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Branson, Giuliani to headline Qld summit

It’s hoped a visit by Sir Richard Branson and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to Queensland later this year will provide a much-needed shot in the arm as business tries to recover from the summer floods.

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Sir Richard and Mr Giuliani will headline Brisbane’s 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit from July 6-9. The conference, held every two years, is held to drive economic growth and help local businesses enter the Asia Pacific market.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said having the high profile pair at the conference was “unashamedly” about attracting delegates to the city.

“These two speakers, we believe, will give an extra level of prominence and interest to attract people from around the globe,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We will be pulling out all stops to showcase Brisbane.

“People internationally have seen the scenes of devastation, but they’ve also seen a city that rallied, they’ve seen the volunteer effort, they’ve seen the fast clean-up and now we want to show people what the city’s really all about.”

Mr Newman said more than 1500 delegates from more than 100 cities could attend the event. They would find Brisbane was a great city that had bounced back and was open for business, he said.

He said the event would provide a great shot in the arm for the southeast.

The previous summit in 2009 had led to more than $4 million in business being done, he said.

Mr Newman said there was a “certain symmetry” between Mr Giuliani’s experience rebuilding New York and Brisbane’s circumstance now.

“We are inspired, I think all of us, by what he did in New York, particularly how he had to handle that terrible day – September 11, 2001 – and the aftermath,” he said.

“And I think there is a certain symmetry in what he had to do and, dare I say it, what’s happened in the city of Brisbane with our recovery as well.

“So I think that works quite well for us.”

He also cited Sir Richard’s connections with Brisbane, being the headquarters of his Virgin Blue company.

The state government will chip in more than $300,000 to sponsor the summit, with the council spending up to $450,000 on the $1.8 million event.

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Enough is enough: Gallop

Gallop faced more questions about Manly’s call for an apology when he fronted a media conference before the NRL’s club members’ forum in western Sydney on Wednesday.

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But he was in no mood to continue the argument, urging the Sea Eagles to move on from their beef over the penalties handed down to star Brett Stewart and the club at the start of the 2009 season.

“Frankly, enough is enough on this issue, and we’re not going to revisit something that happened two years ago,” Gallop said.

“Manly had every opportunity to appeal those decisions at the time and they didn’t, they need to read their own report furnished to us at the time.

“They also need to stop saying the jury cleared Brett Stewart of anything other than a sexual assault charge.

“I think he needs to be allowed to focus on his football and everyone concerned should move on.”

The Sea Eagles, led by coach Des Hasler, launched a scathing attack on Gallop and the game’s organising body on Tuesday, claiming Stewart’s treatment, when he was suspended for four matches for allegedly breaching its code with drunken conduct following their boozy 2009 season launch, “was grossly unfair”.

The cash-strapped club was also fined $100,000 at the time. Stewart was subsequently cleared in court of a sex assault charge stemming from the hours after the launch.

Manly contrasted the NRL’s handling of Stewart with its treatment of West Tigers star Benji Marshall this week after the Wests Tigers star was involved in an incident that saw him charged with assault.

The governing body said it would await the outcome of Marshall’s assault charge in court before deciding any action.

And Gallop did not accept it was a valid comparison as there was no suggestion Marshall had breached the code of conduct apart from the police matter.

Gallop admitted on Wednesday that the Marshall saga, coming just two days after he launched the new season, was “not ideal”, but said he was comfortable with the way it had been handled.

“The facts around Benji’s charge will come out in court and I hope that it will happen sooner rather than later for his sake, the game’s sake and the Wests Tigers’ sake,” Gallop said.

“We would prefer not to be dealing with the issues we have had to deal with this week, we had a great season launch and everyone is excited about the footy on Friday.

“Sometimes the game has to deal with difficult issues and we have done that.”

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Gaddafi son says ‘victory in sight’

Muammar Gaddafi’s son says victory is in sight against rebels fighting his father’s iron-fisted regime after loyalist forces retook two key towns and Western powers fretted over how to deal with the civil war while tightening the screws further.

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He spoke after NATO and the European Union began 48 hours of crisis talks, amid growing calls for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, reports France would even support selective air strikes and more ships being deployed to the area.

