Turkey requests extradition of Fethullah Glen but not for coup attempt, US says

The State Department did not specify what the Turkish cleric was being sought for, as Joe Biden is expected to meet Erdoan on Wednesday in wake of foiled plot

The US has confirmed it has received a formal extradition request from Ankara for the Turkish cleric Fethullah Glen, but not over the July coup attempt the Turkish authorities has accused Glen of orchestrating.

The state departments announcement came after US officials met their Turkish counterparts in Ankara to discuss Glen, who has lived in rural Pennsylvania for the past 17 years in self-imposed exile. Vice-president Joe Biden is expected in the Turkish capital on Wednesday to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoan.

According to the White House, Biden will emphasise ongoing strong support for Turkish democracy in the wake of the foiled coup by a segment of the armed forces, but the Turkish leader is expected to focus his attention on the Muslim cleric, who was once his ally but whose presence in the US has now become a serious irritant in relations between Washington and Ankara.

Erdoan has previously warned the Obama administration it had to choose between Turkey and Glen.

We can confirm now that Turkey has requested the extradition of Glen, a state department spokesman, Mark Toner, told journalists on Tuesday.

Toner added that the extradition request was not related to the 15 July attempted coup, but was for other issues for which Glen was being sought by authorities in Ankara. He did not specify what those issues were.

Erdoans government has blamed Glen for orchestrating the abortive putsch, in which over 200 people were killed, and has rounded up his alleged supporters. Ten of thousands of suspected Glen supporters have been dismissed from jobs in the judiciary, armed services or media, and many have been imprisoned.

Earlier this months, the state department said that it had received a sheaf of documents from Turkey about Glen, but could not confirm at that time the documents amounted to an extradition request. Any such request and US response, they said, would be governed by the extradition treaty both countries signed in 1981.

From the US, Glen has run an extensive social network in Turkey, promoting interfaith dialogue and providing social services. It operated in partnership with Erdoans Justice and Development party (AKP) until the relationship between the two men soured in 2012 and then turned to enmity the following year, when a corruption scandal erupted implicating the presidents closest associates and family. Erdoan blamed Glen for planting the allegations. The Turkish government has since described the Glen movement as a terrorist organisation.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/23/turkey-fethullah-gulen-extradition-request-joe-biden-ergodan

Canadian town drops ‘land of rape and honey’ slogan

Tisdale announces decades-old slogan, which refers to rapeseed, is being changed after years of complaints

The western Canadian town of Tisdale is no longer the land of rape and honey, it announced as it dropped a slogan that had been a constant source of complaints.

The slogan referred to rapeseed, also known as canola, a major product of Tisdale and the surrounding region along with honey.

But over the years many who misinterpreted the meaning have complained, said Sean Wallace, the towns economic development director.

Tisdale, a town of 3,500 in the province of Saskatchewan, had used the old slogan since 1958. It said in a news release its new one will be: Opportunity grows here.

Mayor Al Jellicoe said the town grows a large variety of crops, is a hub for rail and highways and has low land prices and a modern infrastructure.

Tisdale also said it was rolling out a new website for the town. As of Monday afternoon, the old website with the land of rape and honey slogan was still posted online, however.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/22/canadian-town-tisdale-land-of-rape-and-honey-slogan

Mexico president Enrique Pea Nieto plagiarized thesis for law degree: report

Group of academics say 29% of Pea Nietos paper was material lifted from other works, including 20 paragraphs copied word-for-word from a book

President Enrique Pea Nieto of Mexico heavily plagiarized the thesis for his law degree, according to an investigation by a local news outlet.

Aristegui Noticias on Sunday published an online report based on an analysis of the embattled presidents thesis by a group of academics, which it said was then corroborated by the news outlet.

It said 29% of the thesis was material lifted from other works, including 20 paragraphs copied word-for-word from a book written by former president Miguel de la Madrid without citation or mention in the bibliography.

A spokesman for Pea Nieto responded on Sunday that the president had completed all requirements for his law degree and downplayed the relevance of style errors in academic work done 25 years earlier.

