Perth dump 36ers to reclaim second spot

Posted on 12/17/2018

Wildcats and 36ers players confront each other in an ugly brawl during the match at Perth Arena.The NBL finals must be getting close.
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The Perth Wildcats rediscovered their best form to demolish the Adelaide 36ers 111-90 in a fiery contest at the Perth Arena on Friday night that ended in a brawl, including both benches.

Some shoddy treatment by 36ers Brendan Teys on Wildcats development player Lochlan Cummings, when he made his first NBL basket with less than a second left on the clock, was not well received.

When the smoke cleared, Cats Lucas Walker and Dexter Kernich-Drew, plus Teys and his teammate Shannon Shorter, were ejected from the game.

After trailing by one point in a high-scoring opening half, the Cats dominated the second to run away with an incredible 21-point win.

They kept Adelaide to just nine points in the third term to go into the last with a 17-point lead.

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said he knew his side was in with a chance when they were so close at half-time.

“To come in one points down at the half was pretty darn good considering how many points we gave them,” he said.

“We knew if we stayed together we’d be in with a good show.

“That third quarter was some of the best defence I think we’ve played. To hold a team like that nine points, it certainly changed the game, especially being down 12 points early.”

Concerns that the reigning champions had dropped away are now gone after consecutive victories over top four teams.They beat New Zealand last weekend.

A win in the return bout against the 36ers in Adelaide on Sunday would go a long way to them earning the home-court advantage in the first round of the finals.

After climbing to second on the ladder on the back of seven straight wins, the 36ers now drop to third after consecutive losses.

Despite leading 61-60 at half-time, 36ers coach Joey Wright said he knew they were in trouble giving up that many points to the home side.

“You can’t give up 60 points on the road and expect to win – that’s not going to happen,” he said.

“Perth is notorious for third term scores. It’s about 1130pm at home for us in the third quarter and we fell asleep.

“I have been coaching down here for 15 years. If you’re not ready for the third quarter, you’re in trouble.”

Despite a slow start Adelaide had gained full momentum by quarter-time and with Mitch Creek dropping nine points, led by eight.

If not for some sharp shooting by Perth’s Jesse Wagstaff in the second, Adelaide would have led by more than one point at the main break.

He dropped 11 points for the quarter and finished with a game-high 25, equalled by Bryce Cotton.

What worked for the 36ers in the opening half didn’t in the second. They had eight assists in the first quarter and finished the game with 10.

Nathan Sobey top-scored for Adelaide with 18 points. While Shorter, who has averaged 16.75 points over the past eight games, was kept to just nine, as was Daniel Johnson.

Perth also dominated the boards, 40-33, with Jean-Pierre Tokoto pulling in 10 rebounds in a double-double performance.

Costa gets more time in the garden

Posted on 12/17/2018

Gardening host Costa Georgiadis has returned with a longer show in a new timeslot.Costa Georgiadis is returning to screens across the country in a new, hour-long version of Gardening .
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Expanded from its previous half-hour format, Georgiadis is excited by what the longer show allows him to do.

“It gives us that chance to dive a little bit deeper into the storytelling but it also gives us a chance to have a regular segment like ‘what to do in your part of the country’,” he said.

“That’s a big thing for everyone gardening because someone in Brisbane isn’t planting or operating the same method that someone in Hobart is operating.”

There’s a new timeslot too, from a Saturday evening to Friday at 7.30pm.

Georgiadis hopes this will bring new viewers, although he’s already starting to see a younger crowd become hooked.

“It has traditionally had an older demographic but where we’re really working hard and getting headway is through social media, through the internet and through our website,” he said.

“The Gardening website is the most visited website in the ABC and over the last five years we’ve been building Facebook, Instagram and hooking in this younger audience.

“This year we plan to continue to cut our stories and put them out into social media and on YouTube and iView and that way this younger audience who probably don’t even own a television are getting into succulents and bonsai and natives and growing their own food.”

