Recovering McKinnon to play NRL role

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿网

As he continues his promising recovery from spinal injury, Alex McKinnon looks set to play a key role in the NRL for years to come.

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The Newcastle back-rower’s strength under adversity has been an inspiration to all with even just a passing interest in rugby league.

On Wednesday the Knights moved to extend McKinnon’s playing contract beyond this year, just hours after the game’s governing body offered him a “job for life”.

Newcastle remain hopeful McKinnon, 22, will make a full recovery from the injury suffered in round three against Melbourne.

At the time the Knights and McKinnon were in talks over his playing future and on Wednesday Newcastle confirmed they would honour that contract, guaranteeing him employment at the club.

Newcastle did not release the terms of the updated contract, saying the details of McKinnon’s employment would be discussed when he was ready.

“Alex is a wonderful talent on the field and a better clubman off the field,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said in a statement.

“While we remain hopeful Alex will make a full recovery, we are pleased to extend his contract at the Newcastle Knights because there is no doubt he’ll be a valuable employee.”

The NRL unveiled plans on Wednesday to provide a job for life for McKinnon as part of a five-point plan to support him during his recovery.

The Knights’ forward revealed over the weekend he was getting more movement in his arms and had feeling in his legs four weeks after being injured in a tackle.

He was also a surprise guest at Newcastle’s clash against Canterbury on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium.

A special foundation will be set up to raise funds for McKinnon, starting with a “Rise for Alex” round 19 of the premiership from July 18 with a range of family activities and promotions.

McKinnon will join the NRL when his agreement with Newcastle is finished.

“I appreciate both the Knights’ and NRL’s support at this time,” McKinnon said.

“As I have said before, I am completely overwhelmed by all of the support I have received and, to now have my future secured by the game, is really humbling.”

NRL boss Dave Smith welcomed the Knights’ move.

“Alex remains an inspiration for the game and for the rest of the team so this is a sound decision,” he said.

“His contract will be exempt from the salary cap and I think everyone will be delighted to have him in our game while he recovers.”

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Wizards beat Bulls in NBA playoff series

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John Wall scored 24 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 75-69 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and into the second round of the NBA playoffs.

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Wall added seven rebounds and four assists in the victory, which gave the Wizards a 4-1 triumph over the Bulls in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference, Mike Miller scored 21 points as Memphis edged Oklahoma City 100-99 in yet another overtime thriller to take the lead in their series.

Washington’s Brazilian big man Nene, who returned after serving his one-game suspension for grabbing the head of Chicago’s Jimmy Butler’s in game three, scored 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They last won a post-season series in 2005, when they beat the Bulls in the first round.

The fifth-seeded Wizards will face Indiana or Atlanta in the second round.

Kirk Hinrich and Butler netted 16 points apiece for the Bulls, who shot just 33.3 per cent from the floor and scored only 11 points in the third quarter.

The Grizzlies took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series as the evenly matched clubs went to overtime for an unprecedented fourth straight game.

The victory was confirmed after Thunder forward Serge Ibaka’s tip-in was ruled too late – just a fraction of a second after the buzzer to end overtime sounded.

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook stripped Mike Conley at the top of the key and drove for an uncontested layup with four seconds left in regulation as the Thunder forced overtime.

Thunder star Kevin Durant had a chance to equalise again late in overtime.

But after he had hit the first of two free throw attempts with 27.5 seconds remaining, referee Joey Crawford physically stopped the 87 per cent free throw shooter from attempting his second try as a problem at the scorer’s table was resolved.

When Durant play resumed, Durant bounced his second attempt off the rim, and he hit the rim again on a tough jump shot as the clock was winding down.

Ibaka’s acrobatic follow-up went in, but a review showed it left his hand after time expired.

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Woolworths scores a tie with Coles

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Woolworths has put five years of underperformance behind it to score a tie with arch rival Coles in its March quarter sales.

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Both supermarket giants delivered same-store growth in food and liquor sales of 3.5 per cent for the three months to March 31.

