target.

Crepeau had to be sharp to palm the ball away second later after a long ball found San Martin in the penalty box behind the Canadian defence.

Crepeau was called upon in the 50th, making a good stop off a Leonardo Pais shot following a long kick by the Uruguayan goalie.

Canada’s next game is Wednesday against England, which defeated Rwanda 2-0 in the other Group C game Sunday. Uruguay takes on Rwanda next.

In Group D play Sunday, the U.S. defeated the Czech Republic 3-0 and New Zealand downed Uzbekistan 4-1.

The 24-team tournament, the 12th edition of the under-17 world championship, runs through July 10 in the Mexican cities of Guadalajara, Monterrey, Morelia, Torreon, Pachuca, Queretaro and Mexico City.

The top two teams in each of the six groups and the four best third-place teams will advance to the knockout quarter-finals.

Airbus racks up orders and glitches at Paris Air Show, where rivalry with Boeing heats up

LE BOURGET, France – Airbus stumbled at the launch of the aviation industry’s premier event Monday as its star superjumbo clipped a wing and a gearbox glitch derailed a demonstration flight.

But the European plane maker and chief rival Boeing Co. quickly racked up orders for billions of dollars worth of aircraft at the Paris Air Show, heating up their race for the world’s lead in jet sales.

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Skyrocketing fuel costs and bleak forecasts for the international air transport market are driving purchases at this year’s show. Airlines are searching for cheaper and cleaner ways to fly, and star displays include biofuel and hybrid engines and a solar plane.

One star, Airbus’ superjumbo A380, was grounded after clipping a wing on a taxiway structure, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the company.

The plane suffered damage to its wing tip Sunday after the slow-speed collision with a building at the Le Bourget airport, where the world’s largest and oldest aviation showcase is taking place, spokesman Alexander Reinhardt, of Airbus’ holding company EADS, said Monday.

Airbus quickly found a replacement jet for demonstration flights during the air show, an A380 operated by Korean Air. But the planemaker is facing other setbacks.

The Airbus A400M military transport plane had to cancel a demonstration flight because of what the manufacturer described as a minor gearbox problem, although the aircraft made a fly-over during President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to the air show on Monday.

On Saturday, Airbus announced that two of the three versions of its new widebody jet, the A350, would be delayed about two years.

The stretched A350-1000 is being pushed back to 2017 to give engine supplier Rolls Royce time to develop a more powerful motor that will extend the jet’s range, Airbus said. The standard version of the plane, the A350-900, is still expected to arrive in the second half of 2013, Airbus said.

Airbus’ chief salesman John Leahy defended the delay, saying the revamped 350-1000 would best rival Boeing’s 777-300ER by flying 400 nautical miles further while burning 25 per cent less fuel.

“Yes we were supposed to come out in 2015, but customers said give us some extra performance and we can take the delay,” he said.

Airbus’ first big order Monday was from GE Capital Aviation Services, ordering 60 A320neo jets, a version of the workhorse jet revamped to be more fuel efficient.

Airbus has booked 390 orders and commitments for the A320neo since its commercial launch last December – even though it won’t come into service until 2015 – from airlines squeezed by higher fuel prices.

Boeing hasn’t yet chosen how it will respond, but top marketing executive Randy Tinseth said it would decide in the coming months whether to upgrade its existing 737 model or design a whole new plane, which wouldn’t be in the air until the end of the decade.

Qatar Airways announced an order for six Boeing 777 planes in a $1.7 billion deal at the start of the show Monday.

Airlines in fast-growing Asian and Middle Eastern countries have been ordering hundreds of new aircraft to meet fast-growing air traffic in those regions.

Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said at a news conference with Boeing officials that he regretted hearing of “significant delays” in Airbus’ A350 program. Qatar Airways is the launch customer for the A350, and is due to receive the first one in the second half of 2013. Half of the 80 A350s that Qatar Airways has ordered would be affected by the delay.

“This will dent our expansion and fleet placement program,” he told reporters. “It is very disappointing to us,” he said.

“Also we hope that the performances that they are today talking about is the right information and it will do what Airbus says that the airplane will do,” he said.

