Geitz coy on Diamonds future

Diamonds captain Laura Geitz is remaining coy about her international future, but coach Lisa Alexander says she can see the 27-year-old combining motherhood and netball to contest a third World Cup in 2019.

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Retirement speculation has surrounded Geitz since she led the Australian team to world titles glory in Sydney last month with a final win over New Zealand.

On Tuesday the Queensland Firebirds goalkeeper announced she has committed to next year’s trans-Tasman competition, when the franchise will attempt to win back-to-back ANZ Championship titles.

But speaking after the Diamonds’ victory ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday she was still non-committal about how long she intends to represent her country.

“It’s so hard to say,” said Geitz, who was also part of Australia’s 2011 World Cup-winning outfit in Singapore.

“I always say to myself that I’ll play while I’m performing and still enjoying it, and still feel like I’ve got something to offer both on and off the court.

“I think it’s impossible to know how long that will potentially be, and I’m really lucky to have achieved the things that I’ve been able to achieve.

“Anything now is a bonus so probably just taking it as it comes and not having too many plans set in my head.”

Geitz will almost certainly be named in Alexander’s Constellation Cup squad on Thursday, and the coach said she’d had a promising discussion with her star skipper about playing on even if she decides to start a family.

“I think she sees that it is possible for her to move through the next cycle,” Alexander said.

“She is only young, and I think out of anyone she could see that she may be able to combine motherhood and playing for her country.

“I’m definitely a coach that supports that – I had an elite career as a mother as well so I know you can combine both.

“It’s up to her whether she’s ready for that.”

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Young AFL ‘Dogs are ready: Murphy

Fear nobody, change nothing, you are ready.

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That will be the message from Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy to his young teammates ahead of their breakout AFL finals series.

After finishing 14th last season, the Bulldogs are sixth and will tune up for the finals with Saturday’s away match against bottom side Brisbane.

The Bulldogs should host an elimination final and the team will most likely feature only six survivors from their last match at the business end of the season, the 2010 preliminary final loss to St Kilda.

“The thing I will be telling the guys is they’re ready,” said Murphy, who played in the 2010 preliminary final.

“The training they’ve done, the way we’ve played has prepared them for the finals – not that it’s got them to the doorstop of the finals and now we have to invent something.

“They’re ready, they’re good enough and give it your best, it will be as basic as that.”

Murphy said far from being overawed, the Bulldogs pups are driving the team’s stunning success this season.

“They’re ambitious. We’re ambitious. But I say ‘they’ because the energy source does feel like it comes from this younger group and the older guys … are trying to be a guiding influence,” he said.

“Really, they’re the guys who are firing up the engines.

“Like young kids, they just love to play and that’s infectious.

“But what I will add to that is the coin toss won’t do itself and they need to know which way they’re kicking.”

Asked if this season’s success had been a surprise, Murphy said: “Not as much as outside people would suspect.

“Even over summer, I felt like it was going to be a pretty special year.

“I can’t put my finger on why that (was) – having said that, I have had a couple of other times in my career and we’ve finished last.

“But I had a sneaking suspicion.”

While some players are being rested before the finals, Murphy said he would play against the Lions and doubts the Bulldogs will make many changes.

He also has no problem if their elimination final is played at the MCG, rather than Etihad Stadium, where the Bulldogs have a strong record.

“Honestly … I’d be happy to play out at Western Park at Warragul, having missed out on the finals for four years,” he said.

“The spring weather, it is a time of optimism.

“When you’re a footballer and you’re not in and you’re finished, it’s a really horrible time in some ways.”

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Heat takes its toll at the US Open

The men’s top seeds breezed through sweltering conditions at the US Open on Tuesday but the crushing heat and humidity took the number of first-round retirements to a record ten.

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Second-seeded Federer had little trouble in seeing off Argentina’s world No.34 Leonardo Mayer 6-1 6-2 6-2 in just 77 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Where others have crumbled in the searing 31C heat, Federer gave no opportunity for the climate to get the better of him, firing down 12 aces and 29 winners as he went onto break serve six times.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion will now face Belgium’s Steve Darcis who was handed a place in the next stage when Cypriot veteran Marcos Baghdatis retired to become another addition to casualty ward with a groin strain.

