Amir reprieve will encourage others to come clean – ICC

by admin on May 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Amir and his former team mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were all banned for spot-fixing, particularly for bowling deliberate no-balls by pre-arrangement at Lord’s, during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.


The trio served jail sentences in Britain and were given minimum five-year bans by an ICC tribunal.

Amir’s five-year ban was scheduled to expire on Sept. 2 but ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACSU) chairman Ronnie Flanagan exercised his discretion to allow him to return to domestic cricket with immediate effect on Thursday.

“There’s an incentive to players that if you have messed up there’s a way back,” Richardson told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“Don’t forget that Amir would have been out of international cricket for five years. That’s more than half a career.

“Most players don’t even get to play five years at international level,” said the former South Africa stumper-batsman.

Left-arm bowler Amir was marked as a great prospect for Pakistan in his early days and at the age of 18 he became the youngest bowler to capture 50 test wickets during the controversial test match at Lord’s in 2010.

According to a revised anti-corruption code, a banned player can appeal to resume playing domestic cricket before the end of the ban.

“Not withstanding what he did, no one suggests that we should be tolerant or be lax on players who get involved in these type of things,” the 55-year-old Richardson said.

“But in his case, he admitted his involvement and since then he’s made every effort to disclose everything that he knows to help the ACSU with their education programmes.

“Therefore, I think he served as a good example to players who might have got involved in the past, regret what they have done and there’s a way for them to come back in due course.”

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Two bushfire emergencies in WA’s south

by admin on May 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Two emergency warnings are in place for lightning-sparked bushfires in Western Australia’s south, with a veteran firefighter warning one of the blazes could burn all the way to the coast.


While a fire threatens the town of Northcliffe, the alert level for the southern part of Lower Hotham has been upgraded to an emergency.

Roger Underwood, who has been fighting fires for more than 50 years, fears the Northcliffe blaze could continue to burn out of control until it hits the Southern Ocean.

Mr Underwood said the fire was burning in extremely dense Karri forest, thick with trees up to 70 metres high.

“It could be really bad,” he told AAP.

“It’s probably the biggest fire risk problem we’ve had in 50 years.”

The fire is spreading in some areas at a rate of more than 500 metres per hour, with spot fires starting up to 100 metres ahead of the fire.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says forecast thunderstorms “could cause areas of extreme fire behaviour”.

Wednesday is expected to be very hot with possibly more storms.

About 300 firefighters and support crews are on the scene and have saved several homes in the area, and will soon be joined by almost 150 firefighters from Victoria who arrived in Perth on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Underwood said there was no way to stop the head fire.

“That’s unstoppable,” he said.

“Fires in the Karri forest are not put out by men on the ground or by aeroplanes – they’re only put out by a change in the weather.

“You’ve got to work the sides of the fire and bring in bulldozers.”

People in Northcliffe and the subdivisions of Parkview, Bracken Rise and Double Bridge are directly in the fire’s path and have been strongly urged to evacuate as the areas are considered undefendable.

Only a few people have remained behind.

The Lower Hotham fire has increased in intensity and hop-overs have occurred on the eastern and western sides.

The warning applies to an area bounded by Pinjarra Williams Road, Lower Hotham Road, Tunnell Road, Fletcher Road, Stockyard Road, Boundary Road, Trees Road, Harvey Quindanning Road, Dooganally Road, Lemercier Road and George Road.

“Homes on the eastern side of Lower Hotham Road will be impacted by bushfire,” DFES said.

About 70 firefighters are on the scene.

Almost 3000 bushfires have broken out around WA since January 1, with more than 120 sparked by lightning in the past week.

Mr Underwood, the chairman of prescribed burning advocacy group Bushfire Front, said the state had entered an era of very poor bushfire management after leading the world in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Unless you have control of the fuels, in an Australian environment you’re doomed to savage bushfires.”

DR Congo players told to put euphoria behind them

by admin on May 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

“I’ve been talking about it all the time in training,” coach Florent Ibenge told a news conference as the Congolese prepared for their semi-final against the fancied Ivorians in Bata.


“We have to really get our concentration back and focus on what is going to be a really tough encounter. Our last game was one of great emotion but I’ve been working hard to get all the euphoria behind us.”

DR Congo were 2-0 down just after an hour of the quarter-final against neighbours Congo in Bata but scored four goals in the last 25 minutes to seal a thrilling win.

“We expect a game full of a lot of tactics, very physical and with the need for strong mental concentration. It is difficult for the players in what will be their fifth game after two weeks of this tournament and also a couple of weeks of preparations before the tournament,” Ibenge added.

“It will be complicated for us but we hope it will as difficult for them,” he added at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

The Congolese last played the Ivorians in the qualifiers in October when they produced another thrilling performance to force a surprise 4-3 away win.

