MANCHESTER, England (AP): Jamie Vardy tied the English Premier League record for scoring in consecutive games to help Leicester City climb surprisingly to the top of the standings yesterday when English football paid tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks. The England international’s goal, which set Leicester on its way to a 3-0 win at Newcastle, meant he has scored in 10 straight matches – a feat Ruud van Nistelrooy also achieved for Manchester United across two seasons in 2003. Leicester only narrowly avoided relegation after a sensational finish to last season, but are upstaging England’s major powers after 13 games of this campaign. Manchester City and Arsenal, who started the weekend tied for points at the top, both lost and were also overtaken by Manchester United, which needed a 90th-minute own goal to beat Watford 2-1. City conceded three goals in the opening 32 minutes and lost 4-1 at home to Liverpool, and Arsenal lost 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion, with Santi Cazorla missing a late penalty to tie the game. Chelsea beat Norwich 1-0, thanks to Diego Costa’s second-half goal, ending the champions’ three-game losing run and easing some pressure on manager Jose Mourinho. The French national anthem was played before all eight Premier League games to honour the 130 people killed in the Paris attacks, with England’s top division resuming after the international break amid tightened security. Vardy picked up where he left off two weeks ago, shrugging off an injury that forced him to withdraw from England duty last week to score in first-half injury time with a low shot inside the near post. Vardy’s scoring run began against Bournemouth on August 29 and the hard-working striker can break Van Nistelrooy’s record by scoring against Man United in what is now a top-of-the-table match next weekend. “I’ve managed to get there, let’s see what happens next week,” said Vardy, who was sent a good-luck tweet by Van Nistelrooy ahead of the match. He was playing non-league football only four seasons ago, but is currently the top scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals and reportedly attracting lots of interest from top clubs. Leicester have only lost one league game this season under new coach Claudio Ranieri, who took over in the summer after the team won seven of their last nine games last season to survive. COACH PROUD “I’m very proud because the players play like a team, suffer, run and play good football,” Ranieri said. In a stunning first-half display of high pressing and livewire attacking, Liverpool cruised into a 3-0 through Eliaquim Mangala’s own goal and goals by Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Fit-again Sergio Aguero replied in the 44th for City, but Martin Skrtel’s 81st-minute volley clinched a very impressive win for Liverpool and their new manager, Juergen Klopp. Watford striker Troy Deeney scored a 90th-minute own goal, soon after converting an equalising penalty, to gift Man United victory at Vicarage Road. Netherlands winger Memphis Depay – playing as an emergency forward to solve the side’s striker shortage – put United in front in the 11th minute. Also, Everton beat Aston Villa 4-0 courtesy of doubles from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, who became the fifth player – after Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo – to reach 50 top-flight goals before the age of 23. Stoke beat Southampton 1-0 away and Swansea rallied from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home to Bournemouth.
Other Shiite clerics have strongly backed the constitution. The border offensive known as Operation Iron Fist ended late Thursday, but a post of coalition forces will remain in the town of Sadah, eight miles from Syria. The stronger coalition presence is an attempt to prevent militants from gaining a foothold and to stop foreign fighters from entering across the border, the military said. It did not specify the nationality of the forces. In the hours before the offensive’s end, a roadside bomb killed two Marines outside Qaim, near Sadah, the military said. Closer to Baghdad – away from the offensives – a roadside blast Thursday killed four Marines in Karmah, outside the city of Fallujah, the military said. The deaths brought to 1,950 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Eight days before Iraqis were to approve or reject the draft constitution, most were still waiting for copies of it to read. Distribution began in a few Baghdad neighborhoods, but did not appear to have begun elsewhere. Campaigning has begun in earnest, however, with radio and television running call-in and talk shows on the document, which has strongly divided Iraq’s Shiite majority and Sunni minority. Shiite and Kurdish leaders support the constitution – whose passage the United States is eager to see – while Sunnis denounce it, saying it will split the country. Walls around Baghdad were plastered with posters advertising the referendum. One depicts a white-veiled woman over the slogan “Our dreams are greater than their threats,” seeking to overcome fears of insurgent retaliation attacks against those who vote. In a boost to the pro-constitution side, radical cleric Muqtada al- Sadr – one of the few influential Shiite leaders to speak out against the document – gave his followers approval to vote “yes.” Sadr has said his only reservation is over terms of federalism outlined in the constitution, but that his followers have the freedom to choose, an aide told The Associated Press, adding that the tendency of Sadr’s group is “toward yes.” The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because of political sensitivities surrounding the document. BAGHDAD, Iraq – Bomb blasts killed six Marines as the U.S. military announced Friday that it had completed a major sweep in western Iraq aimed at suppressing al-Qaida militants before next week’s vote on Iraq’s constitution. The military said 50 insurgents were killed in the six-day offensive, launched Oct. 1 in towns near the Syrian border. The operation was the first in a series of major offensives in the past week in the heartland of the Sunni-led insurgency. U.S. forces have swept through the area before – most recently in May – but militants have always returned, bringing in foreigners from Syria and planning attacks to be carried out elsewhere. The military said it will now leave a long-term presence there. The military has said it will wrap up the operations in time for Sunni Arabs in the region to vote in the Oct. 15 referendum, a key concern of Sunni leaders who have threatened a boycott.