Federer’s Davis Cup teammate and reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka was another to claim victory before the heat could have any impact on him, shooting down 10 aces and landing 70 per cent of his first serves to win through in straight sets against Spanish world No.58 Albert Ramos-Vinolas without facing a break point.

By the time night fell temperatures had eased, allowing 2012 winner Andy Murray to discard high-profile Australian Nick Kyrgios in four sets.

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis wasn’t so lucky, spending almost three hours on court in the hottest part of the day before succumbing to severe cramps in the fifth set against French 12th seed Richard Gasquet.

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt was the beneficiary of another injury when Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov was forced to retire with a right shoulder injury.

Hewitt led two sets to love at the time.

Earlier, Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis also quit, handing Great Britain’s Aljaz Bedene a 3-6 6-4 3-0 win.

In total, 10 of the 64 men’s first round matches ended prematurely due to injuries.

Comparatively, Vitalia Diatchenko and Marina Erakovic remain the only players to retire mid-match in the women’s draw.

In other men’s action, Japan’s Yoshihiro Nishioka and South Korea’s Chung Hyeon became the only two teenagers remaining in the men’s draw.

Nishioka outlasted France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu in five sets to claim his first grand slam victory, while Hyeon put the cleaners through James Duckworth, conceding just six games in his straight sets.

American No.1 John Isner breezed past Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-2 6-3 6-4 on the back of 24 aces and 54 winners.

Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who made the semi-finals in 2012, was also a comfortable winner, seeing off American wildcard Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3 6-2 6-4.

South African 15th seed Kevin Anderson also progressed through to the second round, defeating Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3.

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Hundreds of asylum seekers stranded at Hungary station

That came after police sealed off the terminal to prevent them from travelling through the European Union.

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Thousands of people use Hungary as a gateway to northern Europe to claim asylum.

 

Meanwhile, Greece has begun transporting ferries carrying thousands of asylum seekers from its islands to the mainland.

 

There have been angry scenes at Keleti station in Budapest as asylum seekers are barred from boarding trains out of Hungary.

 

Authorities have prevented at least a thousand people from catching trains to Austria and Germany.

 

After nearly four thousand asylum seekers arrived in Vienna from Hungary on Tuesday, authorities stopped all trains to check tickets.

 

Now, only non-asylum seekers are being allowed to leave by train.

 

German politician Annette Groth, visiting Hungary on a fact-finding mission, has told Al Jazeera she is appalled by the situation.

 

“This is a complete failure of human rights in Europe, this is what I have to say here. Massive human-rights violations here. People sleeping on the streets for days and days and days. There’s hardly any water, hardly any food.”

 

But Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs says his government is only applying European Union laws.

 

“It is impossible to come to Hungary without going through another European Union state, namely Bulgaria … or, rather, Greece and Bulgaria. And it’s completely unacceptable that the Greeks basically let these people come towards Hungary and towards the heart of Europe without any kind of registration.”

 

Europe is in the midst of the largest movement of people since the Second World War.

 

More than 300,000 people have arrived in Europe this year, fleeing from the Middle East and northern Africa.

 

But the European Union remains divided on how to address the issue.

 

Under current EU regulations, asylum seekers must remain in the first European country they enter while their protection applications are being assessed.

 

Germany is pushing for all EU countries to accept Syrian refugees.

 

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel says quotas must be established to ensure a fair distribution of asylum seekers across Europe.

 

“This should apply in every country of the European Union. We are, of course, following the rules, but we are seeing every day how these rules are not put into practice in the same way everywhere.”

 

But Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, says the quota system only encourages further exploitation of asylum seekers.

 

“It has been proven that some European leaders act contrary to European values and interests, as far as the handling of the challenges of migration is concerned. It became clear that policy based on mandatory quotas has failed, because it just encourages the human traffickers and immigrants to come to Europe. Meanwhile, those who are trying to make significant steps to stop the influx of migrants to Europe are facing a smear campaign based on false allegations or criticism.”

 

In Greece, more than 400,000 asylum seekers have been moved from the country’s small islands to the mainland.

 

Arriving at Athens’ main port, Piraeus, these were the reactions of the asylum seekers, most of them from Syria and Iraq.

 

“I want to say to Hungary, ‘Why? Why you want to stop the Syrians and the others? Why?’ We search about good life. We search about peace. We are human. We are human.”

