Labor, coalition launch in Brisbane

12/01/2019 Posted by admin

Labor and the coalition will both launch their federal election campaigns in Brisbane.

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The coalition launch is scheduled for this Sunday in the Queensland capital.

Labor’s launch will follow on September 1, heading into the final week of the campaign.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s home city of Brisbane also hosted the two major party launches during the 2010 election campaign.

The coalition launch’s program is still being finalised, but it is understood Queensland premier Campbell Newman has been invited.

Mr Newman has been the target of a Labor attack calling his public sector job cuts the “entree” to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s “main course” of federal budget cuts.

Mr Abbott has promised a commission of audit similar to that run in Queensland after the Liberal National Party’s landslide victory in 2012.

The Labor event will be the first time a major party leader has launched a national campaign in his own electorate.

Mr Rudd attended the low-key Labor launch in 2010, but did not play a role.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke introduced Julia Gillard to the party faithful, having ousted Mr Rudd less than two months earlier.

The coalition’s 2010 launch was a set-piece event, marred only by a streaker protesting the treatment of refugees.

Queensland is the key to Labor’s chances of retaining office.

It has 30 lower house seats, half of which are held with margins of five per cent or lower.

Labor holds only eight of these seats and must pick up a swag of others if it is to have any chance of winning on September 7.

Hird may sue AFL over supplements scandal

12/01/2019 Posted by admin

Essendon coach James Hird is planning to sue the AFL over its handling of the supplements scandal.

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Hird told a media conference on Wednesday he’d been denied natural justice by the AFL.

His legal team will lodge papers in the Victorian Supreme Court on Thursday.

“He will be lodging a statement of claim outlining his concerns about the processes that have led up to the particular events of today,” Hird’s spokesman Ian Hanke told AAP on Wednesday night.

“(It) will outline his concerns, his case and ask for certain issues to be resolved.

“It will document a series of events relating to the ASADA investigation and what steps should be taken to resolve it.”

The Bombers coach, the club and three other officials have been charged by the AFL with bringing the league into disrepute over Essendon’s supplements scandal.

On Wednesday, eight days after the AFL announced it had laid charges against Essendon and the four individuals, chief executive Andrew Demetriou went ahead with the league’s intention to release the details in a 34-page document described by AFLPA chief Matt Finnis as shocking and distressing.

Hird is demanding the case should be heard by an independent tribunal, not the AFL Commission.

A Fairfax Media report says Hird’s legal team will demand the AFL provide particulars of charges it has laid against Hird and a list of witnesses for the case, which was originally scheduled to be heard next Monday by the AFL Commission.

Hird is concerned he had not been given the chance to contest evidence compiled since his day-long interview with ASADA in April, the report says.

Hird denies several key allegations contained in the 34-page report released by the AFL on Wednesday, including that he suffered side-effects from using Melanotan II and that he was warned by the AFL in August 2011 against using peptides.

He also denies it was his responsibility to conduct appropriate background checks on Dean Robinson and Steven Dank before the Bombers employed them as high performance coach and sport scientist.

Hird also maintains he never received the letter written by club doctor Bruce Reid, addressed to Hird and ex-club football manager Paul Hamilton, which addressed Reid’s concerns over the use of some supplements.

However Hird says he did discuss some of its contents with Reid.

No doping cases from Tour de France

12/01/2019 Posted by admin

No riders tested positive for doping at the Tour de France, the International Cycling Union said on Tuesday, after the complete analysis of 622 samples.

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The testing program included 113 urine samples tested for EPO and 15 for steroids.

In blood analysis, 22 samples were tested for EPO-like substances, 18 for human growth hormone and two for transfusions.

“We don’t have any adverse finding from the Tour de France,” Francesca Rossi, director of the UCI-appointed Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), told reporters at a briefing.

The testing included 203 samples taken from riders in training and 419 during the three-week race, which was won by Chris Froome of Britain.

A total of 443 blood samples and 179 urine samples were taken in a program jointly run by the UCI and the French anti-doping agency (AFLD).

Most blood samples were used for comparisons to the biological passport system, which charts the blood levels of riders.

The total samples of 622 rose from 566 for the 2012 Tour at which only Frank Schleck of Luxembourg tested positive for a banned diuretic.

Tour riders who used banned drugs or doping methods could yet be identified because stored samples can be analysed again in the future using new or improved testing techniques.

