‘Lucky’ McGinley picks Westwood, Poulter, Gallacher

The trio join automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell in a 12-man team for the Sept.

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26-28 matches against the United States.

Poulter, 38, the fierce, bulging-eyed competitor who inspired the remarkable “Miracle in Medinah” comeback victory two years ago, has had an injury-plagued season but a European team without him seems almost unthinkable.

Former world number one Westwood, 41, has played in the last eight Ryder Cups while 39-year-old rookie Gallacher will be making his debut in the biennial team event on home soil at Gleneagles, Scotland.

Among the players to miss out on a pick were former world number one Luke Donald, Italian Francesco Molinari, veteran pair Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez, England’s Paul Casey and Dutchman Joost Luiten.

“I’m a very lucky man to have such a variety of talent to choose from,” McGinley told a news conference at Wentworth on the outskirts of London. “There are some real quality players who haven’t made the team.

“But on the positive side I think we have three players who will add a lot to the nine who have already qualified and make the European team as strong as it needs to be to take on the might of America.”

McGinley said Gallacher, who almost displaced McDowell as the ninth automatic qualifier when he finished third at the Italian Open on Sunday, thoroughly deserved his selection.

WEE MAN

“Stevie’s first words to me when I told him he was in the team were, ‘That’s brilliant wee man’,” added the 5-foot-7 (1.7-metre) Irishman.

“Of course there’s always a concern that he’s a rookie but I’m not afraid to pick a rookie if he’s good enough and there’s no doubt Stevie earned his place in this team.”

McGinley said he was particularly impressed with Gallacher’s display under pressure in Turin.

“His performances last week in particular had a big effect on me,” explained Europe’s captain. “Stevie played relatively poorly for three weeks in a row in America but came back and had a good performance in the Czech Masters and then played well last week.

“For me Friday afternoon was when he showed he really wanted to be a Ryder Cup player. To come home in 30 shots and get within touching distance of the leaders showed just how strong he is.”

Englishman Westwood will be making his ninth successive Ryder Cup appearance, only Nick Faldo (11), Langer (10) and Christy O’Connor senior (10) have played more for Europe.

“There was a real sense of pride when I spoke to Lee,” said McGinley who explained his decision by phone to most of the players in contention for a pick. “He was very gracious, very humble when he learned he would be on the team.

“Ian Poulter is a bundle of energy and you could feel the energy that was coming down the phone.”

TOUGH CALLS

McGinley said the calls to his three picks were easy, unlike those that were made to the players who missed out.

He described the conversation with Donald, who has never been on the losing side in four previous Ryder Cup appearances in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012, as very difficult.

“I was Luke’s partner when he played his first match in 2004,” said McGinley. “Every Ryder Cup he’s been involved in, I’ve been involved in as a player or vice-captain.

“I have forged a very strong relationship with him. He’s been an incredible performer over the years and his record is outstanding.

“He was very, very disappointed and rightly so. He said ‘even though you haven’t picked me I still back you to be a great captain’ – that says a lot about Luke,” said McGinley.

“He will go on to make many more appearances and it was a very, very difficult call for me to make but one I had to do in the interests of the European team.”

McGinley said Italian Molinari, who appeared in the Ryder Cup in 2010 and 2012, was another serious contender for a pick.

“We gave Francesco a lot of thought and, just like Luke, he was incredibly humble, incredibly accepting of my decision,” said the captain.

“I couldn’t have asked for two guys to have accepted my decision in a better way and it speaks volumes of them.

“I also called Bernhard Langer out of respect. He wasn’t in consideration for a pick but as a captain I played under, I want to have a chat with him,” added McGinley.

“I’ve left messages for him but haven’t managed to reach him yet…I’m interested to hear his views on a number of things.”

U.S. captain Tom Watson is scheduled to announce his three wildcards in New York later on Tuesday.

(Editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)

Talks push Kerry back into Mideast turmoil

US Secretary of State John Kerry is wading back into the tumult of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, meeting Palestinian negotiators for the first time since the 50-day war in Gaza ended.

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The talks come just days after Israel announced its biggest grab of Palestinian land since the 1980s, and as a new showdown looms at the United Nations with the increasingly frustrated Palestinians planning to push a resolution setting a three-year deadline to end the Israeli occupation.

