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Impact have their chances but can’t break deadlock in 0-0 tie with Strikers

MONTREAL – Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush stopped seven shots to earn his first career shutout with the team, as the Impact battled to a 0-0 draw with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in North American Soccer League action Saturday.

In only his second regular season game with Montreal, Bush had to be at his best to stop the Impact from losing its third straight game.

He stopped a point blank shot from the Strikers’ Yoximar Granado from the corner of the 18-yard box in the 15th minute before blocking a hard shot from Abe Thompson on a breakaway in the 26th minute.

“It’s good to get the clean sheet, but we have to start finding ways to have the results we want, whether it’s scoring one or two goals,” said Bush.

While Bush was stellar the Impact finished with 13 shots and created numerous chances but were unable to beat Strikers goalkeeper Matt Glaeser.

“We can’t be satisfied with a tie at home when we had several good scoring chances,” midfielder Anthony Le Gall said. “It’s not usual to end a game like today without a goal. We did play hard throughout the game and it’s positive for the upcoming games.”

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The Impact nearly opened the scoring in the 12th minute when striker Mignane Diouf escaped on the right side following a long pass from midfielder Leonard Di Lorenzo. His shot was partially blocked by Glaeser, but with the ball rolling near the goal line defender Martyn Lancaster slid in to boot it away.

Montreal missed on another great opportunity in the 60th minute when Glaeser stopped Reda Agourram. Following a Di Lorenzo cross, Le Gall knocked the ball on with a bicycle kick and Agourram threw himself into a diving header but Glaeser made the save.

The Impact nearly stole the game in the 89th minute when defender Hicham Aaboubou headed a corner from Zurab Tsiskaridze just above the crossbar.

“Today’s result is fair,” said Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. “The game was played pieces by pieces, with good sequences from both teams. We fought and we created good opportunities. Unfortunately, we played with anxiety. We wanted to do well so hard that it influenced our decision making and our quality of play. We have to put some heart in everything we do and show passion in our stadium.”

Running back Chad Kackert scores two TDs as Argonauts defeat Tiger-Cats 31-12

TORONTO – The starting quarterback job is up for grabs in Toronto. Both Cleo Lemon and Dalton Bell look like they’re up for the task.

Lemon was solid in the first half and Bell was just as effective in the second half as the Argonauts defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31-12 on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Toronto running back Chad Kackert scored two touchdowns in the CFL pre-season opener for both teams.

Lemon was 11-of-15 for 130 yards and one touchdown. Bell had similar numbers, going 9-of-15 for 189 yards and one touchdown.

“Either one of them can be the leader of this boat,” said veteran receiver Jeremaine Copeland. “I think it’s going to be a hard decision on the coaches.”

Lemon captured the starter’s job last season and helped guide Toronto to a 9-9 record and a win in the East Division semifinal. Bell, meanwhile, saw limited action after being acquired from Saskatchewan in March 2010.

“The thing that’s exciting for me is I feel we have two guys that our team has confidence in,” said head coach Jim Barker.

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Hamilton quarterback Jason Boltus took most of the snaps after relieving starter Quinton Porter after the first quarter. Boltus engineered a 14-play, 102-yard effort that was capped by an eight-yard TD strike to wide receiver Matt Carter at 7:16 of the fourth quarter.

Bell answered on Toronto’s next possession. He found James Robinson with a 45-yard catch and followed with a 16-yard TD pass to Jerome Hewitt at 8:54. Kackert put the game out of reach with a 15-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.

“I have confidence in all of our receivers,” Bell said. “I don’t have any favourites out there, they all can make plays. I’m just trying to give them chances to make plays.”

Lemon said he feels more comfortable with the Toronto offence now that he has a full season with the team under his belt.

“Guys played fast, no indecision, and the result of it was guys making plays,” he said.

Boltus, who is competing with Porter for the backup job behind Kevin Glenn, had one touchdown pass and completed 27-of-35 passes for 281 yards with one interception.

“I feel like I played well overall,” Boltus said. “But the aim is to be better tomorrow and then improve the next day.”

Several top players were rested in the pre-season opener for both teams.