A huge part of the fresh engagement, Georgiadis says, has been the different food and lifestyle movements people are embracing.

“They have access to more information and they’re concerned about where their food is coming from and what’s in it.

“Our real mission is to say, ‘You don’t need a massive garden, you can do it on a rooftop or a balcony or a courtyard or go to a community garden’.”

*Gardening airs on Friday at 7.30pm (AEDT) on ABC

Robot makes coffee at new cafe in Tokyo

Posted on 12/17/2018

Robot barista “Sawyer” will make you a coffee and entertain you as well in Henn-na Cafe in Tokyo.Japan has a new robot cafe where customers can enjoy coffee brewed and served by a robot barista.
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The robot named Sawyer debuted this week at Henn-na Cafe in Tokyo’s downtown business and shopping district of Shibuya. The shop’s name in Japanese means “strange cafe”.

The single-armed robot scans a ticket purchased from a vending machine and greets the customer.

“Would you care for a delicious coffee?” the barista, with a screen showing a pair of cartoon eyes, asks in a flat tone. “I can make one better than human beings around here.”

It grinds the coffee beans, fills a filter and pours hot water over a paper cup for up to five people at once. A cup of brewed coffee costs 320 yen ($A3.65) and takes a few minutes.

Sawyer can also operate an automated machine for six other hot drinks including cappuccino, hot chocolate and green tea latte.

Customers, many of them young men, took photos with their smartphones while they waited in line.

The cafe operator, travel agency H.I.S. Co, says robots can increase productivity while also entertaining customers.

“An essential point is to increase productivity,” said Masataka Tamaki, general manager of corporate planning at H.I.S. He said only one person needs to oversee the robot cafe, compared to several people needed at a regular coffee shop, so it can serve better quality coffee at a reasonable price.

Tamaki says it’s not just about efficiency. “We want the robot to entertain customers so it’s not like buying coffee at a vending machine,” he said.

Takeshi Yamamoto, a 68-year-old restaurant employee who works in the neighbourhood, said his first experience with the robot cafe was very enjoyable and his robot-made coffee was delicious.

“It’s quite rich, and tastes very good,” Yamamoto said, as he took a sip. “You can get machine-made coffee at convenience stores, too, and it’s actually good. But here, I had great fun.”

Only ALP acting on cost pressures: Shorten

Posted on 09/18/2019

Health spokeswoman Catherine King says federal Labor wants to cap health insurance premiums. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has outlined plans to make private health insurance more affordable.
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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says a proposal to cap private health insurance shows Labor is the only party that has a “fair dinkum” plan to deal with cost of living pressures.

A Labor government would cap private health insurance increases to two per cent for two years compared with a 10-year average of 5.5 per cent, saving a family $ 344.

Labor would also task the Productivity Commission with the first significant review of the private health system in 20 years to improve the value, quality and affordability of health insurance.

“Under the Liberals, it will be their private health insurance business as usual, prices going up and up and up, and Mr Turnbull will give them a (business) tax cut,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday after touring a private hospital with his health spokeswoman Catherine King .

Senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese told Sky News there was increasing concern among families that private health insurance was serving the interests of “profits rather than patients”.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described it as “policy on the run”.

“These are private companies. They’re in a very competitive market. The reality is Labor wants to destroy private health insurance,” he told ABC television.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Labor’s announcement was a “smokescreen” to distract from its plan to dismantle the system.

“Labor is putting private health insurance at risk. ns could miss out on the new healthcare and latest medical treatments being developed,” he said in a statement.

“Furthermore, a collapse in the private health insurance sector would see public hospital waiting times blow out.”

Health insurer NIB chief executive officer Mark Fitzgibbon said Labor’s proposal was a “dreadful overreaction”.

“That a future government would seek to set prices in any competitive market is absurd,” he said in a statement.

“This may be politically popular but it’s an affront to how the free market operates. What next? Food, clothing, car insurance, school fees and petrol?”

The n Private Hospitals Association warned a cap could result in insurers limiting benefit payments.

