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Monthly Archives: January 2019

Singapore shock Syria, Iran edge Thailand in Asian Cup

World Cup qualifiers Iran overcame a stubborn defensive effort by Thailand to claim a 2-1 win in Tehran but Jordan, hoping to join them in Brazil next year, played out a drab goalless draw at home to Oman.


Elsewhere, Ali Mabkhout scored a hat-trick as United Arab Emirates routed Hong Kong 4-0 to maintain their 100 percent record in Group E and Uzbekistan overcame Vietnam 3-1 in Tashkent.

Wednesday marked the halfway stage of the five qualifying groups with 11 places still up for grabs after a number of draws left the identity of the finalists in Australia still undecided.

In Group A, Singapore were expected to offer little resistance to 2011 Asian Cup competitors Syria but Khairul Amri and substitute Gabriel Quak scored second half goals as the hosts grabbed all three points on their plastic pitch.

A brilliant solo effort by forward Reja Rafe proved too little too late for Syria as the home side deservedly held on to move up to third and one place off the qualifying positions for Australia.

“It is not a good result to beat Syria 2-1, it is a very good result. It was a hard fight,” Singapore’s German coach Bernd Stange told reporters.

However, the much-travelled coach held little hope of overtaking Jordan or Oman to claim one of the two berths from the pool or the best third place position across the five groups.

“We don’t care for the next matches we have in this qualification, we have to be realistic. Today we are very proud that we could achieve such a performance and of course the result was very good.”

Oman lead the group on seven points after their goalless draw against Jordan, who moved on to five with Singapore on three and Syria last on one.

China have enjoyed a resurgence under caretaker boss Fu Bo following the dismissal of former Spain and Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho but he could not prevent them throwing away the lead to draw 1-1 in Indonesia.

Wu Xi gave the visitors a deserved lead in the 36th minute of a first half they dominated but in the muggy temperatures the Chinese tired and the hosts made them pay with captain Boaz Solossa smashing home a brilliant volley in the 68th minute.

“I made a game plan for each half. I knew that China would suffer with the hot weather and it worked,” Indonesia coach Jacksen Tiago said.

China now have four points in Group C with leaders Saudi Arabia taking on Iraq later on Tuesday.

In Group B, Iran went top after they overcame the Thais, while Lebanon (four points) and Kuwait (five) played out a 1-1 draw in Beirut.

Two goals in three minutes from defender Jalal Hosseini and forward Reza Ghoochannejhad put hosts Iran clear with 20 minutes left only for Teerasil Dangda to pull one back in the 80th minute.

There were no such narrow margins in Group E where the UAE made it three wins from three thanks to Mabkhout’s hat-trick with Walid Abbas completing the rout in the final moments.

Uzbekistan moved second in the group on four points, level with Hong Kong, after their 3-1 win over Vietnam.

In Group D, Bahrain lead the way on seven points after they failed to win for the first time following a 1-1 draw in Kuala Lumpur against Malaysia.

Abdullah Ahmed Saleh put the visitors ahead in the first half before Norshahrul Idlan Talaha deservedly equalised 20 minutes before the end as the Malaysians came close to snatching an upset win.

World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar are second in the group on six points after they thrashed bottom side Yemen 6-0 on Sunday. Malaysia have four points.

Defending champions Japan have already qualified for the tournament along with hosts Australia and South Korea courtesy of their top three finishes four years ago in Qatar. North Korea have also booked a spot after winning the 2012 Challenge Cup, a tournament for developing Asian nations.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

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2019年1月15日 上海性息

Gyan double helps Ghana to 6-1 playoff lead over Egypt

A contentious penalty allowed Mohamed Aboutrika to register a consolation goal just before half-time, but Egypt will need a major turnaround in the second leg on November 19 if they are to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990.


Gyan, who had his first effort on goal inside 11 seconds, opened the scoring after five minutes, shooting home from a narrow angle.

The lead was doubled in the 22nd minute when Michael Essien went on a mazy run, dribbling into the area before being challenged by Egypt captain Gomaa, who managed only to deflect the ball into his own net.

Essien, having played just once for Chelsea this season, produced a dominant midfield showing over the 90 minutes.

Egypt were awarded their penalty four minutes before half-time when Mohamed Salah was bundled down, though the decision from Moroccan referee Bouchaib Al Ahrach was generous.

Aboutrika converted but Ghana restored their two-goal advantage a minute before the break with Waris’s powerful header from Muntari’s free kick.

Muntari’s cross set up Gyan for the fourth in the 53rd minute before the AC Milan midfielder converted from the spot after Waris was brought down by Egypt’s substitute goalkeeper, Ahmed Al Shennawi.

Atsu’s shot from outside the penalty area capped a one-sided occasion.

