Wozniacki upsets Pliskova in WTA tennis

Caroline Wozniacki has defeated world No.

长沙夜网

1 Karolina Pliskova in a marathon Rogers Cup quarter-final match in Toronto, marred by four rain delays on Friday.

The 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 win arrived after the delays, which all came during the first set, appeared to boost the sixth-seeded Dane.

Trailing 3-0 when the match was interrupted, Wozniacki appeared relaxed during the breaks.

They gave her time to consult with her father and longtime coach Piotr Wozniacki, before she won five straight games and ultimately took the first set.

“Almost every tournament I’ve played this year there has been a rain delay so at this point I just have to laugh because I feel like it is following me,” she said during a courtside interview after the 3 hour 26 minute match.

“Every time this year when it has been raining I’ve had a great tournament, so I thought this must be luck.”

The delays and Wozniacki’s solid all-around game appeared to throw off the big-serving Pliskova, who was playing in her first tournament since becoming the top ranked player.

The victory marks Wozniacki’s first career win against a world No.1 and gives the 27-year-old a 6-2 advantage in head-to-head matches with Pliskova.

Wozniacki will face unseeded American Sloane Stephens in the semi-finals after she overwhelmed Czech Lucie Safarova 6-2 1-6 7-5.

The remaining two quarter-finals will be decided on Saturday.

Fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza is one set up against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, winning the opener 6-4 before the day’s play was ended by rain.

Simona Halep was yet to start her match against Caroline Garcia.

Saints aim to keep AFL fate in their hands

St Kilda’s AFL finals ambitions are at the tipping point.

长沙夜网

If they beat Melbourne in Sunday’s MCG clash, the Saints stay in control of their destiny and remain on track for a return to September.

Should they lose, they have to start relying on what happens to teams above them on the ladder.

The Saints are 11th and the Demons are one spot above them on 10 wins apiece.

Eighth-placed Essendon are ahead of them on percentage with three rounds left.

After Melbourne the Saints play North Melbourne and Richmond.

“What tomorrow is, certainly for us given our percentage… (the game) still keeps it in our control,” St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said.

“You win 13 games, you’re very, very, unlikely to miss.

“If you lose tomorrow, then it’s very much up to what other teams do … (we will) need a bit of luck.

“It’s good to have our destiny in our control.”

Melbourne, like the Saints, have won only one of their past four games.

The Demons dropped four players, led by Jack Watts, and coach Simon Goodwin spoke of the need for more ferocity in their game.

The hotter it is, the better, for the Saints, who are coming off a tight win over West Coast.

“We couldn’t have come off a better game from that perspective; we ended up winning the contest by 30-odd,” Richardson said.

“That’s when we’re playing our best footy, (when) we’re strong in that space, so it will be a really fierce contest.”

Tall utility Sam Gilbert will return from a broken finger but veteran Nick Riewoldt was ruled out because of concussion.

Richardson said Riewoldt was close to being available and did not take well to the call by the club medical staff.

“He certainly challenges the doctors and that’s an understatement. Tthey’ve asked for mouthguards and head gear after the way he reacted to their call,” Richardson said.

“That’s been his greatest strength … he’s a driven, ambitious, competitive person.”

Hodge return a welcome AFL boost for Hawks

To farewell loyal fans is not the only reason Hawthorn will welcome suspended ace Luke Hodge back for Sunday’s AFL game against North Melbourne in Launceston.

长沙夜网

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said the retiring former skipper is critical to organise an inexperienced defence that was exposed by Richmond’s relentless pressure last round.

“We missed him last week” Clarkson said.

“We’ve got a pretty young defence and they’ve acquitted themselves pretty well, but the wise, old counsel of Hodgy has assisted them enormously.

“He has had a rest, so, hopefully, he’s jumping out of his skin to play again.

“It (Tasmania) has been a home away from home for us for a long period of time, and he has been a big part of that.

“So, it will be a good chance to thank the fans down there.”

Clarkson reaffirmed 198cm second-year backman Kaiden Brand for the important role on Kangaroos forward Ben Brown.

