The latest forecast from the US Energy Information Administration predicts that US output will grow next year to 11.8 million barrels a day.

The US has nosed ahead of Saudi Arabia and is on pace to surpass Russia to become the world's biggest oil producer for the first time in more than four decades. The latest forecast from the USEnergy Information Administration predicts that USoutput will grow next year to 11.8 million barrels a day. "If the forecast holds, that would make the US the world's leading producer of crude," says Linda Capuano, who heads the agency, a part of the Energy Department. Saudi Arabia and Russia could upend that forecast by boosting their own production. In the face of rising global oil prices, members of the OPEC cartel and a few non-members including Russia agreed last month to ease production caps that had contributed to the run-up in prices. President Donald Trump has urged the Saudis to pump more oil to contain rising prices. He tweeted on June 30 that King Salman agreed to boost production "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels." The White House later clarified that the king said his country has a reserve of 2 million barrels a day that could be tapped "if and when necessary." The idea that the U.S. could ever again become the world's top oil producer once seemed preposterous. "A decade ago the only question was how fast would U.S. production go down," said Daniel Yergin, author of several books about the oil industry including a history, "The Prize." The rebound of USoutput "has made a huge difference. If this had not happened, we would have had a severe shortage of world oil," he said. The United States led the world in oil production for much of the 20th century, but the Soviet Union surpassed America in 1974, and Saudi Arabia did the same in 1976, according to Energy Department figures. By the end of the 1970s the USSR was producing one-third more oil than the US by the end of the 1980s, Soviet output was nearly double that of the US. The last decade or so has seen a revolution in American energy production, however, led by techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling. Those innovations — and the breakup of the Soviet Union — helped the US narrow the gap. Last year, Russia produced more than 10.3 million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia pumped just under 10 million, and the US came in under 9.4 million barrels a day, according to USgovernment figures. The UShas been pumping more than 10 million barrels a day on average since February, and probably pumped about 10.9 million barrels a day in June, up from 10.8 million in May, the energy agency said Tuesday in its latest short-term outlook. According to the Energy Department, the USedged ahead of Saudi Arabia in February and stayed there in March; both trailed Russia. Capuano's agency forecast that US. crude output will average 10.8 million barrels a day for all of 2018 and 11.8 million barrels a day in 2019. The current U.S. record for a full year is 9.6 million barrels a day in 1970. The trend of rising USoutput prompted Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, to predict this spring that the USwould leapfrog Russia and become the world's largest producer by next year — if not sooner. One potential obstacle for USdrillers is a bottleneck of pipeline capacity to ship oil from the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico to ports and refineries. "They are growing the production but they can't get it out of the area fast enough because of pipeline constraints," said Jim Rittersbusch, a consultant to oil traders. Some analysts believe that Permian production could decline, or at least grow more slowly, in 2019 or 2020 as energy companies move from their best acreage to more marginal areas. For the latestnews, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

FILE - This Friday, July 25, 2014, file photo shows a view of the headquarters of the Italian Sky television broadcaster in Milan, Italy. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox increased Wednesday its bid to take full control of lucrative European pay TV service Sky in a prolonged battle with U.S. rival Comcast. Fox raised its bid to 14 pounds ($18.58) a share as it seeks the 61 percent of Sky not already under its control. The company says this is 12 percent higher than the last bid from Comcast and values Sky at 24.5 billion pounds ($32.5 billion). Fox has increased its bid by just over 30 percent since its first offer in December 2016. Shares in Sky Plc were down 0.8 percent at 14.90 pounds, suggesting investors believe Comcast could come back with another improved offer. Sky operates in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Italy as well as the U.K. It has 22.5 million customers, attracted by offerings such as English Premier League soccer and "Game of Thrones." Murdoch's company still faces significant regulatory battles in Britain, including the culture secretary's statement that Fox would have to sell Sky News to win government approval because of concerns about media plurality. Fox's bid for Sky is the most recent episode in Murdoch's long-running effort to take full control of the company. His last bid foundered amid a 2011 phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists working for Murdoch newspapers were accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail messages of crime victims, celebrities and members of the royal family. News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after. The effort to buy Sky comes as Fox itself is the object of a takeover battle by Comcast and Disney. Disney said in June it is offering more than $71 billion for Fox's entertainment businesses in a counterbid to Comcast's nearly $66 billion offer. The companies want Sky in order to amass programming and better compete with technology companies like Amazon and Netflix for viewers. 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


