Monthly Archives: February 2019

Heart still without a win

Adelaide United triumphed 3-2 over the Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night, a result which left the new club without a win from three games.


Two losses and a draw for the Heart have sapped their confidence, van ‘t Schip says.

“Of course the results are important, it’s going to take time but there are things that we have to improve,” he said.

“As a team we also have to be more eager to get a result, and that is something that has to get into the team.

“It’s only three games gone, but when you are not getting points it’s not good for the confidence … so even if we are a new club and a new team, you need that.

“And that is something we have to work hard on, to get our first result.”

Heart’s performance against the Reds was full of merit, twice coming back from being a goal behind to square the scores, but some basic blunders proved costly.

Reds winger Iain Ramsay’s two goals, including his 88th-minute match winner, were decisive and had van ‘t Schip lamenting their “giving away” of goals.

His sentiments were echoed by experienced defender Simon Colosimo, who was frustrated at the ease Adelaide scored.

“We are playing some good football but playing good football and giving goals away won’t get you results,” Colosimo said.

“We had to work ever so hard to score our goals … and take nothing away from Adelaide, but we have made it a little bit easier for them.

“And at this level, as a team and as individuals, we can’t afford to do that.

“It was one of those games that we are going to look back at as a group and know that we gave too much away.

“The game plan was right, I just don’t think defensively it was executed.”

Melbourne returns to home turf to host Perth Glory next Sunday, while Adelaide, now with one win and two draws to open their season, travels to meet North Queensland next Saturday.

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Space shuttle Endeavour arrives at space station

The Endeavour space shuttle and International Space Station have hooked up after a round-the-world chase, making the biggest crowd ever gathered together in orbit – 13 earthlings.


Endeavour docked at the international space station as the two craft soared 354km above the Australian coast.

Once the hatches popped open, the seven shuttle astronauts floated into the space station, one by one, and embraced their six station colleagues. It was a bit of a mob scene, a floating jumble of dark shirts, beige pants and shorts, and white socks.

“Welcome,” said the station’s skipper, Russian Gennady Padalka, positioned at the entrance.

“Thirteen is a pretty big number, but it’s going to be an outstanding visit for us,” said shuttle commander Mark Polansky. “We are just thrilled to be here.”

Largest, most diverse space gathering

Besides being the biggest space gathering ever, it was the most diverse: seven Americans, two Russians, two Canadians, one Japanese and one Belgian. Twelve men, one woman. Four doctors. And engineers and pilots galore.

The station doubled in population at the end of May, and this was the first shuttle visit since then. Although 13 people have been in orbit before, they were scattered in separate spacecraft. The old under-the-same-roof crowd record was 10.

The first team effort comes on Saturday, when two of the shuttle astronauts venture out on the first of five planned spacewalks to help attach a porch for Japan’s space station lab. The porch will be used for outdoor experiments.

Endeavour shuttle photographed for damage

Earlier on Friday afternoon, as it was closing in for the link-up, Endeavour performed a backflip from 180 metres out so the station crew could photograph its entire surface and uncover any severe launch damage. Endeavour’s fuel tank lost more foam insulation than usual during Wednesday’s launch, and some of the smaller pieces struck the shuttle, leaving a series of dings.

NASA managers say the dings appear to be superficial and pose no threat to the shuttle. But they want to make sure they don’t miss something serious, as was the case during Columbia’s doomed flight in 2003. A hole in a wing, the size of a plate, caused Columbia to break apart during re-entry. Falling foam was to blame.

Polansky guided Endeavour through the routine 360-degree somersault. The process lasted more than eight minutes, the amount of time it took the shuttle to zoom across the Atlantic, from Brazil’s shoreline to the Western Sahara coast.

Two of the station crew snapped a few hundred digital pictures and quickly began downloading them to flight controllers for analysis.

“The bird looks beautiful from here,” called out Michael Barratt, one of the station photographers.

