Archive For 09/20/2019

Fast-moving bushfire threatening WA homes

By |

A fast-moving bushfire that jumped containment lines in Western Australia has prompted an emergency warning in parts of the state’s south.


An emergency warning has been issued for people living in the Mullet Lakes area, in Bandy Creek, and Esperance.

Homes on more than a dozen streets are under threat, including:

– Wylie Bay Road

– the southern end of Dempster Road

– Tarook Road

– Bandy Creek Road

– the western end of Merivale Road

– Daw Drive

– Tranquil Drive

“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes,” WA’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services said in a statement.

The bushfire is described as out of control and unpredictable, and moving fast after it broke containment lines on the western side near Mullet Lakes.

Residents who planned to leave can leave if the way is clear, and those who intend to protect their homes should prepare to do so.

Advice alerts are also in place for bushfires in the Shire of Collie, the Shire of Dundas – including the Heartbreak Ridge area – as well as near Mt Solus in Jarrahdale State forest.

There is no threat to lives or homes in those areas but there is lot of smoke in the area which is expected to clear on Sunday.

Residents are being urged to drive slowly with their headlights on due to poor visibility.

Farmers near Esperance have returned to their homes after a bushfire sparked by lighting at Salmon Gums and Grass Patch left four people dead, including local farmer Kym Curnow.

The 45-year-old is being hailed a hero for saving several people from driving into the inferno before becoming trapped himself.

Norwegian national Anna Sashohova Winther, 29, British man Thomas Leslie Butcher, 31, and German woman Julia Kohrs-Lichte, 19, also died trying to outrun the fire.

All three were working as farmhands and were trying to save a horse.

Read more »

Asia summit spotlight on terror attacks

By |

Terrorism is continuing to preoccupy Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other leaders as they gather for regional talks following fresh attacks.


Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak opened the 10-nation ASEAN meetings on Saturday by condemning terror wherever it occurs – in Paris or in Mali, where a hotel siege claimed at least 21 lives.

The groups responsible “do not represent any race, religion or creed”, Mr Najib said.

Security is tight with the presence of world leaders in Kuala Lumpur and unconfirmed police intelligence tipping Islamic State and Philippines-based radicals have suicide bombers around the city.

Mr Turnbull arrived for a program of bilateral talks on Saturday, meeting leaders from China and Cambodia, and was expected to meet representatives from South Korea and Vietnam.

Meeting China’s Premier Li Keqiang, Mr Turnbull remarked on the free trade agreement, a deal already seeing great benefits, he said, the visit last year of President Xi Jinping and co-operation between naval forces.

“There is intense co-operation and growing understanding between Australia and China,” Mr Turnbull said.

Longstanding disputes over South China Sea territorial claims also loom over the Kuala Lumpur talks.

On Sunday, Mr Turnbull is due to meet Mr Najib and join the expanded 18-country East Asia Summit with US President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others.

The East Asia Summit:

– comprises the 10 ASEAN countries: Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the US.

Read more »

Worsfold can turn Dons around: Goddard

By |

A 90-minute chat with incoming Essendon coach John Worsfold was all senior player Brendon Goddard needed to be convinced the beleaguered AFL club had found the right man to turn its fortunes around.


Since Goddard arrived at Essendon in the 2013 off-season, very little has gone right for the former heavyweights.

A drugs scandal hit the club as soon as Goddard stepped through the front door, and that fight is ongoing – with a WADA appeal expected to be finalised before Christmas.

That had obvious ramifications for the club and, combined with struggles on the field, it led to the resignation of favourite son James Hird midway through their troubled 2015 campaign.

Worsfold, the premiership-winning coach with West Coast, has been parachuted in to fix the club’s woes and Goddard believes he has the drive and skills to turn things around.

Goddard, in Dublin to play in Saturday’s International Rules one-off Test with Ireland, sat down with Worsfold “for a good hour and a half” at the end of the season and was immediately impressed.

He’d campaigned for an experienced coach to take over for the 2016 season and believes the change is already being felt at Windy Hill.

“I said publicly during the year that I’d like to see an experienced coach, hinting towards John who was the main candidate that was more experienced,” Goddard said.

