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Lifestyle and breast cancer link probed

Hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle choices do not boost the risk of breast cancer associated with a dozen common genetic mutations, a new study finds.

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Factors such as hormone treatment, alcohol consumption, obesity and giving birth to a first child later in life have all been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.

A number of common genetic variations also correlate with the disease, albeit weakly.

Genetic vs. non-genetic cancers

Earlier research suggested that combining the two types of risk factors could amplify the overall danger, but results were inconclusive.

To help tease apart genetic and non-genetic influences, scientists led by Ruth Travis at the University of Oxford examined the medical histories of some 17,350 women, 7,160 of whom had developed breast cancer.

All of the participants provided blood samples for genetic testing and information on lifestyle habits. Most of the women were post-menopausal.

Environmental factors

The researchers looked for 12 variants in the women’s DNA known to boost the danger of cancer.

They also measured 10 environmental risk factors: age at puberty, number of births, age at first birth, breastfeeding, menopausal status, age at menopause, use of hormone therapy, body fat, height and alcohol intake.

Surprisingly, none of the 120 possible match-ups between a single genetic variant and a behavioural or body-type risk factor showed a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk.

“There was no convincing evidence for gene-environment interaction,” the researchers concluded.

Risky behaviours ‘modifiable’

The study did not cover data on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which have a far stronger association to breast cancer than the other genetic variants examined but are much rarer.

“Genes account for only a small proportion of breast cancers for most women and for most women the main risk remains the lifestyle factors,” said Oxford’s Jane Green, a co-author of the study.

“The good news is that some of these are modifiable, so by changing their behaviour women can alter their risk of breast cancer.”

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2019年1月15日 南宁夜网

Panel members debut on Insight

Insight has recruited voters from the most marginal seats in Australia to follow the election campaign and give their frank assessment each week of the leaders and their policies.

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Meet the Panel

Watch: Insight ‘Game On’

Last night they joined the Insight audience to share their thoughts, grievances and concerns with Liberal powerbroker Senator Nick Minchin and Labor’s campaign spokesman, MP Chris Bowen.

The Panel expressed their concern over the abilities of Liberal Leader Tony Abbott.

Di Williams, a self-funded retiree from the Brisbane electorate of Bonner said she was concerned about his performance in interviews.

“He doesn’t appear to have any confidence – confidence is really important. They ask him a question and because it is not rehearsed, he doesn’t know what to say. It is like he needs somebody behind him saying, “This is what you say.” And he’s just stumbling. He doesn’t know how to get out of a mess that he’s in,” she said.

South Australian Adrian Beacham, 49, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It is not so much the stumble, it is a full-blown trip! He is falling over! He really is!”

On the topic of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Panel were particularly concerned about the way she came to power.

“I think the way that Julia Gillard got the position of Prime Minister, I don’t agree with it at all. I think it was downright disgusting,” Beacham said.

Emily Cullen, a part-time university student from the Queensland electorate of Dawson said she had “no confidence” in the Prime Minister.

“She seemed so loyal when she was behind Kevin Rudd and then out of nowhere, she came out and next thing you know she was leader,” she said.

Members of the Panel will appear on Insight each week to give their opinion on the progress of the election campaign.

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Israeli boat raid: What the bloggers say

Tens of thousands of people have gathered outside Israeli embassies and consulates across the globe to demonstrate against the incident, which left at least nine activists dead.

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And the protests have gone online too, with thousands making their opinions – both pro- and anti-Israel – on the issue clear.

British actor and writer David Schneider (@davidschneider) expressed the frustration felt by many at Israel’s controversial actions in a post on Twitter.

“As a Jew, Israel’s like a close family member who’s hooked on heroin and you just don’t know what to do with them any more,” he wrote.

Growing sense of anger

Within Israel, too, there was a sense of growing anger, and a feeling that the country was shooting itself in the foot with its raid on an aid convoy.

Yossi Melman, of left-wing daily Ha’aretz, writes that – eyes wide open – Israel has fallen into a trap.

“The organizers of the flotilla wanted to present the Israel Defense Forces to the world as an army that does not hesitate to use force,” he said.

“The flotilla organizers wanted deaths, casualties, blood and billows of smoke. And this is exactly what Israel gave them.”