Rossi said the foundation could re-test when the World Anti-Doping Agency certifies threshold limits for substances such as AICAR and growth hormones.

She also expects steroid profiling to be added to the biological passport which the UCI has managed since 2008.

Cycling’s anti-doping program is an issue in the current UCI presidential election, with challenger Brian Cookson pledging to create an agency independent of the governing body. UCI President Pat McQuaid supports the existing structure to catch drug cheats.

However, Rossi said the CADF is working to create an independent oversight board “starting work with us very soon.” The UCI will continue to host the foundation and fund 15 per cent of its annual budget of 7 million Swiss francs ($A8.4 million).

“In a technological world, location is less important than people. For me, independence is not an address,” she said.

Rossi acknowledged that the CADF has not secured a working agreement with the US Anti-Doping Agency, whose investigation exposed massive doping by Lance Armstrong’s teams in a report published last October.

“We will come back to them again and try to sign an agreement very soon,” Rossi said.

‘A crime against humanity’: Ban Ki-moon

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

The use of chemical weapons in Syria would constitute a “crime against humanity,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, warning of “serious consequences” if their use was proven.

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“Any use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anybody, under any circumstances, would violate international law,” Ban said in impromptu remarks at a scheduled event in the South Korean capital Seoul

   

“Such a crime against humanity should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator,” he added.

   

A UN inspection team is already on the ground in Syria and Ban urged the Syrian authorities to cooperate with an immediate investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus which the opposition says killed hundreds.

   

“This is a grave challenge to the entire international community – and to our common humanity, especially considering it occurred when the United Nations expert mission is in the country,” Ban said.

   

“I can think of no good reason why any party — either government or opposition forces — would decline this opportunity to get to the truth of the matter. “

   

Footage distributed by activists showing unconscious children, people foaming around the mouth and doctors apparently giving them oxygen to help them breathe has triggered revulsion around the world.

   

Ban said the report of the attack was “very alarming and shocking” and underlined the need for all sides in the Syrian conflict to lay down their arms and begin a dialogue

Tiger looking for great golf season

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Tiger Woods, who is finding a 15th major title the most difficult of his career to win, says he will not need a major triumph for this to be a great season.

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Woods, who has won five US PGA titles this season, will try to end a five-year major win drought starting Thursday at the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

The world number one has not had a major win since taking his 14th crown at the 2008 US Open.

Asked if his 15th had become the toughest to win, Woods replied: “It kind of seems that way.

“I’ve had my opportunities on the back nine of probably half of those Sundays for the last five years and just haven’t won it. But the key is to keep giving myself chances and eventually I will start getting them.”

Woods once judged a great season by whether or not it contained a major title, but his standards appear to have softened.

“It has been a great year for me so far, winning five times,” Woods said. “I think winning one major championship automatically means you had a great year.”

After settling for a share of sixth at the British Open three weeks ago as he struggled to read the speed of the greens, Woods has devoted most of his first two practice rounds at Oak Hill to chipping and putting.

“There are quite a few subtleties,” Woods said. “These little ridges and waves in the greens, a little bit of grain here and there. They are tough.”

Woods said a child was nearly injured Tuesday when he went to sign some autographs.

“She was just on the ground crying. People get so aggressive for autographs. You try and sign but sometimes the adults start running over the little kids up front.”

Analysis: Abbott’s ‘new way’ message now ‘choose change’

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Increasingly confident of victory, but with his fingers tightly crossed against any last minute hitches, Tony Abbott projected a cautious and touch humble persona at his campaign launch.

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The opposition leader kept his immediate promises modest, but was much bolder when he was talking about a decade on.

In the short term, there is a carrot for self funded retirees – increasing the eligibility thresholds for the Commonwealth Seniors Heath Card.

These people are a core constituency for the Coalition. But the message coming back is that some have been unsettled by the argument over the lack of franking on the levy to help finance the Abbott paid parental leave scheme. Labor is capitalising on one of the few advantages the campaign has thrown up for it, targeting retirees in tough advertising.

The loan scheme for apprentices announced by the opposition leader, is pitched at the “Abbott Battlers”, especially in western Sydney, where Labor is struggling and Kevin Rudd found the going difficult during his visit late last week.

The launch, with warm ups from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop and Nationals leader Warren Truss, reflected all the focus group messages. Kevin Rudd is a “fake”. The election is all about “trust” – the trust deficit is apparently much bigger even than the fiscal deficit.

