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Tiger’s wife hires Kidman’s divorce lawyer: report

Elin Nordegren … divorce would be “lawyers’ dream”.Elin Nordegren is bringing in the big guns, reportedly hiring Nicole Kidman’s divorce lawyer to preside over the disintegration of her marriage to Tiger Woods.
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The 29-year-old mother of two has enlisted veteran legal eagle Sorrell Trope, 82, London’s The Times reports.

Los Angeles-based Trope is experienced with high-profile cases. He’s represented Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears and Cary Grant.

He also has Frank McCourt, the owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team, on his books, charging $239,000 for a month’s work in November, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But Ms Nordegren’s rumoured desire to file for divorce in California – where property laws could gift her a better settlement than in their home state of Florida – may not materialise, according to The Times.

Californian law requires her or Woods to have lived in the state for six months before any petition is filed.

“Particularly with children involved, who I believe have lived in Florida, you can’t get around that easily,” Orlando-based divorce lawyer, John Wallace, told the paper.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to have done a good job drawing up a prenup.

“That’s where she’s going to have difficulty. You can’t deal with children’s issues in a prenup….This is the kind of divorce that’s a lawyer’s dream.

“You could have lawyers fighting over several different issues in different states.”

Meantime, bookmakers continue to have a field day with the scandal.

British bookmaker William Hill is taking bets on just how much Ms Nordegren will get if she decides to divorce the world’s No. 1 golfer, who is taking an indefinite break from the sport after admitting to infidelities.

As the scandal widens, gamblers can get 25-1 odds Ms Nordegren will receive more than half a billion dollars in a divorce settlement. The odds drop to 6-4 for a settlement under $100 million. William Hill is offering only 1-2 odds that she would get between $100 million and $500 million.

At odds of 25-1, people who bet $1 and win will get $25 plus the $1 stake back. At 6-4 odds, a $4 bet will get $10 in return.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said the company had been taking bets on whether or not the couple would get divorced at all, but took the market down because it was too one-sided with people betting on divorce. William Hill also had bets on how many women would come forward as alleged mistresses, but Mr Adams said that was too difficult to verify.

None of the bets, though, have been for much money.

“People are putting on small bets, probably so they can have a giggle in the pub and show their mate a betting slip,” Mr Adams said.

“It’s not vast sums of money.”

Two other British bookmakers, Ladbrokes and Coral, are only taking bets on Woods as a golfer, saying they wanted to stay away from his personal problems.

“We did think about it, but we tend not to go down there,” Coral spokesman Gary Burton said.

Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg said his company is more concerned about Woods’ sporting achievements.

“We usually stay away from the less tasteful elements, so we’ve given that one a miss,” Mr Weinberg said.

Ladbrokes is only taking bets on whether or not Woods, with 14 major titles, will break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 — and the odds on that are getting longer.

“He’s 2-5 to break the record, 23-1 not to,” Mr Weinberg said.

“We were as short as 1-20.”

Coral is taking bets on whether Woods will play at the Masters, the first major of the year, in April.

Two weeks ago, they were giving 9-2 odds that he would miss the tournament at Augusta. That’s been cut to 11-10 because of the mounting scandal.

Woods is also 4-6 to play at the Masters, and 2-9 to break Nicklaus’ major record.

As for Woods ever playing golf again, Coral has cut the odds from 33-1 to 16-1.

William Hill is offering the most bets, going even further than next season by giving 6-1 odds that Woods will win the Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

He is also 4-6 to play at this year’s Masters and 11-8 to win a major in 2010.

“In terms of golf, we think that it won’t affect him massively,” Mr Adams said.

“He’s such a focused bloke, I think he can separate the two.

“If anything, he might come back more focused.”

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Court overturns father’s triple-murder conviction

Died in the dam…Jai, Bailey and Tyler Farquharson, who drowned on Father’s Day, in 2005, near Winchelsea, Victoria.A FATHER jailed for life with no minimum term for the alleged murders of his three sons has been granted a retrial, with Victoria’s highest court finding that a miscarriage of justice had occurred.
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Robert Donald William Farquharson, 40, will face a new trial next year after the Court of Appeal ruled that a Supreme Court judge, Philip Cummins, and the prosecution made serious mistakes about the evidence and reputation of a star witness.

But the judges said ”it was open to a jury acting reasonably to be satisfied of guilt” beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Farquharson was convicted of murdering his sons Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2, by driving them into a Winchelsea dam on Father’s Day in 2005.

The prosecution alleged that the boys’ deaths were a deliberate act of revenge by Mr Farquharson against his former wife, Cindy Gambino, over the break-up of their marriage.

