Barcelona: Barcelona managed a 2-2 draw after fighting hard to overcome a 1-2 deficit against Girona following the expulsion of Clement Lenglet, but not the win they craved for at Camp Nou.Both the Girona goals were scored by Uruguayan Christian Stuani here on Sunday, reports Efe.Girona came out with a vengeance, with Bernardo heading its first shot on goal just two minutes into play, but Marc-Andre Ter Stegen blocked it. It then dominated the first 15 minutes of play, with Lionel Messi driving toward the goal in the 12th minute, powering right to left across the pitch and leaving three rival players behind along the way, although Bono managed to deflect the shot.Seven minutes later, however, Chile’s Arturo Vidal made a beautiful and perfect pass to Messi, which the latter converted on a powerful shot, getting the home squad on the board and scoring his eighth tally in six games.In the 35th minute, Pere Pons collided knee to knee with Lenglet and, upon consultation, the referee concluded that the Frenchman had committed a red-card fowl by purposefully elbowing his rival in the face and sent him packing.Pique was to blame for allowing Girona’s first goal, however, after he made a lackadaisical attempt at a clearance that enabled Stuani to take Aday Benitez’s cross and tap the ball past Ter Stegen for the equalizer.After the break, Pique was once again the one largely responsible for allowing the visitors to go ahead, first being outrun by Portu and then bringing the striker down from behind on an apparent uncalled penalty, although Portu sprang up and fired – with Ter Stegen deflecting the shot right to Stuani, who popped the rebound into the top of the net.In the 62nd minute, Messi and Luis Suarez were on hand to try for another tally, but the latter’s shot went awry and Pique – redeeming himself – scored on a header to salvage the draw from the jaws of a sure defeat.With the result, Barcelona saw their perfect La Liga record this season busted and lost their two-point advantage in the standings over Real Madrid, but they did manage to return to the No. 1 spot in the table, albeit only on goal difference.Girona, meanwhile, moved up to sixth place after the match played before some 76,000 fans on a very hot and humid Barcelona night. ians
Senior cornerback/safety Josh Shaw proved deserving of his title of co-captain this weekend, but at quite a cost.Just hours after being named one of six team captains at the annual Salute to Troy on Saturday night, Shaw sidelined himself indefinitely by sustaining two high ankle sprains.The Palmdale, California native was attending a family function at his cousin’s apartment when he saw his 7-year-old nephew Carter struggling in the pool, unable to swim. Shaw jumped down from a second-story balcony and landed on the concrete, spraining both of his ankles before crawling into the pool and dragging his nephew out.Shaw, who transferred to USC from Florida in 2012, remained humble about the event and positive about the rehabilitation process that lies ahead.“I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew,” Shaw told USCTrojans.com. “My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field soon.”Despite being disappointed about losing Shaw indefinitely, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian praised Shaw’s character.“That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside,” Sarkisian said. “But that’s the kind of person he is. It is unfortunate that he’ll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he’ll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible.”Indeed, the Trojans will miss the versatile defensive back. In 14 games last year, Shaw recorded 67 total tackles and four interceptions. High ankle sprains typically take around six weeks to heal.Shaw has been open about dealing with adversity in the past. At USC’s student-athlete graduation in May, Shaw told the story of transferring to USC to be closer to his ailing grandfather and to help with the family business.“Life doesn’t always work out the way you planned,” Shaw said. “When and perhaps if you are met with challenges, my fellow graduates, don’t give up. Never accept no for an answer, for we are Trojans.”
