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Researchers Test Fungus That Kills Malaria Mosquitos

The World Health Organization says nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria. Efforts to fight the disease take two paths, fighting the disease itself and fighting the mosquitos that carry the disease. University of Maryland researchers are testing a novel new way to kill mosquitos in Burkina Faso. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.

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A North Dakota Prairie, Home to One of America’s First Mosques

Muslims started settling in America in the 1600s. From the Northeast to Midwest, they have left their mark on U.S. history. Even in some Midwestern states where few Muslims live, there are historic milestones of their presence. Muslim homesteaders in Ross, North Dakota, built a mosque in the 1920s, making it one of the first mosques built in America. Saqib Ul Islam gives us a look in this report.

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Istanbul Goes Back to Polls in Critical Vote

This Sunday, Istanbul votes again in a mayoral election, after authorities voided an opposition victory that ended 15 years of control by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP Party.  Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, on an election that has become more than just about who runs the city.

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Hong Kong Police Call Protests ‘Illegal and Irrational’

Hong Kong police sharply criticized anti-government protesters for besieging their headquarters but refrained from using force to disperse them, in a contrast to the violence that erupted in the city last week.

The protesters ended their overnight siege of the police headquarters building Saturday morning, leaving peacefully after a night of throwing eggs and drawing graffiti on the walls of the complex.

“Police have shown the greatest tolerance to the protesters who assembled outside PHQ, but their means of expressing views have become illegal, irrational and unreasonable,” a police statement said.

Hong Kong police were criticized for using force last week, when they sprayed tear gas and shot rubber bullets at protesters. The violence left dozens injured on both sides.

Demonstrators are demanding the full withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill and the resignation of the territory’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam.

Various of activist groups from parents and religious protest outside the government office demanding to stop shooting their kids in Hong Kong, June 20, 2019.

Mostly peaceful protest

On Friday, thousands of mostly student protesters dressed in black set up roadblocks in a generally peaceful protest. The protests again forced the temporary closure of Hong Kong’s government offices over security concerns.

Friday’s demonstrators also urged Hong Kong officials to retract the description of the June 12 protest as a riot; to release all the protesters arrested and drop charges against them; and to conduct an inquiry into the use of force by police during recent protests. The government has not responded directly to these demands.

On Tuesday, Lam had offered an apology for the political crisis and unrest sparked by the proposed law.

Challenge to Xi

The Hong Kong protests pose the greatest challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took office in 2012. The Chinese government had supported the extradition proposal and accused protest organizers of colluding with Western governments.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said President Donald Trump plans to discuss the Hong Kong issue with Xi at the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Japan, June 28-29.
 

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King of Clay: Nadal Wins 12th French Open Title

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal has won his record extending 12th French Open title, defeating Dominic Thiem of Austria in fours sets Sunday 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1

It is the second straight year Nadal has defeated Thiem for the championship on the clay courts at Roland Garros. With the win, Nadal becomes the first player in tennis history to win 12 titles at a single Grand Slam event. In total, the Spaniard now has 18 Grand Slam title wins, two behind all-time leader Roger Federer.

In Sunday’s match, Nadal and Thiem split the first two sets that featured hard hitting and long rallies. But Nadal went on to dominate the next two on his way to victory.

Nadal said “It’s a dream to win again, an incredible moment.” He also paid tribute to his opponent.

“I want to say congratulations to Dominic. I feel sorry as he deserves to win it as well,” Nadal said after the match.

The 25- year old Theim said he will try again next year and he praised Nadal for being an “amazing champion.”

“To win 12 times, it’s unreal” Theim said.

The 33 year old Nadal, seeded number two, extended his record at the French Open to 93 wins and just two losses.

In the Women’s draw Saturday, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty defeated Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. It was Barty’s first Grand Slam title.

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Sir Winston Comes From Behind to Win Belmont Stakes

Sir Winston held off the favorites with a bold move from the inside rail Saturday to capture the 151st Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. 

 

Sir Winston, ridden by Joel Rosario, at one point was pinched on the rail but then made a wide move to the outside followed by a storming charge to the finish line. The winning time at Belmont Park was 2 minutes, 28.30 seconds. 

 

Sir Winston, a 10-1 long shot, won for the third time in the last 10 starts, beating out runner-up and pre-race favorite Tactitus and third-place Joevia. 

 

The Belmont Stakes came five weeks after this year’s controversial Kentucky Derby which was won by Country House after Maximum Security became the first horse in history to be disqualified from the iconic American race. 

 

Country House did not race on Saturday. 