“I wish the UN and other independent international organisations provide the help to these countries to support us.”

“Things got bad there (Syria) since four years ago maybe, the fanatic Islamic fighters and terrorism. So, I just came here seeking a chance to a better life.”

 

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White Ferns target Rose Bowl win

White Ferns Captain Suzie Bates says New Zealand’s cricketers are desperate to win back the Rose Bowl from Australia in this summer’s three-match one-day international series.

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It’s been 17 years since the New Zealanders won the Rose Bowl and they’ll have the home advantage in February when Mt Maunganui’s Bay Oval hosts all three 50-over matches.

The series will also double as a round of the ICC women’s championship.

“When it’s New Zealand against Australia there is always something special about it, particularly at home,” she said.

“No one in our team has ever won the Rose Bowl, but that only increases our hunger. We’ll be desperate to win.”

The New Zealanders begin their international season with a home series against Sri Lanka, with five ODIs and three Twenty20s from November 3-22.

Points for the women’s championship will be on the line in the first three ODIs.

White Ferns coach Haidee Tiffen says the two incoming tours will provide 14 days of international cricket, with the improving Sri Lankans a testing opener before the Australians.

“Australia will be the ultimate challenge. They’re world No.1 for a reason, but if we prepare well, we know we’re capable of beating them.”

TOUR SCHEDULE

Sri Lanka

ODIs: Nov 3, Nov 5, Nov 7 and Nov 10 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln; Nov 15 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch.

Twenty20s: Nov 15 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch; Nov 20 and Nov 22 at Saxton Oval, Nelson

Australia

ODIs: Nov 20, Nov 22 and Nov 24 at Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui

Twenty20s: Feb 28 and March 1 at Basin Reserve, Wellington; March 4 at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.

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Pregnant French tourist video a hoax

A viral video of a French tourist desperately seeking the man who impregnated her during a holiday fling in Australia has been revealed to be a hoax.

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The video went viral this week as the woman pleaded for members of the public to help her track down the Sunshine Coast father of her unborn child with whom she had fallen in love.

A Sunshine Coast social media company came forward on Wednesday to reveal the woman was an actress who volunteered to star in a video to promote tourism in Mooloolaba.

By the time the company came clean, the video had already attracted criticism on the woman’s Facebook page, with dozens of people predicting a hoax.

The woman was also abused for saying she had a one-night stand.

Others, however, were eager to claim responsibility for helping father the attractive woman’s baby.

The social media company has attempted to deflect any backlash against the woman by publishing a short video called “I found him”, in which owner Andy Seller claims responsibility for the stunt.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of you that are upset by this and maybe not too happy but this young lady was just a volunteer in this,” he said.

“I did all the Facebook, the YouTube … she had nothing to do with that, she was literally just an actress. We just wanted to put Mooloolaba on the map.”

This is not the first time social media viral hoaxes have backfired.

In 2009 Denmark’s national tourism organisation attempted a similar stunt, featuring a woman searching for the man who fathered her baby during a steamy evening in Copenhagen.

The ad was slammed worldwide by angry duped viewers, and the video was pulled from YouTube.

Also in 2009, Sydney-based agency Naked was forced to take cover after being named as the creator of a fake website featuring a girl trying to find a man who left his jacket in a cafe.

It later emerged the video was an ad for Witchery, which was selling the jacket.

However most mainstream media refused to name the brand after the company came clean.

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Broderick’s role comes full circle

When Elizabeth Broderick first took the job as sex discrimination commissioner, paid parental leave was a pipe dream.

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As she prepares to leave the post, the issue has resurfaced – but for the opposite reason.

It’s being wound back.

“It just goes to show important it is,” Ms Broderick told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

Ms Broderick doesn’t want the Abbott government to exclude women from getting both employer and taxpayer-funded government leave schemes.

She believes too many will be disadvantaged by the planned crackdown on so-called “double dippers”.

Any move to pare back support would just reinforce gender pay gaps and risk taking the scheme backward.

Parental leave should not be a woman’s issue but a family one, Ms Broderick said.

“The whole rhetoric needs to change.”

In her swan song after eight years in the job, Ms Broderick said there was much more work to be done by her successor.