“We’re coming,” Seif al-Islam told young regime supporters in Tripoli, referring to the advance of government forces towards the eastern rebel bastion of Benghazi.

“I send a message to our brothers and friends in the east who are sending us daily calls for help and asking us to rescue them: we’re coming,” he said.

“Victory is in sight. Victory is near,” he told the exuberant youths.

“I swear before God that we’re going to win.”

Earlier, in an interview broadcast on Britain’s Sky News and BBC TV, Seif said the regime would “never surrender” to the rebels and did not fear foreign intervention.

“This is our country, we will never, ever give up and we will never, ever surrender,” he insisted.

“We are not afraid of the American fleet, NATO, France, Europe. This is our country. We live here, we die here. We will never, ever surrender to those terrorists.”

The momentum in the conflict is shifting in favour of Gaddafi’s forces that are “robustly equipped” with Russian weapons and likely to defeat the rebels, US officials said.

“Initially the momentum was with the other side,” Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told US senators.

“That has started to shift. Whether or not it has fully moved to Gaddafi’s side at this time is not clear. We have now reached a state of equilibrium. The initiative may be actually be on the regime side.”

With its fighters in retreat, the opposition appealed to Western powers meeting in Brussels to follow France’s lead in recognising their national council.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States is in “direct contact” with senior opposition people, including members of the rebel national council.

“We are coordinating with the opposition, with the council to provide assistance and to determine the best ways we can support their aspirations,” he added, while saying Washington is still trying to get a sense of “what their vision is, who they represent, what their ideas are and where they would take Libya.”

Targeted by rocket fire, rebels fled from Ras Lanuf, a strategic coastal oil town in eastern Libya they captured last Friday, Agence France-Presse reporters said.

A hospital official in Brega, about 85 kilometres further east along the Mediterranean coast, said: “We have four dead and 35 wounded, but there’s still many more coming” in from Ras Lanuf.

Medics say 400 people have died and 2000 more have been wounded in eastern Libya since February 17.

On the battlefield, rebel vehicles streamed eastward from Ras Lanuf after hours of heavy shelling and rocket attacks.

Other rebels appeared to stay in town, but dejected fighters said they had been defeated as rockets exploded and there was at least one air strike.

“We’ve been defeated. They are shelling and we are running away. That means that they’re taking Ras Lanuf,” said one rebel fighter.

In the west, an intense battle for control of Zawiyah, the site of major oil installations 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, ended in victory for Gaddafi’s forces on Wednesday night.

“The town is now under the army’s control,” said a resident by telephone on Thursday.

Rebels overran Zawiyah soon after a popular uprising erupted against Gaddafi on February 15, and the city had been under assault for several days by artillery and tanks.

Despite the loss of Zawiyah, a rebel in the mountainous Jabal al-Gharbi region some 90 kilometres to the south said “revolutionaries control several towns” in that area, including Zintan, which was the site of earlier fighting.

In Brussels, NATO and the European Union were meeting on Thursday and Friday to ponder military and economic options against Gaddafi, which could include a no-fly zone, humanitarian aid and economic props.

A source close to Nicolas Sarkozy, who asked not to be named, said the French president will propose “striking an extremely limited number of points which are the source of the most deadly operations” by Gaddafi loyalists.

The sites being considered are Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia command headquarters in Tripoli, a military air base in Sirte, east of Tripoli and another in Sebha in the south, the source added.

The president’s office declined to confirm the claim.

France, which on Thursday recognised the rebel national council, has seized the initiative in pressure against Gaddafi and has been working with Britain to lobby for a United Nations Security Council imprimatur for a no-fly zone.

The United States wants any military action conducted under the banner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with Arab regional backing seen as essential.

In Washington, the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said “the Libyan air defence structure on the ground, radar and surface-to-air missiles, is quite substantial”.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that “if there is a demonstrable need, if we have a clear mandate and strong regional support, we stand ready to help”.

He told a news conference “it has been decided to increase the presence of NATO maritime assets in the central Mediterranean” to bolster surveillance of Libya and monitor an arms embargo.

However, there was no decision to launch a no-fly zone — opposed by Germany — with the alliance endorsing further military planning if the United Nations endorsed the move.

But with Russia opposing an air exclusion area, UN backing appeared unlikely for any move to shut down Gaddafi’s air force.

