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  1. Aussie Hull-Kirk shares Korean golf lead

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    June 17, 2019 by admin

    Australian golfer Katherine Hull-Kirk was in a four-way tie for the lead on Friday after the opening round of the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship on Ocean Course in Incheon, west of Seoul.


    Hull-Kirk shot a five-under-par 67 which included seven birdies and two bogeys.

    She was joined on top of the leaderboard by Swede Anna Nordqvist and South Koreans Amy Yang and Ju Young Pak. Another Swede Caroline Hedwall was one stroke back in outright second in the $US1.9 million ($A1.98 million) event.

    “I had a hot putter on the first nine holes,” said Hull-Kirk, who began her round on the back nine.

    “I had 11 putts the first nine holes. That was really what got my round going.”

    Defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway put herself in early contention for her second straight LPGA victory, the world No.2 shooting a three-under 69.

    That put her in a seven-way tie for sixth, two shots off the lead.

    At last year’s tournament, Pettersen defeated Catriona Matthew in a playoff. She went on to pick up four more US wins and another in Europe, climbing second in the world rankings behind South Korea’s Park In-Bee.

    Pettersen mixed five birdies with two bogeys on the par-72, 5820-metre course. Three of her birdies came on par-5 holes.

    Pettersen was joined at 69 by six others, including former world No.1 Shin Ji-Yai of South Korea and American Michelle Wie.

    World No.1 Park played with Pettersen in the opening round, and shot a 70 to stay within striking distance. She started off with three birdies on the back nine but had back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th. She picked up her final birdie on the par-3 17th.

    Lexi Thompson, winner last week in Malaysia, shot a 70, along with world No.6 Choi Na-Yeon, a two-time champion at this event.

  2. Bodies found after Laos air disaster

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    June 17, 2019 by admin

    Laos said Friday at least 17 bodies had been recovered after a plane plummeted into the Mekong River killing all on board in the country’s worst known air disaster.


    Forty-nine passengers and crew, more than half of them foreigners from nearly a dozen countries, were onboard the Lao Airlines turboprop ATR-72 when it went down in stormy weather on Wednesday.

    Volunteers searched the swollen river on boats of all sizes, mustered for the grim task of plucking the dead from the turbulent waters and its muddy banks.

    The aircraft sank to the bottom of the river. Rescuers said that recovering the wreckage would be an extremely difficult task, complicated by raging currents.

    Soubinh Keophet, a former national footballer and volunteer with a Laos rescue foundation, said one body was discovered some 30 kilometres (19 miles) away from the crash site.

    “We travelled 50 kilometres (31 miles) along the river and found four bodies,” he said, after he pulled a recently discovered limb from the water.

    “It is very shocking. I am so sad about the incident. It should not have happened,” he said.

    Sommad Pholsena, Laos minister of public works and transport, told reporters that 17 bodies had been found so far.

    “We have to investigate about the cause of the accident but initially I think it was caused by bad weather,” he said.

    A large Laos naval vessel, several smaller Thai and Laos rescue boats, dinghies and a jet ski were seen on the waters on Friday.

    The flight from the capital Vientiane was carrying 44 passengers and five crew, including 28 foreigners, when it crashed near Pakse airport in Champasak province, according to officials.

    Rows of wooden coffins were seen at a mortuary in Pakse.

    Lao Airlines said the aircraft hit “extreme” bad weather while witnesses described seeing the plane buffeted by strong winds.

    According to an updated passenger list from the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, three Vietnamese, and one national each from the US, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

    The pilot was a Cambodian national said to have “many years” of flying experience.

    French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR said the twin-engine turboprop aircraft was new and had been delivered in March.

    Impoverished Laos, a one-party communist state, has seen 29 fatal air accidents since the 1950s, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

    Previously its worst air disaster was in 1954 when 47 people died in an Air Vietnam crash near Pakse, the organisation said.

  3. Concerns over pregnant asylum seekers

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    June 17, 2019 by admin

    Medical practitioners and advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to urgently review its policy of overseas detention of pregnant asylum seekers.


    The calls follow criticism from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which reported last week that two women at the Nauru detention centre had “high risk” pregnancies.

    And there are reports that eight pregnant Vietnamese asylum seekers are being transferred to Nauru, with more expectant women are tipped to be sent there in coming days.

    Thea Cowie reports.

    The UNHCR visited Nauru last week, reporting back it was highly concerned about a 30-year-old Rohingya woman pregnant with twins, who had the added complication of having diabetes.

    The other pregnancy characterised by the UNHCR as “high risk” involved a 22-year-old Iranian woman – also carrying twins.

    President-elect of the Royal Australiasian College of Physicians Professor Nicholas Talley says he has serious concerns about pregnant women being sent to Nauru.

    “My advice has been there will not be sufficient levels of care and neonatal care particularly if there is a problem with the baby. I think we are putting these people at increased risk.”

    Advocates say the pregnant women being sent to Nauru have to put up with tropical heat, limited privacy, and toilets hundreds of metres away.

    But Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says discomfort may be the least of the concerns of pregnant women being sent to Nauru, and to the other detention centre on Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea.

    “If we look at the statistics on Nauru and Manus Island they have infant mortality rates for children from birth to five years that are forty times higher than the mortality rate of babies born in Australia.”

    Under the Labor government earlier this year, three out of six pregnant women transferred from detention on Manus Island, miscarried.

    The Australian Medical Association is calling for an urgent independent review of the medical and birthing facilities on Nauru.

    President Steve Hambleton says right now, the federal government isn’t providing enough information for him to be satisfied the women and babies will be safe.