Pea Nieto did not mention the controversy on Monday as he spoke in front of students at his old elementary school in Toluca to inaugurate the first day of the new school year.

The thesis titled Mexican Presidentialism and Alvaro Obregn was submitted in 1991 to the Panamerican University.

The news website is run by journalist Carmen Aristegui, who in 2014 reported that Pea Nietos wife was purchasing a house with financing from a government contractor. The first lady eventually gave up the house and in recent months Pea Nieto has said he understands why the so-called White House scandal upset so many Mexicans.

Several months after that investigation was published Aristegui was fired by the radio station where her investigative team worked. They have since re-emerged online.

A poll by the national newspaper Reforma this month found Pea Nietos approval rating at 23%, the lowest rating for any president since it began the survey in 1995. The margin of error was 3.3 percentage points.

Its not the first time that Pea Nietos academic rigor has been called into question.

When he was a candidate for the presidency in 2011, Pea Nieto stumbled when asked to name three books that influenced him. He managed the Bible, before fumbling through other mismatched authors and titles.

Recent charges of plagiarism have not been limited to Mexico.

In 2006, a scholar at the Brookings Institution found that now-Russian president Vladimir Putin in earning his graduate degree had copied pages of material from a book written by two American professors.

In 2012, Hungarys President Pal Schmitt whose role was largely ceremonial resigned after a scandal over his doctoral dissertation.

Earlier this year, a German university decided to let the countrys defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, keep her doctorate after plagiarized passages were found in her dissertation.

Last month, potential first lady Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican national convention using phrases nearly identical to those in an earlier speech by Michelle Obama.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/22/mexico-president-enrique-pena-nieto-plagiarized-thesis-law-degree

Obama like ‘drug dealer-in-chief’ after Iran payment, says Republican senator

Mark Kirk of Illinois says cash provided to Iran will pop up across the Middle East after administration acknowledges delaying payment to gain leverage

Republican senator Mark Kirk said on Sunday that Barack Obama was acting like the drug dealer-in-chief when his administration used the delivery of a $400m payment to Iran as what it called leverage.

Kirk made the statement during an interview with the editorial board of the State Journal-Register, a local newspaper in his home state of Illinois.

We cant have the president of the United States acting like the drug dealer-in-chief, Kirk said, according to comments published late Saturday. Giving clean packs of money to a state sponsor of terror.

Those 500-euro notes will pop up across the Middle East, he added, referring to the currency in which the money was paid because US law makes it illegal to have transactions with Iran in US dollars. Were going to see problems in multiple [countries] because of that money given to them.

Kirks campaign stood by the senators comments.

Senator Kirk was referring to the Administrations decision to send pallets of cash, not even US dollars but euros and Swiss francs, in a clear ransom payment to Iran, worlds leading state sponsor of terrorism, Kevin Artl, his campaign manager, said in a statement.

The decision sets an awful and dangerous international standard that should be investigated and the lack of transparency from the Administration clearly indicated they knew their actions were not above board.

Republicans have aggressively criticized Obama over the payment, which coincided with the release of four American prisoners held in Iran in January and was made public at the same time.

Although the two events were unrelated the $400m payment was made to settle a decades-old account having to do with a failed arms deal between the US and pre-revolutionary Iran Republicans have decried it as a ransom amid recent reports detailing the transfer.

The Obama administration has vehemently rejected the charge, saying only that the US government delayed the payment until after the American prisoners were released in order to maintain leverage over Iran. Last week, the state department spokesman John Kirby said the US took advantage of the leverage that the delivery provided, in order to make sure they got out safely and efficiently.

Kirk, who is facing a tough re-election battle for his Senate seat, has been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear accord.

The senator has a penchant for stirring controversy with his remarks, once telling a newspaper people drive faster through black neighborhoods. Kirk also expressed regret last year for referring to his colleague Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, as a bro with no ho.