“I think he’s the right guy for the job and just within the short time he has been, I know there’s a lot of changes have been made and the club is heading in a better direction and a good direction.”

Goddard said it had been good to get away on the Australian tour with Essendon teammates Dustin Fletcher and Dyson Heppell, saying the change in environment was providing welcome relief after three difficult years.

“Particularly the year we had and the three years previous to that, it’s good to get away in a more relaxed environment with the three of us instead of a footy environment where we’re living in the bubble in Melbourne,” he said.

“It’s become quite difficult.”

While one of the younger members of the Australian squad at 23, Heppell is seen as a future skipper at Essendon.

He’s provided most of the promise out of a gloomy few seasons and both Fletcher and Goddard tipped he would continue to blossom under Worsfold’s tutelage.

“He’s a star in his own right but he’s an up-and-coming leader and he takes everything in his stride,” Goddard said.

“He’s sitting back but he’ll be taking a lot on board because that’s just in his nature.”

Added Fletcher: “It’s been a tough few years for Essendon and him but he just keeps growing as a leader year by year.

“I’m not sure if he’s going to be captain this year or in the future, but there’s no doubt he’ll make a great one.”

Read more »

ASEAN leaders condemn jihadi attacks

By |

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Malaysia have condemned the string of Islamic extremist attacks from Paris to Mali, urging an international effort to fight the scourge.


Prime Minister Najib Razak of Muslim-majority Malaysia opened a fresh round of summitry on Saturday by railing against the ideological mantle claimed by Islamic militants.

“The perpetrators of these cowardly and barbaric acts do not represent any race, religion or creed,” he told fellow Southeast Asian leaders. “They are terrorists.”

US President Barack Obama condemned the violence typified by the “appalling” jihadist hostage siege in Mali that left at least 21 dead, including an American citizen.

“This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge,” he said in Kuala Lumpur.

Obama and his counterparts are meeting in the Malaysian capital for round two in a week of back-to-back regional meetings.

The top-level diplomacy kicked off in Manila with a summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc.

APEC ended with an urgent call for cooperation against extremism following the attacks in Paris by Islamic State group adherents that killed 130.

Obama, America’s self-styled “Pacific president”, has been frustrated to see his Asia tour – aimed at highlighting growing trade and investment ties – overshadowed by the jihadist attacks on the other side of the world.

But his new 12-country Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact is on the agenda this weekend, with hopes high of prodding signatory countries to ratify the deal at home.

Obama sought to reassure US allies who are concerned the deal may not become law before he leaves office in early 2017.

“A new trade deal like TPP can be a tough sell,” he admitted, before insisting “TPP is a win for the United States”.

Unease over China’s push to expand tiny atolls into fully-fledged islands to press its disputed maritime claims also looms over the talks.

In Manila, Obama called on China to cease the island-building – which has stoked concerns of a violent confrontation – and announced hundreds of millions of dollars of new aid to regional allies.

China insists on sovereignty over virtually all the strategic and resource-endowed South China Sea, which also is claimed in part by a handful of other countries.

Southeast Asian foreign ministers who met Friday in Kuala Lumpur issued a joint statement saying they were “seriously concerned” over the situation.

ASEAN leaders Saturday signed a new convention against human trafficking, reaffirming past pledges to fight a scourge that activists say thrives due to corruption and inaction.

Asia-Pacific leaders attend a gala dinner Saturday night that will see them decked out in luminously coloured traditional Malaysian jackets, continuing a much-mocked diplomatic practice of dressing attendees in host-culture garb.

Read more »

Mali mourns 21 dead in hotel attack

By |

Mali has begun three days of national mourning and declared a state of emergency after a nine-hour siege by jihadist gunmen at a top hotel in the capital left 21 people dead.


The assault, claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Al-Murabitoun group led by notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, ended after Malian and international troops stormed the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.

The attack came as fears mount over terrorist threats a week after devastating attacks in Paris that killed 130 people claimed by the Islamic State group, which also said it had downed a Russian passenger jet in Egypt weeks before.

The Malian government declared a 10-day nationwide state of emergency from midnight on Friday over the assault and called three days of mourning for the victims, who included several Russians, three Chinese, an American and a Belgian.

