South Africa level T20 series with England

South Africa beat England by three runs in a thrilling T20 international to level the series on Friday, as Jason Roy became the first batsman in the game’s format to be dismissed for obstructing the field.

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South Africa made 8-174 with JJ Smuts contributing 45 and skipper AB de Villiers striking 46 from 30 balls.

England in reply made 6-171 with opening batsman Roy leading the run chase with 67 before being controversially dismissed.

Roy shared a 110-run second wicket partnership with Jonny Bairstow (47) but with 29 needed to win off the final three overs, England fell short.

Andile Phehlukwayo delivered a superb final over for South Africa, but Roy’s dismissal was the talking point as it proved to be the pivotal moment in the match.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was not playing in the game, took to Twitter to say: “Can’t believe that @JasonRoy20 was given out in that manner today….embarrassment is the only word that can be associated with the decision.”

But England captain Eoin Morgan described it as “probably a 50-50 call”, saying South Africa were within their rights to appeal while at the same time raising debate about the spirit of the game.

“It was probably a 50-50 call. You could see both sides of it,” Morgan said.

“Everyone in the changing room thought it could go either way so it’s not massively controversial.

“You can see why the umpires gave him out. Jason obviously looked at the umpire but after that he ran in a straight line, so that’s why it was a 50-50 call.

“They (South Africa) were certainly entitled to appeal and the spirit of the game is open to interpretation.”

It was an entertaining game for the Somerset crowd, enjoying the first international contest at their ground since the 1999 World Cup.

“It was about the energy and showing the South African never-say-die, attitude … now we have a decider on Sunday” said De Villiers.

The deciding match will be played at Cardiff.

Australia should be firm in the South China Sea: Former CIA boss

The former director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency says he believes Australia should carry out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

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Speaking at the Liberal Party’s federal council in Sydney, General David Petraeus said Australia had found itself in the curious position whereby China was its number one trading partner and also its number one “security cause for concern”.

General Petraeus said Australia and the US had to be firm and responsive toward China in the region, quoting former US President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy of speaking softly and carrying a big stick.

He said this included Australia and its allies carrying out freedom of navigation operations in the disputed area.

“Absolutely that should be the case, and again, quietly done, you don’t have to have brass bands and fanfare but it should be done, and I think if it can be done as a coalition, it says much more,” he said.

General Petraeus described the Chinese Nine Dash Line as an “outrageous assertion that is completely without foundation in international law”.

“The fact is the islands have been constructed…they’re not reclaiming anything, they’re building islands.”

The former CIA chief also added Australia and its allies found themselves in “a generational struggle” in the Middle East.

“There is no silver bullet that you can shoot that will make this go away,” he said.

He said coalition forces were not going to be able to drone strike their way out of the problem.

Of Donald Trump’s presidency and its affects on the United States’ foreign policy, General Petreaus said he believed there had been “more continuity than change”.

However he said President Trump’s decision to turn his back on the Paris Climate Agreement was a mistake, adding it had “enormous symbolic value”.

“That is not something I would have welcomed or advised,” he said.

JT farewell could be distraction: Lewis

You can turn up for Johnathan Thurston’s farewell but don’t forget to rock up to the game.

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That’s the warning Queensland legend Wally Lewis has for the Maroons after Thurston was on Friday ruled out of this year’s State of Origin finale and the rest of the NRL season with a shoulder injury.

After forcing a decider with his match-winning conversion in game two, Thurston will watch from the sidelines at Suncorp Stadium on July 12.

And while Lewis admits the North Queensland star’s on-field absence will provide extra motivation for the Maroons, the Immortal is urging the team not to be distracted by the drama.

“It would be a nice way to do it, to be able to say to JT, ‘We did it for you’ but I don’t think it should be the centre of attention in winning game three,” Lewis told AAP.

“In a funny way, even bringing JT’s name into it might be the worst possible thing. They’re going to be concentrating on winning the game for a different reason than wrapping up the series up.”

Lewis, who was farewelled a winner in the 1991 Origin decider at the old Lang Park, admits Thurston’s exit from the representative arena will ensure a capacity crowd in Brisbane.

“It’s always used in the promotion for it, spoken about in the press,” he said.

But he insists the primary objective must be staying focused on how the Maroons will overcome a Blues team that will be buoyed by Thurston’s absence.

