Kennedy bags six, Eagles beat Blues in AFL

Star forward Josh Kennedy booted six goals as West Coast overcame a major scare to beat Carlton by 17 points at Domain Stadium.

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The Eagles appeared set for an easy victory after opening up a 35-point lead late in the second quarter on Saturday.

But, aided by a strong breeze, Carlton booted the next six goals to open up a shock six-point advantage.

A Kennedy goal just before three-quarter time settled West Coast’s nerves, and the Eagles kicked five goals to three in the final quarter to secure the 15.10 (100) to 12.11 (83) win in front of 30,491 fans.

Kennedy’s haul of 6.3 catapulted him to the top of the Coleman medal race with 60 goals, an even more impressive achievement given he missed five games with a calf injury.

Essendon’s Joe Daniher sits second with 59.

“I have never met anyone who cares less about that than him,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said of Kennedy’s Coleman medal ambitions.

“I think he has kicked (23) goals in four weeks, so he’s in pretty good touch.

“We just have to get the ball in (more).”

The victory lifts West Coast (11-9) into seventh spot on the table ahead of tough matches against flag fancies GWS (away) and Adelaide (home).

The Eagles will need to win at least one of those to have a chance of reaching the finals, with percentage set to play a critical role in the eventual make-up of the top eight.

Carlton (5-15) are just 5.3 per cent ahead of the last-placed Lions, who thrashed Gold Coast earlier on Saturday at the Gabba.

Blues coach Brendon Bolton was proud of his team’s effort.

“It’s been a trait of our footy club all year, that when challenged they fight and dig deep,” Bolton said.

The Blues dominated the inside 50m count 32-17 in the opening half, but failed to convert their opportunities.

Three goals to Eagles forward Jamie Cripps gave them a three-point edge at quarter-time, and Kennedy blew the game apart in the second term with three goals.

Carlton were left to rue a series of missed set shots, but the game turned on its head in the third quarter as the visitors surged with the wind.

Youngster Jack Silvagni missed a sitter from just 20m out, but he made up for it with two goals for the term.

And when Blaine Boekhorst kicked truly late in the term, Carlton were up by six points and a boilover loomed.

But the Eagles had two things in their favour – Kennedy up forward, and a gale-force breeze to kick with in the last quarter.

Both factors proved pivotal, with Kennedy adding two more goals to his tally to keep West Coast’s finals hopes alive.

Dhawan posts ton before Sri Lanka hit back

India’s Shikhar Dhawan smashed his sixth hundred and added 188 in an opening partnership with KL Rahul before Sri Lanka’s spinners fought back to halt the visitors’ progress in the third and final Test.

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India reached the close of play on 6-329, after losing no wickets in the first session, with Wriddhiman Saha unbeaten on 13 and Hardik Pandya not out on one.

After winning the toss and opting to bat, India captain Virat Kohli could not have asked for a better start as his side began their bid to complete a series whitewash over the hosts.

On a surface ideal for batting, India’s openers picked up boundaries at will and made Sri Lanka pay for their profligacy with Dhawan given a reprieve on one, his edge flying through the slip cordon off left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando.

The left-handed batsman went on to hit 17 fours in his 123-ball knock before he was out for 119, hitting a sweep shot off left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara straight to Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal at square leg.

Pushpakumara had also provided Sri Lanka a breakthrough in his first over when he dismissed Rahul for 85.

The 30-year-old, playing only his second Test, later bowled an out-of-sorts Ajinkya Rahane for 17, to end the day with figures of 3-40.

A century once again eluded Rahul, who was dropped twice during his innings, as he was caught at mid-on trying to hit a lofted shot. It was his seventh consecutive score of 50 or more.

Left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan then got Cheteshwar Pujara (eight) to edge one to slip as Sri Lanka continued to fight back.

The 26-year-old, replacing the injured Rangana Herath, also removed the dangerous Kohli with the right-handed batsman out for 42 after getting an edge to slip.

Ravichandran Ashwin (31) was the only wicket to fall to the faster bowlers when he edged Fernando to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella after the hosts had taken the second new ball.

“I’m not happy with the way the fast bowlers bowled in the morning, they bowled here and there. I’m not giving excuses. These guys are inexperienced,” Sri Lanka bowling coach Chaminda Vaas said.

