Harrison beats Basilashvili for first ATP World Tour title

But he proved unbreakable in the clutch, digging out of trouble time and again before securing the title with an ace down the middle on the indoor hardcourt in Tennessee.

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“I was overwhelmed with emotion there at the end of the match,” the 24-year-old from Louisiana said in a teary on-court interview.

Harrison, a former teenage prodigy who turned pro in 2007, had seen his form and ranking declined in recent years.

“I was fortunate to have a great start on the tour at a young age and after a lot of setbacks, and a few years of having my ranking drop a little bit, you get to a point where you’re not quite sure and you really don’t know if you’re ever going to achieve some of those things you always wanted to achieve, one of those being winning an ATP title,” he said.

“So for me to be where I am now, and where I was seven-or-eight months ago, and feeling like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s surreal. I honestly can’t believe it.”

Harrison, who won every set he played the entire tournament without facing a tiebreak, will jump into the top 50 in the world rankings, after starting the tournament ranked 62nd.

The hard-hitting Basilashvili, meanwhile, could only lament failing to convert any of his 10 break point opportunities in the second set.

The world number 67 was seeking to become the first player from Georgia to win an ATP World Tour title.

But his prodigious power proved a double-edged sword in the final, as he made unforced errors in a baseline battle.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Gene Cherry)

Proteas late show snatches ODI win vs NZ

AB de Villiers has smashed a boundary with the second-last ball to give South Africa a four-wicket one-day international win over New Zealand.

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Set a target of 208 for victory in the reduced-overs match in Hamilton, de Villiers smacked Tim Southee straight down the ground to pinch victory at the death.

But the 33-year-old skipper couldn’t have done it without the help of Andile Phehlukwayo’s quick-fire 29, including one critical final-over six off Southee.

Southee, who had previously impressed with the bat himself, was tasked with limiting the world No.1 ODI side to fewer than 12 runs in the final over.

But he couldn’t secure the dot balls required, with New Zealand going 1-0 down in the five-game series.

The match had earlier been delayed by three hours due to rain.

“It’s a little bit of a shame really,” skipper Kane Williamson said.

“We fought hard but it wasn’t a great performance from us, so we’ll have to do better next time.”

The loss will be all the harder for New Zealand to take after batting first and overcoming a middle-order collapse to hit 7-207 off 34 overs.

Williamson scored a clinical 59 off 53 deliveries at first-drop, before some lower-order ball-bashing produced 49 runs in the last three overs.

Southee scored 24 off 13, including three boundaries and a six, while Colin de Grandhomme cleared the ropes three times on the way to 34.

The pair’s 50-run partnership in 23 balls forced the Proteas to score 6.08 an over for victory, which they approached gradually on a quick-turning wicket.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock pounded the deep-point boundary on his way to a half-century off 47 balls before partner Hashim Amla went for 35.

Faf du Plessis was soon after trapped LBW by Ish Sodhi for 14 and de Kock was dismissed by Trent Boult for 69.

JP Duminy and Farhaan Berhadien were then knocked over in successive Southee deliveries.

The four wickets in 14 balls put the Black Caps on the front foot, and after a brief rally Morris skied Santner to Boult at long-off for 16.

But South Africa couldn’t be discounted with de Villiers at the crease, and alongside Phehlukwayo he guided his side home.

“I thought we adapted exceptionally well,” de Villiers said.

“The wicket turned so much in the evening.”

The two sides will clash again in the second ODI in Christchurch on Wednesday.

Regional community disappointed by government’s rejection as resettlement location

Syrian doctor Ricardo Al Khouri says living in Armidale feels just like home.

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He moved to the regional community in northern New South Wales with his wife and two children 10 years ago.

“Armidale is maybe the best town I have lived in Australia,” said the local GP.

“I would never imagine myself living in a big city, no way. I was born in Homs which is a city but in my time it wasn’t crowded.”

When the government announced it was taking in 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in 2015, he thought it was the perfect opportunity to welcome those from his old hometown to his new one.