Fellow Ha’aretz blogger Bradley Burston argues the crisis shows that Israel’s enemies know the country better than it knows itself.

“Hamas, and no less, Iran and Hezbollah, learned early on that Israel’s own embargo against Hamas-ruled Gaza was the most sophisticated and powerful weapon they could have deployed against the Jewish state. Here in Israel, we have still yet to learn the lesson.”

‘Peaceful activist’ claims ‘a lie’

And he warns that Monday’s raid on the flotilla has backfired spectacularly.

“Keen to have the world focus on Iran and the threat it poses to the people of Israel, Netanyahu must recognize that the world is now focused on Israel and the threat it poses to the people of Gaza.”

But not all commentators are against Israel’s actions. Right-wing blogger Benjamin Kerstein writes in The New Ledger that claims Israeli soldiers “wantonly fired upon the peaceful activists… killing many” are “a lie”.

“But it is a lie that will be repeated ad nauseum over the coming days, until it takes on all the appearance of truth.

“As you watch this happen, note well what it says about the people who repeat this lie, and the ease with which it is accepted by many ostensibly sensible and right thinking people.

“And note as well what this says about their claims to be compassionate, liberal, concerned citizens of the world.”

‘Self-defence’ claims

SBS’s own messageboards have also been used to share readers’ thoughts on the events of the past 24 hours.

Adam from the ACT spoke of his disbelief at the decision to carry out the raid – and at Israel’s justification for it:

“Israeli commandos undertake a pirate raid on an unarmed charity mission in international waters, and it’s somehow self-defence?

“This act flouts every international law and is utterly despicable. I used to support Israel, but nobody can justify this. “

Meanwhile, Milali from ‘Goldy’ said it was difficult for most Australians to share a real understanding of the circumstances surrounding the raid.

“I think its difficult to put into perspective when we live in a quiet safe country. If I lived in a country where mortars could blow me up at any minute I think I would see this issue differently.

‘Human shields’ on boats

“It looks like the Israelis were provoked and it just seems like there is big business involved here making sure the war machine rolls on in the Mid East.”

And Tim from ‘Brissy’ did not have much sympathy for the Australian injured in the raid, explaining: “When you place yourself in harm’s way you are accepting the risks.

“Civilian protesters boarded a ship as human shields and called Israel’s bluff. The bluff failed, and when the protest turned violent, soldiers did what they do best.

“I would like to say I feel sorry for my fellow Aussie but you wanted to be a human shield: mission accomplished.”

Within hours of the raid, those angry at Israel were using the internet to set up rallies.

Israeli Noa Yachot urged her Facebook friends to join a protest at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, warning them: “Don’t bring anything sharp lest the heavily-armed security forces fear for their lives and open fire”.

British-Israeli Alex Stein, who has previously served in the Israeli army, posted on Facebook that he was “increasingly convinced that Israel is being run by Iranian agents”.

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World powers in fresh nuclear talks with Iran on nuclear drive

The two-day meeting in Geneva ends a six-month hiatus over the Islamic republic’s refusal to curb uranium enrichment in exchange for easing punishing international sanctions.

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Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to present Iran’s stance to the so-called P5+1 group of the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany.

The proposal, entitled “Closing an Unnecessary Crisis, and Opening a New Horizon”, contains three steps that could settle the long-running nuclear standoff “within a year”, Zarif said Monday.

Zarif, who has said he hoped the Geneva talks would least sketch out a “roadmap” for further higher-level talks, did not did not go into details.

But he said the initial step could be achieved “within a month, or two, or even less”.

Negotiators have however downplayed the chances of a major breakthrough, despite hopes raised since conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrapped up two four-year terms as Iran’s president.

Rouhani, who took office in August, has promised transparency on the nuclear programme and engagement to eventually lift the trade embargo that is strangling Iran’s economy by hitting oil exports and access to global banking.

But Iran’s archfoe Israel has repeatedly warned the world not to fall for “sweet talk” from Rouhani, and Western negotiators have insisted they are not naive.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is chairing the talks, said she had “cautious optimism but a real sense of determination”.

Officials said the talks, taking place at the UN’s European base in Geneva, were to be conducted in English for the first time.

