Month: April 2019

Morsi murder trial resumes in Cairo

His trial is seen as a test for Egypt’s military-installed authorities, who have come under fire for a heavy-handed crackdown on his supporters after he was forced out by the army last July.

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An Islamist coalition backing the deposed leader called for nationwide protests Saturday in a statement to “support the legitimate elected president.”

   

Saturday’s hearing at a heavily guarded police academy is the third session in the trial, in which Morsi and 14 others are accused of inciting the killing of opposition protesters in December 2012 outside the presidential palace.

   

The previous session of the trial had been adjourned over “weather conditions” that prevented Morsi’s transport to court from prison.

   

Morsi is facing four separate trials, and at the first hearing of another trial on January 28 the defiant Islamist insisted he was still the legitimate president of Egypt.

   

In that trial, Morsi and 130 other co-defendants face charges of breaking out of prison during the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak three-decade rule.

   

Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood won a series of polls after Mubarak’s ouster and who became Egypt’s first freely elected leader in June 2012, was ousted a year later by the army after massive protests against him.

   

Amnesty International says that since Morsi’s overthrow on July 3 at least 1,400 people have been killed in clashes with security forces and his opponents.

   

Months of bloodshed has reduced chances of political reconciliation in the Arab world’s most populous nation as it prepares for a presidential vote to be held by mid-April.

   

The vote is expected to see Egypt’s army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted Morsi, run for the presidency.

   

Morsi also faces trials on charges of espionage in collaboration with the Palestinian Hamas movement, and insulting the judiciary. The spying trial will start on February 16, while no date has yet been set for the other trial.

   

Morsi’s single year in power was marred by political turmoil, deadly clashes and a crippling economic crisis.

   

In December 2012, members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked opposition protesters camped outside the presidential palace in protest at a decree by Morsi to grant himself extra-judicial powers.

   

At least seven people were killed in the clashes, and dozens of opposition protesters were detained and beaten by Morsi’s supporters.

   

The incident was a turning point in Morsi’s presidency, galvanising a disparate opposition that eventually organised the mass protests in June 2013.

   

Morsi’s defence says there is no proof he incited the clashes, and that most of those killed in the violence were members of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Starc uses Johnson as Test inspiration

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc says to fight his way back into the Test team, he must learn from the man who has replaced him.

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Starc made an impressive international return for Australia’s T20 side on Friday night and is hoping to get another run under his belt in the final match on Sunday in Sydney to further his case for inclusion in the World Twenty20 squad for March.

After suffering a back injury on last year’s Ashes tour of the UK, Starc was forced to watch from the sidelines as another left-arm paceman named Mitch produced the summer of a lifetime to crush England.

However, Starc sees Mitchell Johnson not as an obstacle to his chances of returning to five-day cricket, but the inspiration.

Starc has played 12 Tests and shown promise, but has so far failed to cement himself at the highest level.

The 24-year-old said he’s eager to replicate Johnson’s aggression and mental strength in 2014.

Starc intends to finish the work Johnson started back in November, by whitewashing England in the three-match Twenty20 series at ANZ Stadium.

“We’re going to make sure we’re going to send them home with their tails between their legs,” taunted Starc on Saturday.

“I’ve learnt a lot from Mitch over the years. Bowling with a very high amount of aggression towards batsman – it was great to watch him go and there’s a lot to learn from his temperament and how he’s come back from tough times.

“(Test selection) hasn’t come into my mind. There’s no Tests after South Africa (until October) so, for me, it’s focusing on that white ball and white-ball skills.

“I’ve still got a chance to go over with the T20 (for the World T20 in Bangladesh). If I get a run tomorrow night, it’s a chance to push for Twenty20s over there.”

After getting through his overs nicely in Australia’s crushing win on Friday, on the immediate horizon for Starc is a chance to spearhead the Sydney Sixers to a second Big Bash League crown.

But first of all, the NSW seamer is desperate to ensure England go home with only one win from five Tests, five ODIs and three Twenty20s this summer.

Australia are ranked sixth in the world in T20 cricket and are desperate to take momentum into Bangladesh so they can turn the tables.

“It’s another chance to clean sweep England in another series,” he said.

“We won’t be letting up. One more game until they get on that plane and I’m sure they’re looking forward to getting on that plane … Hopefully, we can rub it in.”

Unwell Ko two shots behind US golf rival

A stomach bug nearly prompted golf sensation Lydia Ko to pull out of the New Zealand Women’s Open before she carded a second-straight 69 to sit two shots off the pace.

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Defending champion Ko went nearly 24 hours without eating after falling ill soon after her opening round at Clearwater Golf Club on Friday afternoon.