“Vishwa (Fernando) is playing his second game and Lahiru (Kumara) is bowling in his sixth. They didn’t bowl well. After lunch they came back and bowled pretty well. After lunch they came back and bowled pretty well.”

Cleary pulls off NRL trysaver of the year

It was the trysaver of the year and might turn out to be the most important play of Penrith’s 2017 NRL campaign.

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Teenage halfback Nathan Cleary kept the Panthers’ finals hopes alive with a classy display in their 24-16 win over North Queensland on Saturday night, highlighted by a brilliant tackle to stop what seemed a certain Coen Hess try.

Cleary’s two second-half tries were the difference between the two sides however his desperate, lunging tackle on the Cowboys forward turned the game.

With the Cowboys up 16-12 in the 55th minute, Hess charged into a hole from five metres out and looked set to cross for what would have given his team a 10-point lead.

Despite giving away 22kg, Cleary managed to get under the Queensland Origin forward and prevent him from scoring.

“I don’t know. He was kind of targeting me the whole game. He was running amok on me,” Cleary told AAP.

“I just had to get one back and I was lucky enough to get underneath him.

“It was just spur of the moment, I saw the ball and knew I had to try and get underneath him.”

Panthers coach Anthony Griffin admitted it would have been a different ball game had Cleary not managed to save the try and questioned whether his side would have come away with two points.

“The tackle was unbelievable,” Griffin said.

“It was the play of the night for us. It was just a really desperate defensive game for us, we scrambled really hard, they scrambled really hard.”

The Cowboys subsequently ran out of gas on the back of injuries to Justin O’Neill and Michael Morgan with the Panthers jumping to sixth spot and putting them in touching distance of a top-four finish.

Cleary has been a big part of their late-season revival, which has seen them win six straight, and has led Penrith to begin talks with his management about extending his deal.

Already contracted to the end of 2019, Panthers Group CEO Brian Fletcher has stated his desire to sign him to a five-year contract extension on top of his existing deal which would lock him up until 2024.

“I haven’t really looked too much into it,” Cleary said.

“There was talk about it but I haven’t spoken to anyone about it, not my manager, not Penrith.

“I’m concentrating on footy at the moment and I’ve still got two years here.”

Canadian pastor freed N.Korea jail

A Canadian pastor who was imprisoned in North Korea for more than two years has arrived home in Toronto, a family spokeswoman says.

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Hyeon Soo Lim, formerly the senior pastor at one of Canada’s largest churches, had disappeared on a mission to North Korea in early 2015.

He was sentenced to hard labour for life in December 2015 on charges of attempting to overthrow the Pyongyang regime.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency said on Wednesday that the 62-year-old Lim had been released on humanitarian grounds, suggesting his health was poor. His family later said he was not in critical condition.

Lim’s release comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, though authorities have not said there is any connection between his release and efforts to defuse the stand off over North Korea’s nuclear program.

Family members will hold a Saturday afternoon press conference at his church, said spokeswoman Lisa Pak.

It was not clear if Pastor Lim would appear at the press conference, according to Pak, who said he would attend Sunday services at his church.

The Canadian government issued a statement on Saturday, saying it joined Lim’s family and congregation in celebrating his homecoming.

“Canada has been actively engaged on Mr Lim’s case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that he has returned,” the statement said.

Lim’s family in June urged the Canadian government to bolster efforts to seek Lim’s release, following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died days after being released from a North Korean prison in a coma.

Footage from Japan’s ANN television showed Lim walking on a tarmac next to Canada’s national security adviser, Daniel Jean, at the Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, in a stop en route to his home.

China’s cloning of genetically modified dogs for research raises concerns

Beijing biotech lab Sinogene say they have successfully cloned a genetically-modified dog for medical research, and now plan to use the same technology to create “superdogs” for Chinese police.

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The beagle puppy named Longlong, born in May, is a clone of a gene-edited beagle called Apple.

“These two dogs are 99.9 per cent the same. We’ve observed their personality and appearance, even their facial expressions are identical. As you can see they’re both very naughty and active. Even the way they walk, how they move around,” says Mi Jidong, Sinogene General Manager.