SIOUX CITY — Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren Monday began her appearance at a forum in Sioux City hosted by Native Americans by saying she was there “to pay my respects” and, during brief opening remarks, Warren brought up the controversy over her claims of Native American ancestry.“Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” Warren said. “I am sorry for harm that I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot and I am grateful for the many conversations that we have had together.”Warren has said that based on family stories, she grew up in Oklahoma believing she had Native American ancestors. On Friday, Warren released a plan to address issues of concern among Native Americans, as well as natives of Alaska and Hawaii. She emphasized those proposals today in Sioux City.“Issues like preventing suicide and missing and murdered indigenous women,” Warren said, “and trying to get full funding for health care and for housing.”Warren is among eight Democratic presidential candidates scheduled to speak at the two-day event. Warren has promised that if she’s elected president, she’ll honor treaty obligations with Native Americans and indigenous peoples — and protect tribal lands.“I will revoke the permit for the pipelines,” Warren said, to cheers.Warren got a standing ovation after she was introduced to the crowd in Sioux City. Most of her time on stage was spent answering audience questions. Marianne Williamson was the first candidate to speak Monday. She said the U.S. government should apologize for various actions it has taken against Native Americans over the years.The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates more than 16,000 Native Americans live in Iowa. Native American voters tend to support Democratic candidates and the Iowa Democratic Party includes a Native American Caucus.
MASON CITY — Mason City voters overwhelmingly approved Paul Adams for a second term on the City Council on Tuesday. Adams received 2507 votes, or 73-percent of the ballots cast, easily handling a challenge from Max Weaver, who only received 913 votes.Listen to our full interview with Adams here Adams tells KGLO News that he couldn’t be more pleased with the margin of victory. I’m certainly appreciative of all the support that we saw all across the city, and honored and excited to serve four more years as one of the two at-large city councilman here in Mason City.” Adams says getting almost three-quarters of the voters to back him is a statement that most residents think the city is heading in the right direction. “I don’t think I’m naive to think that everybody thinks everything is great in the city, and I certainly know that we have things that we need to work on and get better at, which is certainly part of the challenge that I look forward to. My opponent Max hats off to him for running. He always raises issues that are important to him, and certainly makes the city better, and made me a better candidate as well.” Adams says Mason City needs to continue capitalizing on the momentum that has started to build in the last few years. “We’ve got great things going on all throughout the city, with the south end out by the Avenue of the Saints with the new Bushel Boy Farms project, all the way up to the north end with the $65 million investment that Kraft Heinz has thrown in the community, adding 32 really good paying jobs starting around $18 an hour. We need to be able to capitalize on all the positive momentum going, through all four corners of the town, and just really deliver on that momentum and turn it into gains that people can see, people can visualize, and really take into to their hands, and just be able to measure and magnify the progress that we’ve seen so far.” For Weaver, it’s the fifth straight Mason City municipal election that he has lost. Uncontested on the ballot were First Ward Councilman John Lee and Third Ward Councilman Joshua Masson. Two seats on the city’s Park Board were also uncontested, with Troy Levenhagen winning re-election and Jay Lala winning his first term to the board.
his journey through Europe the following season could not have started in a better way. The Liverpool, champion of the two previous editions, was his first rival. As in local tournaments, the Forest was victorious and that served as a mood boost to go through phases. AEK, Grasshopper and Colonia were falling down and the Malmö waited in the final.The final of that 1978 European Cup, which obviously Nottingham won (1-0) may be the less prestigious of all that have been disputed. This is so much so that if Malmö had won that title, would be the swedish club the protagonist of this chapter of the serial Surprise Champions. But for win finals you have to play them And for this, you have to get there. And Nottingham did it. In two years the Robin Hood City Club had gone from fight for promotion First to win the most important title of the continent.The logical would be to think that after that, the clock would touch twelve and the story would end. But Clough had one last trick. The victory in the European Cup gave the Forest access to play the European Super Cup, in which they beat the Barcelona (2-1), and the automatic pass to the European Cup the following year as current champion. And the Forest did what seemed impossible: managed to revalidate the title, this time at the Santiago Bernabéu and against Hamburg, which had Kevin Keegan in their ranks, twice awarded the Ballon d’Or.With that consecutive European double, the Nottingham went down in history as the first team to have more European Cups than their country’s leagues and entered the select club of teams that