Boeing and Honeywell are both boasting of having the first biofuel-powered trans-Atlantic flight, with Boeing flying in its 747-8 freighter from Seattle on a mix of biofuel and jet fuel, while Honeywell touts the “green jet fuel” it developed to power a Gulfstream business jet that flew from New Jersey to Le Bourget.

EADS will also demonstrate the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid aircraft at the show, another leg in its strategy of cutting its fleet’s carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

Skyrocketing fuel costs are a major issue for Airbus and Boeing customers, who will see their profits plunge to $4 billion this year from $18 billion in 2010, according to the IATA forecast released earlier this month.

Given the fierce competition in the market, Sarkozy defended European governments’ support for France-based Airbus.

“Aviation is a strategic sector that the state should not lose interest in,” he said in opening the show.

Airbus edged out Boeing at last year’s Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K., racking up deals totalling $13.2 billion, while Chicago-based Boeing’s commitments came in at $12.8 billion.

Those results were a big improvement over the results of the last Paris Air Show in 2009, when many airlines closed their checkbooks in the wake of the global financial meltdown.

Going into next week’s event, Airbus has taken in 176 gross orders this year, compared to Boeing’s 183 gross orders.

Boeing is the world’s No. 2 commercial jet maker after Airbus, based on 2010 deliveries. Airbus delivered 510 commercial planes last year, compared with 462 for Boeing.

The International Air Transport Association last month warned that natural disasters in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and rising fuel prices would cause airline industry profits to collapse only a year after they’d begun to recover from the global economic crisis.

More than 2,100 exhibitors from 45 countries have signed up to take part in the weeklong event showcasing both commercial and defence aircraft. Airbus expects to bag bountiful orders for a new, more fuel-efficient version of its workhorse A320 shorthaul jet, while Boeing is spotlighting its new mid-range 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 intercontinental passenger jets.

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Sylvie Corbet at Le Bourget contributed to this report.

Residents in need of volunteers as waters rise

Despite still being forced from their cottages, residents in Lundar Beach and Sugar Point aren’t giving up fighting to save their lakefront property.

"it’s an untenable amount of water and we are doing our best, the rest is just crossing your fingers," said Claude Grenier, a cottage owner in Lundar beach.

Last week, waves just over six feet high forced dozens of people in the area out in just a matter of minutes.

So far, half a million sandbags have been trucked in to the RM of Coldwell. With only a handful of volunteers this weekend, many bags are still waiting to be put to use.

"We can only be here so much and we can only do so much during the day as it is we’re putting in hours and hours so we need help," said Sharon Jack, who also has a cottage in Lundar Beach.

Local flood officials say Lundar Beach and Sugar Point are in the best position to be saved, if they get help. Right now they don’t have enough and the lake just keeps rising.

"If you say the word desperate it means you’ve given up," said Ed Borchert, the EMO coordinator with the RM of Coldwell. "We have a great need and we need every hand that is willing to come out and help," he said.

Around 100 volunteers are needed every day until at least July. Last week government workers were brought in to help out.

Exhausted property owners know Manitobans have done their part this flood season, but they hope more will step up.

"More people loading pallets, more people hauling pallets, more people putting sandbags into these barrels or in front of these barrels, on creating dikes. It’s all needed," said Grenier.

With the exception of a garage, none of the cottages are damaged. That doesn’t mean residents are out of the woods and they won’t be for a long time.

"When the ice comes and breaks up and it comes in it can sweep these cottages off like you were rolling over trees and all this stuff will disappear," said Brian Sigfusson, the reeve of Coldwell. "The ice will pile on it and there is nothing you can do to stop it."

He said the lake has to be drop by at least two feet for the area to stand a fighting chance next spring.

If you’re able to help, you’re asked to show up anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Lundar Beach campground parking lot with rubber boots and gloves.

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Two faces of Milan: relaxed classic styles to sport-inspired eccentric, fanciful looks

MILAN – Classic styles with a relaxed feel permeated the Milan runways Sunday, the second day of menswear previews for next spring and summer.

Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo and Emporio Armani showed updated versions of the well-tailored summer silhouette, easy to wear and easy to pack.

