Month: June 2019

Swiss stroll, Czechs level in Davis Cup

France and Switzerland enjoyed perfect starts to their Davis Cup World Group first round ties on Friday but the Czech Republic stuttered in their quest for a third consecutive title.

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Roger Federer and newly crowned Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka put the Swiss 2-0 up in Serbia to leave last year’s beaten finalists on the brink of an early elimination.

Australia too were heading for the Davis Cup exit after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet were on target for France.

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and James Ward won their opening singles matches in San Diego as Great Britain pushed the United States to the brink on the opening day.

In Ostrava, the Czechs were left facing an uphill battle when the Netherlands’ Robin Haase saw off Radek Stepanek (CZE) 3-6 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-1.

But Tomas Berdych cruised past Igor Sijsling (NED) 6-3 6-3 6-0 to draw the 2012 and 2013 champions back level ahead of Saturday’s doubles.

“I didn’t know much about him… I tried to attack him a lot,” said Berdych, a semi-finalist of the Australian Open where he lost to eventual champion Wawrinka.

Elsewhere five-time winners Spain, missing Rafael Nadal, were up against it losing 2-0 to Germany in Frankfurt, Argentina were level 1-1 with Italy in Mar del Plata, Kazakhstan led Belgium 2-0 in Astana, and Japan and Canada were all square in Tokyo.

In San Diego, world number six Murray set the tone for Great Britain with a dominant 6-1 6-2 6-3 defeat of Donald Young.

Sam Querrey seemed poised to get the hosts back on terms before Ward – down two sets and trailing 2-4 in the fourth – roared back to win 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-4 6-1.

On the clay in Mouilleron-le-Captif, France were sitting pretty after Gasquet beat Aussie teenager Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 6-2 before Tsonga ousted Lleyton Hewitt 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

Federer, a last-minute addition to the Swiss team, won through 6-4 7-5 6-2 against 268th-ranked Ilija Bozoljac on the hard court surface in Novi Sad.

The Swiss, buoyed with two Grand Slam winners in their ranks, are favourites with Serbia weakened by the absence of star turns Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic.

Tired from his exploits in the heat of Melbourne Wawrinka then stepped up to battle past 102nd ranked Dusan Lajovic 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-6 (9-7).

“It was a tough match and it wasn’t easy for me to come here after the last few weeks,” Wawrinka told reporters.

“I didn’t really have enough time to get ready as I was exhausted both mentally and physically, but I was determined to fight and win the match and I was really happy to get through it.

“He is a good player and tough to beat in front of his home fans so it was a tough situation for me, so we are really happy to be 2-0 up after the opening day.”

In Frankfurt, Philipp Kohlschreiber gave Germany a winning start over Spain with a 6-2 6-4 6-2 victory in less than two hours against Roberto Bautista Agut.

Spain’s 26th-ranked Feliciano Lopez then fell 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 5-7 6-3 to Florian Mayer, ranked 29, in their second rubber.

The Spanish are playing without their stars – world number one Nadal and fifth-ranked David Ferrer.

In Mar del Plata, Carlos Berlocq put hosts Argentina ahead by beating Italy’s Andreas Seppi 4-6 6-0 6-2 6-1.

But Italy drew level when Fabio Fognini defeated Juan Monaco 7-5 6-2 6-2.

In Tokyo, Japanese number one Kei Nishikori beat Canada’s Peter Polansky 6-4 6-4 6-4 before Frank Dancevic levelled 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 win over Go Soeda.

Aus women seeking moral victory over Eng

The Ashes might be lost but Australia can claim a moral victory over England in Sydney on Sunday and build vital momentum for their World Twenty20 defence.

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If Australia triumph in the third T20 international at ANZ Stadium, the Southern Stars will have won more matches than England this summer, despite losing the series.

Losing the heavily weighted one-off Test match (worth six points) cruelled Australia’s chances of winning back the urn, but in the shorter-formats they’ve fought back strongly.

Having won the ODI component 2-1, Australia are pushing for the same result in the T20 finale, which would allow them to take winning form into the World T20 in Bangladesh in March.

Australia are looking to win the World T20 for a third straight time, and wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy says despite losing the Ashes, the Southern Stars have the squad and self-belief to create history.

“No one had done it twice so to do it three times would be pretty spectacular,” said Healy, who returned to form opening the batting with a composed 37 not out off 43 balls in Australia’s seven-wicket win over England at the MCG on Friday.

“We’ve got a really good squad of girls around at the moment who are actually very good T20 cricketers so it’s a big bonus for us. We play a lot of it back here in Australia in our domestic cricket so we’re ready to go.

“I think if we get out there (on Sunday) and win it’s a big boost for us in coming away from the tour winning more games of cricket than the English team.

“We can take a big positive out of that. Obviously it’s very disappointing not to be able to regain the Ashes but we can get on a bit of a roll before the World Cup and I guess get a bit of a mental edge on them.”

Thousands protest against WA shark cull policy

The biggest event was at Cottesloe Beach, one of Western Australia’s most famous beaches, where more than 6,000 people gathered.

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They’re calling on the government to stop the use of baited hooks placed one kilometre off the coast and killing certain sharks larger than three metres.

One shark has already been killed under the policy and another was found dead on a hook this morning after hooks were set off the coast for the first time yesterday.

Protester Craig Berry says the government is taking the wrong action following seven fatal shark attacks in three years.

“I don’t feel it makes our beaches any safer,” he told SBS. “In fact I feel more threatened by having baited hooks out there when I want to enjoy the ocean and I think a lot of people feel similarly.

“I think the number of sightings we have of sharks shouldn’t be reported as horror stories, but the sign of a healthy eco system and most of our interactions with sharks are positive.”

