It is viewed by many as the Emmys of the Travel Industry, and this week Sandals Resorts International swept the Travel Trade Gazette Awards 2018 held at the Lyceum Theatre in London’s Covent Garden. Sandals held off competition from the world’s leading travel industry bodies such as Thomas Cook, Jet2Holidays, Royal Caribbean International, Beachcomber Tours and Celebrity Cruises, and walked away with the three top prizes on offer including the coveted “Travel Company of the Year Award”. Sandals Resorts also scooped awards for ‘Hotel and Resort Operator of the Year’ and ‘On the Road Hero’, which was awarded to Business Development Manager, Neil Read for his outstanding contribution to the Sandals Resorts’ sales team. In the “Hotel and Resort Operator Award’ category Sandals beat back companies such as Elegant Hotels Group, Hard Rock Hotels – All Inclusive Collection, Palladium Hotel Group, Secrets Resorts & Spas and Warner Leisure Hotels to take the top prize. It adds to the long list of accolades which have recognised Sandals Resorts as being the very best in the tourism and hospitality industry. Not only has Sandals been voted World’s Best All Inclusive Company at the World Travel Awards for 23 consecutive years, the resort chain copped the award for ‘Best All-Inclusive Resort Operator’ in January 2018 at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards; it’s 10th win in this category. This means that the UK’s top two travel trade publications have now nominated Sandals Resorts as their number one. The TTG Travel Awards aims to celebrate success by showcasing the highest standards within the UK travel trade industry. The awards themselves are widely regarded as being some of the toughest in the business to win, while the annual TTG Awards ceremony itself is one of the most highly anticipated each year. The majority of all categories are voted for by travel agents and the travel trade, whilst The Travel Company of the Year Award is judged by a specialist panel of senior team members from the TTG Media publishing house, along with other travel industry professionals. Karl Thompson, Managing Director of Sandals Resorts, UK & Europe, said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive all three awards at this year’s TTG Travel Awards – particularly Travel Company of the Year, which is an incredible achievement for the Sandals Resorts brand and for every member of our fantastic team. We are also extremely grateful to all the agents who also took the time to vote for us in the Hotel & Resort Operator of the Year category, as we couldn’t have done it without the support of the trade.” For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

Coca-Cola says it's eyeing the growing market for health drinks infused with cannabidiol -- or CBD -- but has made no decisions.

The Coca-Cola Company says that it's "closely watching" the growth of the use of a non-psychoactive element of cannabis in wellness drinks. The statement Monday came after reports that the beverage giant was in talks with a Canadian cannabis company to create a cannabidiol-infused infused beverage. Coca-Cola and Aurora Cannabis Inc. both declined to confirm the reports by BNN Bloomberg. Shares of Aurora were up nearly 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the report. Coca-Cola says it's eyeing the growing market for health drinks infused with cannabidiol -- or CBD -- but has made no decisions. The beverage giant's interest is another indication of the growing acceptance of cannabis by established companies. Spirits maker Constellation Brands bought a minority stake in a Canadian marijuana producer last year. For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.


Nishal Sankat, a former student of Hillview College, has been booked for a visa violation and criminal trespassing and has since been charged with a criminal attempt to steal an airplane from a Florida airport early on Thursday. Photo via Facebook.

The Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Florida has been reopened after a 26-year-old student pilot from Trinidad breached the airport’s security early on Thursday. According to reports from US news outlets,Nishal Sankat drove to the airport, parked at the curb, left his car running, scaled a barbed-wire fence and boarded an Airbus 321 American Airlines aircraft at a maintenance facility, disrupting travel at the facility. Airport maintenance workers spotted him getting onto the aircraft and in the space of two minutes, they tackled him and held him until the authorities arrived. Sankat was taken into custody by Melbourne police just minutes later. Two flights were delayed and employees and passengers were removed from the terminal during the incident. The 26-year-old’s daring dash interrupted airport operations for around five hours. Airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said officials conducted a sweep of the airfield before reopening the airport. A robotic arm was used to search his car to make sure there were no explosives. The car was then towed from the airport. Booker confirmed that Trinidad-born Sankat,who entered the United States through Canada, has a Florida driver's license. He is a student pilot studyingaviation management part-time at Florida Institute ofTechnology, and according to a tweet from the University, he has completed "some" flight training. He was taken to the Brevard County Jail. Sankat has been booked for a visa violation and criminal trespassing and has since been charged with a criminal attempt to steal an airplane. The 26-year-old is a former student of Hillview College in Tunapuna. Police, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are involved in the investigation. Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the suspect's name and the charges laid against him. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop

Kingston, Jamaica is now home to the region’s first Festo Authorized and Certified Training (FACT) Centre . The training centre which is located at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) was officially opened by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness on Wednesday. The centre is expected to churn out up to 4,000 graduates who will be internationally certified in industrial automation and mechatronics. Speaking at the opening ceremony,Holness noted that the new training facility puts the island nation in a better position to develop its human resources, particularly preparing the island’s youth for the future. Holness noted the facility’s opening comes at an opportune time, as he said that Jamaica along with the rest of the world stands on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. “Like the CMU has shown, our institutions must adapt realizing that we are now on the cusp of what is the fourth industrial revolution. We stand on the edge of a technological revolution that is profoundly changing the way in which we live, work and communicate,” said Holness. “The transformation is unlike anything we have experienced [however] one thing is clear our response to it must be one that is integrated and comprehensive,” added Holness. According to Holness, the fourth industrial revolution integrates the physical, digital and biological world which makes the traditional approaches to teaching engineering non- beneficial and non-productive. In the past, he noted that this traditional approach had resulted in the tremendous shortage of certified technicians to service many of the island’s important industries such as manufacturing, agro processing, and the health sector. “Some equipment across various sectors still have to be maintained and repaired by foreign expertise,” said Holness. However, the Jamaican Prime Minister expressed confidence that the new FESTO training centre would ensure that certified human resources would be available and help to improve the country’s economy. The state-of-the-art facility resulted froma partnership between the CMU and internationally renowned German training institute, Festo Didactic.


USADA chief executive Travis Tygart.

The chiefexecutive of the United StatesAnti-Doping Agency (USADA) has called the decision to lift the ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) by theWorld Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committeea "devastating blow to the world's clean athletes". RUSADA was suspendedin November 2015 following allegations of widespreaddoping made inthe McLaren Report, but on Thursday WADA president Craig Reedie announcedthat a "great majority" of the executive committee's votes werein favour of reinstating Russia. WADA and RUSADA had agreed a detailed 'Roadmap to Compliance' following the ban and the committee deliberated over whether Russian authorities had fulfilledtwo criteria–ifthe responsible bodieshad accepted the reported outcomes of the McLaren Report and whether they would provideaccess to samples in a Moscow laboratory. Last week a compliance review committee recommended the reinstatement, stating it had "sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia" following a letter from the country's Minister of Sport. However, Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, has criticised the decision to reinstate Russia. "Today marked the biggest decision in the World Anti-Doping Agency's history, and it delivered a devastating blow to the world's clean athletes," he said in a statement. "By ripping up the very Roadmapit created, WADA's decision to reinstate Russia despite the nation not having met the two remaining Roadmap conditions is bewildering and inexplicable." UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead claimed unanswered questions remained in the case and queried why the decision has been made now. She said in a statement: "The outcome of today's WADA meeting is deeply troubling for clean sport. WADA has cast aside its responsibilities to clean athletes, sports fans and those who work tirelessly for clean sport. "This meeting was an opportunity to postpone this decision to give all relevant parties enough time to put forward their views. We cannot understand the urgency to make a decision." The IAAF also released a statement in which it said it would review the decision made by WADA and that conditions would need to be met before the Russian Athletics Federation could be reinstated.

