Archive for: ‘March 2019’

Tiger frustrated after losing ground at PGA

11/03/2019 Posted by admin

A heavy favourite coming into the tournament after winning last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by seven shots, Woods battled to a level-par 70 before heading off to the practice range.


His bid to end a five-year title drought in the majors appeared to be in tatters as he ended the day 10 strokes behind pacesetting American Jason Dufner, tied for 38th at one-over par.

“Obviously I’m going to have to put together a really good weekend,” Woods told reporters.

“This golf course is pretty soft. It’s definitely gettable. Got to hit the ball in play and keep the ball near the hole so I can be aggressive with my putts.”

Woods offset four birdies with four bogeys in a round that included 32 putts, and two three-putts over the closing stretch.

Asked if disappointment summed his feelings, Woods replied: “Just the finish I had obviously, and driving the green at 14 and three-putting there. And then three-putting at 16.

“I missed a few (putts) today. I didn’t hit it anywhere near as good as I did yesterday. Consequently, I didn’t have that many looks. When I did, I missed my share, too.”

Every aspect of his game appeared to be in top order last week as Woods clinched his 79th career PGA Tour win and his fifth victory of the year in just 11 starts.


Asked to explain the sharp contract in form, he replied: “Just the way it goes.

“Obviously I need to hit it better than I have, obviously keep the ball below the hole so I can be aggressive with the putts.”

A four-times winner of the PGA Championship, Woods faces a massive task going into Saturday’s third round as he seeks to regain form with 37 players ahead of him on the leaderboard.

“I’m going to have to do my job and shoot a good round,” said the 37-year-old. “But also, then again, I’m so far back that if the leaders go ahead and run off with it and shoot a low one tomorrow, I’m going to be pretty far behind.

“I have got to do my job tomorrow, go out there and post something in the mid to low 60s, like some of the guys did today.

“Some of the guys were seven under through 14, seven under through 14. It definitely can be done.”

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden)

Metalist expelled from Champions League by UEFA

11/03/2019 Posted by admin

The decision by UEFA’s appeals committee came 10 days after Metalist lost an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).


Metalist, runners-up in last season’s Ukrainian Premier League, have already knocked Greek side PAOK out of the competition and were due to visit Schalke on August 21 with the return on August 27.

UEFA said it’s emergency panel would meet later on Wednesday to “consider the consequences of the decision on the competition.”

Metalist said they would appeal to CAS and a ruling in their favour, which may not come until after the group stage has started, could throw the Champions League into confusion.

“We regret that such a sanction was applied, and we do not agree with it, that’s why today we plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne,” Metalist first vice president Kostyantyn Pyvovarov said in a statement.

“Also, we have appealed to the Supreme Court of Switzerland with the application for suspension of CAS decision.

“I want to remind you that the match, which allegedly took place, was held back in 2008, with the old owners of the club. At the same time, Metalist has won the right to participate in the Champions League 2013/14 in a fair fight.

“Our team, our fans deserve to take part in the main football competition in Europe. I want to assure fans that we will fight for the rights of the club and protect them in accordance with all legal requirements.”

Metalist were not the only club whose Champions League participation was shrouded in uncertainty.

CAS has already allowed Fenerbahce back into the competition while it considers an appeal from the Turkish club against their two-year ban from European competition over a domestic match-fixing case.

CAS have said they will make a final ruling on Fenerbahce’s case by August 28, the day after the Turks play the second leg of their playoff tie against Arsenal.

Fenerbahce have already eliminated Salzburg from the competition.

Earlier this month, CAS upheld a Ukraine Football Federation (FFU) decision to fine Metalist Kharkiv and FC Karpaty $25,000 (16,090 pounds) each over the manipulation of a match played in April 2008.

The tribunal also confirmed bans of between three and five years on six Metalist players, plus fines of $10,000 each.

Metalist director Yevhen Krasnikov was banned from any football-related activity for five years.