Bottega Veneta and Armani both played with layers and ultralight fabrics. Ferragamo trotted out well-worn raffia hats and derby shoes, echoing a 1930s artistic look, and high-waisted trousers that are emerging as a trend for next summer.

Less beholden to tradition were Prada and Vivienne Westwood.

Minimalist Prada allowed herself to have fun, seeking inspiration in golf, of all things. What emerges is a colorful, upbeat pastiche that works on and off the golf course.

Britain’s Vivienne Westwood, thinking ahead to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, presented whacky T-shirts printed with Olympic icons, fanciful laurel wreaths and golden Greek sandals.

PRADA

Golf inspired Prada’s offbeat, whimsical menswear collection for next spring and summer.

“I was using golf as an excuse to make it eccentric. Even if I hate golf and don’t play, it is completely international,” designer Miuccia Prada said back stage after the preview menswear show Sunday evening.

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The motif, she said, allowed her to merge ideas and cultures, although the basic theme of the spring-summer 2012 collection was “Americana.”

Prada laid artificial turf for the show inside a cavernous industrial space in central Milan, just the thing for the riveted soles of the fringed golf shoes worn by the models – or were they caddies? Several carried floral printed or studded golf bags, with Prada-branded golf clubs.

Sporting cocky golf hats, the models seemed to enjoy themselves as they snaked down the grassy runway, to a lively remix of Cole Porter’s “Summertime.”

The collection was perfectly balanced, featuring whimsical comic book figures on shirts, trousers and jackets. A rodeo-style shirt with studded yolk featured cowboys on bucking broncos, teepees and dancing couples. Some trousers showed a miniature golfing tableau. A jacket was printed with musical figures, including a Rockabilly guitarist and a conductor in boxer shorts.

The backbone of the collection came in the well-tailored jackets, trousers and sweaters in neutral colours, from tan to black, that became the blank canvas for Prada’s whimsy.

FERRAGAMO

Sometimes an obsession is a good thing. At least if your name is Massimiliano Giornetti and you design clothes for the steeped-in-tradition Ferragamo label.

“I am obsessed with elegance and beauty,” said the new creative director of the Florentine brand famous for its shoes and scarves, after a much-applauded show.

His goal is to reinvent the classic Ferragamo silhouette and give it a fresh modern energy “step by step.”

The designer is certainly headed in the right direction with his spring-summer 2012 menswear collection unveiled Sunday.

Inspired by the compelling nonchalance of a 1930s artist – Pablo Picasso fits the picture – Giornetti creates a wardrobe which is elegant but never stuffy.

His summer man sports a double-breasted suit with a shirt in the same material and high-waisted trousers with pleats. He strolls through life wearing a frayed raffia hat, vintage shades, and classic Derby shoes that allow him to escape into his romantic world.

Styles flow one into the other. A jacket resembles a shirt, a dressing gown morfs into a loose-knit cardigan, and a pair of canvas shoes double as slippers.

Materials range from hemp to washed fabrics with a sun-bleached effect. Colors are quiet beige and ivory, pastel greys, and eclectic navy blue.

BOTTEGA VENETA

Though dressed in rumpled suits and clutching soft colorful leather bags, the Bottega Veneta man is no slouch.

The collection previewed Sunday for next spring and summer contained pattern upon pattern in light, easy-to-wear fabrics that give the impression of endless possibilities, including business meeting, pool-side party, or a seaside dash. Colors were deep tourmaline blue, chocolate and indigo, set off by pewter or beige.

The line of the Bottega Veneta suit is nearly unbroken. Deep blue patterned jackets flow into matching tapered pants that give a full view of lace-up shoes, sometimes in the same pattern. Only a zebra/coffee striped shirt, buttoned high, interrupts the flow.

For more formal wear, designer Tomas Maier preferred deep monochromatic gabardine suits in arresting peridot, espresso jolt and dive-deep turquoise. He broke up the line with an off-colour waistline – for instance, turquoise on peridot.

Suits with mandarin collars and short waistbands give the appearance of a single piece, in another era a jump suit. Think airplane mechanic, first class.