have more than one Orejona, who now has eleven members: Madrid (13), Milan (7), Liverpool (6), Barça and Bayern (5) Ajax (4), Inter (3) and Juventus, Benfica and Porto (2), in addition to Forest.Clough remained at Nottingham front 18 seasons, in which the club also won two others League Cups. In season 92-93, the sale of Sheringham, the star of the team, and his problems with alcohol, they led the team to a decline that never came out. The Forest dropped and Clough left the club at the end of the season.. Today, Nottingham is the only champion in Europe, not counting the disappeared Steaua, than does not play in the First Division of his country, indeed, it came to be at the beginning of the century in the Third. And is that after the big party, Cinderella never found her shoe again. In its first season in Primera, Clough, with a team of veterans, promising youngsters and players ruled out by other teams, won the league. And with solvency, seven points from the then very powerful Liverpool. What’s more, it was 42 games unbeaten in the league, a record that was valid until 2004, when it was beaten by Arsene Wenger’s ‘The Invincibles’ Arsenal. In addition, that same season they won the League Cup. A historic double for a newly promoted. The comparisons with Leicester who won the Premier in 2016 are unavoidable. But unlike the foxes, Nottingham was not diluted, but quite the opposite: enlarged a legend in such a way that it can hardly be repeated, if not impossible. In football, Cinderella has a name: the Nottingham Forest. And also him Fairy Godmother: Brian Clough. This legendary English coach came to modest East Midlands club in january 1975, when he was a member of the English Second Division, after three seasons before would have led to Derby County to conquer the league. That was a decision that in its day was considered very surprising. In his third season at the helm of the Forest (1976-77), he promoted to FirstAnd that’s when the miracle happened. The pumpkin became a float, the rags, in a gala dress, and the humble maid, in a fairy tale princess.And it is that in late 70s Liverpool had proclaimed itself as the new king of europe. The club net lived the one that to this day continues to be his time of greatest glory, conquering in those years five leagues and two European Cups consecutively in 1977 and 1978 (he would achieve two more in the following six years). But Nottingham sneaked in his party and made all eyes turn to him.
Fifty years ago, January 27, 1966, West Indies cricket came of age, fully of age. It was the first day of a regional competition, a competition that provided regular, though limited, competition of four matches per team on an annual basis, and a competition that undoubtedly lifted West Indies cricket into the company of cricket in England, Australia, South Africa, and India. Half a century ago, the Shell Shield was founded, and it signalled the start of the rise of West Indies cricket to the top. The West Indies started playing Test cricket in 1928, they made their presence felt for the first time in 1950 by beating England in England, in 1966, they had their first official and regular tournament, and by the 1980s, the West Indies were the undisputed champions of the world. Today, they are nowhere to be found, not anywhere near the top. In fact, near to the bottom of the ladder. Fifty years ago, following the illustrious careers of players like Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott, Sonny Ramadhin, and Alfred Valentine, the Shell Shield arrived in time to complement those of great players like Garry Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Seymour Nurse, Basil Butcher, Conrad Hunte, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Lance Gibbs, Jackie Hendriks, and Deryck Murray. And it stayed around to herald the coming of champions such as Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharran, Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Bernard Julien, Keith Boyce, Richie Richardson, Malcolm Marshall, and Jeffrey Dujon, to name a few. The regional competition started as the Shell Shield, it lasted until 1987 before it changed several times to include the Red Stripe Cup, the President’s Cup, the Busta Cup, and the Carib Beer Series to the present Professional Cricket League of the West Indies. It started with Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and the Combined Islands before teams from faraway places like England and Kenya were invited to participate. The regional competition, which was won by Barbados on 12 occasions in its time as the Shell Shield, was rated by many as the best first-class cricket competition in the world because of the quality of its players and the level of its competition, especially in its early years. The first regional match, known as the Shell Shield, was played between the Combined Islands and Jamaica on January 27, 28, 29, and 31 at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St Johns, Antigua, and it was a draw. It was a match in which opening batsman Teddy Griffith, playing for Jamaica, made 150 runs, the first century in the competition, opening batsman Easton McMorris scored 134 in the second innings, the first of three successive centuries, including 127 not out, out of 236 all out against Trinidad and Tobago, and 190 versus Lance Gibbs and Edwin Mohammed of Guyana. Over the years, there have been huge scores, such as the Leeward Islands 718 for seven against Kenya in Antigua in 2004, Guyana’s 641 for five declared versus Barbados in 1967, and the Leeward Islands 613 for five declared against Trinidad and Tobago at the ARG n 1984, and low scores, such as