Calm De Villiers leads South Africa to win over New Zealand

The visitors, who had looked to be cruising to victory at 117-1 with 14 overs remaining courtesy of Quinton de Kock’s 69, lost four wickets in 14 balls to slump to 126-5 before Chris Morris helped his captain in a 30-run partnership.

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South Africa needed 22 runs from the final two overs and scored 10 from Trent Boult in the penultimate one which included a six from Phehlukwayo, who repeated the feat against Tim Southee in the final over.

De Villiers belted Southee for four off the penultimate ball to clinch the victory.

New Zealand made 207-7 after heavy rain over the past three days had forced a delay of more than three hours and reduced the match to 34-overs-a-side.

“It was really tough out there,” De Villiers said. “The wicket turned so much in the evening. I thought it would skid on and get a bit flatter.

“From past experience this becomes a good batting track in the evening and this was far from it.

“I’ve never seen a wicket turn so much in my life.”

New Zealand struggled for much of their innings particularly up front against tight bowling from Morris, who took the first four wickets as the hosts slumped to 82-4 in the 16th over.

But Morris, who had figures of 4-24 from his first five overs, was then taken apart by Colin de Grandhomme (34 not out) and Southee (24 not out) in his final two.

De Grandhomme and Southee blasted 51 runs from 23 balls, including smashing 38 runs from Morris’s final 12 deliveries to blow out his figures to 4-62 from seven overs.

“Bit of a shame really. We got ourselves into a good position but credit to South Africa, they adapted really well,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who top-scored for his side with 59.

“We weren’t perfect with the bat but we felt that 5-1/2 a half an over would be tough to get on that surface and we had enough to make life difficult.”

The second match is in Christchurch on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Napier; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Ed Osmond)

Italy’s Renzi sparks leadership battle

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Party (PD), opening the way for a leadership fight when he will take on foes who are threatening to rip apart the centre-left group.

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Battling for his political life, Renzi made clear he would seek re-election and warned that the PD’s internal feuding was proving a gift to its main opponent in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

Ten years after its foundation, the PD is on the cusp of a schism that risks bringing yet more political instability to the euro zone’s third largest economy, which has been mauled by years of recession, high unemployment and towering debts.

PD dissidents, including former leader Pierluigi Bersani, say the party has shifted too far from its leftist roots. Renzi’s supporters say they are driven by personal animosity and are looking to expand their influence in a period of flux.

“The only word worse than ‘schism’ is the word ‘blackmail’. … To ask me to leave is not democratic,” Renzi told a party assembly in a smart Rome hotel, confirming he would stand again for the PD leadership that he first won in 2013.

He did not announce when the ballot would be held, but allies say he is keen to hold it before local elections in June, fearing defeat for the PD then could sink his chances.

Renzi quit as prime minister in December after losing a referendum on his plans for constitutional reform and he is eager to hold a national election as soon as possible in an attempt to regain power.

His opponents want parliament to carry on until the scheduled end of its term in early 2018, arguing that the PD needs time to draw up a more left-leaning manifesto that bolsters welfare spending and offers no favours to big business.

Recent opinion polls have put the PD neck-and-neck with the 5-Star Movement, founded by Beppe Grillo, which wants a referendum on Italy’s euro membership.

“Oh Beppe, what a fine present we are offering you by only talking about ourselves,” Renzi said.

Many commentators had expected the dissidents to announce their breakaway movement on Sunday, but they held back from the brink, preferring instead to keep on pounding at Renzi.

If Bersani and his friends do form a new party, polls say they could win well over 5 per cent of the vote. With the next election likely to be held under proportional representation, such a result could give them more power in the next parliament than if they remain in a Renzi-dominated PD.

It’s game on for Libs and Labor in WA

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has urged voters to re-elect him and his “bold and brave” plans, while Mark McGowan says Labor’s in it for the long haul and should replace an out-of-touch government.

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The two major parties launched their election campaigns simultaneously in Perth on Sunday, with Labor’s mantra of “put WA jobs first” and the Liberals’ of “getting the job done” roundly embraced by their faithful.

With the opposition having dominated the polls for more than a year, a new ReachTEL survey released the day before declared the election a 50-50 proposition on a two-party preferred basis.

The spirits of many Liberals who thought they were destined to lose were lifted by the result, with WA Federal Minister Christian Porter declaring the contest “game on”.

“As the election goes on my sense is it is getting closer and closer now people are focused on the parties’ policies and candidates,” Mr Barnett said.

The Liberals got another boost when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said ahead of arriving in Perth that Canberra wouldn’t allow a McGowan government to axe the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link project and then divert federal funds for its own $2.54 billion Metronet train system.

