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  1. Manchester United announced Thursday that more than $290 million of its high-interest debt has been refinanced, cutting the club's interest costs by around $15 million a year.

    Fresh from winning a 20th English title and undergoing an apparently smooth managerial succession, United said it has secured a new loan from Bank of America with far lower interest rates.

    United has refinanced 177.78 million pounds ($269 million) of outstanding 8.75 per cent interest sterling bonds and $22.09 million of 8.375 per cent dollar bonds.

    The new loan from June 24 will have an estimated starting interest rate of around 2.78 per cent. Interest payments should come down from around 31 million pounds to 21 million pounds per year ($31.7 million), United said in a statement.

    United, which is owned by the American Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has approximately halved its total debts to 370 million pounds ($559.4 million) in three years.

    The refinancing package appears to indicate investor confidence in both the business and the first managerial change at Old Trafford since 1986, with David Moyes replacing Alex Ferguson.

    "It shows that the infrastructure is in place and the decision they made on the managerial front is viewed as, not negative, but positive," Majid Ishaq, managing director of financial advisory group Rothschild, told The Associated Press.

    "They are in a position today where they have gone back to the market to refinance that particular part of the financing on very attractive terms because they have really delivered, and grown the underlying revenue and profitability."

    United said earlier this month it is on course to generate more than 350 million pounds ($530 million) this season after earning a record 91.7 million pounds ($139 million) in the three months to March 31. Net profit more than trebled year-on-year to 3.6 million pounds ($5.4 million) in the third quarter.

    "United is unique in that they have a great historic brand, and they have managed to derive value from that history and heritage in a very commercial way," said Ishaq, a football finance expert. "That's a big positive for investors."



  2. A soldier killed in a suspected terrorist attack in south-east London is expected to be named later, while two men remain under arrest in hospital.

    The soldier's family have been informed

    Shortly after the killing in Woolwich, one man - his hands covered in blood- was filmed by a passer-by, saying he carried out the attack because British soldiers killed Muslims every day.

    Two men were shot by police at the scene. One is in a serious condition.

    The PM has chaired a Cobra emergency response committee, as counter-terrorism police investigate the attack.


    A blue vehicle believed to be involved in the incident was covered with red tarpaulin and towed away from the scene - it is thought the victim may have been hit by the car before he was attacked.

    Security has been increased at barracks across London and the BBC understands the Ministry of Defence has issued guidance to members of the armed forces to "conceal" their uniforms.

    The two suspects were shot and wounded by police after the attack - which took place in Artillery Place, off John Wilson Street, at 14:20 BST.

    Eyewitnesses say the victim was hacked to death by two men shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great).

    The men made no attempt to flee and encouraged people to take pictures of them and their victim.

    In footage obtained by ITV News, one of the men was filmed wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and making political statements.

    "You think politicians are going to die?", he said. "No, it's going to be the average guy - like you - and your children.

    "So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so you can all live in peace".

    Another eye witness said the police "didn't even get a chance to get out of their car".

    "They just had to shoot him because he was just hurtling towards them," Graham Wilders told the BBC. "And then the other one, with the handgun, lifted it up and obviously they shot him."

    Meanwhile, two men have been arrested after separate attacks on mosques.

    A 43-year-old was held in custody on Wednesday night suspected of attempted arson after reportedly walking into a mosque holding a knife in Braintree, Essex.

    Another man was arrested in Gillingham on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage as around 250 supporters of the English Defence League gathered in Woolwich and clashed with police.



  3. A way of creating more effective vaccines which could protect against a broad range of flu viruses has been reported by US researchers.

    A different seasonal flu jab is produced every year as the virus is a constantly shifting target.

    This animal study, published in the journal Nature, showed a single jab could protect against multiple strains.

    Flu scientists said it was an important advance, but a vaccine which could defeat all flu was a long way off.

    While there are different strains of flu circulating each year, there are bits of the flu virus which do not change.

    Many groups of researchers believe that targeting these weak spots could lead to a single, universal flu vaccine.

    The normal seasonal flu jab is made by growing the virus in chicken eggs. It is then inactivated and injected into people to train the immune system to fight off that virus.

    A group at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi used a different approach to design a new protein which was half virus.

    Spikes which stick out from the surface of the virus, which hardly vary between strains, were fused with a 'transporter protein' which is naturally found in blood.

    Groups of these hybrid proteins then spontaneously formed tiny spheres, which were tested in ferrets.

    Flu researchers use ferrets as they are can be infected with human viruses, which results in similar symptoms.

    The vaccine gave the animals immunity against multiple batches of flu ranging from viruses circulating in 1934 through to 2007.

    Dr Gary Nabel, the chief scientific officer at Sanofi, told the BBC: "We think this is a step down the path towards a universal vaccine. It's not a universal vaccine yet.

    "There's lots of research in the early phases and this looks as good as anything out there."



  4. An 80-year old Japanese mountaineer has reached the summit of Mount Everest, making him the oldest man to scale the world's highest peak.