“But no two games are the same and we must forget that one. The Ivorians team has changed a lot since then, they have stiffened up the midfield and since Kolo Toure came back they’ve been a lot tougher to break down in defence.”

DR Congo must again do without captain Youssouf Mulumbu, who tore his hamstring in their second match of the tournament against the Cape Verde Islands.

Ibenge said the West Bromwich Albion midfielder remained an important team member with his leadership role on the bench.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Dam fences could stop cane toad spread

by admin on May 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Toad-proof fences around man-made dams could stop the spread of the toxic pests in some arid parts of Australia, scientists say.


In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of NSW examined the long-term control of cane toads and found that blocking their water source would kill them in large numbers.

Lead author Mike Letnic said dams built for livestock attracted toads and had vastly increased the areas that the poisonous creatures could invade.

“Cane toads need water to survive and we have previously shown they use the dams as refuges in the hot, dry periods,” he said.

“They enter the water during the day to cool down and rehydrate.

“When the rainy period returns, they move on from these dry season refuges into new territory.”

Associate Professor Letnic said it explained why cane toads were so successful as invasive species.

During the study, researchers made small fences from shade cloth around three dams in the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory and maintained them for a year.

Toads could not jump over the fences or burrow underneath, so they died en masse.

Their numbers remained low for another year while there were up to 100 times more toads living at the unfenced dams used as controls.

“By excluding toads from dams, we converted their invasion refuges into ecological traps and thwarted their spread,” Assoc Prof Letnic said.

The researchers suggested pastoralists and wildlife agencies in semi-arid and arid regions could fence out toads at dams or replace dams with tanks.

“If conducted strategically, excluding toads from man-made water sources could effectively control their populations across large areas of Australia and relieve the impacts that cane toads are having on native predators and dung beetles,” Assoc Prof Letnic said.

Head youngest-ever SA cricket skipper

by admin on May 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Travis Head will become the youngest-ever South Australian cricket captain after taking over from Johan Botha.


The 21-year-old batsman was given the job on Tuesday following Botha’s decision to stand down after three years in the position and he becomes the youngest leader in the state’s 122-year first-class history.

A former Australia under-19 skipper, Head has also led his state at under-17 and under-19 level but is in just his fourth senior season.

Given he’s yet to post a first-class century, his selection as skipper ahead of more established teammates such as Callum Ferguson and Tom Cooper came as a surprise to some.

The left-hander’s first game in charge will be the Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in Perth beginning on Saturday.

South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) chief executive Keith Bradshaw, who himself was 23 when he captained Tasmania for a Sheffield Shield match in 1987, said the appointment was a long-term move.

“Travis’s appointment demonstrates a long-term focus for our young Redbacks team,” Bradshaw said.

“Travis has demonstrated an ability to show resilience under pressure on the field in his short time playing for South Australia.

“Off-field, Travis is already well respected by the entire cricket community both in South Australia and around the country.

“We are excited to appoint a young, capable leader who we believe can achieve higher honours in his cricketing career.”

Botha, the South African international who was recruited in 2012, informed the SACA during the recent hiatus in Shield competition that this season would be his last at the helm.

Rosberg has the knives sharpened for Hamilton

by admin on April 29th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

The German, runner-up last year as Hamilton collected his second crown, told the official formula1.


com website that he felt stronger than ever and was sure the new Mercedes was better.

Asked whether he already had his metaphorical knives “sharpened” for the season, Rosberg said he had started doing that as soon as the last campaign ended in Abu Dhabi.

“For now it is Lewis — and whoever else wants to have a go at the knife,” he added with a laugh when asked about the main target.

The two Mercedes team mates, who have known and raced against each other from boyhood, had a tense relationship last season as they battled for the title.

Rosberg expected more of the same.

“We have a relationship that goes up and down — and it will continue to go up and down,” he said. “It is an intense battle between us and that will not change any time soon.

“Last year’s experience helps,” he added of this year’s challenge. “It’s that ‘been there, done that’ kind of thing. All the difficult times have made me stronger. It is the difficult moments where I learn the most.”

The German said Hamilton, who won 11 races last year to Rosberg’s five, had simply performed better in 2014.

“He drove better all in all. Small bits here and there — and I need to find small steps to beat him. And I am going for it,” he said.

Mercedes will start the season in Australia on March 15 as clear favourites again and the new car has looked strong in testing in southern Spain, although Hamilton was stopped by a water leak on Monday.

Rosberg did almost 700km and 157 laps on the first day at the Jerez circuit, far more than rivals, and said the car was “even better than last year’s”.

