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Monthly Archives: August 2019

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Ashes angst behind Voges’ run of runs

Memories of Ashes angst are driving Adam Voges’ ruthless streak and the veteran is hungry for more.

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Voges’ Test career could have ended in England earlier this year, where he managed a handful of starts but no scores of substance during the first three Tests.

The veteran restored confidence at Trent Bridge, where he finished 51 not out as England celebrated reclaiming the urn with a crushing victory.

The 36-year-old did enough to stay in the XI, now he’s showing exactly why selectors picked him in the first place.

Voges’ unbeaten knock of 106 in the Boxing Day Test means he has tallied 1028 runs in 2015.

Not since Mark Taylor announced himself as a future captain in 1989 has an Australian batsman started Test cricket with so many runs in a calender year.

“I probably go back to what happened during the Ashes and thinking about the tough times I encountered then,” Voges said.

“And I guess that drives me a little bit as well to be ruthless when I’m out there batting at the moment.

“To go through the tough times and come out the other end and now be … scoring some runs is very enjoyable.”

More than half of Voges’ haul has come against West Indies.

He is averaging a staggering 542 against West Indies, having started his Test career with an unbeaten 130 that guided Australia to victory in Dominica this year.

Voges reached his latest milestone in his 18th Test innings, only three other Australians have done it in fewer knocks.

All were Invincibles – Don Bradman, Neil Harvey and Sid Barnes.

Despite the impressive numbers, Voges isn’t complacent about his place in the side.

“I don’t think my spot is ever safe at 36 years of age,” he said.

“Comfortable is not the right word.

“I certainly feel part of this team and I’m loving every minute of it but I also understand that it won’t last forever.

“I’m just going to enjoy it while I can. I won’t put a timeframe on anything.”

Voges is yet to be dismissed in the current series but highlighted the fact he had a bit of luck on day two of the MCG clash.

“They came up with a few different ideas to me than what they did in Hobart,” he said.

“I got dropped at slip and had a couple that could have gone on to the stumps, but you ride that luck when things are going well I guess.”

Perfect conditions for Melb-Hobart start

Spirit of Downunder has overcome sail trouble to take an early lead in the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race.

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The day after the Sydney to Hobart yachts copped a battering in wild weather, conditions were near-perfect for the start of the Melbourne to Hobart race that got underway from just off Portsea pier on Sunday afternoon.

But last year’s line honours winner, skippered by Lawrence Ford, had to deal with an early setback.

“The start was absolutely sensational,” Ocean Racing Club of Victoria commodore Neville Rose told AAP.

“The conditions allowed a spinnaker start from Portsea over to Queenscliff.

“Spirit of Downunder had a blinder of a start and mowed through the fleet but unfortunately for them they had trouble getting their spinnaker down, which allowed Peccadillo and Extasea past.”

Spirit of Downunder was the third boat to clear Port Phillips Heads, behind Peccadillo and Extasea, before retaking the lead.

After clearing the heads, nine entrants went on to fight for line honours in the 440-nautical-mile ‘Westcoaster’ course along the rugged west coast of Tasmania, while seven boats split off to race for the Rudder Cup, from Melbourne to Devonport, with catamaran Peccadillo leading the way.

Shortwave set the course record for the Westcoaster race – just over one day and 17 hours – in 2008 but forecast light conditions are expected to see this year’s fleet take three to four days to cross the finish line.

The races follow on from traditional Boxing Day feeder race the Cock of the Bay from Port Melbourne to Blairgowrie, with multi-hull Peccadillo and mono-hull Journey taking line honours in their respective classes.

US storm toll rises to 22

The death toll following four days of wild weather in the southeastern United States has risen to 22.

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Unusual warmth, tornadoes and torrential downpours have sparked flooding and caused damage across the region during the Christmas holiday.

Two people missing due to the conditions since Wednesday were reported dead on Saturday in Mississippi, bringing the state’s death toll to 10.

Late on Saturday, one death was also reported in Alabama, while in Texas, four people were confirmed killed in vehicle accidents near the intersection of two major highways in Garland, east of Dallas.

Local police officer Joe Harn said the four were killed in accidents that occurred during a massive storm but it’s unclear if all four were in the same vehicle or how they died.