Wednesday’s face-to-face talks will be Kerry’s first with Palestinian negotiators since Washington found itself sidelined from the Gaza ceasefire talks in July, when Kerry, the top US diplomat, failed to broker a truce in the war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

It was a further blow after Kerry’s high-profile bid to hammer out a full peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority collapsed spectacularly amid bitter recriminations in April, despite him shuttling back and forth to the region more than a dozen times during his first year in office.

The veteran diplomat was expected to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone on Tuesday before meeting Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erakat and Majid Faraj, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

“I think they’ll talk about a range of issues. There’s obviously an ongoing ceasefire discussion and upcoming negotiations that will take place. There’s a range of longer-term issues,” Psaki said Tuesday, asked about the talks taking place the next day.

More than 2100 Palestinians – nearly 70 per cent of them civilians – were killed in Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which ended last week with an open-ended ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, brokered by Egypt.

The two sides are supposed to meet soon in Cairo for negotiations on a long-term truce, but no date has been announced yet for the start of the talks.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned Tuesday that Israel was eroding its international support, complaining the security cabinet had not been consulted about Sunday’s announcement of the confiscation of 400 hectares of land in the occupied West Bank for settlement building.

Cook vows to carry on to World Cup

England captain Alastair Cook insisted he still wanted to lead the side at the World Cup despite conceding the team’s chances of triumphing at next year’s tournament were “far-fetched” following another mauling by India.

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The reigning world champions inflicted a humiliating nine-wicket defeat upon England in the fourth one-day international at Edgbaston on Tuesday to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

India dismissed England for just 206, a total that owed much to number seven Moeen Ali’s 67.

They then coasted to victory with more than 19 overs to spare after Ajinkya Rahane, whose 106 was his maiden ODI century, and Shikhar Dhawan (97 not out) put on 183 for the first wicket.

Defeat saw England suffer a fifth loss in their last six ODI series.

England only have a diet of limited overs cricket between now and the start of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February.

But their chances of lifting the trophy for the first time, in what will be 40 years of trying, look as remote as they have since they made the last of their three losing appearances in the final in 1992.

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann recently urged Cook to quit one-day cricket and concentrate solely on Tests.

But Cook, whose nine on Tuesday meant he has gone 38 innings without an ODI hundred, faced similar calls to stand down as Test skipper from half a dozen former England captains earlier in the season, only to lead the team to a 3-1 series win over India.

Cook, asked if he would be England’s captain at the World Cup, replied: “If I’m allowed to be, yes.

“I don’t have a say on selection, but I’ve captained for three-and-a-half years with the goal to try to win the World Cup in Australia.

He added: “I know that seems a bit far-fetched at the moment when we’re losing games of cricket, but there are a lot of really good players in that changing room.

“If we can improve at the rate we need to improve, we’ve got a chance.”

England, beaten heavily for the third match in a row, will try to avoid further embarrassment in the series finale at Headingley on Friday.

“Maybe for a few of these guys, it’s the first time it’s happened that we’ve lost as badly as this and it’s a true test of character for the whole team, really,” Cook said.

Economic growth kills minority languages

Economic prosperity is the worst enemy of minority languages, say researchers who list parts of Australia and North America as “hotspots” for extinction risk.

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Based on the same criteria used to determine the risk of extinction faced by animal and plant species, they concluded that about a quarter of the world’s known 6909 languages are threatened.

“Languages are now rapidly being lost at a rate of extinction exceeding the well-known catastrophic loss of biodiversity,” the US-European research team wrote in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.

“Small-population languages remaining in economically developed regions are seriously threatened by continued speaker declines.”

In Alaska, for example, there were only 24 active speakers by 2009 of the Athabaskan people’s indigenous language, which children were no longer learning.

And the Wichita language of the Plains Indians, now based in Oklahoma, had only one fluent speaker by 2008.

In Australia, aboriginal languages like the recently extinct Margu and almost extinct Rembarunga are “increasingly disappearing”, the team wrote.

“Economically developed regions, such as North America and Australia, have already experienced many language extinctions,” they said.

“Nevertheless, small-range and small-population languages still persist in hotspots within these regions. Those languages need immediate attention because of their high extinction risk.”

Also at risk were developing parts of the world undergoing rapid economic growth, such as much of the tropics and the Himalayan region, said the team – citing Brazil and Nepal.

The researchers had gathered data on the number of speakers of a language, their geographical range, and rates of growth or decline.

They then considered possible influences like globalisation or environmental and socio-economic changes.