His dream year, he said, would be a great start followed by “a tough part by mid-season when I lose touch — and then an awesome comeback in the end, winning all the races to total dominance.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Al Jazeera’s Fahmy gives up Egypt passport

by admin on April 29th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

CAIRO, Feb 3 AFP)- Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy has renounced his Egyptian citizenship, his family says, in a bid to follow his Australian colleague Peter Greste in being released from a Cairo jail.


Fahmy’s surrender of his Egyptian passport is a necessary first step for him to be released and deported as a foreign national under a decree issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in November. He also has Canadian citizenship.

The news came after Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Fahmy’s release was “imminent” following the freeing of Greste on Sunday.

The two men were arrested in December 2013 along with Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, and later sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on charges of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

Their jailing sparked a global outcry and proved a public relations nightmare for Sisi, who has cracked down on Islamists since toppling president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

“He signed the papers more than a week ago” giving up his Egyptian citizenship, a relative of Fahmy told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“It was very hard for him because he is a proud Egyptian who comes from a family of military servicemen.”

An Egyptian official following the case said: “The final legal procedures for his deportation are being completed.”

He said Fahmy’s renunciation of citizenship had already been finalised.

Soon after Greste’s release, Fahmy’s fiancee, Marwa Omara, said: “We are expecting Mohamed to be released in the coming days.”

Egyptian police arrested the three journalists at the peak of a diplomatic row between Cairo and Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera.

The broadcaster had been critical of the deadly crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood following the Islamist leader’s overthrow.

Qatar has since moved to mend ties with Egypt, and Al Jazeera has closed its Arabic-language Egyptian affiliate which backed the Brotherhood.

Last month, the three men’s convictions were overturned by an appeal court which ordered a retrial but kept them in custody.

After his release, Greste, who is currently resting in Cyprus before heading home to Australia, expressed hope that his two colleagues would be released soon.

“This is a massive step forward…. I just hope that Egypt keeps going down this path with the others,” he said in an Al Jazeera interview.

Greste said he felt a “real mix of emotions boiling inside” upon hearing the unexpected news that he was to be released because it meant leaving behind “my brothers” Fahmy and Mohamed.

“I feel incredible angst about my colleagues, leaving them behind,” he said.

“Amidst all this relief, I still feel a sense of concern. If it’s appropriate for me to be free, it’s right for all of them to be freed.”

Al Jazeera has vowed to pursue the campaign to free both Fahmy and producer Mohamed.

But the channel’s head of newsgathering, Heather Allan, admitted she was not confident that Mohamed would be released as he has no second passport.

“I can’t say I am confident, no. I just don’t know, honestly. Are we going to keep on fighting it? Absolutely – we are not going to leave him there,” she said.

Mohamed’s family has pinned their hopes on a presidential pardon or his acquittal on appeal.

Amnesty International said Greste’s release should not divert attention from the continuing imprisonment of Fahmy and Mohamed.

“All three men are facing trumped-up charges and were forced to endure a farcical trial marred by irregularities,” the rights group said.

Ombudsman dismisses bug probe critics

by admin on April 29th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour says he questioned Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn for four days as part of his long-running investigation into a phone-tapping scandal.


And Mr Barbour has dismissed critics, saying he has not targeted whistleblowers, including police officers who complained about being improperly bugged by rival officers in the force.

Mr Barbour appeared before a NSW parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday to defend Operation Prospect, his two-year probe into claims illegal warrants were used to bug more than 100 police officers in an anti-corruption probe 15 years ago.

The ombudsman’s appearance follows an extraordinary attack from Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas, who last week accused Mr Barbour of denigrating and humiliating him during questioning.

Mr Kaldas, who was bugged during Operation Mascot, said Mr Barbour was more interested in how targeted officers acquired leaked information about the warrants than investigating the complaints themselves.

Mr Barbour said Mr Kaldas had failed to appreciate how he was conducting his investigation.

Mr Kaldas had been questioned for one day, he said, while Commissioner Burn was questioned for four days.

“These raw figures are sufficient to indicate the primary focus of the inquiry,” Mr Barbour said.

Ms Burn was the team leader of Operation Mascot, the 2000 police internal affairs surveillance operation at the heart of the complaints.

“To suggest that my inquiry is focused on targeting whistleblowers is quite simply false,” Mr Barbour said.

Mr Barbour told the Upper House committee that he had not asked complainants many questions about the buggings because they would not know how decisions were made to issue warrants.

Ms Burn, who appeared before the inquiry last week, has denied any wrongdoing and said she had suspicions when her team sought a warrant to bug Mr Kaldas’s phone.

Mr Barbour has warned the parliamentary inquiry that the four-day public hearing could make his investigation, which has been conducted in secret, impossible.

The hearing continues.

RBA cuts rates to 2.25 per cent

by admin on April 29th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Banks review rates after RBA cut

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the cash rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a record low of 2.


