John Paul II ‘always’ a saint in Krakow

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

Tens of thousands of pilgrims have flocked to John Paul II’s adopted town of Krakow to celebrate the Polish pope’s sainthood, with the Vatican making official what many Poles have long believed.


“It’s the culmination of a religious process but for us he’s always been a saint,” 56-year-old civil servant Janina Powiazka told AFP news agency on Sunday in the southern Polish town where Karol Wojtyla spent his pre-papal years.

“It’s a huge day for us. The capstone of his life and of his life’s work, which he shared with us,” added the resident of the nearby mountain town of Zakopane, where the nature-loving pope often hiked.

Powiazka was among around 30,000 pilgrims from both Poland and around the world who gathered outside Krakow’s Divine Mercy Sanctuary, where a huge screen beamed live images from the Vatican’s historic canonisation ceremony.

It was there a young John Paul II came to pray during the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, while working at a nearby stone quarry.

The sanctuary on the hill was also home to Sister Mary Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament, who was declared a saint in 2000 under the Polish pope’s watch.

The Sunday crowd erupted in a thunder of applause after current Pope Francis declared in a Latin prayer that fellow pontiffs John Paul II (1978-2005) and John XXIII (1958-1963) were now saints.

“It’s an extraordinary day,” said Barbara Sobola, 35, from the southern town of Jaroslaw.

“The pope was an example for us to follow. He taught us compassion for others, tolerance, kindness. He showed us how to endure suffering.”

“It’s all the more moving because up to now a saint was this distant person who lived centuries ago, but today we have someone who was close to us and whom everyone here knows.”

As well as Poles, hundreds of pilgrims from across the world also flew to Krakow to pay tribute to John Paul II.

“The Polish pope was always present in my life,” said Maria Badalla, a Mexican-born American who made the trek with a group of faithful from her parish in the city of Mount Vernon.

“He was blessed, kind, humble. I came to Poland because it all began here, this is where he lived. I wanted to find out more about who he really was.”

Comments Off on John Paul II ‘always’ a saint in Krakow

Battling Sochaux postpone PSG’s title

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of wrapping up a second straight French League title early were dashed as they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Sochaux.


Edinson Cavani put PSG in front in the first half on Sunday, but a second-half Thiago Silva own goal earned Sochaux a share of the spoils and left Laurent Blanc’s side eight points clear of nearest challengers Monaco with three games remaining.

They will now have to wait until hosting Rennes on Wednesday, May 7 for another chance to wrap up the title.

Sochaux, meanwhile, are four points adrift of safety but two of their last three games are against fellow relegation candidates Rennes and Evian.

Blanc will be concerned at how PSG looked comfortable in the first half but then played largely second fiddle to Sochaux in the second period.

“Sochaux played really well and deserved the point,” he admitted to beIN Sports after the game.

“In all honesty we probably didn’t deserve to take the three points today. Some people assume we have won the title but we still have a little left to do so we have to go out and do it.”

Sochaux coach Herve Renard, whose side have now won five and drawn two of their last seven games at their own Stade Bonal, said: “The result is satisfying. The shame is that we didn’t play in the first half as we did in the second, because if we had done we could have won the match.”

Cavani had an early sight of goal and the Uruguayan produced a superb right-footed shot from the edge of the area in the 20th minute which Yohann Pele had to be at full stretch to tip over.

Lucas then went even closer from the resulting corner as the Brazilian’s header was hacked off the line by a Sochaux defender.

However, four minutes later PSG were ahead as Cavani chested down a superb long ball from Thiago Motta and volleyed it past Pele for his 16th league goal of the season.

The hosts deservedly drew level in the 56th minute, with on-loan Marseille forward Jordan Ayew again heavily involved.

Salvatore Sirigu beat away Sebastien Corchia’s shot from the right but it came back to Ayew out on the left. The Ghanaian international’s deft backheel released Florian Marange and his cross was met by the PSG goalkeeper’s fist only for the ball to rebound off Silva and trickle into the net.