Mr Farquharson denied killing his sons. He said he had suffered a coughing fit and blacked out, resulting in his car veering off the road and into the dam.

In a case that Victoria’s Chief Justice, Marilyn Warren, described as containing issues that were ”complex, emotive and readily capable of being misunderstood”, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.

The case was largely circumstantial and key evidence came from a friend of the accused, Greg King, about threats Mr Farquharson had allegedly made at a Winchelsea fish and chip shop before his children died.

Mr King changed his story several times – each time changing the level of threats his friend had allegedly made – but eventually told police that Mr Farquharson had told him that he was ”going to pay her [Cindy] back big time” and kill his children.

”Accident involving a dam where I survive and the kids don’t,” Mr Farquharson is alleged to have said. ”Something like Father’s Day so everybody would remember.”

Police later got Mr King to wear a wire. The prosecution alleged that during these secretly taped conversations Mr Farquharson engaged in ”sustained manipulation”, trying to prevent Mr King from telling the police about his alleged threats. The jury was told it was evidence pointing to Mr Farquharson’s guilty conscience.

Chief Justice Warren, Justices Geoffrey Nettle and Robert Redlich said it was essential for Justice Cummins to direct the jury that they had to be satisfied of the terms of the fish and chip shop conversation before they could infer Mr Farquharson was conscious of his alleged guilt.

The appeal judges found the prosecution had wrongfully failed to disclose that Mr King had been charged with recklessly causing injury and that police planned to provide a statement in his favour during his case.

Asked outside court if he had expected the dramatic result, Mr Farquharson’s lawyer, Peter Morrissey, SC, smiled and said ”no”.

Cindy Gambino’s parents said they were not surprised. ”It is just out of our hands, it is the judges’ decision,” Bob Gambino said.

The success of the appeal means Mr Farquharson will not have to pay $225,000 awarded in May to Mrs Gambino for pain and suffering.

with Kate Hagan

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Hayne sticks with NRL but warns of player drain

JARRYD HAYNE finally re-signed with Parramatta yesterday, injecting some good news into a week that has been otherwise full of bad headlines for rugby league.However, his signature came with a warning for those running the game: Do something to bring more money into it or the exit of star players to other codes is just going to continue – and might even include him in the future.There is no chance of that day coming before the end of the 2013 season, since that is how long Hayne has recommitted himself to the Eels on a deal worth $500,000 annually, but after that, who knows? The Eels superstar will still only be 25 then and he might have already achieved enough in rugby league to seriously think about what it would be like to play something else – particularly if star players keep leaving the game.”I’m too young [now], but when it comes up next time it’s definitely going to be an option,” Hayne said. “It would be sad to go, but it seems like the NRL’s just letting them go. It would be good to see the NRL step in, but the way they see it, one player doesn’t hold a competition together. But when you’re losing such quality players in consecutive years, the question’s got to be asked: How many are we going to let go?”Hayne and his manager, Wayne Beavis, met with NRL chief executive David Gallop last week. Beavis said Hayne had wanted to find out first-hand what the league planned to do about about stopping the flow of players such as Mark Gasnier, Sonny Bill Williams and Craig Gower to rugby union, and Karmichael Hunt to AFL. There had recently been speculation that the new Greater Western Sydney AFL franchise would offer Hayne a fortune to try to snare him.”Jarryd made his feelings quite clear,” Beavis said yesterday. “Not just on his own behalf, but for players generally, that the league needed to be more proactive and get more money into the game because the outside temptations grow and these are all marquee players that are highly sought after by after codes. You have to be careful we don’t keep losing marquee players to other codes.”Hayne said it was important for him, as a challenge, that he keep matching himself against the best possible players in league. He said he was concerned the game might next lose Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston, who has talked about possibly going to union when his contract with North Queensland runs out at the end of next season.”It would be very sad to see him leave the game because players like me, you want to play against the best,” Hayne said. “You don’t want to see them go to other codes – you know, Sonny Bill, Mark Gasnier and Craig Gower and that. It’s a bit disappointing, them going and the NRL not doing anything about it.”You’d hate to see it in another four years, other quality players have left the game and then it hits them [the NRL] in the head [and they say] ‘oh, hang on a minute, let’s do something now’, instead of jumping on it straight away and knocking it on the head. When you look at it, I know ‘Greggie’ [Melbourne star Greg Inglis] re-signed last year, but when he comes up for contract there’s going to be massive questions about him and a lot of other players.”Asked for his reaction to Hayne’s words, Gallop said last night: “I explained to Jarryd we would love for players to be earning higher salaries, but the pie is only so big and there are a lot of mouths to feed, including clubs, players and junior-development programs. I stressed [to Hayne] that we were not in a position to change the salary-cap rules for any player and I think he appreciated that.”Eels chief executive Paul Osborne reacted to Hayne’s re-signing by saying it would have been “diabolical” for the game had it lost him.Hayne’s re-signing was announced on-stage at Rouse Hill Town Centre shops, in Sydney’s north-west, as the Eels continued their club-membership drive by producing not only Hayne but a host of other stars – including Nathan Hindmarsh and Daniel Mortimer – to meet the fans.Hayne said he wanted to realise his two biggest goals – winning a State of Origin series with NSW and a grand final with Parramatta.
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Time’s up, says Tag, on another Tiger contract