“Today is just part of the process,” said Hamilton coach Marcel Bellefeuille. “For us, what’s on the scoreboard isn’t the most important thing. It’s how you play and improve.”

It didn’t take long for the first appearance of rust. Hamilton’s Chris Williams dropped the opening kickoff before gathering the ball and scampering just five yards.

Porter looked sharp early on, firing a crisp 14-yard pass to Matt Carter and guided the Ticats on an 11-play drive that stalled shortly after entering Toronto territory. Hamilton kicker Justin Medlock opened the scoring with a 42-yard field goal at 4:41.

Copeland caught a 25-yard pass midway through the first quarter but the Argos couldn’t build on it. Lemon closed out the opening quarter with a 21-yard run.

At 1:03 of the second quarter, Lemon faked a handoff to Dwayne Wright and then found the running back with a short dump pass. Wright took advantage of some excellent blocking to run 26 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

On Toronto’s next drive, running back Andre Durie broke free for a 47-yard run to get the Argos deep into Hamilton territory. The 10-play, 97-yard drive was capped by a one-yard TD run from Kackert at 10:08.

“I feel like I left it all on the field, like I did what I could, which is a peaceful feeling,” Kackert said. “I don’t really have any regrets and just have to keep moving up from here.”

Toronto kick returner Curtis Walls almost padded the lead a few minutes later on a 105-yard kick return. His effort was called back due to a holding penalty. The Argonauts had a 14-3 lead at the half.

Bell entered the game at the start of the third quarter and promptly completed a couple of nice passes to wide receiver Spencer Watt. Bell later misfired on a couple of end-zone attempts and the Argos settled for a 22-yard field goal from Grant Shaw at 4:07.

Ticats running back Glenn Milner created a highlight-reel moment when he leapfrogged Matt Black when the Argos defensive back attempted a tackle. The rush led to a 36-yard field goal from Eric Wilbur at 4:26 to cut the Toronto lead to 11 points.

Toronto regularly aired the ball out with mixed results while Hamilton tried to keep things simple with short passing plays the norm. The Argonauts finished with 536 total yards, 119 more than their archrivals.

Both teams had 26 first downs and Hamilton gave up the lone turnover on an interception.

Only a fraction of the seats were filled in the cavernous domed stadium. Announced attendance was 12,851.

Notes: The Rogers Centre roof could not be opened despite glorious sunshine and warm temperatures outside. Cables were already hanging in place from the roof in preparation for next week’s International Indian Film Academy Awards. … Argonauts quarterbacks B.J. Hall and Danny Brannagan also recorded a few snaps. … The Ticats also finished with a 9-9 record last year. Hamilton posted three wins over Toronto to sweep the season series. The Argos beat the Ticats in the East semifinal before losing to Montreal in the division final. … Hamilton will close out the pre-season next Wednesday against the visiting Alouettes. The Argos play at Winnipeg on Thursday night.

Obama taking a more active role in Twitter account heading into 2012 campaign

MINNEAPOLIS – President Barack Obama is taking a more active role on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.

Obama’s campaign said in a posting on its website Friday that Obama will tweet regularly from the popular social media service and his personal tweets will be signed “-BO.” The campaign said it will now manage both Obama’s Twitter account and Facebook page.

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Obama tweeted personally early Friday evening, welcoming followers to “a new (at)BarackObama. From now on, (hash)Obama2012 staff will manage this account; tweets from the President will be signed “-BO.”

The campaign said on its website that the changes “will give us new opportunities to make the most of these channels, using them not only to report what the president is doing every day but to connect to the millions of supporters who will be driving this campaign.”

Obama has more than 8.69 million followers on Twitter, making him the third most-followed account among Twitter users, according to Twitter statistics website twittercounter杭州夜网. Obama trails only entertainers Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber in followers.

Obama’s avatar, or photo accompanying his Twitter account, also changed from his official White House photo to a photo of Obama smiling, his 2012 campaign logo resting along the base of the avatar.

Digital media experts said the changes will give the account more authenticity and could lead to the president interacting with followers, using the account to seek contributions or asking them to volunteer for his campaign.