A senior US administration official said detail was the key, and noted that Washington’s team included sanctions specialists.

“We are quite ready to move. But it depends what they put on the table,” the official told reporters in Geneva.

“We are hopeful, but that has to be tested with concrete, verifiable actions,” the official said.

“In the past, Iran has taken the negotiated time and just kept moving forward with its nuclear programme. We cannot allow that to be the case.”

Zarif admitted to difficulties in the negotiations, on hold since a round in April in Kazakhstan where Iran refused to curb some sensitive enrichment activities in exchange for a moderate relief of sanctions.

“The nuclear issue cannot be resolved in one session, as mistrust has been accumulated over years,” he said.

“I am not pessimistic about the talks, but we need to see the good intentions and political will of the other side in action,” he said.

Western powers and Israel suspect Iran is trying to develop the atomic bomb, a claim vehemently denied by Tehran which insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

Iran currently has 6,774 kilogrammes of low-enriched uranium, and a lesser quantity of medium-enriched uranium.

The latter is of greatest concern for the West and Israel, which fear Tehran could divert some for further enrichment towards a level required for nuclear weapons.

Iran has already drawn its red lines for the talks, saying it will not accept any demand to suspend uranium enrichment or ship out stockpiles of purified material.

A first meeting between Zarif and his counterparts from the six powers took place last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by a landmark two-way meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

After meeting Ashton in London on Sunday, Kerry said the window for diplomacy with Iran was “cracking open.”

Shortly before the talks began, Israel — widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear armed state — warned against any “partial agreement”.

“Iran believes it can get by with cosmetic concessions that would not significantly impede its path to developing nuclear weapons, concessions that could be reversed in weeks,” Israel’s security cabinet said.

Kerry underlined Sunday that Washington meant what it said when it insisted it would never allow room for a nuclear-armed Iran.

“I believe firmly that no deal is better than a bad deal,” he said.

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2019年4月17日 南宁夜网

Mosley clash do or die for Mundine

Anthony Mundine will walk into the ring against Shane Mosley next Wednesday knowing his career will be over if he loses to the 42-year-old former three-time world champion.

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Mundine was defeated by Daniel Geale in his last contest, and knows he faces a step up in class when he takes on Mosley in a WBA international light-middleweight contest.

Although he’s lost eight of his 57 fights, Mosley has never been stopped and gone the distance with Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Saul Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Vernon Forrest and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright.

The American has also held world titles in the light-middleweight, welterweight and lightweight divisions across an illustrious 20-year career.

Mundine is hopeful victory at the Sydney Entertainment Centre will open the door for a fight with Mayweather, Alvarez or Cotto and the controversial former WBA super-middleweight champion said he had too much respect for Mosley to dish out his usual pre-fight insults.

“This is do or die,” the 38-year-old said on Tuesday.

“I’ve always said I want to fight the very best. This guy has been there and done it. He’s one of the very best and that’s the respect I am going to give him.

“I am not going to bad mouth him. I am not going to belittle him.

“You have to remember the last four defeats he’s suffered are to four of the best pound for pound fighters in the world in Alvarez, Cotto, Mayweather and Pacquiao.”

Mundine (44-5) admits it will be a tough task to get his dream fight with Mayweather, but knows a win over Mosley would hugely increase his profile in the US.

“I know everyone wants Mayweather. He’s the best fighter of our generation,” he said.

“But I believe in my ability and my talent and that’s what this fight has to showcase.

Victory against Mosley would be a huge step towards restoring his international credibility which was dented after a series of fights against inferior opponents in the wake of his points defeat to the outstanding Danish super-middleweight Mikkel Kessler in 2005.

Mundine admits he would have liked to have met Mosley five years earlier, but now boasts the experience and ring craft to face his highly-regarded opponent with confidence.

“I wanted the biggest fights after I fought Kessler, but unfortunately certain things happened for certain reasons,” he said.

“But I am not a bloke who grew up in boxing. I was in rugby league since the age of four.

“I had four amateur fights, so I’ve learned on the job.”

The defeat by Geale was a huge setback for Mundine, and he admits he allowed the Tasmanian to dictate terms due to a lack of focus in the build-up to the fight.