    Yuichiro Miura, who climbed Everest when he was 70 and then again at 75, reached the peak early on Thursday morning, his support team said.

    He replaces Nepal's Min Bahadur Sherchan, who was 76 when he conquered Everest in 2008, as the record holder.

    But Mr Sherchan, now 81, is set to tackle the mountain again next week.

    Mr Miura began his final charge for the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) peak around 02:00 on Thursday, Japanese media reported, and arrived at the summit some seven hours later.

    "I made it!'' Mr Miura said, speaking to his family and supporters via satellite phone from the summit.

    "I never imagined I could make it to the top of Mt Everest at age 80. This is the world's best feeling, although I'm totally exhausted. Even at 80, I can still do quite well.''

    A Nepalese mountaineering official also confirmed to the Associated Press news agency that Mr Miura had made it to the summit.

    Mr Miura made the climb with three other Japanese climbers, including his son, and six Nepali Sherpas, Reuters news agency reported.

    An extreme skier who once held a world speed-skiing record, Mr Miura broke his pelvis and left thigh in 2009 and has also had a number of operations on his heart.

    Ahead of his climb, he said scaling Everest was about challenging his limits and honouring "the great Mother Nature".

    "If the limit of age 80 is at the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest place on earth, one can never be happier," he wrote on his expedition website.



  5. The US attorney general has acknowledged four US citizens have been killed in drone strikes since 2009.

    In a letter to the Senate judiciary committee, Eric Holder defended the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

    But he said Awlaki's 16-year-old son as well as two other individuals were "not specifically targeted by the US".

    The disclosure comes as President Barack Obama prepares to make a speech on counter-terrorism and the drone programme on Thursday.

    The president will "discuss why the use of drone strikes is necessary, legal and just, while addressing the various issues raised by our use of targeted action", administration officials said.

    His speech coincides with the signing of new "presidential policy guidance" on when drone strikes can be used, the White House said.

    According to US news reports, the Pentagon has already started taking over responsibility from the CIA for drone strikes outside Pakistan.

    The disclosure of the killings in Yemen and Pakistan marks the first formal public acknowledgement of the US citizen deaths in drone strikes.

    "The president has directed me to disclose certain information that until now has been properly classified," Mr Holder wrote.

    America's top law enforcement official defended the killing of Awlaki, whom he described as a "senior operational leader" of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

    Mr Holder said Awlaki was "intimately involved in detailed planning and putting in place plots against US persons".



  6. The cultural riches of Paris can conjure up all sorts of dilemmas. Where to begin? The Louvre or the Musee d’Orsay? The Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe?


    Yet when Jay Electronica visited the City of Light earlier this month, he pulled out his smartphone and got straight to the point.


    ‘Dear Paris, who has trees?’ tweeted the self-proclaimed rap poet. Swiftly deleted, the message was nevertheless seen by his 116,500 fans, so one can only assume the mission was accomplished.

    ‘Trees’, for those not au fait with U.S. street slang, is code for marijuana. 


    And Jay Electronica, for those less than familiar with much-hyped but rarely heard hip-hop artists, is the grand amour of Kate Rothschild, the beautiful heiress of the famous banking family, whose father left £18 million to his wife and daughters.


    It was their relationship that led to the collapse of her marriage to Ben Goldsmith. The break-up of scions of two of the wealthiest families in Britain was played out in spectacularly public fashion on Twitter.


    Now, with the dust settled and the decree nisi granted, rumours are gathering pace in the salons of London society that Kate is preparing for another wedding.


    But how suitable for a Rothschild heiress is 36-year-old Electronica, who grew up in one of the most notorious crime-ridden ghettoes of New Orleans? If alarm bells are set ringing by his penchant for ‘trees’, investigation only serves to heighten those concerns.

    In this country, he is establishing himself as high society’s rapper of choice. 


    Only last month, he was sipping champagne at a barn dance on a Guinness family estate in Wiltshire, rubbing shoulders (in his Nike jumper and T-shirt) with the likes of Eliza Cummings, the model girlfriend of financier Nat Rothschild, and dozens more aristocratic socialites.


    To his new Barbour-clad crew, Jay - real name Timothy Elpadaro Thedford - is the definition of cool: one of the most elusive and mysterious men in hip-hop has pitched his tent in their midst. 


    The fact that such a prominent figure as Kate Rothschild patently adores him, and hangs on his every word, simply serves to reinforce that impression.


    The view across the pond, however, is one of wry amusement at the sheer brass neck of the man. Among those who have heard of him, that is.


    For while the Rothschild connection has afforded him a certain profile in this country, in truth he remains all but anonymous in his homeland.



    Indeed, despite signing in a blaze of publicity for the Roc Nation label owned by Jay-Z - the biggest rap star in America - nearly three years ago, he is yet to release an album.


    Martin Spasov, the New York-based music industry commentator, describes him as ‘at the very least, a self-promotion genius’.


