Pistorius free to compete: Oly committee

Oscar Pistorius is free to compete for South Africa again, as long as his running doesn’t go against the ruling of the judge.

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Pistorius, who is to be sentenced next month after being found guilty in the negligent killing of his girlfriend, could compete at any time because the South African Olympic committee has no regulations preventing someone with a criminal record from representing the country.

“As he stands right now, he’s free (to compete),” South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee chief executive Tubby Reddy told The Associated Press on Monday.

Pistorius faces years in jail after being convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. However, there is no minimum sentence for the conviction in South African law and the double-amputee Olympian could receive a suspended sentence and no jail time.

As long as competing doesn’t go against the ruling of the judge when she decides Pistorius’ sentence next month, he can run for South Africa, Reddy said. Pistorius would only have to meet normal sports qualifying criteria.

Reddy dismissed reports of a meeting of SASCOC officials this week to decide Pistorius’ eligibility, saying there was nothing to decide.

Last year, Pistorius was cleared to run overseas after appealing his bail terms, but chose not to while he concentrated on his murder trial.

Pistorius’ agent, Peet van Zyl, said competing now was not an option but they would “sit down and take stock” after his sentencing hearing, which starts October 13.

“It’s all up to Oscar. He must decide what he wants to do,” Van Zyl said, adding he would only talk with Pistorius about running again after sentencing.

“I don’t know what his mindset is now. I will sit down with him. Is he keen or is he not keen?”

Pistorius wouldn’t be allowed to run while serving a prison or house-arrest sentence, but a fine and a suspended prison term is also an option for the judge.

Pistorius and his longtime coach, Ampie Louw, said before Steenkamp’s killing that they wanted to retire together at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Pistorius was the first amputee to compete on the track at the Olympics when he ran in the 400 metres and 4x400m relay at the London Games in 2012.

Van Zyl told the AP on Monday that Pistorius hadn’t done any running on the track “for ages” but was regularly working out in a gym.

Pistorius’ last competitive race was the 400-metre final at the London Paralympics two years ago, when he retained his title.

Brad Scott reveals Matthews’ no-sex edict

Brad Scott has revealed one of former coach Leigh Matthews’ lesser-known edicts during Brisbane’s golden AFL era: time your conception efforts.

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Lions forward Daniel Bradshaw became one of the first AFL players to put the birth of his baby before playing in a final.

Bradshaw missed Brisbane’s semi-final against Carlton at the MCG in 2000, pulling out of the match to be with wife Angie for the birth of their first son Jake.

Matthews was supportive of the decision, even after the Blues walloped Brisbane by 82 points.

But when it came time for pre-season training before the Lions’ successful 2001 campaign, Matthews made it clear that he didn’t want any players to be faced with Bradshaw’s dilemma.

“He told us to make sure … don’t have unprotected sex with your wives in January,” Scott recalled on Fox Footy.

“I said to Leigh, I think that’s a bit beyond your jurisdiction.

“I laughed and he didn’t.”

The Lions made the next four grand finals, celebrating premierships in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

“We didn’t have anyone miss a prelim (because of a birth) after that,” Scott said.

Scott avoided a similar situation last week, wife Penny and the North Melbourne coach welcoming their first child – Fletcher Charles Scott – into the world on Tuesday.

The Kangaroos coach said there was no way known he was going to miss the side’s semi-final against Geelong on Friday night.

“We talked about that extensively and Penny wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Scott said.

“She’s got really great family support and my family support, so her instruction was `you do what you have to do’.

“You’ve got responsibilities, get there when you can.”

Dockers keen to lure Demon James Frawley

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has confirmed he is interested in signing free agent James Frawley, but he hopes the tyranny of distance won’t scare the Demon away.

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Frawley flew to Perth last weekend to tour Fremantle’s club facilities, but the 25-year-old is also being heavily courted by Geelong.

The Dockers are exploring the option of adding Frawley to their list in order to offset the likely retirement of star defender Luke McPharlin.

There are rumours Fremantle are considering putting a seven-year deal on the table for Frawley, but a contract of that length appears unlikely.

Frawley is expected to command in the vicinity of $550,000 per season, and the Dockers should have room in their salary cap to accommodate that if McPharlin retires.

But Lyon said convincing Frawley to continue his career in Perth wouldn’t be an easy thing.