Guyana’s 41 versus Jamaica at Sabina Park in 1986, the Combined Islands 53 against Barbados at Warner Park in 1974, and 54 by the Windward Islands at Arnos Vale in 1968. SHELL SHIELD TITLE ROBBED The Shell Shield, the Red Stripe Cup, or the President’s Cup, whatever it was called, it served West Indies well, despite its many changes in scoring, which led to the result of the match between the Combined Islands and Trinidad and Tobago in 1975, according to the rules of the completion, ending as a draw instead of a tie, and robbed the Combined Islands of the title. There is also its latest change to a franchise system, with, for example, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, now known as the Jamaica Scorpions, the Barbados Pride, and the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force. The late Allan Rae, a former president of the West Indies Board, said on the 21st birthday of the regional competition, “One only has to compare the performances of the West Indies team before Shell’s involvement with the performances since that involvement to appreciate the force for good that the Shell Shield has been on our cricket.”
Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sparring partner expects to see ‘vintage’ Pacquiao vs Matthysse Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team Roger Federer of Switzerland wipes his face during his men’s singles match against France’s Adrian Mannarino, on day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Monday July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)LONDON — Roger Federer was a point away from a rather tidy, straight-set victory in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. One lousy point.And then it all came apart for the eight-time champion against an opponent who’d never beaten him before nor made it this far at the All England Club.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ In a stunning turnaround in an unfamiliar setting — Court No. 1 instead of Centre Court — the No. 1-seeded Federer blew a match point and, eventually, all of a big lead in a 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 loss to No. 8 Kevin Anderson on Wednesday.How hard was it to see this coming?FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Federer was 4-0 against Anderson entering the day, winning every set they’d ever played against each other. But there was more. So much more. Federer was attempting to reach his 13th semifinal at Wimbledon and move closer to title No. 9, both of which would have broken his own records.He came into the match having won 32 consecutive sets at Wimbledon, a run he stretched to 34 before faltering. And he had held serve 81 games in a row at the grass-court major, a streak that grew to 85 before Anderson broke him a surprising total of four times. Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Not that Anderson is anything other than an elite tennis player. He was, after all, the runner-up at last year’s U.S. Open.But he had never made it beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon until this week, carried by his booming serve. He hit 28 aces against Federer, saved 9 of 12 break points and managed to hold his own in the rare lengthy baseline rallies.As the fifth set became as much a test of mental strength as anything, from 4-all to 6-all to 8-all to 10-all, Anderson was as steady as he needed to be. And it was Federer who blinked, double-faulting to face a break point at 11-all, then slapping a forehand into the net to cede the key break.Anderson then served it out, ending things with a 128 mph service winner, and raised both arms overhead.Now the 32-year-old South African moves on to a semifinal against No. 9 John Isner of the U.S. or No. 13 Milos Raonic of Canada.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ That will be played at Centre Court, of course, a spot Federer knows well. His loss to Anderson was the first match he’d played at No. 1 since 2015.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments
Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college MOST READ Celtics’ Aron Baynes out 4-6 weeks after surgery on finger The 2020 organizers hit back saying that auditors were counting outlay that is not related to the Olympics, unfairly inflating what the Games will cost Japan.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Muto has previously said that measures to tackle the expected hot weather during the Tokyo summer — such as water sprinklers and special heat-absorbing paint on roads — could push up the bill.Friday’s latest estimate came after a dispute over what exactly counts as Olympic spending.A report from government auditors made headlines in October when it revealed that a budget-busting 800 billion yen had been allocated by government ministries and agencies.According to the report, the central government has allocated funds for 286 projects — ranging from the operation of weather satellites to subsidies for hydrogen stations for fuel-cell vehicles.The government has pledged to stick to its goal of hosting a “compact” Olympics.ADVERTISEMENT After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Organizers have pledged the bill will not increase amid concerns that ballooning costs are putting off potential Olympic host cities.“As many aspects of the Games have become more detailed, Tokyo 2020 has seen increases in some areas but has successfully reduced expenditures in other areas,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said in a statement.