The Coalition has neatly turned Rudd’s “new way” back on him, using it to its own advantage. Rudd doesn’t talk about a “new way” so much these days – but Abbott cuts through with the logic that the only real “new way” is to get a new government. “Choose change and there are few problems that cannot be improved,” he promised.

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Talking about the long-term Abbott didn’t hold back. He declared that within a decade, the budget surplus would be 1% of GDP, defence spending 2% of GDP, the private health insurance insurance rebate would be restored (that is, the means test scrapped), and each year government would be a smaller percentage of the economy.

Would these ambitions be achievable? Who knows. Presumably if they became dodgy they could be reined back or scrapped later. But anyway, a Coalition government might not be around as long as that. The Labor government, if it is defeated, will have only lasted for six years.

Abbott’s emphasis is on keeping promises in the first term as well as convincing people he would hit the ground running. The first day was looking a bit frenetic as he listed what would be started: he’d be instructing the public service to prepare the carbon tax repeal legislation and giving directions for “operation sovereign borders”. Then there is an agenda for the first hundred days.

Abbott is unhesitating about his plans but deperate to avoid sounding as though he has any feeling of entitlement, and anxious to reassure. “Give my team a chance,” he appeals. He promises: “I won’t let you down.”

The tone of the launch was traditional and low-key. Without razzmatazz. When Abbott finished speaking, there was no exuberant, arms aloft rallying gesture – rather a modest half wave to the crowd.

The out-of-the-box surprise was having daughters Frances and Bridget introduce him with folksy, anecdotal contributions, designed to make Dad look human and fallible but strong and reliable (and of course woman-friendly).

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“For us, he’s not just the guy on TV, he’s the man, along with our Mum, who has helped us become the women we are today, Frances said. She told a story about her “netball dad”, who was a ferocious barracker from the sidelines. The tale had a message of course. For a man who has never put on a netball skirt, Dad was always giving us netball advice – it was only a few years later when I realised that the advice he gave was more about life than just the sport. He said, you must give it everything you’ve got, play as a team, watch out for each other, look ahead, stay focused, enjoy yourself, always get back up and don’t forget to shake hands.

Bridget rammed home the positives: Dad treated everyone with respect, was a listener, a learner, not judgmental, he didn’t think he was smarter than you were. “That’s the type of Dad he is for us and if elected, I know that’s the type of prime minister he will be for Australia.”

Abbott has been lucky in this campaign. Kevin Rudd, lauded and returned to the leadership for his campaigning skills, has not proved to be the great campaigner his supporters had hoped.

Things again went awry this weekend, when he switched attention to foreign affairs and the crisis in Syria. It was perfectly reasonable to call the Saturday meeting of senior ministers to receive a briefing on the Syrian events – Australia is about to assume the chair at the United Nations Security Council. But when this was reported (wrongly) as Rudd suspending his campaign to deal with the Syrian issue, and then he fulfilled an engagement to film the ABC’s Kitchen Cabinet, his critics were able to have a field day. Rudd should’ve been clearer about what he was doing.

Appearing on ABC television today, Rudd was heavily on the defensive. His admission that the Labor government had not had a mandate for the carbon tax was another golden moment for the opposition.

In Labor circles, some are talking about how Paul Keating managed to turn around the 1993 campaign and grab victory in the “unwinnable election”.

Rudd said, when he went into this election, that he was the underdog, although to many observers he appeared to have a much better prospect of victory than Keating did at the beginning of the 1993 campaign. But most things that have happened since appear to have diminished his chances of doing a Keating.

Abbott still has to get through the row that will erupt when the Coalition finally produces its total costings in the last week of the campaign. That will be an opportunity for Labor, but unless something changes dramatically, it is likely to come too late.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Cochlear looking for success in Nucleus 6

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Hearing implant maker Cochlear says its “game-changing” Nucleus 6 device will be the big driver behind its 2014 financial results.

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The company says rollout of the device, which it describes as the most advanced cochlear implant sound processor ever released, is underway in Europe after its sale in the region was recently approved.

Regulatory approvals in other jurisdictions, including the key United States market, are expected during the year.

“We do think that how we go with Nucleus 6 will be important in terms of how fiscal 2014 will look, both in terms of various regulatory approvals and our ability to execute on these launches,” Cochlear chief executive Dr Chris Roberts told reporters on Tuesday.

“And then it’s how well we get traction on these truly game-changing features in this product.”