New Zealand’s world No.4-ranked player skipped dinner, breakfast and lunch before experimenting with some snacks midway through Saturday’s second round.

Her playing partner in the final round of the 54-hole tournament will be tournament leader Anya Alvarez, whose sizzling 66 lifted her to eight-under-par.

“The most important thing I did today was stay calm when I started feel a little bit excited that I was playing well,” the US 24-year-old said.

“Now I have to keep my head in the game. There are 18 holes to play and I have to work really hard.”

Jessica Speechley was in joint sixth position while fellow Australian Stacey Keating was in eighth spot.

Australian Sarah Jane Smith dropped from equal third on Friday to 42nd spot.

Auckland 16-year-old Ko sought a hospital diagnosis on Saturday morning and was given medicine to treat some “extra wind” in her system.

“I was really sick. At one stage, I was going to withdraw but luckily I didn’t,” she said.

Florida-based Alvarez, the daughter of former US PGA pro Alex Alvarez, says she is looking forward to comparing her game with that of Ko in a pressure situation.

“When I was 16, I was into boys and shopping and not really focused on anything in life so I really admire her.”

Ko sits one shot clear of a group on five-under comprising American Beth Allen and Koreans Seon Woo Bae and Kyu Jung Baek.

She is unconcerned about the margin to Alvarez, hoping she is physically well enough to launch a challenge for the lead in front of what is expected to be a large and expectant home gallery.

“Two shots can happen over a hole. It seems like she’s playing really well but I’ve just got to play my own game,” said Ko.

Marshall solid in first Blues rugby start

Benji Marshall has made an encouraging start to his Super Rugby career, getting through 40 minutes for the Blues in his first game of rugby union in more than a decade.

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The former West Tigers and Kiwis rugby league star played the opening two quarters at five-eighth in the Blues’ 38-35 pre-season loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday in Masterton.

There was no sign of nerves from Marshall, who distributed the ball well, made the odd run at the line and took on the responsibility of re-starts and kicking for touch.

Marshall tried his trademark sidestep once – and met the considerable force of Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea – but mostly, he was content sticking to basics and getting a feel for his new position.

“I didn’t set the game on fire but, in terms of trying to get control and feel for playing 10, everything I wanted to get I got out of it,” said a happy Marshall.

“It wasn’t about being the best player on the field. It was just trying to get through what we practised and get a feel for the game.”

Marshall didn’t shy away in defence, although he failed to hold on to Tim Bateman in the build-up to the Hurricanes’ third try. He even opted to get stuck into a couple of rucks, with mixed results.

Blues coach John Kirwan was pleased with Marshall’s first hitout and ruled out a switch to fullback.

“I think (first-five) is his position,” said Kirwan. “He certainly put his hand up today so we’ll put him out there again next week and we’ll just keep working on him. It was a good start.”

The match, in front of a sold-out crowd of 6000, was an entertaining one, which produced 11 tries – six for the Hurricanes and five for the Blues.

The Blues recovered from a 19-0 deficit to lead 21-19 at halftime, and 35-24 at three-quarter time, but more direct running from the Hurricanes in the final spell produced the rewards and lock James Broadhurst scored the winning try with eight minutes to go.

Carr offers government advice on China

What’s the difference between a best friend, an oldest friend and your closest friend?

Quite a bit in the tricky world of diplomacy, where the choice of words can mean the difference between a compliment and a snub.

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Former foreign minister Bob Carr seems to think the Abbott government is in need of a few lessons, warning it risks offending China if it keeps up its recent form on the world stage.

Mr Carr said since the election, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had described Japan – which is engaged in a row with China over a territorial dispute – as “our best friend in Asia”.

But until now, Mr Carr said foreign ministers had described Japan as Australia’s “oldest friend” in Asia, or that it had “no closer” friends.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott went further in late November when he described Australia as “a strong ally of Japan”.

“We are not officially allies,” Mr Carr wrote in The Australian Financial Review on Saturday, adding Australia had previously referred to Japan as “friend” or “partner”.

Mr Carr warned such signals sent the wrong message to a country with whom Australia wants to sign a free trade agreement within a year.

It was “hardly cutting-edge diplomacy” for Ms Bishop to use a trip to Washington to declare China counted less when it came to trade and investment than the US, he said.

“My reading of China is that they accept Australia as a close ally of the US and that we will always be drawn to America,” said Mr Carr, who resigned as a Labor senator in October.

“But they seem to want that we not shove this fact quite so squarely in their face.”

He also criticised the government for overlooking two “measured options” for dealing with China’s declaration of a no-fly zone in November.

Ms Bishop was publicly upbraided by her Chinese counterpart for “irresponsible” comments when she voiced concerns about the air-defence zone declared over a disputed island chain.