“Geale is a bit of a spoiler. I fought passive,” he said.

“If I have a lot more hunger and determination and more of a killer instinct I would have stopped him.

“I look back on it now … because Geale can’t sell a fight I had to go out there and say some outlandish stuff to get people talking about the fight.

“Maybe that took a lot out of me. But for this fight I don’t have to talk.

“‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley says it all.”

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Is alcohol ever OK for expectant mums?

Morgan Phillips, 18, looks and acts like any other teenager her age.

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She’s articulate, funny and enjoys playing sports.

You wouldn’t notice it at first, but unlike most teens, Morgan can barely read or write. She also has poor memory and impulse control, and finds it hard to grasp abstract concepts like time, money and measurements.

“If people are saying like quarter past, half past and stuff like that, sometimes I can’t understand it. One day I can, the next day I’ll completely forget,” she tells Insight. “Most days are bad, some days are really good, just really depends.”

At age 11, Morgan was diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), the umbrella term used to describe a range of alcohol-related neurological disorders. Morgan’s father, Andrew Phillips says he didn’t realise it at the time, but Morgan’s mother was an alcoholic who drank while pregnant.

“It’s a drinking society and there wasn’t anything really said about drinking… none of the doctors said anything to me.” – Tracy Duly.

“At the time we didn’t know,” Andrew says. “Her mum stopped smoking. We changed our diet and our lifestyle a bit to be good parents. Occasionally [we had] a bit of drink or alcohol with a meal. It wasn’t until after, like in hindsight that [I realised] there was a lot of hidden drinking. You just didn’t know was happening.”

For Tracy Duly, she knowingly drank throughout her pregnancy with her daughter Claire, 22, who was diagnosed with FASD. Tracy says she had no idea of the possible consequences and was never advised against drinking.

“I didn’t know I was pregnant till I was three months pregnant with both my children,” she tells Insight. “But even throughout my pregnancy I did drink. I suppose being, not as an excuse, but people in Australia do drink a lot.

“It’s a drinking society and there wasn’t anything really said about drinking… none of the doctors said anything to me.”

‘SPECTRUM OF DISORDERS’

Drinking when pregnant can lead to a whole host of physical, behavioural and developmental problems known as FASD. Out of all these disorders, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe. Children with this condition are born with characteristic physical and mental defects, including short stature, and small head and brain.

“There’s a spectrum of disorders that may result from exposure to alcohol in utero,” says paediatrician and FASD researcher, Professor Elizabeth Elliott. “A tenth of those children will have physical disabilities, facial abnormalities and perhaps structural problems such as affecting the heart or the kidneys.

“The other half about have neurodevelopmental problems so behavioural problems, learning problems, problems with attention, but without the physical features. So as the name implies, there is that spectrum of disorders.”

‘NOT DRINKING IS THE SAFEST OPTION’

Many pregnant women have out-of-date information about alcohol. Previous National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines said that women could drink up to seven standard drinks per week. But these guidelines changed in 2009. The number is now zero.

The NHMRC guidelines now state: “For women who are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.”

“They’re concerned about stigmatising the mother and children.” – Professor Elizabeth Elliott, paediatrician.

STIGMA ATTACHED TO FASD DIAGNOSIS

But experts fear the message isn’t getting out as there is a lack of awareness of FASD among health professionals.

In a 2006 survey of paediatricians fewer than 19 per cent could identify all four diagnostic criteria for FAS and 69.6 per cent thought that a diagnosis of FAS could be stigmatising. Only 23 per cent routinely asked about alcohol use when taking a pregnancy history.

Professor Elliott, who conducted the survey, says some doctors find it difficult to address maternal alcohol consumption without embarrassing or stigmatising expectant mothers.

“They’re concerned about stigmatising the mother and children,” she says. “They don’t know how to make the diagnosis, they don’t know what to do with the children, what the treatment is, or where to refer the child.”

With about half of all pregnancies being unplanned, doctors say women might drink in the crucial early weeks of pregnancy and not realise the potential damage they’re doing. But Professor Elliott warns that we shouldn’t create “unnecessary” anxiety.

