More heat on Henry, Hayne as Titans flop

Gold Coast captain Ryan James challenged teammates to rally around Neil Henry after St George Illawarra heaped more pressure on the embattled Titans coach.

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The futures of Henry and Jarryd Hayne at the club were again questioned after the under-performing superstar once more failed to fire a 42-16 drubbing at OWI Jubilee Oval on Saturday.

Sacked by North Queensland four years ago, Henry is fighting to save his job again following four-straight heavy defeats.

The Titans have leaked 96 points in their past two losses alone.

Henry, though, is remaining stoic amid talk he won’t see out his contract.

“It’s media banter,” he said.

“Coaches are under pressure all the time. I’ve got to get on with my job and that’s to prepare my team with my assistant coaches as best we can each week and we’ll continue to do that.

“I can’t stop the speculation. It’s up to all of us to play some decent footy and to get on with our jobs..

“I don’t need to make decisions around the governance of the club.

“I’m contracted for next season and that’s how I’m preparing.”

Henry’s relationship with Hayne is said to have been frosty for much of the season.

After initially offering “no comment” when asked if the issue was becoming a distraction, Henry suggested the NSW State of Origin star needed to lift.

“He’s a player in the team and we talk and we converse as we do all the time,” Henry said.

“There’s been a lot of media about him … the thing that makes the media go away is his performance, for the team and for individuals, and that will take care of things.”

Asked to assess Hayne’s performance against the Dragons, Henry said he needed to check the tape.

“I thought he had a couple of strong touches early and brought the ball back,” he said.

“It’s very hard to get into a game when you haven’t got a lot of possession.”

James said it was unfair to blame the coach for the Titans’ woes.

“He’s not the one out there taking hit-ups or making the tackles so everyone’s quick to chuck the blame on someone else,” the front-rower said.

“But it falls on the players. We’ve talked to ourselves and we know we’re not playing good enough footy.

“So fair enough if ‘King’ was out there kicking the ball or making the tackles, but he’s not.

“So it’s up to us as a group to come together and play some good footy.”

Storm need to improve to win title: Smith

They have one hand firmly on the NRL minor premiership but Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith said there wasn’t too many happy faces in the Storm sheds following their last gasp 16-13 win over the Sydney Roosters.

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The Storm snatched the three-point win an enthralling and at times bizarre contest fitting of a top-of-the table clash at AAMI Park.

Melbourne only need one more win from their remaining three matches to secure the JJ Giltinan Shield but Smith said the near-miss was a reminder the premiership race was far from over.

“It shows we’ve been a little bit consistent and that’s why we’re six points ahead,” Smith said.

“Sitting in the sheds I know everyone isn’t completely happy with where we’re at with our performances and we know that that result could have gone either way.

“We’re at absolutely no stage thinking that it’s us and then daylight, absolutely no way.”

Second-rower Joe Stimson, in his debut NRL season, was the man-of-the-moment, scoring in the 77th minute for his team to regain the lead.

The Roosters hit the front for the first time in the match four minutes earlier thanks to a Luke Keary field goal.

But in typical Storm fashion, the match was far from over.

The Roosters were on the wrong end of a 9-3 penalty count in the first half which had them trailing 10-6 after a penalty try, with the bunker ruling Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu had been taken out by Mitchell in the race to the tryline.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said it shouldn’t have been awarded.

“I thought there was too much doubt for it to be a penalty try,” he said.

Melbourne’s lead was out to 12-6 until the 61st match when Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell converted Mitch Aubusson’s try from the sideline.

That tryscoring opportunity came when Vunivalu collected a kick and then attempted an unorthodox hurdle of two Roosters players, ending up on report which had Storm coach Craig Bellamy perplexed.

“I’m not quite sure what Suli was trying to do there … it was probably a bit of a brain fade,” Bellamy said.

“They scored on the end of that penalty so hopefully he learns a lesson and he doesn’t do it again.”

With Roosters co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend back in the line-up after long injury spells Robinson felt there was a lot of upside.

“I thought we played well and it was an improvement on last week but if we wanted to win the game we should have finished it off a bit better,” he said.

Inquiry into deadly Egypt train crash as death toll rises to 40

Under floodlights, rescue teams combed wrecked carriages all night for casualties, also using torches on their mobile phones.

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The toll from Friday’s accident when two trains hurtled into each other near Alexandria has risen to 40 dead and 123 wounded, said health ministry spokesman Khaled Moujahed, as local media said the number of fatalities was likely to rise.

People view the wreckage after two passenger trains collided in Alexandria, Egypt, 11 August 2017.AAP

The crash on the route to Cairo, derailed the engine of one train and two cars of the other, the Egyptian Railway Authority said.

A railroad switching error was the most likely cause of the collision, according to a security source. 

Workers used cranes to lift four knotted sheet-metal carriages blocking the normally busy Cairo-Alexandria line.

Transport ministry officials, quoted on state television, have said the crash in farmland on the outskirts of Alexandria was probably caused by a malfunction in one train that brought it to a halt.

The other train then crashed into it.

One train had been heading to Alexandria from Cairo and the other from Port Said, east along the coast.

Egyptian President: ‘hold accountable’

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has sent his condolences to the victims’ families and ordered a probe to “hold accountable” those responsible for the disaster.

It was the deadliest train accident in the North African country since a train ploughed into a bus carrying schoolchildren in November 2012, killing 47 people. 

That accident jolted the government which ordered an investigation and sacked the transport minister and the head of the railway authority.