Two other clone puppies Nuonuo and Qiqi followed Longlong in June. All were born from surrogate mothers in the lab.

Apple, the original beagle, was genetically modified last year using a gene-editing tool known as ‘CRISPR/Cas9.’

Clone puppies Nuonuo and Qiqi were born in May. SBS News

It’s been more than 20 years since the first mammal, a sheep named Dolly, was cloned in 1996. Since then other animals, including horses and pigs, have since been cloned. The first dog, however, was only duplicated in 2005.

“Dogs are extremely difficult to work with. Some cells are very complex and difficult to clone. Also it’s extremely hard for a dog embryo to survive in lab conditions, it’s very vulnerable,” explains Mr Mi.

Another reason the cloning of dogs may be more difficult is that the animal is more genetically similar to humans than other animals. Approximately 400 out of 900 genetic illnesses in dogs are similar to human diseases.

It’s for this reason that Apple, Longlong and his fellow-clones will be used primarily for medical research.

“It’s the first step in our future development to delve further into modifying dogs for medical research,” says Mr Mi.

Apple was gene-edited to have “several times” higher levels of blood lipid – a trait associated with high cholesterol. Sinogene say they’re cooperating with other labs in China to study gene-based diseases including heart disease and diabetes and develop medicines.

Scientist Mi Jidong plays with Sinogene’s cloned puppies from a gene-edited beagle.SBS News

But that’s not the only focus of the lab. Sinogene will also be using the same gene-editing and cloning technique to create ‘super dogs’ for the police force as early as next year.

“We’re also exploring how we can use genetic modification and cloning to improve the specific qualities of different working dogs. For example to improve their stamina, their intelligence to make it easier to train them And also give them a better sense of smell,” says Mr Mi.

China currently imports many of its police, search and rescue dogs. Mr Mi believes Sinogene’s work could save money and improve the quality of China’s police dog pack.

But the work has been condemned as cruel by animal welfare groups operating in China.

“Cloning has many problems. Large numbers of animals are used as donors and surrogates. But the success rate is very small. So it’s a huge waste of animal life,” says Peter Li, China Policy specialist at Humane Society International, and Associate Professor of East Asian Politics at the University of Houston-Downtown.

He says money would be better spent caring for China’s millions of unwanted dogs.

“I think this ‘super dog’ work is suspect. Dogs are already very intelligent. We know that cloned dogs have health issues, they don’t live long. It is a huge waste of public resources to clone dogs for the police force,” says Professor Li.

Beijing-based animal rights activist Mary Peng believes medical testing on animals needs to be better regulatedSBS News

Animal welfare activist and founder of China’s first international animal hospital in Beijing, Mary Peng, says she doesn’t feel animal medical testing should stop but says labs need to be better regulated. “Cloning is really just another form of breeding,” says Ms Peng. “But I share concerns of how the animals are treated.”

She says though China has progressed rapidly in recent years when it comes to the treatment and general attitude towards animals, protective laws lag behind international standards.

“China is having the world’s biggest love affair with their pets in the history of the world,” she says, “but this is all very new, less than 25 years old maybe.”

“And this experimentation, medical research etc, are also really new industries for China,” Ms Peng says. “And I’m not sure that the laws and regulations about how the animals are treated while they’re in these labs have been fully developed.”

But Professor Li says the lab’s work also raises larger ethical questions. “If we see cloned animals as a testing object, I wonder how soon this work will be applied to humans. If we have this level of audacity, this level of recklessness as a standard, then many other test labs will do things that should be stopped.”

Sinogene scientist works with dog cells in their Beijing labSBS News

Retired Tsinghua University artificial intelligence and ethics expert Professor Zhao Nanyuan dismisses the criticism of animal rights groups as foreign and irrelevant, saying China’s scientific progress outweighs the cost.

“To see human-animal relations as an ethical question is a concept borrowed from Western religion. In Chinese ethics we don’t have this.”

He says many in China, like him, will focus on the long-term benefit, rather than the individual treatment of an animal or embryo.

“In China we have less problems developing genetically modified technology. I’m pretty sure other countries will be behind China when it comes to human genetic research because of their concerns.”