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after being sent off against Valencia.

Valencia head coach Marcelino said a devastated Cristiano Ronaldo insisted he did nothing wrong after the superstar was controversially sent off in Juventus' Champions League victory. Juve forward Ronaldo – making his Champions League debut for the Serie A holders – was inconsolable after receiving a red card in the 29th minute of Wednesday's 2-0 win at Valencia. It was a forgettable bow for Ronaldo, who was shown a straight red card following an inconspicuous coming together with Valencia defender Jeison Murillo in an off-the-ball incident, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner left in tears after his dismissal. Discussing Ronaldo's red card – which has put him in doubt for a reunion against former club Manchester United – Marcelino told reporters: "He was very upset, even crying, because he said he didn't do anything wrong. "I haven't seen the play which ended up in the red card." Despite their numerical advantage, Valencia walked away from a packed Mestalla empty-handed following a pair of Miralem Pjanic penalties. Pjanic converted spot-kicks either side of the break, while Valencia's Dani Parejo saw his penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny in stoppage time. "It's obvious that the penalties have impacted us," Marcelino said. "The penalty just before half-time was a real blow, we then had to try and pull ourselves together. "The other penalty was then a death sentence for us, conceding two goals to such an excellent team makes the task wholly difficult." United accounted for Young Boys 3-0 in the other Group H fixture and Marcelino added: "We have faced a great team and they have surpassed us. After the red card the match was made even. However, they've taken advantage of our mistakes."


Rescuers pull out a victim from a landslide after it struck their village in Naga city, Cebu province central Philippines on Thursday Sept. 20, 2018. (AP Photo)

A massive landslide buried dozens of homes near a central Philippine mountain Thursday, killing at least 15 people and sending rescuers scrambling to find survivors after some sent text messages pleading for help. The slide surged down on about 30 houses in two rural villages after daybreak in Naga city in Cebu province, Roderick Gonzales, the city police chief, told The Associated Press by telephone as he helped supervise the search and rescue. Seven injured villagers were rescued from the huge mound of earth and debris. Some victims still managed to send text messages after the landslide hit, Gonzales said, adding elderly women and a child were among the dead. Naga city Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong said by telephone that at least 64 people remained missing. "We're really hoping we can still recover them alive," she said. The landslide hit while several northern Philippine provinces were still dealing with deaths and widespread damage wrought by Typhoon Mangkhut, which pummeled the agricultural region Saturday and left at least 88 people dead and more than 60 missing. A massive search was still underway for dozens of people feared dead after landslides in the gold-mining town of Itogon in the north. Cebu province was not directly hit by Mangkhut but the massive typhoon helped intensify monsoon rains across a large part of the archipelago, including the central region, where Naga city lies about 570 kilometers (353 miles) southeast of Manila. Rescuers there were treading carefully in small groups on the unstable ground to avoid further casualties. "We're running out of time. The ground in the area is still vibrating. We're striking a balance between intensifying our rescue efforts and ensuring the safety of our rescuers," Naga city Councilor Carmelino Cruz said by phone. Cristita Villarba, a 53-year-old resident, told AP by phone that her husband and son were preparing to leave for work when the ground shook and they were overwhelmed by a roar. "It was like an earthquake and there was this thundering, loud banging sound. All of us ran out," Villarba said, adding she, her husband and three children were shocked but unhurt. Outside, she saw the house of her elderly brother, Lauro, and his family was buried in the landslide. "Many of our neighbors were crying and screaming for help. Some wanted to help those who got hit but there was too much earth covering the houses, including my brother's," she said. More than a dozen people live in her brother's home, mostly his family and grandchildren, she said, adding that many small houses in her community got hit. A few days ago, Villarba said she felt sorry for the landslide victims in the country's north. "I had no idea we will be the next," she said. It's not clear what set off the landslide, but some residents blamed limestone quarries, which they suspect may have damaged and caused cracks in the mountainside facing their villages. Villarba said a light rain stopped when the landslide hit and there was no rain on Wednesday. The quarry nearest the landslide-hit villages was abandoned about a year ago, but a company still runs a government-authorized quarry not far away and villagers also profit from the limestone business, Angeline Templo, an assistant to the mayor, said by phone. More than 300 villagers were evacuated for safety as search and rescue work continued, Templo said. Naga is a coastal city with a population of more than 100,000. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store: http://bit.ly/GetiLoop