The accident was blamed on a train signal operator who fell asleep on the job.

The probe, however, did not prevent further accidents. Just months later, a train carrying military conscripts derailed, killing 17 people.

Around a year later, a collision between a train and a bus killed 27 people south of the capital.

They had been returning from a wedding when the train ploughed into their bus and a truck at a railway crossing.

Chronic transport problems

Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to deal with chronic transport problems, with roads as poorly maintained as railway lines.

There have been many other fatal crashes on the busy rail network.

In July 2008, at least 44 people died near Marsa Matruh in northwestern Egypt when a runaway truck hurtled into a bus, a lorry and several cars waiting at a level crossing, shunting the vehicles into the path of a train.

Army attend the scene of a train collision just outside Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.AAP

At least 58 Egyptians were killed and 144 injured in August 2006 in a collision between two trains travelling on the same track.

In the wake of that crash, a court sentenced 14 railway employees to one year in prison for neglect.

The deadliest accident on Egypt’s railways dates back to 2002 when 373 people died when a fire ripped through a crowded train south of the capital.

Different coach, same result for AFL Suns

Different coach, same result for the besieged Gold Coast AFL club.

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Brisbane took a step toward avoiding the wooden spoon with a thumping 58-point win on Saturday at home, as an injury-hit Suns began life after sacked coach Rodney Eade just like it ended – with another loss.

There was no doubt Suns interim coach Dean Solomon faced a huge job to unite the team after Eade revealed on Saturday he would never have taken the Gold Coast job if he knew the full extent of their problems.

Eade’s three-year tenure came to an abrupt halt when axed on Monday night with three regular-season games left.

But even Solomon might be surprised by the enormity of the task he faces. The Suns faded badly in their 22.10 (142) to 12.12 (84) Gabba loss.

“I am going to do everything I can to turn this around,” Solomon said.

“The only way we will get out of this is hard work, galvanising and believing in what we have in place and turn it around.

“We can’t sulk, we can’t mope. We have to get back to work on Monday morning.”

But it seems it will take some time to reverse their fortunes based on Eade’s revealing claims on Saturday.

Asked if he would have accepted the Suns’ job if he had known the club’s issues, Eade told ABC radio: “Not at all, no.

“There’s a lot of things that surprised me and then keep happening.

“You turn over another rock and, whether it’s June or July, and you think you’re on top of it and something else happens.

“There’s a few things that got out publicly but there’s a lot of things that were kept in-house as well that people don’t know about.”

But Solomon tried to put on a brave face when asked how hard it was to get up after Eade’s sacking.

“It wasn’t hard (to get up). It’s AFL footy. Unfortunately, it’s a ruthless business,” he said.

“We’ve got to stop talking about who is out and talk about who is in as a football club.”

Despite being without Pearce Hanley (hamstring), Gary Ablett (hamstring) and Tom Lynch (knee), Gold Coast began full of energy and led by 22 points in the second term after Jack Martin (four goals) cut loose.

Lions skipper Dayne Beams (four goals, 32 touches) stood tall during the early Suns onslaught, before sparking Brisbane’s brutal response in front of 17,772 Gabba fans.

Brisbane kicked 17 goals to four from the second quarter to boost their hopes of dodging the wooden spoon.

The Lions (5-15 tally) are on 20 points along with Carlton and North Melbourne, but have played an extra game.

Nobel laureates urge Saudi to hold off on execution of 14 Shiites

Fears are mounting of the imminent mass execution of the 14 Shiites convicted of charges linked to protests in 2012, including rioting, theft, armed robbery and armed rebellion.

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Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Saudi authorities of coercing confessions which were later retracted in court and of failing to grant fair trials to defendants, including juveniles. 

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Signed by anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman, Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi and former East Timor president Jose Ramos-Horta, the letter released late Friday urged King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his son, to “extend the hand of mercy” and refrain from ratifying the death sentences. 

“Mujtaba al-Sweika, a bright 18-year-old student in Saudi Arabia, was on his way to visit Western Michigan University in 2012 when he was arrested in the airport in Riyadh. Among his charges is starting a Facebook group and posting images of a demonstration online,” read the letter. 

“Another defendant, Ali al-Nimr, was charged with setting up a Blackberry page named ‘The Liberals’ and posting photos of the demonstrations, inviting people to participate,” it added. 

Other signatories to Friday’s letter include US anti-landmine activist Jody Williams, Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, South African former president F.W. De Klerk, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, Polish labour rights activist Lech Walesa and peace activist Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland. 

Saudi Arabia: 14 Shia at Risk of Imminent Execution 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/uku7ekAkhi

— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) August 10, 2017

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of execution. This year alone, it has so far executed 75 people.

In July, the supreme court upheld the death penalty for the 14 men, all Saudi citizens. The sentences must be ratified by the king or the crown prince for the executions to go ahead. 

The 14 are all linked to protests in Qatif, an eastern province home to most of the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s Shiite minority, who have long complained of marginalisation.

The east is also the source of most of Saudi Arabia’s oil. 

Saudi authorities, who have regularly cracked down on protests in Qatif, this week seized control of the town of Awamiya after increasingly frequent clashes between residents and police. 

Authorities have said drug traffickers and “terrorists” were behind the unrest in Qatif.

Awamiya was the epicentre of a short-lived Arab Spring-inspired protest movement in 2011, partly led by Nimr al-Nimr, a senior Shiite cleric from the town. 

Nimr was executed in January 2016 on a “terrorism” indictment.