The Nucleus 6 system has five times the processing power of the Nucleus 5 and can automatically process sounds according to the sound environment of the patient, such as speech, noise, music, quiet or wind.

Dr Roberts said it was the most advanced cochlear implant sound processor ever released in terms of hearing performance and usability.

Cochlear on Tuesday posted a net profit of $132.6 million for the 2012/13 financial year, up from $56.8 million in the previous year.

Its 2011/12 result was pulled back by $101.3 million in after-tax expenses linked to a recall of the CI500 series implant in September 2011.

The latest result was in line with guidance provided in June, when the company flagged weakness in its key market in the United States.

Cochlear subsequently lost nearly a fifth of its market value as investors dumped shares.

Dr Roberts on Tuesday said a record number of patients globally had received a Cochlear implant over 2012/13 and the company had focused on bringing new products to market, especially Nucleus 6.

But over the year, sales in the Americas had fallen four per cent to $284.4 million.

Sales of sound processor upgrades to existing cochlear implant recipients in the Americas were down $17.0 million ahead of the release of the Nucleus 6.

Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa dropped one per cent to $283.0 million and sound processor upgrade sales were also down ahead of the release of the Nucleus 6.

But the Asia Pacific region was the standout performer, with sales jumping 20 per cent to $147.6 million on the back of a large tender sale to China.

Shares in Cochlear were 41 cents higher at $59.56 at 1316 AEST on Tuesday.

Defiant Marshall wanted to please Blues

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Benji Marshall wants to add to his rugby league legacy, but admits his desire to appease his new employers motivated his appearance in an Auckland Blues jersey.

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Wests Tigers star Marshall was unapologetic on Tuesday after appearing in a video message donned in a Blues jumper to announce his impending code switch.

With four games left in the NRL season – including a possible 200th game in the black, white and gold – and with Marshall still harbouring hopes of playing for New Zealand in the rugby league World Cup, the announcement hit a raw nerve in league circles.

Twice asked if he regretted the way his new deal was conveyed, Marshall switched the onus to his future bosses.

“What’s been done has been done,” Marshall said.

“At the end of the day that’s where my job’s going to lie next year, they wanted to put that out and release that.

“That’s over as far as I’m concerned.”

The announcement, described by coach Michael Potter as being in “bad taste” threatened to further damage a legacy already tarnished by a messy contractual dispute which hastened his departure from the Tigers.

Despite rumours of a rift with Potter, Marshall was adamant he would retain his place in the Tigers side long enough to play his 200th top grade game against South Sydney in round 25.

“I am confident. I’ve been having a good chat about it and if that’s the way it goes that I don’t see it, then 200 games is just a stat,” Marshall said.

“I don’t play the game for rugby league stats, I play the game to do my best for my teammates and because I love playing the game with the boys.”

According to Marshall, his relationship with Potter won’t affect his chances of reaching the milestone, despite the coach claiming on Sydney radio on Monday that his five-eighth knew better for his video message to be deemed an act of naivety.

Marshall somehow denied Potter had been critical of his actions.

“He actually didn’t rip me out, he called me last night to tell me it was quite the opposite,” Marshall said of what transpired with Potter.

“The relationship between myself and the coach is great, we get along great, no dramas there.”

While the Tigers remain his immediate focus now that his future has been sorted out, Marshall admits he would be keen to bow out of the game at the World Cup at the end of the year.

He is yet to speak with either the New Zealand Rugby League or the Blues about his desire to play in the tournament.

“It’s something that I’ve always done proudly throughout my career is represent New Zealand,” Marshall said.

“One of my proudest moments of my life was being captain in New Zealand.”

Thrilling attack will be no defence if City fail

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

City’s back line has looked vulnerable in the close season and they go into their first match at home to Newcastle United on Monday having let in eight goals in their last three warm-up matches, including a 3-1 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday.

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This after boasting the meanest defence in the league last season when they let in 34 goals in 38 games in finishing runners-up to neighbours Manchester United.

In the previous season they had an even better record, conceding just 29 on their way to the title.

Having spent around 90 million pounds on forwards Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, winger Jesus Navas and midfielder Fernandinho in the close season, it is not surprising they have also scored seven times in those games.

The trouble is that more goals conceded than netted does not add up to silverware, a challenge for a club whose chief executive has set a target of five trophies in the next five years.

There is still time before the transfer window closes at the end of the month for the wealthy club to bolster their defence but even if they do, they seem to have made it clear where their priorities lie.