Two Karpaty officials were given suspended bans and ordered to pay “compulsory cash contributions” to the FFU while CAS upheld an appeal by a third official from the club.

CAS said in its ruling that the two clubs “were held liable for the behaviour of their football players or officials under the principle of strict liability.”

(Reporting By Brian Homewood, additional reporting by Olzhas Auyezov, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Customs defends boat distress responses

11/03/2019 Posted by admin

Australia’s border protection services are coming under fire amid claims they’re taking too long to respond to the distress calls of asylum seeker boats.



It comes after a baby died and eight others are missing — presumed dead — after an asylum seeker boat sank near Christmas Island last week.


But authorities say they have limited resources and must analyse the veracity of emergency calls before responding.


Ildi Amon reports.


The Department of Immigration says about 1000 asylum seekers have died at sea en route to Australia since 2001.


Former Australian diplomat and author of books on safety of life at sea, Tony Kevin, says in some cases, it’s a result of Australia eroding the time-hallowed rescue at sea obligations.


He says cynical Australian authorities spend too long analysing the credibility of distress calls with sometimes fatal consequences.


“The problem is being compounded because some of the boats coming down have used mobile phones to signal that they’re in distress when it’s not necessarily so. So you might say it’s a case of crying wolf too often. Unfortunately the wolf does sometimes come.”


Tony Kevin says the same type of credibility test would not be applied to yachts or other non-asylum boats which flag distress.


But Chief Executive of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Michael Pezzullo, told Sky News this isn’t true.


“Any suggestion that we treat persons on the basis of ethnicity or their legal status as asylum seekers with quote disdain which is the word he used, is offensive. It’s repugnant. We do not do that. As I’ve indicated in our statement we go through these processes very methodically. We look at all the evidence. There are a lot of distress calls that come in. Some of them frankly have to be treated with a degree of analysis so that we can both zone in on where we think the vessel might be so we don’t send an asset off to the wrong area and indeed test its credibility. That’s not treating people with disdain. That’s just doing our job.”


Mr Pezzullo says some asylum calls are attempts to get Australian vessels close-by so they are rescued by Australian vessels instead of a merchant vessel heading north to Indonesia.


But Mr Kevin says hours can be lost verifying emergency calls in a process he’s described as a lethal game.


“The issue is what box you put a distress call in. Do you put it in a box that says this needs to be responded to immediately in which case we call on our resources and go very quickly to the rescue because we’re nearby anyway protecting our borders? Or do you put it in a box that says this needs to be checked out, we need more time to see if this is genuine, or we need more time to see if we can find a northwards travelling merchant vessel to pick up this ship? In other words it’s a very complicated game. And what I’m suggesting is we need to re-order our priorities. We need to remind ourselves that safety of life at sea, response to distress calls at sea, comes first – even if there’s a possibility that they might be unfounded distress calls.”


Pamela Curr, from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, says she would like to see evidence of unfounded distress calls.


She says the boat journey from Indonesia is perilous, often in boats that are unfit for the conditions.


And Ms Curr says there’s no excuse for rescue attempts that come too late, often when people are already in the water.


“Java is 197 nautical miles from Christmas Island. It is very clear that people are travelling in a trajectory from Java to Christmas Island. So it’s not the entire ocean that needs to be surveyed.”


But Mr Pezzullo says the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has limited resources and it needs to be sure it’s responding to verified emergency vessels first.


He says even though it’s a challenging environment it’s not overwhelmed by the number of boat arrivals.


“We’re stretched, that’s true. But the vast majority of people are brought to Christmas Island safely.”


The Coalition has a plan it hopes will stop the boats if it’s elected to government.


One of these is sending boats back to Indonesia.


But Mr Kevin says he can’t see how this policy could be put into place.


