Senior bureaucrats didn’t ban deadly foil

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

Senior bureaucrats did nothing to have deadly foil insulation banned from the Rudd government’s home insulation scheme, despite early warnings, an inquiry has heard.

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Industry groups had raised concerns in February 2009, the same month the former Labor government announced the $2.8 billion stimulus measure.

But under questioning on Wednesday for the third day of a royal commission into the scheme, witness Kevin Keeffe, a former assistant secretary in the environment department, said policymakers didn’t see a need to have foil sheeting banned.

“I do not recall any suggestion from policymakers,” he said.

Stephen Keim QC, the barrister representing the family of insulation installer Mitchell Sweeney, 22, who was electrocuted while working near Cairns in February 2010, asked Mr Keeffe why he didn’t push to have foil banned from the program.

“It’s a matter of position and degree,” Mr Keeffe replied, referring to his public service rank.

Mr Keeffe also confirmed that safety concerns were raised by the insulation industry during February 2009.

“We recorded accurately the concerns raised at that first industry council,” he said.

A New Zealand insulation industry representative had pointed out how three New Zealanders had died installing foil insulation in 2007.

The inquiry also heard that Australia’s home insulation scheme had been operating for almost two months before a printed safety pocketbook was made available to installers.

The stimulus scheme began rolling out on July 1, 2009, with rebates made available immediately to households.

But Mr Keeffe didn’t authorise printing of the safety booklet until August 27.

A website version was published on August 10.

It included a paragraph warning that “risk to the installer can be life threatening if live wires are cut or touched”.

Foil insulation was not banned until February 2010, five days after Mr Sweeney’s death.

The home insulation scheme was terminated that same month.

The royal commission is examining the scheme’s failings after the deaths of four installers.

The inquiry continues.

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Finance News Update, what you need to know

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WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:

The Australian dollar has drifted lower after the Reserve Bank of Australia noted slower growth in China.

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At 0630 AEDT on Wednesday, the Australian dollar was trading at 92.45 US cents, down from 92.66 cents on Tuesday.

And the Australian share market looks set to open higher after Wall Street gained following solid manufacturing data from China.

At 0645 AEDT on Wednesday, the June share price index futures contract was up 25 points at 5,408.

ELSEWHERE:

WASHINGTON – The World Bank plans to nearly double its annual lending to emerging economies like China and India as part of its effort to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.

WASHINGTON – US manufacturing activity gained pace in March helped by a pickup in new orders and a rebound in production, the Institute for Supply Management says.

PARIS – Inflation slowed in major developed countries in February amid a steep drop in energy prices, a report shows.

ATHENS – The European Central Bank sees “no deflation prospects” despite the latest data showing eurozone inflation dropping to the lowest level in over four years, a senior official says.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s de facto central bank says it is investigating numerous banks for alleged foreign exchange market manipulation, the latest in a series of international probes.

NEW YORK – A group of investors and pensions funds have sued 12 international banks for allegedly manipulating foreign exchange markets to their favour, the Wall Street Journal reports.

LONDON – The British government cost taxpayers millions by selling off the Royal Mail at too low a price, the country’s public-spending watchdog says.

WASHINGTON – Ford’s US auto sales accelerated in March, pulling out of a February slump blamed on brutal winter weather, while General Motors has delayed its results over a computer problem.

WASHINGTON – Relatives of crash victims are demanding accountability from embattled US car maker GM as its CEO prepares to face Congress, amid claims a two-dollar fix could have saved lives.

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McKeons feel love at nationals

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A “warm and fuzzy” feeling enveloped the McKeon family after swimming siblings David and Emma followed in the footsteps of their parents and earned Commonwealth Games team selection in Brisbane.

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But the vibe wasn’t so touchy feely not so long ago when David McKeon finally looked up video of his parents’ Commonwealth Games heroics at the AIS library in Canberra.

“He came home pretty animated. He said ‘you guys swim like s***. Technically you guys were terrible’,” dad Ron McKeon laughed.

However, their father was feeling the love again after his children were the first picked for the Glasgow Games swim team within minutes of each other at the national titles in Brisbane on Tuesday night.

David, 21, claimed a third straight 400m freestyle national title by winning in three minutes, 43.72 seconds – the world’s fastest time of the year and good enough to win 2013 world titles silver.

And 19-year-old younger sister Emma (1:55.68) was soon also Glasgow-bound after clocking an Australian record in the women’s 200m freestyle final.