The ministers also called for urgent “detailed planning” for humanitarian efforts and for possible measures to enforce the arms embargo if called on by the UN Security Council, Rasmussen said.

The rebel national council, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, a grouping of Muslim countries, have already called for a no-fly zone.

NATO has stepped up surveillance of Libya’s air space with radar-equipped aircraft, Rasmussen said.

Arab states in the Gulf said on Thursday that Gaddafi’s regime was illegitimate and that contacts should be initiated with the rebels.

In other developments, Greece announced that a plane was on the way to Tripoli to collect three Dutch soldiers freed after being captured last month in a botched attempt to evacuate two civilians by navy helicopter.

Elsewhere in the volatile Middle East, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh bowed to pressure after a month of violent protests, but his pledge to devolve power to parliament was swiftly rejected as too late by the opposition.

World oil prices dived on Thursday, despite jitters over Libyan unrest on the eve of planned protests in OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, tumbled $2.94 to $101.44 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for April slid $1.80 to $114.14 per barrel.

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England end Sevens title drought with victory in wet Tokyo

Phil Burgess, Charlie Hayter and Tom Mitchell scored the tries in the final for the English, who bounced back from a thumping group stage defeat to Fiji on Saturday to win a first title since the Wellington Sevens in Feb.

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2013.

“I am unbelievably proud of this team. It’s a huge effort and we are so grateful to deliver this title,” skipper Mitchell said after victory at a wet Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.

The 22 points moved them onto 100 and ahead of Australia into the fourth and final Olympic qualifying position available from the series. Further spots are available for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games via regional qualifiers

South Africa still lead the way after collecting 19 for the runners-up spot to move onto 129, four clear of Fiji with only two rounds left in the series in Glasgow and London next month.

The Fijians, winners of the last two tournaments in Las Vegas and Hong Kong, picked up 17 points in Tokyo after edging Canada 21-19 to finish third.

The Fijian’s hat-trick bid was ended by the South Africans in a nervy, error-strewn semi-final that the Blitzbokke took 7-5.

New Zealand, winners of 12 of the 15 Sevens World Series titles and reigning World Cup sevens champions, endured a disappointing week in the Japanese capital, suffering a first ever loss to Canada in the quarter-finals.

The 19-15 defeat sent them into the second tier Plate tournament, which they won after beating France in the last four and then Scotland in the final after Dylan Collier’s try in the last play of the game. The 13 points keeping them third on 120.

Trans-Tasman rivals Australia dropped to fifth after a weekend to forget in Tokyo.

After losing to Portugal and Scotland in group play on Saturday, they then suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the United States in the lung-busting final of the third tier Bowl event.

Perry Baker scoring the match ending try in extra time as the ever-improving Americans prevailed 17-12.

Portugal won the Shield after edging Argentina 12-7 but last-placed Japan closed the gap on the Iberians to eight points in the battle to avoid relegation after picking up 10 for making a first Cup quarter-final.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O’Brien)

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Houlihan the man to beat in Stawell Gift

Just two years into his professional running career, big South Australian Luke Houlihan shapes as the man to beat in the Stawell Gift on Monday.

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Houlihan rocketed into $2.75 favouritism after recording the fastest time of 12.07 seconds in Saturday’s heats at Central Park.

The 23-year-old and his coach Anthony Tohl were encouraged by Houlihan’s fourth-placed finish at the prestigious Bay Sheffield race in Adelaide in December.

“From then, we just decided to press on and keep racing,” he said.

“I’ve stayed in good shape.

“It’s always hard to tell coming into a big meeting how well you are going to perform.

“It’s good to get the first one out of the way and now I can rest up and get ready for Monday.”

Houlihan – who is running off a 7.25m mark in Stawell – grew up playing basketball, touch football and Australian Rules before shifting his focus to sprinting.

The second favourite with TAB Sportsbet at $3 is Queensland beach sprinter Murray Goodwin (6.5m), who also caught the eye with a dominant heat win.

Goodwin’s coach Brett Robinson is a two-time Gift finalist who also coached Mitchell Williams to the 2011 title.

“I came down here last year and really just got a taste for it,” said the 28-year-old Goodwin.