“The easiest way for funds to do this would be to cut the amount they spend on medical “no-gaps” schemes,” its CEO Michael Roff said.

However, the Public Health Association of welcomed the Productivity Commission review.

“The reality is that premiums have been going up exponentially and there have been a plethora of ‘junk policies’ that deliver very little for individuals but huge profits for the private insurance companies while effectively undermining Medicare,” it head Michael Moore said.

Consumers Health Forum boss Leanne Wells also supported steps to improve health insurance affordability, saying it continued to be a double-edged sword for many consumers.

“On top of their rising health insurance premiums, they continue to face out-of-pocket costs,” she said.

Mr Shorten described warnings of potential double digit catch-up hikes after the two year freeze as “rubbish,” and said he was happy to take on the big insurers.

“I won’t be the walkover Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are, absolutely not,” he told the ABC on Sunday night.

“I don’t expect them to send us a bunch of flowers for taking them on.”

The Labor leader described the current private insurance system as “broken”.

Lynn to play long game on red-ball return

Posted on 09/18/2019

Chris Lynn struck six fours and a six in his 38-ball knock of 44 for against New Zealand.Chris Lynn is eyeing more time in the middle but admits a return to long-form cricket is still a year away as he battles his ongoing injury woes.
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Lynn made 44 in his return to n colours on Saturday night in the rain-affected seven-wicket Twenty20 win over New Zealand, in what was just his sixth match in any level or format in seven months.

The 27-year-old has been dogged by shoulder, hamstring and calf concerns in the past year, with pre-season surgery prompting him to pass up a state contract at Queensland this summer.

But while he insists he hasn’t given up on playing Test cricket or returning to Queensland in the Sheffield Shield, he admitted it still wouldn’t be until next summer when he played red-ball cricket again.

“First up, I’ve got to get my body right. It hasn’t been too kind to me,” Lynn said.

“I’ll probably pull up quite sore tomorrow – if I was to play a four-day Sheffield Shield game, playing day one that’s fine, but there’s no way I could back days two, three and four, and that’s the worst feeling in the world.

“I’d rather just put it away for probably 12 months, I definitely wouldn’t burn that bridge, still keep that door open, but It’s on hold for now. I just want to play some cricket.”

Lynn still looked every bit his damaging self on Saturday night.

Already setting his sights on playing a key role in ‘s home World T20 tournament in two years’ time, he whacked six fours and one maximum in his 38-ball knock that put the Aussies in control of their chase of 95 with the bat.

“It’s been a frustrating summer for me,” he said.

“Although it wasn’t a huge total I wanted to spend time in the middle … That’s one of my longest innings in a couple of months.”

Lynn scored 20 of his first 21 runs in boundaries, as he vowed to follow the advice of captain David Warner and take his hard-hitting care-free approach from the Big Bash into the international arena at No.3.

“If anything you go out there and go harder because there might be a little bit more pressure but I’ll have great fun doing it,” he said.

“That’s my game and I’m comfortable doing that. I know if I get through that powerplay with runs under my belt then I can build my innings.”

Labor steps up attacks on ‘Polish’ MP

Posted on 09/18/2019

Liberal MP Jason Falinski has rejected Labor’s claims he’s a Polish citizen.Federal Labor has ramped up its attacks on a Liberal MP it believes is under a citizenship cloud just as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten calls for a sensible bipartisan compromise to end the fiasco.
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The opposition took advice from a Polish expert that Liberal MP Jason Faliski remained a Polish citizen by descent because his father entered on a Polish passport.

Immigration consultant Jolanta Wolski told Labor records at the Office of Citizenship in Warsaw show Mr Falinski’s father migrated from Poland using a Polish passport, while legal advice from a Krakow-based firm said this should be conclusive proof of citizenship.

But Mr Falinski said Labor is “clutching at straws” in claiming he was a dual citizen, which would force him to step down from parliament.

“Proudly n and only n,” he tweeted.