“Brandy’s probably the only one down there who has got the reach to get anywhere near Browny,” Clarkson said.

“So, he’ll probably get first crack on him, but the way we defend, we’re going to need guys to help out at different stages.

“And that includes the midfield to apply pressure on the ball so it’s not giving easy access to Brown and others.

” … their midfield is still very, very strong. They’ve got some outstanding leaders and really strong ground-level players and (Todd) Goldstein is still a very threatening ruckman.

“We need to win that midfield battle so it doesn’t get to Brown. Even in their defence with (Robbie) Tarrant and (Scott) Thompson, they acquit themselves well.”

Clarkson said it was as important for prized recruit Jaeger O’Meara as much as the club for the injury-restricted midfielder to start back with VFL affiliate the Box Hill Hawks this weekend.

“We had to make sure the bone stress in his knee was fully repaired,” he said.

“Because there has been so much hysteria around his recruitment, I think it’s important for him and our footy club and supporters and just quietening down the hysteria on whether he’s ever going to return.”

“He gets a reminder of what it’s like to play footy again. He has played very little over three years now, so any game is fantastic for him.”

Not all doom and gloom for Sharks: Gallen

The man hurting the most after Cronulla’s thrashing by Brisbane – Paul Gallen – insists it is “not all doom and gloom” for the defending premiers despite their pre-finals stumble.

长沙夜网

Gallen was shattered after his 300th-game celebrations were soured by Brisbane, who kept their top-four hopes alive with a 32-10 romp at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

In contrast the Sharks could finish the round in sixth after their second straight loss.

Cronulla appeared fatigued in an error-riddled display that turned a match billed as a top-four blockbuster into a one-sided fizzer.

But Gallen – who turns 36 on Monday – warned Cronulla fans not to panic, reminding them the Sharks also appeared vulnerable before their historic premiership triumph.

Last year Cronulla lost four of their last five regular-season games before regrouping to clinch their maiden title.

“I think the motivation is still there (to defend the premiership),” Gallen said.

“We still want to win. I think we lost three in a row this time last year so it’s not all doom and gloom.

“We can turn it around in one game.”

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan went one better, saying they could fix their problems in one half.

That may be easier said than done after Cronulla made 16 errors and missed 54 tackles against Brisbane.

“I don’t think we are lacking drive or energy, I just think it is our discipline in all areas of the game and it has been an issue all year,” Flanagan said.

“But we can fix it one game. We can fix it in one half.”

Flanagan bristled at the suggestion Cronulla had finally run out of gas after clawing their way through the season earning some wins “they didn’t deserve”.

“I don’t know if we have won games we didn’t deserve to, we have fought really hard,” he said.

Flanagan couldn’t hide his disappointment after Gallen lost yet another milestone game, having lost his 100th and 200th matches.

“I don’t want that performance to take away from Gal’s 300,” Flanagan said.

“It should be celebrated. But we just couldn’t get the job done. It’s disappointing.”

Gallen became just the second man to play all of his 300 games for Cronulla, behind only Andrew Ettingshausen (328).

“I am happy I got to 300 games but it is about the team and we didn’t perform well tonight,” Gallen said.

“We are all hurting, not just me, about the performance we put on.”

Hong Kong now involved in contaminated egg scandal

Ministers and food safety chiefs from around the European Union are set to meet on September 26 in a bid to get countries to stop “blaming and shaming” each other over the scare involving the chemical fipronil.

长沙夜网

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe and dozens of poultry farms closed since the discovery of fipronil, which can harm human health, was made public on August 1.

MORE NEWS

The issue has sparked a row between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, the three countries at the epicentre of the crisis, about how long they knew about the problem.

“Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this,” Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for health and food safety, told AFP as he announced the meeting.

“We need to work together to draw the necessary lessons and move forward instead.”

0:00 Belgian farmer fears economic effects as egg scandal widens Share Belgian farmer fears economic effects as egg scandal widens

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that “this is not, let’s be clear, a crisis meeting” and it is being held next month to get “distance to the events”.

Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but is banned by the European Union from use in the food industry. 

The EU insists there is no threat to human health, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that when eaten in large quantities it can harm people’s kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Dutch admit ‘errors’ 

Brussels said the 15 affected EU countries were Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark, along with non-EU Switzerland.

But in a sign the crisis is going global, Brussels also announced that Hong Kong had received some tainted eggs from the Netherlands, with the southern Chinese city becoming the first place in Asia known to be affected.

Hong Kong health minister Sophia Chan said Saturday authorities were “strengthening” inspections of eggs from Europe.

As well as dealing with the immediate food safety issue, the EU is also seeking to calm tempers over the egg row after a series of divisive crises in the bloc in recent years, from Brexit to migration.

0:00 Two arrested as Europe egg scandal spreads Share Two arrested as Europe egg scandal spreads

Belgium earlier this week accused the Netherlands of knowing about the fipronil eggs since November 2016 and failing to notify other countries.

On Thursday Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers admitted the government had made “errors” but denied a cover-up.

“We were well aware of a report of the presence of fipronil in the pens of egg-laying hens in November 2016, but there was no indication at the time that fipronil itself was found in the eggs,” said Schippers.

A Dutch whistleblower separately said he had told the authorities that Chickfriend, the Dutch company at the centre of the scandal, was illegally using fipronil in the treatment of lice in chicken pens in The Netherlands.

“I am the anonymous whistleblower,” Nick Hermens told the NPO public broadcaster.

A Belgian company, Poultry Vision, has said it provided Chickfriend with the chemical.

Dutch and Belgian investigators carried out coordinated raids on several premises on Thursday, arresting two people at Chickfriend.

However, Belgium itself has been forced to admit that it knew about fipronil in eggs back in June but kept it secret for nearly two months because of a criminal investigation.

Fresh discoveries  

Fresh discoveries of contaminated eggs have continued daily.

Denmark said on Friday it had found two tonnes of fipronil-tainted scrambled eggs, bringing the total of contaminated eggs to 22 tonnes, mainly from Belgium. 

Poland said it had discovered about 40,000 eggs imported from Germany.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said that since April the country had sold nearly 250,000 contaminated eggs, imported from Belgium and the Netherlands, but the risk for consumers was “very low” given French eating habits.

The food scare is one of the biggest to hit Europe since the 2013 horsemeat scandal when equine meat was falsely labelled and mis-sold.

Previous food scandals include contamination of chickens and eggs by dioxin in 1999, which began in Belgium, and mad-cow disease — cattle feed contaminated by the ground-up carcasses of animals infected with a deadly brain disorder — which ran from roughly 1986-1998 and started in Britain.

RELATED READING

Colorado DJ’s lawsuit against Taylor Swift dismissed

Pop star Taylor Swift has won an important ruling in the trial stemming from her allegation that she was groped by a Colorado disc jockey, with the judge dismissing the DJ’s rival claim accusing the singer of wrongfully getting him fired.

长沙夜网

The ruling by US District Judge William Martinez left intact Swift’s assault and battery countersuit against David Mueller, who asserts he was falsely accused by the recording star and ousted from his $150,000 ($190,000) a-year job at radio station KYGO-FM under pressure from her.

RELATED

The Grammy-winning artist known for such hits as Fearless and I Knew Your Were Trouble reacted to the decision with tears of joy, embracing members of her legal team and family members with bear hugs in the courtroom.

Mueller sat alone at the plaintiff’s table, appearing sombre as he sipped a glass of water.

Friday’s decision capped the fifth day of a trial highlighted by vivid testimony from Swift charging that Mueller clutched her bare buttocks during a pre-concert fan reception in 2013 against Mueller’s assertion under oath that he did no such thing.

Ryan Kliesch, a Denver radio host, emerges from the federal courthouse after testifying in the civil trial for pop singer Taylor Swift.AAP

The judge had tossed out Mueller’s defamation-of-character claim against Swift before the trial, ruling that the former Denver DJ had waited too long to file suit under the statute of limitations.