“I think that we’ve got to give a clear message, but we’ve got to try not to create over anxiety in women where it’s unnecessary,” she says. “And we’ve got to provide them with the support to get them through the pregnancy and to assist them to give up whatever stage they disclose that they’re drinking.”

FASD is not recognised as an official disability in Australia, making access to government support and assistance extremely difficult.

This week, Insight speaks to pregnant women, parents, doctors and those with FASD to find out whether any level of drinking is safe during pregnancy, and what the consequences are.

Catch the Insight discussion tonight at 8.30PM on SBS ONE or live stream it at 南宁桑拿网,www.sbs.com.au/insight/live.

Do you think it’s ok to drink when pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Real Madrid could bid for Falcao next year, Perez says

Speaking on Spanish football chat show Punto Pelota on Monday night, Perez ruled out a bid for Falcao in the next transfer window in January but suggested Real could table one in the close season.

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Falcao, 27, left Real’s city rivals Atletico to join Monaco at the end of last season for a fee media reported was around 60 million euros ($81.5 million).

“He (Falcao) won’t come in January but in June, who knows?” Perez said.

“Nothing is impossible and there is a lot of time between now and then,” the construction magnate added.

“Falcao is a great player and I am aware that he wants to play for (Real) Madrid. I am aware of that, but it’s normal. They told me.”

One reason Real may be in the market for another striker is the patchy form of their French international Karim Benzema.

A favourite of Perez, Benzema has failed to win over Real’s demanding fans since his arrival in 2009 and is regularly whistled by some sections of the Bernabeu crowd.

Perez sought to defend the 25-year-old, who has been criticised by Real coach Carlo Ancelotti for not working hard enough on the pitch.

“I have faith in all the players in our squad,” Perez said.

“Karim is a great player and we get offers for him all the time, every summer.

“All I can say is that the coach is the one who has the authority to do what he believes is right.”

STOP WHISTLING

Perez urged Real fans to get behind the players and suggested the whistling could destabilise the team.

“I know how demanding the fans are. The players at this club have come to run, make sacrifices and fight, that’s what our fathers taught us and that is what we teach our children but we have to moderate these demands.

“I am greatly disturbed by this whistling of our own players in our own stadium.

“I ask that our members moderate the whistles and the criticism of our players because, if not, it could weaken us.”

Perez also discussed the planned refurbishment of the Bernabeu stadium and raised the prospect of a sponsor’s name being added to the giant arena.

“We want to start the works at the Bernabeu in the summer,” he said.

“It will be emblematic, to create a Bernabeu for the 21st century. We are looking for a sponsor and although the stadium will definitely still be called Bernabeu it could also have the name of a sponsor.”

Spanish media have reported that the remodelling of the stadium will cost 400 million euros and the venue may take the name “Santiago Bernabeu Fly Emirates” after the club’s Dubai-based partner.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by John O’Brien)

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Jane set to start against Wallabies

Comeback winger Cory Jane is set to be rushed back outside new centre Ben Smith in the third Bledisloe Cup test against Australia in Dunedin.

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That was the clear message from coach Steve Hansen on Tuesday after Jane, 30, trained with the All Blacks on Tuesday for the first time this year.

Jane had a knee reconstruction after suffering a ligament tear in January and has played just a 40-minute hitout followed by a full game for Wellington in the NPC since his return to training last month.

“He was world-class before he was injured and we expect him to get back to that standard pretty quickly,” Hansen said of the 43-Test veteran.

“He wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think he was ready to start. He and Ben have similar skills. He’s very good with his kick and chase, he’s good in the air and he’s a great finisher.”

Hansen has no qualms about shifting Smith from the wing to start just his second Test at centre in place of veteran No.13 Conrad Smith, who has begun a four-month break from rugby.

Hansen admits there is a risk changing the role of a player who is in form but believes Ben Smith has the all-round game required.

“We need to find another centre – Conrad has been the one and only for a long time – and now’s the time to do that.

“He (Ben Smith) is not going in there cold. He trained there a lot as he was cover for Conrad during the championship and he finished the test against Argentina at second five-eighth.”

The clamour for Beauden Barrett to start at first five-eighth is set to fall on deaf ears with an indication Aaron Cruden has recovered from a knee niggle and will wear No.10 again – as he did in the 38-27 defeat of South Africa at Ellis Park before being replaced by Barrett.