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said her Brexit plan is the "only serious and credible" proposal on the table, minutes after European Council President Donald Tusk said May's plan will not work. May says her so-called Chequers plan will guarantee the frictionless movement of goods across borders, and ensure there is no return to a hard frontier between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The plan calls for Britain to remain in the EU's Single Market for goods, but not services. The EU says that amounts to cherry-picking benefits of membership, and is unacceptable. May said Britain would make new proposals soon to solve the Irish border problem. She told reporters "there are key issues we need to resolve" but "I believe that there is a willingness to do a deal." Britain is due to leave the EU in six months.


People react outside the Paris town hall after France defeated Belgium in the World Cup semifinal match between France and Belgium, Tuesday, July 10, 2018 in Paris. France advanced to the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 with a 1-0 win over Belgium on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

The Latest on Tuesday atthe World Cup(all times local): 12:15 a.m. Paul Pogba has paused after the biggest win of his international career to dedicate it to the Thai soccer team whose last members were freed from a flooded cave hours earlier. The France midfieldertook to Twittershortly after France beat Belgium late Tuesday to advance to the World Cup final. He posted the boys' photos and said the victory "goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong." The last of the 12 boys and their coach were freed earlier in the day from a cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks. FIFA had invited the team to the World Cup final on Sunday but the governing body announced the boys wouldn't be able to attend since they are receiving medical treatment after their ordeal. ___ 11:15 p.m. Paris has erupted in firecrackers, flares and shouts and tears of joy after France advanced to the World Cup final. Red smoke rose up from flares fired by fans on the Right Bank esplanade outside City Hall, where crowds watched a broadcast of the 1-0 victory over Belgium on huge screens Tuesday night. Fans poured onto streets around the city, from the chic Champs-Elysees to working-class neighborhoods on the edge of town. Firecrackers popped in quick succession, punctuated by car horns and football chants and "On est en finale!" or "we're in the final!" Some streets were closed to car traffic to accommodate fans. Police vans lined the busiest areas in a city still on guard after extremist attacks. France will face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between England and Croatia in the World Cup decider in Moscow on Sunday. The French public, celebrities and politicians have rallied around the national team as it advanced. Samuel Umititi scored the only goal in the semifinal with a header in the 51st minute at the St. Petersburg stadium in Russia. Umititi says "We worked really hard together, and it's me that scored but we all delivered a big game." His live TV interview was interrupted by teammate Antoine Griezmann, who saluted to the camera and said: "Vive la France! Vive la Republique!" ___ 10:55 p.m. France has reached the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 with a 1-0 win over Belgium in a semifinal match that attracted presidents, royalty and a rock star. Samuel Umtiti's header in the 51st minute was the only goal in a tense match at St. Petersburg. France, the 1998 champions and runners-up in '06, will play either Croatia or England in Sunday's final at Moscow. England and Croatia will meet Wednesday in Moscow in the second semifinal. France President Emmanuel Macron and King Philippe of Belgium shook hands in the VIP section before the match. Mick Jagger was also on the official list of guests. ___ 10:15 p.m. What came first, the chicken or the goal? Harry Kane, Dele Alli were among the England players who played a game of toss the rubber chicken at training, a day ahead of a World Cup semifinal against Croatia. Why? "That's exactly what I asked our fitness coaches around here," England coach Gareth Southgate said. "Our physical performance coaches try to keep refreshing the warmups of the players and keep them stimulated. Just a bit of fun to get them moving, and some of the mobility exercises." ____ 10:09 p.m. Samuel Umtiti has headed France into a 1-0 lead against Belgium in the World Cup semifinals. Umtiti rose brilliantly to head in Antoine Griezmann's corner from the right in the 51st minute, for his first goal of the tournament. Striker Olivier Giroud won the corner after turning Belgian defender Vincent Kompany, forcing him to put his goal-bound shot out of play. The winner in St. Petersburg plays Croatia or England in Sunday's final. ___ 9:46 p.m. It's 0-0 at halftime in the World Cup semifinal despite Belgium and France going close to scoring in the first half. With France's soccer-loving President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian King Philippe watching from the stands, France sat back and hoped to hit Belgium on the counterattack. Belgium used the space to put France under pressure around the 20-minute mark with Eden Hazard firing a curling shot from the left that Raphael Varane headed over the bar. Hugo Lloris was twice called into action to save France. The France goalkeeper first punched away a cross by Kevin De Bruyne aimed at Marouane Fellaini and moments later dived to his right to block a shot by Toby Alderweireld. French teenager Kylian Mbappe's pace was a constant threat on the right and his pass in the 40thminute set up Benjamin Pavard but Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois stuck out a left leg to deflect the shot wide. ___ 9:10 p.m. Mick Jagger is on FIFA's list of VIP guests at the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium in St. Petersburg. The Rolling Stones singer completed the band's world tour on Sunday in Poland. On stage in Warsaw,Jagger fulfilled a request by former Polish president Lech Walesaby drawing attention to an authoritarian government policy to remove independent judges. Among the political leaders joining Jagger in the crowd as official are Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Ali Bongo Ondimba, the President of Gabon. ___ 9 p.m. The World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium has kicked off at St. Petersburg Stadium, with France President Emmanuel Macron and King Philippe of Belgium in attendance. France coach Didier Deschamps warmly hugged Thierry Henry moments before the start. Henry is France's all-time leading scorer with 51 goals, but is now an assistant to Belgium coach Robert Martinez. Henry also greeted players on France's bench. The winner between France and Belgium will meet Croatia or England in Sunday's final. France was European Championship runner-up two years ago and is aiming to reach its fourth major final this century. Les Bleus won Euro 2000 and lost the 2006 World Cup final. Belgium is hoping to reach only the second major final, having lost the European final to West Germany in 1980. Belgium lost its only previous World Cup semifinal to an Argentina in '86. ___ 8:50 p.m. France President Emmanuel Macron is attending the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium at St. Petersburg Stadium. Macron shook hands with King Philippe of Belgium, who was with his wife Queen Mathilde. Macron and King Philippe shook hands warmly and Macron patted him on the chest. Macron is an avid soccer fan and supports southern French club Marseille. ___ 8:10 p.m. Mexico went home from the World Cup more than a week ago, and while its fans are still scattered around Russia, some of them have lost enough interest in the matches that they're selling tickets at face value. Several fans wearing Mexico's green jerseys approached a larger group of Belgians at a beer garden in St. Petersburg offering seats at "FIFA prices" for the World Cup semifinal. They didn't immediately find any takers among the festive Europeans, who apparently already were set for the Belgium-France match. Mexican and South American fans came to Russia in huge numbers despite having to travel far greater distances than Europeans. They're still everywhere in the semifinal cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow even though only teams still alive are from Europe. ___ 7:55 p.m. Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has picked Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele to replace Thomas Meunier for the World Cup semifinal against France. Martinez has been forced to reshuffle his back line after Paris Saint-Germain wing back Meunier was suspended for the match in St. Petersburg after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in Belgium's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Brazil. After using a four-man defense against Brazil, Martinez has reverted to a three-man backline and four-man midfield of Nacer Chadli on the left, Dembele on the right, and Marouane Fellaini and Axel Witsel in the middle. Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne make up a potent three-man attack. Dembele's inclusion was the only change to the Belgium team that beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Lineup: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli. ____ 7:45 p.m. France coach Didier Deschamps has recalled Blaise Matuidi in the only change to his lineup for the World Cup semifinal against Belgium at St. Petersburg Stadium. Matuidi, who was suspended for the 2-0 quarterfinal win over Uruguay last Friday, comes into midfield to replace Corentin Tolisso. Veteran striker Olivier Giroud hasn't scored yet in the tournament but needs one goal to move ahead of Zinedine Zidane into outright fourth spot on France's all-time list. Giroud keeps his place in a forward line featuring 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Hernandez. ___ 7:30 p.m. The British government says motorways are expected to have one-third less traffic than normal when England takes on Croatia in the World Cup semifinals. Highways England says traffic analysis on each of the England match days to date showed that during the games demand reduced by up to 33 percent. The agency said in a statement that roads were not busier than normal before or after games, "suggesting people are often choosing not to travel or to travel at completely different times." Frank Bird, one of Highways England's emergency planning officers, says "along with the rest of the country, we'll be cheering on England! We want them to bring it home - and we want everyone on our roads to get home safely." ___ 7:15 p.m. Thousands more England fans are expected to descend on Moscow for their first World Cup semifinal in 28 years, but there's not much sign of them yet. The Nikolskaya street near the Kremlin, elaborately decorated with hanging lights, has been the main gathering point for fans in the Russian capital. There were no more than a few dozen England fans there as of late Tuesday afternoon, with those singing team songs heavily outnumbered by passers-by filming them on phones. Still, Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters Federation expects between 5,000 and 7,000 fans for Wednesday's semifinal against Croatia, but admits "a lot of people are doing it last minute, so it's very difficult to put numbers on it." Airlines have offered extra places on flights to Moscow and some Russians have sold