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Smith ready for return to NRL action

2019年6月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Melbourne NRL skipper Cameron Smith says he’s the fittest and freshest he’s been in recent seasons despite coming off a World Cup.

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Smith will get back into action in the Storm’s final trial match against Canterbury in Brisbane on Sunday.

The Test captain led Australia to victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final in late November and has only been back in full training for about a month.

He said last year his holiday was a little too long and he paid the price early.

“I had nearly 11 weeks off and I probably came back underdone and I was carrying a little bit of weight around the belt.

“I feel really good this year, probably the best I’ve felt in two or three seasons.

“I feel like my fitness is well ahead of where I was last year at the same time.”

Test fullback Billy Slater, as well as Kiwi international Jesse Bromwich, will face the Bulldogs however Kangaroos halfback Cooper Cronk is out following post-World Cup shoulder surgery.

Cronk was originally pencilled in for round two but Smith is expecting him to play in their season opener against Manly at Brookvale on March 8.

“He’s certainly very fit, he’s doing extra running after our sessions and he’s looked after himself during the break,” Smith said.

Former Eel Ben Roberts has been named at halfback for the trial, while Ben Hampton takes over at five-eighth following the departure of England international Gareth Widdop, who has joined St George Illawarra.

With Cronk still not confirmed Smith said it was important for the halves to put on a good show against the Bulldogs.

Smith said the team was stung by its early exit from the NRL finals series last year, losing to South Sydney and then Newcastle.

His message this season is about consistency.

“This club is renowned for that and last year was very patchy,” he said.

“A lot of people said it was un-Storm-like the way we finished and I agree; it was very disappointing to be bundled out in straight sets.

“We don’t want to be the most flashy team; we want to turn in high quality football each week and we’ve learnt that if we do that then you’re going to find yourself up the top of the ladder.”

Aust scientist fights superbugs with laser

2019年6月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

An Australian scientist has found a way to use a laser-gun device in the war against superbugs.

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It blasts apart specimens from patients, quickly determining if they have a drug-resistant infection.

When a bug is identified, lab workers promptly alert doctors and nurses, who start the correct treatment and put the patient into isolation.

The test, which uses a device available in most pathology laboratories, gives results in one day rather than four or five. It also comes at a cost of less than a dollar, says Dr Paul Griffin, the microbiologist who came up with the concept.

Dr Griffin, has set up the device, the MALDI-TOF machine, to detect the antibiotic-resistant VRE bacteria, which is common in Australian hospitals.

Antibiotic resistance is becoming a huge problem around the world, says Dr Griffin, who is presenting his concept at a Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) conference in Melbourne on Friday.

Although Australia has good measures in place to control them, the number of cases of superbugs is rising.

The test is mostly requested for seriously ill people in hospital, but Dr Griffin says GPs and patients should also be aware of it.

In theory the concept could be used anywhere in the world.

However, problematic bug strains differ from country to country and it is labour-intensive to set up, says Dr Griffin, who has published a study of his concept in the international Journal of Microbiology.

“It has worked well for more than 12 months now,” he says.

* Clifford Fram travelled to the conference courtesy of the RCPA

Big AFL guns return for Lions

2019年6月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The cavalry has arrived for Brisbane ahead of Sunday’s AFL pre-season clash with Gold Coast in Townsville.

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But Lions critic Matthew Lloyd might struggle to provide an accurate pre-season assessment of Brisbane this weekend after the Suns lived up to their promise of resting their stars.

Essendon great Lloyd was scathing of an understrength Lions after their opening 131-point trial loss to powerhouse Hawthorn last week, saying they looked set to be in a “world of pain” in 2014.

Brisbane fielded 17 players with less than 20 games of AFL experience against the Hawks along with nine getting their first taste of senior footy.

However, the Lions have brought back the big guns for the Townsville trial, making 11 changes including captain Jed Adcock, deputy Tom Rockliff, dual club champion Joel Patfull, Daniel Rich and Pearce Hanley.

Jack Redden, Daniel Merrett, Matthew Leuenberger, Brent Moloney, Claye Beams – back from a knee reconstruction – and ex-Richmond utility Luke McGuane have also been picked.

However, it might still be hard to gauge the Lions’ 2014 prospects when they line against a Suns outfit resting inspirational captain and 2013 Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitelli, Jaeger O’Meara, Trent McKenzie and David Swallow.

Still, Lions head of coaching and development Peter Schwab said their next two trials – including a March 8 clash with Sydney on the Sunshine Coast – were key stepping stones toward the 2014 AFL season.

“The next two games are critically important for us,” he said.

“We want to get the best possible team on the paddock and to get the gameplan flowing from there.”

Asked if his side were demoralised by the opening loss to Hawthorn, Schwab said: “Not at all.