Ghana reached the quarter-finals of the previous World Cup, in South Africa. Egypt have missed out on the past five finals despite winning an unmatched four African Nations Cup titles in the same period.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson, editing by Stephen Wood)

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No early escape from carbon tax for firms

Businesses will still be liable to pay all their carbon liabilities up until June next year, when the impost could be scrapped.


The government released its draft legislation to repeal the carbon-pricing scheme on Tuesday and says it will be one of the first orders of business when parliament sits in November.

“Liable businesses and other entities must pay all carbon tax liabilities incurred up to June 30, 2014 through the carbon-pricing mechanism, excise or excise-equivalent customs duty, fuel tax credit adjustments or synthetic greenhouse gas levies,” the government says.

Part of the changes mean the government will not proceed with a second round of personal income tax cuts that were to commence in 2015/16.

“These income tax cuts were intended to compensate households for the transition to a floating carbon tax. They are no longer necessary, as the carbon tax will be repealed,” it says.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be given new powers to make sure businesses take account of the effect of the carbon tax repeal on prices.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman welcomed the scrutiny of the consumer watchdog.

“We are confident, as retail businesses find savings from the abolition of the carbon tax, that retailers will pass these savings on,” Mr Zimmerman said in a statement.

The government has forecast a saving of $550 per year for families as a result of the tax’s abolition.

Mr Zimmerman believes retail businesses could benefit from the first real boost in disposable income in a number of years.

The association has long campaigned against what it describes as a “business-damaging and economy-wrecking tax”.

“We are glad to see the government moving quickly to remove it,” he said.

Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox said there needs to be a lot of careful work ahead with dismantling of the tax, particularly around the impacts of it and the replacement scheme.

“Ai Group will consult closely with our members over the proposed legislation and the inevitably complex transitional issues that will arise both in relation to the repeal and in relation to the transition to the new government’s approach to meeting the shared emissions reduction targets,” he said in a statement.

He anticipates there will need to be more consultation and refinement well past the November 4 cut-off date proposed on Tuesday.

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Britain’s panda ‘suffers miscarriage’

Britain’s only female giant panda is believed to have suffered a miscarriage, Edinburgh Zoo says.


It was a doubly sad day for British zoos, after London Zoo also announced on Tuesday that the first tiger cub born there in 17 years had drowned.

Edinburgh said its panda Tian Tian, who is spending a decade in the Scottish capital on loan from China with her male companion Yang Guang, had been displaying all the signs of pregnancy but is now thought to have lost her cub.

“Experts at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland can now confirm that they no longer believe Edinburgh Zoo’s female giant panda, Tian Tian, is pregnant,” the zoo said in a statement.

“All of her hormonal and behavioural signs now indicate that she had conceived and carried a foetus until late term, but then lost it.”

Hopes had been high that Tian Tian was about to give birth to Britain’s first ever panda cub after the zoo said in August that she was showing signs of pregnancy, including a lack of appetite, moodiness, and changes in her hormone levels.

“We are all saddened by this turn of events after so many weeks of waiting,” said Chris West, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

“The panda enclosure will remain closed until the end of the week, in order to give Tian Tian time to get back into her routine and provide her keepers with the chance to recuperate after this long period of waiting.”

Tian Tian (“Sweetie”) was artificially inseminated in April after repeated attempts to make her mate with Yang Guang (“Sunshine”).

Pandas are famously disinterested in sex for most of the year, and when they do couple they must adopt a very precise position in order to mate successfully.

Edinburgh is paying around $US1 million a year to Chinese authorities for Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

Fewer than 1,600 pandas remain in the wild, mainly in China’s Sichuan province.

At London Zoo, meanwhile, keepers were “distraught” after finding its newborn Sumatran tiger cub dead at the edge of a pool inside its enclosure on Saturday morning.

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Libyan al-Qaeda suspect pleads not guilty

A Libyan al-Qaeda suspect arraigned in a New York court has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges over the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa that killed 244 people.


Anas al-Libi was snatched from the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli by US commandoes on October 5 and at the weekend was brought to New York, where he he had been indicted by a grand jury.

The 49-year-old was on Tuesday escorted into New York Southern District courtroom 24A wearing a black sweater and grey jogging pants, with a bushy grey beard and closely cropped black hair.

Judge Lewis Kaplan read out a list of charges him that accuse Libi of conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim, kill, destroy property and attack US defence buildings.

The charges do not carry the death penalty.

Libi, who looked tired, spoke in a gravelly voice only to confirm his name and age, and that he understood the proceedings. Speaking in Arabic, he was given a translator to follow the hearing.

The prosecution said Libi, whose given name is Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie, was a clear danger to the public and a flight risk with no family in the US.

The judge ordered him detained and, after a session of less than 15 minutes, adjourned the next hearing until October 22.

The August 7, 1998 car bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi killed 213 people and wounded another 5000.

