• Lleyton Hewitt says next Australian Open likely his last

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Lleyton Hewitt is predicting next year's Australian Open will likely be his last and, after he retires, he'll take over the country's Davis Cup captaincy. Hewitt, who turns 34 next month, was knocked out in the second round of this year's Australian Open, his 19th, by Benjamin Becker. The two-time major winner and former world No. 1 said he will play sparingly in 2015, with his focus on Wimbledon and the Davis Cup. He said he will "most likely" skip the French Open. "Obviously, for me, the Davis Cup is something we've worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a position in the World Group where we have a genuine shot," Hewitt said, adding that it would "obviously be special" to finish his p

  • Serena Williams to maintain No 1 ranking after Melbourne

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will remain No. 1 and No. 2 in the WTA rankings, regardless of who wins when they meet in the Australian Open final on Saturday. Sharapova needed to win the title combined with Williams failing to reach the final to overtake the 33-year-old American, who has spent almost two years atop the rankings. The WTA released projected rankings Thursday with Simona Halep, who lost in the Melbourne Park quarterfinals, remaining at No. 3, and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who lost in the third round, staying at No. 4. Caroline Wozniacki is projected to move up three places to No. 5, replacing first-round loser Ana Ivanovic.

  • India fires top foreign office official

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government has fired its top foreign ministry official, replacing her with its current ambassador to the United States. S. Jaishankar took over as India's new foreign secretary on Thursday, describing his elevation as "a big responsibility."He had served as India's ambassador to China before taking up the job in Washington. The government on Wednesday cut short Sujatha Singh's tenure by six months without giving a reason. The Indian Express newspaper said Jaishankar was rewarded for turning around India's ties with Washington — organizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington in September and then implementing Modi's idea of having President Barack Obama be the chief guest fo

  • Philippines: Growth shows we're no longer sick man of Asia

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine official says the country no longer deserves to be branded the "sick man of Asia" after its economy grew more than 6 percent for a third consecutive year. Hampered by natural disasters, growth of the $300 billion economy slowed to 6.1 percent in 2014, but still outpaced most other countries in Asia, officials said Thursday. The 2014 performance ranks the Philippines as the second fastest growing Asian country behind China, which posted 7.3 percent growth, and ahead of Vietnam's 6.0 percent growth, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. The Philippine economy grew 7.2 percent in 2013. "Our country can no longer be called the sick man of Asia," Balisacan said.

  • Inquest: Sydney café hostage killed by police bullet

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    SYDNEY (AP) — A hostage who died during a siege in a downtown Sydney cafe was killed when she was struck by fragments of a bullet fired from a police officer's gun as authorities stormed in to end the 16-hour standoff, a lawyer told an inquest on Thursday. Katrina Dawson, a 38-year-old lawyer who was among 18 people taken hostage last month by a gunman, died after being hit by six fragments of a police bullet that had ricocheted off a hard surface, Jeremy Gormly, a lawyer assisting the coroner, told the Glebe Coroner's Court. One fragment struck a major blood vessel and she quickly lost consciousness, he said.

  • Philippines says peace pact collapse would aid terrorists

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president has warned that the collapse of a peace deal with the country's largest Muslim rebel group would abet terrorism and fresh violence after criticism of the accord followed the killing of 44 police commandos in what authorities said was an accidental clash with the guerrillas. President Benigno Aquino III called Wednesday for continued support for the pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, but added he also expected the insurgent group to help authorities identify the rebels who killed the elite police commandos and recover their firearms and belongings. The Muslim autonomy deal signed last March stands to be one of the legacies of Aquino, whose six-year term ends next

  • Iraq, UAE play for Middle East supremacy in 3rd-place match

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — After falling one game short of an Asian Cup finals appearance, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates will play for Middle Eastern supremacy in the third-place playoff in Newcastle on Friday. Iraq lost to South Korea 2-0 and the UAE went down to host Australia 2-0 in the semifinals this week, eliminating the last chance of a west Asian team reaching the final. Iraq, the 2007 Asian Cup champion, struggled for opportunities against South Korea's solid defense in Sydney, despite the best efforts of talismanic striker Younis Mahmoud.

