Bolton fumes after Blues let win slip

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton fumed at the one that got away after his side gave up a late lead against Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.

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The Demons are the fashionable tip to make the leap into the finals this season, while not much is expected of the rebuilding Blues.

But a dogged Carlton held a slender three-point lead early in the final term before Melbourne ran over the top to record a 22-point win.

The Blues are winless after two rounds and Bolton was in no mood to settle for the gallant loss.

“It was one that got away … (we’re) disappointed (and) frustrated,” Bolton said.

“We have a high expectation of this group even though they’re young.

“We know they’re developing, we know they’re learning but we got ourselves in a position at three-quarter time to win a game and some errors really hurt us.

“It’s a really good learning opportunity but … (we’re) really frustrated that we didn’t get a result.”

The Blues didn’t look capable of being in a winning position late in the game in a sloppy first quarter where Melbourne largely controlled the contest without hitting the scoreboard.

But Bolton praised the increased pressure his players were able to exert on the Demons that helped turn the tide.

Maligned midfielder Dale Thomas left the ground for treatment on a knee injury in the second quarter but returned to play a significant part in his side’s resurgence.

“He’s been working really hard,” Bolton said.

“Even last week he worked hard.

“The game wasn’t as consistent as he would have liked last week, like many of our players and us as a team, but he gave real effort.”

Jack Silvagni (corked thigh) also required treatment in the second quarter but played out the game.

Euro a knife in the ribs of France: Le Pen

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has told a political rally that the euro currency which she wants France to ditch was like a knife in the ribs of the French people.

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The leader of the eurosceptic and anti-immigrant National Front (FN) also told the rally in the city of Bordeaux that the forthcoming election for president could herald a “change in civilisation”.

Encouraged by the unexpected election of Donald Trump in the United States and by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen hopes to profit from a similar populist momentum in France.

“We are at the mercy of a currency adapted to Germany and not to our economy. The euro is mostly a knife stuck in our ribs to make us go where others want us to go,” Le Pen said.

“We do not want France to be open to all commercial and human flows, without protection and borders.”

A government under Le Pen’s presidency would take France out of the euro zone and bring back a national currency, hold a referendum on its EU membership and slap taxes on imports and on companies hiring foreigners.

Le Pen says she would curb migration, expel all illegal migrants and restrict certain rights now available to all residents, including free education, to French citizens.

She hit out at her two main opponents in the French election, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and conservative candidate Francois Fillon, saying they belonged to “the same system”

“The system is panicking because it sees people are waking up,” she said.

Opinion polls forecast Le Pen will do well in the April 23 first round of the presidential election only to lose the May 7 run-off to centrist candidate Macron.

Storybook reading could help with language

Simple repetition learning techniques could help young children struggling with language to learn vocabulary faster, according to new research.

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The European study looked at whether repeated storybook reading could help youngsters with specific language impairment (SLI) retain information and words compared to children developing at the typical rate for their age.

Working with three-year-old German children, the study built on the results of a 2011 study which found pre-school children learnt more new words through story repetition.

In the latest study, researchers from the University of Sussex in the UK and Germany’s Paderborn University discovered similar results were found in children with language impairment.

Tests were carried out with two groups of children on new word retention following identical storybook reading.

Those with SLI fared significantly worse than their peers on the initial word learning tests, but it emerged there was no difference between the two groups just one week later.

Researchers said the results will come as a big boost to parents of SLI children as they indicated that over time they benefit from hearing the same stories over and over again.

“We hope these results will be encouraging to parents of children with SLI,” said Dr Jessica Horst from the University of Sussex.

“Although there is much left to do, these findings are promising and may help us create cost-effective intervention for children with SLI, including interventions that parents can participate in too.”

Professor Katharina Rohlfing, of Paderborn University, said reading a story again and again, and establishing a reading routine, might the best combination.

‘Use Brexit to pressure UK over frozen pensions’: Lobbyists

Bernard and Sheila Weaver are a softly-spoken couple, hailing from Reading, just outside London.

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He is 83 and she is 79. They migrated to Sydney in 2007.

From that moment, their UK pension payments – based on four decades of contributions to Britain’s National Insurance Scheme – have stayed the same, rather than being adjusted for inflation.

“I’m getting £125 a week,” says Mr Weaver.

“If that was fully uprated, I would probably be getting something near £170 a week.

“We’ve fully paid all our contributions … and we do feel that we’re badly done by.”

If not for some additions, Bernard’s “basic pension” would have been £87.