“It’s one of those warm and fuzzy feelings that you get as parents,” Ron said.

Despite his honest assessment of his parents’ Commonwealth Games efforts on video, David did appreciate his family’s legacy in the pool – eventually.

“It was only a few years ago I noticed dad’s six Commonwealth Games gold medals on the wall at home – I never really saw them before,” he said of his father who was a dual Olympian.

David’s grasp of his mother’s Commonwealth Games history seemed just as tenuous.

He admitted to having no idea he’d booked a Glasgow berth at the same Brisbane pool in which his mother Susie contested the 1982 Games.

But his chest puffed out when speaking about his family’s heroics, which also included uncle and dual Olympian Rob Woodhouse’s 1984 Los Angeles bronze medal.

“There’s a great history with my family. It means a lot to me,” he said.

They may be a tight family but only tough love from their ex-coach Ron ensured David and Emma fired at the national titles in Brisbane.

After world No.2-ranked David failed to make the 400m final at last year’s world titles, Ron thought his son would take the next step under another coach – and away from their Wollongong home.

In the end it was Emma who took up the challenge, linking with coach Vince Raleigh in Brisbane in January – and David followed.

“I told them it wouldn’t be easy,” Ron said.

“They have had some battles living together, just the difficulties of being away from mum and dad for the first time, but they are dealing with it.”

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Vatican Radio puts archive online

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The voices of popes from as long ago as 1884 can now be heard following the digitising of 8000 tapes from the Vatican Radio’s pontifical archives.

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The initiative is part of preparations for the sainting of John Paul II and John XXIII (1958-63) on April 17, the first double papal canonisation ceremony in Church history.

“This way, the popes remain among us thanks to their voices,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told journalists on Tuesday.

Radio Vatican has been storing up the unique patrimony since it was set up under Pope Pius XI in 1931 but also holds older recordings such as Leo XIII’s Humanum Genus encyclical, which the pontiff recorded on a dictaphone in 1884.

Some of the clips in the online collection capture historic moments, such as Pius XII’s speech in August 1939 calling for restraint on the eve of the Second World War, saying “The danger is imminent but there is still time. Nothing is lost with peace, all can be lost with war!”

People can also listen to John XXIII’s impromptu 1962 “Speech to the Moon” in St Peter’s Square, where he spoke in answer to requests from a huge crowd and told them: “When you head home, find your children. Hug and kiss your children and tell them ‘This is the hug and kiss of the Pope'”.

Latin boffs can also revel in the same pontiff’s dramatic Second Vatican Council speech in 1962, in which he rejected the “prophets of doom” who forecast the Church’s decline and called on the council “to use the medicine of mercy rather than the weapons of severity” in their reforms.

Other highlights include Paul VI’s anguished words following the kidnapping and murder of Italian prime minister Aldo Moro in May 1978, culminating in his public address to God: “You did not grant our plea for the safety of Aldo Moro, of this good and gentle man … who was my friend.”

John Paul II’s emotionally-charged attack in 1993 on the mafia’s “culture of death” following a spate of high-profile killings can be listened to again, as can Benedict XVI’s 2013 resignation speech, where he said he “will simply be a pilgrim starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth”.

John Paul I, who lived for just 33 days, can be heard at one of the few Angelus prayers he led describing the terror he felt as he realised the conclave of cardinals had decided to elect him as pope.

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Finch helps Aust snap WT20 losing streak

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With very little to gain, and much more to lose, Australia escaped the embarrassment of a winless World Twenty20, securing a hollow seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Tuesday’s dead rubber.

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Having already accepted that their disastrous campaign, which started with three straight defeats, would likely rank as Australia’s worst performance in a major limited overs tournament George Bailey and his men did what little they could do to minimise the humiliation.

Had they lost to Bangladesh, Bailey knew what sort of reaction they would’ve received – even on the back of a glorious summer that saw them rise back up the Test rankings.

“It’s a little consolation,” Bailey, who had been left devastated after a catastrophic 73-run defeat to India on Sunday, said.

“It’s a hell of a lot better result than if it had gone the other way.” Australia made sure there were no hiccups in their final match, cantering to the 154-run target on the back of an entertaining 71 to powerful opener Aaron Finch, who starred in a 98-run opening stand with David Warner.

Australia secured the win with 15 balls to spare to silence the partisan Dhaka crowd and snap a three-game losing streak.

Finch, named man of the match, admitted it felt like a hollow victory.