   

The policy was introduced after a fatal attack off Gracetown in November, and targets tiger, bull and great white sharks longer than three metres that come within a kilometre of the shore.

Sea Shepherd Managing Director Jeff Hansen says the support from people all over the world has been humbling.

“Ten years ago we may have only had a handful of people on the beach speaking out for sharks and now we’ve got regular people – mums, dads, average people that aren’t working in conservation, talking about biodiversity, talking about apex predators and talking about the importance of sharks in our oceans,” he told SBS.

“People are saying an ocean without sharks is a planet without people. We need to give them the respect they deserve and that’s really humbling and encouraging to see that.”

Have your say in the comments section below: What do you think of the WA government’s policy to prevent shark attacks?

Earlier today, a female activist chained herself to a Department of Fisheries vessel in Fremantle as part of the protest against the shark cull.

The boat is one of two fisheries vessels being used to set and monitor baited hooks off the Perth coast.

Police say emergency services had to cut her free from the locks.

In defence of its policy, the WA government says a spike in often-fatal shark attacks has dented tourism and leisure-based businesses.

 

But shark expert Paul Sharp says the baited drum lines might actually increase the risk.

He says simply having the baits in the water will result in excited sharks, meaning there was a greater chance of an accident.

Great whites have rights! Surfers know the score when it comes to sharks #noWAsharkcull #savesharks @SavageNatPelle pic.twitter广西桑拿,/oWp3YhaquL

— Greenpeace Aus Pac (@GreenpeaceAustP) February 1, 2014

#noWAsharkcull Hobart Tasmania! Great event!! #Tasmanian #Hobart pic.twitter广西桑拿,/joBwvVLWWJ

— Salter Vox (@SalterVox) February 1, 2014

Huge turnout at The Entrance NSW @GreenpeaceAustP #noWAsharkcull #SaveSharks pic.twitter广西桑拿,/WEiYvy021f

— MonMarsh (@mon_marsh) February 1, 2014

#nowasharkcull @GreenpeaceAustP pic.twitter广西桑拿,/bxrr3C5Yo2

— maddison doyle (@mdoy3157) February 1, 2014

Fired up crowd at #Manly #noWAsharkcull pic.twitter广西桑拿,/IB2hHiRKfN

— Greenpeace Aus Pac (@GreenpeaceAustP) February 1, 2014

Great Sydney turnout for manly shark rally #noWAsharkcull pic.twitter广西桑拿,/ltY9IVd3Hl

— Nathaniel Pelle (@SavageNatPelle) February 1, 2014

Lots of anti-Colin Barnett signs #sharkcull pic.twitter广西桑拿,/p3UnwHUl3Z

— Oliver Milman (@olliemilman) February 1, 2014

Thousands of West Australians saying no to shark culling #nosharkculling pic.twitter广西桑拿,/FEnM5sv0as

— Rachel Siewert (@SenatorSiewert) February 1, 2014

Ukraine activist says he was kidnapped, tortured

Dmytro Bulatov, a 35-year-old opposition activist said his unknown captors cut off an ear and drove nails through his hands before dumping him in a forest.

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Speaking slowly and visibly shaken by his experience, Bulatov said his unknown captors blindfolded and abused him before dumping him in a forest outside the Ukrainian capital, from where he was able to make his way to a nearby village.

‘My hands … they crucified me, nailed me, cut my ear off, cut my face,’ Bulatov told Ukraine’s Channel 5 television, still wearing his blood-soaked clothes and pointing to holes on his palms. ‘Thank God I am alive.’

‘I can’t see well now, because I sat in darkness the whole time,’ he said, adding that he was unable to see his captors.

   

The US Embassy in Kiev posted a picture of Bulatov with a blackened gash on his cheek and said that “the government of Ukraine must take full responsibility for the timely investigation, capture, and prosecution of those responsible for this heinous crime.”

The White House said it was “appalled” at indications a leading Ukrainian opposition protestor, who surfaced after being missing for eight days, had been tortured.

Washington was “deeply concerned” by increasing reports of protestors disappearing and being beaten and of attacks on journalists during Ukraine’s deepening political crisis — as well as by suggestions that President Viktor Yanukovych’s security forces were involved, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

   

“I would note that we were appalled by the obvious signs of torture — torture — inflicted on protest leader Dmytro Bulatov,” Carney said.

   

Kerry warns Syria on chemical weapons

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he could face consequences for failing to live up to international agreements on removing his chemical weapons stockpile.

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Kerry told reporters ahead of talks in Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel that Damascus was not complying with a US-Russian agreed timetable for shipping out the arsenal.

“We now know that the Assad regime is not moving as rapidly as it promised to move the chemical weapons out of Syria,” he said on Friday.

“I would remind Bashar al-Assad that the agreement that we reached in New York with the (UN) Security Council makes it clear that if there are issues of non-compliance, they will be referred to the Security Council for Chapter 7 compliance purposes.”

The United States and Russia agreed on a deal last September to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

The accord included a commitment to imposing measures under Chapter 7 within the UN Security Council, which sets out possible sanctions including the threat of military force.

The agreement was brokered as a way to avert US missile strikes that Washington threatened after a chemical attack near Damascus that the US and other Western governments blamed on the regime.

Kerry said Syria must respect “a global, legal, international obligation” it made.

“Our hope is that Syria will move rapidly to live up to its obligations,” Kerry said.

The world’s chemical watchdog said on Wednesday that Damascus had handed over less than five per cent of the most dangerous chemicals in its armoury.

Just two small shipments of chemicals have so far left the Syrian port of Latakia, the US government said this week.

Around 700 tonnes of chemicals were supposed to have left Syria by December 31, which means the ambitious disarmament project is weeks behind schedule.