“Looking forward to another week in parliament passing laws that matter to my community.”

Labor MP David Feeney resigned parliament last week after failing to produce paperwork proving he had renounced British citizenship, and the government continued to raise questions about the status of several other opposition members.

Mr Shorten said the ongoing citizenship saga – which started in the middle of last year – had annoyed a lot of ns and cast the whole parliament in a poor light.

“To make sure that 2018 is a better year for n politics than 2017, I think both sides of politics, all sides need to reach sensible compromise,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull backed his MP – saying Labor’s advice was “based on facts that are wrong” – and indicated the coalition would continue to pursue opposition MPs.

“What Labor is trying to do is they want to pursue the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors like Jason Falinski (to) muddy the waters through the vagaries of central European citizenship law,” he told ABC TV.

“They have sitting in the parliament right now Susan Lamb, the member for Longman who – on her own legal advice – states that she is a citizen of the United Kingdom.”

Mr Falinski’s citizenship register lodged with parliament includes legal advice from n firm Arnold Bloch Leibler that was not a citizen of the UK, Poland, Russia or Kyrgyzstan.

However, the lawyers also cautioned they could not provide conclusive advice and recommended Mr Falinski also seek an independent opinion from foreign law experts.

Fisherman thrown against rocks at Fingal Island, suffers spinal injuries

Posted on 09/18/2019

Rock fishing in is a dangerous pastime, with a number of anglers killed each year. A man is in hospital with suspected spinal injuries after being swept into rocks while fishing on Fingal Island on Saturday morning.
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Shortly after 10am, the emergency services werealerted to initial reports of an incident involving a group of bushwalkers near the lighthouse on Fingal Island, which is a popular local fishing spot.

Surf Life Saving assets including the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) from Fingal Beach SLSC, a Hunter Branch Support Jet Ski, and a Hunter Duty Officer were all tasked to attend, while NSW Police and Paramedics also sent personnel.

Once on scene it was quickly discovered that the incident involved fisherman and not bushwalkers as previously reported.

It is understood that the group of six were hit by a large wave and thrown against the rocks with one young man in his 20s suffering suspected spinal injuries in the incident.

Due to the geography of the area only an air evacuation of the patient was possible.

The Westpac Lifesaving Helicopter arrived on scene at around 11:15am with the young fisherman and a second man who had suffered minor leg injuries both flown to hospital shortly afterwards.

Due to the changing conditions, the area was completely underwater,it was decided that the remaining members of the group would be transported by the IRB back to Fingal Beach where a staging area had been set up.

Paramedics assessed the group once they had been brought to the safety of the shore but none required any further treatment.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Matt du Plessis said this morning’s rescue reinforced the importance of inter-agency relationships.

“This rescue involved responders from four different agencies including our volunteer surf lifesavers with each playing a small, but critical role in what was a successful outcome.

“We are pleased to be able to assist and play our part in this rescue,” said Mr du Plessis.

It is unknown if the injured fisherman was wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident

General Rock Fishing Safety Tips:

Check the weather, surf conditions and tides before going fishingTell someone where you are going and when you will be backAlways wear a lifejacketWear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothingAlways fish with a friendCheck the warnings signs for information about the areaNever turn your back to the waterDo not try and retrieve anything that has fallen into the waterDo not jump in if someone falls into the water – wait for assistance or throw an ‘Angel Ring’ or Lifebuoy if there is one nearby· Additionally boaters are urged to always check conditions prior and to log on with their local Marine Rescue Base via radio or using the MarineRescue App. Visitwww.mrnsw苏州夜总会招聘.au for more information.

Baton relay continues Sydney journey

Posted on 09/18/2019

The Commonwealth Games baton is being carried through Sydney this weekend.The two-day Sydney leg of the Queen’s Baton relay will make a stopover at the site of the 2000 Olympic Games on its journey to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
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The relay resumes on Sunday morning in Penrith before travelling to Jamieson Park in Sydney’s north, Sydney Olympic Park and ending in La Perouse in the city’s south.