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“There is still a lot of work to be done to control expenditures, but with the cooperation of the IOC, Tokyo 2020 will continue to make best efforts to maximize revenues, contain costs and keep its budget within 600 billion yen” for the organizers, he said.The city government will provide a further 600 billion yen and the national government 150 billion yen, both unchanged from the previous version. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2018, file photo, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori, right, speaks as IOC inspection team head John Coates listens during a press conference in Tokyo. Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics said Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, they picked up another $1 million in domestic sponsorships and that the operating budget for the games remains at $5.6 billion. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)Tokyo 2020 organizers unveiled the latest version of the Games budget on Friday, keeping their estimate unchanged as they face intense pressure to keep costs down.The latest budget for the Games stands at 1.35 trillion yen ($12.1 billion), unchanged in yen terms from the version announced this time last year.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title View comments
Guyana-Venezuela border controversyOnce a decision is made by the United Nations to send the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the credibility of the Nicolás Maduro Government of Venezuela will be tested, former Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Jeffrey has said.9Dr Jeffrey’s statement comes on the heels of delays by the UN in announcing its decision on whether to send the matter before the ICJ. The former Minister is of the opinion that the present Venezuelan Government is too weak to carry that argument to its people to have the border controversy resolved.“So you really need a strong regime in Venezuela to be able to make a credible showing at the ICJ to sell that to the Venezuelan people. That does not exist at the moment. Venezuela wouldn’t want to go in the first place, but if they had a strong Government at least they could have said that they are going. Right now, they have a weak Government and that is something to think about,” he explained.The former Minister claimed that while many Venezuelans believe that the Essequibo belongs to their country, especially since they have been repeatedly told this since the 1960s, going to the ICJ might be the best decision, but there could be several implications for the Government.At present, Venezuela is facing several international sanctions over rights and corruption allegations. Support for Maduro’s Administration has fallen off sharply as Venezuela’s economy has plunged deeper into crisis marked by widespread shortages and a rise in inflation.However, Maduro plans to stand for re-election in a presidential vote due by the end of April. It has already been made known; however, that should the presidential vote be perceived as fraudulent, further foreign sanctions would be initiated, including from United States President Donald Trump.Jeffrey believes that the issues facing Venezuela will be endless. “That is not going to finish in Venezuela anytime soon, especially for a government of some standing to come into being that can negotiate this. The Government now has no capacity to do that,” he added.As such, the former Minister said more attention should be paid at managing the relationship with Venezuela, to get a positive outcome for Guyana. He said the delay by the UN was no reason for Guyana to put its hand up. “I don’t believe that these border issues are settled that easily and overnight.”He continued, “Going to the ICJ in my view would be a moral victory and it might well give us some sort of leverage in terms of future investment in the region with Venezuela, but it would not end the border… [controversy]. The Venezuelans in my view would not accept it in the first place.”Arguing that border issues are not solved effortlessly, even when the matter is taken to the ICJ, Dr Jeffrey declared that both sides of the political divide in Venezuela were united on the issue.“So I believe what we are struggling here for is some kind of leverage and moral authority. I doubt it would solve the problem in any sensible way, or in a way we would like to see it solved,” he reiterated.Current Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said recently that following the end of the Good Offices Process on December 31, 2017, UN Secretary General António Guterres could take two years to decide on the next move regarding the border controversy.Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had given an undertaking that 2017 would have been the last year of mediation to end the border controversy. If that process failed, the controversy would be referred to the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN.Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was full and final. But Venezuela has, for several decades, registered its diplomatic and military objection to Guyana’s development of its natural resources onshore and offshore.Venezuela, with almost 40 times the population of Guyana and a territory that is several times bigger, purported to claim in 1968 the entire territorial sea of Guyana by means of the Leoni Decree, which has never been withdrawn.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have worsened ever since oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had found oil in Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits have been found by ExxonMobil.In fact, Venezuela’s National Assembly had approved an agreement to reject the oil exploration activities in March 2017.