NSW stunned Queensland 28-4 in game one.

“All of the blokes that take part in it, they’re the first ones to put their hands up and say, ‘That’s bullshit, you’re not playing for me. You’re playing to wrap up the series’,” Lewis said.

“To carry on with this garbage that you’re playing to send him out a winner, that’s not part of it.

“The guys are instructed to do one thing – to stick to the game plan, to retain that in their mind all the way through in the build-up and achieve success for the right reason.

“The players, they’ll speak about it once.

“They’ll say we do want to make sure JT can enjoy it as well. But this is all about us sticking to the game plan and making sure we win it because unfortunately he won’t be playing any part in it.”

Sydney gay bashing witness changes some of his evidence

A witness has walked back the evidence he gave NSW Police in 2013 about gay hate bashings on Sydney’s northern beaches, saying they weren’t as numerous or around North Head where a young American was found dead in 1988.

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He had told NSW detectives in 2013 a group of men committed more than 20 gay hate assaults and robberies on Sydney’s northern beaches between 1986 and 1988 at various locations with up to five occurring at North Head.

The body of 27-year-old American mathematician Scott Johnson was found at the bottom of the cliff at Manly’s North Head in December 1988.

The police source, who can’t be named for legal reasons, this week gave evidence behind closed doors at the third coronial inquest into Mr Johnson’s death.

In a summary of the source’s evidence, released on Friday evening, it’s been suggested the North Head assaults took place in an area of scrub with clearings.

One of the members of the group sometimes acted as “bait” to make contact with a victim.

“The information did not suggest that any of the group had ever pushed anyone off a cliff,” the summary of the evidence states.

In 2014, the source told police the number of times the group travelled to North Head to commit gay-hate crimes was fewer than he had indicated in 2013.

The source in 2017 “has said that some of the earlier information was not accurate”, the summary of his evidence states.

The source now claims the assaults and robberies said to have been committed in the late 1980s at North Head “had in fact been committed at either Reef Beach or at an area of North Head that was different to the area he had previously indicated to police”.

Saudi police foil ‘terrorist action’ injuring six in Mecca: state TV

The incident happened around the Grand Mosque, where hundreds of thousands of worshippers gathered for early afternoon prayers on the last Friday of this year’s Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

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Ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told Saudi television that police “foiled the terrorist plan that targeted the security of the Grand Mosque, pilgrims and worshippers.”

In dawn raids on Mecca and the Red Sea city of Jeddah officers arrested five suspects, including a woman, before surrounding the bomber’s location around the Grand Mosque.

“Unfortunately he started shooting towards security personnel once he noticed their presence in the area, which led to an exchange of fire before he blew himself up,” Turki said.

The blast partially collapsed the building where he had taken refuge, injuring the six pilgrims, Turki said.

He added that four had already been released from hospital, and five security men were also slightly hurt.

Since late 2014 Saudi Arabia has faced periodic bombings and shootings claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

Purported images from the scene that circulated on social media showed an alley filled with bricks and other debris apparently from a blast.

Video showed what appeared to be a bearded man’s head lying among rubble from a collapsed structure.

0:00 Many say Ramadan brings people togtheer Share Many say Ramadan brings people togtheer

Counterterrorism capabilities

Near the end of Ramadan last year in the Saudi city of Medina four security officers died in an explosion close to Islam’s second holiest site, the Prophet’s Mosque.

It was one of three suicide blasts around the kingdom on the same day, in which a total of seven people were believed killed. The others occurred in Jeddah and in the Gulf city of Qatif.

The US Central Intelligence Agency said those attacks bore the hallmarks of IS.

Most of the targets in Saudi Arabia have been the Shiite minority and security forces, killing dozens of people.

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called for attacks against the kingdom, a member of the US-led coalition battling the group in Syria and Iraq.

Since July last year police have arrested around 40 people, including Saudis and Pakistanis, for alleged extremist links.

Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism capabilities — which for years were led by Prince Mohammed bin Nayef — are well-regarded internationally.

On Wednesday Prince Mohammed was ousted from his posts of crown prince and interior minister, replaced as heir to the throne by King Salman’s son Mohammed bin Salman.

Friday’s counter-terrorist operation was the first to take place under the new interior minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, who is in his early 30s.

Prince Abdulaziz is the nephew of the deposed minister.

 

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