Month: August 2019

Franklin boots six as Swans crush Bulldogs

AFL ladder leaders Sydney won’t be doing Richmond any favours by resting star players for their final-round clash next Sunday.


While Richmond have leapt back into the top eight with Sunday’s win over St Kilda – their eighth victory in a row – Sydney have posted 16 victories in their past 17 matches and could hardly be in better shape.

The Swans burst out of the blocks in Sunday’s round-22 clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, kicking seven goals to the home side’s one in the opening term.

Sydney’s 20.10 (130) to 9.13 (67) victory included six goals from Coleman Medal leader Lance Franklin and four from fellow big forward Kurt Tippett.

The Swans had the luxury of subbing out Tippett at three-quarter time.

Sydney coach John Longmire says injured quartet Josh Kennedy, Craig Bird, Ben McGlynn and Sam Reid, who was a late withdrawal on Sunday with a hip complaint, are all pushing for selection this week.

The Swans will host Richmond at ANZ Stadium on Saturday and despite being a win and almost seven per cent clear in top spot, there’ll be no resting going on against the Tigers.

“To be able to jump out of the blocks and have that seven-goal first quarter and reduce their scoring impact was critical,” Longmire said.

“The longer the game went, we were able to make a few decisions which a good start allows you to do.

“We had four blokes back in Sydney who missed today.

“They’re all a chance. Reid and Kennedy would be huge chances.

“We’ll play our players who are fit and ready to go. I don’t think there’s many teams who rest players.”

Longmire said his stars such as onballer Kennedy were desperate to play.

“They want to keep going and continue to be in good touch and good form,” Longmire said.

“That’s the other consideration to take into it as well.”

Luke Parker and Jarrad McVeigh were two of the headline acts in Sydney’s dominant midfield, and All-Australian half-back contender Nick Malceski kicked two goals in another fine performance.

Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae and Nathan Hrovat were prominent for the under-siege Bulldogs, who have lost four of their past five games.

The 14th-placed Bulldogs face the 16th-placed Giants at Etihad Stadium next Sunday.

Coach Brendan McCartney says 15-minute lapses continue to cost his side.

“We’ve been beaten up a bit by three really strong clubs in the last month, all going into a pretty optimistic finals campaign, Hawthorn (62 points), Sydney and North Melbourne (50),” McCartney said.

The coach says the Bulldogs are determined to give 264-game veteran Daniel Giansiracusa an appropriate send-off.

McCartney has guaranteed the 32-year-old he won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of starting his final game on the bench as the sub.

Iraq crisis: As violence continues, UN fears massacre in Amerli

Nikolay Mladenov, the UN secretary general’s representative in Iraq, said immediate action is needed to “prevent the possible massacre” of civilians in the northern town of Amerli.


He urged the Iraqi government and other countries to implement concerted action to end the siege in Amerli, 177 kilometres from the capital, Baghdad.

“The town is besieged by ISIL and reports confirm that people are surviving in desperate conditions,” he said in a statement.

“I urge the Iraqi Government to do all it can to relieve the siege and to ensure that the residents receive lifesaving humanitarian assistance or are evacuated in a dignified manner.

“Iraq’s allies and the international community should work with the authorities to prevent a human rights tragedy.”

The town has a population of nearly 18,000 Turkmen Shiites, who have been cut off from food and water supplies after Islamic State fighters launched an offensive in the Salaheddin province in early June.

Local media reports say government helicopters have been able to drop supplies infrequently but added that the government is still facing difficulty in reaching civilians trapped by the fighting.

Dr Ali Albayati at Turkmen Saving Foundation said many children are dying in the town due to dehydration and disease.

He says children have only been eating one meal every three days.

“It is a humanitarian disaster. Twenty-thousand people in Amerli are fighting off death.

“After the attack of Mosul, all the Shiite Turkmen villages around Amerli were captured by the Islamic State. They killed the people and displayed their bodies outside the village,” he told the BBC.

“We are depending on salty water, which gives people diarrhea and other diseases. Since the siege started more than 50 sick or elderly people have died,” he said.

Earlier this month, ISIS attacked Mount Sinjar, home to tens of thousands of the Yazidi ethnic minority. The fighting forced many from their homes, with an estimated 500 people killed during the siege.  

Iraq’s most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani used his speech atfer Friday prayers to voice concern over the situation in Amerli.  


