Month: August 2018

Watson can usurp Gayle as world’s best, but don’t tell him that

Shane Watson still rates Chris Gayle as the world’s best Twenty20 player but the Australian all-rounder has another chance to usurp the West Indies blaster in the coming few weeks.
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Gayle is absent from this month’s Champions League tournament as none of the myriad of Twenty20 franchises he represents has qualified for the event, while Watson will be a key player in the Sydney Sixers’ push for the title.

With the bat, Gayle, admittedly with 25 extra matches, has scored more runs than Watson (4332 to 2570), boasts a higher average (44 to 33), a faster scoring rate (155.1 to 145) and has plundered more centuries (eight to zero).

Watson, however, holds the edge with the ball – his 80 wickets at 33 with an economy rate of 7.12 runs per over superior to Gayle’s 52 at 34 and 7.7 runs an over.

The Australian’s standing in the shortest form of the game, however, has sky rocketed in recent weeks and he was named the best player in the recently completed World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

But Watson is not comfortable at suggestions he is the world’s No.1 Twenty20 player.

“I know playing where I do as an opening batsman and bowling the overs that I do that I’m going to have some impact on the game good or bad,” Watson said.

“In the end it’s nice if people do say that but there’s no doubt that for me Chris Gayle is one of the most amazing players you’ll ever see.

“To see the things that he’s done consistently in Twenty20 cricket in all competitions is pretty amazing. I think you really can’t go past Chris.”

As Australia found out last week in their semi-final defeat, Gayle is not an easy player to bowl to.

“It’s a really good thing he’s not around, I think everyone around in world cricket who is is here is happy he’s not around to take him down.

“The number of games he’s won for the teams that he’s played in is pretty phenomenal. For him to be able to get as many hundreds as he has and be able to bat the way he does, he turns the game if he has one of his innings.”

Watson said Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga was another contender for the No.1 player as he was a “bowler who’s had a significant impact on games that he has played in all competitions”.

Watson and Malinga are set to cross paths on Monday week when the Sixers take on Mumbai in their final group game.

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Trouble on Resolution Avenue as dispute breaks out over dog

On a Sydney street named Resolution Avenue, a man has been threatened with a knife and an air rifle in a neighbourhood dispute over a barking dog, police say.
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Two men started arguing about the dog outside a house in the Willmot street, in Sydney’s west, about 4.30pm yesterday as many neighbours looked on.

Police alleged a 38-year-old man was threatened with a knife by a 23-year-old man, before the younger man allegedly charged into his house carrying an air rifle.

The 23-year-old allegedly pointed the rifle at the older man, but not shots were fired.

Police said residents were standing on the street when the fight broke out and ran for safety to call police.

Officers arrested the 23-year-old man and seized the air rifle, another rifle, ammunition and illegal drugs, police said.

He was taken to Mt Druitt police station and charged with several offences including common assault and stalk/intimidate person.

He was refused bail and was due to appear in Mt Druitt Local Court today.

Few residents on Resolution Avenue wanted to talk about the dispute, but one man said it was the talk of the street.

“I wasn’t home, but when I got home my neighbour said ‘you missed it. Some bloke’s apparently pulled a gun’.”

Neighbourhood disputes in suburbs across Sydney have made the news many times in recent months.

In June a man was charged with the stabbing murder of his neighbour in Martha Way, Ambarvale, after an alleged neighbourhood row.

A couple of weeks earlier, a 59-year-old man was charged with murder after his 65-year-old neighbour was found with numerous injuries at a Lethbridge Park home.

In May a man with a penchant for cleaning his unit at 3am was charged with allegedly pushing his complaining neighbour off a balcony at a unit block on Margaret Street, Petersham.

In the same month car wash king Anthony Sahade was charged with allegedly assaulting his neighbour in Point Piper.

A 33-year-old woman was charged after she allegedly bit off part of her neighbour’s ear during an argument in Riverwood.