A near simultaneous truck bomb outside the US mission in Tanzania killed 11 people and wounded 70 more.

The computer expert had been on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $US5 million ($A5.2 million) price on his head for his presumed role.

Prior to arriving in New York, he was interrogated on the USS San Antonio, a US amphibious transport ship that had been operating off Libya in the Mediterranean.

But US television network CBS reported that his questioning was cut short after he started to refuse food and water.

CBS said Libi suffers from hepatitis.

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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.


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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Italians ‘bribing Taliban’

Ten French soldiers killed in Afghanistan failed to realise the risks in the area because Italian officials had secretly paid the Taliban to desist from violence, a British newspaper reported.


The Times reported that the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taliban commanders and local warlords to keep the Sarobi area near Kabul quiet in the months before French forces moved in.

The French had been in charge of the area for just a month when the 10 soldiers were killed in an insurgent ambush in August 2008, in one of the biggest single losses of life for NATO forces in Afghanistan

The Times said Western military officials had revealed the existence of the payments, but they had been hidden from the incoming French forces at the time.

The Italian forces they had replaced in July had suffered only one combat death in the previous year.

The report said that because the French knew nothing of the bribes they made a “catastrophically incorrect threat assessment” of the area.

It explains why the French troops were relatively lightly armed and insufficiently backed up by air cover when they were ambushed by 170 heavily armed insurgents, it added.

The Taliban and the insurgent Hezb-i-Islami faction claimed responsibility for the attack.

A senior NATO officer in Kabul told the newspaper: “It might well make sense to buy off local groups and use non-violence to keep violence down. But it is madness to do so and not inform your allies.”

In October 2007, two Italian agents were kidnapped in western Afghanistan. One was killed during a rescue by British special forces. The Italian press later alleged they had been seized while making payments to the Taliban.

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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.


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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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.


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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Tiger Woods to return at Masters

Top-ranked Woods has announced on his website he will make his comeback at the year’s first major championship, at the famed Augusta National Golf Club, which begins on April 8.


Woods has won four times at Augusta, including his first major title in 1997, the first major crown ever taken by a black golfer.

“After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta,” Woods said on his website.

“The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect.”

Woods has not played in a tournament since winning the Australian Masters on November 15, the 82nd triumph of an amazing pro career that has seen him win 14 major titles, four shy of matching the record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus.

String of affairs revealed

Just 12 days after his Australian victory, a car crash near Woods’s home touched off a global scandal, leading to his admission of serial adultery and putting his golf career on hold while he fought his own personal demons.

“I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy and I am continuing my treatment,” Woods said. “Although I’m returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.”

Woods might be making progress on that front as well. A photograph on the front page of Tuesday’s New York Post shows Woods and wife, former model, Elin walking at their home, the first photo of them together since the scandal began. The couple has two young children.

His return announcement brought joy to PGA officials and telecasters, who have seen ratings plunge without Woods but now figure to have even greater numbers watching his every move over the next few months.

“We were pleased to learn that Tiger Woods will be playing the Masters in a few weeks,” US PGA commissioner Tim Finchem said.

“He has invested a lot of time taking steps, both in his personal and professional life, in order to prepare for his return. We all wish him and his family all the best as he rejoins the tour.”

Key sponsorship losses

“We support Tiger’s decision to return to competitive golf beginning at this year’s Masters,” Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne said.

“Additionally, we support and encourage his stated commitment to continue the significant work required to rebuild his personal and professional life.”

In addition to more than a dozen women claiming sexual encounters, some of them long-term affairs, Woods has faced the loss of many of the sponsors whose endorsement deals helped make him the first billion-dollar earner in sports.

Gatorade, Accenture and AT&T dropped Woods, although Nike stuck by the man they began endorsing when he turned professional in 1996 even as his situation turned Woods into a punch-line for comedians.

Woods apologised for his infidelity in an website posting last December, the 34-year-old American saying, “I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.”

In February 19, Woods made his first public appearance since the firestorm began, again apologising for his “selfish and irresponsible” behaviour.

Physical, emotional recovery

In recent weeks, Woods was seen with coach Hank Haney working on his game and by fellow PGA players in practice sessions as he worked to recover physically and emotionally from the turmoil that swirled around him.

Woods decided against playing in a tune-up event to prepare himself for the challenges he will face on and off the Georgia course in three weeks time.

“The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it has been a while since I last played,” Woods said.

Other possible comeback events for Woods would have been the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Tavistock Cup two-day exhibition event, both next week at Orlando, Florida, near his home.

“When I finally got into a position to think about competitive golf again, it became apparent to me that the Masters would be the earliest I could play,” Woods said.

Woods would have been the defending champion at Palmer’s tournament, the only event he had not missed playing every year of his career.

Last year was Woods’ first victory after a career-long 256-day layoff due to knee surgery following his 2008 US Open triumph.

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