Mr Barnett, seeking a third term after eight-and-half years, walked out to the Daft Punk song One More Time and told voters “don’t settle for mediocrity” ahead of the March 11 vote.

“We’ve got three weeks ahead of us, it’s going to be fought out on the ground seat-by-seat but we’re in this and we can win this election and we will,” he said.

Mr McGowan entered Perth Arena to AC/DC’s TNT and said WA could not afford another four years of the Barnett government, which had let the state “drift onto the sharp rocks of an economic recession”.

He said he would not be bullied or intimidated by Mr Turnbull threatening to take away Commonwealth funding.

“Colin Barnett and (deputy premier) Liza Harvey just don’t understand how hard they’ve made it for working families … an arrogant and out of touch government,” he said.

“Western Australia needs a premier who is energised and in it for the long haul.” Mr Barnett says he will step down during the next term of government if he wins.

There is pressure on Mr Turnbull while he is in Perth this week to keep his promise to set a “floor” in GST revenue, which has fallen to about 30 cents in the dollar in WA.

The lack of GST revenue WA gets was described as the “one major financial” issue by Mr Barnett behind its record deficit and debt woes.

There was a personal element at the Liberals’ launch, with footage of Mr McGowan sweating at a press conference.

“On Starship WA, we need the real McCoy, not a slimy, sweaty McGowan,” Mr Porter quipped.

IKEA apologises for male-only catalogue

IKEA Israel has apologised for distributing a brochure that only contains male models.

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The catalogue contains scenes including a man standing by a bookshelf with an open book in his hands and two boys sitting on a rug, and a man pouring orange juice into a cup in the kitchen with two boys sitting at a table.

“Designed especially for you,” the text read in Hebrew.

The catalogue raised concern on social media and prompted a response from IKEA Israel.

In 2012 Ikea was forced to apologise over removal of women from Saudi Arabia catalogue; 5 years later they do it again, this time in #Israel

— Catherine Weibel (@CatherineWeibel) February 16, 2017

A spokesperson explained in a statement published on Swedish website The Local that the brochure was “customised specifically for the Haredi community in an attempt to reach this minority community in Israel with messages of our home furnishings offer”.

The Haredi community, who practice ultra-Orthodox Judaism, adhere strictly to Jewish laws. 

In ultra-orthodox Judaism there is an emphasis on gender segregation.

But the spokersperson added that the brand realised “that people are upset about this and that the publication does not live up to what IKEA stands for, and we apologise for this.

“We will make sure that future publications will reflect what IKEA stands for and at the same time show respect for Haredi community.”

The largest population of orthodox-Jewish people are in Israel, followed by the US, according to independent research institute the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

For its ultra Orthodox customers, Ikea Israel has issued a catalogue from which images of women are entirely absent. 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/Z3SWwA4Dsh pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/wpIhmOqQes

— Lisa Goldman (@lisang) February 16, 2017

US senators eye new sanctions on Iran

US Republican senators plan to introduce legislation to impose further sanctions on Iran, accusing it of violating UN Security Council resolutions by testing ballistic missiles and acting to “destabilise” the Middle East, a US senator says.

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“I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Munich Security Conference.

Graham said he and other Republicans would introduce measures to hold Iran accountable for its actions.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since an Iranian ballistic missile test that prompted US President Donald Trump’s administration to impose sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the country’s Revolutionary Guards.

“Iran is a bad actor in the greatest sense of the word when it comes to the region. To Iran, I say, if you want us to treat you differently then stop building missiles, test-firing them in defiance of UN resolution and writing ‘Death to Israel’ on the missile. That’s a mixed message,” Graham said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told the conference earlier on Sunday that Iran did not respond well to sanctions or threats.

James Jones, a former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and President Barack Obama’s first national security adviser, told a separate event in Munich that he remained convinced that sanctions had persuaded Iran to negotiate the 2015 landmark deal with six world powers to curb its nuclear program.

“The sanctions did work. Iran would never have come to the negotiating table without sanctions,” Jones said. “This is a new form of response that if properly utilised can change behaviour and get people to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t do.”

Senator Christopher Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the same panel there was nothing preventing Congress from imposing sanctions beyond those that were lifted as a result of the 2016 nuclear agreement with Iran.

Murphy, a Democrat, said had backed the nuclear deal in the explicit understanding that it would not prevent Congress from taking actions against Iran outside the nuclear issue.

“There’s going to be a conversation about what the proportional response is,” Murphy said, referring to Iran’s missile test. “But I don’t necessarily think there’s going to be partisan division over whether or not we have the ability as a Congress to speak on issues outside of the nuclear agreement.”

