Buddy bags four more in Swans AFL win

The Lance and Luke show has helped set up a 25-point victory for Sydney over GWS, with Giants coach Leon Cameron believing some AFL pundits might be re-evaluating their gloomy pre-season expectations of the Swans.

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Lance Franklin kicked four goals for the third straight round and midfield dynamo Luke Parker continued his hot start to the season by earning the Brett Kirk Medal for best on ground in 14.9 (93) to 10.8 (68) victory at the SCG on Saturday.

The Swans moved to 3-0 and top of the table after an eighth win in nine games over the Giants, who have lost all four SCG clashes they’ve contested.

GWS slashed a 31-point last quarter deficit to 12, but Sydney led for all the game bar a brief period in the second term.

On a day when Swans supporters paid tribute at halftime to club games record holder Adam Goodes and fellow premiership winner Mike Pyke, Sydney displayed a touch much polish and consistency.

Franklin tallied 18 disposals and six marks in a busy display and his haul included one booming set shot goal from just over 55 metres.

“His work rate has been really solid,” Swans coach John Longmire said of Franklin.

“He’s another one that has had a good pre-season so he’s banking on that, getting the benefit of that.

“But probably the good thing is that it’s been a young forward group we’ve had up there and at times we didn’t look as good as what we could have, but he was able to straighten things up.”

Parker notched 30 possessions, seven marks, six tackles and a goal in another typical all-action performance.

“There was a couple of big 50-50 balls in the centre of the ground at times that he went for that helped set the tone for our midfield group and the team,” Longmire said.

“What’s been consistent over the first three weeks has been our good players, our leaders, our senior blokes have been playing pretty well.

Most of the key statistical categories were pretty close, with the exception of Sydney’s 67-47 advantage in inside 50s.

“They were just a little bit too good for us for most of the game,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.

“They set standards they live by every time they play and that’s why clearly they are a top four side again.

“Those people who probably wrote them off at the start of the year are probably thinking twice. Midfielders Dylan Shiel and Lachie Whitfield each tallied 28 touches for GWS.

Cameron was pleased with the way his back seven performed but disappointed with his forwards.

Matai brace as Manly beat Warriors in NRL

Manly, with veteran centre Steve Matai grabbing a double, have maintained their status as a bogey team for the Warriors with a 34-18 NRL win in Auckland.

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It was the Sea Eagles’ fourth victory in a row over the Warriors and their 10th in the past 11 meetings between the sides.

The result on Saturday night takes them to 3-3 for the season and above the Warriors on the table.

Coach Trent Barrett said he was aware of the Sea Eagles’ record over the Auckland club, but ultimately it didn’t mean a lot to him or the players.

“We had a big job to do against a side that had won two in a row,” he said.

“I thought to a man we didn’t have a bad player today.”

Barrett said his team laid the groundwork with the way they began the match, including producing some solid defence.

“We just showed a lot of intent in everything we did,” he said.

“Our aim was to start well and we built our way into the game. We had a pretty simple plan and every one of them did a terrific job.”

The Warriors were also seeking their third win of the year and coach Andrew McFadden said conceding 30-plus points at home wasn’t good enough.

But he also gave credit to Manly, who he said were physical and showed plenty of enthusiasm.

“It wasn’t the worst performance,” he said.

“We got beaten by a very good side who had lots of energy. They played a pretty tight game and we fell over at the end.”

Manly dominated possession in the first 25 minutes, when they built a 12-0 lead through tries to back-rower Martin Taupau and prop Josh Starling.

The Warriors hit back before halftime through centre Blake Ayshford.

Matai grabbed his first try early in the second spell after a contentious decision.

Warriors centre Solomone Kata had appeared to make it out of the in-goal, only for referee Gavin Reynolds to rule a line dropout.

“It was a big call,” McFadden said.

“I thought he got it wrong but we have to live with that.”

Skipper Ryan Hoffman, asked if the bunker had been involved in the decision, said he had gone up and queried who had made the call.

“He said they all made it,” Hoffman said.

“I find it hard that five people can get that decision wrong.”

Issac Luke gave the Warriors hope when he barged over from dummy half, before Matai completed his brace with nine minutes to go.