“I think you’d be naive to think that the travel factor isn’t a consideration (for players),” Lyon told Perth radio station 6PR.

“You have to get on the bird for a minimum of three-and-a-half hours every second week.

“There’s a price that goes with that, a loading if you like, to compete with the eastern clubs.

“We’d love the WA sons to come home, that’s a focus going forward for us. But it is difficult.

“At the end of the day we back our environment and leaders.

“We are going to have a new $107 million facility which will help us be the club that appeals.

“But our record of growing people on and off the field is even more important than that.”

Lyon said he was yet to talk to McPharlin about his future.

The 2012 All-Australian managed just 13 games this season due to quad, calf and knee issues, but there is still a chance he’ll decide to play on.

“We need to sit down and look at all the pieces,” Lyon said.

“We’ll give Luke the respect he deserves. He won’t have the final say, but he’ll have the majority of the say.

“He’s been an incredible player since I’ve been at the club.

“He’s been a real leader and driver of cultural change. So he’ll get all the respect and time he deserves.”

Lyon said there would be no aggressive cull of his player list despite Fremantle’s straight sets finals exit.

The Dockers’ flag hopes were extinguished after they coughed up a 31-point lead on the way to a 22-point semi-final defeat to Port Adelaide last Saturday.

Lyon said he was bitterly disappointed with the loss, but has vowed to keep Fremantle in premiership mode next year and beyond.

UN takes over Central Africa peacekeeping

A new UN mission has officially taken charge of peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, with the tough task of ending ethnic and religious bloodshed there and helping bring back stability.

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The 7600-strong UN force, known by its French acronym MINUSCA, takes over from a smaller UN Security Council-mandated African deployment, MISCA, which has been stationed in the country since December.

MINUSCA will be boosted to count 12,000 soldiers and police officers.

In a rainswept ceremony at the airport serving the capital Bangui, the head of the UN’s peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, delivered a symbolic blue beret to the Cameroonian general heading MISCA, Martin Chomu Tumenta, who became commander of the MINUSCA force.

“This transfer of authority marks the successful completion of MISCA’s mandate and the beginning of MINUSCA’s military and police action” in the poor, landlocked nation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement from UN headquarters.

He urged rival sides in Central Africa “to put an immediate end to the violence” and enable a political transition to democratic rule.

The country plunged into conflict after a coup in March 2013 by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance, the Seleka, which overthrew president Francois Bozize and made their own man, Michel Djotodia, head of state.

Influential foreign leaders in January forced Djotodia to step down after he proved incapable of preventing widespread atrocities by rogue Seleka fighters.

Communities from Central Africa’s mainly Christian majority responded by setting up vigilante forces known as “anti-balaka” (anti-machete) to seek vengeance, mostly targeting Muslim civilians whom they accused of backing Seleka.

More than a quarter of the Central African Republic’s population of 4.8 million has been displaced by the strife, while only one Muslim district remains in Bangui. Everybody else fled the killings, rape and systematic looting by anti-balaka forces.

British pair found murdered on Thai resort

The naked bodies of two British tourists have been found on a Thai beach, sparking a murder probe on the popular resort island of Koh Tao.

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The unidentified man and woman, both aged 24, were found stripped with several wounds to their bodies close to a beachside bungalow on the island, a diving hot-spot near Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand.

“They were murdered and found naked on the beach. Police were informed at 6:30 am,” local police official Jakkrapan Kaewkhao told AFP on telephone.

“Their bodies were found 30 metres from (the) bungalow,” said Jakkrapan, adding the pair had arrived in Thailand on August 25.

Police are searching for witnesses and are yet to identify a suspect or motive, he added.

An employee at the budget seaside resort where they were staying said the bodies were found behind a set of large rocks on the beach.

“It was the first time this has happened on the island. I have never seen anything like this,” the staff member added, requesting anonymity.

Koh Tao is popular with tourists but draws fewer travellers than the neighbouring Koh Phangnan, home to the hedonistic “full moon” party.

Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry has been battered in recent months after a prolonged political crisis ended a coup which saw the army blanket the country with a curfew and strict martial law.

Although the curfew was swiftly lifted from key tourist hot-spots, visitor numbers are yet to rebound.

Thailand’s military leaders have vowed to clean up the kingdom’s tourist resorts after complaints of scams, assaults and even police extortion.

