Monthly Archives: March 2019

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Brit Broady prevails after racquet row in Auckland

“She threw the racquet and hit the ball boy, no way was that accidental,” the 25-year-old Broady complained to the umpire.

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Play was delayed as the umpire and ball boy had a conversation. The umpire opted for a code violation over a disqualification after the Latvian wildcard argued the racquet slipped from her hand but a clearly upset Broady called for another official to adjudicate.

“I asked for the tournament referee to come down onto the court to give his opinion,” Broady was quoted as saying by local media.

“But as he isn’t the chair umpire, he goes by what the chair umpire says and his opinion was that it had slipped from her hand, as Jelena had said, so it was just a code violation and move onto the next point.”

Broady, who knocked out former world number one Ana Ivanovic in the first round on Tuesday, settled quicker to take the tiebreak and force a deciding set but she looked down and out as she trailed 5-1 in the third.

But the British qualifier saved a second match point as she stormed back to prevail 4-6 7-6(4) 7-5, helped by 21 aces, and book a spot in the quarter-finals where she will face American fifth seed Sloane Stephens.

Both players shook hands at the end of the contest but bad blood remained with Broady clearly angry about the incident and repeating her accusation that Ostapenko intentionally threw her racquet in the second set.

The umpire attempted to quell the trouble as the players continued their verbal volleys.

“Jelena commented that my behaviour was terrible,” Broady said.

“Which I thought was a bit out of order, considering the events that had gone on in the match. I don’t think I did anything disrespectful to her, or anyone else on the court.

“So I’m not really sure where that came from, but tensions were high, adrenalin was going. We had a bit of a confrontation, but she’s going to be a fantastic player and I’m sure we’ll both learn from any mistakes we made today and move forwards.”

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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Qld govt pushes lockouts despite critics

Queensland’s government is pushing on with its pub and club lockout laws, but critics warn they won’t stop assaults and violent deaths at nightspots.

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Labor has renewed its campaign for lockout laws, which will make most venues serve last drinks at 2am, in the wake of Brisbane teen Cole Miller’s death on Monday from an alleged one-punch attack.

But acting Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek says if the government is serious about stamping out violence then it should drop its plan to call last drinks earlier.

He’s urging the government to develop a comprehensive plan like the former Liberal National Party government’s 60-point Safe Night Out Strategy.

That plan featured tougher penalties for drunken offenders, more police on streets and proactive education.

“They’re proposing one simple solution, which is just about hours,” Mr Langbroek said.

Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne has said he doesn’t want the laws to affect existing venues in his far north Queensland electorate.

“Where places … have made an effort to be a good community citizen, I think we have to acknowledge that,” Mr Pyne told the Cairns Post.

Mines and Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said there was too much concern about the proposed laws as many state pubs and clubs didn’t even open past 2am.

He claimed evidence also proved business actually got better for venues in entertainment precincts when they were safer.

“I understand that some communities will simply not even be affected at all by this legislation, other communities will have a small effect,” he said.

“So this fear-mongering campaign just has to stop by the nightclub proponents.”

However, anti-violence foundation Just Let It Go believes lockout laws won’t reduce violence and is planning to present an alternative plan to Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath this week.

“What we understand from research that has been done is that the assaults are occurring after people exit the precincts,” director Simon Turner told the Courier-Mail.

“It’s these spaces where the resources and investments have to be made.”

The parliamentary legal affairs and community safety committee is examining the government’s lockout legislation and is due to report back to parliament on February 8.

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Seniors oppose call to curb older drivers

NSW Police head of traffic Assistant Commissioner John Hartley has urged senior citizens to stay off the state’s roads after a spike in the number of seniors killed in traffic accidents.

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But Combined Pensioners and Supperannuant Association policy officer Paul Versteege disagrees with the generalised statement that drivers over 70 are all dangerous, telling SBS News the spike in numbers may reflect greater numbers of older drivers on the road.

Mr Versteege said older drivers were already subject to  “quite stringent and even draconian measures” which were designed “to drive them off the road, so to speak.”

Drivers over 75 in NSW must already undergo annual medical testing while those still driving over 85 are required to sit licence tests every two years.

This is on top of licence disqualification programs including demerit points and mandatory reporting of medical conditions that can impair driving ability.

Mr Versteege calls says many older Australians rely on being able to drive to maintain their independence.

“People are dependent on their cars, to get groceries, to get to medical services in particular, so more people are compelled people are to get off the road the more isolated they will become and it may lead to early admissions to nursing homes,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Hartley urged senior drivers to “be aware of your driving skills and your driving ability”.

If that’s starting to diminish you need to go and see your doctor, see a specialist, certainly restrict your driving if you’re not comfortable driving longer distances these days,” he said. 

“Chances are if you’re a driver over 70, you’re double the risk of being involved in a fatal crash than others.”

“If you’re right to drive, drive the car. So if you’re working, no doubt you’re probably right to drive, and you have great skills. The fact is people need to review their driving habits, the risk is higher when you’re over 70 on our roads in New South Wales.” 