There was time for Kata to grab his seventh try of the season, but the Sea Eagles had the last say when winger Tom Trbojevic crossed in the final minute.

Two players were put on report, Manly five-eighth Dylan Walker for an intended trip and Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman for a high tackle.

Freo coach Lyon cops blame on the chin

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has accepted blame for the club’s winless start to the AFL season, but is not giving up on reaching the finals just yet.

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The Dockers are in a world of trouble after their 33-point derby loss to West Coast on Saturday left them with a 0-3 record heading into next weekend’s clash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

Ruckman Aaron Sandilands is set for an extended period on the sidelines after suffering a punctured lung and suspected rib damage in a marking contest with Nic Naitanui.

And skipper David Mundy is set to miss several more weeks after injuring his calf at training on Friday.

But the biggest concern for Lyon right now is his team’s inability to execute the new attacking game plan implemented during the off-season.

Sloppy skills under pressure have hurt Fremantle significantly this year, with their inability to rebound cleanly from inside their defence proving particularly damaging.

“There’s some player decision making in that and some player responsibility to execute, but as always I start with myself, our coaching panel, and our football program,” Lyon said.

Lyon hasn’t lost faith in his side’s work ethic or commitment to the cause.

But until he sees them execute better under pressure, he won’t be banking on them to get the job done.

Lyon also hinted he would wield the axe in a bid to find more skilful players.

And if things continue to go pear shaped, 2016 could turn into a rebuilding year for the Dockers.

“I think the aim is to win enough games and play finals,” he said.

“I’ll sort the chaff from the wheat. There’s got to be some players that aren’t performing to a high level.”

West Coast coach Adam Simpson was happy with how his side rebounded from their heavy loss to Hawthorn in round two.

But he is well aware their wayward goalkicking almost cost them dearly in the derby, with the Dockers closing to within five points late in the match before West Coast finished with a bang.

“We are still not where we want to be … but to play like that (against the Dockers) … that was really pleasing,” Simpson said.

Cowboy Coote tops old team with field goal

A 74th minute field goal by North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote has helped his side claim a 23-18 win over his former team Penrith on Saturday night.

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The loss for the Panthers, in front of a crowd of 13,725 at Pepper Stadium, continues a topsy-turvy trend where each of their games in 2016 has been decided in the final ten minutes.

For the Cowboys, it is the first time the reigning premiers have registered consecutive wins this year.

Penrith halfback Jamie Soward spurned an opportunity to level the game in the 77th minute, feigning a field goal and went left, only for Josh Mansour to be pushed out.

Soward also just missed a 45-metre attempt in the 79th minute, before Kyle Feldt sealed the win with a try on the buzzer.

Two tries to Panthers winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, including one in a 90-metre movement, gave the home side a 10-0 lead after just 15 minutes.

But the Cowboys responded through Javid Bowen and Justin O’Neill to take a 12-10 advantage at the break.

The Panthers regained the lead through Trent Merrin in the 54th minute, however the Cowboys pulled all the right stops in the closing stages to tally their fourth win of the season.

Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott was put on report for a crusher tackle on Merrin in the second half.

Cowboys coach Paul Green was proud of his team for twice overcoming leads, particularly in the second half.

“We showed a lot of character to come back from where we were and win the game at the end,” he said.

“They had all the field position, particularly in that first part in the second half. We were camped on our own tryline for the majority of that half.

“(But) we defended really well and showed composure to get ourselves back in the game and get the win.”

Both Panthers coach Anthony Griffin and captain Matt Moylan were frustrated with their inability to close out games when holding a late lead, but were otherwise encouraged by going toe to toe with the premiers.

Griffin pointed out that they were close to defeating both last year’s grand finalists in the past month, having pipped Brisbane by one three weeks ago.

“I thought we played with a real purpose and energy and they’re a really strong group together now,” he said.

“We went within ten minutes of beating the two grand final teams last year in the last month. In the short term, the results aren’t coming, but I thought it was a very strong performance.”

Sanders wins in Wyoming

Bernie Sanders has extended a string of victories by winning the US presidential Democratic nominating contest in Wyoming, besting rival Hillary Clinton as they gear up for a crucial match-up in New York.

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Sanders, a US senator from Vermont, is trying to chip away at Clinton’s sizeable lead in the number of delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination.