“Beauden has closed out Tests really well, he is coming along nicely,” Hansen said.

“But the expectation is that all these guys will be better than the last time they played.”

The All Blacks will train again on Wednesday while the Wallabies will fly into Queenstown for two days of preparation.

Officials reported the Forsyth Barr Stadium indoor venue will be filled to its capacity of almost 30,000 for the dead rubber third Bledisloe Cup Test.

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Aussie Walsh new India hockey coach

Former Australian Olympian Terry Walsh was on Tuesday appointed chief coach of India’s faltering field hockey team, replacing compatriot Michael Nobbs who was sacked in June.

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Walsh, a previous national coach of the Malaysian and Australian teams, is charged with turning India around, after the eight-time Olympic gold medallists finished last in the 2012 Games in London.

“I will ensure no stone is left unturned in India’s quest to return to the pinnacle of world hockey,” Walsh said in a statement.

Walsh, 59, was until recently the technical director of the United States field hockey association.

Hockey India did not spell out the details of Walsh’s appointment, but reports said he was expected to remain in charge till the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Walsh will supervise the national team’s campaign at next year’s Asian and Commonwealth Games, and also the World Cup, if India qualify.

“Walsh not only has the experience, but also a vision to develop the senior men’s hockey team into a well-knit professional unit,” Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra said in the same statement.

Walsh was quoted as saying that “coaching India must be regarded as the greatest challenge in the hockey world.”

Walsh will work alongside renowned Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans, who was appointed Hockey India’s high performance director in January.

Four foreign coaches — Spaniard Jose Brasa, Australian Ric Charlesworth, Germany’s Gerhard Rach and Nobbs — served as Indian coaches over the last decade before they were all sacked prematurely.

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2019年3月17日 南宁夜网

Pakistan in strong start v Sth Africa

Pakistani openers Khurram Manzoor and Shan Masood scored confident half-centuries to lead a strong Pakistan reply against South Africa in the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

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Pakistan reached tea at 1-155 with Manzoor unbeaten on 72 after he added 135 for the first wicket with debutant Masood who fell after scoring 75.

Azhar Ali was the other not out batsman with seven as Pakistan trail South African first innings total of 249 by 94 runs.

In the morning South Africa were dismissed after adding just four runs to their overnight score of 8-245.

Manzoor and Masood batted with confidence to blunt a four-pronged South African pace attack on a lifeless Sheik Zayed Stadium pitch, reaching 0-77 at lunch.

Both the openers dominated the bowling and not even the lone regular spinner Robin Peterson could disturb them.

Masood was the first to reach his maiden half-century, off 102 balls while Manzoor reached his sixth fifty – third in a row in Tests – off 96 deliveries.

Masood finally fell, leg-before to part-timer Jean-Paul Duminy after hitting eight boundaries off 140 balls.

This becomes Pakistan’s first century stand since Taufiq Umar and Mohammad Hafeez put on 114 against England in Dubai in January last year, ten Tests earlier.

The Masood-Khurram pair is Pakistan’s sixth different combination in seven Tests as they struggled to find a solid pair for several years.

Earlier, Mohammad Irfan (3-44) dismissed centurion Hashim Amla off the second ball of the day after South Africa resumed at 245-8.

Amla, who made 118, edged one sharp Irfan delivery straight into the hands of slip where Younis Khan held a regulation catch. He hit 13 boundaries off 252 balls and held the South African innings on Monday.

With the catch Younis equalled Javed Miandad’s all-time Test catches record for Pakistan with 93. Miandad reached the tally in 124 Tests but Younis was quicker in 85 matches.

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Pollution linked to low birth weight

Pregnant women who are exposed to even low levels of air pollution are at an increased risk of giving birth at term to low birth weight babies, according to a large-scale study.

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Air pollutants – in particular fine particulates found in traffic fumes and industrial air pollutants – along with traffic density increased the risk of low birth weight and reduced average head circumference of babies born at term, research has shown.

The study, drawn from data on 74,000 pregnant women in 12 European countries gathered between 1994 and 2011 and published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, estimated concentrations in the air of nitrogen oxides and fine particulates at home addresses.