A Briton who arrived in 1980 still receives a maximum of £27, as opposed to £100 today if the sum had been indexed.

Someone arriving 1995 receives £59, instead of £101 today under indexation.

The fall in the Pound now eats further into their payments.

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Pensions researcher Professor Peter Whiteford, from the Australian National University, says the regulation has survived a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights and lobbying by sympathetic parliamentarians in Britain.

“Essentially it’s a way of saving money, I think around £600 million a year,” he said.

“But they do pay indexed pensions in the United States, and I think it’s just the bargaining power of the United States.”

Frozen pensions affect some half-a million Britons across 150 mainly Commonwealth countries.

Nearly half of those people – some 247,000 – live in Australia. Another 144,000 live in Canada, with significant numbers in New Zealand and South Africa.

Jim Tilley, the chairman of the group British Pensions in Australia, says many of those affected are having to return to the UK.

“I know a 96-year-old lady who’s on a full pension of £17 a week from the UK. Come April, it should be £122 a week.”

The Australian Government fills part of the gap by paying pensions to many British expatriates who qualify under the country’s means-tested system.

Tilley estimates this costs the Australian taxpayer $1 billion over four years.

While the British policy dates back to the 1960s, the issue has emerged againwith Brexit.

Older Britons living in Spain fear losing the automatic indexation they’ve received through membership of the European Union.

But many lobbyists see Brexit as a chance for change, urging Australia to raise the issue in future negotiations for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with Britain.

Tilley can see another way to apply pressure.

“The British Government should be told that the trade negotiation skills that they’re asking Australia to assist them with should be conditional upon Britain indexing the pensions of all British pensioners living abroad, particularly the 250,000 living here in Australia,” he said.

Australia has long opposed the frozen pensions policy and in 2001 protested by quitting a reciprocal Social Security arrangement with Britain.

A spokesman for Social Services Minister Christian Porter has called the policy “unfair and discriminatory”.

However, a British Member of Parliament, Peter Lilley – recently in Australia to discuss Brexit and trade opportunities – says the issue was never mentioned in discussions with Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

“I’ll be perfectly frank,” he told a business function in Sydney.

“The people who’ll benefit don’t have votes. And if we have £500,000, that’s likely to go on people who do have votes.

“And that’s just a simple fact of life. I know it’s unfair but you’ve gone to a wonderful country, and you will prosper mightily here.

“I’m afraid, to look back to the mother country and hope that we’ll be generous and fair is an unwise hope.”

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Pollution report highlights ‘toxic burden’

State and territory governments have been accused of total failure in the fight for clean air after many of Australia’s largest polluters reported emissions hikes.

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Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) has delivered a scathing assessment of state regulators after crunching numbers from the annual National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) at the weekend.

Toxic emissions from the coal industry’s mines, power stations and export terminals dominated the report.

The Bayswater coal-fired power station in NSW has reported a 770 per cent increase in toxic coarse particle pollution during the past five years.

Further north, emissions from the Tarong Power Station in Queensland increased by 237 per cent in just one year.

A handful of other coal-fired stations on the country’s east coast also reported increased emissions, spurring calls from EJA for the commonwealth to take a bigger role in controlling toxic pollution.

“The health damage caused by air pollution costs Australians between $11 billion and $24.3 billion per annum, yet governments continue to allow polluters to poison communities,” EJA researcher James Whelan said.

“The latest NPI data reveals the total failure of Australian governments to control air pollution and highlights the need for much stronger pollution controls and regulation.”

Electricity generation from coal-fired power stations remains the single largest contributor of deadly fine particle pollution, which the EJA says accounts for more than 3000 premature deaths a year.

Coalmines are the third-largest source of fine particle pollution.

“Particle pollution from coalmines has trebled over a decade, defying state government pollution controls,” Dr Whelan said.

Coalmining is also Australia’s second-largest source of coarse particle emissions, accounting for 393 million kilograms of pollution, which is more than 40 per cent of the nation’s total.

The National Pollutant Inventory is an annual report on air pollution in Australia, published by the federal government using information supplied by various industries and compiled by states and territories.

Luxembourg PM calls for new Brexit vote

Any Brexit deal should be put to a second referendum, Luxembourg’s prime minister has suggested.

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Xavier Bettel said he hoped the House of Commons could “think twice” about leaving the European Union, or the decision could be put to a second public vote.

He said some of the promises made by the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum were “lies” and voters should be given the chance to decide on the reality of life outside the EU.