Wyoming’s 14 Democratic delegates – fewer than any other state – will be awarded proportionally and will do little to help Sanders close the gap.

Going into Wyoming, Clinton had more than half of the 2383 delegates needed to win the nomination. Sanders trailed her by 250 pledged delegates, those awarded proportionate to the popular vote in the state nominating contests.

Clinton’s lead widens when superdelegates, Democratic leaders who can decide whom to support at the party’s July convention, are included in the tallies.

Clinton and Sanders both spent Saturday campaigning in New York, which holds its contest on April 19 and where a total of 291 delegates are up for grabs.

Clinton, a former secretary of state, considers New York her home turf.

She represented the state as a US senator and has headquartered her campaign in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Sanders has reminded voters he was born and raised in Brooklyn. Recent polls have shown Clinton more than 10 points ahead in the state.

In Wyoming’s Republican contest last month, US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas beat New York billionaire Donald Trump, the party’s frontrunner. Cruz is trying to block Trump from receiving enough delegates to win the nomination outright, which would lead to a contested convention in July.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that a third of Trump’s Republican supporters could consider abandoning the party’s candidate if Trump is denied the nomination at a contested convention.

Last-gasp Wasps to face Saracens in Champions Cup semis

The dramatic late score gave the 2004 and 2007 champions a win that broke the hearts of the first-time quarter-finalists.

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Wasps will now play at the Madejski Stadium on April 23 against Saracens, who overcame a miserable first half to beat Northampton and win their fourth quarter-final in a row.

Exeter’s Thomas “The Tank” Waldrom scored two triesinside five second-half minutes to give the visitors control against Wasps and take his competition tally to six.

However, twice champions Wasps started the second halfstrongly and reduced Exeter’s advantage when Piutau crossed the line following Dan Robson’s fine chip.

Exeter reasserted their control four minutes later through Harry Williams but Frank Halai took Wasps within touching distance of an unlikely comeback with a 67th-minute try before Piutau and Gopperth finished the job in a breathless finale.

“I’d have preferred it if it didn’t take us until 79minutes,” said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young. “It would have been nice if it had been 29 minutes or so.”

Northampton enjoyed a 10-6 halftime lead over Saracens following Ken Pisi’s 17th-minute try at Allianz Park but were made to rue a series of missed chances.

Premiership leaders Saracens started poorly but imposed themselves on the game after the break and took the lead in the 67th minute when Chris Ashton powered over the line and Owen Farrell converted.

Chris Wyles added another try as Saracens extended their100 percent record in the competition this season, before Courtney Lawes’ late consolation for Northampton.

“I asked for a big performance, and they gave me that,” Saints skipper Ben Foden told Sky Sports. “We gave it our best shot but we came up short.”

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

‘We should kill them’: Hindu extremists leave no room for beef eaters

Dawn has broken and Manjesh Prasad is preparing for his daily puja.

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He’s dressed in an orange dhoti, a length of cloth wrapped around his legs and waist and knotted under his bulging belly, ready to perform the ancient Hindu ritual.

Mr Prasad disappears into a small shrine on his uncle’s 15-acre farm to make his spiritual connection with the divine. He returns a quarter of an hour later, changed into a collared shirt and pants and ready for his day job. More holy work, as he sees it, managing a “gaoshala”, or cow shelter in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

“We have protected 650 cows with the help of the public,” says Mr Prasad.

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Gaoshalas are common in India, run by Hindus like Mr Prasad in an attempt to protect cows from being slaughtered for meat.  “The cows are like a God to us,” he explains.

Mr Prasad walks among the cattle – patting one here, another there.  But his gentle disposition dissolves when asked about people who slaughter cattle. 

“We should kill them,” he says.  “We should kill them because there is no other way.”

And what about Christians and Muslims who eat beef?

“Killed,” he says firmly.

It’s a very radical response and not something that the vast majority of Hindus would agree with. 

However, since India’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, there have been a number of murders across the country linked to the slaughter of cows.  Cattle traders, an alleged cattle smuggler and even a man accused of storing beef in his home have all been killed.

On March 18, two Muslim cattle traders were murdered in the north-eastern state of Jharkhand, their bodies found swinging from a tree.  One of the victims was just 14-years-old. 