“Terror will not win” and “long live Mali, terrorism shall not pass,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in a televised address on Saturday, revising an earlier death toll to 21.

Malian security sources, who had reported a higher toll, said more than 100 people were taken hostage in the raid while at least three “terrorists” were killed or blew themselves up.

US President Barack Obama condemned the “appalling” attack, adding that “this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge” of extremist violence.

Mali has been torn apart by unrest since the north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012.

The Islamists were largely ousted by a French-led military operation launched the following year, but large swathes of Mali remain lawless.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned Friday’s “horrific terrorist attack,” suggesting the violence was aimed at destroying peace efforts in the country.

The palatial 190-room Radisson, regarded as one of west Africa’s best hotels, is a favourite with entrepreneurs, tourists and government officials from across the world.

Witnesses talked of around a dozen armed assailants, but the Malian military source reported the deaths of three “terrorists who were shot or blew themselves up”, adding that the total number of gunmen was not more than four.

Malian soldiers, police and special forces were at the scene soon after the attack began, along with members of the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Mali and French troops deployed in west Africa under Operation Barkhane.

Several Russians were among the dead, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday, though she did not immediately specify how many.

China’s President Xi Jinping “strongly condemned” the attack which left three Chinese nationals dead.

A senior US State Department official confirmed a US citizen was among the victims, with another dozen Americans surviving the attack, while a Belgian regional assembly said one of its officials was also killed.

Read more »

WA 5-237 against NZ in tour game

By |

The colour of the ball changed and the quality of opposition dropped off yet New Zealand still struggled with the bowling blues on Saturday.


An inexperienced Western Australia XI were 5-237 at the dinner break on day one of the two-day fixture at the WACA.

Sam Whiteman and Will Bosisto shared a 99-run stand for WA, seeing off a five-over spell from NZ spearhead Tim Southee during the second session.

Southee and Trent Boult, who bowled a combined 99 overs in the second Test, were rested in the first session when the temperature hit 36C in Perth.

Southee came on after 40 overs but was largely ineffectual with the pink pill.

Whiteman slapped five boundaries off the right-armer, including a magnificent cover drive that brought up his half-century off 61 balls.

Whiteman was 71 not out at dinner, while Bosisto was stumped on 78 after charging down the wicket.

Mitchell Santner dismissed both Bosisto and Tom Beaton, who attempted a wild slog on 24 after being dropped on four by Ross Taylor at first slip.

However, the left-arm tweaker struggled for control and is unlikely to be called up to the Test side after going at 4.36 runs an over.

Much-maligned offspinner Mark Craig fared little better, logging figures of 0-43 from 11 overs.

NZ are expected to name an unchanged attack of Southee, Boult, Craig, Doug Bracewell and Matt Henry for the inaugural day-night Test that starts on Friday.

However, Neil Wagner added three wickets to his case for a Test recall.

Wagner, called into NZ’s squad as cover after the first Test, removed Marcus Harris and Jon Wells in his first spell.

Wagner then delivered a ball on an awkward length after tea to dismiss WA captain Ashton Turner, with Taylor snaring the resultant edge at first slip.

Bracewell and Henry were handed the new ball but failed to create an early breakthrough.

Henry was particularly costly, his opening five-over spell going for 30 runs as Harris went on the attack.

Gun batsman Kane Williamson is captaining the tourists instead of Brendon McCullum.

Williamson lost the toss, however it mattered little as the two sides were already in agreement on how the two-day fixture will play out.

NZ will bowl during Saturday’s three sessions, then bat for three sessions on Sunday.

The Blackcaps will use all 15 members of their touring party in what is essentially a centre-wicket session, with Luke Ronchi and BJ Watling sharing wicketkeeping duties.

Read more »

McIlroy moves within a stroke of Dubai lead

By |

The British pair will play together in Sunday’s concluding round after Sullivan’s 68 gave the 28-year-old an aggregate score of 200 to McIlroy’s 201 at the European Tour’s season finale.


American Patrick Reed (68) is on 203, while Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (71) and Korea’s Byeong-hun An (66) are both a further stroke behind.

“I’m very satisfied. I hit the ball fantastically well from tee to green,” McIlroy, 26, told reporters.