At the beginning of that month, a neighbourhood dispute over loud music and erratic driving allegedly escalated into a bloody brawl in which a chainsaw partially severed a man’s arm.

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Cheeky charity addresses a serious issue

Surfers who are raising money for charity, from left to right, Si Muddell, Nic Claase, Greg Beazley and Will Bigelow at Bondi Beach.Charity can be such a drag, which is just the way Greg Beazley likes it.
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The 28-year marketing consultant recently went surfing at Bondi with 45 of his closest mates, all of whom traded their wetsuits and board shorts for school dresses.

“We got some strange looks,” he says. “One lady asked me if I’d lost a bet. And a surfer out in the water said to me: ‘Is this a gay party or somethin’?'”

The frocked-up paddle-out was all part of the 2012 Do It In a Dress campaign, where participants collect donations for undergoing certain challenges while wearing a school dress.

The initiative, which is in its second year, is organised by One Girl, a Melbourne-based not-for-profit organisation that raises money for women and girls in Sierra Leone.

“Some people bungee jump or run marathons or just go about their normal day,” One Girl co-founder Chantelle Baxter said. “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it in a dress.”

A former web designer, Baxter, 27, started the charity with a friend, David Dixon, in 2010.

“My previous life consisted of drinking, shopping, taking drugs and getting wasted as often as possible. Wasn’t exactly a meaningful life.”

Then one day, while hung over in bed, she saw a YouTube clip about the brutalisation of women in Darfur, Sudan.

Shaken into action, she travelled with Dixon to Africa to get ideas for a community project. One of the countries they visited was Sierra Leone, which Baxter now describes as “one of the worst places on earth to be born a girl”.

Leaving her job, Baxter devoted herself full time to the charity, which has so far provided 150 education scholarships, built a block of toilets at a primary school, and started a business that trains women to sell biodegradable sanitary pads.

So far this year, One Girl has raised $100,000 – enough to send 390 girls to school for a year.

Beazley’s surf session brought in $3000 alone.

“This is the second year I did it,” he said. “Last year I held a barbecue for all my workmates where I cooked for everyone wearing a skimpy school dress.”

Getting a crowd was easier than he expected. “I just started a Facebook site, and before long it all went a bit crazy.

“The more people that do it, the more fun it is,” he said. “All I can say is, thankfully everyone was wearing underwear otherwise we would have been copping some nasty views when you paddled up behind someone.”

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‘Canberra did very well under Howard’: Abbott

Federal leader of the Liberal party Tony Abbott had a morning run with ACT Liberal leader Zed Seselja around Lake Burley Griffin today.Tony Abbott says that Canberra did well under the Howard Government despite “doing it tough” after the job cuts of 1996.
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And the Federal Opposition Leader pledged this morning that there would be no forced redundancies in the federal public service under a government he leads.

Mr Abbott spoke to the Canberra Times this morning as he ran on the shores of Lake Walter Burley Griffin with Canberra Liberals leader Zed Seselja in what is likely to be the federal leader’s only campaign appearance.

He said the 12,000 job cuts for the capital’s public servants, repeatedly threatened by his treasury spokesman Joe Hockey could be achieved without any sackings and that Federal Labor had “dudded” Canberra by cutting jobs without being upfront about it with voters.

“The Commonwealth public sector payroll is 20,000 greater now than at the end of 2007 so a reduction by natural attrition of 12,000 would still leave the Commonwealth public sector payroll bigger than it was when the Howard Government left office,” Mr Abbott said.

“I really want to stress that we are not talking about forced redundancies, we are talking about not replacing everyone who leaves, that’s all.

“The people of Canberra shouldn’t be dudded by Labor again because Julia Gillard explicitly said before the 2010 campaign that there would be no efficiency dividends, no cuts to the public service

“Since then, we’ve had efficiency dividend after efficiency dividend and 3000 job cuts, so really and truly Labor dudded the people of Canberra.”