Champagne to run against FIFA president Blatter

The Frenchman, FIFA’s former director of international relations, announced in January that he intended to run for the presidency – the most powerful job in football – but then confused many observers with his comments regarding Blatter.

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At his launch news conference, Champagne had declared he did not believe he could beat Blatter and that he was undecided about whether he would even run if his former boss was a candidate.

Blatter, 78, announced last week that he would seek a fifth term and, with UEFA president Michel Platini having decided against challenging him, the prospect of the Swiss being unopposed looked likely.

Champagne did not mention Blatter by name in his statement but the 56-year-old said it was important to have a debate over the future of the game.

“I am happy that the debate about the future of FIFA and football has finally begun with the prospect of various candidates,” he said, adding that he would like all candidates to take part in public and televised debates across the world.

“First and foremost, debating about issues is a normal process in an institution based on democratic principles.

“Then, this debate is particularly indispensable for football,” he added.

“We have to take clear and informed decisions on whether we want to continue with the current economic polarization, and the sporting imbalances it brings in its wake, or be willing to rebalance the game in our globalised 21st century.”

FIFA’s Deputy Secretary General between 2002 and 2005, Champagne worked on special projects between 2005 and 2007 and was Director of International Relations from 2007 until he left FIFA in 2010 after political infighting cost him his position.

A former diplomat, since 2010 Champagne has worked as an independent international football consultant focusing on resolving issues in Kosovo, Palestine and Israel and Cyprus.

In 2012 he issued a 26-page 20,000 word document entitled “What FIFA for the 21st Century?” outlying his ideas for reform.

He is married with three children, lives in Zurich and supports French club St Etienne.

(Reporting By Simon Evans, editing by Alan Baldwin)

The secrets of New York’s Island of the Dead

For over a century, Hart Island has been the final resting place of those who died alone and unknown and whose burial had to be organised by the city authorities using prison labour.

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But it’s emerged more recently that some children who die at birth are also being buried there without their mothers’ knowledge.

In a report on tonight’s Dateline on SBS ONE, two of those mothers tell their heartbreaking stories to video journalist Aaron Thomas.

“The nurse came around to get a heartbeat and there was no heartbeat,” Laurie Grant recalls of the stillbirth of her baby 21 years ago.

“At one point a nurse came in and said, what do you want to do about the burial… the city can bury the baby and you would be able to go visit,” Laurie says.

“You have to understand you are on meds and you’re in grief and you’re not exactly 100% yourself…  I have no recall of signing any papers.”

What followed was two decades of Laurie not knowing where her own baby was buried, until she happened to hear a radio report about Hart Island and starting making enquiries.

The island has been home to a hospital, prison and even a missile base, but is currently uninhabited except for the million people buried there since 1875.

“It was kind of a modern approach to organising all of the death that occurred in a big city,” says Melinda Hunt, an artist who started photographing the island and went on to become one of the main campaigners against its secrecy.

“Everybody’s identity is erased essentially and they are in this mass grave that is sort of like the New York City family tomb,” Melinda says.

At present the island is controlled by the New York Department of Correction, which severely restricts access, leading distraught parents to call it the ‘Prison of the Dead’.

But Melinda managed to get enough information to build an online database of burials and ultimately Laurie was able to find the details of where her baby had been laid to rest.

“For me, just the idea of knowing where the baby was was very important,” Laurie tells Aaron.

But so far her efforts to reach the island have been in vain, with a level of bureaucracy Melinda describes as like dealing with the ‘Soviet Politburo’.

“It shows a lack of respect for dignity, human dignity, and I feel that lack of respect,” Laurie says.

However, another mother, MJ Adams, has finally been permitted to visit the island, where her son Juan Carlos was buried after being stillborn 19 years ago.

“Now I have a solid image in my mind of where my baby is buried,” she tells Aaron after her emotional visit. “It’s a really lovely view of looking out across the Long Island Sound… so it gives me a peaceful image.”

Melinda and the mothers are now campaigning to open the island to the public, in the hope that New York’s forgotten may at last have the chance to be properly remembered.

See the full story on tonight’s Dateline at 9.30pm on SBS ONE.

Bali ups security, but knows of no plot

Bali police say they know of no plan to attack the holiday island but they are increasing vigilance as Islamic State (IS) ideology creeps into Indonesia.