Comments Off on Battling Sochaux postpone PSG’s title

Indigenous MPs join PUP after defecting from NT CLP

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The defection of three Northern Territory Country Liberal Party indigenous MPs to Clive Palmer’s party has comes as a fresh blow to the conservative side of politics and provoked an extraordinary attack from Queensland premier Campbell Newman.


Alison Anderson – whom Tony Abbott once tried to woo into federal politics – said she and fellow MLAs Larisa Lee and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwuy had approached PUP about a meeting with Palmer on Friday, and she had met him on Saturday night.

“We believed that we could achieve better things for all Territorians with the Palmer United Party,” said Anderson, who is now PUP’s leader in the Territory.

She said PUP was “the new force in Australian politics”.

Appearing at a news conference with Abbott, Newman said: “I ask, what inducements were offered to these three MP’s, what promises … to jump ship?”

He said Palmer had tried to buy the Queensland government, which had said “we’re not for sale”.

“As a result he’s gone on a rampage around Australia trying to buy other people and buy people’s votes and we’re seeing that in the Northern Territory today.”

Newman challenged journalists to ask more questions of Palmer and the defectors.

“If I was a journalist today … I’d be saying, ‘what was offered? What cash, what jobs, what financial support for elections? What offers were made to get them to jump ship?’”

Journalists should asked Palmer “the hard questions”, Newsman said.

“He says he’s not in business but then he still is in business trying to get out of paying a carbon tax obligation. He says he’s not in business but then he’s constantly talking about his excuses for why he’s not protecting the Great Barrier Reef properly in Townsville.”

Anderson denied any inducements. “We were not offered any inducements to join. We did so because we strongly believe it is the best way forward to give the people of the Northern Territory the futures they deserve.”

Palmer predicted that Anderson would become chief minister of the NT after its next election. The NT government was falling apart, he said.

Abbott said Anderson was “a fine person who’s fiercely stood up for the rights of her people”.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Comments Off on Indigenous MPs join PUP after defecting from NT CLP

Liverpool stunned by Chelsea to blow title race wide open

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Under-strength Chelsea cut the gap at the top to two points with two games to play in a tactical triumph for their manager Jose Mourinho.


The result boosted the title aspirations of third-placed Manchester City, who can close the gap on the leaders to three points if they beat Crystal Palace in Sunday’s late match.

City will also have a game in hand and a better goal difference than their rivals.

But Mourinho ruled Chelsea out of contention, telling Sky Sports; “the Champions will be City or Liverpool.”

Whether or not that the case, Chelsea will have beaten both of their rivals at home and away.

Liverpool lost 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in December and had not been beaten since until Sunday.

Chelsea also won at City in February, having beaten them at home four months earlier.

Missing five leading players through injury and suspension, Mourinho also chose to rest others ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who once worked at Chelsea under Mourinho, accused his former club of playing defensively and having “two buses parked” in front of their goal.

But his side, who had won their previous 11 games to become favourites for the title, failed to make enough chances on the day.

Philippe Coutinho wasted an early opportunity and Mamadou Sakho also missed the target but Chelsea’s reserve goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer did not have a shot to save for almost an hour.

Just before the interval Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped and fell as he received a square pass near the halfway line and Demba Ba ran on to finish coolly.

Schwarzer, standing in for the injured Petr Cech, did well to keep out Joe Allen’s volley and pushed over a shot from Luis Suarez.

But the Uruguayan striker, favourite to be named Player of the Year by his fellow professionals later on Sunday, was generally well controlled by a solid Chelsea defence and although the London side were pushed back for much of the second half, they still counter-attacked dangerously at times.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had to save low down from Andre Schuerrle on one such break and in added time Fernando Torres, once a Liverpool hero, set up the Brazilian midfielder Willian to score the second goal and clinch victory.

Chelsea were left to rue a shock home defeat by Sunderland in their last game, which was the first time Mourinho had lost in 78 league matches at Stamford Bridge.

Had they won that game as expected they would now have been top of the table and would have the title in their own hands.