TIGER WOODS has lost backing from his third major sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer dropping the golf star from US advertising campaigns after his sex scandal.In a move that follows consulting firm Accenture ending a six-year deal with Woods, Tag Heuer chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin told Swiss newspaper Le Matin his firm would not use Woods images in US ads for the foreseeable future.”We recognise Tiger Woods as a great sportsman but we have to take account of the sensitivity of some consumers in relation to recent events,” Babin told the newspaper.The company, a unit of French luxury goods empire LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will continue to back Woods’s charity foundation, Mr Babin said.Tag Heuer’s move mirrors that of razormaker Gillette, which last week announced it was dropping Woods from ads during his hiatus.In a further blow to the golf star, his wife Elin Nordegren has reportedly hired famed Hollywood divorce lawyer Sorrell Trope, a noted divorce attorney who has represented such stars as Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Nicolas Cage, Britney Spears and Cary Grant during his 60-year career.Mr Trope’s reputation as a tough dealmaker could help the former Swedish model, who reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement with Woods but might be in line for even greater riches given her humiliations of the past weeks.That is, if Woods has any riches remaining.Sponsors provided 90 per cent of the funding that made Woods the first sports billionaire, but the squeaky-clean image that made him a marketing juggernaut was undone long before his confession of infidelity a week ago.At least 14 women have claimed affairs with Woods, who said in a website statement he was taking an indefinite break from golf to deal with personal issues. Unconfirmed reports have also spread that one of his mistresses, Theresa Rogers, had Tiger Woods’s love child.The firestorm, which erupted around Woods on November 27 after he crashed a vehicle into a tree and a hydrant, entered a fourth week with no end in sight and sponsor support eroding.AT&T, which backs the US PGA Tour event operated by the golfer’s foundation, is re-evaluating its relationship with Woods.US sportswear giant Nike, which pays Woods about $US40 million ($45 million) a year, still backs Woods as it has since his 1996 pro debut, with chairman Phil Knight telling Sports Business Journal the unfolding saga was a small problem.”When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.”Meanwhile, more details have emerged about a deal between a US magazine and Woods to keep an extramarital affair secret.The Wall Street Journal has reported that the National Enquirer kept quiet about a Woods affair in 2007 in exchange for Woods giving rare access for a cover story to sister publication Men’s Fitness.Under terms of the deal, the Enquirer would not publish photographs and a story on Woods having an extramarital affair and Woods agreed to a cover and photo spread in Men’s Fitness, the Journal reported. American Media Inc, which owns both publications, denied such a deal took place.
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Earl wants a shot at redemption