“Everything you need is around and people are very friendly.  People are very open-minded to foreigners I think it is a very important point. When you come and you have an accent it is very obvious that you are a stranger and you need people to be patient with you.”Syrian doctor Ricardo Al Khouri enjoys living in Armidale with his family.SBS

It is a view shared by many in Armidale including former Mayor Herman Beyersdorf.

He raised the issue with the Armidale Council who unanimously supported a decision to apply for the town to be a refugee resettlement location.

Mr Beyersdorf said the community was well-equipped to take in refugees especially when it comes to education and settlement services.

“We have a world-class university, a TAFE, a regional hospital, we have quite a few schools – primary and secondary, and one of the schools actually has English lessons for primary and secondary children which is being used by migrants and refugees.”

He added there were also services such as the Northern Settlement Services and Sanctuary which have successfully looked after refugees in the past.

Yet the Department of Social Services rejected the Council’s application to be a resettlement location saying it is unsuitable.

“I was told Armidale was not currently on the list for Commonwealth resettlement which is a pity and there was no explanation as to why we’re not, despite what we considered to be our suitability,” Mr Beyersdorf said.

“Later in the same letter it says that the government is committed to the humanitarian migrant intake for regional and rural areas. Well that just seems to be a contradiction.”

The Department said a large proportion of the entrants are settling close to a relative or personal connection within Australia.

Others are located where there are specific settlement services, employment opportunities, and the potential for harmonious settlement of specific groups.

But the community has an ally in the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

“In the New England area we are very proud of the fact we’ve got no problems, of course we will open our arms to refugees, course we will. And I’m only too happy about them going to places such as Armidale and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure they are welcome there,” said Mr Joyce, the Member for New England.Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has been supportive of Armidale as a place to welcome refugees.AAP

It’s not the first time Armidale has opened its arms to refugees.

In 2003, the town took in African refugees from South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia and many still live there.

Armidale Business Chamber CEO Tracy Pendergast said there are many jobs available for incoming refugees from unskilled work at the local tomato farm to skilled work at the University of New England.

She emphasised there is also an untapped potential for refugees to explore entrepreneurial endeavours.

“We have a lot of self-employment and a lot of ways of encouraging people to start their own business and I think that is something that would have been of benefit to the incoming refugees,” Ms Pendergast said.

The five countries that account for three quarters of world’s heavy weapon exports

Between 2012-2016, arms imports in terms of volume by countries in Asia and Oceania accounted for 43 percent of global imports, a 7.

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7 rise compared to the previous 2007-2011 period, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

“Transfer of major weapons in 2012-16 reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of” the Cold War, the independent institute said in a statement. 

The share of Asia and Oceania in international imports was slightly higher (44 percent) between 2007 and 2011.

The share of countries in the Middle East and the Gulf monarchies jumped from 17 per cent to 29 per cent, far ahead of Europe (11 per cent, down seven points), the Americas (8.6 per cent, down 2.4 percentage points) and Africa (8.1 per cent, down 1.3 points).

“Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities”, said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. 

“Despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions,” he added. 

Sipri said worldwide arms imports and exports over the last five years have reached a record level since 1950. 

Saudi Arabia was the second largest importer of weapons in the world (up 212 percent), behind India, which unlike China, does not have a production at national level yet. 

The United States remains the top weapons exporter with a 33 percent market share (up 3 point), ahead of Russia (23 percent, down 1 point), China (6.2 percent, up 2.4 points) and France (6.0 percent, down 0.9 points) passing Germany (5.6 percent, down 3.8 points). 

These five countries account for almost 75 percent of global exports of heavy weapons.

France’s boost in the export ranking is a result of important contracts signed with Egypt, which acquired Mistral-style warships and Rafale combat aircraft. 

Aude Fleurant, head of the armaments program at Sipri, told AFP that “competition is fierce among European producers” with France, Germany and Britain in the lead. 

The United States and France are the main weapons providers for the Middle East while Russia and China are the main exporters to Asia.

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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.