“I hadn’t really put the work in that was required, but that just really got me motivated to put in the work this year and try and come away with a good result.

“But I don’t know about being the favourite.

“I guess the public will decide who is worthy of those sorts of things but I’m not really too interested in the betting to be honest.”

After edging through the heats, Australia’s fastest boy Jack Hale has avoided the title favourites in the semi-final draw.

But fellow rising teen star Darcy Roper has his work cut out after being drawn in the same semi as Goodwin.

Roper, 17, finished second in the long jump at last weekend’s Australian championships in Brisbane.

Australian 100m record holder Melissa Breen has the fiendishly difficult task of trying to win the women’s Stawell Gift off scratch.

She has been drawn in the same semi as 2014 Australian 400m champion Morgan Mitchell.

The prizemoney for the women’s Gift is now the same as for the feature men’s race, with $40,000 going to the winner.

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Grant Hackett seals swimming comeback

Simply looking at a bathtub once put Grant Hackett off a return to the water.

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Yet the dual Olympic champion still found the strength on Sunday night to cap one of the great swimming comebacks by earning a 2015 world titles team berth.

Needing a top-six 200m freestyle finish to seal what once seemed an unlikely relay nod, Hackett cruised to fourth in one minute, 46.84 seconds as Cameron McEvoy (1:45.94) defended his national title in one of the greatest fields assembled in Australia.

At 34, Hackett had initially claimed that making the team after just six months’ training and a six-year layoff would feel like “winning an Olympic gold medal”.

But clearly, his incredible result on Sunday night meant so much more after Hackett reflected on how much he had turned his life around in the past 12 months.

“If you had asked me 10 years ago if the only thing that got me on the team was on the relay it would be bitter disappointment,” Hackett said.

“But right now, it is one of the biggest achievements of my life.”

Hackett’s personal life fell apart last year as he sought treatment for sleeping pill addiction.

Yet, his professional demons went back as far as his last major meet, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where he was denied a record third straight 1500m gold medal.

Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli touched out Hackett in China.

“I will be honest. I hated the sport for a long time,” Hackett said.

“I got scared getting into a bathtub.

“To discover a love for something that has been such a big part of my life is really pleasing now because I don’t walk away with that taste of Olympic silver in my mouth by a few hundredths of a second.

“I can really enjoy the sport for what it is now.”

Hackett had been adamant he had not even launched a comeback after entering the 2015 national titles.

But, he allowed himself a moment to reflect on how far he had come in the past year while savouring the remarkable 200m result in which he shaved three seconds off his best time since his return.

“It was a challenging few years and I had to live it pretty publicly,” Hackett said.

“One thing I am good at is listening to people around me.

“I never sit there and feel too sorry for myself for too long. I take accountability for my actions – right or wrong.

“I tried to make the best steps forward – that is all I have ever tried to do.”

Meanwhile, Mitch Larkin (53.10 PB) claimed the 100m backstroke final in the fastest time in the world this year.

It would have claimed silver at the 2013 world titles.

Emily Seebohm (58.91) held out young gun Madison Wilson (58.94) to win her sixth national 100m backstroke title in seven years.

Taylor McKeown – a Commonwealth Games 200m breaststroke champion – surprised everyone including herself by claiming the 100m title (1:07.07) ahead of defending champion and Glasgow silver medallist Lorna Tonks (1:07.46).

And Chelsea Gubecka (16:23.95) won the 1500m freestyle final.

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Bulldogs put dark AFL season behind them

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the club’s bright 10-point round one win over West Coast will go some way to mending the wounds from their dark off-season.

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The Bulldogs lost their coach, captain and chief executive during a tumultuous few months.

For Beveridge, who kicked off his AFL coaching career with the 10-point defeat of the Eagles, there’s no better way to move on from the tough times than on the field.

“I’m really proud of the boys and the way they stuck at it,” Beveridge said.

“They’ve had a tough summer, our boys, they’ve had to deal with a lot of ridicule and innuendo,” he said.

“They copped a bit of the blame for certain things that went on here last year

“They don’t deserve that, none of it was their fault.

“Their brilliant young men, lots of integrity, plenty of character … and really deserved to win tonight.”

Only Tom Boyd was a new face in the Bulldogs side that emerged victors over the Eagles.