SANDOR EARL, the rookie winger released by the Roosters after he finished a night out locked in police cells with recently sacked hooker Jake Friend, halfback Mitchell Pearce and Manly’s Kieran Foran, wants a second shot at the NRL to prove the kind of person he really is.Insisting he did nothing wrong at the Tank nightclub, the 20-year-old – who has been linked to the Wests Tigers among other clubs – warned other young footballers to learn from his misfortune.”We were probably out a bit too late,” he said of the night he celebrated his first grade debut. ”A few of the boys [and I] went out to the Tank nightclub and it went too long.”I don’t really drink, I’m not a big drinker, I don’t have a problem with alcohol and a lot of people I know were surprised when they heard of the trouble. I don’t have an issue with it.”Two members of the group became rowdy and pelted patrons at another table with ice. It ended in a scuffle and the subsequent allegation that a woman was hit in the face.”I didn’t throw any ice,” he said. ”I had been drinking but I’d sobered up when it happened. I was definitely in control. The next day when we went to the lawyer’s office I was the one who told the story [of events].”Earl found himself involved in the incident because he was sitting at the end of a horseshoe-shaped table. He intercepted a male member from the other group who made his way to their table.”There was swearing and abuse and the guy came over from the other group, and it was [probably] fortunate that I was at the end of the table,” he said. ”I got up and said there was six of us and to ‘let it go’.”There was still [verbal] abuse going on. Five seconds later the bouncers were there and we left.”We went outside and the bouncers came running out saying someone had hit a girl.”The group was asked for their identification and they weren’t allowed to leave the area. Earl said it was alleged he’d hit the woman with a haymaker. He also heard that both he and Friend were supposed to have thrown punches.”The reason the Roosters allowed me to keep playing after that was because I didn’t throw any punches,” he said. ”But the process [after a player gets in trouble] was a shock. It was full-on, you don’t realise what it is like until you go through it. We were dragged to the police station and we had to sit in the cells. We were instructed not to talk [to the media]. It was different. It was [after] my first first-grade game so not many people latched onto me but it was incredible to see a few footballers drinking and a scuffle [covered like] murder.”Earl said he did not believe the incident had ruined his life but he has no doubt it ended any chance he may have had at gaining a new deal with the Roosters.”Well, I don’t think it has affected my life but it didn’t put me in the right stead for football,” he said. ”It didn’t help my case to sign a new contract with the Roosters. However, it has come up in [contract] talks with potential clubs.”Brad Fittler [former Roosters coach] has been great. He’s vouched for me to a few people and I appreciate that. I won’t let him down if I get that shot.”Friend, 19, was sacked by the Roosters during the week after being charged with using offensive language towards police and failing to pay a taxi fare. The club has said it would continue to offer Friend whatever support he may need.Earl refused to comment on his former teammate.”All I can say is I’ve learned a lot,” he said.
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Waratahs young gun confident of big breakthrough year

WARATAHS rookie Rory Sidey is yet to earn a Super 14 debut but what the 23-year-old centre lacks in experience he makes up for in confidence.The former Junior Waratahs vice-captain has returned home after a breakthrough season with Welsh side Newport Gwent Dragons in the Heineken Cup, where he impressed at inside- and outside-centre.Only six weeks into pre-season training with NSW, the self-assured newcomer has upped the pressure on his fellow centre candidates – including Tom Carter, Rob Horne, Sosene Anesi and Nemani Nadolo – by declaring he’s not scared to take control of the back line.”I like to organise and take a big role on my shoulders and not sit back. And I have spoken to the coaching staff about that,” said the former West Harbour player.”I’ve been working specifically with Scott Wisemantel, the backs coach, and he’s really happy with the way things are going – especially with my leadership skills.”It’s been good for me with a few [Wallabies] away from the back line, I’ve really been thrown in and I’m really starting to feel like I belong here. And I’m starting to lead guys around out wide with Daniel Halangahu, so I’m enjoying it. I am only young, but Berrick Barnes is the same age, and he’s vice-captain of Australia. It’s something I really enjoy.”However, the former Western Sydney Ram knows he needs to win the respect of his teammates before he can throw his weight around. ”That’s my short-term goal, to earn respect. Get on the paddock and train well, and earn respect from the more senior players,” said Sidey.”Next year, my goal is to continue building ahead of the season in the trials and get in that match-day 22.”I know there’s a challenge ahead of me and a lot of good Wallabies. But NSW Waratahs is renowned for that, and that’s what I want to be one day, a Wallaby. So I’m in the best spot to do that.”Coach Chris Hickey acknowledged Sidey’s impressive leadership attributes, and said his versatility and ball skills were just as valuable.”Other than the set piece where you start in a position, once you’re out of that phase of play, people end up all over the paddock, so you need to have players like Rory that can organise from all sorts of positions,” said Hickey, who had earmarked Sidey as a future Waratah even before his departure to Wales.At 188 centimetres and 100 kilograms, Sidey packs a punch in defence and has been noted for his Greg Inglis-like fend.
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Roberts hails gay revelation