Tom Cotton, a Republican senator from Arkansas, used similar words to Kirks in characterizing the payment to Iran. I think its really shocking to most Americans that the United States government was acting like a drug cartel, Cotton said earlier this month.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/21/mark-kirk-obama-iran-payment-drug-dealer-in-chief

New Zealand and US runners awarded for sportsmanship

Nikki Hamblin and Abbey DAgostino receive Pierre de Coubertin award for helping each other to finish race after falls

The two Olympic runners who helped each other cross the finish line after falling together in the middle of their race have been awarded a prize for embodying the Olympic spirit.

New Zealander Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey DAgostino were awarded the Pierre de Coubertin award on Saturday night by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for epitomising the Olympic values of fair play and sportsmanship.

The pair were racing in a 5,000m heat when Hamblin tripped and fell. DAgostino was caught up in the tumble and also fell. She managed to get up, and rather than sprinting off, stopped and helped Hamblin to her feet.

The pair began to race on, but DAgostino had twisted her leg badly in the tumble and fell again. Like DAgostino, Hamblin chose to stay at her side rather than race away, giving up her own medal chances in the process.

Supported by Hamblin, Agostino managed to get up and the pair finished the race together.

The award, which is named after the father of the modern Olympic games, has only been given 17 times.

Speaking after Saturday nights ceremony in Rio, Hamblin said: I think its very special for both Abbey and myself. I dont think either of us woke up and thought that that was going to be our day, or our race, or our Olympic Games. Both of us are strong competitors and we wanted to go out there and do our best on the track.

I was on the ground for too long to get back up and catch on to the pack. So then it becomes about finishing the race, and finishing the race well. I am so grateful to Abbey for picking me up, and I think many people would have returned the favour Once you are on the track, there is a mutual understanding of what it takes to get there.

Although Hamblin and DAgostino failed to meet the qualifying time for the heat, both were included in Fridays 5,000m final after protests from their teams, although DAgostino was too injured to take part.

The Norwegian mens handball team was also honoured for their players attitude during a European championship match against Germany earlier this year when they lost out on qualifying for the Olympics due to a last-minute goal.

The awards were presented by the IOC vice-president, Nawal El Moutawakel, who said the Rio games have reminded everyone of the power and magic of sport.

He said: We have been inspired by great moments of sportsmanship. Athletes are inspirational role models, and it is these moments of fair play that we have come together to celebrate today.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/21/new-zealand-and-us-runners-awarded-for-sportsmanship

Nate Parker: director with a back story | Observer profile

The first-time film-makerss slave-rebellion story, The Birth of a Nation, has been hailed as a future Oscar contender. Then details of his 2001 rape trial emerged. So what next for him and his film?

When Nate Parker arrived with the screening of his film The Birth of a Nation at the Sundance festival in January, the timing couldnt have been more urgent.

Ten days before its unveiling, #OscarsSoWhite had begun to trend again on Twitter. For the second year in a row, no actors of colour were nominated for an Academy Award. Here was an incendiary-looking picture from a first-time African American filmmaker, featuring a mostly black cast, and centring on Nat Turner, a former slave who led a brutally violent revolt in 1831 to free slaves in Virginia. The film had the potential to seize the moment and it did.

The Sundance screening was key. Parker had ensured that cast, crew, friends and family made the trek to Park City, Utah, for his films premiere. Their energy was felt in the room. Before the screening even got under way, the crowd stood as soon as Parkers name was called. Once it concluded, a second, and much longer, ovation followed, with many in attendance seen drying their tears.

Immediate reactions on Twitter were ecstatic. A bidding war between the hottest arthouse distributors followed. Fox Searchlight, the company that led the similarly themed 12 Years a Slave to a best picture Oscar win in 2014, was the victor, purportedly beating Netflix to land the film for $17.5m (a colossal amount by Sundance standards).

Its aim in spending so much was clear: The Birth of a Nation would be their great Oscar hope. It came as no surprise when the film won the grand jury prize as well as the audience award; no other selection came close to matching its impact on the industry during the 10-day span of the festival. It seemed nothing could possibly derails Parkers rise from little-known actor to Hollywoods new hope.