25 per cent, in the first cut since August 2013.

RBA governor Glenn Stevens says the economy is growing at a below trend pace and is likely to remain so for quite a while longer, while unemployment will peak a little higher than previously expected.

“The board judged that, on balance, a further reduction in the cash rate was appropriate,” he said.  

“Financial conditions are very accommodative globally, with long-term borrowing rates for several major sovereigns reaching new all-time lows over recent months”.

“This action is expected to add some further support to demand, so as to foster sustainable growth and inflation outcomes consistent with the target, he said. “

Room for another cut this year: economist

“It seems they have revised their growth forecast down and their unemployment rate peak higher, and they’ve seen room for cutting rates which they’ve done today,” said Senior NAB Economist David De Garis.


“So there has been some change over the past three or four months overall, even though the recent data has been okay they think they can afford to cut rates to help to rebalance the economy.


“There’ll be room for another cut this year, how soon remains to be seen. We’ve been thinking two (cuts) and it’s hard to steer away from that at this point, ” Mr De Garis said.

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Pressure for an easing has mounted in recent weeks as prices for many of Australia’s commodity exports continued to slide, crimping company profits and national income.

The outlook for inflation had also moderated as petrol prices plunged and wage growth stayed stuck at decade lows. Core inflation is now seen near the floor of the RBA’s 2-3 per cent target band for much of this year.

And a rush by other central banks, and particularly the European Central Bank, to ease their policies meant the RBA needed to follow suit if only to stop its currency from rising and so tighten conditions.

What you’ll save on your mortgage if banks follow RBA

Repayments on a $300,000 mortgage will drop by $45 a month on average if retail banks fully pass on Tuesday’s 25-basis-point cut in the cash rate by the Reserve Bank.

If your mortgage is:

   * $100,000 – $626.09 –  $15.16 cut

   * $150,000 – $939.13 –  $22.74 cut

   * $200,000 – $1252.18 – $30.32 cut

   * $250,000 – $1565.22 – $37.90 cut

   * $300,000 – $1878.27 – $45.48 cut

   * $350,000 – $2191.31 – $53.06 cut

   * $400,000 – $2504.35 – $60.64 cut

   * $450,000 – $2817.40 – $68.22 cut

   * $500,000 – $3130.44 – $75.80 cut


This assumes 25-year standard variable rate loan at an average new interest rate of 5.7 per cent.


– With AAP, Reuters

Olympic changes won’t affect track and field – Bubka

by admin on April 29th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

The Ukrainian, who won a pole vault gold medal in the Games, six consecutive world championships and set 35 world records, is taking on Britain’s Sebastian Coe in a race to become the head of the International Association of Athletics Federations.


Fellow IAAF vice-president Coe, a double 1,500 metres Olympic champion and chief organiser of the London 2012 Games, announced his candidacy late last year. The election is set for August.

Bubka said planned changes to the Olympics, allowing more sports at the expense of some events and disciplines of existing competitions, would not affect athletics.

“We are very proud to be the number one sport of the Olympics and we have a strong position within the movement,” the 51-year-old told Reuters in an interview.

“The IOC looks to make the programme attractive and I am confident athletics will keep its strong position,” said Bubka who is also an International Olympic Committee member.

International federations have been jostling for position since the changes were voted in late last year, with some IOC members also proposing the scrapping of athletics competitions including the triple jump.

“I think we will keep 47 events with 2,000 athletes. We will be in the same position as before but we need to look closely and cooperate,” Bubka said.

However, with a shortage of recognisable personalities, an ageing audience, a continuing struggle to attract interest in the United States and the dark shadow of doping, athletics has its work cut out.


Much of his presidential manifesto is based on cooperation, with the Ukrainian Olympic Committee president and successful businessman wanting to empower national federations to maximise reach and profit with the help of the IAAF.

“More decentralisation and make continental associations stronger,” he said of his plans. “When we make strong national federations we can be very powerful and very successful.”

Bubka also wants to boost the fight against doping, with athletics once more in the spotlight after recent revelations regarding the use of banned substances by Russian competitors.

The Ukrainian great, who unsuccessfully ran for the IOC presidency in 2013, said an extraordinary meeting of all stakeholders, from athletes to broadcasters, would be needed to review all aspects of the sport and come up “with a road map”.

Bubka said it was positive for the sport that both candidates were former top athletes.

“I think it is good because you have a very good background for athletes. It means you have different kinds of experience and knowledge. This is very helpful to transfer to the success of the leadership of the IAAF,” he explained.

Asked whether other federations, specifically world soccer’s under-fire governing body FIFA, should follow suit, he said: “It is very positive.

“If we look at Olympic history we see more and more former athletes involved in sports administration. I think this is a good direction.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)