But Beveridge made a point of mentioning that several players had come from their VFL premiership outfit.

“There were eight boys who played tonight who played in last year’s VFL premiership side,” he said.

“That’s a real positive, it’s new life.

“Some of them really took hold of that tonight.”

That includes Lin Jong, who had plenty of the ball, Brett Goodes and Tory Dickson.

But there were strong performances too from 20-year-olds Jackson Macrae and Jake Stringer.

Forward Boyd was tightly held for much of the night before making his first goal for the club a crucial one in the final term.

Beveridge said even before Saturday night’s result, the mood at Whitten Oval has been transformed in recent months.

“It’s a positive vibe and I couldn’t be happier for everyone at the club,” he said.

“Our administration, our board, everyone’s gone through a really tough period.

“If we can win some games early and we can give our fans a bit of hope, and there’s a bit of light there, that’s really crucial for us at the moment.”

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Dockers pip Power by seven points in AFL

Fremantle gained a sweet slice of revenge for last year’s finals exit with a seven-point win over Port Adelaide in Sunday night’s AFL clash at Domain Stadium.

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Port Adelaide came from 31 points down to beat a wayward Fremantle in last year’s semi-final in Perth, with their famed running game spooking the rest of the competition.

But it was the Dockers who landed the defining blows when it mattered most in Sunday’s re-match, with the home side scoring four goals to three in the final term to secure the 11.9 (75) to 10.8 (68) win.

The Power led by seven points early in the last term.

But David Mundy produced a final quarter of epic proportions to will Fremantle over the line.

Mundy tallied 13 possessions and five clearances for the term, while skipper Matthew Pavlich booted two clutch goals to finish with four for the match.

Midfielder Nat Fyfe also starred with 31 possessions and a goal before Mundy and Pavlich took the game by the scruff of its neck.

Port Adelaide midfielder Brad Ebert was influential with 34 possessions and a goal, but he was placed on report late in the match for tripping.

The Power suffered a big blow before the match when ruckman Matthew Lobbe was forced to withdraw because of quad tightness.

Young forward John Butcher was parachuted into the 22, but Lobbe’s absence meant Paddy Ryder had to endure a heavy workload in the ruck work in his first match for the club.

Both teams produced their fair share of embarrassing errors in a hard-fought first half.

Power forward Jake Neade was looking for a hole to hide in after kicking it out on the full from his 25m set shot directly in front.

And in defence, Port veteran Alipate Carlile copped it from the 34,099 crowd after fumbling a high ball over the boundary with no one else around.

Fremantle’s errors proved more costly though.

Neade was gifted a goal from point-blank range when Chad Wingard’s set shot fell short and the Dockers’ defence failed to clean it up.

And in attack, Fremantle’s Michael Walters almost dribbled through a long-range goal – only for Hayden Ballantyne to fumble the ball through for a point in his attempt to scoop it up and score.

Apart from that moment, Ballantyne was at his frenetic best in the opening half, with the 173cm, 77kg pocket rocket using his body as a battering ram to apply mass pressure on the Power.

Port scored the next two goals after Ballantyne’s fumble to take a two-point lead into the long break, and they still led by three points at the final change despite having to withstand a Fremantle surge in the third quarter.

But the Dockers finished the match full of run to secure the win.

“They were able to convert when they needed it most and we couldn’t quite get what we wanted for a long enough period,” Power coach Ken Hinkley said.

“If it had gone for another quarter or two quarters, the same thing would have happened.

“It would have been more tough footy and they probably would have just come out in front, because they just won the couple (of contests) that they just needed to win.”

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon was proud of his team’s efforts.

“It was exactly what we thought it would be,” Lyon said.

“We knew it was going to be on. But I knew our group was going to give great effort. That last quarter was fantastic for willpower and desire – 20 entries for 4.4.”

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Jakarta archbishop slams death penalty

Jakarta’s Catholic Archbishop has expressed his concern over Indonesia’s use of the death penalty, adding the treatment of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was a show of force over humanity.

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Following Easter Sunday mass in Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo told reporters the church was strictly against the use of the death penalty.

He said he was saddened by the heavy-handed relocation of Australians Chan and Sukumaran from Kerobokan prison to the island where their execution is being planned.