Imagine, then, the shockwaves that reverberated through Hollywood when Parker publicly addressed a rape trial from his college years in two trade interviews tied to his impending awards campaign. Before he spoke out about the 1999 incident to Variety and Deadline, two of Hollywoods most trusted sources, few were aware of the rape charge, of which he had been cleared. Suddenly, Parkers past troubles threaten to tarnish his passion project.

Parker was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the same state where Turner was born into slavery, a fact Parker only discovered when he took African American studies at college. Imagine my dismay, he told the Hollywood Reporter before arriving at Sundance, in learning that one of the greatest men to walk the soil in this country was a man who grew up and lived and breathed and fought less than 100 miles from where I grew up.

His mother Carolyn she was 17 years old when she gave birth to Parker is a devout Christian, exerting a huge influence on Parker, now himself father to five young children. Speaking to Christianity Today Parker relayed what he viewed as the spiritual significance of The Birth of a Nation: If youre able to view this film without the baggage of racism, then its very clearly a story of someone that was compelled by his faith to act as the hand of the God through his interpretation.

Carolyn never married Parkers biological father, instead first wedding the man who would give Parker his surname; she later married Walter Whitfield, an air force man, who uprooted his new family to Maine. When Parker was 11, his biological father, with whom hed kept in touch, died of cancer with little warning. His death, coupled with all the changes, proved to be a lot for Parker, according to his mother, who has said that her son became quite depressed.

He channelled his depression into anger, taking his demons out on classmates during his teenage years by beating them up at school. It wasnt just rage, Parker recalled. It was just being a kid that needed some kind of clarity. Aged 14, unable to bond with his new stepfather, Carolyn had her son return to Virginia to live with her brother Jay Combs, a former wrestler, who encouraged Parker to join his high schools wrestling team. Parker was a natural at the sport and landed a full wrestling scholarship to Pennsylvania State University.

It was at the beginning of his second year, in 1999, when he and Jean Celestin, a friend from the wrestling team, were charged with the rape and sexual assault of an 18-year-old female student, who claimed to have been unconscious during the alleged attack.

Armie
Armie Hammer, left, and Nate Parker, in a scene from The Birth of a Nation. Photograph: Elliot Davis/AP

As the case went viral on campus, the pair were suspended from the team. Parker, who had had an earlier sexual encounter with the woman, which both said was consensual, was acquitted of the charges in 2001, while Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault, before being granted a new trial in 2005. That case never came to court after prosecutors balked at tracking down all the former witnesses. Court documents show that the woman said she was harassed by Parker and Celestin after she reported the incident to the police. She dropped out of college as a result.

Its since been revealed that the woman at the centre of the case, who had a child, killed herself in 2012. Parker responded to the development on his Facebook page, saying he was devastated. As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom, he wrote.

After the trial, Parker transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a degree in management science and information systems, and quickly landed work designing websites. He had no aspirations to become an actor instead he was roped into a newfound career after being approached by Jon Simmons, the agent who still represents him, at a talent search in Dallas, Texas, where his friend, an aspiring model, was hoping to get a gig.

The story goes that Simmons had Parker cold-read a scene from The Fast and the Furious and Parker was hooked. The way it made me feel, it was like winning a match times a hundred, he told the Virginian-Pilot. Naturally, he relocated to Los Angeles.

Parkers enviable bone structure and toned figure were noticed immediately, landing him small roles despite the fact he had no prior acting experience. In 2007, he put his athletic frame to use in the swimming-team drama Pride, which saw him act opposite Terrence Howard. His charisma impressed Denzel Washington, who cast him a year laterinThe Great Debaters, where Parker delivered a breakthrough performance as a student on an all-blackdebating team in 1935.

From there, more well-received supporting performances followed: for Spike Lee, he ventured to Brooklyn in Red Hook Summer (2012); he conspired with Richard Gere in the financial thriller Arbitrage the same year. Despite his popularity, Parker soon arrived at a crossroads, uninspired creatively by the roles he was being offered. So few of them had integrity, he told the Hollywood Reporter. As a black man, you leave auditions not hoping you get the job but wondering how you explain it to your family if you do.