Traffic density on the nearest road and total traffic load on all major roads within 100 metres of the residence was also recorded.

Researchers estimated that for every increase of five micrograms per cubic metre in exposure to fine particulate matter – emitted by sources including diesel engines and coal-fired power stations – during pregnancy, the risk of low birth weight at term rose by 18 per cent.

This increased risk remained at levels below the existing European Union annual air quality limit of 25 micrograms per cubic metre.

The average exposure to fine particulate matter during pregnancy in those studied ranged from less than 10 micrograms to nearly 30 micrograms per cubic metre.

The study authors estimated that if levels of fine particulates were reduced to 10 micrograms per cubic metre – the World Health Organisation annual average air quality guideline value – 22 per cent of cases of low birth weight among term deliveries could be prevented.

Low birth weight for a baby born at term was classified as less than 2.5kg. The study took into account other factors such as maternal smoking, age, weight and education.

“Our findings suggest that a substantial proportion of cases of low birth weight at term could be prevented in Europe if urban air pollution, particularly fine particulate matter, was reduced,” said lead author Dr Marie Pedersen, from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona.

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Cost and number of cyber attacks drops

The average cost of a cyber attack in Australia has dropped by $100 over the past 12 months.

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The average victim now loses $200, down from an average of $300 just 12 months ago, according to the annual cyber crime report from security firm Norton.

The report shows the number of victims has also dropped from an estimated 5.4 million in 2011-2012 to five million in the past year.

The combined cost to Australians has dropped from $1.65 billion to $1.06 billion, the report estimates.

Sean Kopelke, Norton’s head of technology for the Pacific region, says the drop in crime could be the result of better security awareness.

“(Australians) are getting a little bit more sensible around understanding the security risks,” Kopelke said – especially with emails and social networking.

Meanwhile, cyber attacks are “focusing more on select individuals”.

He said attackers were trying to secure lower cash sums – in the tens rather than hundreds of dollars – in order to “slip under the radar”.

“(Criminals) aim for this 20 or 30 dollar figure instead of several hundred dollars because people will be more prone to pay it,” he said.

So-called “ransomware” attacks, where criminals lock computers down and demand a payment to unlock them, are increasingly common, he said.

Fraud and identity theft are also common.

Australia compared well with the rest of the world, where the average cost per victim remained at more than $300.

The global cost was estimated to stand at $US113 billion ($A119.36 billion), up slightly from $US110 billion in the last report.

Kopelke said the number of victims in developed countries was down across the board, but this was more than offset by an increase in victims from developing countries.

The report surveys 500 people in each of 24 countries each year, but overall estimates include data from Norton’s global intelligence network.

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Inter owner sells 70 percent stake to Indonesian group

Thohir, who is part owner of Major League Soccer club DC United and basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers, heads a three-person consortium taking control of the former Italian champions.

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Italian media have previously said Thohir might be willing to pay up to 350 million euros (298 million pounds) for up to 75 percent of the cash-strapped Serie A club.

“Everything’s been signed,” Moratti told reporters outside his offices in Milan, without giving any details on the price.

Inter, a loss-making club with debts of about 300 million euros, are traditionally one of the three biggest clubs in Italian football with champions Juventus and city rivals AC Milan.

They have not won a trophy since 2010 and finished a disappointing ninth last season, missing out on a place in the lucrative Champions League.

Inter stand fourth in the Italian league in the early stages of the current season.

FAMILY AFFAIR

Moratti, who has been in charge of Inter since 1995, said he was not sure if he would stay on as club president under the new ownership.

“If I can be useful I will continue,” he told reporters.

His father Angelo Moratti owned the club in the 1960s when Inter won the European Cup twice in successive years.

Italian football has not attracted the major foreign investment seen in countries like England and France.

Europe’s top league in the 1990s, Italy’s Serie A has been tarnished by a series of corruption scandals and hooliganism has reduced crowd numbers.

Italian clubs have been held back commercially because many of them do not own their stadiums and have been unable to upgrade them to cater fully for wealthy corporate clients.

Inter, for example, share the San Siro stadium with AC Milan and the ground is owned by the local authorities.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Writing by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Keith Weir)

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