Earlier on Friday, Swift’s former bodyguard corroborated her account of being groped by Mueller, testifying that he saw the radio personality slip his hand under the singer’s skirt as they posed together for a photo with Mueller’s then-girlfriend.

Lawyers for both sides rested their respective cases after the ex-girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, took the stand as the final witness to deny seeing Mueller inappropriately touch Swift during the picture-taking session. But she added, “I don’t have eyes in the back of my head.”

After jurors were excused for the day, Swift’s lawyer, J Douglas Baldridge, asked the judge to throw out Mueller’s two remaining legal claims in the trial – disruption of his $150,000-a-year employment contract and interference with his future earnings.

Swift has said her representatives lodged a complaint with KYGO management about the alleged groping but insisted she never demanded Mueller be fired.

Douglas Baldridge, front center, attorney for pop singer Taylor Swift, leads his legal team out of the federal courthouse.AAP

Although Martinez agreed to dismiss both claims as they related to Swift, he kept the contract claim intact for Swift’s two co-defendants – her mother, Andrea, and her radio station liaison Frank Bell.

The eight-member jury also will be left to decide whether Mueller is liable for assault and battery, for which Swift is seeking a symbolic $1 in damages.

Swift, known for baring her soul and her grudges in her music, by all accounts was the undisputed star witness of her own trial, giving an unflinching account of the incident in question on Thursday.

In unvarnished language that occasionally drew titters in the courtroom, even from some jurors, Swift testified that she was the victim of a “devious and sneaky act.”

“Your client grabbed my ass,” she told Mueller’s lawyer, Gabriel McFarland. “He stayed latched onto my bare ass cheek. I felt him grab onto my ass cheek under my skirt.”

North Korea still mastering nuke delivery

While US intelligence officials are pretty sure North Korea can put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental missile that could reach the United States, experts aren’t convinced it would survive the flight.

长沙夜网

They cite lingering questions about Kim Jong Un’s nuclear know-how.

Could North Korea deploy nuclear weapons successfully time after time and hit their intended targets?

Would its weapon system break apart from the heat and stress it would sustain as it re-enters the atmosphere roughly 10 times faster than a speeding bullet?

“I don’t think North Korea has a good measure of how accurate the missile is at this point,” said Michael Elleman, an expert with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“They don’t know if the re-entry technologies will really hold up, whether the bomb will survive the trip.”

North Korea has short-range missiles that can hit its neighbours.

It has tested an intermediate one that could strike Guam, a US territory, as well as a longer-range missile that could reach Hawaii and perhaps the West Coast of the United States.

The intermediate and long-range missiles are still being developed and it’s still questionable if they can reliably strike targets.

Kim must do more tests to master what is known as “re-entry” in missile parlance, experts believe.

The process involves shielding a nuclear warhead from the high temperatures and force it faces upon re-entry at 7 kilometers a second.

“In principle, Kim Jong Un could hit the United States with a nuclear weapon,” said Elleman, a former scientist at Lockheed Martin’s Research and Development Laboratory who also worked as missile expert for UN weapons inspection missions.

“In practice, I think they are probably a half-year to a full year away from having something that will work more often than it would fail.”

Joseph Bermudez, an internationally recognised expert on North Korean defense and intelligence affairs and ballistic missile development, agrees.

“Putting these things all together and making them work is extremely challenging and they haven’t yet demonstrated a capability to produce a reliable re-entry vehicle, which is what houses the actual nuclear device,” he said.

“Remember, they’ve only tested these systems very few times.”

Still, Bermudez, said, North Korea is “on track” to figure it out.

US officials also think it’s just a matter of time before Kim’s program fully matures.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told Congress in May Kim has been photographed beside a nuclear warhead design and missile airframes to show that North Korea has warheads small enough to fit on a missile.

North Korea conducted its first test of an intercontinental missile on July 4. On July 28, it conducted a second test of its long-range Hwasong-14 ICBM.

The second test flight was captured by a rooftop camera operated by Japan’s NHK television on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Elleman, who analysed the video, concluded it most likely “disintegrated” before splashdown, suggesting North Korea is still struggling with re-entry.