“Everything was just firing today and that’s why I’m walking off the course a little bit disappointed because that 65 could have easily been a 62 or a 61. But it’s still a great position going into tomorrow.”

Sullivan had begun the day on 12-under, one stroke ahead of Grillo and four clear of the world number three McIlroy.

That meant Sullivan was last to tee off. McIlroy started two groups ahead of him and the Northern Irishman exerted some immediate pressure, making a 10-foot birdie on the first and picking up further shots at holes two and four.

Sullivan, famed for playing with a smile, looked serious on the first tee as he waited to start.

Course conditions were tough and the only respite from the sweltering heat was a sporadic, swirling, blustery wind.

Sullivan sunk a three-foot birdie on the second hole, but fluffed the chance to pick up another stroke at the third, missing from 10 feet.


Worse was to follow on four when a simple putt lipped out for a bogey as McIlroy’s charge seemed to inhibit the usually ebullient Englishman.

Yet an eight-foot birdie at five and another on seven put Sullivan ahead again.

“I just didn’t feel like I was hitting it as close as I was yesterday,” Sullivan told reporters. “It was windy. I found it quite tough to actually get the ball the right distance.”

McIlroy was often sublime, picking up further shots at seven and 10, while the four-time major winner followed a bogey on 12 with three successive birdies.

Sullivan was unbowed, however, also birdying 15. He picked up another shot on 17 with a 20-footer that had him cupping his ears to acknowledge the roar of his boisterous fans, the self-proclaimed Sully Army.

McIlroy erred on the 18th, rolling a simple birdie chance wide, while Sullivan puffed out his cheeks in relief after later making a tricky par putt on the same green.

“If I keep putting the way I am and hitting the ball well, I can still do it,” added Sullivan.

“Rory will have his own fans out there, probably 90 percent of them, but my boys make a lot of noise. I felt like the putter really saved me the last few holes.”

As well as seeking a third tour win of the season, McIlroy is eyeing a third Race to Dubai title in four years, the prize awarded to Europe’s biggest money earner.

McIlroy led going into the season climax and of the six other golfers who could potentially usurp him, only Danny Willett still stands a chance with 18 holes to play.

The Englishman’s third-round 67 puts him on 205, four adrift of McIlroy.

“I’d love to finish the year on a high and win the Race to Dubai and more importantly win this tournament,” McIlroy said.

(Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Toby Davis)

Read more »

Athens derby called off after violent clashes

By |

Scuffles between riot police and fans outside the Apostolos Nikolaidis ground made for a hostile atmosphere and, after a flare exploded at the feet of Alfred Finnbogason, the striker and his Olympiakos’ team mates fled to the dressing rooms.


The incident took place shortly after the visiting players came out to walk on the pitch.

Finnbogason was unharmed but Olympiakos then decided not to bring the players out for the warm-up and asked officials for the match to be called off.

Panathinaikos said the flare did not cause injury to anyone and asked for the match to go ahead but promised to abandon it if there were any further such incidents during the game.

But after an hour-long delay the match was officially called off by referee Andreas Pappas with the announcement sparking a mass pitch invasion by the home fans who then fought ugly running battles with riot police on the pitch.

Supporters tossed flares, ripped up seats and threw other missiles at police who responded by firing tear gas at the swathes of fans to disperse them.

The violent scenes were reminiscent of the same fixture last season, which Panathinaikos won 2-1 but were later handed a three-point deduction, a two-match supporters ban and were fined for an unsavoury pitch invasion after the final whistle.

It was hoped Saturday’s match would be an entertaining affair, with Olympiakos arriving on the back of a perfect 10-match winning streak since the start of the season.

They are eight points clear of the Greens, who hoped for a win to inject some excitement into the Super League title race with coach Andrea Stramaccioni in the dugout for the first time.

A decision had yet to be made on the outcome of the match, with a stadium announcement by officials stating that the game would not go ahead and “the appropriate bodies and organisations will decide on the next steps”.

It is highly likely that Olympiakos will be awarded a 3-0 victory, with local media speculating that the authorities could decide by Sunday also to temporarily suspend the league.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

Read more »

Boult will be fit for third Test: NZ

By |

New Zealand insist Trent Boult is on track to play the inaugural day-night Test.