But the Woolworths’ result, unveiled on Wednesday, disappointed investors who had expected it to finally edge out Coles after five years of dragging behind its rival.

Woolworths’ total sales rose 5.3 per cent to $15.2 billion across its divisions as growth from its supermarkets, liquor stores, petrol stations and home improvement business offset a weak performance from Big W.

Morningstar analyst Tim Montague-Jones said both companies had performed well during the quarter, growing both sales and market share.

“Both Coles and Woolies are doing phenomenally well at the moment,” he said.

“I would say they are both level pegged.”

Mr Montague-Jones said Woolworths was recording its strongest growth in the fresh food section, which was coming at the expense of independent butchers and bakers and the like.

“They are very powerful businesses and if you are an independent retailer you don’t have a chance to compete on price.”

But the uplift in sales did not satisfy Woolworths investors.

Its shares dropped 72 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $37.32.

Shares in Coles’ parent company Wesfarmers also continued to fall after the conglomerate failed to meet market expectations on sales growth a day earlier.

Wesfarmers shares closed 30 cents lower at $42.71.

But Woolworths boss Grant O’Brien insisted his company’s result showed the success of it strategy of boosting the performance of its food and liquor division.

“We have spoken consistently about our ambition to improve that business, quarter and quarter, and pleasingly that is evident again in these results,” he told reporters.

Mr O’Brien also said he does not expect consumers to spend less at Woolworths’ businesses following this year’s tough federal budget, which is expected to include spending cuts and tax hikes.

“I don’t see any great surprises and I don’t see any great change in consumer behaviour as a result.”

Big W sales fell 1.1 per cent during the quarter to $926 million, which Woolworths attributed to strong competition, lower prices and efforts to turn around the division.

Sales from the company’s home improvement division were up 29 per cent to $374 million thanks to the continued rollout of Masters stores and strong growth from Home Timber and Hardware.

Woolworths hotels business lifted sales 0.6 per cent to $357 million while sales from the company’s New Zealand supermarkets rose 16 per cent to $1.33 billion after gains in the New Zealand dollar offset weak trading conditions.

AAP ews/bt

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Silly season begins at Heart

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Melbourne Heart’s re-awakening as Melbourne City has begun with five confirmed outs and a galaxy of rumoured ins.

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Since a takeover by Manchester City was announced in January, fan and media speculation has drooled over the prospect of new international and Australian marquee players.

Those two spots are free from the constraints of the A-League salary cap, used to bring talent such as Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono and Harry Kewell to the league.

The latest is a report from English tabloid The Daily Star, which suggested Heart would sign England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard at the eye-watering rate of $100,000 after tax a week.

While Heart dismissed the speculation as “absolutely without foundation”, the links to marquees of quality suggest the scale of their ambition.

Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Mark Bresciano have all been touted as Australian marquees though each has drawbacks.

Cahill, the highest-profile Socceroo, is in the middle of a stint with New York Red Bulls and is thought uninterested and unavailable.

Bresciano has trained with Heart recently but is contracted to Qatari side Al-Gharafa while Kennedy’s J-League contract expires in December – well after the A-League season starts.

Heart’s “two Johns” – coach van `t Schip and football director Didulica – have spent the last two weeks with Manchester City as they seek to renew their playing list for the next season.

Top of van `t Schip’s shopping list should be a new defence after announcing the release of five defensive players on Wednesday.

Patrick Gerhardt, Sam Mitchinson, David Vrankovic and Jeremy Walker have been axed, while Turkish side Buraspor has recalled Aziz Behich after a year-long loan.

Of those, Behich will be the most missed, having held down the left-back position for much of the season.

That leaves Heart with just 13 contracted players, with at least seven spots due to be filled.

Following Sunday’s A-League grand final, Heart is expected to start announcing those positions, as well as the inevitable re-branding to Melbourne City with a similar sky blue kit of their parent club.

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Qld govt campaign ‘breaches ad code’

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The Queensland government is being urged to scrap a multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded campaign to sell debt reduction because it breaches an advertising code of conduct.

