Rockliff salutes cousin in Lions’ AFL win

An emotional Tom Rockliff has fought back tears while paying tribute to his cousin, after helping Brisbane to thump Gold Coast by 58 points and boost their hopes of avoiding the AFL wooden spoon.

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Rockliff was a standout with 24 touches in Saturday’s 22.10 (142) to 12.12 (84) Gabba win, kissing a black armband after each of his three goals.

Every Lions player wore an armband to salute former Fitzroy player Eric Moore.

But Rockliff had a second in honour of his cousin and almost broke down post-match when asked about his inspiration.

“I lost my cousin earlier in the week – he was only 27,” a teary Rockliff told the Seven Network.

“It’s been a pretty tough week for the family.

“To get the result and get on the end of a couple (of goals), I know he is watching up there, down on us.

“It’s been a tough week but we will fight through it as a family.”

Rockliff combined with skipper Dayne Beams (four goals, 32 touches) and midfield livewire Lewis Taylor (25 touches, two goals) to help Brisbane seal their fifth win of the year.

Lions coach Chris Fagan praised Rockliff for his mental toughness after his inspirational display in such a tough week.

“He had a great game. He is a clever forward,” Fagan said.

“He was quite upset about it. The fella who passed away was only quite young.

“It hit home pretty hard but he held himself together and had an effective game for us.”

Gold Coast led by 22 points in the second term before Brisbane kicked 17 goals to four.

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

Since the round-11 bye, Brisbane are 4-6.

“We are hell bent on trying to get off the bottom,” Fagan said.

“If you look at the ladder after the bye, we are nowhere near the bottom – that’s exciting for us.P

“The belief is growing. It’s a slow process; every now and again it takes a hit.

“By and large, they are seeing themselves as a team that can compete, with an attitude of refusing to be beaten or downtrodden.

“Hopefully, that keeps us in good stead as we try and rise up the ladder and, hopefully, our fans can see there is something to get excited about.”

Dhawan hits hundred before Sri Lanka strike back

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

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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.

Following wins inside four days in Galle and Colombo, the world’s top-ranked side have opened an unassailable 2-0 lead and the injury-hit hosts face another stiff task against Kohli’s men in the finale.

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.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the only change for the touring side, called up as a replacement for suspended left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

The hosts have been hurt by injuries throughout the series and will be missing both spin spearhead Herath and paceman Nuwan Pradeep. Middle-order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva was dropped after scores of nought and 17 in Colombo.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O’Brien/Peter Rutherford/Toby Davis)

Panthers down injury-hit Cowboys in NRL

Penrith have consolidated their position inside the NRL top eight with a Nathan Cleary-led 24-16 win over an injury-ravaged North Queensland at Pepper Stadium.

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Cleary came up with arguably the try-saver of the year and scored two decisive second-half tries to lead his side to victory on Saturday night over a gutsy Cowboys.

The Cowboys, already missing Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Gavin Cooper, Antonio Winterstein and Te Maire Martin, were struck two massive blows when they lost Michael Morgan and Justin O’Neill to injury.

It’s feared O’Neill’s season is over with a suspected dislocated elbow. Halfback Morgan didn’t return in the second half after suffering a concussion.

The Cowboys were brave, playing the entire second stanza with two men on the bench, while fullback Lachlan Coote seemed to be playing through ankle and leg injuries.

After taking a 10-6 lead into halftime, the Cowboys extended their advantage when front-rower-turned-halfback John Asiata threw a short ball for Jason Taumalolo to get over.

After Cleary pulled his side back within four points with a 50th-minute try, he pulled off a memorable try-saver when he held up Cowboys big man Coen Hess to prevent North Queensland taking a 10-point lead.

The Cowboys ran out of gas with Cleary scoring twice in the last 30 minutes to give his side a valuable two points which jumps them into sixth.

After James Tamou crashed over against his old club, the teenage halfback delivered the coup de grace in the 70th minute for his side’s sixth win in a row.

“I’m always proud of this club. We didn’t write ourselves off,” Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said.

“It’s just business as usual. We’re not thinking all of a sudden ‘look what we’ve done’. We worked really hard to get to this point, the season’s on a knife edge and we need to get back and attack it again.”

It was the Cowboys’ third loss on the trot to put them in danger of missing the finals, however coach Paul Green declared they were still in the hunt.

“They didn’t roll over – we kept competing. I was really proud of the character,” Green said.

“While you’ve got that, you’re a chance in any game. We’re not done yet.

“It just feels like there’s a few things going against us the last couple of weeks.”