“I’ve always liked the idea of a coverall or jumpsuit, of one single piece of clothing that works for a man the way a dress does for a woman,” Maier said in notes on the collection. “But a tailored jumpsuit is impractical. So we started with the idea of an all-in-one and related it to a suit.”

EMPORIO ARMANI

The Emporio Armani menswear collection for next spring and summer was titled “Lightness.” It could just as aptly have been called “Motion.”

The collection previewed Sunday was a study in quiet motion. From the double-darted trousers, to the thin ties, the long loopy belts, the lightweight T-shirts and the long, open jackets, everything flowed in a gentle whisper.

Suits were layered with loose-knit cardigans, emphasizing the lightness of it all, on top of ultra-light T-shirts. Loose long jackets were nearly see-through, revealing the shape of the man. The colour scheme was sober and neutral in greys, putty and blue.

Digital prints were busy electrical currents or tiny synapses of light on sheer button-down blousons paired with matching T-shirts, or on the suits themselves.

In contrast to the lightness of the fabrics, shoes were either thickly soled or ankle-high boots, worn without socks.

The finale featured a cascade of barefoot boys wearing ankle-baring pleated pants cinched at the waist by thin tied leather belts and air-catching jackets over pale blue T-shirts.

Missing from the runway: shorts.

PRINGLE

They say good things come in small packages, and so it was for Pringle who put on a snappy eight-minute show filled with wooly delights.

Known for its iconic argyle prints favoured by British royalty, the Scottish knitwear company founded in the early 19th century, became a “must-have” label for women in the 1950s when it recreated the sporty twinset by weaving it in cashmere and pairing it with single string of pearls. Think Grace Kelly in her Hollywood heyday.

The scope of the company’s new design director, Briton Alistair Carr, who presented his first menswear collection Sunday, will reinvent the brand for the 21st century.

“I want to strike the balance between respecting and reinterpreting the Pringle of Scotland heritage,” the designer said in the fashion notes that accompanied the show.

The new knitwear comes in lightweight ribbed cashmere and cottons resembling corrugated stone, while the new argyle features extra large intarsias. Favorite colours are granite, navy, khaki and black with new age touches of acid green and industrial yellow.

Overall next year’s spring summer look is classic with an edge featuring high buttoned jackets, worn with pants or shorts, sleeveless sweaters with incorporated collars, and the latest jodhpur boot in trendy white and red.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

Britain’s Vivienne Westwood is gearing up for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

T-shirts were emblazoned with gold-embossed Olympic torches, iconic Greek athletic figures and printed Olympic medals draped around the neckline. They were worn with shorts, in pinstripes or Union Jack red, white and blue, with golden Greco-style sandals or bright red penny-loafers accompanied by knee-socks.

Westwood’s opinion of the Games is up for grabs: Olympic head wreaths were fashioned out of playing cards, and Olympic medals out of Coca-Cola cans.

The collection was not just about funky merchandizing. There also were outfits suggested for the events themselves.

Each has its own eclectic touch: One suit mixes and matches grey and tan plaids, a pair of trousers features an exceedingly convenient kangaroo-style pouch, and a shirt has the bodice of a T-shirt.

For a twist on eveningwear, tuxedos with an asymmetrical slant are worn with multiple strapped Mary Jane-style shoes or ballet shoes topped with bows.

For those who need time planning their wardrobes, the Games will be held from July 27 to Aug. 12, 2012.

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AP Fashion Writer Daniela Petroff contributed to this report.

Index

MILAN – There’s an inherent message in Burberry Prorsum’s menswear collection for next spring and summer. Slow down.

Designer Christopher Bailey isn’t trying to hit anyone over the head with the thought. It’s more by example.

CHICAGO – Medicare crises, looming doctor shortages, more patients without health insurance. And that doesn’t even count the big changes coming from a revamped health care system.

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It’s a troubling time for doctors as they gather for the annual American Medical Association meeting.

PHILADELPHIA – Martha Stewart’s media aspirations just got bigger: Meet Martha Stewart, comic-book heroine.