GAY sporting icon Ian Roberts has embraced the decision by Wales rugby union legend Gareth Thomas to reveal that he is homosexual.Former rugby league star Roberts, who came out in 1995, was ecstatic with Thomas’s announcement yesterday and pleased that society had made it easier for sportspeople to be open about their sexuality.”It’s great that the times have allowed for it,” Roberts told The Sun Herald.”It’s so bewildering to me that other people haven’t allowed for that to happen to themselves. There are so many gay sportspeople … gay people playing league. I’m just like, ‘How can you be controlled by all these other people?’ It doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as you don’t allow it to be a problem.”The 44-year-old was delighted that another footballer had now admitted to being gay. “I think it’s great … at long last someone else has done it! It’s almost like, that’s the breaking of the ice for me. The fact that someone else has done it, it shows that it can happen and it does happen,” he said.Roberts said he couldn’t work out why it took him so long to go public with his sexuality.”After it happened for me, I just thought, ‘What was I scared of in the first place?’ I always thought, ‘Who was I trying to protect?’ It was never me.”Roberts said Thomas would now be relieved. “He’ll be like, ‘Thank god, that’s done with. Now I’ll know what they’re whispering about behind my back,” hesaid.”And once you own it, once you own something like that, they can’t take you down anyway. What can they call you, a poof? Or a faggot? It’s like, I’ve already said that, you knucklehead.”The former South Sydney, Manly and North Queensland forward said it was great that Thomas had realised that it was OK to be gay.”So it’s almost like, ‘Oh, thank god someone else has actually had a look on the other side of the wall and thought, ‘Oh, hang on, it’s OK. It is OK up there in that land,”‘ Roberts said.”He’s opened the door, had a look and said, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad over that side.’ He’ll be starting to think, ‘Oh my god, this is who I am, this is really me, out there, in the street, as I am.”‘Thomas, the most capped Wales international with 100 Tests and a former British and Irish Lions captain, said he initially felt as though he could hide his sexuality.”I was like a ticking bomb. I thought I could suppress it, keep it locked away in some dark corner of myself but I couldn’t. It was who I was and I just couldn’t ignore it any more,” Thomas told the Daily Mail. “I’d been through every emotion under the sun trying to deal with this. It’s been really tough for me hiding who I really am, but I don’t want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby.”Thomas privately told then Wales coach Scott Johnson the truth of his sexuality, and Johnson then entrusted other senior Wales internationals Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams with the revelation.Thomas said Johnson and Williams simply said: “We don’t care, why didn’t you tell us before?”
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Watson in strife as tempers flare again out west

html,body { border: 0px; }AUSTRALIAN all-rounder Shane Watson became the fourth player to be charged for poor behaviour during an ill-tempered third Test following his unsightly celebration of the wicket of West Indian captain Chris Gayle on day four yesterday.Watson screamed maniacally and aggressively in Gayle’s direction after dismissing him before lunch at the WACA Ground. His actions did not escape the attention of ICC match referee Chris Broad – the game’s code of conduct states that bowlers must not seek to humiliate a batsman after his dismissal.Umpires Ian Gould and Billy Bowden charged Watson with bringing the game into disrepute under clause 1.8 of the code, the same offence brought against West Indian Sulieman Benn and Australians Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson.Australian coach Tim Nielsen said he had already addressed the issue after Watson was spoken to by both umpires after his over-exuberant celebration and then, at the umpires’ request, by Ponting.”I spoke to [Watson] at lunch time and said I think he needs to be careful about the way he reacts or celebrates his dismissals,” he said.”I think that has been one of the things about this Test match that there has been quite a bit of niggle between the playing groups out there and it’s something we are conscious of and something I am talking to the playing group about.”We are trying to maintain a pretty even keel as often as we can but at the same time when people get emotional and it’s hot and you’re tired and there is a game on the line you can understand some of those reactions are maybe over the top sometimes.”Asked what he thought of Watson’s histrionics when he bounded up and down and yelled in the personal space of Gayle after taking his wicket for 21 during the second innings yesterday, West Indies team manager Joel Garner said: ”I am not even going to entertain the thought. The match referee is the man in charge and he will do whatever he feels is best. I go back to Animal Farm days, George Orwell, they say all animals are equal and later on in the same book they say some animals are more equal than others. Maybe that applies in some cases.”Garner, still seething about inconsistencies in the punishments handed to Benn, Haddin and Johnson after the mid-pitch blow-up on the second day of the Test, said yesterday the provocation of Benn started long before the third Test. Benn was found guilty of a level-two offence and suspended for two one-day internationals while the two Australians received fines for less serious level-one offences.”They slapped two fellas on the wrist and they killed the other fella,” the fast-bowling legend told the Herald. ”There are inconsistencies in the entire process and how the charges were laid. If there are three people involved in the same thing they should be all given the same level of charges and that is why I think it is a bit unreasonable. The other thing I would say is you had an incident where [Ricky] Ponting had an altercation with [Dwayne] Bravo and nothing was done during the same game and I have a problem with the way that justice is being administered.”On a day full of niggle and drama the last Windies batting pair of Kemar Roach and Gavin Tonge defied Australia’s bowlers for an improbable length of time. Australia strained to finish of the visitors before the end of the fourth day but even with play extended by an half an hour, and then by an extra over, they could not seize the win by stumps. The Windies need a further 51 runs for an amazing, series-levelling victory.”There is definitely a lot of hope because we have two guys capable of batting as we have seen this afternoon,” said West Indies batsman Narsingh Deonarine, who scored 82 after replacing the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the side.”We just want to go out there and play positive cricket. We are definitely looking forward for a victory tomorrow.”The Australians were struggling with both Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz suffering from gastric illnesses in the hot weather but Nielsen backed his players to finish the Windies off quickly today.In an eventful innings, Benn cracked Johnson for two sixes and stood his ground when Doug Bollinger claimed a low outfield catch, which was ruled to have hit the ground by the video umpire. He was also dropped by substitute fielder Theo Doropoulos, who had just come onto the ground to replace Hauritz. Doropoulos tasted redemption when he took a catch at square leg to dismiss Benn for 33.
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Punter fails as Windies bounce back