The operation involved hundreds of balaclava-clad police and Sukhoi fighter jets.

“These men were handcuffed, was it necessary to be guarded by Sukhoi?” the archbishop said.

“For me that’s not strictness, for me that’s very saddening because it’s obvious that power wants to show itself and human dignity is not cherished.” The archbishop said using the death penalty was “a failure of humanity”.

He raised concerns also for Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, 30, who is set to face the firing squad with Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33.

Veloso has been denied a judicial review of her heroin smuggling trial, even though she didn’t have a qualified translator, and despite concerns the domestic worker was set up.

“I’m not sure at all that she’s guilty,” Archbishop Ignatius said.

“I don’t know about the evidence in the trial, but what I know that she doesn’t understand English … she knows only Tagalog and when she was on trial, no one translated in that language.

“How could the trial have been fair?” The Philippines government says it plans to file a second application for a judicial review for the single mother of two.

Meanwhile a court will on Monday decide whether Chan and Sukumaran can challenge the president’s decision to deny them clemency.

Jakarta plans to send 10 drug offenders to the firing squad at once – its biggest ever execution – but is waiting for all to run out of legal options.

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Scientists restart Large Hadron Collider

Scientists have successfully restarted the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful atom-smasher ever built, hoping to enter a new realm of physics and make history for the second time.

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Two beams of particles travelling a whisker below the speed of light were sent flying in opposite directions through the LHC’s 27 kilometres of circular underground tunnels straddling the Swiss-French border.

Amid scenes of jubilation in the LHC control room, Professor Rolf Heuer, director general of Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, said: “Congratulations. Thank you very much everyone… now the hard work starts.”

Currently the 3.74 billion machine is running at a low “injection” energy of 450 giga-electron volts (GeV). In June, the energy level will be ramped up to a record-breaking 13 tera-electron volts (TeV) and experiments probing the fundamental building blocks of the universe can begin.

Two years ago the LHC team, which includes a number of British physicists, astounded the world with the discovery of the Higgs boson, an elementary particle that gives other particles mass.

Now the scientists have their sights set on an even more exotic trophy – dark matter, the invisible, undetectable material that makes up 84 per cent of matter in the universe and binds galaxies together yet whose nature is unknown.

With a beam energy of 13 TeV – almost twice that which produced the Higgs boson – it is conceivable that the LHC will capture dark matter, marking a leap forward in our understanding of the universe.

A technical hitch had delayed the restart of the LHC after a two year re-fit and upgrade.

An electrical short circuit prompted fears that operations could be put back weeks or even months. However, engineers quickly located the problem – a small piece of metal debris – and removed it.

As tension built during the final minutes before the restart, Frederick Bordry, Cern’s director for accelerators and technology, handed out Easter eggs to staff in the LHC control room.

The particles of protons, the “hearts” of atoms, travel round the LHC at just three metres per second below the speed of light.

When experiments begin they will be smashed together in four giant detectors located around the beam ring, sparking the creation of new particles and hopefully opening up a new era in physics.

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Dwyer becomes most capped hockey player

Jamie Dwyer became Australia’s most-capped hockey player and scored his 207th goal in the Kookaburras’ 7-0 win over Canada on Sunday at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

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It was Dwyer’s 322nd appearance for Australia, passing Jay Stacy, who retired following the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

“I’m very honoured to have played for Australia,” Dwyer said.

“It feels a bit weird passing Jay’s record because Jay was one of the main reasons I wanted to play for the Kookaburras.

“I watched him at the ’92 Olympics (Barcelona) and in ’96 (Atlanta), as a kid I had posters on my wall of him and he’s someone I looked up to,” Dwyer said.

Five times named world player of the year, Dwyer scored the Kookaburras’ fourth goal in the opening-day rout of Canada.

“I’m glad it’s done now. There were times last year when I thought that it wasn’t going to happen,” he said.

“I’ve never played for personal milestones. I love being out there as part of the team.”

Victorian Tim Cross debuted for the world No.1 Australians and scored his first goal just 12 minutes in against Canada.

It was followed a minute later by Dylan Wotherspoon’s first goal in only his fifth senior appearance.

Dwyer said it was exciting to see Australia’s future looking so bright.