“The fact is that the divorce was triggered by Theresa May last week, the procedure is going on, so it’s a two-year procedure, maybe during this procedure you can still have strong feelings on Europe and maybe you decide in the House of Commons you think twice, again, before leaving your family,” Bettel said.

Bettel also raised Scotland’s demand for independence as a sign of the difficulties that the UK government was facing.

“For the moment I’m looking how you will stay still the United Kingdom,” he said.

“So it is important for me that there will be discussions, and that in fact at the end maybe the deal that the UK got should be on the vote and a discussion to see if this is really what they want or not because it’s a lose-lose situation.”

“When the bill is there with all the things you might lose” politicians may be “courageous” enough to ask the public “do you accept this deal or not”.

“This would be another possibility,” he said. “And I insist on that point, some promises have been said by the Leave camp which are lies.

“This is very, very, very difficult to accept for some people who trusted those people.”

Meanwhile, German deputy finance minister Jens Spahn said suggestions the Brexit divorce fee could be as high as AGBP60 billion ($A99 billion) were “not completely” unreasonable – although he acknowledged the initial demand was likely to be the starting point for negotiations.

Shangdong emerge as surprise leaders after Evergrande down SIPG

“The first half was difficult but luckily we didn’t fall behind,” said Magath, a three-times Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.

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“We found our own rhythm in the second half.Guangzhou R&F are the only other team in the league with a perfect record three rounds into the season after Dragan Stojkovic’s team picked up a 1-0 win over Yanbian Funde on Saturday. A late penalty from Ricardo Goulart earned champions Guangzhou Evergrande a 3-2 victory over ShanghaiSIPG.Andre Villas-Boas’s SIPG had won all six of their previous games across all competitions in 2017, including their opening two Chinese Super League games, but went into the halftime break two goals down after strikes from Yu Hanchao and Alan Carvalho.

However, Elkeson’s diving header, his fourth goal in three league matches, and another header from Hulk pulled SIPG level before Goulart scored from the penalty spot to give Evergrande a win that sees them draw level with Villas-Boas’s side on six points.

“The second half was quite open and 2-2 would have been a fair result,” said Villas-Boas. “But we also saw how hard the Evergrande players tried.

“They were the team putting more effort into attacking in the last phase of the match. At the end, they were the side kissed by luck and got a penalty.”

Shanghai Shenhua missed the chance to move into third place, a Burak Yilmaz double securing Beijing Guoan’s first win of the season at Workers’ Stadium against Gustavo Poyet’s side. Both teams now have four points from three matches.

Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjian picked up their first win with a 1-0 victory over Henan Jianye while Hebei CFFC, coached by former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, also won for the first time this year when Hernanes scored from the penalty spot to secure the three points against Guizhou Zhicheng.

Jiangsu Suning, runners up in 2016 in both the league and the Cup, continued their poor start with defeat by Liaoning Whowin that leaves them next to bottom. John Obi Mikel scored his first goal for new club Tianjin Teda in their 2-0 defeat of Chongqing Lifan.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Clare Lovell)

North Carolina repeals controversial bathroom bill

House Bill Number Two – otherwise known as the Bathroom Bill – has been described as a dark cloud that has hung over North Carolina for more than a year.

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It’s one Governor Roy Cooper admits has stained his state’s reputation:

“It has discriminated against our people, and it has caused great economic harm in many of our communities. Today, we repealed House Bill 2, and we begin to end discrimination in North Carolina. We begin to bring back jobs and sporting events. We begin to repair our reputation. It’s an important step, but it cannot be the only step.”

The law – the only one of its kind in the United States – has cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars after businesses, entertainers and sporting teams boycotted the state in protest.

The list of those avoiding North Carolina included rock icon Bruce Springsteen, the bands Pearl Jam and Boston as well as circus performers Cirque de Soleil.

Major basketball, swimming and golf events have also been lost to the state, as well as the presence of leading banks and technology companies.

Under the compromise, General Assembly Speaker Tim Moore, representing the Republican-dominated Senate and House of Representatives, says cities will still be banned from passing their own non-discrimination laws until 2020.

“And the one thing that I keep hearing from folks back home and all around this state was protect the bathrooms and make sure you didn’t have cities getting into the business of trying to go out here and do things above and beyond what what we have as a state, and I think we succeeded in doing that.”

But that could yet prove a sticking point to getting business back to North Carolina, with civil rights groups opposing the deal because of that provision.