Jack Guy Lafontant

Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday amid calls for him to step down after a failed bid to raise fuel prices set off protests and unrest that left seven people dead. Lafontant told Haiti's Chamber of Deputies that he sent President Jovenel Moise his resignation letter and the president had accepted it. Moise has not yet commented publicly. The prime minister's abrupt resignation came ahead of a vote on a motion of censure Lafontant, a first step toward asking that Moise name a new prime minister to form a Cabinet to handle the crisis. The prime minister is the second highest official in Haiti after the president. Lafontant was to answer questions about the July 6-8 riots that followed the government's attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 percent as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Dozens of businesses were looted during the deadly unrest. Instead, Lafontant (LA-FAH-TON) used the opportunity to announce his resignation, while in various parts of Haiti's small protests were held demanding the head of state step down. As the session began, chamber president Gary Bodaeu wrote on his Twitter account that the legislature "is at a crossroads in history; it must assume its responsibilities." He had earlier called the price hikes "untimely" and "inoperative." Lafontantsuspended the fuel prices increases after protests erupted last week but the disturbances continued and calls for the prime minister to resign grew, including from the opposition and some business groups. Lafontant, a 57-year-old doctor who took office in March 2017, had said the price hikes of 38 percent to 51 percent for gasoline, diesel, and kerosene were needed for Haiti to balance its budget. Government officials agreed to reduce subsidies for fuel in February as part of an assistance package with the IMF. The agreement also included increased spending on social services and infrastructure and improved tax collection in an effort to modernize the economy of one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Lafontant's replacement will be nominated by Moise and confirmed by the Senate. 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

Krystal Tomlinson and dancehall star Beenie Man are expecting a baby.

Media personality Krystal Tomlinson has responded to the tide of criticism swirling around her recent announcement of her pregnancy with dancehall superstar Beenie Man with a measure of sangfroid and an almost zenlike, sanguine calm that betrays her youthful age. "We must learn to keep outsiders outside and as long as you are able to do that then there is no way they can steal your joy, and create stress and anxiety in your life," media personality Krystal Tomlinson told Loop Jamaica reporter Claude Mills. "You have to know how to recognise a stranger separate from a friend. You have to recognise when criticism is coming from a place of love and compassion versus when it is coming from people who want to create chaos." Tomlinson, a former festival queen, is also the president of the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) and she is concerned that social media users have been shouting the term 'bastard' to anyone who listens. She is concerned about any attempts, malicious and otherwise, to categorise any child as illegitimate. She believes that the practice is highly offensive and that society should be careful not to attach that label to any child. "I hope that children who read that post and are themselves the product of unmarried couples do not feel insignificant. You are not insignificant, it is an absolute lie, there is no truth in the lies being told," Tomlinson said. It is interesting to note that children who were born out of wedlock in Jamaica could not inherit property until Michael Manley piloted the act to abolish the illegitimacy law in 1975, so that “no bastard no deh again”. But certain social mores and perceptions still remain. She urged children to develop strong filters especially against the bullying tide of social media, and suggested that they "listen with the right ear, and know when criticism is coming from a place of love and care". "Take guidance, discipline and chastisement from those who care, keep the outsiders outside," she urged. In the meantime, Tomlinson is enjoying all aspects of her pregnancy, even the minutiae, the intimate and peculiar surprises that come from a life growing inside her. On Friday morning, she tweeted: "We heard our baby’s heartbeat yesterday. My 3rd time, Mo’s first. LIIIIIIFE…. Good morning world! May your heart beat wildly, with excitement - in celebration of YOUR life today. It is a gift. Enjoy it.” For the latest news, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.


France's Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the final match against Croatia at the 2018 football World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner).