“It was an extraordinary learning experience. That is what they have to aspire to.

“They can only improve. They are not going to get worse, I can tell you that.”

For the Suns, Harley Bennell makes his first pre-season appearance after nursing a tight calf in recent weeks.

Karmichael Hunt has also been named in an extended squad.

Charlie Dixon, Tom Lynch and Sam Day will again spearhead their attack.

Schwab had no problem with the Suns copying the Lions’ tactic and resting their stars.

“Each club will take a different approach (in the pre-season),” he said.

“The Gold Coast are on the improve. They have an outstanding midfield. They have been able to secure some great talent over the last few years.”

Brisbane boast 1201 games of senior AFL experience.

Former skipper Jonathan Brown (foot), Ash McGrath (calf) and Brent Staker (calf) were not considered by the Lions.

Venezuela deploys paratroopers

2019年6月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The Venezuelan government has ordered paratroopers to a border city where growing student protests began over two weeks ago, with President Nicolas Maduro angrily rejecting US calls for dialogue.

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The nationwide demonstrations, led by students and the opposition, have left at least four people dead and dozens hurt in the biggest challenge to Maduro since he took power from the late Hugo Chavez last year.

There have been near-daily protests and rallies, some of them violent, in the capital Caracas and other cities, over what Maduro’s critics say are deteriorating economic conditions, rampant street crime, corruption and bleak job prospects.

Maduro’s leftist government – which is sitting on the world’s largest proven oil reserves – rushed a battalion of paratroopers to the city of San Cristobal, birthplace of the demonstrations that began on February 4.

The military response came in response to claims from the government that Colombians were crossing the border there “to carry out paramilitary missions” in Venezuela.

Shops were closed and streets eerie in San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, where there have been almost daily clashes between protesters and security forces.

Maduro meanwhile threatened to block CNN over what he called the US broadcaster’s “propaganda war,” and shot back at US President Barack Obama, who has urged Venezuela to release detained protesters and address the “legitimate grievances” of its people.

Maduro’s government said it “emphatically repudiates” Obama’s remarks, accusing the US president of “a new and crude interference in the internal affairs of our country”.

On Sunday, Maduro ordered the expulsion of three US diplomats, accusing them of meeting student leaders to conspire under the guise of offering them visas. Washington denies the allegations.

Maduro also came under attack from US pop icon Madonna, who Thursday accused Maduro’s government of “fascism” over its handling of the roiling demonstrations.

Prominent opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has helped spearhead the protests, is being held at a military jail where his lawyers say he could remain for up to 45 days awaiting trial.

Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, has been charged with instigating violence, property damage and criminal association.

Govt to move steadily on IR change: Abbott

2019年6月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the government won’t be rushing into broad changes to workplace laws beyond the reforms it took to the 2013 election.

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The government will next week bring to parliament a bill to give effect to coalition promises on changes to Labor’s Fair Work Act and will announce details of a Productivity Commission review of the Act.

The law changes will impose new limits on union officials’ access to workplaces and ensure that the setting of so-called greenfield agreements on pay and conditions for workers on new major projects is sped up.

They will also ensure that enterprise agreements cannot restrict the use of individual flexibility arrangements (IFAs) which are currently allowed under the Fair Work system.

An IFA allows employers and workers to set flexible hours and other conditions which suit personal needs.

At the moment some enterprise agreements set out conditions that cannot be varied by an IFA.

Mr Abbott said no one should get over-excited about the Productivity Commission review and the implementation of workplace changes would be done in an orderly and timely fashion.

cleaning up union corruption was the government’s first term workplace priority, he said.

“Our priority is to ensure we have honest unions and honest union officials,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

The government has anti-corruption laws currently before parliament and a royal commission is gearing up to start gathering evidence.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor supported workplace laws that provided a win-win for employers and employees.

“The problem with the Abbott government is they’ve never seen someone on a penalty rate or a reasonable wage that they wouldn’t kick or try and cut their conditions,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Geelong.

“Australia’s future involves a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.”

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said another review of industrial relations laws is unnecessary.

“We are deeply concerned about the Productivity Commission looking into IR (industrial relations) because they have … been out there expressing views about wages, conditions and penalty rates which we know are under the gun by this government,” Mr Oliver told ABC radio.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz said any recommendations out of the Productivity Commission inquiry would not be acted upon until after the next election.

Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox said he expected penalty rates, leave loading and other entitlements would be reviewed by the Commission.

“That doesn’t mean there’ll be changes,” he said.

“It just means that they’ll be examined to see what impact they do make on the productivity of Australia’s workplaces.”

Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said it was a predetermined review to justify the government’s reintroduction of Work Choices.

“We will not support legislation that removes people’s rights at work,” he said.