The data comparison showed that “levels of GDP (gross domestic product) per capita correlated with the loss of language diversity: the more successful economically, the more rapidly language diversity was disappearing,” said a press statement from the University of Cambridge.

Study co-author Tatsuya Amato from the university’s zoology department, explained that as economies develop, one language often comes to dominate a nation’s political and educational spheres.

“People are forced to adapt the dominant language or risk being left out in the cold – economically and politically.”

One saving grace is bilingualism, which the team said must be encouraged to preserve the world’s linguistic diversity.

“Our study also contributes to a basic understanding of the origin and maintenance of human cultural diversity,” they wrote.

Ukraine warns a ‘great war’ is looming with Russia

(Transcripts from SBS World News Radio)

Ukraine is calling it a great war in which tens of thousands of people could die.

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Ukraine’s defence minister says the country is now fighting a war on its doorstep with Russia, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War Two.

Pro-Russian rebels are still advancing in eastern Ukraine, forcing government forces to withdraw after heavy clashes.

The rebels have gained ground in both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and further south around the port of Mariupol.

Greg Dyett reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

Ukrainian politicians are describing the conflict as a great war and have even referenced this speech from Winston Churchill from June 1940.

“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.”

And the mayor of Mariupol Yuriy Hotlubey says his town won’t be surrendering either.

He says reinforcement works are underway, in and around the city, which he says is now a fortress.

“I would like to quote the British Prime Minister Churchill statement made in 1940: ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.’ These words are very relevant. Of course we would like to avoid that, but our city is getting prepared anyway.”

As the fighting continues, Ukrainian and Russian officials are holdings talks with separatist rebels and international monitors, in the Belarus city of Minsk.

Russian President Vladamir Putin says the Ukrainian government is refusing to enter into negotiations over the future of eastern Ukraine.

(Trans) “What is the essence of the tragedy that is happening now in Ukraine? I think the main reason is that the Kiev authorities do not want to conduct substantive political dialogue with the east of the country. And now is the beginning of a very important process in my view – the processs of direct negotiations. We have been working on it for a long time and agreed with President Poroshenko in Minsk such contact are starting now.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has outlined a force which will be able to deploy at short notice, in response to what he calls Russia’s “aggressive behaviour.”

He says Russia doesn’t consider NATO a partner, but rather an adversary.

“I strongly regret that, because I do believe that the right thing for Euro-Atlantic security, would be to develop a strong partnership with Russia but of course, we cannot afford to be naïve, we don’t have any illusions we are faced with the reality that Russia considers us an adversary and we will adapt to that situation.”

Russia continues to deny accusations that it’s providing troops and equipment to the rebels.

More than 2,500 people have died in eastern Ukraine since fighting began in April.

The conflict erupting after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March.

 

 

 

Uncertain future for government’s planned welfare changes

(Transcripts from SBS World News Radio)

Federal government plans to make people under 30 wait six months for the dole may be under review.

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Reports suggest the Abbott government is also looking at reducing the number of job applications required each month to qualify for the welfare payment.

As Amanda Cavill reports, the government says it’s having sensible talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to get its controversial changes through the upper house.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

The government’s proposed welfare laws, which would freeze payments for unemployed people who turn down a job offer or miss multiple appointments, will come before the Senate this week.

But the changes are likely to remain unacceptable to the Greens, Labor and some crossbenchers and face certain defeat without substantial changes.

However it’s believed the government is planning to back down on its original timeframe and might adopt that of New Zealand, which has a one month waiting period for its unemployment benefit.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steve Ciobo says the government is having what he calls “mature conversations” with the Senate crossbench to get the measure passed.

“Really what it underscores is just how stubborn the Australian Labor Party is being because the fact is the Coalition has a clear mandate from the Australian people to get Australia back on track. Discussions with the crossbench to try and put through the kind of structural reforms that we are seeking to make to make sure Australia is on a sustainable footing mean there’s lots of points of conversation in relation to a lot of the government’s initiatives. But again I would call on the Senate to respect the mandate and to put through the various reforms we are making.”

However even if the government is prepared to make concessions it’s still facing opposition from a hostile Senate.

Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt says even a one-month wait is a recipe for homelessness.

“What are you going to tell the landlord when your income gets cut off for a month. A landlord doesn’t care that the government has now backed down in some compromise proposal with the crossbench. They just want the rent to be paid. Whether it’s one month or six months the government should not be kicking young jobseekers off the dole. People should be given a helping hand to find a new job, not put further into poverty.”