“The best Twitter accounts are the ones that are managed by the people whose name is on the tweet,” said Tim Tagaris, new media director for the Service Employees International Union, on the sidelines of the Netroots Nation convention of liberal activists and bloggers in Minneapolis. “People sign up to hear from people on Twitter because they want to hear from that person, not their staff.”

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Ken Thomas can be reached at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛twitter杭州夜网/AP_Ken_Thomas

2 NY state park police officers rescued by Canadians from Niagara River

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – A Canadian police officer pulled off a daring rescue on the raging waters of the Niagara River early Saturday, precariously dangling by a rope to help two American police officers.

The two New York State officers became stranded while conducting their own rescue.

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Const. Shawn Black of the Niagara Parks Police was lowered by a rope from a helicopter to a stranded boat with the two American officers on board and helped bring them to land, said Const. John Gayder, who coordinates the Canadian police force’s High Angle River Team.

“He (Black) attached himself to one of the stranded officers, they were lifted into the air and flown back to Goat Island and then the process was repeated for the second officer,” Gayder said in a phone interview.

The rescue took place about 900 metres from the falls, around a point when the current picks up greater speed, Gayder said.

“It would not take long for a person in the water there to be swept over the Horseshoe Falls.”

The helicopter used was owned by Niagara Helicopters, a private company that does tours over the falls. The company’s choppers are used when police helicopters are not available.

Ruedi Hafen, the pilot of the chopper, said although the rescue went off like “clock work” there were some difficult moments.

“It’s very tricky, with the wind and the fast moving water and the boat wasn’t stable in the water,” the 58-year-old veteran with 30 years of flying experience said in an interview.

The two American officers were breathing much easier once they were on dry land, said Hafen.

“Those guys, they were really relieved, they were so happy,” he said with a chuckle.

The Americans were with the Niagara State Park Police and were on the river going to a civilian craft that was in a part of the river that is prohibited to boats.

The Buffalo News reported that the American police received a call at about 2 a.m. Saturday that the civilian craft with four people on board became disabled.

It wasn’t clear whether the boat ran out gas or had engine trouble, the American newspaper said. The U.S. officers were able to get the civilians to shore but lost their bearings in the fog and darkness and had to drop anchor.

But the swift currents of the river made it very perilous for the officers relying on a boat tethered to an anchor by a length of rope, Gayder said.

“Their lives were literally hanging on that rope, it was important to get them off,” he said. “The boat wasn’t going to be able to come out of the rapids under its own power, it’s (the current) just too strong there.”

Their Canadian counterparts received the call to come to their assistance at about 6 a.m. and the rescue was completed by 8 a.m., Gayder said. The Canadian force was called to help because there was no helicopter available on the American side to allow the U.S. force to do the rescue.

This type of rescue is done extremely rarely, Gayder said, with this incident being only the second occasion.

“We train for all these contingencies, this is something we do quite regularly, we’ve done over 100 practice flights like this,” said Gayder, who is also trained to do such work.

“It’s quite exciting, not a lot of people get to that, it’s very exciting.”

Hafen, who has done a considerable amount of rescue work in his 30 years of flying in the area, said he had never done one like this.

“Before this morning I thought I’d seen it all,” he said.

“It was very neat because here is a Canadian team rescuing American officers.”

England Saxons grind down Canada, winning 37-6 to take rugby’s Churchill Cup

WORCESTER, United Kingdom – The England Saxons won the Churchill Cup for a sixth time, running up 22 unanswered second-half points en route to defeating Canada 37-6 Saturday.

The game at Sixways Stadium was the last in the nine-year history of the rugby tournament, which is being discontinued. Gareth Rees, former Canadian captain and Rugby Canada CEO, was instrumental in the formation of the competition designed to boost North American rugby.

“It’s a disappointing way to end,” said Canadian flanker Chauncey O’Toole. “I don’t really feel we put our best foot forward today, but we’ll learn from it.”

The England ‘A’ team defeated Canada 38-18 in last year’s final after the Canadians upset France ‘A’ to make the championship game for the first time.