The bulk of the lost foam peeled away from the central area of the tank in 15-centimetre strips, six minutes after lift-off, when it is too late to pose any threat. That part of the tank normally does not shed like that, and NASA wants to understand what happened before launching the next shuttle in another month.

Endeavour will remain at the space station until July 28. Japan’s Koichi Wakata, in orbit since March, will be aboard the shuttle when it leaves. His replacement, American Timothy Kopra, was more than a month late because of launch delays.

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UN urges Sudan not to flog woman

The UN Staff Union urged Sudan on Friday not to flog a Sudanese woman working as a journalist for the United Nations for wearing trousers in public, calling the punishment cruel, inhuman and degrading.


Lubna Hussein faces 40 lashes for violating Sudan’s dress code for women.

The union, which represents more than 5,000 staff at UN headquarters, said “administering corporal punishment in cases such as this goes against international norms and standards.”

“The Staff Union calls on the Sudanese authorities to live up to international law and human rights standards, including those against cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment as well as violence against women,” it said in a statement.

Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe for wearing trousers, considered indecent by the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan’s Islamic regime.

All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.

But Hussein and two other women decided they wanted to go to trial and Hussein invited human rights workers, western diplomats and fellow journalists to a hearing on Wednesday.

She told the judge she is resigning from her job with the UN Mission in Sudan, which gives her diplomatic immunity, so she can challenge the dress code law.

Judge Mudathir Rashid adjourned the hearing until August 4 to give Hussein time to quit her job.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described himself as “deeply concerned” about Hussein’s case and said flogging was a violation of international human rights standards.

“The UN will take every effort to ensure that the rights of its staff members are protected,” Ban told a news conference on Wednesday.

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NASA urged to look beyond Moon

The astronauts who first landed on the moon aren’t dwelling on their small lunar steps.


Instead, two of them urged mankind to take a giant leap to Mars.

In one of their few joint public appearances, the crew of Apollo 11 spoke before the 40th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon, but didn’t get soggy with nostalgia.

They instead spoke about the future and the more distant past.

On Monday, the three astronauts will get another chance to make the pitch for a Mars trip, this time to someone with a little more sway: President Barack Obama.

Pitch for Mars

Sunday night, a packed crowd at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum – 7,000 people applied in a lottery for 485 seats – didn’t get the intimate details of the Eagle’s landing on the moon with little fuel left, or what the moon looked like, or what it felt like to be there.

They got second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin’s pitch for Mars. He said the best way to honour the Apollo astronauts “is to follow in our footsteps; to boldly go again on a new mission of exploration.”

First man on the moon Neil Armstrong only discussed Apollo 11 for about 11 seconds. He gave a professorial lecture titled “Goddard, governance and geophysics,” looking at the inventions and discoveries that led to his historic “small step for a man” on July 20, 1969.

‘Ultimate peaceful competition’

Armstrong said the space race was “the ultimate peaceful competition: USA versus USS.R. It did allow both sides to take the high road with the objectives of science and learning and exploration”.

Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins, who circled the moon alone while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on it, said the moon was not interesting, but Mars is.

“Sometimes I think I flew to the wrong place. Mars was always my favourite as a kid and it still is today,” Collins said.

“I’d like to see Mars become the focus, just as John F Kennedy focused on the moon.”

Investment ‘needed’

The man who founded and directed Mission Control Houston, Christopher Kraft Jr., also jumped on the go-somewhere-new, do-something-different bandwagon.

“What we need is new technology; we have not had that since Apollo,” Kraft said as part of the lecture at the Smithsonian. “I say to Mr. Obama: Let’s get on with it. Let’s invest in the future.”

As the men of NASA of the 1960s talked about new technology and new goals, the current NASA is still looking back at the moon.

NASA is still marching toward a goal of returning to the moon and putting a base there. The current plan is based on building new rockets that the former NASA administrator called “Apollo on steroids,” with an alternative – a derivative of the space shuttle – floating through the space agency.