Mr Abbott conceded that the job cuts of the first year of the Howard Government had hurt Canberra but said the city did well in the “totality” of the Howard years.

“I accept that Canberra did it tough for a year or so, but if you look at the totality of the Howard Government, Canberra did very well under the Howard Government, Australia did very well under the Howard Government,” Mr Abbott said.

“There will always be more jobs under the coalition because there will always be a stronger economy under the coalition.

“What Zed wants to do is to take the cost-of-living pressure off families and the best way you can do that is by not going ahead with the massive rate rises that the ACT Labor Government has planned.”

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Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Actress Blake Lively has little in common with her character in Oliver Stone’s edgy drama Savages. She plays a free spirit shared by two drug dealers who is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel wanting to take over their business – growing, selling and smuggling high-quality marijuana. But the 25-year-old blonde sheepishly confesses she has a little smuggling experience of her own.
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”I love to go to cooking school when I travel and I like to smuggle ingredients home,” Lively says as she leans forward conspiratorially in a Beverly Hills hotel suite.

”I have smuggled so many ingredients across so many borders, like shallot confit from Thailand or a new hot sauce from New Orleans not approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration].

”I’m literally stuffing them in teddy bears cut in half and put back together again and I’ve gotten really good at it, although now I’m talking about it, I’m sure customs will be all over me next time I go anywhere.”

In Savages, Ben (Aaron Johnson) is a botanist aspiring to save the world with his drug profits and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) is a former Navy SEAL not sure the world is worth saving.

They live with Lively’s character, O (for Ophelia), in a California beachside mansion funded by their eco-friendly pot business.

Salma Hayek plays the Mexican drug mogul who demands they share their business; Benicio Del Toro a thug who works for her; and John Travolta a corrupt drug enforcement agent.

”What’s nice about this movie is that it’s actually the woman that gets the two men, and the women in the movie who have the most power,” Lively says.

Three-time Oscar winner Stone knew he needed an actress who was young and pretty, but substantial enough to carry the weight of the relationship that drives the film.

”There is something special about Blake that I picked up on as soon as we met,” he says.

”She’s very beautiful and also a fine actress who could develop into a Meryl Streep if the fates are kind to her.”

Lively, a Los Angeles native, is from a showbiz family: her father, Ernie, is an actor; her mother, Elaine, is a talent manager; and her four older siblings are also actors.

After initially resisting, Lively eventually gave in and landed a lead role in one of her first auditions – for the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Two years later, she scored the role of New York socialite Serena van der Woodsen in the teen soap Gossip Girl, which wraps up this year.

This led to films such as The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, The Town and Green Lantern, where she met co-star Ryan Reynolds, the man she married secretly last month.

Surprisingly, Lively admits she wasn’t initially eager to play this role. ”I am a huge fan of Oliver, yet I didn’t love the character,” she says. ”So when I went to meet with Oliver I told him, ‘I loved your script, I love you, but I can’t play this character because I judge her and I won’t do a good job at this girl.’

”Then we worked on this character and made her somebody that we could really empathise with.”

Stone was immediately intrigued with the Savages story after receiving a galley copy of Don Winslow’s book. ”It read like a fast-paced, exciting, different thriller about the drug war … young people in California suddenly growing the best weed in the world and being threatened by the corporation, a larger cartel in Mexico,” he says. ”I love [that] there are three young people in the film positioned against the three older people … from another movie generation.”

Stone is a passionate advocate of legal marijuana. ”Coming as I do from the generation of the ’60s and the Easy Rider of that time, it’s nice to also reflect on film that young people aren’t giving up their rights, and California is actually the most progressive state in this country to have allowed legal marijuana.”

SAVAGES

GENRE Drama.

CRITICAL BUZZ Lacklustre US box office and mixed reviews make it a hard sell unless you’re an avid Oliver Stone fan.

STARS Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta.

DIRECTOR Oliver Stone.

RELEASE Thursday.

RATED MA15+.

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