The woman who created her own media empire – television, magazines and more – is getting a biographical treatment in her own comic book next month.

ASCOT, England – Christina Osborne has a system for winning at Royal Ascot, the five-day horse racing event that is one of the highlights of England’s glittering if brief summer social season.

The American in London doesn’t bother with the odds, the bookies or the data-packed Racing Post. She just picks the horses with the cutest names.

TORONTO – Lots of rain in many parts of the country means that grass is growing like, well, a weed, and some Canadians may already be getting their fill of cutting it. But that doesn’t mean lawn mower operators should be lax when it comes to safety, which is still essential to help prevent injury.

Lawn mower accidents can cause serious injuries to legs, arms, fingers, toes or other body parts. Between 1990 and 2006, a total of 1,161 patients visited Canadian hospitals for lawn mower-related injuries, according to Health & Safety Watch.

VIDALIA, Ga. – They’ve started fistfights and court battles, been romanticized in country songs and counterfeited by bootleggers. Their trademark sweetness has made them a coveted ingredient in recipes from salads and relishes to cookies and muffins.

If a museum dedicated to onions sounds rooted in folly, the history behind the famous Vidalia onion can likely hold its own with other veggie shrines such as the Idaho Potato Museum, the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum in Minnesota and the tiny Carrot Museum tucked in a Rhode Island bed-and-breakfast.

OTTAWA – Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is confirming that she intends to further restrict the way medical marijuana is grown.

She wants to take individual growers and Health Canada out of the business of producing the drug, and instead grant licences only to commercial operations.

OTTAWA – Health Canada is reviewing the status of the diabetes drug pioglitazone after studies suggested the medication may increase the risk of bladder cancer.

Pioglitazone, sold in Canada under the brand name Actos as well as in generic forms, is used alone or in combination with other diabetes drugs to control blood sugar levels when diet and exercise have failed.

Nothing says summer like ice cream and these walnut ice-cream bonbons are a perfect treat that is sure to make kids and adults alike smile.

Lollipop sticks can be purchased at bulk stores.

Next time you arrive home from work feeling famished, this Thai tuna and quinoa dish can be ready in a snap.

Quinoa Thai Tuna

Devilled eggs are a classic accompaniment to summer picnics and barbecue. But they generally are loaded with fat and calories from the egg yolks and mayonnaise.

We set out to remake the filling to be flavourful, yet pack significantly less guilt. Egg yolks do have great nutritional value; the majority of an egg’s vitamins and minerals are actually found in the yolk. But along with those nutrients are plenty of fat and cholesterol.

ATLANTA – The gap in cancer death rates between college graduates and those who only went to high school is widening, the American Cancer Society reported Friday.

Among men, the least educated died of cancer at rates more than 2 1/2 times that of men with college degrees, the latest data show. In the early 1990s, they died at two times the rate of most-educated men.

ATLANTA – A new study shows one in four high school studentsdrink soda every day -a sign fewer teens are downing the sugary drinks.

The study also found teens drink water, milk and fruit juices most often – a pleasant surprise, because researchers weren’t certain that was the case.

OTTAWA – The federal government is poised to tighten the rules on medical marijuana so that only licensed private operators are allowed to grow it, The Canadian Press has learned.

Sources say Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq wants to take individuals and Health Canada out of the business of growing pot.

Yes, indeedy, that guy in the Porsche or other jazzy, high-priced set of wheels is definitely an eye-catcher. But any woman seeking a long-term relationship should let this dude keep on driving, no matter how tempting his ride makes him seem.

That’s because such flamboyant spending seems to be driven by the desire to have no-strings-attached romantic flings – not marriage or other committed partnerships, a series of four studies by U.S. researchers has concluded.

WACCABUC, N.Y. – “Try it. Go ahead, stick your finger in!”

The dollop of spicy hot-pepper paste is hard to turn down, coming as it does from the blender of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of the best-known chefs in the world, not to mention the owner of 31 restaurants and the man known for basically revolutionizing fine dining in New York.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The resort season is not a time for fashion to take a vacation. Resort collections, which hit stores during the all-important Christmas holiday shopping season, are a growing part of designer businesses as consumers move toward styles they can wear year-round.