Local police have told SBS eight men have been arrested over the killings and are currently in prison in Latehar district.  They’re likely to face trial in June.

In a separate incident, a 20-year-old Muslim man was killed in Himachal Pradesh last October, killed by a mob of villagers who accused him of smuggling cattle.

A month earlier, Mohammad Ikhlaq, a Muslim man from Dardri, Haryana, was attacked by a mob after locals at the temple broadcast a rumour that he was storing beef in his home.  Mr Ikhlaq died in the attack and his 22-year-old son was seriously injured.

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Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice Chancellor of Jain University, says the government has been extremely slow to condemn the violence of vigilante groups. 

“In many cases there has been a stunning silence on the part of the authority when such things happen,” he says.

“Possibly the government feels that this is an issue on which they need to soft pedal and possibly, as some would argue, this has encouraged these groups to take forward their agenda with greater ferocity.”

Dr Shastri says Prime Minister Narendra Modi must demonstrate leadership on the issue.

“It would have been nice if the prime minister who represented the government and the country came out immediately, openly, directly, forcefully, to state this was something his government would not accept.”

During the 2014 election campaign, Narendra Modi warned that if the Congress party retained power there would be a pink revolution – evoking an image of bloody cow slaughter.

Some Indian liberals say under Modi’s BJP government extremist Hindu supporters looking to push a religious agenda have been emboldened.

But supporters of the BJP say the killings and other cases of intimidation are isolated incidents that also happened under past Congress governments.

Mayankeshwar Singh is the national convenor of the BJP’s cow development cell.

He rejects suggestions the country is becoming more intolerant of religious minorities. “It’s a slogan of left (wing) parties and the opposition.  It’s a well-planned conspiracy to defame the BJP and Modi government,” he told SBS.

Dr Shastri of Jain University says the ‘carnival of hatred’ must end.

“The time has come that these (vigilante) groups stop stoking the fires of hate towards other groups in their communities,” he says.

“We have existed together, celebrated our differences, celebrated our commonness and lived together; I think we have to return to that particular tradition of the past.”

Animal carers say they are developing PTSD from the volume of injured wildlife

The kitchen at Gayle Chappell and Jon Rowdon’s animal shelter north of Melbourne is a hive of activity.

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A volunteer prepares meals and bottles for the 150-odd animals in their care. John plans the afternoon round of feeding while his partner Gayle administers a liquid meal to an injured cockatoo. All the while, a baby wombat scurries around the floor nibbling shoes and generally getting in the way.

At first, seeing native wildlife up close is novel, the young are undeniably adorable, but it doesn’t take long to realise that this work is demanding, gruelling and sometimes soul-destroying. John and Gayle work a 24-hour roster and – on a good day spend a couple of over-lapping hours together. Sometimes they go days without spending quality time together, and it’s been 6-years since they last holidayed together. The strain of constant arrivals, a relentless feeding regime and the trauma of seeing the badly injured animals; which often need to be euthanased, compounds the problem.

“I’m currently under treatment for depression for and post-traumatic stress disorder – it’s really hard. It’s very, very hard. Most of the wildlife shelters the carers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders because of the constant non-stop stress of dealing with these animals,” Gayle said.

The couple – both environmental scientists – have been in the cycle of providing animal care for 12-years, and Gayle says it’s taking a toll.

“There’s another side of things – it’s just exhausting – it’s relentless – it never stops and some days we just get animal after animal coming in. You’re dealing with some awful injuries on animals – you have to euthanase a lot of animals and even those that you try to heal, it’s not always successful,” she said.

Barbara Morrow runs a smaller but similar shelter, also in Central Victoria. She works a couple of days a week as the local GP, and has experience delivering aid in Rwanda during the 1990’s.

Ms Morrow sees similarities between the mayhem of running the shelter with the confronting aftermath of conflict.

“I think at the most difficult times I think it feels like I’m running an orphanage and a hospital in the middle of a war zone when there’s casualties arriving all the time,” she said.

She’s staggered at the sheer volume of native Australian animals requiring help. Last year alone Wildlife Victoria took 75-thousand calls for assistance – the majority of those were for sick, injured or orphaned kangaroos. But that doesn’t include calls made to shelters or carers themselves.