Sydneysiders are being encouraged to get outside to cheer on all the baton bearers.

Two of the baton-bearers on Sunday at Olympic Park include young Sydneysider and hammer-throwing champ Alexandra Hulley and champion Paralympic wheelchair racer Louise Savage.

The baton will then head along Anzac Parade as it heads to its final Sydney destination of La Perouse.

Baton bearers during this leg include former long-distance swimmer Susie Maroney and marathon runner Heather Hawkins.

Marcia Ella-Duncan, the first indigenous woman to represent in netball, will carry the Queen’s baton into La Perouse park where Casey Donovan will be performing a free concert for families.

Each baton bearer runs with the baton for around 200 metres before passing it on to the next carrier.

On Saturday a slew of high-profile Aussie sporting stars, including swimming champions Leisel Jones and Ian Thorpe as well as cricketer Glenn McGrath, carried the baton through the heart of the city.

After leaving Buckingham Palace last May, the baton has spent 288 days travelling through the other 69 Commonwealth countries and territories as part of its 230,000km journey.

It arrived in from New Zealand on Christmas Eve and has been on show at iconic landmarks before the relay resumed in Canberra on January 25.

Prince Charles will remove the Queen’s message from the baton and read it at the opening ceremony on April 4, to mark the beginning of the Games.

Syrian rebels down Russian jet, kill pilot

Posted on 08/18/2019

Rebels say they shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet over Syria and killed the pilot.Syrian rebels shot down a Russian warplane and killed its pilot on the ground after he ejected from the plane, Russia’s defence ministry and Syrian rebels say.
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The SU-25 came down on Saturday in an area of Syria’s northern Idlib province that has seen heavy air strikes and fighting on the ground between government forces backed by Russia and Iran, and rebels who oppose President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrians opposed to Assad see Russia as an invading force they blame for the deaths of thousands of civilians since Moscow joined the war on the side of the Syrian government in 2015.

The Russian plane was shot down over the town of Khan al-Subl near the city of Saraqeb, close to a major highway where the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias are trying to advance, a rebel source said.

Although the Russian pilot escaped the crash, he was killed by rebels who had tried to capture him, the source said.

Tharir al-Sham, a jihadist group spearheaded by the former Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for shooting down the plane, saying one of its fighters had scored a direct hit with a shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile.

“This work is the least we can do to revenge our people. Let the criminal invaders know that our skies are not a picnic and they will not pass through without paying a price God willing,” senior commander Mahmoud Turkomani said in a statement released by the group.

Russia’s defence ministry also said the aircraft was downed by a portable surface-to-air missile. The pilot reported that he had ejected by parachute, and he was later killed on the ground.

“The pilot died in a fight with terrorists,” it said.

Tass news agency quoted the ministry as saying Moscow retaliated with a strike from an undisclosed high-precision weapon that killed more than 30 militants in an area of Idlib province where the plane was downed.

The Syrian opposition released footage on social media that purported to show the wreckage of the plane and the body of the pilot surrounded by fighters.

Rebels said the downed warplane had taken part in strikes that targeted civilian convoys fleeing along a major Syrian highway from villages that the army and foreign militias had overrun.

Syria’s civil war, which is now entering its eighth year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven more than 11 million from their homes.

A Russian plane was blamed for the death of seven civilians and scores of injuries after cars were targeted on the highway, according to a witness and two rebels sources.

Syrian soldiers and Iranian-backed militiamen were now around 12 kilometres from Saraqeb, advancing towards the Damascus-Aleppo highway under cover of heavy Russian air strikes, two opposition sources said.

At least five civilians were killed in Saraqeb city on Saturday, which residents blamed on Russian planes.

Syrians in rebel-held areas say they can distinguish between Russian warplanes and those of the Syrian air force, because the Russian planes fly at higher altitude.