She touched on the ongoing issues of workplace sexual harassment, pay gaps, domestic violence and targets for female leadership.

Fewer Australian companies were run by women than by men named Peter and having a target would hold those companies to account to do more.

“The fact is that the idea you can just pour in women and stir will never work.”

While the job has taken her from northern Australia to the valleys of Afghanistan, it was a role reviewing the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force in 2011 that still reverberates.

As she facilitated a discussion between victims and leaders, Ms Broderick sat in on a meeting between a young mother and a military chief.

When the woman told the chief she was nervous, he candidly replied that so was he.

“In that moment I knew we had a chance at change because not only does it take a courageous woman to be prepared to step up, but it takes an authentic and compassionate military leader to admit he fears what he’s about to be told,” she said.

That was a lesson in taking the personal to those in power.

Ms Broderick’s replacement has yet to be named by the federal government.

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Rockliff fears Lions player exodus

Two years after being rocked by a player exodus, Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff says the Lions must again reassess their ways amid fears a disgruntled Jack Redden’s departure will spark many others.

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Rockliff said he had failed to talk good mate Redden out of leaving the dead-last Lions after the midfielder this week asked to be traded with a year left on his AFL contract.

But Rockliff was also concerned more teammates would follow Redden out the door in scenes reminiscent of the Lions’ 2013 drama.

“That’s probably the concern at the moment, yeah,” he said on Wednesday.

“I think when one (player) goes you are always worried.

“There’s speculation about a lot of players.

“We don’t know until they come and tell us.

“I think most of the group is pretty happy and can see the future and where we are heading.

“There might be the odd couple that can’t.”

James Aish and Matthew Leuenberger are reportedly set to follow Redden.

Two years ago the Lions launched an internal probe after five home-sick players asked to return to their states in the 2013 AFL Trade period.

The Lions rebuilt under incoming coach Justin Leppitsch with more football department resources, including welfare and development.

However, Rockliff believed an unhappy Redden’s departure warranted another Lions internal review.

“Obviously we have to look at the way we do things around the footy club,” he said.

“If he (Redden) is upset obviously we need to improve in some areas of our footy club to make sure that we can retain them and keep players happy.”

Rockliff said he would “swap salaries” to keep best friend and former flatmate Redden at the Lions.

“It was pretty hard to swallow. It wasn’t easy for him to make that decision either,” he said of Redden who hopes to link with West Coast next year.

“I don’t think there’s anything I can do, to be honest, to change his mind.

“His issues are with other things within the footy club.”

Lions list manager Peter Schwab has not given up on Redden, who is in his seventh season with Brisbane.

“We’ll try to talk to Jack and see if we can change his mind, but if we can’t and that doesn’t happen then that gets the ball rolling and we’ll see what happens,” Schwab told afl杭州桑拿会所,杭州桑拿网, website.

Ex-captain Jed Adcock is a confirmed end-of-season departure after the Lions could not guarantee him a place in the 2016 squad.

Brisbane (4-18 record) look set to collect the wooden spoon after their last game of the year against the sixth-placed Western Bulldogs at the Gabba on Saturday.

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Federer romps, Murray quiets Kyrgios

Murray had beaten 37th-ranked Kyrgios in straight sets in their three previous meetings, eliminating him this year from two other grand slams, in the Australian quarter-finals and third round of the French Open.

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The third-seeded Scotsman sent Kyrgios packing in the first round after playing straight man to the flippant Australian, who unnecessarily tried ‘tweener’ shots through his legs and jumped extravagantly on routine forehands that he buried into the net.

“I expected a very tough match, and that’s what I got,” Murray, 28, said.

But Murray had the last laugh against the clownish Kyrgios as he blasted 18 aces and 46 winners while only committing 23 unforced errors under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Earlier, second seed Federer was the envy of a clutch of men’s players made to work overtime in the 90-degree heat by quickly dismissing his opening opponent.

Federer, who has been in sizzling form since reaching the Wimbledon finals, dashed past 34th-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-1 6-2 6-2 to launch his campaign for a sixth U.S. Open crown and first slam title since the 2012 Wimbledon.

“I feel good now,” said Federer. “I actually wasn’t so confident yesterday and today. I just felt like maybe (this)could be one of those matches I just couldn’t see coming.