“If we do it on the high seas it’s an act of piracy. If we do it in Australian waters we have to escort them to Indonesia. We have to get Indonesian permission to get them into Indonesia ports, which Indonesia has made clear would not be forthcoming. We then have the option of leaving them at the 12 mile international waters territorial sea boundary. If we do that and leave them there with petrol in their tanks they’re likely to burn and explode their boats, creating a rescue at sea situation to which we would have to respond. If we leave them without petrol they’re likely to just simply drift away from shore because the prevailing currents drift away from shore, so they’re likely to drift back into international waters creating a search and rescue obligation for Australia.”


Mr Kevin says, as a result, there’s no way the Coalition’s policy can be implemented in a safe way.


And he says it’s likely to result in even more deaths at sea.


“When asylum seekers think they’re in the process of being towed back or turned back or coerced back to Indonesia they will take desperate, sometimes suicidal measures to resist that. There’s plenty of history of this. And this puts both themselves at risk and our navy personnel at risk. There are also risks to the Australia-Indonesia relationship, which is a very important diplomatic relationship for Australia. There are risks to the morale of our Navy commanders and crews who know that they are acting in a way contrary to their maritime traditions and maritime rescue at sea laws, so it’s minefield we should not be voluntarily going into.”


US soldier apologises for Afghan massacre

11/03/2019 Posted by admin

A US soldier who has pleaded guilty to a shooting spree that killed 16 Afghan villagers has apologised for his crimes as a military court weighs his sentence.


“I don’t have the words to tell them how much I wish I could take it back,” Staff Sergeant Robert Bales said on Thursday at his sentencing hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, according to the News Tribune newspaper in nearby Tacoma.

He also apologised for disgracing the US Army, his family and his colleagues in the March 2012 shooting spree, the newspaper said.

The sentencing hearing will determine whether Bales, 40, can ever be eligible for parole.

He pleaded guilty to the slayings in June in a military court. The plea deal averted a possible death sentence. Bales faced 16 murder charges and six attempted murder charges.

His lawyers are arguing that he should one day be eligible for parole, while prosecutors have pointed to the heinous nature of the crimes in arguing to keep him in jail for life.

Bales, who claims he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and who had ingested alcohol and valium prior to the rampage, also pleaded guilty to burning the bodies of his victims, as well as the illegal use of alcohol and steroids.

Army prosecutors in the court martial had originally sought the death penalty for the military veteran.

Bales slipped away from his military base before dawn on March 11, 2012 and entered homes in a nearby village in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan and shot the civilians, many of whom were sleeping.

Nine children were among the dead, and 11 victims were from one family.

The killings heaped tinder on already smouldering resentment against the US among the people and government of Afghanistan.

Nation’s sound curators face tougher task

11/03/2019 Posted by admin

Social media is making the job of collecting Australia’s quintessential sounds harder.


Each year, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia collects and stores tunes that reflect life Down Under and Australian heritage.

There are now more than 70 tracks – some of news reports, birds chirping, and a Kylie Minogue song – all as diverse as the land from which they originate.

But this year, public nominations tripled, leaving the curators in Canberra overwhelmed by submissions on Facebook, Twitter and email.

It’s made the task of short-listing the top 10 tracks much harder, says sound curator Matthew Davies.

“This year, we have seen more public interest in Sounds of Australia than ever before,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We … had a number of excellent nominations that have not made it onto this year’s list.

“But with only 10 new sounds added each year to represent over 100 years of history, we have had to make some hard choices.”

Thankfully, the curators succeeded.

They don’t get as iconic as Peter Allen’s song I Still Call Australia Home, or as powerful as Archie Roach’s song about the stolen generations, Took the Children Away.

Both have been stored and locked into this year’s Sounds of Australia registry, among the yearly list.

There’s also Russell Morris’s Molly Meldrum-produced single The Real Thing, and a 1913 song by war time idol Florrie Forde.

Beyond songs, the collection also includes Roy and HG’s Triple J show from 1986-2008, This Sporting Life, and a recording of a lyrebird mimicking the sounds of a video game.