Labor MP Stephen Jones has also dismissed the idea saying it’s a ridiculous proposition put forward by Workplace Relations Minister Senator Eric Abetz.

“He uses, in part, evidence that you can’t get short-term labour in the agricultural industry for fruit-picking and vege-picking and the like. Nothing is more likely to put in place a disincentive for people getting short-term work that may lead to longer-term work than telling people under 30 that they’ll be cut off the dole for 6 months every time they lose their job. Every time that you get a few weeks’ work, the clock starts again. It is an absolute mad proposition and the Government shouldn’t be bringing it forward, they should be ditching it.”

But Independent Senator David Leyonhjelm says he could support such a proposal.

He says there are already stringent arrangements in place to ensure Newstart Allowance recipients look for work.

“Yeah that’s an interesting idea. I’m more amenable to that idea than I am to the six months. I flat out reject the six months idea. I’d listen to that idea I haven’t really come to any final conclusion but it’s a lot better than six months.”

Another plan under active consideration for compromise is the Coalition’s intention to require people receiving the Newstart allowance to apply for 40 jobs a month from next year.

The federal government also wants to make it mandatory for jobseekers aged 18 to 49 to work for their welfare payments.

The Senate has already voted down another of the government’s welfare measures.

Last month the Coalition introduced regulations to limit the reasonable excuses job seekers can use if they fail to meet certain requirements, but Labor and the Greens voted together to block the move.

 

 

 

 

Cherry-Evans to step up amid injury woes

Manly’s star playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans says he’ll step up to help rookie Jayden Hodges settle in as the NRL premiership heavyweights deal with a hooker injury crisis.

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The ladder-leading Sea Eagles are suddenly stretched to the limit at hooker after scans revealed first choice Matt Ballin has a fractured fibula and could miss the rest of the NRL season.

Ballin suffered the injury in Manly’s last-gasp win over Penrith at Brookvale Oval on Sunday while his hooker backup Jamie Buhrer copped a season-ending ruptured ACL in the same match.

It further tests Manly’s forwards depth, with Glenn Stewart (ankle) also sidelined for the entire finals series.

Hodges, who has played just one first grade game – in round 17 against Canterbury – takes over as hooker for the final round clash with North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday, when a win can secure the Sea Eagles the minor premiership.

Halfback Cherry-Evans admitted on Wednesday the loss of Ballin and Buher would have a big impact but said it was up to him to help guide 20-year-old Hodges as Ballin had helped him.

“This side is really going to be tested with the durability of our roster,” Cherry-Evans said.

“It’s going to be a difficult transition. Matty Ballin has been tried and tested for so many years and has done an amazing job and made my job so much easier.

“The shoe’s going to be on the other foot this weekend where as a half I’m going to have to help the young, new hooker out.

“I’ve got every belief that, with the ability Jayden has shown, he’ll be able to do a great job and hopefully I can help him as much as possible.”

The injury ends Ballin’s run of 182 consecutive matches for Manly and Cherry-Evans admitted if would be unfair to expect Hodges to have the same influence.

“He (Ballin)is an ironman of modern day rugby league. He’s done an unbelievable job and the quality of football he’s upheld in that time has been amazing,” Cherry-Evans said.

“There’s some big shoes to fill for Jayden, but I’ve got no doubt he’ll do a great job – maybe not Matty Ballin’s job but he’ll do a good job.”

Ballin was disappointed to have the fracture confirmed after secondary scans and said it appeared an innocuous injury at first, with the hooker playing on for a further 22 minutes before being replaced.

He still held some hope of returning if the Sea Eagles progress deep into the finals.

“Hopefully the boys do a great job in the next game, then the semi-finals and then I can be back for some games towards the end of the year,” he said.

Nuns changed child migrant’s name

The name of a child migrant was changed by nuns before he sailed from Northern Ireland to Australia in an effort to ensure he could not be traced, a public inquiry has heard.

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Seasick children vomited from the decks and cried on their way to a new identity and life in a country they knew nothing about.

One nun said: “I hope that ship sinks on the way out there as punishment for misbehaving.”

Once they arrived some children were subjected to sexual and physical abuse by members of the Christian Brothers Catholic religious order at Clontarf in Western Australia, the inquiry has heard.