their tickets after their team lost to Croatia. Still, Miles says high prices "have put a lot of people off" who were thinking of traveling at short notice. ____ 6:15 p.m. England manager Gareth Southgate has been surprised at the vest craze back home, where "Waistcoast Wednesday" is trending. Stores have been pushing waistcoat sales as England advanced to a World Cup semifinal match against Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday, with people taken by Southgate's style of wearing a vest without his suit jacket, Southgate says "I was not a renowned fashion icon throughout my playing career, so it's rather strange to feel that way now. But we are really proud of the support that we are receiving." England has reached the semifinals at the World Cup for the first time since 1990, and confidence among supporters is growing that the national team will win the title for the first time since 1966. Southgate says, "We've had the chance to make a difference. Our supporters, our country has had a long time of suffering in terms of football, and the enthusiasm they have for these players, because of the way they've — not only the way they've played, but the way they're conducted themselves, they've been brilliant ambassadors for our country, and I think everybody can see that they're proud to wear the shirt." ___ 5 p.m. FOX Sports says it will be simulcasting the World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium on Silvercast's high-definition screen known as "Mega-Zilla" in New York's Times Square. Soccer fans in the United States have watched the World Cup in Russia on big screens around the country, but this is promoted as the biggest of them all. The "Mega-Zilla," a 78-foot-by-330-foot (24x100-meter) screen being promoted as the largest TV screen in the world, will be located between 45th and 46th Street on Broadway in Manhattan. France and Belgium will be playing for a spot in Sunday's final in Moscow. ___ 4:45 p.m. FIFA says players from the youth soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand will not be able to attend the World Cup final. The sport's world governing body says it has been informed by Thai authorities that the 12 boys and their coach "will not be in a position to travel" for health reasons. FIFA expressed its "great joy" at the rescue and says its "priority remains the health of everyone involved in the operation." FIFA leaders will meet with Thai soccer officials this weekend in Moscow to explore "a new opportunity" to invite the boys to a major event to celebrate their survival. The last four of the boys and the team coach were rescued Tuesday from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand after an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks. FIFA expressed "profound gratitude to all persons involved in the rescue operation," and condolences for the family of the diver who died. ___ 3:30 p.m. They're getting the World Cup croissants ready in Paris. Paris, Russia, that is. The village of Paris just outside the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod is embracing its French links ahead of the World Cup semifinal match between France and Belgium. The village cafe is decorated with images of the Eiffel Tower and is preparing croissants for the game, plus a Russian menu for any French guests who might happen to drop by. Mayor Sergei Gromov says "we were supporting Russia but now it's turned out like that (that Russia was eliminated), we're going to support France and wish it success." The village's full name is In Memory Of The Paris Commune, a reference to a socialist rebellion in 19th-century France. The name is so unwieldy most locals use Paris for short. Not everyone in Paris is pro-France, though. Villager Elena Vasilyeva says she's cheering on Belgium because "they're a real team." ___ 3 p.m. The Ukraine Football Federation has offered to pay a fine imposed on a Croatia official for making a pro-Ukraine video at the World Cup. Soccer's international governing body has fined Ognjen Vukojevic 15,000 Swiss francs ($15,150) for "unsporting behavior" after he and Croatia defender Domagoj Vida recorded a video including the phrase "glory to Ukraine" after the team beat host nation Russia in the World Cup quarterfinals. The video angered some Russian fans, but was welcomed in Ukraine, where both Vida and Vukojevic formerly played for the Dynamo Kiev club. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and political tensions remain high. UFF president Andriy Pavelko, wearing a Croatia shirt and scarf, tells Ukrainian broadcaster 112 that he and other members of the UFF management offered to pay the fine and help Vukojevic with legal costs if he wants to appeal the ruling. The Croatia soccer federation has already removed Vukojevic from its World Cup delegation. Vida was let off with an official warning and no match sanction, leaving him available to play in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal against England. ___ 1 p.m. The World Cup semifinal stage is beginning with the all-European lineup being celebrated by soccer's governing body on the continent. Belgium and France play in St. Petersburg on Tuesday and then Croatia and England meet the following night in Moscow. It is the fifth time the last four has featured only European teams. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says "even though some of our traditional contenders such as Germany, Spain,and Portugal were eliminated, there are other teams which have surpassed expectations and can now win the title." In a statement to The Associated Press, Ceferin added "these results validate all the work that is being done across the continent to develop football, and they also showcase the strength and quality that exists across the whole UEFA region."