British foreign secretary Philip Hammond on Friday offered in-principle support for an international operation to help people in Amerli, saying the government would be closely watching events.


Devastation in Iraq’s Kirkuk following car bombs

It comes on a day when dozens have died after three near-simultaneous car bombs exploded in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Saturday, killing 21 people and wounding 118, a senior police officer and a doctor said.

Two of the bombs exploded near buildings under construction that were used as observation positions by security forces, while the third struck the entrance to a market.

The bombings come as Iraqi federal and Kurdish security forces battle a jihadist-led militant offensive that was launched in June and has overrun large areas of five provinces.

In the early days of the onslaught, Iraqi soldiers left their positions in oil-rich Kirkuk province, the capital of which is the city of the same name.

This cleared the way for Kurdish forces to take control of it and other disputed northern areas that they have long wanted to incorporate into their autonomous region, over the strong objection of Baghdad.

‘Red alert’: Flights banned from flying over Iceland volcano after eruption

Iceland has raised its alert over the nation’s largest volcano to red, banning all air traffic in the area, after detecting a small eruption.


A major explosion at the Bardarbunga volcano could signal a replay of the global travel chaos triggered when another Icelandic peak blew four years ago, creating a massive ash cloud across Europe.

On Saturday afternoon the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) said it believed there was a small sub-glacial eruption, but by late evening it confirmed there was no evidence of volcanic activity.


“Presently there are no signs of ongoing volcanic activity,” IMO said.

“The aviation colour code for the Bardarbunga volcano remains red as an imminent eruption cannot be excluded.

Airports in Iceland remain open

Although airspace was closed in the affected area, all airports in Iceland were open, authorities said.

The assessment came after three hours of aerial surveillance.

“It’s clear that there are no signs of melting that follows an eruption under a glacier, so the magma has probably not reached the surface yet,” geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson told publicbroadcaster Ruv.

Tourist area evacuated

Police said 300 people had been evacuated from a tourist area north of the Bardarbunga volcano, which lies in central Iceland.

“It is only in the canyons themselves, not in the inhabited area,” Husavi chief of police Svavar Palsson told local media.

“Most of the people were foreign tourists.”

The authorities earlier this week evacuated tourists and hikers from the area around Bardarbunga, which kicked into seismic action on Monday with the biggest earthquake registered since 1996.

However, police said there was no sign of a change at the surface of the erupting area and that the ice layer was between 150 and 400 metres thick.

“The eruption is considered a minor event at this point,” Icelandic police said in a statement.

“Because of pressure from the glacier cap it is uncertain whether the eruption will stay sub-glacial or not.”

Not the first time volcano eruption triggers air traffic ban

The eruption of Eyjafjoell, a smaller volcano, in April 2010 caused travel mayhem, stranding more than eight million travellers in the biggest airspace shutdown since World War II.

“There’s nothing we can do if we get another big eruption like that of Eyjafjoell except to interrupt air traffic in the dangerous areas,” Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration spokesman Fridthor Eydal was quoted as saying earlier this week.

“It’s really the only thing we can do,” he said.

The volcano is located in southeast Iceland under the country’s largest glacier Vatnajoekull.

The area around it is uninhabited, with only trekking cabins and campsites used by tourists and hunters in the summer months.

Iceland’s second-highest peak, Bardarbunga rises to more than 2000 metres, and caps the country’s largest volcanic system.

On Monday, seismologists recorded an earthquake of 4.5 on the Richter scale in the area.

Scientists believe its explosion would be large enough to disrupt air traffic over northern Europe and the northern Atlantic, as well as causing major damage on the island nation from volcanic ash and glacial flooding.

In 2010, the Eyjafjoell volcano shot a massive plume of volcanic debris up to nine kilometres into the sky, blowing ash across to mainland Europe.

And in 2011, Iceland’s most active sub-glacial volcano Grimsvotn erupted, forcing Iceland to temporarily shut its airspace and sparking fears of a repeat of the Eyjafjoell flight chaos.

Hunters stalk debut finals berth

The PNG Hunters have just won their last fixture and confirmed their reputation as formidable newcomers, downing the the South Logan Magpies 44 to 14 in Brisbane.


Their runaway success in the Queensland Rugby League Intrust Cup is dream come true for a country that worships the game.