  • Former British Open winner Kel Nagle dies at 94

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    SYDNEY (AP) — Kel Nagle, a former British Open winner, U.S. Open runner-up and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, has died. He was 94. The PGA of Australia said in a statement Thursday that Nagle, who won the British Open at St. Andrews in 1960, its centenary year, died overnight at a Sydney hospital. It did not give a cause of death. The Australian golfer, who won a tournament every year for 26 years after turning professional in 1946, collected 61 victories on the PGA Tour of Australasia and two on the U.S. tour. His win at St. Andrews came by one stroke over Arnold Palmer, who was attempting to win his third consecutive major that year after taking the Masters and U.S. Open. Nagle finished second to Gar

  • Wild kangaroos in Austria? At least 1, surviving in the snow


    VIENNA (AP) — A kangaroo is on the loose in frigid and snowy Austria, hopping his way toward dispelling a famous slogan. "No kangaroos in Austria" T-shirts and souvenirs have been big-sellers for years in the alpine nation, since some people confuse Austria with Australia. Anton the kangaroo bounded away from his owner several weeks ago and has been living rough ever since, disappearing into forested land every time someone tries to capture him. State-run broadcaster ORF posted a photo of the Australian marsupial on Wednesday sitting in a snowy backyard near the town of Braunau on the border with Germany. Anton looks fit and is expected to find enough food to survive the winter.

  • Sri Lankan president reinstates impeached chief justice


    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's new president has reinstated the country's chief justice, who was impeached two years ago after she refused to back a law granting wider powers to the former president's brother, the government said Wednesday. In a statement, the president's office described Shirani Bandaranayake's ouster as illegal, and said it and her successor's appointment are now "null and void according to the law." A senior court official said Bandaranayake reassumed her duties Wednesday afternoon but would retire after attending a farewell ceremony on Thursday. That would allow the government to appoint a new chief justice.

  • Djokovic, Keys both loving being in Australian Open semis


    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It was difficult to tell who was more pleased with reaching the Australian Open semifinals: No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, advancing to his 25th at a Grand Slam tournament, or 19-year-old Madison Keys, who beat Venus Williams to get into her first. Djokovic was simply overpowering as he beat Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in exactly two hours at Rod Laver Arena in a night match on Wednesday, never facing a break point. The four-time champion, who has dropped his serve only once through five matches, lined up defending champ Stan Wawrinka on Friday. "I'm a self-critic, but tonight there was not much I could complain about," Djokovic said. "From the first game until the last, I played

  • Afghanistan arrests militants linked to journalist killing


    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan has arrested two alleged militants from a Taliban splinter group that claimed responsibility for killing a Swedish journalist in Kabul, an official said Wednesday. National Directorate of Security spokesman Hasib Sediqi said the two militants affiliated with the Feday-e-Mahaz group were detained in Kabul last week, and that a bomb, two pistols and a silencer were seized in the raid. He said the group had been planning to carry out an attack in the Afghan capital. Feday-e-Mahaz claimed responsibility for last year's killing of Swedish Radio correspondent Nils Horner while he was reporting on Afghanistan's election on a street in Kabul.

  • Indonesia prosecutor: Americans' murder trial should proceed


    BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian prosecutors said Wednesday the trial of an American couple charged with murdering the woman's mother should proceed, defending their indictment against defense arguments that it has inaccuracies and should be annulled. The badly beaten body of Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, was found in a suitcase in the trunk of a taxi outside an upscale hotel in Bali last year. Heather Mack, 19, and her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer, 21, both from Chicago, are being tried separately with the same judges and prosecutors teams at the Denpasar District Court on Bali. Prosecutors charged them with premeditated murder, which carries a possible death penalty.