“Tim Cross is my roommate here in Malaysia. He’s a young enthusiastic guy who works hard and wants to learn.

“A week and a half ago, he probably had no thoughts of playing here and then he’s come in for an injury and put his first shot into the corner.

“That should be a bit of a confidence booster. “I try to give advice and share my experience with guys like him and Dylan Wotherspoon but I also love to feed off their energy.”

Despite the world champions’ dominance over the 15th-ranked Canadians, it remained 2-0 until shortly before three-quarter time when Eddie Ockenden struck a third.

In the final 10 minutes, play began to open up and Dwyer struck, marking his return to senior international hockey after almost nine months out.

His last game, and last goal, came in June’s 6-1 World Cup final demolition of the Netherlands in The Hague with the two-time World Cup winner not selected for the Commonwealth Games and ruled out of the Champions Trophy in December through injury.

Trent Mitton scored 60 seconds after Dwyer to make it 5-0, before a Glenn Simpson penalty corner took it 6-0 and a strike by Jake Whetton finished off the 7-0 win.

Kookaburras coach Graham Reid hailed Dwyer’s performance for Australia.

“Jamie is a very special player with a unique set of skills and qualities.

“His commitment, passion for the game and determination has led to his extraordinary longevity in the game at the top level.

“Today’s game was a recognition and celebration for Jamie and all players, coaches and off-field staff that have been a part of his career.

“But Jamie now has a firm eye on the present and the future and what extra he can bring to the Kookaburras’ group to take us to another level.”

Australia’s next play Malaysia on Monday at 10:30pm (AEST).

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FIFA election campaign swings through Cairo

The three candidates vying to unseat incumbent Sepp Blatter will be all in the Egyptian capital for Tuesday’s Confederation of African Football Congress to canvas support on a continent expected to be solidly behind the FIFA president as he bids for a fifth successive term in office.

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FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portugal international Luis Figo are not expected to make much headway among the 54 African countries who have traditionally been backers of Blatter.

But they will attempt to persuade individual countries of their credentials while Blatter will be hoping for an enthusiastic acclamation at the congress to bolster his status as firm favourite for the poll in Zurich at the end of May.

The CAF congress is the latest stop for all candidates, who have already swung through similar confederation congresses in Asuncion and Vienna. Next they will be in the Bahamas for the CONCACAF congress next week, followed by the Asian version in Bahrain at the end of the month.

Blatter used a column in the latest edition of his organisation’s mouthpiece FIFA Weekly to call for respect for the African game. “The refreshing skills and technical finesse of the African teams are among the greatest attractions at the World Cup,” he wrote.

Luis Figo responded on Sunday by saying: “Africa lives and loves football much as I do. I know that FIFA has been doing relevant things in Africa but FIFA can and should do much more to help develop African football.”

The Congress will elect two places to the all-important FIFA executive committee and also pass an amendment to the statutes, doing away with age limits for office bearers to allow CAF president Issa Hayatou to continue his long-standing tenure at the head of the organisation.

CAF will also decide the next host of the African Nations Cup in 2017, after the withdrawal of war-torn Libya, and hold the draw for the qualifiers on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Justin Palmer)

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柳州QM

You thought the Brotherhood was bad?

In one of the many bizarre twists of Egypt’s recent political convulsion, hardline Salafi parties look poised to replace the Muslim Brotherhood as the most important Islamist players in the political process.

南宁桑拿

It’s a situation ripe with irony: For years, the Brotherhood represented the “good guys” of the Islamist world — a movement that other parties could deal with — while the Salafis were irreconcilable zealots bent on establishing an Islamist state by any means necessary. But with former “bad guys” redeeming themselves by siding with the opposition in the weeks preceding President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster, they now have a shot at becoming the standard-bearers for Islamist politics in the Arab world’s largest nation.

The Nour Party, the largest Islamist organization, joined in the opposition’s call for Morsi to step down, claiming that he and the Muslim Brotherhood were attempting to monopolize power. But it did not participate officially in the street protests against the Brotherhood, and has been sitting on the fence ever since, criticizing the military’s transition roadmap and its constitutional proclamation, and declaring that their members would neither join the transitional government nor oppose it.