“To not make it through to the semi-final stage has been really disappointing from the team’s point of view,” Finch said.

“We came here with hopes to win the competition and we’re going home with nothing.

“I think there’s a few positives to take out, but by and large not a huge amount.

“To win one out of four has been very disappointing.” For the first time all tournament Australia’s top order found some form, with Warner and Finch starting the run-chase in grand fashion.

But it begged the question – how far could Australia, the pre-tournament favourites, have progressed had the pair clicked into gear earlier? Warner (48 off 35) in particular has had a lacklustre fortnight, considering his tremendous output in the Ashes and in the victorious Test series in South Africa.

Finch, who scored 65 in the first-up loss to Pakistan, brought up his half century off 35 balls and muscled four sixes and seven fours in a 45-ball knock – before admitting the powerhouse opening partnership had failed to live up to their own hype.

“I think myself and Davey have both been very disappointing in this tournament as a partnership,” Finch said.

“What makes it even more disappointing is that it took until the final game to have a big partnership, (when Australia were) out of the tournament already.

“To not be able to progress and then provide a good start for the side was very disappointing and something that is frustrating.

“We’ve both come here with high expectations of each other and ourselves.

“I don’t think we played particularly well in the first three games in such a short format you have to rely on your openers heavily and we didn’t do that.

“So we take a lot of responsibility.”

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A lot more life left in Bart and Homer

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Want to know the secret of The Simpsons’ longevity?

It’s because it remains timeless and relevant.

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That, according to executive producer Al Jean, is why The Simpsons is celebrating its 25th year, and why it could easily be around for a 50th season.

Jean has worked on more than 500 episodes of The Simpsons since it launched in 1989 – and that’s despite the time he spent working on another animation project and also for Disney.

His time on The Simpsons includes the feature movie in 2007 and the theme-park ride at Universal Studios in Florida and Hollywood Studios.

Jean has ruled out a second feature film about Springfield’s first family in the near future. But he envisages a 30th anniversary for the TV series, and possibly more celebrations beyond that.

“In show business you always treat every day as your last, but we’re guaranteed through 26 (seasons),” he says.

“The deals are usually in instalments of four and the ratings are good, so I can’t see why we wouldn’t go to 30 … and why can’t we go to 40 or even 50.

“If making a second movie right now was a scale from A to Z, we are between A and B.

“The problem is there is so much work and there is no reason to do it unless it’s good.”

Little has changed on or off the screen on The Simpsons (which screens on Network Ten’s subsidiary channel Eleven). The original voice actors remain, and the creative talent, including Jean, relentlessly pump out 22 episodes a year.

Jeans says that, as a “sitcom”, the agelessness of animated characters makes it easy for fans to drift in and out of the series, and for new fans to tune in to the TV family their parents have enjoyed for more than two decades.

“One reason we have been on for 25 years is that if Bart was 30 years old and living with Homer it would be pathetic,” he says.

“You basically have this template where people turn on the show and they’re seeing the same thing they did five years ago and you’re exploring new issues.”

Jean pays tribute to the way the voices behind Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Homer (Dan Castellaneta), Lisa (Yeardley Smith) and Marge (Julie Kavner) have stayed the distance.

“Part of the reason for the success of the show, no doubt, is because of them.”

Jean says many great sitcoms end when one of the stars wants to branch out and do something different.

He points to Cheers as an example: “I think that ended after a very long run because Ted Danson said they’d done enough.”

But because The Simpsons is an animation, its voice actors have been able to forge lives away from the studio’s recording booths.

“They have independent TV and film careers outside of The Simpsons and they don’t feel they have to leave to do other things,” Jean says.

The Simpsons has paid respect to some of the voice actors who have died by retiring their characters.

Phil Hartman’s characters Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz have been retired since the actor’s death in 1998, and Edna Krabappel has not re-emerged since Marcia Wallace died last year.

* The Simpsons 25th anniversary fan favourite countdown starts on April 9 at 7.30pm on Network Ten’s channel Eleven.

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McKinnon tackler faces judicial hearing

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McLean, a 22-year-old in his second season in Australia’s top National Rugby League competition, was cited for lifting Newcastle Knights forward Alex McKinnon in a tackle during a match in Melbourne last week.

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One of three Melbourne players involved in the tackle but the only one on report, McLean is expected to plead not guilty to a dangerous throw charge.

The tackle left McKinnon in critical condition, and local media have reported he may never walk again.