Equality advocates welcome Warringah poll

Equality advocates are hoping a High Court legal challenge will kill off the federal government’s postal survey on same-sex marriage but, at the same time, they’re buoyed by an opinion poll in former prime minister Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah.

长沙夜网

A push to stop the controversial plebiscite will be heard in the High Court in early September just days before the vote is scheduled to begin.

Chief Justice Susan Kiefel on Friday said the full bench would hear the case on September 5 and 6.

The court received two separate applications. One came from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre on behalf of Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, advocate Felicity Marlowe and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Another was lodged by the Human Rights Law Centre on behalf of Australian Marriage Equality and Greens Senator Janet Rice.

Gay rights campaigners question the legal validity of the postal plebiscite and its $122 million cost.

They’re also concerned campaigning in the lead-up to the vote could tip over into hate speech and discrimination.

Still, they’ve been encouraged by an Australia Institute poll which suggests Mr Abbott’s own electorate overwhelmingly supports gay marriage.

The former prime minister, who opposes same-sex marriage, this week linked the plebiscite to religious freedom, freedom of speech and political correctness when urging people to “vote No”.

But in his Sydney electorate, 70 per cent off 700 resident surveyed said same-sex couples should be able to get married.

Liberal voters polled 60.3 per cent in favour, Labor voters 88 per cent and every Green polled expressed support.

“There is a massive mood for change on marriage equality around Australia and this poll is further evidence of that,” Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said in a statement on Saturday.

“Warringah voters look set to overwhelmingly back marriage equality and they do not appear to be buying into the line that the survey has anything to do with free speech or political correctness.”

Dragons back in the NRL finals mix

St George Illawarra have revived their NRL finals hopes with a desperately needed 42-16 victory over embattled Gold Coast.

长沙夜网

With their season on the line, the Dragons hauled themselves back into the top eight on Saturday with a seven-tries-to-three triumph ver the Titans at UOW Jubilee Oval.

Try-scoring doubles from winger Jason Nightingale, playmaker Kurt Mann and impressive hooker Cameron McInnes and a further four-pointer to Joel Thompson earned the one-time competition leaders just their third win in nine starts.

Gold Coast’s fourth-straight defeat has piled yet more pressure on beleaguered coach Neil Henry, while another lacklustre Jarryd Hayne display is certain to add to speculation around the superstar code-hopper’s future at the Titans.

Despite the Dragons living to fight another day, coach Paul McGregor wasn’t impressed with his side leaking three soft second-half tries after taking a commanding 22-0 lead into the break.

“I thought our first half was probably our best of the year, to be honest, defensively and attack-wise,” McGregor said.

“We were quite comfortable going in with a nice lead and I thought we started the second half aggressively.

“We didn’t have much possession the first six to eight sets and we tried to attack our way out of it instead of getting a nice comfortable grind through our defence.”

McGregor said his side couldn’t afford any such lapses on Friday night in a daunting clash with the second-placed Broncos in Brisbane.

“Our D’s going to have to be good because we’ve seen the last two weeks Brisbane put on – what, 80 points? – on two sides,” he said.

In ending a two-match losing run, St George Illawarra temporarily climbed above Penrith into eighth spot on points differential, ahead of the Panthers’ hosting of North Queensland.

The Dragons face Penrith in a potentially decisive round-25 showdown before finishing the home-and-away season with another must-win contest against Canterbury.

At least three dead in fresh Kenya poll protests

“We have one person killed and four others admitted in hospital with gunshot injuries,” said Dr Ojwang Lusi, the regional health chief in western Kisumu county.

长沙夜网

In the southwestern town of Siaya, a police officer speaking on condition of anonymity said a man had been shot dead in protests, but “we have not managed to collect the body… because of resistance from protesters.”

RELATED READING

Angry protests flared in opposition strongholds in Nairobi as well as in Kisumu after the election commission declared Kenyatta the victor in a hotly disputed vote over rival Raila Odinga.