“It’s our national sport up there, everyone talks rugby league, everyone speaks rugby league,” said team coach Michael Marum.

With a bye next week, they now need the Ipswich Jets and Tweed Head Seagulls to lose their last games.

“I think it was the way we want it to be. We get our two points and go on a bye (next week) and hopefully those teams lose and we get in,” said Hunters captain Israel Eliab after the game.

Either way the team will end the season with the cup’s top try scorer, Gary Lo, coming from their ranks. 

Queensland Rugby League said the Hunters have been a huge boon to the competition, boosting game attendances into the thousands instead of the few hundred seen last season.

“It’s the brand of footy they play, it’s care free, it’s the way it should be played, the ball’s throw around, there’s excitement, they can score tries from inside their own ten and from the opposition’s ten,” said QRL competitions manager Jamie O’Connor.

The team suffered setbacks during the season when players, including Eliab, were struck down with malaria, some left over discipline issues and then there was Queensland’s cold weather.

One thing that never wavered was their fan base both at home and in Australia.

“Everyone follows this (in PNG), on Saturdays and Sunday’s they just sit in front of their tellies and watch us, the boys play,” said Eliab.

“We have lots of fans around here (Queensland), at the airport, lots of people asking us, just cheering us.”

Torres still in Mourinho’s plans despite Chelsea absence

Fernando Torres, Chelsea’s record 50 million pound ($82.


84 million) signing, could not even command a place on the bench as Costa was scoring on his Stamford Bridge debut in the 2-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday, a victory which maintained the club’s perfect start to the season.

At the launch of his fifth season for Chelsea and having turned 30 in March, the dropping of Torres felt almost symbolic of his slide from the giddy heights of his Atletico Madrid and Liverpool heyday.

With the 32 million pound man Costa marking his territory with a second goal in as many games and as the returning 36-year-old hero Didier Drogba was being welcomed back ecstatically, was Mourinho preparing to consign Torres’ largely disappointing Chelsea career to history?

Not at all, according to the manager.

Chelsea still needed three top strikers in their squad and Torres, even if his record of five goals in 28 league appearances last season contrasts starkly with Costa’s immediate 100 percent strike rate, would be that ‘third man’.

Happy to dispel persistent rumours that Torres might be on his way to a loan spell with a top Italian club, Mourinho instead offered an unforced tribute to both the player’s abilities and character, insisting Spain’s former World Cup winner still had plenty more Chelsea goals in him.

“I want three strikers in the team. I can’t do a season without three strikers so our squad was made carefully, with great balance, great work by the top structure of my club to try to give me with what I want,” Mourinho explained.

“Torres is one of those three strikers. “I believe he’ll stay. I want him. He will play, he will score goals, he will be very useful for us. He’s a fantastic guy, a fantastic professional. So no problem. “At this moment, we are playing one game a week but in September, October, November, December, there’ll be three matches a week and then everything is much easier for the players because all of them will be playing. So there is not stories with Nando or anyone.”


Asked what Torres had to do to establish himself as the club’s number one striker, Mourinho’s message, delivered with a smile, was stark.

“Score more goals than the first one,” he said.

For the moment, that ‘first one’ is Costa and Mourinho was delighted with his initial impact.

“He’s a goalscorer,” the Portuguese added.

“The goals he scored against both Leicester and (in the 3-1 win at) Burnley are striker goals. He smashes and he scores. This is what we need. We need a striker to score goals and Diego is doing that for us.”

Costa’s old Atletico team mate Thibaut Courtois is also making a major impact for Chelsea with Mourinho having entrusted the goakeeping duties to him ahead of the long established Petr Cech.

His excellent save from Leicester’s David Nugent ultimately proved as important as Costa’s breakthrough goal in the victory.

Talking of the difficulty of having to choose between the experience and excellence of the 32-year-old Cech and the exciting promise of the young Belgian, Mourinho told the BBC “Match of the Day” programme: “I love my players and respect them but I try always to be super professional and try always to think about my club before my players.

“The point here is not the quality, because Petr is an amazing goalkeeper. What made me have this decision was the fact that the kid (Courtois) is 22, a kid who has only two years on his contract.

If he doesn’t play for Chelsea, he is a free agent. I made a decision for the team. The kid is answering in a fantastic way.”

(Editing by John O’Brien)