They still need one more point to guarantee finishing in the top three and earn automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures are against two relegation candidates, Norwich at home and Cardiff away.

Liverpool play away to Crystal Palace and finish at home to Newcastle, hoping that City will have dropped points. The Manchester club’s last three games are away to Everton next Saturday, then home to Aston Villa and West Ham in the final week of what has been a topsy-turvy Premier League season.

Rodgers refused to concede anything, telling Sky Sports: “Manchester City have still got the games to play. We’ll fight to finish as high as we can and see where it takes us.”

(Writing by Steve Tongue, editing by Ed Osmond)

Comments Off on Liverpool stunned by Chelsea to blow title race wide open

Chelsea parked ‘two buses’, fumes Rodgers

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Frustrated Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers accused Chelsea of time-wasting and defensive tactics after his side’s English Premier League title challenge was compromised by a 2-0 home defeat on Sunday.


Liverpool could have ended Chelsea’s title bid with victory at Anfield, but goals in injury time at the end of each half from Demba Ba and Willian enabled the London club to close to within two points of the leaders.

The visitors employed delaying tactics from the start, riling the home crowd, and manager Jose Mourinho instructed his side to mass 10 players behind the ball whenever Liverpool had possession.

While stopping short of directly criticising Mourinho, under whom he worked as a youth and reserve-team coach at Chelsea, Rodgers made clear his disregard for his former mentor’s approach.

Employing a metaphor about defensive teams introduced to the English football lexicon by Mourinho, he said: “They sat in really deep. There was probably two buses parked today, rather than one.

“It’s the style of football, it’s a defensive style. It’s the polar opposite to how we work. If it gets results, great. Jose’s got his result today, and he’ll be happy with that.

“It’s not difficult to coach, to just get 10 players right on your 18-yard box, but it’s obviously much harder to break through it. As I said, they defended well.”

On Chelsea’s spoiling tactics, he added: “It was disappointing. I think they got booked for time-wasting in the 92nd minute, but everyone could see from the first whistle that was clearly the plan, to frustrate.

“But teams will work in a different way. We’re a team that try to win the game in a sporting manner, try to work, try to initiate the game with the ball. Today it just wasn’t to be for us.

“Whether it was time-wasting, whether it was defensive, it doesn’t matter. We lost the game and we’ll move now onto the next game.”

Steven Gerrard was at fault for the first goal, slipping and conceding possession to Ba, who ran through and scored, but Rodgers absolved his captain of any blame.

“I said at half-time, this is a boy that’s picked up this club so many times,” Rodgers said.

“It was just really unfortunate he slipped at a crucial moment, right on half-time. But he was doing everything he possibly could today.”

With characteristic bullishness, Mourinho claimed that “the best team won” and gave short shrift to suggestions that his side had indulged in time-wasting.

But he played down his side’s chances of winning the league.

“Now we can say we won both matches against the champions,” the Portuguese said. “If it’s Liverpool, we won both. If it’s Man City, we won both.

“With these three points we need one point to finish third. It was a good season for us and an evolution in many aspects of this team. The champions will be City or Liverpool, so we have nothing to celebrate.”

Comments Off on Chelsea parked ‘two buses’, fumes Rodgers

Holders Toulon into European Cup final

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Holders Toulon reached the European Cup final with a 24-16 defeat of two-time winners Munster in a pulsating encounter in Marseille on Sunday.


Former England great Jonny Wilkinson scored 21 of his side’s points while Munster – appearing in a record 11th semifinal – scored the only try of the match through Simon Zebo.

Toulon will play English side Saracens, who thrashed last season’s finalists Clermont 46-6 on Saturday, in the final in Cardiff on May 24.

The first half turned into a kicking competition between Wilkinson and his opposite number Ian Keatley, with the former England international landing four penalties and the Irishman converting three from three opportunities.

Wilkinson also landed a drop goal while compatriot Delon Armitage converted a superb long range effort on the stroke of half-time from just inside the Toulon half.