Once shooting on Beyond the Lights (2014) wrapped, Parker met his agents to tell them he would not be accepting any more projects until he could get his own film about American revolutionary Nat Turner off the ground. He stuck to his word, not working for two years on anything but what would come to be known as The Birth of a Nation, provocatively named after DW Griffiths notoriously racist 1915 film. Parker had written and directed a couple of short films; putting together a feature posed a foreign challenge. To get it all rolling, he invested $100,000 of his own money before securing backers, including retired NBA player Michael Finley.

The future of The Birth of Nation remains in doubt. Parker is expected to promote the film as planned, taking it to the Toronto international film festival in September, followed by a tour to churches and campusescorrect around the US, where hell discuss the issues of social justice raised by the film. But as awards season expert and Indiewires editor-at-large Anne Thompson notes, the issue of rape is going to keep coming up, despite Parkers wishes to the contrary. (He told Deadline: I will not relive that period of my life every time I go under the microscope.)

Theres no avoiding it, argues Thompson, because Turners quest for retribution is largely set in motion because of a horrific rape.

Thompson believes theres no precedent for the situation Parker finds himself in. The pattern with moreestablished people in Hollywoodis forgive and forget, she says, citing Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, both of whom were also embroiled in rape controversies and yet managed to maintain their standing. The larger Hollywood community doesnt know Nate Parker. And they need to find out who he is. As for the general public, many might find the very idea of worrying about Hollywoods assessment or debates about the quality of the film secondary concerns in the circumstances.

Comments will be opened later today

The Parker file

Born Nathaniel Emanuel Combs, 18November, 1979 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Best of times Taking his first full-length feature film,The Birth of a Nation, to the Sundance film festival, where it scored the biggest sale in the events history, as well as winning the grand jury prize.

What he says Far too often, as a black actor… you receive a hundred scripts in ayear and two of them you feel representthe experience of the black malewith strength and power and integrity. And I felt the need to, instead of complaining about that, to find a way to change it with my art. So I started writing. I wrote several scripts, but Nat Turner and his life was one that I wanted to really delve into as a writer.

What others say Once he got on the right path, you knew he was going to be great at whatever he decided to do in life.
Steve Martin, his early wrestling coach

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/aug/20/nate-parker-director-the-birth-of-a-nation-rape-case

Usain Bolt joins the immortals just as the cracks begin to appear | Andy Bull

Jamaican superstar is fully aware that his powers are on the wane, so wants to quit while hes still on top of his game

Thesauruses exhausted, all superlatives spent, the worlds press turned to the man himself to ask for help. Usain, the question came, at London 2012, you spoke a lot about how you wanted to become a legend. But what should we call you now? Bolt paused, thought on it for a while. Well, he said, someone said at a press conference last year that if I win these three gold medals, I will be immortal. And I kind of liked it. So Im going to run with that: immortal.

Like Michael Phelps, who has just beaten an Olympic record set in 152BC, Bolt may be racing the other athletes competing here, but he is not measuring himself against them. I am trying to be one of the greatest, he said, to be among Ali and Pel. As well as Phelps and, oddly, Bob Marley, with whom he now seems to be vying for the title of most famous Jamaican.

They teach you at journalism school that double-decker buses are the standard unit for heights, as football fields are for areas, and Olympic swimming pools are for volumes. But no ones sure of the best measure for Bolts brilliance. Half an Ali? Two-thirds of a Marley? One Pel? Bolt would not say whether he felt he was now more famous than Marley, more successful than Phelps or what it meant to be compared to Pel and Ali. It seems even his self-confidence has its limits and in these conversations at least, he comes across as very modest. Im just waiting until after the Olympics, to see what the media have to say, all the media, to see if they will put me in that bracket, he said. And on Phelps: I could never pick who is the best, we are great in our different fields.