After late night looting and riots, anger remained high Saturday morning, with running battles in the capital’s Mathare and Kibera slums.

Residents of the Mathare area of Nairobi, Kenya, take to the streets to protest in support of Kenyan opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga.AAP

However there were also joyous celebrations, some of which also turned deadly. A senior traffic police officer said “there were four people killed when they were hit by vehicles while celebrating.”

Kenya on edge

Kenya was on edge on Saturday after the disputed re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta sparked violent protests from opposition supporters who claim the vote was stolen from them.

While protests were limited to opposition strongholds, they came as a gloomy reminder of a disputed 2007 election which led to two months of ethno-political violence that left 1,100 dead and 600,000 displaced.

All eyes will now turn to opposition candidate Raila Odinga, and his reaction to his loss which he claimed was a result of massive rigging of Tuesday’s election, which his party denounced as a “charade” and a “disaster”.

0:00 At least five killed in Kenya protests Share At least five killed in Kenya protests

Odinga, 72, is a veteran opposition politician seen as having taken his last shot at the presidency after four unsuccessful runs. He believes elections in 2007, 2013 and now 2017 were snatched away from him.

Amid the anxiety over how the situation would unfold, there was also much joy in Kenyatta’s strongholds after he was declared the victor with 54.27 percent to Odinga’s 44.74.

“Let Uhuru rule. He is the best leader we have had,” said Simon Kipkoech in the town of Eldoret.

However in Odinga strongholds in Nairobi’s slums and poor areas, almost immediate protests and outbursts of anger were seen after the electoral commission (IEBC) announced the result, with gunshots ringing out and fires lit in the streets.

Burned tyres, debris and looted shops in the Kawangware slum in Nairobi bore testament to a night of running battles with police who tried to clear away rocks from the road, an AFP photographer said.

In the western city of Kisumu three young men were admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds, one to the jaw, another to a chest and a third, who gave his name as Michael Oluoch, 21, with a bullet to the thigh who said he had been shot by police.

Two men sustained gunshot wounds in the Mathare slum, according to an AFP photographer.

Human Rights Watch on Saturday urged police to show restraint in the face of protests.

“With growing reports of demonstrations and heavy gunfire in some areas, it is important for security forces to work to deescalate – not escalate – the violence,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at HRW.

“The police should not use teargas or live ammunition simply because they consider a gathering unlawful.”

‘Court is not an option’  

Foreign observers praised a peaceful, credible voting process — which saw turnout of 78 percent — but the mood quickly turned sour when Odinga rejected the results after only a few hours of counting.

The main opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA), has claimed both that the results were manipulated by a massive hacking attack, and that it is in possession of results being concealed on IEBC servers that show Odinga to be the rightful winner.

On Thursday it demanded Odinga be declared president on these grounds.

NASA on Friday demanded access to the IEBC’s servers, saying they would accept any result contained therein, as they remain convinced the commission has released manipulated results.

However despite opposition requests for more time to resolve their concerns, the IEBC went ahead and announced election results amid a NASA boycott.

In 2013 Odinga took his grievances to court and lost.

“We have been there before. Court is not an alternative,” said top NASA official James Orengo.

‘Let us be peaceful’ 

After being declared the victor, Kenyatta reached out to Odinga and his supporters, to “work together… so that we can build this nation together”.

“Let us be peaceful… We have seen the results of political violence. And I am certain that there is no single Kenyan who would wish for us to go back to this.”

Odinga had called for calm from his supporters before the announcement, but added: “I don’t control anybody. People want to see justice.”

Six people have died in election-related violence, including two protesters in Nairobi shot dead by police on Wednesday.

In his first term, Kenyatta, 55, was credited with a massive infrastructure drive, however his new government will face the rising debt as a result, and a predicted slowdown in growth from an average of more than five percent in recent years.

A major issue on the campaign trail was a spike in food prices and shortage of the staple maize meal due to a prolonged drought, which has hit the country’s poorest hard. 

Kenyatta’s administration has been dogged by several graft scandals, with the country dropping six points in Transparency International’s corruption index in 2016.