A tornado was reported to have gone through the suburb east of Dallas, damaging several homes.

Harn said there were no active rescues under way, though first responders continue to search houses for anyone trapped after the storms passed.

Texas residents hunkered down for what the National Weather Service was calling a “historic blizzard”.

Some parts of the Panhandle could see as many as 356 millimetres of snow, with sub-zero wind chills and accumulating ice. Residents in Lubbock and Amarillo prepared for an evening storm.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said 56 injuries were reported. In a statement, Flynn said preliminary damage estimates showed 241 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

More than 400 homes in total were affected, he said.

Severe storms were forecast for Sunday night through Monday as a strong cold front pushed through. Tornadoes were possible and residents were being asked to remain alert.

The flooding is the result of heavy downpours that have thrashed the southeastern US since Wednesday, bringing record rainfalls.

Six people were killed in Tennessee, including three found in a car submerged in a creek, according to the Columbia Police Department.

One person died in Arkansas and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed.

Japan and South Korea hold talks on comfort women issue

Senior diplomats of South Korea and Japan met on Sunday ahead of talks by their foreign ministers over the issue of ‘comfort women’, a legacy of Japan’s wartime past that has long plagued ties between the two countries.

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The row over the Korean women forced into prostitution for Japan’s military brothels during World War Two remains the last major obstacle to better ties between the East Asian neighbors.

The two countries have been pushing to improve relations since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met President Park Geun-hye last month. That meeting took place partly under pressure from Washington, which is keen to see its two allies get along.

Kimihiro Ishikane, director-general of the Japanese foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, met with his South Korean counterpart Lee Sang-deok. The two officials have held more than 10 rounds of meetings since April last year to find a common ground on resolving the issue.

The meeting is seen as preparation for Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit and meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Monday.

Yun said on Sunday Kishida’s visit was very important in its timing coming after more than a year and a half of high-level talks aimed at resolving the comfort women issue.

Park and Abe pledged in November to seek “the earliest possible resolution” to the issue, noting that this was the 50th year of their diplomatic relations.

Japan has said there was no change to its stance that the matter of compensation was settled by a 1965 bilateral treaty.

However, the Nikkei business daily reported that Japan would propose creating a government-backed fund to help the former comfort women as part of a possible agreement.

Abe, like many conservative Japanese politicians, had in the past criticized a 1993 apology acknowledging the role of Japanese authorities in coercing the women. As prime minister, Abe has said he stands by the statement.

South Korea has demanded fresh steps by the Japanese government that it said should be acceptable by the surviving former comfort women and the public in general, without specifying what was needed.

Tokyo wants assurances any resolution to the feud that might be reached will be final, Japanese government sources have said.

Helping to set the stage for Kishida’s visit, a South Korean court last week cleared a Japanese journalist of defaming Park. On Wednesday, its Constitutional Court also refused to review a complaint over the 1965 treaty.

More evacuations amid UK flooding

Hundreds more people have been told to leave their homes in northern England as weeks of rain continues to cause heavy flooding.

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Police in the York area 320 kilometres north of London advised more than 300 people to leave their homes because of rising river waters on Sunday.

Several hundred had been evacuated in the previous 24 hours in the West Yorkshire and Lancashire regions and officials said thousands had lost power.

The official Met Office weather service indicated on Sunday that only very small amounts of rain were expected in the flooded areas in the next day.

However, hundreds of flood warnings and alerts remain in place in parts of England and Wales.

Prime Minister David Cameron plans to convene the government’s emergency Cobra ministerial group to co-ordinate the crisis response.

The number of severe flood warnings reached 15 early on Friday afternoon and 335 alerts were in place across England, Wales and Scotland.

In response, The Met Office issued its most serious red weather warnings – danger to life – for both Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Residents in Whalley and Ribchester in Lancashire were forced to abandon homes when flood waters poured through the streets.

Todmorden in West Yorkshire was also hit with rising waters.

In Whalley on the burst banks of the River Calder some residents were evacuated by rescue boats as water levels continued to rise.

In Cumbria, already hit hard by flooding earlier this month, the rainfall has smashed records as the Lakeland region braced itself again ahead of the fresh deluge.