A strained system

Each Australian state administers volunteer wildlife care differently. In Victoria, the government licences shelters, offers grants and regulates conduct. In New South Wales licenced organisations like WIRES NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service)  oversee accreditation, training and volunteer support.

Some carers who struggle with the confronting and relentless nature of the work present symptoms of an anecdotal condition known as “Compassion Fatigue.”

Dr Rebekah Scotney from the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science is completing a PHD exploring the complexities of Compassion Fatigue.

“It’s often a compulsion these people have that they have to do it – they don’t have a choice about that matter, regardless of the fact that they are suffering secondary to those in their care,” Dr Scotney said.

Many wildlife carers said a structured, national approach could relieve their growing burden. Jon Rowdon says it’s time a national conversation began.

“Some sort of institutional framework that we can have that will provide some external support to people who really want to keep going in the work – nobody is out there representing wildlife carers and their plight – there is no voice that can speak for us,” he said.

The suggestion is anything but selfishly motivated. The carers devote their lives to the animals – and walking away isn’t an option while there is no alternative for the sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.   

“Once you open the door it’s impossible to shut and I don’t think people have any idea of how hard it is,” Gayle Chappell said.

Prank calls lead to smashed windows in US

A prank caller has tricked workers at a Minnesota Burger King into smashing the restaurant windows to keep it from exploding, police say, mirroring similar deceptions at other fast-food restaurants in other states in recent months.

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Police said employees at the restaurant in the Minneapolis suburb of Coon Rapids got the call on Friday night from someone claiming to be with the fire department.

The caller said the restaurant could explode, so they needed to relieve the pressure. The manager and other employees believed the caller and smashed all the windows on the ground floor.

“Officers arrived and found that the manager and employees of the Burger King were smashing out the windows,” Sergeant Rick Boone told the Star Tribune.

“The manager explained they’d received a phone call from a male who identified himself as a fireman who said there were dangerous levels of gas in the building and they had to break out all the windows to keep the building from blowing up.”

Boone said there was no immediate cost estimate for the damage. The restaurant was boarded up Saturday, and investigators were trying to identify the caller.

Someone placed a similar call to a Burger King in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on Thursday night, claiming there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the building. KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City reported that the window damage there was estimated at $US10,000. ($A13,325)

“It is a little upsetting that they would try to give the fire department a black eye,” Thomas Larman, of the Shawnee Fire Department, told the station. “We would never do anything like that. We’re here to serve the public, protect the public.”

A similar call to Burger King in Morro Bay, California, about a purported gas leak in early February resulted in $US35,000 ($A46,630) in damage.

And police in Tucson, Arizona, say several similar prank calls were placed to Jack in the Box restaurants there in early February, fooling workers at one store. A similar incident happened at a Wendy’s in Phoenix in late January.

French labour reform protests turn violent

Demonstrations around France against a draft labour reform law have turned violent, with at least seven police officers injured and 17 people arrested in Paris and Rennes, which saw the worst clashes.

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Following changes to soften the bill, the broad-based protest movement has waned from its March 31 peak, when turnout estimates ranged between 390,000 and 1.2 million, suggesting President Francois Hollande may be able to ride out the storm.

Nonetheless, some 120,000 took part in Saturday’s sixth day of protests around the country, according to the Interior Ministry.

Police clashed with groups of masked militants hurling projectiles in Paris as well as in Rennes and Nantes.

Paris police chief Michel Cadot said his officers had encountered “300-400 extremists” at the head of the union-organised protest in the capital.

The draft labour law seeks to introduce more working time flexibility and rein in labour tribunal challenges and payouts.

After some watering down in a parliamentary committee, Prime Minister Manuel Valls is expected to propose limited further adjustments on Monday following a meeting with student leaders at his Matignon office.

The public protests have posed an additional headache for Hollande, whose popularity ratings were already the lowest of any serving president in modern French history.

Dissent amid his governing Socialists last week forced Hollande to scrap plans to strip French citizenship from those convicted on terrorism charges, a climbdown from his tough stance in the wake of November’s attacks.

And in a further challenge to his re-election chances for 2017, the party’s national council announced on Saturday that it would back a primary contest to select a single presidential candidate for the broader French left – a prospect that is likely to embolden potential Socialist challengers.