“It is a really tough case and certainly it would be close to the toughest case I’ve seen to have to be dealt with,” Greg McCallum, a former chairman of the NRL’s match review committee, said in comments published by The Australian on Wednesday.

“I feel for everybody involved because it’s uncharted territory. There’s nothing to fall back on and it’s going to be a tough case.

“It’s going to be emotional and it’s going to be hard.”

The NRL and Australian Rugby Union have worked to crack down on “lifting” tackles due to the dangers of spinal and head trauma to players dumped into the turf.

But players are regularly lifted and dumped in tackles during games, with far less serious consequences.

McKinnon’s plight has prompted an outpouring of sympathy in Australia, with an emotional tribute from Newcastle Knights fans during the team’s home match against Cronulla Sharks earlier this week.

McLean has the sympathy of some NRL players, many of whom see the incident as a freak accident.

“As a player and speaking to all other players, we really don’t think there was a lot in the tackle,” Sharks captain Paul Gallen said.

“It’s just an absolute tragic accident that has happened. It’s the most unfortunate thing I’ve ever seen in rugby league.

“Unfortunately for Jordan he’s stuck in the middle of it.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Hooliganism still haunts European game

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Modern policing and stewarding, and widespread use of CCTV, has meant that most stadiums are largely trouble-free environments on the inside and few now have the need for fenced segregation.

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However, as the appalling events in Sweden, when a Djurgarden fan in his 40s died after being assaulted on his way to a game in Helsingborg show, associated violence is still rife in many places.

Below we examine the current hooligan situation around Europe:

SCANDINAVIA

The death of father of four Stefan Isaksson has thrust the hooligan problem back into the spotlight in Sweden.

According to police reports he was struck on the head with a blunt instrument before being kicked and beaten as he made his way to see his side take on Helsingborg.

The game went ahead as planned, but was abandoned when his fellow fans invaded the pitch having received reports that he had died in hospital from his injuries.

Ministers from a government led by Djurgarden fan Fredrik Reinfeldt were quick to respond. Justice minister Beatrice Ask suggested supporter culture was to blame for the violence.

Sweden has long struggled to come to terms with such violence, as “firms” attached to big-city clubs arrange fights often far away from arenas. But in some cases trouble still takes place at football grounds in the region.

AIK were fined 60,000 euros by UEFA when Levski Sofia’s bus was attacked by stone-throwing hooligans after a Europa League qualifier in 2010. The Bulgarian club’s chairman, masseuse, press officer and two players were also struck by missiles.

A recent Swedish second-tier game between Hammarby and GAIS was interrupted when Hammarby fans invaded a closed section over the away support and began raining missiles onto them.

For their part, Swedish fans have accused Swedish police of being heavy-handed and claimed that they only fight only against fellow hooligans. Regular scarf-wearing fans – called “Christmas trees” by the hooligan “casuals” as they wear bright club colours – are usually left alone and not involved in the violence.

Across the Oresund in Denmark the problem also exists, and though it has receded somewhat in recent years it is not unusual for groups from southern Sweden and Denmark to join forces for fights against other firms.

A video clip of a pre-arranged fight between supporters of Gothenburg club GAIS and groups of fans of Helsingborg and FC Copenhagen spread quickly across the internet in July: 苏州美睫网,ekstrabladet.dk/112/article2028734.ece

Norway – home of the Nobel peace prize – is much calmer than its Nordic neighbours, with few violent incidents or organised battles taking place.

– – – –

RUSSIA

Football hooliganism has been on the rise in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“Firms”, are now attached to all of the country’s major clubs and fights between hooligans and scuffles with police are a regular phenomenon in the Russian leagues, either starting spontaneously at stadiums or as pre-agreed battles in remote sites. Violence is often accompanied by nationalist or racist slogans and symbols.

In one recent case Spartak Moscow and Shinnik Yaroslavl were fined and ordered to play matches behind closed doors following violence at a cup match where Nazi banners were unfurled.

In 2010, several thousand youths rioted outside the Kremlin, clashing with police and attacking passers-by who they took for non-Russians, after the death of an ethnic Russian football fan was blamed on a man from the North Caucasus.

President Vladimir Putin, seeking to appease football fans and soothe the worst outbreak of ethnic violence in Moscow in post-Soviet history, met with football enthusiasts and laid flowers at the grave of the dead supporter, Yegor Sviridov. Many observers, however, say that his death and much of the violence is related to ethnic tensions rather than football.