Pellegrini, who replaced the sacked Roberto Mancini in June, has promised to instil an attractive brand of attacking football in his team but also knows this cannot be at the expense of City’s recent strengths.

“We had problems defending and we will try to improve this week,” local media quoted the Chilean as saying.

“If we buy someone, then OK. But, otherwise, we have a good squad. But, yes, we have conceded many goals, we will have to find ways to change this.

“You are always concerned when you are 3-0 down but we lost in pre-season. We did not lose three points and that is important. We will be at our best for the Premier League.”

UNDER RADAR

City trailed Manchester United by a hefty 11 points last season but with last term’s top three sides all under new management there is a sense of unpredictability about the new season and a feeling that Pellegrini has been flying under the radar.

While new United manager David Moyes has been batting away questions over the future of striker Wayne Rooney, while also conducting a very public pursuit of Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, second-time Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been chasing Rooney.

In the meantime, Pellegrini has been quietly going about his business, bringing in new players in good time while the others are most likely left to carry out their transfer activities once the season has started.

The former Malaga manager’s calm manner also offers an antidote to the sometimes temperamental Mancini, whose public criticism of his players fuelled media reports of dressing room unrest last season.

City fans are still fond of Mancini after an FA Cup win in 2011 and a Premier League title the following year, after more than three decades without a trophy. But they will hope that their new manager can bring the team back together.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart, one of the shining lights in the championship-winning season, was one of those to feel the sharp tongue of Mancini last term and Pellegrini will hope he can coax him and some of the others back to their best.

Pellegrini reckons he has the right players to bring in trophies.

“I think we have the best squad in England,” he told local media earlier this month.

“We bought four important players. We already had a very good team and with these four I think we improved a lot.

“We hope that from the first match against Newcastle at home we will start winning, and we will try to bring another trophy here.” ($1 = 0.6460 British pounds)

($1 = 0.6468 British pounds)

(Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Tony Goodson)

Boomers respect Tall Blacks’ passion

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

Favourites Australia will go in with confidence, but coach Andrej Lemanis says they’ll also take plenty of respect into their Oceania basketball championship series against New Zealand.

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The home-and-away tie begins in Auckland on Wednesday, with the Boomers’ 12-man roster boasting the likes of San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills and former FC Barcelona guard-forward Joe Ingles among six Olympians.

But Lemanis says his eight NBL seasons with the New Zealand Breakers taught him about the motivation levels of Kiwi players representing their country.

“I know New Zealand will play it down – `we’ve got these young kids’ – and all that,” he said.

“But I’m fully aware of the passion that they will play with and the character that’s in the group.”

The Mika Vukona-skippered Tall Blacks have four rookies in their squad and are missing high-profile names in NBA draft pick Steven Adams and experienced shooting guard Kirk Penney.

But they will go in match-hardened, having just completed an eight-game tour of China.

Lemanis was happy with his own players’ preparations during their week together.

“We come in here with confidence,” he said.

“We believe if we play well, we’re going to give ourselves a shot at winning the game.”

The return leg is in Canberra on Sunday.

With both Australia and New Zealand already headed for the world championships in Spain next year, the series is being used to help to determine seedings for that tournament.

Lemanis agrees that the scenario does take a bit of the edge off, but he has no doubts the intensity will lift at tip-off.

“Once you get on the court all that is forgotten,” he said.

“You go to practice sessions and teams are bitching about the score and the clock and `that’s a foul’, because both teams want to win. That’s the nature of the sport.”

The Auckland leg will be Lemanis’ first match back at the North Shore Events Centre since his emotional farewell to the Breakers after guiding the club to three successive Australian NBL titles.

Saad can keep playing in AFL for now

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

The AFL and former anti-doping boss Richard Ings have confirmed Ahmed Saad is within his rights to play for St Kilda, despite returning an irregular drug test result.

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Saad will most likely know in the next week whether his B sample is also irregular.

If that’s the case, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) will serve an infraction notice and Saad will go before the AFL tribunal.

Under anti-doping rules, the Saints small forward can keep playing until ASADA serves the infraction notice.

Brisbane fans booed Saad at the `Gabba last Saturday night after he was a late inclusion for the match.

He was not even one of their three emergencies until the Saints named him in the squad on Friday afternoon.

An initial irregular test result is supposed to be confidential until a charge is laid, but Saad’s case was leaked to the media last week.