Moon ‘old hat’

Although they didn’t directly criticise NASA’s current plans, Aldrin and Collins said the moon is old hat. Collins said he is afraid that NASA’s exploration plans would be bogged down by a return visit to the moon.

Aldrin presented an elaborate slide detailing how to make a quick visit to the moon a stepping stone to visits to the Martian moon Phobos, Mars itself, and even some asteroids like Apophis that may someday hit Earth.

Aldrin said he and Armstrong landed on the moon 66 years after the Wright brothers first flew an aeroplane.

2035 timeframe

What he would like would be for humanity to land on Mars 66 years after his flight. That would be 2035.

And even though Armstrong didn’t talk about the future in his 19-minute discourse, Aldrin dragged his commander onto the Mars bandwagon anyway.

“It was a great personal hangar to walk on the moon, but as Neil once observed, there are still places to go beyond belief,” he said. “Isn’t it time to continue our journey outward, past the moon?”

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Clinton in India to discuss climate

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is applauding new progress in US-India relations, highlighted by an agreement to broaden cooperation beyond trade and military ties to include agriculture, education and women’s issues.


Clinton was meeting with top Indian officials on Monday, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, to announce a wider partnership between two countries still struggling to overcome distrust rooted in Cold War rivalries.

The Obama administration regards India as an emerging world power and a key to turning the tide against violent Islamic extremism.

Nuclear deal

Clinton was also expected to sign an agreement on Monday enabling US companies to sell nuclear reactors to India, and possibly another on defence sales.

The nuclear deal would give American companies exclusive rights to sell nuclear power plants at specified locations in India – an opportunity that could be worth $10 billion for US sellers.

A second deal, which officials said they hoped would also be ready for signing Monday, is known as an end-use monitoring agreement that would give the US the right to ensure that US arms sold to

India are used for their intended purpose and that the technology is not resold or otherwise provided to third countries.

India stands firm on carbon

On Sunday, India stood firm against Western demands that it accept binding limits on carbon emissions even as Clinton expressed optimism about an eventual climate change deal to India’s benefit.

“There is simply no case for the pressure that we – who have among the lowest emissions per capita – face to actually reduce emissions,” India’s minister of environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh, told Clinton and her visiting delegation in a meeting.

“And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours,” he added.

US officials had expected the discussions to focus more on cooperation in related areas of energy efficiency, green buildings and clean-burning fuels.

The minister distributed copies of his remarks to reporters in a gesture aimed at underlining India’s tough stance. The comments showed the political sensitivity in India of one of the Obama administration’s foreign policy priorities.

Fair argument

Clinton said Ramesh presented a “fair argument.” But she said India’s case “loses force” because the fast-growing country’s absolute level of carbon emissions – as opposed to the per capita amount – is “going up, and dramatically.”

Later, at an agricultural research site in a farm field outside the capital, Clinton told reporters she is optimistic about getting a climate change deal that will satisfy India.

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Dirty tricks target Greens

Fake how-to-vote cards distributed as part of a dirty tricks campaign involving how-to-vote cards won’t fool Greens voters, the party says.


The fake cards are being distributed at polling booths in the Brisbane seat of Ryan, allegedly by Liberal volunteers and, last week, others were letter-boxed throughout the seat of Blair, allegedly by Labor volunteers.

Greens Senate candidate Larissa Waters told reporters at Kelvin Grove State school, where she voted, that she was not surprised by the display of gutter politics.

“It is exactly this sort of underhanded tactics that turns voters off the major parties and towards the Greens,” she said.

“Instead of announcing policies with long-term vision to protect the environment, and give people a fair go, they are trying to fool Queenslanders.

“Unfortunately… it’s not unlawful to do this but it is misleading.”

She said voters were too smart to fall for this tactic. “They won’t be taken as mugs,” she said.

Ms Waters, who voted alongside the Greens candidate for the seat of Brisbane, Andrew Bartlett, said she was confident of becoming the first Greens senator for Queensland.