Salafist participation, however, will come at a price — and there’s no guarantee that Egypt’s new rulers will want to pay it. The military officers that deposed Morsi — along with the parties and personalities now trying to ride their coattails into power — are facing a difficult choice: Should they include Islamists in the new system? Or should they seek to push them resolutely to the margins, as Hosni Mubarak and a succession of previous governments did?

It’s not clear that this decision has been made yet. Officially, the military and its civilian appointees now argue that Islamists must be included in the political process. In practice, however, the actions of the military and its allies tell a different story: Muslim Brotherhood leaders are being rounded up in growing numbers, Islamist television channels have been shuttered, and dozens of Morsi supporters have been shot dead on the street by the police and army.

At the same time, the new leadership has made a huge concession to Salafis by including in its July 8 constitutional proclamation some of the most controversial clauses of the suspended 2012 constitution. Article 1 of the proclamation proclaims Islam to be the religion of the state and the principles of sharia the main source of legislation. It was the Salafis, particularly members of the Nour Party, who insisted on including these stipulations in the constitution.

There is no guarantee, however, that the Salafi parties can coexist in the long term with their new secular allies. Tamarod, the “rebel” movement that spearheaded the June 30 demonstrations, was incensed by references to sharia in the constitutional proclamation and is opposed to Islamist participation in the new government. Many of the so-called liberals in the National Salvation Front and in the business community also call, at least privately, for the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party — and do not hide their desire to see a ban on all parties with a religious orientation in the new constitution. Indeed, a major secular-Islamist battle is brewing over the writing of the new constitution.

No matter what the new constitution says about the legality of parties based on religion, the Muslim Brotherhood appears to have been drummed out of the political process for the time being. It is unlikely to participate in the parliamentary election that should take place in early 2014, as it still insists that Morsi is the duly elected president of the country and that he must be reinstated. That will leave its voters with nowhere else to turn but the Salafist parties, which will be the last players on the Egyptian political scene explicitly calling for a strong Islamic reference in government.

Salafis did not come to political participation easily. Until the overthrow of Mubarak, they had shunned political activity, concentrating instead on proselytizing and building their own community. The decision to enter the political sphere was a sudden response to the events of January 2011 — Salafis saw an opening, and were able to take advantage of it by mobilizing their social and religious networks for political ends. Their success was startling: They went from having no political organization in January 2011 to capturing a startling 25 percent of seats in parliament by March 2012, besting secular parties that had been in existence for years.

Because the Salafis’ rise was so sudden, it was not accompanied by a corresponding ideological transformation. Salafi parties had few discussions about the implications of participating in a pluralistic political system — they simply decided that the goal of building an Islamic state, previously set aside as premature, was worth pursuing right away. The Muslim Brotherhood, by contrast, had been discussing the implications of political participation for decades and had modified its positions in response, accepting the notion of pluralism and a civil state. The transition was still incomplete and contested, but it was a start.

Differences between the Brotherhood and Salafi organizations were particularly evident in the discussions of the 2012 constitution. Salafis were uncompromising, insisting that the constitution should embody references to sharia in its Sunni interpretations, rejecting explicit references to gender equality and to hiding their end-goal of turning Egypt into an Islamic state. The Muslim Brotherhood accepted the idea of a civil state and generally showed greater flexibility.

The inclusion of Salafis as representatives of the Islamist trend would thus come at a high price for the country’s new rulers. The constitution would have to include many of the same clauses concerning sharia and Islam as the state religion as the 2012 constitution — as was already made clear in the latest constitutional proclamation. Any constitution acceptable to Salafis, moreover, would have to soft-pedal issues such as gender equality and the equality of Muslim and non-Muslim citizens — thus raising the ire of secular forces.

But the cost to Egypt if Salafi parties joined the Muslim Brothers in shunning political participation would be just as high. At this current tumultuous moment in Egyptian politics, Islamists will not quietly withdraw from politics and concentrate solely on religious affairs. The Muslim Brotherhood is already openly calling for defiance of the regime, and the Salafis could follow suit. The Mubarak regime only managed to repress Islamists by arresting thousands of them and rigging elections — any regime seeking to limit Islamist participation would have to do the same, and probably on an even larger scale. The exclusion of Islamists, in other words, also means the exclusion of democracy.

Ottaway is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

© Foreign Policy, 2013

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