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A television, radio, print and website campaign has been running since mid-April arguing asset sales need to be considered to reduce the state’s $80 billion debt.

But the opposition argues the $6 million “Strong Choices” campaign breaches section four of the Liberal National Party government’s own advertising code of conduct, which says advertising must be “free of political argument”.

“In my view the campaign is in clear breach of the LNP’s own advertising code of conduct and should be immediately stopped,” shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt said in a statement to AAP.

“How can Campbell Newman be trusted if he won’t govern by his own rules?”

Premier Campbell Newman said the ads complied with the government’s own advertising code, dated September 2013, because Labor’s record isn’t mentioned.

“We’re not saying that in any of our ads,” he told reporters.

Labor isn’t mentioned by name but the opposition says reference to “previous governments” in a letter to Queenslanders, from Treasurer Tim Nicholls, breaches 6B of the code, which says ads shouldn’t directly attack or scorn the views, policies or actions of other political parties.

Advertising Standards Bureau chief executive Fiona Jolly said government advertising was unregulated because it was not considered to be trade or commerce by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Basically, governments have decided that their own advertising doesn’t come under any rules,” she said.

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Brunei to institute sharia law

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The Sultan of Brunei has announced that a controversial new penal code featuring tough Islamic criminal punishments will be phased in from Thursday.

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“Today… I place my faith in and am grateful to Allah the almighty to announce that tomorrow, Thursday May 1, 2014, will see the enforcement of sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases,” Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a speech.

Sharia-law penalties will be introduced over time and will eventually include flogging, severing of limbs and death by stoning for various crimes.

The 67-year-old Sultan, an absolute ruler and one of the world’s wealthiest men, is a father-figure whose word is unquestioned in the sleepy oil-rich country of 400,000.

While many members of the Muslim ethnic Malay majority have voiced cautious support, the sharia move has sparked concern among many non-Muslim citizens and led to a rare burst of criticism by Brunei social-media users earlier this year.

The sultan responded by ordering a halt to such criticism, which has largely gone silent.

But authorities appear to have been taken aback by the reaction, and a planned April 22 start was postponed without explanation.

“Theory states that Allah’s law is harsh and unfair, but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair,” the Sultan said in comments apparently aimed at critics.

The UN’s human rights office said earlier in April it was “deeply concerned”, adding that penalties such stoning are classified under international law as “torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

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Fourth man sentenced over McGurk murder

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Almost five years since Christopher Estephan became embroiled in the high-profile murder of Sydney debt collector Michael McGurk, the 24-year-old has become the fourth man to be sentenced over the crime.

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Estephan showed little emotion as he was sentenced to a minimum of five years at the Supreme Court on Wednesday for being an accessory after the fact and for firearms offences.

His mother, who has supported him throughout the protracted legal proceedings, covered her mouth with her hands.

Estephan was just a “baby-faced” 19-year-old when he drove to Mr McGurk’s Cremorne home on Sydney’s north shore on September 3, 2009 with Haissam Safetli, now 49.

Mr McGurk was shot that evening at close range while getting the shopping out of his car.

Safetli and Estephan then sped away.

The crown initially alleged that both men were involved in the murder plot and that Estephan had known about the modified rifle sitting in the getaway ute.

But following a committal hearing last year, the murder charge against Estephan was discharged due to lack of evidence.

He pleaded guilty in 2010 to being an accessory after the fact and to unlawfully possessing two firearms.

In sentencing him, Justice Geoffrey Bellew said while it could not be found Estephan knew about the murder before the fatal shot, he actively helped conceal it.

He drove Safetli from the scene and he watched as the older man dismantled the rifle and threw parts of it into Sydney Harbour.

He then witnessed the murderer burn his clothes as well as the stolen number plates that Estephan had earlier acquired for the getaway ute.

After the murder, Estephan showed his then-girlfriend an article about the killing, and stated: “I was involved with that”.

He also told another friend: “I have done something bad”.

But apart from these admissions, Estephan remained quiet for some 12 months.