    “What the AMA’s said all along is that once we take responsibility for anyone in this country we should be providing adequate levels of health care. That becomes more difficult the more remote you are and the further you are offshore. Right now we just don’t know what is happening and we do need to make sure on a humanitarian basis we’re supporting people.”

    Sophie Peer from Children Out of Immigration Detention agrees the women are Australia’s responsibility and they should have access to an Australian standard of health care.

    “It’s absolutely not good enough. Why do we need to put more women in this position. Why do we need to send women who are Australia’s responsibility, who have sought the protection of Australia as they are entitled to, why are we sending them away? And to put the lives of unborn children at risk like this is just cruel, unnecessary and could be fatal.”

    And Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says if and when the babies are delivered safely, they will not necessarily be out of danger.

    “They’re going to a tent. A vinyl tent, a communal tent where it is 50 degrees in the middle of the day. Anybody who knows the care of babies knows that maintaining their temperature is really important and you put a baby in 50 degree heat and you have a good chance of a dead child.”

    Ms Curr says she has confirmation a further eight pregnant Vietnamese women are being transferred to Nauru, with more to be sent offshore in coming days.

    In his weekly media briefing Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to overseas processing for all asylum seekers who arrive by boat, with no exceptions.

    But Mr Morrison says the UNHCR reports are inaccurate.

    “This suggestion that there is a pregnant women with twins on Nauru is simply not true. // Reporter: They’re not there? // Morrison: It’s actually not true. There is not a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru.

    Mr Morrison says on Nauru there are nine widwives and a paediatrician, two delivery beds, six postnatal beds, a special baby unit and the capacity to perform caesarean sections.

    He says he’s absolutely satisfied that there are professional medical staff on Nauru providing the asylum seekers with an appropriate standard of care and monitoring.



  4. Red Sox on brink of World Series

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    June 17, 2019 by admin

    Mike Napoli homered and the Red Sox tagged Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez for four runs on Thursday in a 4-3 win that put Boston on the brink of returning to baseball’s World Series.


    The victory gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, which shifts to Boston for game six on Saturday and game seven, if necessary, on Sunday.

    The Red Sox are trying to get back to Major League Baseball’s championship showcase for the first time since 2007, when they won their second World Series in four years.

    The Tigers were swept by the San Francisco Giants last year in the Fall Classic.

    Napoli smacked a towering solo homer over the centre field wall in the second inning to give Boston a lead they never surrendered.

    Napoli, who also hit the solo homer that was the only run of game three, also had a double and a single, and scored Boston’s fourth run in the third inning on a wild pitch from Sanchez.

    Boston’s starting pitcher Jon Lester allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings and the Red Sox bullpen allowed just one run before Japanese closer Koji Uehara got the final five outs for his second save of the series.

    “He’s been a stud for us all year,” catcher David Ross said of Uehara. “He’s our horse at the end of that thing.”

    The Tigers lost catcher Alex Avila with what the team said was a left knee strain. Avila was hurt in a collision at the plate with Red Sox catcher David Ross in the second inning and was taken out after the fourth.

    Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, battling the nagging effects of a groin injury, cost Detroit a chance to score in the first inning when he ran through a stop sign from third base coach Tom Brookens and tried to score from second on Jhonny Peralta’s two-out single to left field.

    He was thrown out standing up by Jonny Gomes.

    Napoli homered on a 3-1 fastball to lead off the second frame, sparking a three-run outburst by Boston.

    Ross hit an RBI double off the bottom of the left field wall and Jacoby Ellsbury plated a run with a drive that was deflected on the mound by Sanchez.

    Napoli hit a ground-rule double to left in the third, moved up on a ground out and scored on the wild pitch to give Boston a 4-0 lead.

    Detroit chipped away with one run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but couldn’t get any closer.

    It was the fourth game of the series to be decided by just one run.

    Tigers manager Jim Leyland said his team’s task now was to focus on Saturday’s game, and not worry about what might come after.

    “We have to win one game, that’s obvious,” Leyland said, “win one game and take it from there.”

    However, he admitted before the game that a defeat could spell trouble for his team, with the last two games to be held at Boston’s Fenway Park.

    “They’re pretty good there, obviously,” Leyland said.

  5. Saudi Arabia turns down UN council seat

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    June 17, 2019 by admin

    Saudi Arabia has rejected a seat on the UN Security Council to protest what it says is a lack of international efforts to end world conflicts.


    “The kingdom believes that double standards in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities towards keeping peace and security in the world,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

    The oil-rich kingdom, which was elected on Thursday as a non-permanent member to replace Pakistan in representing the Asia-Pacific region, said the Security Council “allowed the Syrian regime to kill its people and burn them using chemical weapons”.

    The five permanent, veto-wielding members of the 15-nation council had been deadlocked for months on any action over Syria and its 31-month civil war with Russia blocking statements even on humanitarian issues.

    But on September 27, it unanimously approved a resolution ordering the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

    Saudi Arabia has backed the rebels fighting to oust the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

    The Security Council seat would have been the first time Saudi Arabia would have had a place on the United Nations’ highest decision-making body.

    The oil-rich country, a major power player in the Muslim world, also on Friday criticised the council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    “The continuation of the Palestinian issue without a just and lasting solution for 65 years … is clear evidence of the Security Council’s inability to perform its duties and carry out its responsibilities,” it said.

    Four other countries – Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria – have also been elected unopposed to seats on the council by the 193-member UN General Assembly.

    They will replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo on the 15-nation council on January 1.