A REJUVENATED West Indies outfit yesterday declared they were ready to pull off one of the greatest turna-rounds in Test history this weekend after a stunning batting collapse left Australia facing Perth calamity for the second successive year.Ricky Ponting’s late attempt to prevent catastrophe failed when it took his nemesis Kemar Roach just three balls to dismiss the injured captain, who had come in late at No.9 to stem the meltdown.Australia were reeling at 8-137 at stumps but believe they will be able to defend their eventual lead, which presently stands at 345 runs.A spellbinding bowling display by the Windies invoked memories of last year’s loss to South Africa at the same ground when a second-innings lead of 410 was not enough.All-rounder Dwayne Bravo said Australia were now in the hot seat.”We have the batters in our line-up to actually chase down 360-plus runs, with a day-and-a-half to go, at this point in time we will back ourselves,” he said. ”A lot has been said coming to Perth; it’s going to be bouncy, we wouldn’t stand a chance here down at the WACA. After the way we played in Adelaide [to draw the second Test] – that really helped our confidence.”We know the Australians are under a lot of pressure to perform well, some of the players in the team are also under pressure, so that’s good for us. We have nothing to lose.”Ponting (2) could do little as paceman Roach fired two short balls into his body before he deflected the third to Travis Dowlin at short leg.Nathan Hauritz (11 not out) and Clint McKay (1no) occupied the crease at stumps on a helter-skelter day that saw 16 wickets fall.While not nearly as strong in their batting as the Proteas, Windies captain Chris Gayle has shown already in this series he is an unstoppable force with momentum and could spark one of the most remarkable comebacks after losing inside three days in the opening Test at Brisbane.Ponting had resisted batting in an attempt to rest the elbow injured by Roach in the first innings but was forced to pad up as wickets fell in a steady stream. Roach clearly had his measure and Ponting hurled his bat into the dressing room in fury afterwards.The Windies bowlers rolled through the Australian card to set up an enthralling finale to the series, with Shane Watson making the highest score of 30.Sulieman Benn had his revenge by dismissing rival Brad Haddin while Bravo was superb with three wickets.Meanwhile, a secret boxing training regime helped Doug Bollinger produce a knockout spell earlier in the day that has thrown the race for Australian fast bowling spots wide open, with selectors facing an extremely difficult choice ahead of the Boxing Day Test when Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus should be available for selection.Bollinger demolished the Windies with his first five-for in a Test match, collecting 5-70 in what he described as ”the ultimate” as the visitors crashed for 312. Bollinger was shattered after missing Australia’s Ashes squad and decided to work on his fitness, turning to boxing training in the belief he could cement a spot in the national side through consistently long spells without dipping in pace.Offered the chance to play county cricket, Bollinger instead chose to remain in Sydney and embark on a new 10-week fitness regime under trainer Christian Marchegiani – who also trains Haddin – at Thump gym in Five Dock, losing weight and gaining stamina for sustained fast spells.The hard work was evident yesterday as Bollinger fired in whizzing deliveries that repeatedly missed the edge, bowling 20 overs with no loss of sting.Prior to this series, Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson had been identified as the three clear pace standouts in the country, but Bollinger’s latest effort should put him level with the top three.”That’s the last thing I need to think about,” Bollinger said. ”If I start thinking too much about selections and having to take wickets every time I play, I’ll just go insane.”Hopefully I just keep doing well and putting my name forward. I’ve been out of the team, and when you get back in the team it’s the best buzz in the world.”[Playing in the Boxing Day Test] would just be the ultimate, with 90,000 people there and the whole aspect of the Test is just amazing, it would mean a lot to me.”But Bollinger’s delight was cut short as his teammates went to the crease and kept returning in quick time, and he is aware that the stage will be set for him to lead Australia to victory.”We shouldn’t be eight down to be completely honest, but that’s the game, that’s cricket,” he said. ”We’ve just got to turn up positive â?¦ we’ve just got to come out and be aggressive and try to get as many as we can for the team.”
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Pipped at the post in a year that wasn’t