The Saxons won for the fourth time in five years.

Unlike the Saxons’ previous opponents this year, the Canadians mounted resistance before fading in the second half. But England used the power of its scrum to escape dangerous situations and set an offensive platform while making Canada pay for mistakes. Harlequins fly half Rory Clegg also punished Canada with his kicking out of hand.

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The determined Canadians had their chances against their fully professional opponents but were unable to break through.

“They’re a good outfit and they scrap for everything,” England fullback Mike Brown told Sky TV.

Worcester Warriors winger Miles Benjamin scored two tries in his home stadium and James Gaskell, Charlie Sharples and Jamie Gibson added singles while Clegg kicked two penalties and three conversions for the Saxons, who led 15-6 at the half.

Ander Monro had a drop goal and James Pritchard added a penalty for Canada.

Canadian coach Kieran Crowley was without wing Justin Mensah-Coker and scrum half Ed Fairhurst, who had to leave because of work commitments.

Canada, ranked 15th in the world, advanced to the final on the strength of wins of 26-12 over Italy ‘A’ and 34-18 over No. 19 Russia.

The English thumped the 17th-ranked U.S. 87-8 – running in 13 tries in the process – and No. 16 Tonga 41-14.

Canada kicked off and found itself in defensive mode from the get-go, but staved off the early pressure. The physical nature of the game was shown in the ninth minute by the blood on Canadian captain Pat Riordan’s face.

England used a smart, accurate kicking game to keep the Canadians penned in when Canada kicked the ball away.

Despite being hemmed in their own half and some poor clearance attempts, the Canadians kept England off the scoresheet until Clegg slotted a penalty over from in front of the posts in the 12th minute.

Canada capitalized off an error on the restart and Monro, with French referee Romain Poite playing advantage, kicking a drop goal.

The Canadians paid for some missed tackles in the 21st minute with fullback Brown slashing through the defence before passing to lanky Sale Sharks back-rower Gaskell for the try and an 8-3 lead.

Three minutes later, Benjamin intercepted a Ciaran Hearn pass just inside the English half and raced down the field for a try. Hearn was hit by Gaskell as he tried to pass. Clegg’s conversion made it 15-3.

Canada responded well, advancing on the Saxons’ goal-line before Pritchard kicked a penalty in the 29th minute to cut the lead to 15-6.

English mistakes allowed Canada chances to get back into the game as the first half ran down.

The Canadians attacked from the restart via a fine Phil Mackenzie run but eventually lost the ball near the goal-line when a Canadian player was isolated in the tackle.

England also used the power of its pack to escape Canadian pressure, winning a penalty from the scrum later in the half after Canada came forward again.

Pritchard missed a third penalty attempt in the 37th minute, watching the kick from the sidelines pass left of the post.

Both teams made mistakes early in the second half, wasting attacking opportunities.

Clegg kicked a penalty to increase the lead to 18-6 in the 51st minute after Hearn was penalized for not rolling away after making a tackle.

England began to take control and was able to throw on top talent like Saracens fullback Alex Goode.

O’Toole, named man of the match in Canada’s two previous matches, helped Canada get near the English line after an intercepted pass. But a Canadian penalty gave the Saxons a reprieve.

Put under pressure, Canada continued to give up penalties – especially at the breakdown.

Benjamin scored a glorious try in the 60th, pulling down a laserlike Clegg crossfield kick and sliding across the line. The score came after a dominant English scrum, triggered by a Canadian knock-on, opened up the field for the Saxons who led 25-16 following Clegg’s conversion.

Sharples padded the score in the 68th minute batting away Canadian defenders after gathering the ball at the Canadian 22-metre line following a Paul Hodgson box kick from his own 22 that opened up the Canadian defence. Clegg missed the conversion but the Saxons led 30-6.

Gibson added a converted try in the 76th minute after the Saxons slashed their way through a tired Canadian defence.

Earlier Saturday, Italy ‘A’ finished third by defeating No. 16 Tonga 27-18 while the No. 17 U.S. Eagles downed No. 19 Russia 32-25 to finish fifth.