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There are concerns Australia’s deployment to the United Arab Emirates, in readiness to fight IS in Iraq, could make Australians a target when holidaying abroad.

Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto says there is no information that terrorists are planning another bombing like those that killed 88 Australians in 2002 and four in 2005.

“So far, there’s no plan we’ve heard of, whether through intelligence or from (Indonesia’s counter-terror squad) Detachment 88,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we’re being cautious.”

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has reportedly ordered authorities to keep a closer eye on foreign nationals in Indonesia after Detachment 88 on Saturday arrested four foreigners suspected of having IS links in a known terror hotspot in central Sulawesi.

The four were first thought to be Turkish but are reportedly Uighurs from China’s restive Xinjiang region who were using forged passports.

Mr Hery says so many foreigners enter Bali daily, “it’s impossible to observe them one by one”.

“It’s difficult, but we have co-ordinated with immigration to check documents more thoroughly, and in hotels we are also doing the same.”

Meanwhile, police in Central Java have tightened security measures at the world famous Borobudur Temple after a threat, apparently inspired by IS, was found on Facebook last month.

The Buddhist monument, a UNESCO world heritage site, was targeted by radicals in 1985.

Search for missing NSW boy continues

As the search for missing three-year-old NSW boy William Tyrell nears the end of the third day authorities and volunteers are beginning to worry about his fate.

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“As time goes on, obviously the survival diminishes,” Superintendent Paul Fehon told Network Ten.

“After three days looking for a young person, I think it’s fair to say we would have liked to have located something at this stage.”

William went missing from the front yard of the home of a relative, believed to be his grandmother, at Kendall, on the mid-north coast, on Friday morning.

The area where police, SES, members of the Rural Fire Service, local surf lifesaving club and several hundred community volunteers are looking for William was expanded on Sunday.

Authorities have been combing bushland for the past few days and on Saturday evening police divers began searching surrounding dams for the boy, who was last seen wearing a Spider-Man costume.

The search will continue throughout Sunday night, following what local police inspector Kim Fehon described as a “critical day,” given William had likely gone without food and water for several days.

“I have briefed all the search teams that they are looking for a small boy who is likely to be curled up and may be covered and have found somewhere to hide,” she told Fairfax.

“At this time we are hoping he is still in a position to respond to being called out to.”

Jenny Atkins, a senior instructor at the Camden Haven Pony Club who’s joined the search, said the volunteer’s mood was “pretty down” and “worried”.

“We’ve had riders going out helping on horse back looking through the thick scrub,” she told AAP.

“It’s rough country, they come back with leeches,” she said.

Since the search began the close-knit community has rallied around William’s grandmother, Ms Atkins said.

“Everyone’s feeling for her,” she said.

“Our community does support each other, we’re very rural.”

William has been described as being of Caucasian appearance, with dark hair and hazel eyes.

A police spokeswoman said there weren’t any plans to wind the search back.

Tiger expects ‘very full’ schedule next season

“I haven’t swung a golf club yet,” said Woods.

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“I’ve just been shadow swinging without a club, but I’ve been busting my butt in the gym pretty hard.

“I’ve got my strength back, which is nice. Now the next goal is to get my explosiveness and my fast twitch going, and that’s the next phase of my training.”

Woods, a 14-times major winner, has struggled to find form since recovering from back surgery in late March and his disappointing performance at the PGA Championship led to only the fourth missed cut of his professional career in a major.

Two weeks after the PGA Championship, Woods ended a four-year alliance with swing coach Sean Foley, whose redesign of the American’s swing failed to produce a major title.

Woods, who worked with Hank Haney and Butch Harmon before joining forces with Foley in August 2010, has no plans to name a new coach.

“Am I looking for a new coach? As of right now, no, I’m not,” the 38-year-old said. “Right now I’m just trying to get physically better, stronger, faster, more explosive.”

“I’m in no hurry to look for one right now. As I said, I’m just focused on what I’m doing.”

Despite sounding upbeat about his recovery from injury, Woods, whose Hero World Challenge benefits his foundation and brings together 18 of the world’s top golfers, did not get into specifics about his playing schedule for next season.

“That’s all dependent on how I feel and how I’m playing when I play in the Hero World Challenge here,” said Woods.

“I’m curious … how I’m going to be feeling, how I’m going to be playing, and if I don’t have any setbacks or any pain, then I foresee a very full schedule next year.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Lovell)