France won theirsecond World Cup title by beating Croatia 4-2 on Sunday in a match briefly interrupted by an on-field protest during the second half that Russian punk band Pussy Riot later took credit for. Teenage forward Kylian Mbappe scored his fourth goal of the tournament for France and the team's fourth in the 65th minute, about 12 minutes after play resumed at the Luzhniki Stadium. Mbappe, who is 19, is only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final. Pele was 17 when he scored two goals for Brazil in the 1958 final. Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba also scored for the 1998 champions. Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic scored for Croatia. Mandzukic also scored an own-goal, giving France the lead in the 18th minute. Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock group that rose to global prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012, claimed responsibility for the second-half disruption on Twitter.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic lifts the trophy after winning the men's singles final match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa, at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Sunday July 15, 2018.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth).

Novak Djokovic was disconsolate and injured when he left Wimbledon a year ago, quitting during his quarterfinal because of a painful right elbow that would need surgery. Djokovic was so dispirited by his upset exit at the French Open last month that he vowed, in the heat of the moment, to skip the grass-court circuit. Good thing he didn't stick to that. Just look at him now, back at his best and Wimbledon's champion for the fourth time. Djokovic ended a Grand Slam drought that lasted more than two seasons, grabbing a lead in Sunday's final right away against a weary Kevin Anderson and holding off a late challenge to win 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3). Anderson nearly managed to extend the match, five times standing just a point away from forcing a fourth set. Djokovic held steady on each one, then was as superior in the tiebreaker as he was most of the sun-drenched afternoon. It is Djokovic's 13th major trophy, the fourth-highest total in the history of men's tennis, trailing only Roger Federer's 20, Rafael Nadal's 17 and Pete Sampras' 14. But it's also Djokovic's first since he completed a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open. During that time, he struggled with the first major injury of his professional career, one that forced him off the tour for the last half of 2017. He eventually had an operation this February, and as his losses accumulated, his ranking fell out of the top 20 for the first time in more than a decade. At No. 21, Djokovic is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon titlist since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001. Under a pale blue sky interrupted by only the occasional soft white puff of cloud, with the temperature at 86 degrees (30 Celsius), Djokovic started so well, and Anderson shakily. That might have been easy to anticipate beforehand. This was, after all, the 22nd Grand Slam final for Djokovic, and the second for Anderson, a 6-foot-8 powerful server who was the runner-up at last year's U.S. Open and was aiming to become the first South African man to win at Wimbledon. Plus, Anderson could be excused for exhaustion. His semifinal was the second-longest Grand Slam match in history, lasting more than 6½ hours until he edged John Isner 26-24 in the fifth set. And that followed another extended fifth set in his 13-11 upset of eight-time champion Federer in the quarterfinals. So it was no wonder that, with all of that time on court, all of that stress on his racket-swinging arm, Anderson was visited by a trainer after Sunday's opening set to get his right elbow massaged. Anderson was so out of sorts, his strokes so off-the-mark, that Djokovic gathered eight of the first 10 games even though he only conjured up two winners. No need for more, because Anderson gifted him 15 unforced errors in that span. By the conclusion of a third consecutive dud of a straight-set men's singles final at the All England Club, Anderson had made 32 unforced errors, and the steady Djokovic merely 13. Another key: Djokovic was able to handle Anderson's big serves much better than previous opponents. Widely considered the top returner in the game today, Djokovic broke Anderson four times. Consider that Anderson held in each of his last 27 service games against Isner, and dropped his very first on Sunday. And one more: Djokovic saved all seven break points he faced, including five that would have given Anderson the third set. As much as Djokovic is known for his body-bending defense and unerring reads on opponents' serves, he's also someone who fills his matches with histrionics and exaggerated reactions, whether violently smacking the side of his shoe with his racket — as he did against Nadal — or tearing off his shirt to celebrate a victory. This day was no different. Angered by fans making noise during points, he told the chair umpire to tell them to shut up, adding a colorful word in there. He pointed to his ear after winning one point, as if to say: "Who are you cheering for now?!" He blew a kiss toward the stands after another. But when he broke Anderson for the second time in three service games at the outset, Djokovic simply shook a clenched fist while calmly looking at his guest box above the scoreboard. The bright yellow digits on there showed that Djokovic already led 4-1 after all of 18 minutes. Might as well have declared him the champion, right then and there. It was so lopsided for the first hour-plus that spectators began pulling for Anderson, likely in the hopes of getting more tennis for the price of their tickets, which carry a face value of 210 pounds (about $275). Just his earning a random point, even via a Djokovic miscue, was reason to roar, it seemed. Surely, Anderson appreciated the support. Didn't do a thing to alter the ultimate outcome, however. When Anderson pushed a forehand return into the net to end it, Djokovic exhaled. After they shook hands, Djokovic performed his ritual of bending down to grab a couple of blades of grass and plopping them in his mouth, savoring the triumph.