The idea that people fully switch their closets between seasons is outdated, agrees Ken Downing, senior vice-president and fashion director for retailer Neiman Marcus. Shoppers want clothes they can wear the day they buy them, he says, and resort wear typically meets that demand.

OTTAWA – Stroke victims in Canada don’t get to hospitals quickly enough – and even when they do they can still wait hours for treatment, says a major study released Thursday.

The report by the Canadian Stroke Network suggests neither victims nor hospital staffs treat strokes as serious medical emergencies.

TORONTO – Almost 40 per cent of teens who answered a questionnaire about their sexual knowledge said the Internet is more useful than parents in providing this kind of information.

And almost one-quarter of respondents rated the Internet higher than their high school sexual education classes.

The goal was a simple chicken casserole that had the rich, satisfying flavour of a lasagna.

Actually, that’s a lie. The goal was a chicken roulade – a dish in which chicken breasts are pounded flat, then slathered or layered with some sort of filling, then rolled into a log and roasted or braised.

Royal Bank sells U.S. operations for $3.45 B to PNC Financial Services: report

TORONTO – Royal Bank of Canada has reportedly agreed to sell its money-losing retail banking operations in the United States to PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for $3.45 billion, a move that would finally bring an end to the bank’s foray south of the border.

The deal, first reported Sunday by The Wall Street Journal, is expected to be announced on Monday.

Analysts had estimated the bank’s potential valuation range between US$2.8 billion and US$3.7 billion.

RBC (TSX:RY) operates under the RBC Bank banner in the U.S. with more than 400 branches throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Pittsburgh-based PNC has more than 2,500 branches across 15 states and the District of Columbia.

National Bank Financial analyst Peter Routledge said the deal would be a positive for Canada’s largest bank.

He said Royal Bank has better opportunities for re-investing shareholder capital in its global wealth management and capital markets businesses.

“In both those segments, RY is comfortably profitable and enjoys relative competitive advantage,” Routledge wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

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“Regardless of the agreed price, the benefits of re-directing both capital and senior management, board time towards more shareholder-friendly growth strategies is an unequivocal positive for the bank.”

RBC chief executive Gordon Nixon recently said the bank was reviewing its U.S. options, including the possibility of selling some assets in the country, which is still embroiled in a housing market crisis amid continuing high unemployment.

Canada’s big banks have had mixed success with their ventures into the world of U.S. retail banking.

TD Bank bet big when it acquired its operations first with a majority interest in Banknorth and then consolidating its ownership in 2007. Since then the U.S. franchise has grown to more than 1,250 branches up and down the East Coast with deals for Commerce Bank in 2008 and South Financial Group in 2010.

And while Bank of Montreal started with a smaller franchise in the Chicago area _ similar to RBC’s investment in the U.S. southeast _ it has since doubled down with its $4-billion purchase of Milwaukee-based bank Marshall & Ilsley Corp.

Scotiabank has focused on the rest of the Americas, including the Caribbean and Latin America.

Royal Bank shares closed up 62 cents at $54.31 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.

Rep. Giffords and husband Mark Kelly returning to Houston after Father’s Day trip to Tucson

PHOENIX – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to Houston on Sunday after spending the weekend with her family in Tucson.

The visit was the Arizona Democrat’s first trip home since was shot in the head at a January political event. Six people were killed in the attack and 12 others besides the congresswoman were wounded.

Giffords boarded a private plane late Sunday morning after spending nearly two days in Tucson, Giffords Chief of Staff Pia Carusone told The Arizona Republic. Details of the visit by Giffords and astronaut husband Mark Kelly were being kept private at his request.

Kelly announced the visit in a news release Friday, and the couple and one of Kelly’s daughters arrived in Tucson that evening.

“We’ve been dreaming of this trip for some time,” Kelly said in a statement. “Gabby misses Tucson very much and her doctors have said that returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery.”

Carusone and Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin did not immediately respond to calls from The Associated Press on Sunday.

Giffords was released from a Houston hospital Wednesday and is set to start outpatient therapy. She had been in the rehab facility since late January, a few weeks after the shooting.