“He had ample opportunity to consider what had happened and specifically consider his ongoing concealment of it,” Justice Bellew said.

Estephan’s barrister said during a recent sentence hearing that his client was a “naive” young man who had concealed the crime due to “misguided loyalty” to the older Safetli, whom he considered a friend.

But Justice Bellew said there was no evidence to support such a finding.

Instead, he found Estephan had been motivated by money to a “large measure” – pocketing some $20,000 for his role in the crime.

Estephan was sentenced to a minimum of five years for being an accessory after the fact and for the firearm offences, and a maximum of six years and five months.

Estephan has been in custody since October 2010 and could be released as early as next October.

Safetli, ex-boxer Lucky Gattellari and Senad Kaminic have all been sentenced for their role in the killing and received heavy discounts for assisting the crown.

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CBA to roll out phone ATM withdrawals

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Commonwealth Bank customers will be the first in Australia able to withdraw cash from ATMs without a card.

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From May, they’ll be able to use the Commonwealth Bank app on their Apple iOS or Android smartphone to withdraw up to $200 per day.

Using the apps, customers can request the amount they wish to withdraw, and then input two number codes – one from the app and one received in a text message – to withdraw money.

Withdrawals are limited to a single daily transaction from compatible CommBank ATMs, more than 3000 of which are undergoing software upgrades.

The functionality will also allow customers to designate another person to withdraw the cash by having the bank send the codes to the second person’s phone.

The announcement comes amid warnings from NSW Police about an increase in ATM “card-skimming” in Sydney, with criminals using gadgets to steal users’ card and PIN details at terminals.

By eliminating the need for a card, the new functionality would help combat such crimes, Angus Sullivan, the bank’s head of cards and payments, told reporters in Sydney.

The bank also announced a new mobile banking feature that will enable credit card users to set limits on how their card is used.

Customers will be able to deactivate in-store and online international transactions, block ATM transactions, and set transaction limits with the swipe of a button.

The bank said its smartphone app had reached more than two million registered users since launching in late 2013.

Sullivan said there were no immediate plans to introduce contactless card withdrawals at Commonwealth Bank ATMs.

Westpac, meanwhile, announced plans on Wednesday to offer its own card-free ATM withdrawals from July.

But rather than transacting via a smartphone, customers will need to dial the bank’s call centre to obtain a six-digit code they can then key into a Westpac ATM.

They’ll be able to make up to three transactions per day up to a value of $1000, with a $2000 weekly limit.

The bank plans to extend the functionality to Westpac’s mobile banking app after July.

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Holman announces Socceroos retirement

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Socceroo Brett Holman has announced his retirement from international football ruling himself out of World Cup selection.

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The news comes just two weeks before coach Ange Postecoglou is set to name his World Cup squad on May 14.

The 30-year-old midfielder was a key member of Australia’s 2010 World Cup campaign, scoring two goals in the tournament, but will not take part in this year’s Brazil showpiece which kicks-off in June.

Postecoglou did not include Holman in his first squad which played Coast Rica last November but he was a late inclusion for the side which faced Ecuador in March.

The former Aston Villa and Feyenoord player, who’s now based in Dubai with UAE Pro League club Al Nasr, has earned 63 caps since making his Socceroos debut in 2006, and played a vital role in Australia’s qualifying campaign for this year’s World Cup.

But Holman says he’s made the decision to hang up his boots to spend more time with his young family and focus on his club career.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to play for Australia, and to represent one’s country is every footballer’s dream,” Holman said in a statement through Inspire Sports Management.

“I am proud of my achievements and I take with me many happy memories of my time with the national team.

“Growing up in Croydon Park, I would never have imagined scoring twice in a World Cup.

“Over the past six months, circumstances have led me to re-think my international career and I have made the difficult decision to step aside from my role with the Socceroos.

“My priorities lie with my young family, and my focus from now on will be with my club Al Nasr.

“The players that I’ve played with and the staff of the Socceroos have been fantastic and I have made some great friendships that I’ll have for a lifetime. I’d like to wish the current playing group every success, and I look forward to seeing them do the whole nation proud in Brazil and beyond.”