    ‘When was the last time a rapper became so popular based on so little? I’m willing to bet Jay Electronica was never going to release an album in the first place, even without the interference of Ms Rothschild.’


    Other critics put it even more bluntly, suggesting that Mr Electronica is content to stay in London because there he faces fewer questions about his status as a credible artist.





  7. Mario Gotze will miss the Champions League final - meaning he will avoid another angry backlash from furious Borussia Dortmund fans.


    The forward has been ruled out of Saturday's showpiece at Wembley with a thigh injury. It is a major blow for manager Jurgen Klopp, who leads his side into battle against Bayern Munich in a bid to be crowned champions of Europe.


    Yet, Gotze may be relieved to avoid another backlash from fans after going house hunting in Munich in the build-up to Saturday's all-German Champions League final. 



    Already pilloried by an outraged Dortmund public for agreeing to join bitter rivals and Wembley opponents Bayern after this weekend's season finale, the 20-year old has risked further alienating them by viewing property in the Bavarian capital while his team-mates prepared for the biggest game of their lives. 


    The trip last week was ostensibly for a consultation with a Munich specialist but he ended up dividing his time between having his hamstring injury treated and touring one of the city's most desirable residential areas.


    He evidently viewed an apartment that was to his liking and while no-one can blame him for planning ahead, it is bound to be seen as insensitive by Dortmund followers so close to his planned farewell appearance against the team he is about to join, in the biggest club game German football has known. 


    Still a fortnight short of his 21st birthday, he will apparently take any escalation of hostility towards him in his stride. 


    Such a sustained level of abuse, since his £31.5million defection to Bayern was announced a month ago, might normally be enough to test the fortitude of the most seasoned campaigner, but a Dortmund source insisted: 'You will not find a cooler customer than Mario.





  8. Manchester City have announced a partnership with baseball giants the New York Yankees to form a new Major League Soccer franchise.


    New York City Football Club will enter the MLS in 2015 after a deal thought to be worth $100m (£66m) was struck.


    The new club will play in a temporary home until a new stadium is built.


    "We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City soccer," said Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano.


    Discussions are under way over the construction of a new stadium for the team at Flushing Meadows in the Queens borough of the city.


    The new franchise, the 20th in the MLS, will be the first in the city itself but the second in the metropolitan area, with New York Red Bulls based in Harrison, New Jersey.


    The Yankees have previously had commercial associations with Premier League champions Manchester United.


    City will be the majority owners of the new franchise and Soriano added: "New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fanbase.


    "In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organisation and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride."


    City are currently in the United States, where they will play two post-season friendlies against Chelsea, in St Louis on 23 May and at Yankee Stadium on 25 May.





  9. West Ham have agreed a fee with Liverpool for Andy Carroll but the England striker has yet to decide if he wants to join the Hammers permanently.


    The London side will match Liverpool's asking price of around £15m, but the 24-year-old is unsure about the move ahead of a World Cup year.


    It is understood interest from former club Newcastle United has cooled.

    West Ham are expected to bid for Vitesse Arnhem's Wilfried Bony if Carroll rejects their approach.


    The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international finished as 31-goal top scorer in the Dutch league this season, but West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has made no secret about Carroll being his main summer target,


    Meanwhile, Carroll has withdrawn from the England squad for the upcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil because of a heel injury.

    Carroll was signed by Kenny Dalglish and moved to Liverpool on transfer deadline day in January 2011, for what remains a record fee for a British player of £35m.


    He had impressed by scoring 31 times for his boyhood club Newcastle United in 81 appearances, but his time at Anfield was short lived.


    Coupled with the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and a new style of play, Carroll's return of just six goals in 44 outings for Liverpool saw him loaned to West Ham in late August 2012.


    Despite a knee injury ruling him out for December, Carroll scored seven times for Allardyce's side during the season, form which encouraged the West Ham boss to pursue a permanent deal.





  10. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy have been named in connection with post-election violence in a long-awaited report investigating human rights abuses in the country.

    The report gave no recommendation for action to be taken against Mr Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto.

    The report's chairman told the BBC this was because they already face charges at the International Criminal Court.

    Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto deny such allegations.

    The Truth Reconciliation and Justice Commission (TRJC) was set up following deadly post-election clashes five years ago.

    After those elections some 1,500 people were killed and more than 600,000 forced to flee their homes.

    Its mandate was to investigate and recommend appropriate action on human rights abuses committed between Kenyan independence in December 1963 and the end of February 2008 - including politically motivated violence, assassinations, corruption and land disputes.

    Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, who were on opposite sides in 2007, won elections together in March.

    The TJRC report also recommends that its own chairman Bethuel Kiplagat face further investigation over the Wagalla massacre in 1984, when he was serving as permanent secretary in the foreign affairs ministry in former President Daniel arap Moi's administration.

    The Wagalla massacre was the result of an effort to disarm ethnic Somali clans in the north-east of the country. The government said that only 57 people were killed but survivors say close to 5,000 people died.