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Australian Barty Wins 1st Major at French Open

Ash Barty knew she needed a break from tennis, from the pressure and expectations, from the week-in, week-out grind. So she stepped away in 2014 and wound up trying her hand at cricket, joining a professional team at home in Australia.

After almost two years away, Barty was pulled back to the tour. Good choice. Now she’s a Grand Slam champion.

Taking control right from the start of the French Open final and never really letting go, the No. 8-seeded Barty capped a quick-as-can-be rise in her return to the sport by beating unseeded 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-3, Saturday for her first major championship.

“I never closed any doors, saying, ‘I’m never playing tennis again.’ For me, I needed time to step away, to live a normal life, because this tennis life certainly isn’t normal. I think I needed time to grow as a person, to mature,” Barty said.

And as for why she came back three years ago?

I missed the competition. I missed the one-on-one battle, the ebbs and the flows, the emotions you get from winning and losing matches,'' said Barty, who will jump to a career-best No. 2 in the rankings Monday behind Naomi Osaka.They are so unique and you can only get them when you’re playing and when you put yourself out on the line and when you become vulnerable and try and do things that no one thinks of.”

That last part is an apt description of how she approaches each point, looking for just the right angle or speed, understanding where an opponent might be most vulnerable at any given moment. After using her slice backhand, topspin forehand and kick serve to do just that to Vondrousova, she called it a “kind of ‘Ash Barty brand’ of tennis.”

Vondrousova’s take

“She’s mixing things up. And she has a huge serve,” Vondrousova said. “So it’s all, like, very tough to play against.”

Barty raced to a 4-0 lead and then held on, showing that she learned her lesson after blowing a 5-0 edge in the opening set of her quarterfinal victory a day earlier against another unseeded teenager, 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova.

“An absolute roller-coaster,” Barty called it.

Her coach, Craig Tyzzer, said the two of them huddled with Ben Crowe, who helps Barty with the mental side of things, and they had a “really good discussion about it” to make sure she’d avoid that sort of trouble in the final.

Neither Barty, 23, nor Vondrousova had ever played in a Grand Slam final before. Neither had even been in a major semifinal until this week, either. But it was only Vondrousova who seemed jittery at the outset; she was playing at Court Philippe Chatrier for the first time.

Barty wound up with a 27-10 edge in winners to become the first Australian to win the trophy at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973.

“I played the perfect match today,” Barty said. 

The women’s final started about 1½ hours later than scheduled because it followed the resumption of Dominic Thiem’s 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic in the men’s semifinals, a match suspended Friday evening because of rain. 

Thiem will face 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s final.  

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Olivia Colman Gets Royal Honor Ahead of Debut in ‘The Crown’

Academy Award-winning actress Olivia Colman was honored Friday by Queen Elizabeth II — the monarch she is about to play on television in “The Crown.”

Colman was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, in the annual Queen’s Birthday Honors list.

The performer won a best-actress Oscar this year for playing 18th-century monarch Queen Anne in “The Favourite.” She plays the current queen in the third season of Netflix’s royal drama “The Crown,” which is currently in production.

Colman said she was “totally thrilled, delighted and humbled” by the honor.

Honors are awarded twice a year, at New Year and to mark the monarch’s official birthday in June, and reward hundreds of people for services to their community or national life. Most go to people who are not in the limelight, but there is also a sprinkling of famous faces.

Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public, with the awards bestowed by the queen and other senior royals during Buckingham Palace ceremonies.

The list included a knighthood for Simon Russell Beale, one of Britain’s finest stage actors, who can now call himself Sir Simon.

A knighthood was also bestowed on Boyd Tunnock, inventor of the Tunnock’s Teacake, a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat.

“When you get to my age, very few things surprise you but this certainly did and I am deeply honored and grateful to Her Majesty the queen,” said Tunnock, whose family firm has been making sweets in Scotland since the 19th century.

Artist Rachel Whiteread, who won the Turner Prize in 1993 for her concrete cast of the inside of a condemned house, became a dame, the female equivalent of a knight.

Novelist Joanna Trollope and Lee Child, writer of the Jack Reacher thrillers, were made CBEs.

Feargal Sharkey, former lead singer of The Undertones — best known for punk classic “Teenage Kicks” — was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE. So were singer-songwriter Elvis Costello and actress Cush Jumbo, a star of TV legal series “The Good Fight.”

British-Sri Lankan rapper MIA, whose full name is Mathangi Arulpragasam, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE.

In descending order, the main honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE. Knights are addressed as “sir” or “dame,” followed by their name. Recipients of the other honors have no title, but can put the letters after their names.

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