Former FBI agent who investigated Lee Harvey Oswald after Kennedy’s assassination dies at 86

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The FBI agent who inherited Lee Harvey Oswald’s file the year before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated has died of cancer.

Funeral services were held Saturday in a Kansas City suburb for James P. Hosty, who spent nearly five decades defending himself against accusations that he should have investigated Oswald more closely.

Hosty died June 10 of cancer at a hospice in Kansas City, McGilley and Hoge Johnson County Memorial Chapel said on its website. He was 86.

Hosty wrote the book “Assignment: Oswald,” which came out in 1996, partially in response to how he was depicted in the 1991 Oliver Stone film “JKF.”

As recently as 2003, Hosty told The Kansas City Star newspaper there was nothing he could have done to prevent the assassination given what he knew at the time. He also conceded he probably would “go to my grave trying to straighten this out.”

“He was a man on a mission,” his son, Tom Hosty, told The Star for a story that ran in the paper’s Saturday editions. “He was determined to get the entire story out there to the American public – to set the record straight.”

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Long before Kennedy’s assassination, Oswald was already well known to the FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency. A former Marine, Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, and his defection made international front page news.

Hosty said that in September 1962, after Oswald returned to the U.S., the FBI agent who had the Oswald file determined that the agency’s file on Oswald should be officially closed. When that agent retired a month later, Hosty inherited his files. But in late February and into March of 1963, Hosty came to believe that Oswald and his wife needed further investigation.

He suspected Oswald’s wife, Marina, may be a Soviet “sleeper” agent who married Lee Oswald only to enter and spy on America.

He also noticed that right after Oswald disavowed the Soviet Union and the FBI closed its file on him, Oswald bought a subscription to the Daily Worker, the U.S. Communist Party newspaper. The FBI reopened the Oswald file.

“I’m sorry I ever got the case,” Hosty said in the 2003 interview.

He said the case was never considered a priority and that the bureau believed that if the Oswalds were involved in anything, it was likely no more than low-level espionage.

After Kennedy’s assassination, Hosty was appointed to help lead the FBI’s post-assassination investigation. He even sat with Oswald in the offices of the Dallas Police Department on the night Kennedy was killed.

But, in the end, the powers in Washington, Hosty said, thought “someone should have connected the dots.”

The Warren Commission Report noted Hosty by name and implied he was negligent.

“He always carried it with him,” his son, Tom Hosty, said. “He was ready and willing to talk to anybody about the assassination.”

After 700 km trek, group arrives in Montreal to protest against shale gas

MONTREAL – After a gruelling 700-kilometre trek through Quebec, Philippe Duhamel arrived Saturday to a hero’s welcome at a shale gas protest in Montreal.

Duhamel led a crew of marchers on a one-month journey along the St-Lawrence River, visiting dozens of towns rich in gas reserves on the way.

The goal was to draw attention to what critics argue are the dangers of shale gas development.

They say the process used to unlock natural gas contaminates groundwater and has disastrous consequences on the environment.

On Saturday, his group, sunburned and blistered, was greeted with cheers and applause by fellow anti-shale gas activists as they arrived in downtown Montreal.

“What we are witnessing now is the birth of a very strong citizen based movement,” he said.

“It’s been a tremendous experience in the sense that before we started on this walk we felt the movement was in a lull… The more we walked, the more people honked.”

Duhamel was joined by more than 2,000 people in a march that ended at Premier Jean Charest’s office.

Protesters called for a lengthy moratorium on shale gas development and a “transparent” study into the industry.

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The Quebec government has slowed development of its considerable shale gas deposits because of public concerns about the danger to the environment.

The province has launched a study into the environmental impact of the industry and promised to halt further development until it’s complete.

But Andre Belisle, one of the protest’s organizers, said that’s not enough.

“We want an evaluation committee that is credible (and) independent of the government, and we want all that to be done in the highest transparency,” he said, arguing the current study is rigged by the industry and being conducted behind closed doors.

While the protest took place without incident, some opponents of shale gas development have warned they might engage in civil disobedience.

Duhamel said last month the trek along the St-Lawrence is just the beginning, and there will be training sessions on how to organize sit-ins and occupy shale gas exploration sites.