If Bolt is thinking about his own mortality, it may because this week he, and we, have had the first intimations of it since he made his breakthrough at the Beijing Games in 2008. His winning times in the 100m and 200m are pretty similar to the ones set by other men in 2004 in Athens, where Bolt competed as a kid and before he had redefined the possibilities of his sport. This year Bolt won the 100m in 9.81sec, whereas in 2004 Justin Gatlin did it in 9.85. Bolt won the 200m in 19.78, whereas in 2004 Shawn Crawford did in 19.79. More tellingly still, for the first time in three Olympics, there were men competing against him here who could, and perhaps, should, have been capable of running as quickly as he did in those finals.

Two of his competitors in the 100m final have personal bests better than Bolts winning time of 9.81sec: Yohan Blake and Gatlin, who has run quicker than that this very season. In the 200m, there were three men who have run within two-hundredths of his winning time, and another, LaShawn Merritt, who ran four-hundredths quicker at the beginning of last month. Compare that to Beijing in 2008, when there was nobody in the field who could run as fast as Bolt did to win the 100m or the 200m. Or London 2012, where Bolt was the only man who had ever beaten his winning time in the 100m and only Blake, once, had ever run as fast as he did to win the 200m. Back then, most people could not dream of competing with him, let alone defeating him.

In Rio, Bolt has been running the kinds of times his competitors can match. Some of that is circumstance. He spoke about the short turnaround between his semi-finals and final in the 100m last Sunday and Thursday, the night of the 200m, was a little cold and wet. But the big reason, the one he keeps coming back to, is that he feels he is getting on. Im getting older, so I dont recover like I used to, he said of the 100m. In the 200m he dearly wanted to break his world record of 19.19, but he just could not do it. When I came around the corner my legs said: Listen, were not going any faster, Bolt said. I really wanted to run fast, but my legs decided that they werent having it. Bolt was trying to beat the 2009 version of himself and, like everyone else, he came up short.

The really interesting question, then, is that if Bolt is finally beatable, why didnt anyone come close to beating him? It may just be because none of them really believed they could. Bolt has a psychological hold over every other sprinter. You could see that, and hear it, here, where the atmosphere has depended entirely on whether or not he has been competing. The only nights the Olympic stadium has been remotely close to full have been the ones in which he has starred. The fans are only at the stadium for one reason: to see him win. Everyone else is a bit-part player, and, unless they happen to be Brazilian, no one is cheering for them. Imagine what that does to a mans confidence as he takes to the starting line.

Andre De Grasse, who is 21 and still new to the game, made a point of pushing Bolt hard in the semis of the 200m and if he had managed to run that fast again, would have been right up alongside him in the final. I tell every youngster: Youre not going to beat me, Bolt said of De Grasse. I dont allow young kids to beat me. I dont give them that stripe. I told him that earlier, before the start, I dont allow young kids to beat me. Youre never going to get that chance.

Sooner or later De Grasse or one of the other runners might realise that it is not about whether Bolt gives them the chance, but whether they can take it from him.

All of which explains why Bolt is retiring even though he is still winning, why he is adamant that this will be his last Olympics and that the World Championships in London next year will be his last major competition. Because immortals do not lose and so long as he is undefeated he has, as he says, nothing left to prove.

I have shown the world that I am the greatest, he said. Thats what I came here for and thats what Ive done. So thats why this is my last Olympics.

It seems this week that we have all been watching the lion in winter.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/19/usain-bolt-retiring-immortality-200m-olympics

Arsenal prepare to face Jamie Vardy, the striker who turned them down

Arsne Wenger has this summer failed to sign a centre-forward who can score the goals to bring a first league title since 2004

He is that fox in the box we have been talking about and although he is a goalscorer I want to develop him as a team player so he is not obsessed by just scoring goals, Arsne Wenger said of his 8m signing Francis Jeffers back in June 2001.

Almost 15 years to the day, Arsenals quest for that elusive striker took them to the door of Leicesters Jamie Vardy. But while Jeffers then a 20-year-old from Liverpool who had scored 18 goals in 37 Premier League starts for boyhood club Everton ended up moving to the capital, Leicesters top scorer decided to stay put despite Arsenals 20m bid triggering the 29-year-olds release clause.