The decision to change the name of one child was signed by a senior nun (mother superior) in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Catholic Council for Child Welfare, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry was told on Tuesday.

He was told not to change it back when he arrived in Australia following the month-long passage from Northern Ireland. A witness statement said he was never asked did he want to go.

“I had no idea where Australia was, my mother was never told about going there.”

The nuns fitted him out with clothes for the trip.

“The last thing they did was change my name.

“I think they wanted to ensure I could not be traced.”

Some participants in the child migration scheme were told they were going on holiday and had no idea how far it was.

A boy said he had no chance to say goodbye to his father and was one of eight in a cabin, spending most of the time below deck, with passengers often going up only to be sick.

When he arrived in Fremantle he asked a nun when he would be going home.

“She hit me a clout over the ear.

“We did not realise how far Australia was from Ireland. We did not at any stage realise that we would not be going home.

“We were just orphans in their view and had to do what we were told.”

The inquiry’s public hearings run for three weeks.

Federer shines again under Arthur Ashe floodlights

The 26-year-old Spaniard was handed the unenviable task of trying to upset the 17-time grand slam winner on Arthur Ashe Stadium court, where the Swiss maestro has a dazzling 25-1 record under the Flushing Meadows floodlights.

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It quickly became clear there would be no power shortage on Tuesday as Federer raced to a 5-1 lead in opening set then eased off the gas and coasted to an unflustered win in just under two hours.

“I felt like I had maybe some margin,” said Federer. “He hasn’t got the biggest game but he’s consistent. He’s fast. He can adapt. So he’s got things that can make you feel uncomfortable, I must say.

“He can absorb pace well. From that standpoint, even though I did feel I had margin because I never played him before, I was still pushing forward all along and trying to always keep a gap between him and me in terms of the result and the scoreline.”

Next up for Federer is a player he knows very well, 20th seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, who was earlier a 7-5 7-6 (6) 7-5 winner over seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

Federer and Monfils have clashed nine times with the Swiss holding a 7-2 advantage but the former world number one will be wary of the enigmatic Frenchman, who many rate as among the most gifted on the men’s tour.

While Federer holds a big edge in their head-to-head clashes, they have split their four most recent matches with the 17-time grand slam winner coming out on top in their most recent meeting just last month in Cincinnati.

“He’s got easy top 10 potential,” said Federer. “He’s a great mover. He’s got a wonderful serve, really, which nobody really talks about because of his athletic movement which stands out so much.

“His issues have really been just his fitness and his setbacks he’s had because of injury. Then sometimes maybe not wanting to play sometimes because of reasons only he can explain.

“I think I can speak on behalf of so many players: We love watching him play. It’s nice seeing him do well again. He’s going to rise in the rankings now, and maybe that’s exactly the stepping stones he needs to make it back in the top 10.”

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

All Blacks clinch England series with 28-27 win

Flyhalf Aaron Cruden slotted a conversion and two penalties, while his replacement Beauden Barrett added a conversion and a penalty for the home side who now have an 16-match unbeaten streak.

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Winger Marland Yarde, fullback Mike Brown and Chris Ashton scored tries for England, while Owen Farrell, who was sinbinned for a professional foul midway through the second half, slotted three conversions and two penalties.

The All Blacks are now unbeaten in 32 tests in New Zealand, a run stretching back almost five years and have won 28 of their 30 internationals since they clinched their second World Cup in 2011.

They had been under pressure from coach Steve Hansen and captain Richie McCaw to lift their performance after the bumbling 20-15 victory at Eden Park last week.

Both, however, would have been ruing their side’s start with all of England’s first half points came in a blistering opening 10 minutes when they denied the All Blacks the ball and the home side fell foul of referee Jaco Peyper, which allowed the visitors to kick downfield for attacking lineouts.

Farrell slotted an early penalty and converted Marland Yarde’s seventh-minute try after England scrumhalf Danny Care had delayed his pass until the defenders were committed and the winger burst through McCaw’s tackle.

All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden responded with two first half penalties before the home side exploded early in the second half, finally managing to hold on to the ball as they launched a breathtaking counter-attack from 80 metres out that led to fullback Smith going in under the posts.

Savea then went over in the corner to cap off a 12-point scoring burst inside five minutes before Nonu grabbed the third try when Farrell was in the sinbin.

Brown scored inside the final 10 minutes to keep England within sight, but by the time Ashton scored his try in the final minute the game was over and only made the scoreline look closer than the match was.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)