Giffords is now living in Kelly’s home in League City, a town 26 miles (42 kilometres) south of Houston. She will continue outpatient therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann, the same hospital where she underwent rehabilitation.

Giffords has been struggling to relearn how to speak and walk, and will be assisted by a 24-hour home health provider, according to a statement from the hospital.

Her alleged assailant, Jared Loughner, has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting. He has been at a Missouri prison facility since a judge declared him mentally incompetent to stand trial May 28. Mental health experts will try to make him psychologically fit.

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Fire rips through Venezuelan prison as gunfights between troops and inmates continue

GUATIRE, Venezuela – Fire ripped through a prison where thousands of Venezuelan troops struggled to put down a revolt by inmates on Sunday as dozens of horrified relatives tried to watch the fighting.

Officials gave few descriptions about the progress of the three-day battle at the Rodeo I prison and did not say if more people had been killed or injured beyond the three dead and 18 wounded reported on the first day of the clash. Gunfire continued to rattle from the compound.

Deputy Justice Minister Nestor Reverol told state television the pre-dawn fire was caused by a short circuit, and that inmates had been evacuated before flames engulfed a building. Some relatives outside said that prisoners with cellphones had told them troops started the blaze.

Evelyn Rodriguez, 27, climbed a nearby hill for a view and gasped when she peered through binoculars to see the prison blacked by the fire.

“My husband and my brother were inside that building,” Rodriguez said, trying to hold back tears. “I have no idea what has happened to them.”

The violence erupted in the El Rodeo I prison as troops searched for weapons, and has since extended to Rodeo II, an adjacent prison. A riot at El Rodeo I on June 12 left 22 dead.

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It was not clear how many inmates remained at the prison or how many were resisting the troops. Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said Sunday that at least 2,500 inmates had been transferred to other prisons.

A 5,000-strong security force, including 3,500 National Guard troops, was joined on Saturday by 400 soldiers from an elite army paratroop unit, according to officials.

Journalists from The Associated Press watched half a dozen armoured vehicles circle courtyards inside the compound on Sunday. Troops lined up along tree-covered hillsides surrounding the prisons and repeatedly fired volleys of tear gas canisters.

Gunfire erupted sporadically throughout the day.

Venezuela’s severely crowded prisons have suffered repeated violent outbursts as rival gangs often fight for control of cellblocks and sell weapons and drugs with the help of corrupt prison guards.

The country’s 30 prisons were built to hold about 12,500 prisoners but instead hold about 49,000, according to the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, a group that monitors prison conditions.

Last year, 476 peopled died and 967 people were injured in the country’s prison system, according to figures compiled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Human Rights Watch also said in a recent report that about three out of four inmates in Venezuela’s prison system have yet to be sentenced due to backlogs in the country’s slow-moving justice system.

Relatives and friends of prisoners complained on Sunday that authorities have not informed them if their loved ones are safe.

“This is a tremendous Father’s Day present they’ve given us,” Rodriguez said sourly.

No progress on the postal front as Canada Post strike-lockout continues

TORONTO – The weekend brought no movement on the postal front as negotiations remain stalled between Canada Post and its locked-out urban workers.

Both sides had said they were scheduled to meet, but face-to-face talks failed to materialize even as the dispute heads into a week where back-to-work legislation is likely to be tabled in Parliament.

Denis Lemelin, national president of the 48,000-member Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said he’s bracing for a federal order to head back to the grind.

“We expect the government will put forward something,” he said. “It’s like the real negotiation between Canada Post and the union is finished.”

Lemelin said the fact the government has indicated it might step in and “rescue” the post office in the labour dispute suggests Canada Post has been waiting for Ottawa to intervene ever since it locked-out employees last week.

Labour minister Lisa Raitt has said she intends to introduce legislation this week after all urban postal operations were suspended last Wednesday. Postal workers had been staging rotating strikes across the country since June 3 before they were locked-out.

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“We will fight it, that’s clear,” said Lemelin, adding that the union has been in talks with the opposition parties, looking for support.

“For us the back-to-work legislation won’t be any good for the future of the post office.”