The controversy surrounding shale gas continues to dog Quebec’s Liberal government, and opposition parties sense opportunity.

Both Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois and Amir Khadir, leader of the left-wing party Quebec Solidair and an outspoken critic of shale gas, took part in the protest.

Quebec’s Environment Minister Pierre Arcand expressed irritation Friday at critics of shale gas, saying they are spreading “falsehoods” about the industry and the government’s approach to the situation.

‘Serena’s back!’ Venus, too. Williams sisters return to Grand Slam tennis

WIMBLEDON, England – Two simple words at the end of a June 7 tweet said it all: “Serena’s back!”

And Venus is, too.

Yes, as Serena Williams announced to the world less than two weeks ago, the most successful tennis-playing siblings in history are returning from lengthy layoffs right on time for Wimbledon, where they just so happen to have won nine of the past 11 singles championships.

For Serena, it will be her first Grand Slam tournament – and only second event – since she took home a second consecutive title from the All England Club in July 2010. Her nearly year-long absence resulted from a series of health issues, including two foot operations and blood clots in her lungs, that she said left her depressed and “on my deathbed.” Venus, meanwhile, was sidelined by a hip injury from January until June.

All eyes will be on them when the grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins Monday.

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“I feel like we’ve been on a similar road together. Her road hasn’t been as arduous or as long as mine, but I know what she’s been through coming back,” Serena said when she made her 2011 debut at a tuneup tournament this week in Eastbourne, England. “We’ve been really enjoying our time just getting back together and practising next to her and looking over and seeing her play so well. I’m like, ‘OK, I’ve got to do better.’”

There are, to be sure, other plot lines worth tracking during the fortnight.

Among them: Can Roger Federer make a real run at a seventh Wimbledon title? Can Rafael Nadal extend his recent excellence to five titles in a span of six Grand Slam tournaments? Can Novak Djokovic recover from the end of his 43-match winning streak to win a major title other than the Australian Open? Can Andy Murray finally – and mercifully – put an end to the locals’ 75-year wait for a British male champion at the All England Club? Might No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki win her first Grand Slam title? Could China’s Li Na win her second in a row? Will Maria Sharapova end her 3 1/2-year major drought?

Nadal could come up against the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the third round. Raonic, the 31st seed from Thornhill, Ont., starts against Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

But the biggest curiosity, at least at the outset, is: How will the Williams sisters do?

“It will be interesting to see how they come back. I think it’s interesting for the tour. It’s a good story,” Federer said Saturday. “It’s been an up-and-down, bumpy road for the women’s tour as of late. But we’ll see now how it goes here with the sisters back in the game.”

Part of the interest stems from wondering how much longer they’ll be around. Venus turned 31 on Friday; Serena will be 30 in September.

“Whenever they enter a Grand Slam tournament, it’s double the excitement and double the intrigue, I think, that they bring to the sport. They just bring a different level of tennis also, as far as the power and the emotional content,” said ESPN2 analyst Chris Evert, who won 18 Grand Slam titles.

“It would be monumental in my mind if Serena pulled off a win,” Evert added. “I personally don’t know how it’s humanly possible for someone to take a year off like that and have gone through what she’s been through physically with her ailments and … it would almost shock me if she did. But knowing Serena and the way she’s come back before, you can never count her out.”

Evert – who said she never was away from the tour longer than four months – is one of only five women in tennis history who have won more major championships than Serena’s 13. The others are Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22), Helen Wills Moody (19) and Martina Navratilova (18). Among active players, of course, Serena ranks No. 1, followed by Venus with seven.

No one else in this year’s Wimbledon women’s field has more than three Grand Slam titles (Kim Clijsters has four, but she pulled out with a foot injury).

Indeed, it’s remarkable to examine the measurable ways in which Serena and Venus have dominated women’s tennis, in general – and the All England Club, in particular – across the years. That’s why Serena is seeded No. 7 at Wimbledon, despite being ranked 26th; Venus is seeded 23rd, despite being ranked 33rd.