Russia introduced a ‘supporters law’ this year, which enables courts to ban fans from grounds for up to seven years but the Government, Russian Football Union, the clubs and police routinely pass the buck when it comes to responsibility for the problems.

A fiction film titled “Around football”, which tells the story of Spartak “firm” members who ignore potentially tragic consequences to make fighting for their club the essence of their lives was also recently released.

– – – –

ITALY

Italy is famous for its ‘ultras’, groups of hardcore fans who are frequently behind the stadium violence which has dogged all levels of the country’s football since the 1970s.

The death of policeman Filippo Raciti during the fighting that followed the Catania-Palermo derby of February 2007 led authorities to introduce a number of hardline measures.

These included blanket bans on away fan travel, banning orders handed out by the police rather than the courts and an ID card scheme which has targeted normal fans and hooligans alike.

Some major flare-ups still occur, however, with Rome derbies blighted by stabbings and clashes with police, while this season’s match between Bologna and Hellas Verona was the scene of fighting between rival fans.

Violence is not limited solely to stadiums, but also the surrounding areas and motorway service stations as fans criss-cross the country in large organised groups.

Ultras use knives, but rarely to inflict serious harm, and talk about “light stabbing” to mean knife attacks on an opposing fans’ buttocks.

– – – –

GREECE

Greece is undoubtedly one of European football’s violence blackspots and has a chequered track record of incidents including pitch invasions, stabbings and attacks on police.

Fighting involving organised fan clubs is commonplace.

The main culprits are the traditional big clubs, Olympiakos Piraeus, Panathinaikos, AEK Athens and PAOK Salonika, and, like in Italy, it is common for the ‘ultras’ factions around those teams to clash both inside and outside of stadiums before and after matches.

There is an emerging trend for hooligans to target sports other than football, such as handball, volleyball and water polo where there is usually a limited police presence.

All of those clubs listed have been punished with heavy fines and have been forced to play matches behind closed doors in recent seasons as part of an attempted crackdown from the government, the Greek FA and the Super League.

A hardline sports law was introduced by the government in 2012 and was the culmination of several years’ work after the fatal stabbing of an Olympiakos fan four years earlier had prompted the authorities to get tough on violence.

The stiffest penalty imposed by the Greek league was for Panathinaikos, who were docked five points and forced to play four games behind closed doors in March 2012 as punishment for crowd violence following a derby against Olympiakos.

The match was abandoned after being interrupted twice by crowd trouble when sections of the stadium were set on fire and police were also attacked.

Players union Fifpro set up a special European task force in 2011 to look into attacks by fans on players and cited Greece as one of the focus countries.

– – – –

BALKANS

Football hooliganism was non-existent under communist rule in the former Yugoslavia but the country’s bloody break-up in the 1990s let the genie out of the bottle, as it went hand in hand with political strife, ethnic tensions and economic depression.

Serbia and Croatia came to the fore, especially the former as the Belgrade derby between bitter city foes Red Star and Partizan became a fixture with a history of regular crowd trouble, producing several fatalities down the years.

Violence rarely occurs near the heavily-policed stadiums, but brawls, in which fans fight each other with iron bars, baseball bats and whatever else they can find, are regularly sighted in Belgrade’s outskirts and even in the city’s central residential areas on match days.

An horrific incident occurred in 1999, when a Red Star fan was killed by a propelled flare launched from the Partizan end that flew across the pitch above the players’ heads and into the visiting supporters’ section.

A French fan was also killed in Belgrade city centre hours before Partizan played Toulouse in the Europa League in 2009.

The offenders were handed long prison terms after a public outcry in Serbia demanding the government take a tougher stance.

More recently, Red Star fans burned several hundred seats in Partizan’s stadium in May while their rivals hit back in November by lighting a terrace bonfire that held up play for 10 minutes as officials waited for the billowing smoke to clear.

Fan violence is also common in Bosnia, where several matches were abandoned in the past few years because of crowd trouble. Last week 13 fans and three policemen were injured in fierce clashes between supporters of city rivals Sarajevo and Zeljeznicar during their cup tie.

– – – –

TURKEY

Turkey is no stranger to football violence with numerous incidents occurring this season.

A major Istanbul derby between Besiktas and Galatasaray was halted and later cancelled in September when fans invaded the pitch, with police using teargas to disperse the crowd.