Meanwhile, Canada Post said it is still eager to work out a negotiated settlement with the union.

“We’ve said all along we are committed to negotiating,” said spokesman Jon Hamilton. “We have come to the table with a sense of urgency that hasn’t been met.”

The Crown corporation said Sunday that there was still time to reach a deal without Ottawa stepping in if the union would look more closely at the existing deal on the table.

“The union strike activity had us in a death-spiral of uncertainty” said Hamilton. “We took action to try and move things forward, kick start the process, unfortunately we’re not seeing that in return from the union.”

The job action had already cost Canada Post $100 million in lost revenue.

The Crown corporation has said the main sticking point in the dispute is the union’s demand for staffing levels beyond the capability of Canada Post, adding that wages were not the key disagreement. The union has been emphasizing working conditions and safety issues, as well as arguing that new employees would receive inferior wages and pensions.

NDP Leader Jack Layton has already weighed in on the labour dispute and the potential legislation the House might have to deal with next week.

“When it comes to the legislation itself, we’ll read it, we don’t support the notion of forcing workers back to work, especially when it’s the government that has shut the doors of their work place,” he said Sunday at the party’s convention in Vancouver.

“What I believe the prime minister should do is open the doors to Canada Post. I don’t think it’s acceptable that a prime minister is allowing a Crown corporation that he controls to shut the doors of our postal service.”

Layton added that a negotiated settlement between the two parties would be the best way to resolve the dispute.

The union and Canada Post are scheduled to talk Monday.

Labour analyst Maurice Mazerolle said both sides will have to act fast if they want to reach a deal without Ottawa’s help as Raitt is unlikely to wait more than a week before passing legislation.

“I think the government is taking this very seriously,” said the co-director of Ryerson University’s Centre for Labour Management Relations, adding that the dispute had been handled well by both sides until the lock-out.

“My guess is the post office is betting that the government intervention will result in a better deal than one they could get with the postal union,” said Mazerolle.

Despite the lock-out, volunteer postal workers will be delivering social assistance and pension cheques next week.

Union workers also plan to stage a rally protesting back-to-work legislation in Ottawa Monday.

Canadians prepare to set sail for Gaza, call on Ottawa to denounce blockade

MONTREAL – A group of Canadians boarded flights Sunday to join a convoy of ships that is going to try to bring aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The group was planning to meet in Greece on Monday and join an international flotilla that is expected to set sail in the coming days.

Israel has indicated it will stop the ships from getting to Gaza, which is under a naval blockade.

Lyn Adamson, one of the 32 Canadians taking part, called on the federal government to support the mission and take a stance against the blockade.

A flotilla to Gaza last year ended in bloodshed, when nine people were killed and 45 injured after Israeli soldiers boarded a Turkish ship.

Adamson is concerned for the group’s safety but said passing on the trip would be “unconscionable.”

“It’s simply a humanitarian mission and we want to help the people in Gaza get back on their feet,” she said Sunday before boarding a flight in Toronto.

“Now the Israelis don’t seem to understand that and they have threatened many things… Our government should be standing up to them.”

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has called the convoy “provocative.”

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Manon Masse, another Canadian delegate leaving Sunday, said such comments are an attempt by the Harper government to turn attention away from the humanitarian goal of the mission.

“Of course we want to provoke, but not the Israeli army,” said Masse, a candidate for the leftist party Quebec Solidaire. “We want to provoke the international community and civil society to say to Israel: ‘Stop.’”

The Canadians say they are bringing medicine and medical supplies to the Palestinians, and are open to having the boats inspected by the United Nations or another third party group.

Israel, however, has vowed to prevent the flotilla from docking.

On Sunday, an Israel Navy commander extended a stern warning to organizers.

“The Navy has prevented and will continue to prevent the arrival of the ‘hate flotilla’ whose only goals are to clash with (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers, create media provocation and to delegitimize the State of Israel,” Adm. Eliezer Marom said during a graduation ceremony of members of Israel’s navy, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

The Canadians are to be joined on the 10-ship convoy by delegates from Australia, Belgium, Denmark and Germany.