The Irish province had only themselves to blame for going in behind for apart from a series of mistakes they also failed to take advantage of referee Wayne Barnes reducing the hosts to 14 men in the 29th minute.

The Englishman, after consulting with the video referee, decided to sin bin Argentinian Juan Fernandez-Lobbe for unintentional raking of a Munster opponent.

Toulon came out firing on all cylinders in the second-half and it took a superb tackle from Ireland wing Zebo to deny Armitage’s brother Steffon a try – the No8’s foot going into touch before he touched down over the tryline.

Munster were under real pressure as Toulon’s South African wing Bryan Habana started to sparkle, one penetrating run through the centre setting up another try-scoring opportunity which Keith Earls managed to prevent.

Those close escapes provoked the Irish province into finally launching an attack of their own and it resulted in a try for Zebo.

Scrum-half Conor Murray peeled off a ruck and fed Zebo who used his momentum to take himself and opposite number Drew Mitchell over the line.

Despite Toulon believing Steffon Armitage had got back to prevent Zebo grounding the ball Barnes gave the try without referring it and Keatley converted brilliantly from the left hand touchline to bring Munster to within two points of the hosts.

Keatley missed an opportunity to give his side the lead for the first time soon afterwards and the game looked to have shifted once more back into the hosts’ favour in the 64th minute when Barnes wielded the yellow card at Earls for tackling David Smith without the ball.

Wilkinson made no mistake with the resulting penalty to make it 21-16.

Despite this reverse it was Munster who turned on the pressure and twice kicked to touch for position than go for goal as they sensed Toulon were rocking even with the man advantage.

Even in defence Munster held their own with a superb block denying Wilkinson a second drop goal with just seven minutes remaining.

However, Toulon finally sealed victory with two minutes left as Munster conceded a penalty and the peerless Wilkinson slotted over the kick.

Comments Off on Holders Toulon into European Cup final

Packer scores Hollywood biopic

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

James Packer’s Hollywood production company has won a bidding war for the movie rights to the story behind Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig’s dramatic escape from Cuba to the US.


Packer will executive produce the film.

The deal is the latest win for the Australian casino mogul, who has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most powerful players after teaming with filmmaker Brett Ratner to form production company RatPac Entertainment.

Puig, who played for the Dodgers in the team’s recent Sydney games, has become one of baseball’s highest-profile stars, with his big bat electrifying crowds but off-the-field antics causing unwanted headlines.

Puig’s dramatic defection from his home in Cuba to the US, detailed in a recent Los Angeles magazine article by journalist Jesse Katz titled Escape From Cuba: Yasiel Puig’s Untold Journey to the Dodgers, was pounced on by Hollywood producers.

It was RatPac which secured the rights.

The story follows Puig, accompanied by “a boxer, a pinup girl and a Santeria priest”, as he escapes his home with the assistance of Mexican drug cartels but is held captive for three weeks when the agreed $US250,000 ($A270,000) fee isn’t paid.

As is often necessary in Hollywood, the story has a happy ending.

Puig went on to sign a seven-year, $US42 million deal with the Dodgers in 2012.

Packer’s Hollywood venture has also been a success, with RatPac’s first investment, the space adventure film Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, earning $US716 million in worldwide box office receipts and scoring seven Oscar wins.

RatPac has also signed a deal to fund films by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B.

Comments Off on Packer scores Hollywood biopic

Advantage City after Chelsea hit Liverpool

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Manchester City revived their Premier League title bid after a 2-0 win away to Crystal Palace moved them to within three points of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.


Edin Dzeko’s fourth-minute header put City ahead before Yaya Toure doubled their lead shortly before half-time on Sunday when he curled a shot beyond goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

Victory also left City just a point behind second-placed Chelsea, who beat table-toppers Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield earlier on Sunday.

Significantly, Manuel Pellegrini’s City side still have three league games to play this season compared to Liverpool and Chelsea’s two apiece.

If City and Liverpool win all their remaining league matches, they will both finish with 86 points.