Governor Roy Cooper concedes the compromise is far from perfect.

“It stops short of many things we need to do as a state. In a perfect world, with a good General Assembly, we would have repealed House Bill 2 fully today, and added full statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians. Unfortunately, our super-majority Republican legislature will not pass these protections, but this is an important goal that I will keep fighting for.”

Speaker Tim Moore says it’s a measured bill and, importantly, one that can be defended in the courts against any claims it breaches discrimination laws.

“I think it is something that the public supports. This, of course, was a bipartisan compromise. Nobody is ever 100 per cent happy, but I will say I’m 95 per cent happy with what this bill does. I think it’s a great, great step forward.”

Under the new law, transgender people are free to use the bathroom of their choice.

But they will also have no recourse should any person, business or state authority eject them.

The changes haven’t satisfied transgender support groups and it remains uncertain if they’ll bring back lost business to North Carolina.

Leading companies and sporting groups that led the boycott are still considering whether the compromise is enough for them to return.

 

 

 

Matsuyama eager to deliver Augusta joy to Japan

The expectations are a lot to shoulder, even for the sturdy ones of 25-year-old Matsuyama who has reluctantly learned to live with the attention.

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“Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to report back to (the media) every day,” Matsuyama told Reuters through a translator last month at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he was flanked by reporters after an uneventful second round.

“But we’re all family. I’m grateful they’re here. They are doing their job and I’m doing mine.”

Matsuyama is steadily improving at his craft, but golfing form, like his anonymity on the course, can be elusive.

After earning two wins along with an unofficial victory at Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge to begin the 2016-17 campaign, Matsuyama has since fought his game and hardly factored over the last month and a half.

“My preparation (for the Masters) is going slowly,” Matsuyama said. “I’m not quite where I want to be yet but I’m working toward it.”

With four PGA Tour wins and eight on the Japan Golf Tour, Matsuyama has long seemed destined to realise a major victory.

He won the 2010 Asian amateur championship to earn his place at Augusta National in 2011 where he finished in a tie for 27th in his Masters debut.

Matsuyama has since developed a strong rapport with the Masters, finishing fifth in 2015 and tying for seventh last year. It is his exceptional ball-striking ability that translates well at Augusta, and any venue for that matter.

And when Matsuyama is at his best he can dissect a golf course with machine-like precision while flashing his signature move – a backswing featuring a pronounced pause before transitioning forward with effortless strength.

“He’s going to be one of the top guys to beat for a very long time,” Woods said after watching Matsuyama dominate his tournament in December.

“Look at his swing, look at his game and look at the body that he has. It’s built for a workload and it’s built to handle the test of time.”

Matsuyama’s most stern test, though, has always come on the putting green which is the only place he can appear powerless.

Augusta National’s undulating greens are the course’s greatest defence, and one Matsuyama knows he must solve if he wishes to challenge for a Green Jacket.

“Augusta National is so demanding on and around the greens,” Matsuyama said. “That’s where I’m going to put a lot of work in.”

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

PTSD treatment must get physical: experts

The mind and body are intimately linked, which is why there needs to be a change in the way post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is treated, say Australian researchers.

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A study of Australian Vietnam War veterans, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, has shown PTSD is not purely psychological. It impacts the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems too.

PTSD is also associated with sleep disturbances.

Professor Alexander McFarlane, director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide, says the “failure” to treat the “biological” symptoms of PTSD has not served patients well.

“The limited effectiveness of evidence-based psychological interventions in people with PTSD, particularly in veteran populations, highlights the need to develop biological therapies that address the underlying neurophysiological and immune dysregulation associated with PTSD,” Prof McFarlane wrote in an editorial for the MJA.

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Prof McFarlane says PTSD should be viewed as a systemic disorder with comorbidities, or co-occurring physical conditions or diseases.

Researchers from the Gallipoli Medical Research Institute (GMRI), the University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, and Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane, analysed the health of nearly 300 Vietnam War veterans between 2014-15.

Of these, 108 were confirmed as having had PTSD, and 106 served as trauma-exposed control participants who did not have PTSD.

The average total of comorbidities was higher among those with PTSD (17.7 per cent) than in trauma-exposed controls (14.1 per cent), according to the research.

“For 24 of 171 assessed clinical outcomes, morbidity was greater in the PTSD group, including for conditions of the gastrointestinal, hepatic, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems, sleep disorders, and laboratory pathology measures,” the authors wrote.

Watch: Therapy dogs helping war verterans recover from trauma

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