“Thankfully I took this match extremely serious,” said the 34-year-old Swiss, who had fought off five match points in beating Mayer last year in Shanghai.

Murray next meets French left-hander Adrian Mannarino, while Federer faces Belgian Steve Darcis, who advanced 6-7(2) 6-3 6-2 3-1 when Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus retired.

RETIREMENTS CONTINUE

Baghdatis became the fifth player to retire on Tuesday after seven quit their matches on Monday as the toll of late season injuries and the searing heat presented severe challenges at the U.S. National Tennis Center.

Among other shortened matches, Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open winner, advanced 6-0 7-6(2) 1-0 when Aleksandr Nedovyseov of Kazakhstan retired.

Misfortune favoured the French and went the other way for the Aussies when 12th seed Richard Gasquet advanced 4-6 6-1 4-6 6-3 2-0 when Thanasi Kokkinakis retired.

Other players were sorely tested on the court.

Three players in the bottom half of the men’s draw had to go the distance under the sun, including French 11th seed Gilles Simon, who looked to have iced victory after taking a 6-2 6-4 3-0 lead over American Donald Young.

But the Frenchman stumbled, and the 26-year-old American, once hailed as the next great U.S. player, saw an opportunity and turned the match upside down for a 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 win.

“I really had it on my racquet,” said Simon. “I was not able to do anything on the tennis court. I think Donald realised it and then played what he had to play to take me down in five sets. It’s a terrible result for me today.”

In another wrenching defeat for France, Paul-Henri Mathieu fell to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in five sets.

The 128th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka, who saw fourth-seeded compatriot and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori drummed out in five sets on Monday, booked himself into the second round with a 6-4 2-6 6-7(7) 6-1 6-2 victory.

Dutchman Robin Haase also made a Houdini-like escape against Germany’s Dustin Brown to register a 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 victory.

On the women’s side, second seed Simona Halep of Romania also had an abbreviated match as she advanced 6-2 3-0 after 47 minutes on court as New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic retired with a knee injury.

Also sprinting to victory was fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki, who dismissed U.S. national college champion Jamie Loeb 6-2 6-0, and fifth-seeded, two-times Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova beat Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-1 6-1.

The women’s draw continued to produce upsets as Czech sixth seed and French Open finalist Lucie Safarova fell 6-4 6-1 to Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.

Fourteenth seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland was also shown the door, sent out by 42nd-ranked Czech Barbora Strycova 7-5 6-0.

“I wasn’t surprised (by the upsets), it is normal,” said 23-year-old Halep. “Everyone is fighting like crazy because it’s the last grand slam (of the year).”

(Editing by Frank Pingue/Sudipto Ganguly)

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Qld donations inquiry won’t probe unions

An inquiry into political donations in Queensland doesn’t need to investigate the influence of union donors, the Labor government says.

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Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says the purpose of the inquiry, which the government wants the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) to lead, is to consider links between donations and the awarding of government contracts.

She says the probe is aimed at the former Liberal National Party government.

However, Ms Trad claims union donations are unlikely to be examined because governments do not award tenders and contracts to trade unions.

“How many government decisions are made that are actually about giving unions tenders? It doesn’t happen,” she said.

“It’s about the donations to the political party of the day that’s governing and decisions made by that government in relation to awarding tenders and to spend government money.”

The deputy premier admitted unions lobbied governments, like business and environmental groups, but it was all above board and part of any healthy democracy.

While Ms Trad brushed off the need to examine union donations, she listed specific matters involving LNP she wanted investigated.

Those include the LNP’s approval of the expansion of the Acland coal mine and retrospective legal changes advantaging LNP donors Karreman Quarries and Sibelco.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said overlooking unions was hypocritical and proved the inquiry was “an absolute witch-hunt”.

“They’re imposing one set of standards on the LNP and a totally different set of standards on themselves,” he said.

Mr Springborg said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was repeating the same mistake as Anna Bligh during the 2012 election when tried to incriminate LNP leader Campbell Newman by referring him to the then Crime and Misconduct Commission.

The opposition leader said Labor’s actions only diminished the integrity of the watchdog at the time, and Ms Palaszczuk was repeating history.

“She is politicising the Crime and Corruption Commission in Queensland, this is completely wrong and she should move away from that immediately,” he said.

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