However, City currently have a superior goal difference of +58 compared to Liverpool’s +50 and Chelsea’s +43.

Shortly before City kicked-off at Selhurst Park, Chelsea kept their hopes of an English and European double alive with victory at Anfield.

Senegal striker Demba Ba gave Chelsea the lead in first-half stoppage time when a slip by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard allowed him to charge through and beat Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in a one-on-one.

Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in added time at the end of the match when, with the hosts pressing for an equaliser, former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres led a counter-attack before squaring the ball to substitute Willian for a simple finish.

Chelsea face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday after a goalless initial encounter in Spain.

Despite Sunday’s success, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted either Liverpool or City would end the season as champions of England.

“Now we can say we won both matches against the champions,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“If it’s Liverpool, we won both. If it’s City, we won both.

“The champions will be City or Liverpool so we have nothing to celebrate.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, a member of the backroom staff during Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, bemoaned Chelsea’s defensive style.

“There was probably two buses parked today, rather than one,” he said.

“It’s the style of football, it’s a defensive style. It’s the polar opposite to how we work.”

But Rodgers insisted all was not lost for Liverpool.

“We are still two points ahead of a team (Chelsea) that has spent an absolute fortune.

“If we win our last two games, we finish above them and then we’ll see what happens with Manchester City.”

Sunderland climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 4-0 win at home to 10-man fellow strugglers Cardiff City.

Comments Off on Advantage City after Chelsea hit Liverpool

Toure magic puts City in control in EPL

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Manchester City took advantage of Liverpool’s slip to put the destiny of the English Premier League title back in their own hands as Yaya Toure inspired a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace.


Manuel Pellegrini’s side had received a huge boost when leaders Liverpool crashed to a 2-0 home defeat against Chelsea earlier on Sunday.

That result put a spring in City’s step and before the first half was over at Selhurst Park they had seized the unexpected opportunity to regain control of the title race thanks to Edin Dzeko’s opener and a sublime effort from Ivory Coast midfielder Toure.

City remain third but they are now only three points adrift of Liverpool, crucially with a game in hand and a vastly superior goal difference, and one behind second-placed Chelsea.

After a potentially defining weekend in the title race, Pellegrini’s men know that, whatever Liverpool and Chelsea do in their last two matches, City will be crowned champions for the second time in three years if they win their final three fixtures at Everton next Saturday and then at home against Aston Villa and West Ham – providing they maintain their goal difference advantage over Liverpool.

Two weeks after seeming to have squandered the title initiative with a loss at Liverpool and a draw against Sunderland, City were back in charge of their own fate.

And just as significantly, they had already received another fillip with Toure returning to the starting line-up after a groin injury.

It was Toure who was the catalyst for fired-up City to take the lead in the fourth minute.

Pellegrini’s team had hemmed Palace back onto the edge of their own penalty area when Toure, given too much time on the ball, curled a perfect cross towards Dzeko.

The Bosnian striker made a well-timed run to stay onside and split the Palace defence, allowing him just enough space to plant a downwards header past Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

For Liverpool their next opponents, Palace could still influence the title race, but despite their usual tenacious approach Tony Pulis’s side, who had won their previous five matches, found it impossible to knock City out of their stride.

City threatened a second goal when captain Vincent Kompany headed narrowly wide of the near post.

And they delivered the knockout blow in the 43rd minute as Toure produced a moment of brilliance to emphasise his importance to City’s cause.

He first displayed his strength to rob Yannick Bolasie deep inside City’s half before navigating the midfield with a quick-fire exchanges of passes with Dzeko and Nasri.

Nasri’s return ball offered Toure the chance to demonstrate his pace and he burst into the penalty area and cut inside Scott Dann to curl an exquisite strike into the top corner for his 23rd goal of the season.

Comments Off on Toure magic puts City in control in EPL

Defeat leaves Hamburg deep in trouble

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Former European champions Hamburg remain in danger of being relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in their history after losing 3-1 away to Augsburg.