Members of the Chicago police department scuffle with an angry crowd at the scene of a police involved shooting in Chicago, on Saturday, July 14, 2018. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Footage from body-worn cameras and surveillance cameras shows that a man who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer was armed with what appeared to be a handgun, authorities said Sunday. Police described the video and said they would release footage of Saturday's shooting from officer-worn body cameras later Sunday. Police have made some video public before in an effort to diffuse mounting public tension, and the new release comes hours after a skirmish between angry residents and baton-wielding officers. Four protesters were arrested in the clash, and some police officers suffered minor injuries from thrown rocks and bottles, some of which were filled with urine. Officers pulled people to the ground and struck them with batons. Two squad cars also were damaged. Medical examiners identified Harith Augustus, 37, of Chicago, as the victim of the shooting on the city's South Side. He wasn't a known gang member and had no recent arrest history, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. A resident of the area, Gloria Rainge, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Augustus, known in the Grand Crossing neighborhood as "Snoop," worked at a barbershop and had a 5-year-old daughter. Police found a handgun and two magazines of bullets at the shooting site and sent them for testing, Guglielmi said. Officers patrolling on foot tried to question the man over a "bulge around his waistband" that suggested he was armed, patrol chief Fred Waller told reporters. The man, who lived a short distance away, broke free and ran from the officers, who believed "he appeared to be reaching for a weapon" and shot him, Waller said. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates officer-involved shootings, said it was analyzing the video and asking anyone who may have captured cellphone footage to share it with the agency. It was at least the third time in the last two weeks that a Chicago police officer shot someone. Chicago has a troubled history of police shootings. The city erupted in protest in 2015 after the release of a video showing a white police officer shoot a black 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald, 16 times a year earlier. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder. McDonald's death led to the ouster of the police chief and a series of reforms meant to prevent future police abuses and to hold officers accountable.

President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May hold hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference at Chequers, in Buckinghamshire, England, Friday, July 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Donald Trump has advised British Prime Minister Theresa May to "sue" the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Britain's impending exit from the bloc. The American president told reporters Friday at a joint press conference with May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too "brutal." Asked Sunday on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May said with an amused expression: "He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them." She added: "What the president also said at that press conference was 'Don't walk away. Don't walk away from the negotiations. Then you're stuck.'" It wasn't exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May's leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain. In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader's approach likely "killed" chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, "but she didn't listen to me." He also praised May's rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May's Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a "great prime minister." The comments shocked many in Britain — even May's opponents — and threatened to undermine May's already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner. The U.S. president later sought to soften the blow, telling reporters at Friday's joint news conference that May was an "incredible woman" who is "doing a fantastic job" as prime minister. He denied he criticized May, saying the Sun tabloid did not print his complimentary remarks about the British leader, but the Sun released audio that proved otherwise. Asked to rate U.S.-U.K. relations, Trump gave them the "highest level of special." He added it was up to May how to handle Brexit, though he wants to ensure the U.S. "can trade and we don't have any restrictions" on commerce with the United Kingdom. May's government has just published its long-awaited Brexit plans, which propose to keep Britain and the EU in a free market for goods, with a more distant relationship for services. That has infuriated fervent Brexit supporters, who see it as a bad deal. Along with Johnson, the man who had been leading the Brexit negotiations, David Davis, also quit in protest. May on Sunday warned party rebels they should fall into line, saying wrecking her Brexit blueprint could result in disaster. "We need to keep our eyes on the prize. If we don't, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all," she wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. She acknowledged that some lawmakers had doubts about her plans to stick to a "common rulebook" with the bloc for goods and agricultural products in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks, but insisted she couldn't see a viable alternative. Britain's status as part of the EU's single market and tariff-free customs union for goods will end after the U.K. leaves the bloc in March.