A spokeswoman for the ALP Ryan candidate Steven Miles, told AAP she had witnesses Liberal campaign volunteers, wearing Green T-shirts, handing out the fake cards at a polling booth on Payne Road, The Gap.

A spokesman for LNP candidate Jane Prentice defended the actions.

“They’re not fake Green how-to-vote cards, they’re clearly Liberal National Party cards,” he said. “If they’re thinking of voting Greens we would like their second preference.

“It’s clearly identifiable in accordance with the electoral act.

“They’re not masquerading as Green volunteers at all, they’re Liberal National Party supporters.”

LNP communications manager Cameron Thompson said both Labor and Liberals were distributing in the cards in several seats.

“Bob Brown went into the media and said he didn’t really support the idea of their preference deal and that voters should make up their own mind,” he said.

“We’re just out there to remind people about that and make sure they have our side of the story.

“There’s nothing gutter about it.”

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Gerrard ‘assaulted man’ in music row

Prosecutors told a jury on Tuesday that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lost his cool in a nightclub and aimed a succession of punches at a man who wouldn’t let him take charge of the music.


The England midfielder went on trial at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday on a charge of affray, and the prosecution told the jury Gerrard was one of several men who attacked 34-year-old Marcus McGee, who had refused to hand over control of a CD player.

Hours after Gerrard had scored twice in Liverpool’s 5-1 victory over Newcastle, he was with friends at the Lounge Inn in Southport in the early hours of Dec. 29 last year when his party clashed with McGee.

‘Mood change’

Prosecutor David Turner said Gerrard asked McGee for the card controlling the CD player so he could change the music but the man refused.

Turner said Gerrard’s mood then changed and he went back and confronted McGee and the two men stood head-to-head “in the sort of hostile confrontation that is often seen between professional footballers.”

Turner said Gerrard’s friends also joined in and one of them pushed McGee and followed up with his elbow into his face.

Gerrard ‘totally lost it’

“We say at this stage Gerrard totally lost it,” Turner said. “Almost immediately after the blow … in fact within seconds, Steven Gerrard joined in the attack with a succession of well aimed uppercut punches delivered with the style and speed of a professional boxer rather than a professional footballer.”

Gerrard denies affray. Five other men pleaded guilty and another admitted a lesser charge of threatening behaviour.

The trial is expected to last several days.

Before it started, Judge Henry Globe said the jury panel brought in to try the case would have to put aside their football loyalties and give a true verdict according to the evidence.

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Rudd holds Griffith despite swing

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has held his Queensland seat of Griffith despite a four percent swing against him and a nine per cent swing against Labor across the state.


Queensland voters appeared to have reversed 2007’s “Ruddslide” with an avalanche of support for the Liberal National Party.

With around two-thirds of the vote counted in the federal election, Queenslanders had turned away from Labor with a statewide swing of 9.5 per cent against the governing party.

The LNP – contesting a federal election for the first time as a merged party – benefited from a swing of three per cent, while the Greens received a 5.3 per cent swing and looked almost certain to pick up their first Queensland senator in Larissa Waters.

On a two-party preferred basis, the LNP secured 54.5 per cent with Labor on 45.5 per cent.

At 9.30pm (AEST) the LNP was likely to hold 14 seats: Maranoa, Groom, Moncrieff, Wide Bay, Dickson, Fadden, Hinkler, McPherson, Bowman, Wright, Ryan, Fairfax, Fisher and Leichhardt.

Labor looked set to hold Griffith, Oxley, Rankin, Capricornia, Blair and Bonner, and independent Bob Katter claimed victory in the north Queensland stronghold of Kennedy.

There were still nine seats too close to call.

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie said he did not believe the change of leadership from Queenslander Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard had been a factor in the swing against Labor.

“If there had not been a change of leadership Tony Abbott would be prime minister today,” Mr Beattie told the Seven Network.