“You know,” Sharapova said, “they’re obviously the ones to beat on grass.”

Not only has Venus won five titles at Wimbledon, and Serena four, since 2000, but they’ve also produced four all-in-the-family finals there in that span. They’ve played in a total of eight all-Williams Grand Slam championship matches, with Serena holding a 6-2 edge.

At Wimbledon, Venus is 68-9, Serena 57-7. No one else in the 2011 draw has more than 27 match wins there.

“Obviously,” Wozniacki said, “no one wants to play them.”

Overall, Serena has been to 16 major finals, Venus 14. No one else in the draw has reached more than four.

As seven-time major champion John McEnroe put it: “I wouldn’t minimize their chances.”

Hey, at least one British bookmaker installed Serena as a 3-1 favourite to win Wimbledon.

The interest generated by the sisters’ rise to the top of their sport is widely pointed to as the reason for the U.S. Open’s decision to move its women’s final to prime time in 2001. Venus beat Serena that year for the title, and nearly 23 million viewers tuned in to the CBS broadcast, giving their match the largest TV audience of any program that night, including a game between traditional college football powers Notre Dame and Nebraska.

The last major tournament, the French Open, was the first Grand Slam since 2003 without Serena or Venus – and chaos reigned. It’s the only French Open in history where none of the top three seeded women reached the quarter-finals, and it left some looking forward to when the sisters would pick up their rackets again.

“I’m sure when they come back, they’ll come back ready. That’s how they do it. Tennis has been pretty spoiled by their success and they’re pretty special, two special sisters,” top-10 U.S. man Mardy Fish said in Paris. “And when they’re not around, you can feel it. You can feel at a Grand Slam when they’re not here, and so I think everyone’s hoping that they’ll be back, better than ever, soon.”

Serena lost in the second round at Eastbourne, a three-set struggle against the woman she beat in last year’s Wimbledon final, Vera Zvonareva. Venus lasted one round longer.

They’re not merely happy to be back, though.

They want to contend for more titles.

“I always believe in myself when I go on the court,” Venus said. “And I’m not just here to look good on the court; I’m here to win every match I’m in.”

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AP Sports Writers Caroline Cheese in Eastbourne, England, and Rachel Cohen in New York contributed to this report.

Bombardier being watched closely for CSeries orders at Paris air show

MONTREAL – A year after Bombardier left the world’s largest annual air show without any orders for its CSeries plane, industry observers are hopeful the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer won’t strike out again.

There is a buoyant mood heading into the Paris Air Show, which kicks off on Monday and which is expected to translate into numerous orders for aircraft manufacturers, particularly Airbus.

“There’s just more buzz in the industry right now so we feel really good about this show,” Bombardier spokeswoman Haley Dunne said in an interview from Paris.

About 180 Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) officials are gathering at a mini-city of chalets erected at Le Bourget airport in a costly annual ritual to meet customers, suppliers and analysts. Several ministers from the federal and Quebec governments are among those expected to attend the commercial and military air show.

Five Bombardier aircraft will be on display and a separate pavilion will showcase a mock-up of the 110- to 149-seat CSeries, which is slated to enter service at the end of 2013.

Dunne insisted the company doesn’t time orders for air shows and wouldn’t say if any could arrive to help steal some of the spotlight this year.

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“We will have orders eventually, whether it’s this week or in the weeks to come or in the months to come,” she said.

“Right now we’re very comfortable with our order position based on where we are in the program so this show just gives us another opportunity to meet with our customers and continue conversations.”

Some of the pressure to produce orders was reduced when Bombardier announced earlier this month its first CSeries orders in 15 months. Sweden’s Braathens Aviation ordered 10 planes while another, unidentified, buyer ordered three of the aircraft.

Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said the industry is watching Bombardier closely after the “shocking absence of orders” at last year’s air show in Farnborough, U.K.

“The CSeries will either be conspicuous with orders or conspicuous by the absence of orders, but conspicuous either way,” he said in an interview.

“At this point I think it’s just become a wait and see story but this is going to be another occasion to either produce something or remark upon seriously underperforming the broader market.”