An ambulance believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated the remaining boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

The youth soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand will be unable to accept FIFA's invitation to attend the World Cup final. The last four of the boys and the team's 25-year-old coach were rescued Tuesday from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks. "We have been informed by the Football Association of Thailand that due to medical reasons, the boys will not be in a position to travel to Moscow for the FIFA World Cup final," the sport's governing body said Tuesday after the rescue operation was completed. [related node_id='84a9d6ce-b30d-4465-9e1c-1e3b2ac4031a']Eight more boys had been rescued in the previous two days after becoming trapped by rising water levels. "FIFA's priority remains the health of everyone involved in the operation," the governing body said. FIFA leaders will meet with Thai soccer officials in Moscow on the sidelines of the World Cup final on Sunday. "We will look into finding a new opportunity to invite the boys to a FIFA event to share with them a moment of communion and celebration," FIFA said in a statement. FIFA expressed "profound gratitude to all persons involved in the rescue operation," and condolences for the family of the Thai Navy SEAL diver who died. England defender Kyle Walker also sent a message on Twitter after the "amazing news" of the rescue. "I'd like to send out shirts to them! Is there anyone who can help with an address?" Walker wrote. Manchester United extended an invitation to the team to visit in the months ahead. "We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season," the club said on its official Twitter account. In 2010, Man United hosted a group of miners from Chile who spent almost 10 weeks underground before being rescued. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store: http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store: http://bit.ly/GetiLoop