LNP MP Andrew Laming, who claimed victory in the seat of Bowman, said anger over the record of the Bligh Labor government in Queensland was a key factor.

“(Premier) Anna Bligh is pretty toxic in Queensland, and people will vote at any level of government to try to have her removed in Queensland,” he said.

Mr Rudd told supporters at a post-election party he was proud of how Labor members had campaigned across the country.

“You are the standard bearers of our movement … who stood in the line of battle and have seen members fall and seen candidates do it tough,” he said.

“I say to every one of them that they do our movement proud and let us stand by them.”

Mr Beattie, who led a minority government in Queensland in 1998 with the support of independent MP Peter Wellington, said such governments could work.

“You can work with them, you can work with the Greens,” he said.

“I can’t see why a minority government can’t work, and frankly sometimes they are good governments.”

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Greens take seat of Melbourne

It is shaping up as a momentous election for the Australian Greens after Labor all but conceded the seat of Melbourne to the minor party.


The Greens are also expected to hold the balance of power in a new Senate.

It was more bad news for Labor, which was facing the loss of a number of seats in crucial marginal electorates in Queensland and western Sydney.

Labor frontbencher Nicola Roxon indicated Adam Bandt was likely to win the Greens their second ever seat in the lower house, taking the electorate previously held by Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, who is retiring.

Although the Greens’ Adam Bandt is trailing the ALP’s Cath Bowtell on a two candidate preferred basis, Liberal preferences are expected to give him an historic win.

Early counting gives Mr Bandt 4121 votes, with Ms Bowtell gaining 4631, but preferences are expected to give the Greens a swing of over 12 per cent in a seat Labor holds by 4.7.

“It’s a sad result for Labor,” Ms Roxon told the Nine Network.

Two hours after the polls closed on the east coast of Australia and with counting about to begin in Western Australia, which was two hours behind eastern Australia, Labor was facing a tense time.

It was showing significant losses in Queensland and NSW but was doing relatively well in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith believes it could all come down to WA, where three seats could hold the key to the election.

With 40 per cent of the national vote counted, Mr Smith told ABC Television Labor had “clearly lost” six or seven seats, and was at risk in 10 or 11 more.

“We could end up looking at how we go in Hasluck and Swan and Canning as being really crucial,” he said.

“On all the available evidence you would proceed from the starting point that we would just fall below (a majority).

“Those three (seats) may end up being quite crucial to the overall complexion of the night.”

The coalition needs 17 Labor seats to win the election by garnering a uniform swing of 2.3 per cent across the country.

But the government can lose its absolute majority if it loses 13 seats.

Labor may need to talk to Greens

Labor powerbroker Mark Arbib says his party may have to work with the Greens to form government.

“This is a bad night for the Labor Party,” he told the Nine Network.

“We’re now looking like we have to talk to the Greens.”

Mr Arbib said there was “no doubt” that for Labor to win government it would have to pull through on a number of seats, including Lindsay, Greenway and Swan.

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‘Domestique’ Armstrong finds his master on Tour

When Alberto Contador launched his bold attack in the final ascent, it was reminiscent of Lance Armstrong’s golden years.


The fast pedaling was the same, the determination was the same, but it was a different rider on the saddle – the American’s Spanish teammate, already one of the sport’s greatest at the age of 26.

Contador dominated all other Tour contenders on Sunday’s first Alpine stage from Pontarlier, France, to the Swiss ski resort of Verbier, with a move ignited less than six kilometers from the finish line that gave him the leader’s yellow jersey he wanted more than anything else.

As he already did it last week in the Pyrenees, the 2007 Tour winner showed he has no rival in the mountains and took a serious option on a second victory in cycling’s showcase event.

“Lance Armstrong was my idol, but dropping him today wasn’t important – he was just like any other rider … It’s an honor for me to have him working for me,” the new “boss” of the Tour said after his triumph.

During his seven-year reign on the race from 1999 and 2005, Armstrong always used hilltop finishes to stamp his domination.