They were three goals down inside 42 minutes on Sunday as Turkey striker Halil Altintop scored a brace and Andre Hahn added another goal for the hosts. Heiko Westermann’s reply just before the interval proved to be a mere consolation for HSV.

Hamburg won the European Cup in 1983 but have not won any major honours since 1987, and now their status as the only club in Germany’s top flight never to have been relegated is under serious threat with only two games of the season remaining.

Mirko Slomka’s side lie 16th in the table, only a point clear of the automatic relegation places and with a home game against reigning European champions Bayern Munich and a tricky trip to Mainz still to come.

Should Hamburg remain third from bottom, they will earn a reprieve in the form of a two-legged play-off against the side which finishes third in the second tier.

Borussia Dortmund, who drew 2-2 with Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, will finish the season second to Bayern for the second year running after third-placed Schalke lost 1-0 at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

A first-half strike from winger Patrick Herrmann gave Gladbach the win in Gelsenkirchen, which left Schalke in third and seven points adrift of neighbours Dortmund with two games left.

On Saturday, Bayern Munich warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Real Madrid with a 5-2 come-from-behind win against Werder Bremen.

Three days after their 1-0 first-leg loss in Madrid, Bayern fell behind twice against Bremen at the Allianz Arena before scoring four second-half goals without reply.

The flattering scoreline failed to mask Bayern’s woeful first-half defending, which must sound the alarm bells for coach Pep Guardiola given the danger of conceding an away goal to Madrid.

Bayern have conceded the first goal in seven of their nine matches since winning the Bundesliga title late last month with a record seven matches to spare.

France winger Franck Ribery equalised before Aaron Hunt capitalised on some poor marking for Bremen’s second to make it 2-1 at the break.

Bayern equalised again when Thomas Mueller headed on Ribery’s corner and Claudio Pizarro was on hand to stab home his shot to make it 2-2 on 54 minutes, then the Peru veteran added his second against his old club four minutes later.

Bastian Schweinsteiger then powered home a header on 61 minutes before Arjen Robben hit the top corner of the net to make it 5-2 on 74 minutes, less than 60 seconds after coming off the bench.

Comments Off on Defeat leaves Hamburg deep in trouble

Iraqi helicopters strike Syria jihadists

Written by admin on  Categories: 苏州美睫

Iraqi army helicopters have hit a jihadist convoy in eastern Syria, killing at least eight.


The strike is the first inside Syria claimed by Iraq since the three-year uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011.

The conflict has spilled across the border, contributing to a dramatic rise of violence in Iraq since the country’s 2006-2008 sectarian war.

Meanwhile, Iraqis living overseas have began voting ahead of Wednesday’s general election that will see Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seeking a third term despite worsening sectarian tensions, rampant corruption and high unemployment.

“The army struck eight tanker trucks in Wadi Suwab inside Syrian territory as they were trying to enter Iraqi territory to provide the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with fuel,” interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said on Sunday.

Sunni radicals ISIL emerged in Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion in 2003, and later expanded into Syria during the uprising against Assad.

Maan said “there was no co-ordination with the Syrian regime” over the strike.

“Our responsibility now is to protect our border and to protect the border from the other side, because there is no protection from the other side.”

The targeted vehicles were apparently travelling to the western Iraqi border province of Anbar, where ISIL has been battling Iraqi security forces.

Fighters from ISIL and other militants control the city of Fallujah in Anbar, just a short drive from Baghdad, and security officials are worried they are seeking to encroach on the capital.

Illustrating those concerns, ISIL on Friday set off twin bombings against a Shi’ite political rally, killing 36 people.

The latest show of force by the government security forces came as voting opened for Iraqis living in 29 countries overseas, including substantial contingents in Britain, Sweden, Jordan, Iran and Germany.

Maliki, lambasted by critics for allegedly consolidating power and targeting minority groups, is bidding for a third term and with a fractious and divided opposition, he remains the frontrunner, analysts and diplomats say.

Comments Off on Iraqi helicopters strike Syria jihadists