Finals-bound United seeking improvement

Posted on 08/18/2019

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman gets his message across during the win over the Bullets.Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman believes his side have plenty of room for improvement despite registering a third straight win to move two games clear atop the NBL ladder.
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Having secured a playoff spot, United set about maintaining their top ranking but were forced to do it the hard way in Saturday’s 69-61 victory over a dogged Bullets outfit in front of 10,300 fans at Hisense Arena.

“Obviously, it’s a good grind-out win but there’s lots to work on and that’s the thing for us right now – did we get better today,” Vickerman queried after the win against a Brisbane side missing key import Travis Trice.

“We did some things defensively to say we got better but did we get better offensively…no, plenty to work on.”

Disrupted by Brisbane’s defence early and indecisive in attack during a low-scoring first half, United turned to point guard Casper Ware who combined with low-post scorers Josh Boone and Tai Wesley to build a match-winning lead in the third quarter.

High-flying United have won 11 of 13 matches since suffering a 32-point blowout loss to defending champions Perth on November 19 but Vickerman feels his side has yet to reach peak form.

I know we’ve been better…we’ve played solid basketball to get these wins recently but we haven’t played great,” he said after United failed to reach 70 points for just the fourth time this season and only connected on 3-of-18 three-pointers.

“When you don’t perform to your identity about the things you have done all year, you’ve got to check that and ask why – was it us, was it them…tonight it was a bit of both.”

Vickerman also threw down the challenge to some of his bench players as he handed significant playing time to Craig Moller over import Carrick Felix and played reserve guards Kyle Adnam and Peter Hooley for key minutes early in the fourth quarter.

“We are just trying to find out and get as much information as we can about our own group and who can handle the pressure situations,” Vickerman said.

Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis said he believes Melbourne possess the talent and defensive steel to make a run at the title.

“At the end of the day, defence is what gets it done particularly when you are talking about a five-game series,” Lemanis said.

“With the talent they have, their willingness to defend and their ability to make plays, I definitely think they have a great opportunity to win it.”

Lodge wants to repay Brisbane’s faith

Posted on 08/18/2019

Matt Lodge says he is determined to make up for lost time with the Brisbane Broncos.Controversial Brisbane signing Matt Lodge says he wants to repay the NRL club’s faith by helping the Broncos win a premiership in 2018.
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Brisbane raised eyebrows when they signed Lodge on a one year deal when the ex-Wests Tigers prop was cleared by the NRL integrity unit two years after being deregistered over an alcohol-fuelled rampage in New York.

Lodge avoided jail in the United States after pleading guilty to reckless assault for the October 2015 incident but was hit with a $1.6 million damages bill.

Test coach Mal Meninga was among Brisbane’s critics for signing Lodge, saying the prop should serve a 12-month ban first.

But Lodge, 22, said he had learned his lesson and wanted to make up for lost time by claiming a Brisbane premiership ring this year.

“In 2018 I want to repay the favour to the club,” Lodge told Broncos website.

“I am committed to winning a comp and playing my best footy I can for the Broncos and help achieve that for the group.”

Lodge avoided a year in jail over the New York incident in which he punched a man before forcing his way into his apartment and trying to kick down the door to a bathroom where the man’s wife and child were hiding.

He was allowed by the NRL to train with the Broncos in 2017 season and impressed for Redcliffe, helping them finish second on the Queensland Cup ladder and being nominated for 2017 player of the year.

“I had a fair stint out. It taught me a lot of lessons so I am pretty grateful for the experience and think I can come back from that a lot better as a player and person,” Lodge said.

Lodge initially planned to retire from rugby league after being hit with the huge damages bill.

At one stage he worked as a landscaper in hometown Sydney before Wayne Bennett convinced him to give the NRL another shot.

“I sat down with Wayne in Sydney and I pretty much knew from that point that I wanted to come up here…and prove myself,” Lodge said.

“It was one of the best one-on-one chats I have had.

“So I just put all my eggs in one basket and came up.

“There were a lot of bumps in the road and it took a while to get here but that just made it better getting here.”