Galatasaray were awarded the match and Besiktas were ordered to play four home games with only women and children in the stands.

One fan died and another was critically injured when they were stabbed at a protest staged by Fenerbahce fans in July against UEFA’s decision to ban the club from European competition.

A similar incident occurred last May when Galatasaray fans stabbed to death a teenager wearing a Fenerbahce shirt at a bus stop after an end-of-season derby in Istanbul.

The Turkish football federation replaced their policy of punishing teams with stadium supporter bans in 2011, choosing instead to allow women and children to attend.

In March Trabzonspor’s match against Fenerbahce was abandoned in the first half after Fenerbahce players were pelted with objects thrown onto the pitch by home fans.

Supporters also clashed with police in the streets of Trabzon following the match and Trabzonspor were later punished with a six-game “no fans” ban.

– – – –

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland’s reputation for peace, quiet and orderliness does not extend to its football fans.

The country has been plagued by football violence and FIFA president Sepp Blatter once said that the country which hosts soccer’s governing body was years behind its neighbours in fighting the problem.

Last season’s Swiss Cup final in the capital of Berne was marred by a fighting between fans of Basel and Grasshoppers, who threw firecrackers and stones at each other in the historic centre of the city before the game.

Also at the end of last season, Aarau’s promotion celebrations turned sour when a fan set off a pyrotechnic inside a nightclub, sparking a brawl which involved pepper spray and an eventual evacuation of the venue.

Blick newspaper reported that several Aarau players were present at the time.

The most serious incident happened in 2011 when a Grasshoppers and FC Zurich derby was interrupted as rival fans threw fireworks at each other.

FIFA withdrew funding for a new municipal stadium in Zurich – where all matches are currently played at the Letzigrund athletics stadium – because of plans to include standing areas.

– – – –

NETHERLANDS

Football violence in the Netherlands remains a major problem with top matches regularly scheduled with early kickoffs and some cities banning away fans.

Supporters organising fights on the fringes of games has been a problem dating back decades, while there have also been attacks on police and visiting foreign fans for European games.

Last November there were serious clashes between Ajax and Celtic fans ahead of a Champions League match that resulted in almost 50 arrests of fans from both teams.

Legislation against hooliganism is quite broad – including forcing known trouble makers to report to police stations while games are going on.

In September Eindhoven’s mayor refused to allow Ajax fans to be bussed into the city for what is regarded as one of the key games of the season and other cities and towns have also banned away fans.

There have been violent incidents outside of the professional game and a volunteer linesman, Richard Nieuwenhuizen, died last December after he was set upon by a group of teenage players at an amateur match.

– – – –

PORTUGAL

Hooliganism in Portugal is infrequent and almost always involves the big three clubs, Porto, Benfica and Sporting.

A recent flashpoint occurred in October when 48 people were injured as fans clashed outside the Dragao stadium ahead of a league game between Porto and Sporting.

A group, mostly dressed in black and not wearing any club colours, arrived in formation outside the stadium, chanting and provoking nearby Porto fans, with skirmishes erupting soon after.

– – – –

ENGLAND

England, which suffered so badly with hooliganism in the 1970s and 80s that the problem was sometimes described as “the English disease”, has largely put its house in order.

A concentrated clamp-down by police, involving detailed intelligence operations, helped identify many of the regular trouble-makers and banning orders kept them away from grounds.

As with many other countries, trouble still occurs further away from grounds while there are still regular problems in many lower league games, often unreported as they take place away from the media spotlight.

Generally, however, most grounds are now considered safe destinations and colour-draped fans of opposing teams can usually be seen travelling alongside each other to the game – unthinkable 20 years ago.

– – – –

FRANCE

There is a difference between ‘ultras’ and hooligans in France. Ultras are known for their fanatical support and use of flares, but they are usually not out for violence.

While hooliganism is on the decline in France, the problem has not been fully crushed, with Paris St Germain and Olympique Lyon two of the clubs where trouble has been known to flare up, especially around European games.

PSG implemented the ‘Plan Leproux’ (Robin Leproux, former PSG president) in 2010 to eradicate all fans groups at the club, which had a big impact on disrupting hooliganism.

Nationwide, preventative measures include stadium banning orders, with flexibility to increase the length of the ban.

There is also better coordination between police and public authorities to quash trouble in advance, rather than reacting to incidents.

There is sometimes trouble at smaller matches, such as the eastern derby between Nancy and Metz, with hooligans meeting for pre-arranged fights, while PSG fans battled rivals from Bayer Leverkusen in a pre-planned fight before a Champions League clash last month.