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In musical aftermath, Logan tries to keep song going

Six months after a groundbreaking musical production in the ethnically mixed Queensland city of Logan, the sometimes troubled community is experiencing a revival.

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Negative international coverage of a street fight two years ago was the catalyst.

The local council says it has been a turning point.

Stefan Armbruster reports.

It is the sound of Logan locals enjoying a renewal of community spirit in the city’s heart.

Almost half a year ago, this was the site for a one-off musical extravaganza called Under This Sky that put the best of Logan on show.

Deputy mayor Russell Lutton has been a councillor for 30 years and performed in the show.

“I talk to people now — I still talk to people months after the event — and they rave about how good it was. I’ve seen kids who were involved with it, and they’ve just grown in confidence, and they’re still buzzing about it.”

In all, 700 locals performed in the musical that brought together many of the 200 nationalities in Logan, south of Brisbane.

Peter Irankunda is a member of the Queensland Theatre Company’s Traction youth-performance group in Logan that played a key role in Under This Sky.

“I really learnt about different people and how they like to be seen. I knew there would be dancers, but I didn’t know what type of dances they would be doing. I knew there would be cultural dancers, but I thought it would just be people dressing up as other cultures just coming on stage. But it was about everyone, and how they fit into Logan and how they create this Logan community. And, also, created a mean-ass* show.”

One of south-east Queensland’s poorest and most ethnically diverse areas, Logan has a reputation.

A street fight in the suburb of Woodridge two years ago attracted international media attention.

Russell Lutton, the deputy mayor, says that did not help.

“It’s fair to say that, over the years, we haven’t suffered from great publicity. We’ve had a few negatives along the way.”

The local council, together with the biennial Queensland Music Festival, decided it was time to show the world there was more to Logan than Woodridge.

The creative director of Under This Sky was Sean Mee, a veteran of community theatre who has led similar Queensland Music Festival projects in the state’s regional areas.

“These projects have an extraordinarily potent effect upon people, because it’s all about possibility and opportunity. And then that reflects, I think, to the larger purpose of the exercise. Though the performance is one thing, its real impact is about that idea of possibility and capacity — ‘Has this community the capacity to be able to come together?'”

What emerged was Under This Sky.

The musical production celebrated all that is good about Logan.

And it changed performer Peter Irankunda’s life.

“I got motivated to try for leadership. I joined the change-makers group at school. And right now, it’s motivating me to actually chase my dream, because it made me realise what I wanted to do and what I want to become in the future, which is, obviously, being on stage and showing off.”

The council credits Under This Sky with giving Logan a morale boost.

Sean Mee, the creative director, says it was a step towards a brighter future for the city of 300,000.

“The effect on Logan is hard to gauge at the moment, because I think that the real impacts are five, 10 years away. What I learnt about Logan was I think they still have a hell of a long way to go, its creation as a community was still nascent.”

 

 

 

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Obama makes executive move on gun control

United States President Barack Obama has used his executive order to announce modest gun restriction measures.

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In an emotional White House speech, he called for a sense of national urgency to address gun violence.

Brianna Roberts has more.

For President Barack Obama, a long and political fraught battle to pass gun control measures appears to have taken an emotional toll.

Mr Obama previously described the failure to tackle gun control as the greatest frustration of his Presidency.

As he announced limited gun restrictions, and reflected on the massacre at Sandy Hook Primary school in 2012, he paused wipe away a tear.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

The executive actions announced by the President include expanded background checks for buyers, as well an investment in mental health care.

Mr Obama says government departments will also explore development of new technology to improve gun safety.

“If we can set it up so you cant unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns? If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet – which happens to me often the older I get, if we can do it for your iPad there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun.”

Drawing on executive powers granted to Presidents in the constitution, most of the actions can be carried out without the approval of congress.

Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton has welcomed Mr Obama’s announcement.

“90 people a day die from gun violence – that’s 33,000 people a year. Homicides, suicides and terrible, avoidable accidents. I know we are smart enough as a country to protect the rights of responsible gun owners consistent with our constitution and to do more to keep guns out of the hands of felons, fugitives, stalkers and for godness sakes, potential terrorists. “

But not everyone has welcomes the measures.

In a Facebook post, the Republican party accused Mr Obama of overstepping his constitution authority to force his policies on the American people.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush tweeted that he would repeal the actions and protect the Second Amendment.

Gun lobby groups have also condemned the measures.

Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt says he expects the move will backfire for the Democrats.

“The president and by extension the Democrats are making a big mistake but I wouldn’t want to try to restrain them too much. Every time the Democrats get involved in pushing gun control politically it costs them an arm and a leg. And if they want to go into the 2016 as the champion of gun control be my guest.”

The United States congress has been reluctant to pass any laws restricting gun ownership, facing pressure from gun owners and the powerful National Rifle Association.

Mr Obama’s attempts to introduce expanded background check legislation after a 2012 shooting in Connecticut – failed in Congress.