Eleven dead in Kenya post-election riots

Kenyan police have killed at least 11 people in a crackdown on protests as anger at the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta erupted in the western city of Kisumu and slums ringing the capital.

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The bodies of nine young men shot dead overnight in Nairobi’s Mathare slum had been brought to the city morgue on Saturday, a security official said.

They were killed during police anti-looting operations, he told Reuters news agency.

Separately, a young girl in Mathare was killed by police firing “sporadic shots”, a witness said.

The run-down neighbourhood is loyal to 72-year-old opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose party rejected Tuesday’s vote as a “charade”.

Tear gas and live rounds were fired in Kisumu. One man had been killed, a government official said.

The unrest erupted moments after Kenya’s election commission announced late on Friday that Kenyatta, 55, had secured a second five-year term despite opposition allegations the tally was a fraud.

Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said the trouble was localised and blamed it on “criminal elements” rather than legitimate political protest.

Odinga’s NASA coalition provided no evidence for its rejection of the result.

Kenya’s main monitoring group, ELOG, said on Saturday its tally matched the official outcome, undermining NASA’s allegations of fraud.

In addition to the deaths, Kisumu’s main hospital was treating four people for gunshot wounds and six who had been beaten by Kenyan police, its records showed.

One man, 28-year-old Moses Oduor, was inside his home in the impoverished district of Obunga when police conducting house-to-house raids dragged him out of his bedroom and beat him with clubs.

“He was not out fighting them. He was rescued by my sister who lives next to him. She came outside screaming at the police, asking why they are beating people,” his brother, Charles Ochieng said, speaking on behalf of a dazed Oduor.

More shooting was heard outside the hospital on Saturday morning.

In Nairobi, armed police units backed by water cannon moved through the rubble-strewn streets of Kibera, another pro-Odinga slum.

Interior minister Matiang’i defended the police against accusations of brutality.

“Let us be honest – there are no demonstrations happening,” he told reporters.

“Individuals or gangs that are looting shops, that want to endanger lives, that are breaking into people’s businesses – those are not demonstrators, they are criminals and we expect police to deal with criminals how criminals should be dealt with.”

As with previous votes in 2007 and 2013, this year’s elections have exposed the underlying ethnic tensions in the nation of 45 million, the economic engine of East Africa and the region’s main trading hub.

In particular, Odinga’s Luo tribe, who hail from the west, had hoped an Odinga presidency would have broken the Kikuyu and Kalenjin dominance of central government since independence in 1963.

Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president, is a Kikuyu.

Crows too good for Bombers in AFL shootout

Adelaide have left Essendon’s AFL finals hopes in tatters, downing the Bombers by 43 points in an Etihad Stadium shootout.

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The top-of-the-ladder Crows led at every break on Saturday night and survived a Cale Hooker-inspired Bombers comeback to post an 18.15 (123) to 12.8 (80) victory.

Gun forwards Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern booted three goals apiece while Matt Crouch (35 disposals, seven clearances) was dominant in the middle.

Adelaide had powered their way to a comfortable lead before Hooker turned the game with a huge second half.

The reinvented key forward booted two goals in quick succession midway through the third quarter to rouse the crowd from their slumber.

Former skipper Jobe Watson, who earlier in the week announced he would retire at the end of the season, brought the house down moments later when he kicked truly on the run.

Hooker then booted a 55m goal – his fourth for the night – to cut the margin to 19 points and give the Bombers hope of a miracle comeback.

But the Crows had all the answers, snatching the momentum back with goals to Brodie Smith and Jenkins on the verge of three-quarter time.

Jenkins proved the chief destroyer for the Crows in the final quarter, adding two more majors to his tally to put the result beyond doubt.

“There were probably a couple of times where Essendon really surged on us,” Adelaide coach Don Pyke said.

“It was a night where we were challenged in a number of ways and I thought we just found a way in the end.”

Hooker and excitement machine Joe Daniher combined for seven goals in a positive for the Bombers.

Top draft pick Andrew McGrath meanwhile achieved the rare feat of holding Crows genius Eddie Betts goalless in an excellent shutdown role.

But the clinical Crows ultimately proved too polished and too potent up forward.

“In areas of our game, we learnt that we’re not quite at the elite level yet,” Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

“Our ball use wasn’t as good as theirs … they took their opportunities and didn’t miss too many when they won the ball back.”

The result leaves the Crows six points clear of second-placed Greater Western Sydney, with a home final virtually guaranteed.

Essendon will finish the round outside of the top eight with just two games remaining.

The Bombers will start favourites against Gold Coast (away) and Fremantle (home) but even if they win both games, it may not be enough to secure a finals berth.

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.”