This time the Texan was unable to follow the insane pace imposed by Contador, whose legs are 11 years fresher than Armstrong’s.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m happy to be his domestique,” a fatalistic Armstrong said. “I’m proud of him.”

Last week in the Pyrenees, Armstrong criticised Contador following an attack which allowed the Spaniard to leapfrog him. The Texan then accused his teammate on the Astana squad of riding against its strategy and even hinted that he could have followed him if he had really wanted to.

It was a different story after the final, 8.8-kilometre ascent to Verbier, where Armstrong fully understood that he couldn’t compete. The cancer survivor, back on the Tour four years after his last victory, accepted his chance of victory is minimal.

“Yeah, it will be hard,” Armstrong said when asked if his chances to win the race were over. “A day like this really shows who’s the best, and I wasn’t on par with what’s required to win the Tour. So for me, that’s the reality, that’s not devastating news or anything.”

Armstrong moved up to second place in the standings after the 15th stage, but lost precious time to Contador, who took control of the race as he ended Rinaldo Nocentini’s eight-day run in the overall lead.

Armstrong trailed Contador by one minute, 37 seconds in the overall standings. Former track cycling specialist Bradley Wiggins climbed from sixth place to third, 1:46 back while Australia’s Cadel Evans rose to 14th despite finishing seventh, 1:26 behind Contador to be 4:27 behind him overall.

Even if Armstrong conceded Contador’s superiority, his pride has not been completely washed up. Just a few minutes after crossing the line, his all-consuming ambition reappeared when he hinted that he could maybe win another Tour next year.

“I think being out for four years, and being one of the older guys out here, there might be people out there that expect me to ride like I did in 2004, 2005 – that’s not reality,” Armstrong said.

“If I do another year, and I get a season under my belt, maybe we get that race condition back.”

“But right now, I don’t have it,” added Armstrong, who finished ninth, 1:35 after the Spaniard.

Armstrong has previously said he may launch his own team next season, while Contador is likely to quit Astana for another team.

Contador, one of only five riders to have triumphed in the three Grands Tours – France, Spain and Italy – seems so strong that only an accident could deprive him of victory. Or maybe a bad day like the one he experienced earlier this season on the Paris-Nice race that cost him a victory which was reaching out to him.

Andy Schleck of Luxembourg was second, 43 seconds back on the short but steep ascent to Verbier, while defending champion Carlos Sastre and two-time runner-up Evans lost more time.

Schleck is now 5th overall, 2 minutes, 26 seconds back. Sastre lags in 11th position, 3:52 behind.

“Today we saw that Alberto was the strongest – he took off like a rocket and I couldn’t catch him,” Schleck said. “I tried to follow when he attacked, but I saw I wasn’t getting any closer.

“After that I tried to cut my losses and keep the rest behind me.”

Armstrong’s rivalry with Contador, on ice during last week’s mostly flat stages, was set to re-ignite in Verbier.

Contador said Sunday’s result left no doubt about who should be considered the Astana team leader.

“The differences now are pretty big, and the team’s bet should now be me, no?” Contador said. “I’m sure my teammates are going to put in great work to back me up just like they did today.”

Armstrong promised to put his own goals on the back burner for the good of his team, which has three riders in the Tour Top 5 – Contador, Armstrong and fourth-placed Andreas Kloeden.

“Now it’s clear that we have the strongest rider in the race. This is a team sport, so you can’t – none of us, Andreas or myself – can think about ourselves,” Armstrong said.

“Overall, if we play it really, really smart, we can have three guys in the top five and the guy who wins. That’s a special opportunity, but you know, I think now is the time for me to put my chances aside, and focus on the team.”

Riders got a rest day on Monday before the two other Alpine stages, an individual time trial in Annecy on Thursday, and a ride up the feared Mont Ventoux on Saturday before the race ends in Paris on July 26.

“There’s three more days that could shake things up. But that’s not at the front of my mind right now,” Armstrong said.

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