Murphy said the United States needed to decide whether it wanted to take a broader role in the regional conflict.

“We have to make a decision whether we are going to get involved in the emerging proxy war in a bigger way than we are today, between Iran and Saudi,” he said.

Renshaw, Maxwell fall cheaply in tour game

The identity of David Warner’s opening partner for Australia’s first Test against India remains unclear after a drawn tour game in Mumbai, where Matt Renshaw missed a golden chance to impress.

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Renshaw and Glenn Maxwell’s selection hopes both took a hit on Sunday, when they were out cheaply in Australia’s second innings against India A.

Frontline spinner Nathan Lyon finished with four wickets but was carted for 57 runs in a miserable six-over burst at Brabourne Stadium, leaving coach Darren Lehmann with plenty to think about.

Mitch Marsh is expected to edge Maxwell in the battle for the vacant No.6 spot on Thursday, when the four-Test series starts in Pune.

Maxwell was out for one after being promoted to first drop in Australia’s second innings, while he didn’t bowl until the 69th over of India A’s innings.

But the question of whether Renshaw, Shaun Marsh or Usman Khawaja will open alongside Warner is more vexed.

Incumbent Renshaw lasted 21 minutes at the crease on Sunday, scoring a total of 21 runs from two knocks in the squad’s only tune-up before the first Test.

Lehmann last month floated the prospect of Renshaw being dropped despite scoring 184 at the SCG in his most recent Test.

Subcontinent specialist Shaun Marsh scored a ton at Brabourne Stadium on Friday to all but confirm his Test recall.

Marsh opened in his past two Tests, notably scoring a ton in Colombo last year as Australia crashed to a 3-0 series loss against Sri Lanka.

Khawaja, the only batsman left out of the XI for the tour game, could also open if selectors want to axe Renshaw but leave Marsh in the middle order.

“For me it’s about preparing and getting ready for the Test myself and then once the team is announced, then we work as a partnership,” Warner said, having logged scores of 25 and 35 in Mumbai.

“When you’re young and come into this environment, you’re going to be thrown a a lot of ideas.

“I just said to him (Renshaw): keep it simple, and you’re going to have learn and learn fast.”

Australia were 4-110 at stumps on the final day of the three-day contest.

Steve O’Keefe was unbeaten on 19, having spent over two hours at the crease and batted at No.4.

O’Keefe grabbed three wickets from his 24 overs, helping clean up the tail with Lyon.

Lyon recorded figures of 4-162 in 28.5 overs as India A scored 171 runs in Sunday’s frenetic morning session.

Shreyas Iyer tormented Australia in an unbeaten knock of 202.

It was No.8 batsman Krishnappa Gowtham, with a first-class batting average of 19.63 prior to his knock of 74, who led the assault on Lyon.

“That’s their mentality, to apply a bit of pressure on our spinners,” Warner said.

“I thought he bowled very well.”

Despite the mauling it would be a major shock if Lyon didn’t play the first Test against India.

Ship’s North Pole trip to decipher climate

A daring attempt to send a research vessel completely trapped in ice across the North Pole could lead to more accurate weather and climate forecasts, say scientists.

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Stranded and unable to move, the RV Polarstern will be carried by slowly flowing ice as the bitterly cold and constantly dark Arctic winter closes in.

During the year-long 2500km voyage, teams of scientists – protected from polar bears by armed guards – will take measurements and make observations that have never been possible before.

The bold venture, called MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate), echoes a famous polar expedition more than a century ago.

In 1893, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen tried to reach the North Pole by allowing his vessel, the Fram, to freeze in place and drift with the ice.

He and his crew eventually abandoned the ship, which continued to drift past the pole, emerging between Greenland and the Svalbard island group in what is now known as the Fram Strait.

While Nansen’s goal was the Pole, the purpose of the 50 million euro ($A69 million) MOSAiC expedition being undertaken in 2019 is purely scientific.

Fifty institutions from 14 countries, including the UK, US and Russia, are taking part in the project.

Knowledge gained from the expedition could transform our understanding of climate change and even help forecasters improve their predictions of weather in the UK, said Prof Rex, speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

What happens in the Arctic, where climate change is occurring faster than anywhere else on earth, has a major impact on the weather in northern Europe and North America. Yet the forces at work are not well understood because gaining access to the region to carry out ground-based studies is so difficult.

“There are many, many really small scale processes which affect the climate on a regional and global scale in the Arctic which we can’t observe from a satellite,” said Prof Rex.