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Horror Indian TV debate sees burning man embrace politician

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The election show on India’s state-owned national TV channel Doordarshan was being recorded in a park on Monday in Sultanpur, a town about 160 kilometres (100 miles) from the city of Lucknow.

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A man, named by police as Durgesh Kumar Singh, emerged from a crowd of about 150 onlookers, doused himself in petrol and then grabbed the local leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Kamruzzama Fauji, engulfing the pair in flames.

Singh sustained burns on 95 percent of his body which are likely to be fatal, while Fauji was in a critical state with 75 percent burns, police said.

“This man suddenly came on the stage, poured petrol on himself and set himself on fire before tightly hugging one of the political guests,” local photographer Pankaj Kumar Gupta told AFP.

“People were just too shocked to know what was happening,” said Gupta, whose photos show the men engulfed in flames with spectators fleeing the scene.

Two other local politicians taking part in the show, Ram Kumar Singh and Chowdhary Hriday Ram Verma, also sustained minor burn injuries while trying to save the pair.

“The injured were first admitted to the district hospital here (in Sultanpur) and were then referred to Lucknow,” said a statement from the police.

The motive for the incident is unknown.

India’s numerous television channels are holding nightly debate shows during the ongoing parliamentary elections, often staged in villages and towns with politicians taking questions in front of local voters.

The election, the world’s biggest, will end on May 16 with results expected to show the Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming to power after 10 years of rule by the leftist Congress party.

Gupta said the show on Monday was called Janmanch 2014 (People’s Forum 2014) featuring five local politicians which was coming to an end when the man suddenly appeared.

“Within minutes, the Doordarshan team closed its cameras and packed all their equipment,” he said.

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See great Kangaroos while you can: Sheens

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Veteran coach Tim Sheens admits Friday night may present Sydney sports fans with their final opportunity to see first-hand the most dominant rugby league team in history.

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If Sheens’ unbackable Kangaroos defeat an understrength New Zealand outfit missing Sonny Bill Williams and company, they will equal the world record run of 16 straight wins by Australia’s “Invincibles” from 1979-83.

“We like to think we’re the ‘Unbeatables’ and we’re going okay,” Sheens said on Wednesday.

Then another victory over the Kiwis in this year’s Four Nations opener in Brisbane in October would leave Sheens’ “Unbeatables” untouchable with the world record on their own.

But with the spine of the team – fullback Billy Slater, five-eighth Johnathan Thurston, halfback Cooper Cronk and hooker and captain Cameron Smith – all among the world champions in their 30s, Friday could be the last time this collection of all-time greats play together in Sydney.

“The average is closer to 30 than 20 so maybe they won’t be together that much longer,” Sheens said on Wednesday.

“So it’s a good chance to come out and support them.

“I’m hoping given that it’s the first time in six years that an Australian Test side has played in the middle of Sydney (Allianz Stadium), I’d be very disappointed if they didn’t come out to honour those boys.

“They’ve played really well for Australia and represented their country last year in England and this is the first chance (since winning the World Cup) you’ll get to see them – and maybe the last chance.”

Despite his side being on the cusp of history, Sheens said it would be foolish and disrespectful to take victory over the Kiwi underdogs for granted.

“You go back to the World Cup prior to the last one. You go back to the 2010 Tri Nations when they beat us in the final,” he said.

“Although there’s a couple of young guys admittedly – rookies – if you go through their side, who is playing poorly?

“Really, every one of them is in good form and I think Stephen Kearney has picked a side of guys who are playing well.

“So our job is to make sure that we’re on song and that we don’t drop off and that we don’t drop our intensity and we don’t take it for granted that everybody’s saying that we’re an unbackable favourite.”

Sheens said he’d be reminding the Kangaroos about how they were in a similar position for last year’s trans-Tasman Test when the Kiwis threatened an ambush.

“We were flat in this game last year in the first half,” he said.

“They had two or three tries disallowed and were unlucky, very unlucky.”

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