Wrote one of those predictions columns at the start of the year. The space filler in the Christmas edition. Before taking a not-particularly-well-earned break, thought I would see how I went:* ”Expect man to run 100 metres in less than 9.5 seconds.” Figured it would be Usain Bolt, who could only jog a 9.58. Turned out to be Tiger Woods while being chased by a club-wielding wife. One from one.* ”Australia will comprehensively outplay England and win Ashes.” If you take the Ricky Ponting approach and focus on the averages rather than results, you will find that eight out of the nine words in that prediction were bang on (an outstanding 88.88 per cent strike-rate.) Australia comprehensively outplayed England and somehow lost the Ashes. Like Australia – near enough.* ”Serena Williams will reassert her dominance because she is one female tennis player who never chokes.” Technically correct. Williams only threatened to choke a lineswoman in New York by shoving a ball down her ”f—ing throat”. (Although, if you believe Williams and the feather duster-wielding officials who refused to impose a ban, what she really said was: ”I’m gonna take this ball and feed it to a frolicking goat. They get very hungry you know!”) Pass.* ”More defecations to rock the NRL.” This was a typo. Was actually predicting more defections to rugby union (you can throw in Karmichael Hunt who, after a stint with a French rugby club, a holiday and a haircut, might turn up to start earning his seven-figure pay cheque from the AFL’s Gold Coast franchise). But since Sydney Roosters forward Nate Myles mistook a hotel floor for a portaloo, it works both ways.* ”The impending showdown between AFL and soccer for corporate and spectator support will be settled when a compromise rules game is invented.” Thank you Thierry Henry for rising above the petty squabbles and showing the warring codes the way forward. Handsoccer! Tick.* ”Hooker will cause heartache for star athlete.” Take your pick. I am settling on Frenchman Romain Mesnil, who was the runner-up in the pole vault at the IAAF World Championships.* ”After the Shark’s bitter divorce, Greg Norman and Chris Evert will lead long and happy lives.” Hey, I didn’t say it would be together. Since neither was hit by a bus – or Laura Andrassy’s Beamer – still on track for a perfect score.* ”Tennis will again be a blast for Dokic.” Jelena’s Australian Open renaissance gets this one over the line. But if Damir’s personal weapons cache had not been seized, I would have really nailed it.* ”Kiwi coach Robbie Deans will finally bring all the attributes and success expected of New Zealand to the Wallabies.” Which he did, if you are talking about the success expected of the New Zealand cricket team. Check.* ”Superman will finally overcome kryptonite.” Roger Federer won the French Open. On clay. Sure, Lex Luthor (Rafael Nadal) took an early bullet. But this stacks up.* ”An international star will be involved in a particularly hair-raising moment.” Could I have made it any more obvious that Andre Agassi would reveal that he had worn a mullet wig during the 1990 French Open final? And still not too late for Pim Verbeek to provide a bonus point by shaving off that comb-over.* ”A 59 will not be quite good enough to win the British Open in the final round.” This was a copy-editing mistake. I actually wrote, ”a 59-year-old will not be quite good enough.” Tom Watson lost in a play-off. Are you with me?* ”Although key forwards have not been prominent recently, expect a big showing from Brendan Fevola at the Brownlow Medal.” Drank plenty of Carlton products, but is no longer one himself. Starting to make Nostradamus look like Mr Magoo here. Tick.* ”Mark Webber will fail to crash, retire, hit a school crossing guard or have to pull over when the air bag suddenly inflates during at least one grand prix.” Yes! Yes! Yes! Ohhhh yes!* ”Bart Cummings will win his 13th Melbourne Cup.” There goes the perfect score. What a miserable failure that old geezer turned out to [email protected]南京夜网.au
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Morocco ends exile of Western Sahara activist