Boult failed to bowl in the ongoing day-night clash at the WACA, where both sides agreed pre-match they would each have one full day of batting.

NZ assistant coach Craig McMillan indicated earlier this week that all 15 members of the touring party would take some part in the two-day clash with Western Australia.

Boult was expected to be on restricted duties, as was the case with Tim Southee who only bowled two short spells on Saturday.

Boult had the whites on but didn’t roll the arm over once.

The 26-year-old suffered a stress-related injury to his back earlier this year and was underdone when the squad arrived in Australia.

The left-armer has been down on pace and struggled for control for much of the first two Tests.

“We’ll assess him over the next couple of days and he’s on track to be fit for the third Test,” NZ bowling coach Dimitri Mascarenhas said on Saturday.

Mascarenhas gave little away when asked whether Boult’s back was still causing him grief.

“He’s going ok as far as I know,” he said.

Boult would be a major loss for NZ at Adelaide Oval.

When on song his late swing is as potent as Mitchell Starc’s, the pair having both claimed 22 wickets in this year’s World Cup.

If Boult is ruled out of the three-Test series finale, fellow left-armer Neil Wagner is almost certainly guaranteed a recall.

Wagner grabbed 5-62 from 19 overs as Western Australia built a total of 13-345 in the centre-wicket session.

“He’s a good bowler,” Sam Whiteman said, having scored 117.

“I’d class him as pretty skiddy. He’s on to you a bit quicker than you think, sort of hustle and bustle and gets in your face a little bit.

“He’s quite aggressive.”

The combative quick also earned the praise of Mascarenhas.

“He didn’t try any more or less than he usually does. That’s exactly how we expect him to bowl,” he said.

Read more »

Bangladesh executes two opposition leaders for war crimes

By |

Bangladesh executed two opposition leaders on Sunday for war crimes committed during the 1971 war to break away from Pakistan, a senior police official said, in a move likely to draw an angry reaction from supporters.


“Both of them were hanged simultaneously on two separate platforms,” the police official said.

Islamist opposition leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, former legislator from former premier Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), were hanged shortly after President Abdul Hamid rejected their appeals late on Saturday for clemency.

Mujahid, 67, of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, and Chowdhury, 66, were hanged at Dhaka Central Jail. The Supreme Court had previously rejected their appeals against a death sentence imposed by a special tribunal for genocide and torture of civilians during the conflict.

The Border Guard Bangladesh paramilitary force has been deployed across the country to tighten security.

Related reading

Muslim-majority Bangladesh, until 1971 East Pakistan, has seen a rise in Islamist violence in recent months, with two foreigners and four secular writers and a publisher killed this year.

Mujahid was found guilty on five charges including torture and the murders of intellectuals and minority Hindus while he commanded Al Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, during the war to break away from Pakistan.

Chowdhury, former legislator from former premier Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was convicted in October 2013 on charges of genocide, religious persecution, abduction and torture during the war.

“While we are saddened that we have lost our father by way of a motivated and predetermined trial and where the country is gagged from speaking out, we find hope in the fact that the international community recognises the injustice and that fairness and truth shall be restored in Bangladesh,” Humam Quader Chowdhury, a son of Chowdhury, told Reuters.

“We fought for them under the law and we have been defeated in the legal fight,” defence councillor Khandker Mahbub Hossain told Reuters.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened an inquiry into crimes committed during the war in 2010, paving the way for prosecutions by a war crimes tribunal that Islamists have denounced as part of a politically motivated campaign aimed at weakening Jamaat-e-Islami’s leadership.

Two Jamaat leaders have been executed, one in December 2013 and another in April. They declined to seek clemency from the president.

BNP spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon said: “Salauddin has fallen victim to persecution because of his political identity, and he has been denied justice.”

Moqbul Ahmed, acting Amir of Jamaat, said in a statement that Mujahid was a victim of government conspiracy. He called a day long general strike on Monday across the country.

The government denies accusations of interference in the judiciary.

East Pakistan broke away to become independent Bangladesh after a war between India and Pakistan. About three million people were killed.

Read more »