He said the aerospace industry’s rosy outlook and great promise for orders at the show demonstrate the disconnect from economic trends around the world.

Cameron Doerksen of Versant Partners said the most likely CSeries order will come from Qatar Airways, which has been expected to buy the airplane for some time. The head of the Middle Eastern airline has hinted that an order may be firmed up in Paris.

A number of small orders like Braathens are possible and would increase the number of CSeries customers. So far, five customers have placed 103 firm orders for two versions of the aircraft.

“A larger customer base means more potential for follow-on orders, less cancellation risk for the backlog and more leasing company interest,” Doerksen wrote in a report.

That’s also important because there are few delivery slots available through 2015, noted Joseph Nadol of J.P. Morgan.

“Net-net, we believe that the orders at the show will be enough to shift the focus on CSeries from demand to execution,” he said, adding that the CSeries is well positioned because of its promise of operating cost savings.

David Tyerman of CanacordGenuity said a lack of CSeries orders could present a good buying opportunity for Bombardier shares. The company’s shares fell 6.5 per cent last year when it failed to win orders, but subsequently recovered.

“We suspect a similar opportunity could happen this year under similar circumstances,” he noted.

A more pressing issue for Bombardier will be to win orders for its regional aircraft. The company plans to reduce Q400 production later this year and may reduce the CRJ rate if it fails to attract new orders.

Franco-Italian turboprop builder ATR’s vow to announce record orders at the show could also threaten Bombardier’s market share.

Bombardier isn’t the only Canadian company hoping to capitalize on its presence in Paris.

Flight simulator and training company CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE), landing gear and aerostructure manufacturer Heroux-Devtek (TSX:HRX) and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney (TSX:UTX) are all expected to announce new business.

All three stand to benefit from substantial orders that are expected for Boeing and Airbus planes.

Heroux-Devtek may announce new parts supply agreements, but new landing gear development programs are also a possibility, added Doerksen. He suspects the company is targeting Bombardier’s new Global 7000 and 8000 series of business jets.

As the engine manufacturer for both the Airbus A320neo and CSeries, Pratt could win no matter which company signs up orders.

However, the first A320neo orders signed for rival CFM’s Leap-X engine threatens to steal some of Pratt’s thunder, Aboulafia said.

Virgin America became the first buyer of the CFM engine to power 30 Airbus A320neo re-engined narrowbody planes.

US Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of child sex convictions by evangelist Tony Alamo

An attorney for an evangelist convicted of taking young girls across state lines for sex said Saturday that he will continue working to get Tony Alamo’s sentence reduced or his conviction overturned despite the refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal.

Alamo, who was convicted in 2009 of taking five girls he had married across state lines for sex, was sentenced to 175 years in federal prison and ordered to pay each victim $500,000 and was fined $250,000.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied his appeal earlier this year and defence attorney John Wesley Hall appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.

The court’s refusal to hear the case upholds the lower court ruling, according to U.S. Attorney Connor Eldridge.

The high court’s decision not to hear the case was made Monday, according to its website. Hall said he learned of the court’s decision, first reported by the Texarkana Gazette, in a letter he received Thursday.

Hall said Saturday that the high court has said that its denial to hear any case is not a reflection of the court’s view of the merits of the case.

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“You can file a post-conviction petition, to attack the conviction on some denial of rights during the process. Generally, it falls to ineffective counsel at trial,” said Hall, who did not represent Alamo during the 2009 trial.

Hall said he has up to a year to submit a filing that would be made in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Texarkana, where the trial was held.

Hall said he has not spoken to Alamo, who was born Bernie Lazar Hoffman.

Eldridge said Saturday that he is as pleased as he was when the jury returned with a guilty verdict.

“Of course, our office feels there is no legal or factual basis to overturn the jury verdict,” Eldridge said. “The jury heard the testimony in this case and found Mr. Alamo guilty.

“As we said all along, Mr. Alamo’s conduct took a terrible tragic toll on the lives of his victims. At the end of the day he was certainly held accountable by the jury’s verdict.”

Eldridge said his office is also working to collect the money that Alamo was ordered to pay the victims and the fine.