  • Thai 'Red Shirt' leader given jail term for insulting ex-PM


    BANGKOK (AP) — A top leader of Thailand's "Red Shirt" political movement was sentenced Wednesday to two years in jail for insulting a former prime minister, the latest blow to the supporters of another ex-prime minister, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. Bangkok Criminal Court found Jatuporn Prompan guilty of defaming Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in two speeches in 2009. The Red Shirts are backers of Thaksin — who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and convicted of corruption — and his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government was forced out in another coup last year. The group organized several large street protests that turned violent. Last week, the military-appointed legislature voted to ban Yingl

  • Venus Williams exits Aussie Open with heartfelt advice


    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Asked what the future might hold for her young opponent, Venus Williams offered some heartfelt advice that could easily apply to her own career. "Sky's the limit," said the 34-year-old Williams. "There is no limit on what you can achieve. No one can stop you." "Sometimes you may not win every match, but there's a lot of them you can win," said the seven-time Grand Slam champion. "Really, the sky's the limit for her and anyone out there." Williams did not win her quarterfinal Wednesday at the Australian Open. That honor went to 19-year-old Madison Keys, a composed and confident power hitter who might be the future of American women's tennis.

  • AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCENE: Djokovic's No. 1 fan


    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — During Novak Djokovic's Australian Open quarterfinal, a photo of his three-month-old son started making the rounds on social media. The photo posted by his wife showed the hairless head of young Stefan in a baby chair, with knit booties and a giraffe blanket watching his dad play tennis on TV. On-court interviewer Jim Courier asked the No. 1-ranked player about his No. 1 fan after the match, directing his attention to the big screens overhead at Rod Laver Arena. Djokovic looked up to see the picture of his son, and smiled. "See how he enjoys watching TV? He's daddy's boy definitely," said Djokovic after beating the big-serving Milos Raonic 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2, to advance to his 25th Gra

  • Serena Williams advances, Venus out of Australian Open


    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Venus Williams lost her quarterfinal match against Madison Keys on Wednesday at the Australian Open. Serena Williams, the other sister in a family that has won a combined 25 Grand Slam singles titles, will attempt to right the wrong in the semifinals on Thursday. The 19-year-old Keys overcame a left thigh injury to beat No. 18-ranked Venus 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and advance to the last four against top-ranked and 18-time major winner Serena, who had little trouble beating last year's finalist, Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-2. In men's play, top-seeded Novak Djokovic didn't face a break point against hard-serving Milos Raonic in beating the Canadian 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in exactly two hours to advance to his 25

  • Novak Djokovic reaches his 25th Grand Slam semifinal


    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic reached his 25th Grand Slam semifinal by beating No. 8 Milos Raonic, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 at the Australian Open on Wednesday. The No. 1-ranked player cruised through his quarterfinal without ever facing a break point by his 24-year-old opponent, a rising Canadian star known for having one of the biggest serves in the game. Djokovic is trying to claim his fifth Australian Open trophy. Djokovic faces defending champion Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals, for a rematch of last year's Australian Open quarterfinal that Wawrinka won.

  • Thailand summons US diplomat over critical remarks


    BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's military government has summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires after a top U.S. diplomat called for an end to martial law and said the impeachment of a former prime minister could be politically motivated. The meeting Wednesday came after a visit to Thailand by the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Daniel Russel. Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said Russel's comments had "hurt" many Thais and showed a lack of understanding of Thai politics. Thailand is a long-standing U.S. ally. In a speech to students at a Bangkok university on Monday, Russel also expressed concerns about restraints on freedom of expression.

  • Snails slither into spa scene in Thailand and around world


    CHIANG MAI, Thailand (AP) — The last time I encountered escargots they were served up by a French waiter, sizzling in garlic and herb butter. Now, one is slithering up the bridge of my nose while five others are being stuck onto other parts of my face by a Thai beautician, all secreting snail slime to hopefully smooth out some wrinkles and otherwise give me a younger-than-my-age look. That this latest addition to the global beauty and wellness craze — snail facials — should surface in the hills of northern Thailand is only natural. This Southeast Asian country ranks among the world's top spa destinations, with massage treatments of every description offered around just about every corner.