I was in contact [with Vardy]. He wanted to stay here, its fantastic, Claudio Ranieri said on Thursday, before being asked if his decision showed that the dynamics have shifted in the Premier League.

No, came the response. It depends on the character of players, of the family. Jamie wanted to stay here. He wanted to say thank you to everybody the chairman, the fans, his team-mates. To say: We want to build again, I dont want to go. He knows it will be hard but its good. Hes a fighter.

Quite how Vardys choice was received by Wenger remains a mystery, although the Arsenal manager hinted this week there would be a story to tell in his next book as his side prepare to meet Leicester on Saturday afternoon.

Jeffers spent three years in north London, scoring just eight goals before being loaned back to Everton. He was eventually bought by Charlton for 2.6m a move which began a nomadic journey down the leagues, taking in Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday, Motherwell and a two-month spell at Accrington in 2013. Now 35, Jeffers was last seen working on a voluntary basis for Evertons youth academy having failed to earn a move to Brunei DPMM in Singapores top flight.

Vardy appears unlikely to suffer the same fate following his meteoric rise from non-league to the England team. But after taking more than three weeks agonising over his future while at the European Championship before deciding to sign a new contract worth 100,000 a week, news of his rejection must have stuck in Wengers craw.

While Sylvain Wiltord ably filled the gap for a while in the Invincibles season, the Frenchmans hopes of transforming Theo Walcott into an ace goal poacher to rival Arsenals former record scorer Ian Wright have failed to materialise. Despite his clear desire to add another striker to support the erratic Olivier Giroud, Wenger has not followed up his attempt to sign Vardy with any concrete bids for other reported targets, including Lyons Alexandre Lacazette, and resorted to fielding Alexis Snchez up front for last Sundays 4-3 defeat to Liverpool.

I think it is worth trying as he has the quality to go behind, he said of the Chile forward. Honestly, he did not have the most convincing game. I think as well he is one of them who is not completely ready physically.On the flanks he uses a lot of energy by chasing back and I would like to use his energy sometimes a bit more efficiently by going behind the defenders as he is a good finisher. He has played centre forward at Barcelona, you know.

It is an important season for Theo, because last year he had a difficult period, added Wenger. He can play as a striker and his numbers are excellent when he plays up front. We have Giroud, Snchez, Walcott, [Chuba Akpom] and [Yaya] Sanogo who is still here but is injured at the moment the players we buy have to be better.

I believe a club like ours is focused on giving chances to the players we develop. We have a few strikers who have a chance, if we find the right players we buy. But if you ask people give me names, you see it is not that easy look at a club like Real Madrid, who have they bought? Up front, it is very difficult.

Given the long-term injuries to Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker, however, Wenger has other priorities right now. Laurent Koscielny may be risked for the trip to face last seasons most prolific duo in Vardy and Riyad Mahrez who committed his future to Leicester this week amid reported interest from Arsenal after Liverpool ran riot against the new signing Rob Holding and his defensive partner Calum Chambers. A move for Valencias Shkodran Mustafi has yet to materialise, while Atltico Madrids outstanding Uruguayan Jos Gimnez has also been linked with a 40m move.

Yet if Arsenals start to the season was less than ideal, Leicesters attempt to defend the title they won so miraculously in May has yet to take off. Saturdays surprise defeat to promoted Hull was preceded by a run of three losses in glamorous pre-season games against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and the Community Shield against Manchester United, meaning their last victory came against the National League North side Nuneaton Town on 23 July.

With Mahrezs future now resolved, though, Ranieri is expecting the form which helped them finish 10 points clear of runners-up Arsenal to make a swift return. I hope everybody plays with an extra edge, he replied when asked if Vardy would have a point to prove . No, no, no. We have only to prove to ourselves that we are stronger, that we want to win.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/aug/19/arsenal-jamie-vardy-centre-forward-league-title

Family of murdered New York imam demand suspect be tried for hate crime

Police say have not yet found evidence that Oscar Morel, who has been charged with first-degree murder, harbored any hatred towards Muslims

The families of a murdered Bangladeshi imam and his friend gave an emotional call for justice on the steps of New Yorks city hall on Thursday, as leaders of the Muslim community reiterated demands that the suspect be tried for a hate crime.