“They’re completely compliant with WADA in that decision and whether he played or not was a decision for the club,” said AFL deputy chief executive Gil McLachlan.

“It’s pertinent to note here that normally this would be confidential – the fact it was made public makes it slightly different.

“But he’s well within his rights and there’s a process to play out here.

Ings, the former ASADA chief executive, also backed Saad’s right to play while ASADA continued to process the case.

“A positive test for a specified substance might attract a ban of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the circumstances,” Ings told the AFL website.

“So if you provisionally suspend someone, they may actually be provisionally suspended longer than the actual ban would have been.”

The Saints said Saad was brought into the side after a gastro bug swept through the club.

It was his first senior game since round 15.

Saints coach Scott Watters said on Friday that Saad’s anti-doping case was an isolated issue for the club.

Saad returned an irregular sample last month, with the Saints saying it was for a substance that is permitted for use out of competition but not in competition.

It is understood that the case stems from an energy drink that Saad took before the round 15 match against the Dockers.

Smartphones 51.8% Of global mobiles sales

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

Smartphones have made up the majority of mobile phone sales worldwide for the first time, according to new figures.

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Some 225 million smartphones were sold globally between April and June, or 51.8 per cent of all mobiles sold in that quarter, research firm Gartner said.

It is the first time smartphone sales exceeded those of feature phones – the more basic models that have limited or no access to the internet and applications.

The figures also show that Microsoft edged out BlackBerry for the first time in the smartphone operating system (OS) market, taking third position with a 3.3 per cent market share compared with BlackBerry’s 2.7 per cent.

Android continued to increase its lead, taking 79 per cent of the market in the second quarter, followed by iOS with 14.2 per cent.

The figures show Samsung sold 71.3 million smartphones in the quarter, a market share of 31.7 per cent, followed by Apple at 31.8 million units or 14.2 per cent of market share and LG Electronics with 11.4 million units or 5.1 per cent.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Smartphones accounted for 51.8 per cent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time.

“While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users.”

He added: “With second quarter of 2013 sales broadly on track, we see little need to adjust our expectations for worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to total 1.82 billion units this year.

“Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays, and the continued price reduction of smartphones, will drive consumer adoption in the second half of the year.”

Herman Cain, we hardly knew you

12/09/2019 Posted by admin

The former pizza boss has “suspended” his campaign for President, or at least the campaign to be the Republican Party nominee, after revelations that he may not be the man we thought he might be.

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Cain ended his run (“suspending” his campaign in favour of ending it is semantics so he can continue to attract funding for any other political endeavours he pursues) after a few too many women came forward to tell of sexual harassment and an extra-marital affair.

First, Sharon Bialek said Cain made unwanted physical advances on her 14 years ago when he was the chief of the National Restaurant Association, claiming he suggested he’d boost her job search in return for sex.

A second woman, Karen Kraushaar, joined Bialek with more sexual harassment claims during Cain’s tenure as National Restaurant Association boss. The organisation reportedly settled her concerns with a $45,000 pay out.

Then, two other anonymous women complained of harassment but it was the revelation by another woman with a movie star name that sealed Cain’s fate. Ginger White, unemployed and a failed small business owner, revealed she’d had a 13-year affair with Cain during which he provided her with money.

Cain apparently discussed the claims with his wife (who’d not known about the affair), publicly denied them, and decided to blame the media for his downfall.

As you do.

But among the wreckage, perhaps the satirical news outlet The Onion best summed up Cain’s campaign collapse with this headline: “Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn’t Know China Has Nuclear Weapons”

The Onion’s joke – funny because it is not a joke – referred to a Cain comment during a televised debate that inferred he did not know China has had nuclear capability for several decades. This from a guy who wants to lead the most militarily powerful nation on Earth.

Just how Cain rose to such prominence in the Republican campaign demonstrates the challenge facing the party in finding an electable candidate. On several occasions, Cain led credible polls leading the Republican nomination.

Cain somehow made Mitt Romney, the smart squeaky clean slick Mormon self-anointed as the Republican’s uninspiring conservative safe bet, look less of a sure a thing than first considered.

As for the new frontrunner? Welcome back Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker known for political brilliance and personal failings. Married three times, divorced twice, a run of form that included his own six-year extra-marital affair.

This is the best the Republicans, the party of family values, can do.

Gingrich is defending his past claiming human fallibility. Maybe so, but whether the Christian Right will agree with that, and the rest of America too, is another matter.

Just ask Herman.