France beats Lithuania for first European basketball title
Petr David Josek/AP LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — France won its first major basketball title Sunday, beating Lithuania 80-66 in the final of the European championship. San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker had a quiet game for France, which broke open a close contest by closing the third quarter with a 14-0 run that kept Lithuania scoreless for 4 minutes. France’s lead grew to 22 with 3 minutes remaining in the third and Lithuania never recovered. Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers scored 17 points, and Boris Diaw – Parker’s Spurs teammate – added 15 for France. Parker, who finished with 12 points after scoring only four through the first three quarters, was named tournament MVP after scoring 32 points against defending champion Spain in the semifinals. Linas Kleiza , who played seven seasons in the NBA with Portland and Denver, led Lithuania with 20 points. The championship ended years of frustration for a strong French squad that includes six NBA players on its roster. France lost the final against Spain two years ago and won the bronze in 2005. After finally capturing the elusive gold – in France’s record 36th appearance in the tournament – Parker led his teammates into the stands to celebrate with fans after the final buzzer. Spain beat Croatia 92-66 earlier in the bronze medal game. Copyright 2013 Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. More NBA
But as the French-led intervention to drive Muslim extremists out of Mali earlier this year showed, “victories are possible against terrorism,” Hollande said. France, fearing the militants plan to use impoverished African states as springboards for European terrorist attacks, launched airstrikes and sent in troops and armored vehicles in January to drive out the Al Qaeda-aligned gunmen. Although numbering only a few hundred, the militants seized the northern half of Mali and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law, beating women who failed to veil themselves and smashing historic tombs, shrines and libraries as vestiges of idolatry and an offense to Islam. The fundamentalist invaders fled the remote northern territory within weeks of the French intervention, but lingering extremists still carry out occasional suicide attacks on cities where the elected government in Bamako maintains only tenuous influence. Hollande last year used his appearance at the General Assembly to call for concerted efforts to rescue Mali. “Now, I would like to sound the alarm for the Central African Republic. It is a small country but one ravaged by coups d’etat and conflicts. Chaos has taken root, and the civilian populations are the victims of it,” Hollande said. He said France would convene an international conference by the end of the year to muster funding and expertise for training and equipping professional armies for vulnerable African states, so that they can ward off Mali-like invasions. “We cannot leave them alone, faced with this terrorist threat,” Hollande said in appealing to European and other countries to join his initiative to enhance Africa’s defenses. “Everywhere chaos reigns, terrorism takes root and grows,” Hollande warned. “This is why the international community must assist African states to protect themselves.” The French intervention in Mali was backed by a contingent from the Economic Community of West African States , but the poorly armed troops from a region rife with instability and rebellion are not seen as capable of putting down extremist threats on their own. “The best weapon we have is policies that support development,” Hollande said, calling for a comprehensive approach to tackling Africa’s security problems with parallel investment in renewable energy, healthcare and infrastructure for a continent still suffering the legacy of European colonization. From the U.N.
France and Sweden among impeccable qualifiers
The likes of Sweden, France, Finland and the Netherlandsprogressed to the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship elite round with a 100% record, while Portugal and Serbia took their place among ten best runners-up. Related Items Group winners:Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, France, Belgium, Switzerland Best runners-up: Croatia, Republic of Ireland,Portugal,Czech Republic, Belarus, Serbia, Romania, Iceland, Turkey, Ukraine Bye to elite round: Germany, England, Spain Bye to final tournament: Norway (hosts) Group 2 (Republic of Ireland) Denmark twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with the Republic of Ireland and clinch top spot, Kamilla Jensen andAnna Fisker wiping out efforts from Clara Shine and Shannon Carson. It was also a memorable day for Greece, who sealed third place after rolling over Kazakhstan 3-0. Group 3 (Lithuania) Sweden emerged as group winners after a convincing 3-0 victory overPortugal, potent midfielderStina Blackstenius plundering her eighth and ninth goals of qualifying. In Thursday’s other Group 3 fixture, Estonia restored some pride with a slender 1-0 defeat of point-less Lithuania. Group 4 (Finland) The home team negotiated a safe passage to the elite round, first-half efforts from Julia Tunturi, Nelli Nevalampi and Vera Saastamoinen securing a 3-1 triumph against the Czech Republic one of ten best runners-up. Third position in the section was filled by Moldova, wholeft it late to salvage a 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands. Group 5 (Belarus) Russia flexed their muscles with a 5-0 rout of Wales, Nadezhda Karpova scoring two of four-second half goals to cement their position atop the standings. Aleksandr Shagov’s team progress alongside Belarus, who registered their second win of qualifying by easing past Cyrpus 4-2. Group 6 (Serbia) Defender Jeslynn Kuijpers scored all three goals as the Netherlands maintained their perfect record in Group 6 by condeming Serbiato a 3-0 defeat.Third-placed Bosnia and Herzegovina finished on a positive note, meanwhile, making light work of Malta in a commanding 4-0 victory. Group 7 (Slovenia) Both teams squandered decent opportunities as the crunch game between Poland and Italy finished goalless, meaning Marcin Kasprowicz’s charges finish top. The Azzure are out, however, due to an inferior head-to-head record with the sides that finished first and third in the section. As for Slovenia, they dispatched Albania 7-0 with Tjasa Misja and Evelina Kos notching doubles. Group 8 (FYROM) Comprehensive winners on matchday two, Scotland produced another emphatic performance to overwhelm Romania 8-0. Caroline Weir caught the eye by rattling in four goals to take her mini-tournament tally to seven.