“So I think you see potentially the Iraqi people wanting to take advantage of this opportunity and the enemy wanting to keep it going,” Pace told a Pentagon news conference. Still, police reported finding 10 bullet-ridden bodies throughout Baghdad on Wednesday, most showing signs of torture. Another two were found floating in the Tigris river south of the capital. Defense Secretary Robert Gates cited early indications that the Iraqi government is meeting the commitments it made to bolster security, although he cautioned that it was too early to reach any firm conclusions about the outcome. “We’re right at the very beginning,” he said at the Pentagon. “But I would say that based in terms of whether the Iraqis are meeting the commitments that they’ve made to us in the security arena, I think that our view would be so far, so good.” He was referring to the movement of additional Iraqi troops into the capital. Wednesday’s suicide attack took place near sunset at a popular cafe in Balad Ruz, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, where Sunni extremists have been forcing Shiites to flee through a campaign of assassination and intimidation. A senior police officer said dozens of people were gathered around the cafe enjoying mild, sunny weather when the attacker struck, killing 30 people and wounding 25. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his personal safety. Iraqi security forces have been bracing for more trouble this weekend at the climax of Shiite religious rites marking the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Hussein’s death in a 7th-century battle near Karbala cemented the schism between Sunnis and Shiites. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims were streaming by bus, car and foot into Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, many of them marching behind banners affirming their reverence for Imam Hussein. On Tuesday, two suicide bombers exploded themselves among pilgrims lining up at a checkpoint in the southern city of Hillah, killing at least 120 people and wounding about 190. More than 30 other pilgrims have been killed in dozens of bombings and shootings. In Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraqi security forces set up a six-ring cordon around the two main Shiite shrines as the city swelled with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Local Gov. Aqeel al-Khazalie said 10,000 policeman were deployed in the city, with pilgrims undergoing multiple searches at checkpoints before they reach the two major shrines. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Just north of the capital, a powerful bomb killed three American soldiers trying to clear explosives from a major highway, the U.S. military said. One American soldier was wounded in the attack. American troops have stepped up efforts to clear and secure major highways around the capital as part of the Baghdad security crackdown, which began last month. But the operation, which will eventually see an additional 17,000 U.S. combat troops in the capital, has so far failed to intimidate Sunni insurgents, who have retaliated with attacks outside the city – including those against Shiite pilgrims. At least 13 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since Sunday, all of them in Sunni areas north and east of Baghdad. Nine Americans died Monday, the deadliest day for the U.S. military here in nearly a month. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that in recent days the number of sectarian murders was down slightly and the number of car bombings was up. BAGHDAD, Iraq – A suicide attacker blew himself up in a cafe northeast of the capital Wednesday, killing 30 people as a wave of violence left 90 Iraqis dead throughout the country. The bloodshed persisted as Iraqi security forces struggled to protect more than 1 million Shiite pilgrims streaming toward the holy city of Karbala for annual religious rituals that begin Friday. The pilgrims are facing a string of attacks along the way that have claimed at least 174 lives in two days – among 284 killed across Iraq since Tuesday. They included 22 people – 12 police commandos and 10 civilians – who died Wednesday in a car bombing at a checkpoint in southern Baghdad set up to protect pilgrims, the U.S. military said. An Iraqi TV cameraman working for a Shiite-owned station was among the civilian dead, his station said.