Our family is deeply saddened by the loss of my brother-in-law, said Afia Uddin, of community member Thuru Uddin. We hope NYPD will bring the murderer to justice.

Uddin stood with her brother-in-laws 25-year-old son, who fought back tears throughout the press conference. Members of the Islamic Leadership council, interfaith leaders, city legislators and officials crowded the steps on city hall on Thursday morning.

But it was the families who made the most impassioned calls. Imam Maulama Akonjees son in-law Momin Ahmed told the crowd of reporters that the deaths have been hard on his family.

We hope everyone knows the imam was a kind loving person, Ahmed said. Every single person can say he had no problem with anybody.

Akonjee and Uddin were killed on Saturday in what prosecutors described as an assassination, when a man approached the two from behind and shot them in the head from point-blank range. The shootings sent shockwaves through the American-Muslim community.

A 35-year-old porter at Manhattans New School, Oscar Morel, was charged with first degree murder on Tuesday for their killings.

Several speakers at the press conference reiterated calls for Morel to be charged with a hate crime. An emotional Afaf Nasher, the president of the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, fought back tears as she called for a hate crimes investigation.

I applaud the district attorney for upgrading the charges to murder-one however at the same time, we continuously pursue and push for the investigation of hate crimes, Nasher said.

Morels first-degree murder charge is a rarity in itself, as its usually reserved for people who kill police officers. It indicates the prosecution feels it has a strong case.

Morel was arrested after his car was matched with one caught on camera fleeing the scene, and was involved in a hit-and-run with a cyclist 10 minutes after the shooting.

He was originally charged with second-degree murder after police found a gun matching the one used in the crime hidden behind a wall at his house. After meeting with members of the Bangladeshi community and Islamic leadership council, the Queens district attorney upgraded the charges to first-degree murder, which indicates the crime was intentional and premeditated.

What remains uncertain is Morels motivations. In court on Tuesday, Morels lawyer told the judge his client did not make any form of admission.

Also, speaking with the Daily News from Rikers Island jail, Morel said: It wasnt me.

I just want to say I like all types of religions, he said.

On Wednesday night, several Imams, Muslim lawyers and Muslim activists met at a mosque in Jamaica, Queens, to discuss how to respond to the crisis that has shocked their community.

The meeting, which was closed to media, was attended by representatives of a variety of different immigrant Muslim groups, as well as African American Muslims. Akonjees son was also in attendance.

Members remained steadfast in their call for Morel to be charged with a hate crime. But the NYPD chief of detectives Bob Boyce said the motivation of the killer remained a mystery.

Its a bit of a tough one for us to figure out, Boyce told reporters on Wednesday.

An investigation of Morels phone and Facebook account, as well as interviews with friends, have not surfaced any indication that he harbored any hatred towards Muslims, Boyce said.

Hate crime convictions have long been a contentious issue for the NYPD and prosecutors. Experts say, prosecutors are hesitant to charge defendants with hate crimes because it is difficult to prove and provides little benefit when pursuing a conviction.

It is very difficult to establish that a hate crime has occurred, said Jack Levin, co-director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University and author of The Violence of Hate. He explained that it requires understanding the thinking of a defendant. Also, the charge in the first-degree murder carries the heaviest sentence of life without parole, and therefore an additional hate crime conviction would be additional work with little gain for prosecutors.

But the symbolism of a hate crime is important to affected groups and can help indicate trends to encourage legislators to address a wider problem, Levin explained.

Morel will appear in court today to enter his plea and will be assigned a homicide lawyer.

Ahmed, Akonjees son in-law, said they will wait for the final result before making any judgments.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/18/new-york-queens-imam-hate-crime-muslim-activists