Brisbane signed Lodge to bolster their pack after the off-season departures of Adam Blair, Herman Ese’ese and Jai Arrow.

“I have got a lot of things to prove but I am ready to go,” Lodge said.

Trump says memo `totally vindicates’ him

Posted on 08/18/2019

US President Donald Trump has tweeted the released Republican memo ‘totally vindicates’ him.US President Donald Trump says a controversial memo attacking federal law enforcement written by congressional Republicans vindicates him in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
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Trump’s fervent embrace of the memo raised again the prospect that he may use it as justification to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller.

Tweeting from his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said the memo “totally vindicates” him but added “the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their (sic) was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction.” He called the investigation “an American disgrace”.

The White House told Reuters on Friday there would be no changes at the Justice Department as a result of the memo’s conclusions.

The memo, written by Republicans on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee chaired by Devin Nunes, argues the federal investigation of potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia was a product of political bias against Trump at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department.

Trump approved the release of the formerly classified memo without redactions despite objections from the FBI.

Democrats contend the four-page memo mischaracterises highly sensitive classified information and was intended to undermine the Mueller criminal probe that was launched in May 2017 as an outgrowth an earlier FBI investigation.

Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Trump’s decision to allow the release of the memo was “part of a co-ordinated propaganda effort to discredit, disable and defeat the Russia investigation”.

Some Republicans also were critical of the memo’s release. John Kasich, the governor of Ohio and a former rival of Trump’s for the presidential nomination, released a statement on Saturday calling it “a disservice to our country”.

The memo alleges the FBI concealed the Democratic ties of a source the agency used to justify surveillance on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser with links to Russia. The memo revealed the names of senior FBI and Justice Department officials, including Rosenstein, who it said had signed off on the surveillance.

The Republican memo focused on court-approved surveillance of Page and said the FBI used a source who was strongly biased against Trump, former British spy Christopher Steele, to justify the action.

It alleged that a dossier of alleged Trump-Russia contacts compiled by Steele, and funded in part by Democrats, formed an “essential part” of requests to a special court to be allowed to conduct electronic surveillance on Page that began in October 2016.

Despite the memo’s charges, neither the focus on Page nor the FBI’s investigation of Trump-Russia ties began with the Steele dossier.

Extreme-right gunman shoots 6 in Italy

Posted on 08/18/2019

Six African migrants have been wounded in drive-by shootings in Italy in an apparent revenge attack.An Italian gunman with extreme right-wing sympathies has wounded six African immigrants in a two-hour drive-by shooting spree, authorities say.
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The gunman terrorised a small central Italian city of Macerata, where a Nigerian man had been arrested days earlier in a teenager’s gruesome killing.

Police photos showed the shooting suspect on Saturday with a neo-Nazi tattoo prominently on his forehead as he sat in custody and an Italian flag tied around his neck as he was arrested,. Authorities identified him as Luca Traini, a 28-year-old Italian with no previous record.

Traini had run for town council on the anti-migrant Northern League’s list in a local election last year in Corridonia, the party confirmed, but its mayoral candidate lost the race. The news agency ANSA quoted friends of his as saying that Traini had previously been affiliated with Italian extremist parties like the neo-fascist Forza Nuova and CasaPound.

The shooting spree came days after the slaying of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro and amid a heated electoral campaign in Italy where anti-foreigner sentiment has become a key theme. Italy has struggled with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in the last few years coming across the Mediterranean Sea in smugglers’ boats.

After the attack, Premier Paolo Gentiloni warned in Rome that “the state will be particularly severe against whoever thinks of feeding the spiral of violence.”

In Macerata, Interior Minister Marco Minniti said the gunman had been motivated “by racial hatred,” and had “a background of right-wing extremism with clear references to fascism and Nazism.”

Authorities said the six wounded – five men and one woman – appeared to be random targets. Italian news reports indicated that the gunman’s trajectory included the area where the Italian murder victim was found and where the prime suspect in her slaying lived.