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


Events

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May 30, 2018

Saint Lucia Carnival 2018

Pumping rhythms, sexy costumes and the people dancing under the warm Caribbean sun; welcome to Saint Lucia Carnival! Almost on the heels of the annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, Saint Lucia’s cultural landscape morphs into a flurry of chrome plated steel drums, feathers, and beads. No matter where you are or who you are, Saint Lucia Carnival is something to behold.

In the months, weeks and hours leading up to Saint Lucia Carnival, there are numerous events that are a must see, whether you’re a Carnival veteran, or Carnival newbie. Some of the staple events - the Calypso Tents, Calypso Monarch, Party Monarch, and Carnival Parade are the deep-rooted cultural aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival. But it won’t be Carnival without the ‘wining’ and jumping and non-stop partying.

Here’s a great tip for first-time Carnival revellers - ‘wining’, is a local Caribbean-wide term used to describe the rotational movement of the hips either to the left or to the right, whichever way your waistline can go really. Before you brave any Saint Lucia Carnival event, don’t be afraid to perfect your ‘wining’ motions. You can bet on someone asking pretty ladies to “take ah wine.” Either way, master the move so that you keep up with the locals and really party like a Saint Lucian.

By the time Carnival Monday rolls around, your dancing skills will help burn off all the yummy calories you’ll be consuming – let’s face it; Saint Lucia’s Carnival food scene is just as fabulous! The ultimate Carnival experience is when one joins a “band.” Competing band members flock together at predetermined locations near the staging area, for the beginning of what will be a hyperactive dance session through the city’s streets. With speakers the size of warehouse refrigerators, the vibrations and sounds begin with only the trance of soca leading you throughout the streets of Saint Lucia.

If you’re still alive at the end of Carnival Monday, many band members will go off to enjoy official band parties or you can opt to go home to revitalize yourself – don’t worry, you can comfort yourself by the fact that the next day is Carnival Tuesday…

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August 01, 2018

Chocolate Heritage Month 2018

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Spend August satisfying your sweet tooth during Saint Lucia’s Chocolate Heritage Month.

Saint Lucia’s chocolate legacy dates back to the thriving cocoa industry of the 1700’s and the island still produces some of the world’s most sought-after chocolate. Many of Saint Lucia’s top resort spas and restaurants use the island’s native cocoa in spa treatments and savory and sweet culinary creations that are both indulgent and healthful.

August is an ideal time to sample inventive “choc-tails” and specialty tasting menus, relax with beneficial chocolate-infused spa treatments and enjoy “tree to bar” cocoa plantation tours with island-wide hotel and resort offers. Click here for more information. 

For a deeper look into the island’s chocolate heritage, you can take a plantation tour that shares the history and tradition of Saint Lucian cocoa production. Choose from a variety of experiences such as Morne Coubaril Estate and La Dauphine Estate. The Fond Doux Holiday Plantation tour will lead you through the cocoa fermentation house where you can participate in the traditional “cocoa- rina” dance to polish the cocoa beans. Or, take a behind the scenes look at a bean-to-bar single estate boutique chocolate maker at Jade Mountain’s Emerald Estate Organic Chocolate and Chocolate Laboratory.

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August 31, 2018

Roots & Soul Festival 2018

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A festival dedicated to musicians who are setting new trends in reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afro-punk and R&B, with performances, master classes and encounters between artists and other actors in the music business. Like Saint Lucia Jazz, there will be free and paying concerts, in various parts of the island. This event will bring together musicians, record labels, online music stores and platforms, specialized journalists and other actors in order to enhance market access for Saint Lucian and other musicians and producers.