– – – –

GERMANY

Germany has seen cases of hooliganism drop from their height in the 1980s but matches are still marred by clashes, usually outside the stadium or in the city.

Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 fans keep police busy whenever the two Ruhr valley sides meet and extensive clashes between the two sides occurred as recently as October 2012, when some 200 fans in total were detained.

The league’s (DFL) biggest day-to-day problem however is the use of flares inside stadiums, including in that derby where Dortmund fans lit dozens and threw them into the Schalke tribunes, delaying the start of the game.

Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke has pledged to crack down on his own ultras and Dortmund were sanctioned for their fans’ behaviour.

There are also regular incidents in the second Bundesliga with police under attack from some 200 Cologne fans in March after they had tried first to attack Karlsruhe supporters.

In the most spectacular sanction Dynamo Dresden were banned from competing in the German Cup this season after repeated offence by their fans.

(Additonal reporting by Maxim Rodionov, Gabriela Baczynska,Dmitriy Rogovitskiy, Karolos Grohmann, Phil O’Connor, Zoran Milosavljevic, Julien Pretot, Ece Toksabay, Terry Daley, Graham Wood, Brian Homewood,; Editing by Mitch Phillips/Justin Palmer.)

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Bravo, Badree power West Indies to World T20 semis

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Darren Sammy’s men overcome a wobbly start to post a strong 166 for six before returning to bowl out Pakistan for 82 runs in 17.

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5 overs and set up a semi-final clash with Sri Lanka on Thursday.

India, who won the inaugural edition in 2007, take on South Africa in the second semi-final on Friday.

Opting to bat first in what was effectively a quarter-final contest, Bravo (46) and Sammy (42 not out) provided the late assault as West Indies plundered 59 runs in the last three overs to post a strong total at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Pakistan’s chase got off to a horror start with paceman Krishmar Santokie hitting Ahmed Sehzad’s toe with the first ball of the innings to trap the in-form batsman leg before.

Leg-spinner Badree (3-10) then took over, wrecking the rivals with a three-wicket burst and Pakistan could not recover after they had been reduced to 13 for four in the sixth over.

Badree’s spin colleague Sunil Narine (3-16) then ran through the top order to complete the rout.

The 19 runs Mohammad Hafeez scored was the highest individual score in the Pakistani collapse.

Earlier, Pakistan captain Hafeez drew first blood by removing Chris Gayle (five), arguably the most destructive batsman in 20-over cricket, to give his team a perfect start.

Hafeez lured Gayle out of the crease and beat his bat for Kamran Akmal to complete a simple stumping.

Lendl Simmons (31) and Marlon Samuels (20) somewhat arrested the slide with a 39-run stand before falling in quick succession.

Bravo then set alight the stadium with his sizzling power-hitting to revive West Indies before he ran himself out after a 26-ball blitz that included four sixes.

Sammy remained unbeaten after a breezy 20-ball knock as West Indies plundered 82 runs in the final five overs in their spectacular late surge.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Oil prices slide on China slowdown worries

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Oil prices have dropped sharply with tepid manufacturing data in China adding to concerns about slow growth in the world’s largest energy consumer.

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The benchmark US futures contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in May, finished New York trade on Tuesday at $99.74 a barrel, down $1.84, or 1.8 per cent, from Monday’s close.

Brent North Sea crude for May sank $2.14, or almost 2.0 per cent, to $105.62 a barrel in London trade.

“Concerns about the Chinese economy are making things pretty bearish,” said Michael Lynch of Strategic Energy and Economic Research.

China’s official purchasing managers index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector crept up to 50.3 in March, from an eight-month low of 50.2 in February, narrowly above the 50 level that signals expansion.

The reading was slightly better than expected but still continued to point to weakness, suggesting China’s economy grew in the first quarter below the government’s annual growth target of 7.5 per cent.

HSBC also reported its own PMI for China fell to 48.0 in March, the lowest reading in eight months.

“From a Chinese oil demand perspective the number raises concerns about overall global oil demand growth as most expected that demand would be driven by China,” said Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group.

Also weighing on oil, analysts said, were expectations the US government’s weekly oil inventories report on Wednesday will show another increase in crude oil supplies.

Tim Evans of Citi Futures said consensus expectations were for a build of roughly 2.5 million barrels in crude inventories.

