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Man United thrash Birmingham to go third in WSL
15 January 2022, 7:12 PM

Leah Galton scored two quick-fire first-half goals as Manchester United hammered second-from-bottom Birmingham City 5-0 to rise to third in the Women’s Super League table, level on 21 points with second-placed Chelsea.

After beating league leaders Arsenal in stunning fashion last week to record their first win of the season, Birmingham were brought crashing down to earth by a rampant first-half display from United.

They went behind in the 12th minute thanks to a clever chipped finish by Katie Zelem before Galton struck in the 16th and 18th minutes to leave the Blues reeling. An own goal left them 4-0 adrift at the break.

Alessia Russo netted a fifth in the second half to lift United into third spot in the table, four points behind leaders Arsenal, whose Sunday home clash with Reading has been called off due to the visitors having a number of COVID-19 cases and other injuries.

In the day’s other game, Georgia Stanway scored a goal in each half as Manchester City won 3-0 away to Aston Villa, a result which leaves them fifth in the table on 19 points.

Italy reports 180 426 coronavirus cases on Saturday, 308 deaths
15 January 2022, 6:37 PM

Italy reported 180 426 COVID-19 related cases on Saturday, after 186 253 the day before, the health ministry said, while the number of deaths fell to 308 from 360.

Italy has registered 140 856 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth highest in the world. The country has reported 8.55 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 18,370 on Saturday, up from 18 019 a day earlier.

There were 141 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 136 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients dropped slightly to 1 677 from a previous 1 679.

Some 1.22 million tests for COVID-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with 1.13 million previously, the health ministry said.

Kazakhstan puts unrest death toll at 225
15 January 2022, 6:10 PM

The bodies of 225 people killed in unrest in Kazakhstan last week, including 19 members of the security forces, were delivered to morgues throughout the country, the prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday.

The figure included civilians and armed “bandits” killed by security forces, Serik Shalabayev, the head of criminal prosecution at the prosecutor’s office, told a briefing.

He did not provide an exact breakdown of the figures and said numbers could be updated later.

Violent protests began in the oil-producing Central Asian state this month after a jump in car fuel prices. The toll provided by Shalabayev confirmed the violence was the deadliest in the country’s post-Soviet history.

Shalabayev said 50 000 people joined the riots throughout the former Soviet republic at their peak on Jan. 5 when crowds stormed and torched government buildings, cars, banks and shops in several major cities.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to a Russia-led military bloc for help during the unrest and sidelined his former patron and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev by taking over the national security council.

After complaints about beatings and torture of those detained in the aftermath, Tokayev ordered police on Saturday to avoid abuses and told prosecutors to be lenient to those who have not committed grave crimes.

Kohli gives up India test captaincy in surprise move
15 January 2022, 5:32 PM

Virat Kohli shocked Indian cricket on Saturday by abruptly resigning as the national side’s test captain, after leading the team to several memorable victories in his seven years in charge.

The 33-year-old, India’s most successful test captain, took to Twitter to announce his decision a day after India’s 2-1 series defeat in South Africa.

“It’s been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there,” Kohli said in his statement.

“Everything has come to a halt at some stage and for me as test captain of India, it’s now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief.”

The feisty top order batsman has had a difficult relationship with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) since stepping down as the Twenty20 captain after last year’s World Cup.

That cost him the one-day captaincy as well, with the BCCI installing Rohit Sharma as captain in both the short formats.

“It comes as a shock for everyone as he is one of the most respected test captains,” former test batsman Ashok Malhotra told NDTV news channel.

“I think he jumped before he was pushed.”

Kohli thanked Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whom he replaced as the test captain in 2014, and former India coach Ravi Shastri in his statement.

Known as well for his passionate leadership as for his glorious cover drives, Kohli led India in a record 68 test matches, winning 40 and losing 17 to be fourth in the list of captains with most test victories.

“BCCI congratulates #TeamIndia captain @imVkohli for his admirable leadership qualities that took the Test team to unprecedented heights,” the Indian board wrote on Twitter.

BCCI officials were not immediately available to confirm who would take over as India’s next test captain, although opener KL Rahul’s name has already started doing the rounds.

India’s next test assignment is a two-match home series against Sri Lanka in February-March.

Under Kohli, India became the top test nation and made it to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship last year, where New Zealand beat them to the title.

With him at the helm, India ended a 71-year drought when they registered their maiden series victory in Australia in early 2019.

His team also held a 2-1 lead in England last year before the final test in Manchester was postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian camp.

Kohli led by example to change India’s fitness culture and also oversaw the development of a formidable pace attack that was key to their success overseas.

“When Virat took over as test captain, India winning a test overseas was an achievement, now if India lose an overseas test series it is an upset,” former test opener Wasim Jaffer wrote on Twitter.

“And that’s how far he has taken Indian cricket forward, and that will be his legacy.”

Jallow gets debutants Gambia off to winning start
12 January 2022, 8:58 PM

Gambia’s Ablie Jallow scored early as they made an impressive debut at the Africa Cup of Nations finals by beating Mauritania 1-0 in their opening Group F encounter at Limbe Stadium on Wednesday.

Jallow struck with a left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area to put Gambia ahead after 10 minutes in their first game at the finals.

There were also good second-half chances for the small west African country, one of two debutants in the 24-team field for the tournament in Cameroon.

Gambia are joined at the top of the group standings by Mali, who edged Tunisia 1-0 in Limbe earlier on Wednesday in a controversy-filled encounter.

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