ARRECIFE, Spain: The Western Sahara independence activist Aminatou Haidar is declaring a victory after being allowed to return home, ending her month-long hunger strike in protest at being exiled.Ms Haidar, 42, was released from hospital in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands on Thursday night and immediately headed to the airport in an ambulance before boarding a plane heading for the Western Sahara.”This is a triumph for international law, for human rights, for international justice and for the cause [of Western Sahara]” she said as she left the clinic.”The first thing I am going to do when I arrive will be to kiss my mother and my two children.”She had been admitted to intensive care after stopping eating more than a month ago, when Morocco denied her entry into the disputed territory.After being turned back from her homeland, the award-winning activist was put on a plane and sent to Lanzarote, where she started her hunger strike. She continued her hunger strike in intensive care.A medically equipped plane – fitted out to treat Ms Haidar, who was rushed to hospital shortly after midnight on Wednesday – took off from the island late on Thursday.It touched down shortly after midnight yesterday in Laayoune, the main city in Western Sahara. The phosphate-rich territory has been a source of tension since Morocco annexed it after the withdrawal of Spain in 1975.The annexation sparked a war with the Polisario Front, which is backed by Algeria. The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 1991 but talks sponsored by the United Nations have made no progress since then.Morocco has pledged to grant the territory autonomy but rules out independence.The details of the agreement that finally led Ms Haidar heading back were not immediately clear, but Spain’s Government had vowed to work around the clock to find a solution to the situation, which had embarrassed it.Agence France-Presse
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Obama’s health bill stumbles in Senate

WASHINGTON: The signature bill of Barack Obama’s first year – health reform that curbs costs and picks up 30 million uninsured people – is looking sick.The likelihood of a US Senate vote before Christmas is fading, amid stalling tactics by the Republicans and objections from liberal Democrats.A delay over the Christmas break could be extremely dangerous as senators will return home to their states, facing an increasingly worried public. But it would also be a crushing blow to the President, who desperately needs a win.Two new polls show that support for Mr Obama’s health care reform is ebbing in the face of a barrage of negative advertising from interest groups. A Wall Street Journal poll found that only 32 per cent of Americans think it a ”good” idea. A Washington Post poll found that only 35 per cent of independents support it, down 10 points in a month.There is also pressure on the Administration from progressives who are bitterly disappointed that the Senate version has stripped out a public insurance option in favour of private subsidised care, and curtailed plans to expand Medicare, a government-funded program for seniors.This week former presidential candidate and medical practitioner, Howard Dean, called on Democrats to walk away from the latest proposal saying it did not achieve the reforms promised and amounted to the ”insurance companies’ dream”.The latest salvo came on Thursday from the head of the powerful Service Employees International Union, Andy Stern, who criticised the decision to sacrifice the public option and Medicare expansion.There were also rumblings on the right of the Democrats.One conservative senator, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who unsuccessfully proposed an amendment on abortion, was threatening to vote against the bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid needs all 58 Democrats and the two independents to vote to end debate and prevent a Republican filibuster.He has limited senators to 10 minutes each to speak on the bill, but time is running out. When the acting speaker, Democrat Al Franken, tried to impose the 10-minute rule on independent Joe Lieberman, Republican John McCain saw red.Debate had not been cut off in this way in the 27 years he had been in the Senate, he said.Democrats are now looking at a possible vote at 7pm on Christmas Eve – but even that might be ambitious.
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Five dead, huge toll of animals as livestock boat sinks

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Rescuers were continuing the search for dozens of people still missing after a freighter sank in stormy seas off the northern coast of Lebanon with more than 80 people on board, including one Australian.A Lebanese military spokesman said 38 crew members had been found alive and four bodies were pulled from the water after the Panamanian-flagged Danny F II, which was transporting livestock, sank in bad weather.The weather and thousands of dead animals floating in the water were hampering their efforts.”We have recovered 42 people, among them four dead,” he said. He added that the search operations had been widened early yesterday to international waters near Syria.”We have two Lebanese naval ships, two civilian vessels, as well as boats from the UN force stationed in Lebanon (UNIFIL) taking part in the search,” he said.A rescue official said that one of those found alive had died after being pulled out of the sea, taking the death toll to five.”The sea conditions were rough and we couldn’t get him to hospital in time,” he said.One of the survivors, a Filipino national, told rescuers that the British captain of the vessel, which was heading from Uruguay to the Syrian port of Tartous, had been killed.”He told us that the ship’s engine went down and the captain sounded the alarm and told everyone to jump in the water,” a rescue official recounted. ”He said that 10 minutes after they jumped, the ship overturned sideways in very high waves and sank with the captain still on board.”Taking part in the search were Syrian boats as well as a British rescue helicopter which flew from Cyprus. ”The sea conditions are rough and we need to find the survivors quickly because they run the risk of hypothermia,” a Tripoli port official said.The military spokesman said the crew had time to put on their flotation jackets. The ship overturned about 20 kilometres off Tripoli after sending a distress signal.It had changed course and was trying to reach the Lebanese capital Beirut when it capsized.The ship left Montevideo on November 23 with about 10,000 sheep and almost 18,000 cattle.All of the animals were presumed lost.Agence France-Presse
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