In addition, the market was under pressure by reports Libya may be close to reaching a deal with rebels who have blockaded oil terminals since July, analysts said.

Government and rebel sources said a deal appeared imminent, potentially unblocking exports that dwindled to 250,000 barrels a day from 1.5 million under the blockades.

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Chen double puts paid to Ulsan streak

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China’s Guizhou have ended Korean Ulsan’s 15-match unbeaten run in the AFC Champions League after coming from a goal down in front of a home crowd.

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The Chinese FA Cup holders beat the 2012 AFC champions 3-1 at the Guiyang Olympic Centre Stadium on Tuesday night.

Ulsan took the lead in the 34th minute when Kim Min-Kyun’s accurate through ball released Yoo Jun-Su, who outpaced the Guizhou defence before sliding the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Zhang Lie and into the net.

However, the Koreans’ lead lasted only five minutes as Chen Zijie equalised with his first goal of the night after he had beaten the offside trap.

Guizhou then went in front six minutes into the second half when Qu Bo slid in to turn home Rao Weihui’s dangerous low cross from the right.

Chen sealed victory with a fine finish eight minutes from time as he rifled a low shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner of the Ulsan net to make it 3-1.

In addition to ending Ulsan’s long unbeaten streak, the win also saw Guizhou move up to four points, three behind Ulsan and two behind Western Sydney Wanderers and Kawasaki Frontale.

Kawasaki joined Western Sydney in second place after they also came from behind to beat the Australian side 2-1 in Japan.

There was also plenty of drama in Group F as the Central Coast Mariners, who began the day in last place, moved a point clear at the top after they beat Beijing Guoan of China 1-0 in Gosford.

The match between FC Seoul of Korea and Sanfrecce Hiroshima of Japan ended in a 2-2 draw.

The win sees Central Coast move up to six points, one ahead of the other three teams with two rounds of games remaining.

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Turkish police use water cannon at rally

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Turkish riot police have deployed water cannon against protesters claiming vote-rigging in weekend local election wins by the Islamic-rooted party of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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About 2000 supporters of the main secular opposition party massed on Tuesday in the capital Ankara, chanting “Thief Tayyip!” and “Ankara, don’t sleep. Stand up for your vote!”

Police then unleashed water jets to disperse the vocal and passionate crowd – recalling the street clashes that started last June in Istanbul’s Gezi Park and kicked off months of political turmoil in the country.

The top spokesman for Erdogan’s party condemned the rally, saying on TV: “You cannot claim a victory that the people have not given to you by massing crowds in front of the election board.

“Everyone has a natural right to object but no-one can achieve anything by mobilising the crowds through social media and provoking them,” added Huseyin Celik of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Sunday’s municipal polls were seen as a referendum on the 11-year-rule of Erdogan, who is popular with many Turks for driving strong economic growth but has been accused of an increasingly authoritarian style.

Turkey’s two biggest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, were the top prizes in the elections, in which Erdogan’s AKP declared sweeping wins, despite recent graft claims against the premier’s inner circle and an internet clampdown.

Claims of election fraud have circulated on social media, including a photo which purportedly shows ballots in a garbage heap, and there have been complaints over power blackouts in some areas during the evening vote-count.

The race was especially symbolic in Ankara, the inland capital built by the secular founding father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who established the Republican People’s Party (CHP), now the main opposition group.

Pro-CHP demonstrators massed outside the Supreme Electoral Board building after Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek, in power for 20 years, had declared victory with a wafer-thin margin of about one per cent.

Gokcek dismissed his rivals’ claims, saying: “They want to stir up Turkey … They want to give the impression that democracy in Turkey is being crushed.”

He scored 44.79 per cent against 43.77 per cent for CHP candidate Mansur Yavas, according to the provisional results – a margin of about 30,000 votes.

Yavas wrote on Twitter that a recount “will reveal the truth” – the short message itself defying an official ban on the social media site, which has been used to leak corruption claims against Erdogan’s allies.

In Istanbul the official AKP lead was much wider, at 48 to 41 per cent but CHP candidate Mustafa Sarigul also challenged the results.

Unless irregularities are addressed, he said, “this election, regardless of its outcome, will be etched in our history of democracy as contentious”.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz meanwhile blamed most voting-day power outages on weather conditions.

In Ankara – where in some areas ballots were counted by candle-light – he blamed a cat that slipped into a power transmission unit and presumably was electrocuted when it caused a short circuit.

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