Crusaders snatch late win over Sharks

A late try to captain Kieran Read has carried the Crusaders to a tense 19-14 win over the Sharks in Durban, leaving no unbeaten teams in Super Rugby.

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The South African side suffered their first loss, starved of possession by a dominant Crusaders forward pack who bossed the scrums and snatched a swag of lineout possession.

However, the visitors failed to translate their dominance into points, eventually needing Read’s try in the 72nd minute to see off the stubborn hosts, whose two tries were long-range, opportunistic scores to winger Lwazi Mvovo.

The Sharks record drops to three wins, one draw and a loss while the Crusaders have now won three in a row after dropping their opening match against the Chiefs.

It also means New Zealand teams are unbeaten in their last 11 games against offshore opponents in the expanded competition.

The Crusaders cause wasn’t helped by sloppy goalkicking display from first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga, who missed four of five shots, including three handy penalty chances.

His one success was the conversion of a 25th-minute try to fullback David Havili, who capitalised on a slick offload from winger Nemani Nadolo.

Mvovo levelled the scores 7-7 just before halftime when he intercepted Mo’unga’s pass and raced 60m.

The speedy winger was at it again just after the break, pouncing on a loose ball 40m out and outpacing the cover defence.

The Crusaders’ hopes appeared to nosedive when Havili was shown a yellow card for a relatively innocuous push off the ball.

However, they responded with a try to Nadolo and nearly had another to wing Johnny McNicholl from long range but centre Kieron Fonotia put his foot on the touchline.

It took a short pass from Ellis to put Read across, cracking a Sharks defence which hadn’t conceded a second-half try in any game this season.

The Crusaders’ tour continues with games against the Lions and Force.

Southern Stars through to World T20 semi

The Southern Stars have advanced to the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a little help from New Zealand.

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Australia crushed Ireland in their final pool game, restricting the winless minnows to 7-91 then hauling in the target in 13.2 overs with seven wickets in hand at New Delhi.

South Africa could have leapt into second spot on the group A table if they defeated both NZ and Sri Lanka.

But the White Ferns walloped South Africa on Saturday night by seven wickets, ushering themselves and Australia into the knock-out phase of the tournament.

The Southern Stars, shooting for a fourth straight T20 title, will return to Feroz Shah Kotla for Wednesday’s semi.

England, currently the top-ranked side in Group B, are their most likely opposition.

“It’s always a good match-up whenever we play England,” Megan Schutt said, having been named player of the match against Ireland after grabbing figures of 3-29.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a game when either of us has blown the other out of the park.

“No matter what the conditions are, we will both have to adapt, but I think it will be a cracking game.”

It will be Australia’s third World T20 match at the ground, while England are yet to play at the venue during this tournament.

“Obviously it’s a bit of an advantage to see the ground before the opposition,” Schutt said.

Ireland, who finished the tournament without a victory, briefly threatened to cause a boilover after losing the toss.

Clare Shillington and Cecelia Joyce belted Australia’s attack, powering their side to 0-33 in the fifth over.

Schutt created the initial breakthrough when Shillington popped up a catch to Beth Mooney at mid-off.

Legspinner Kristen Beams and left-arm tweaker Jess Jonassen both recorded miserly figures of 0-14 from four overs.

“Our bowlers really set the tone early. They certainly got away in the powerplay but I thought we dragged it back really nicely,” skipper Meg Lanning said.

Alyssa Healy and Lanning fell cheaply but Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry shared a 54-run stand.

Lanning was confident her side was hitting form at the right time in the tournament, having banked two wins following a six-wicket loss to NZ.

“We’ve got some really good momentum over the last couple of games. Our batting has clicked a lot more,” she said.

“Semi-finals are always tough … anything can happen.”

Self-belief key to sinking Smith: Kohli

India maestro Virat Kohli has implored his teammates to attack with self-belief when they’re bowling to Steve Smith.

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Kohli and Smith, two of the best batsmen in the world, will play a big part in deciding whether Australia or India advance to the World Twenty20 semi-finals.

The two sides clash at 1am AEDT on Monday at Mohali in a virtual quarter-final.

Smith isn’t capable of muscling the ball over the rope with ease but a captain’s knock of 61 not out against Pakistan was a reminder of his immense value in the format.

“Top quality players around the world do tend to have answers for them more often than not. You just have to make life as difficult as possible for them and take up the challenge,” Kohli said of Smith.

“(Think that) yes he is a very good player. He’s a world-class player but I’m going to get him out today.

“It’s all about the mindset.

“How you prepare for a particular game and how much you believe you can actually get the opponent out. I believe it all boils down to that.”

Smith and Kohli both dominated the 2014-15 Test series in Australia, scoring four tons each.

“It’s just one of those things. It just happens sometimes you can get on a bit of a roll against an opposition and you’re hard to stop,” Smith said earlier this month.

“If we come up against India again it’d be nice to get on that sort of roll.”

Kohli has likewise saved his best for Smith’s side.

The 27-year-old’s average against Australia is better than his overall average in all three formats.

“They play with a lot of passion and I believe in playing the same way so I like that challenge,” Kohli said.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing against Australia but … you just can’t sit in your dressing room thinking that if it’s Australia I’m going to end up scoring runs.

“You still have to respect the conditions, the bowlers.”

Kohli added that Smith played an underrated role in T20 cricket.

“Smith gives them that solidarity in the middle overs. Which is great for any team,” he said.

“You can have a person who can play the least number of dot balls and still keep the scoreboard ticking, while the others are having a go at a few bowlers.

“It always helps.”

Qatar’s Al-Jazeera faces widescale cyber attacks in wake of latest UAE rift

“Al Jazeera Media Network under cyber attack on all systems, websites & social media platforms,” it said on Twitter.

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A later statement from the broadcaster said the attack occurred after a fortnight of increased cyber activities, aimed at its network.

“Today, we’ve noticed a significant increase in cyber attempts targeting our users and systems,” read the statement.

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“Our teams have been working diligently to ensure all of our users are protected and systems are operating normally.”

Following the initial reports of a cyber attack, some viewers in the region said they could no longer receive Al-Jazeera television.

Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours, who accuse the broadcaster of bias and fomenting trouble in the region.

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The alleged cyber attack comes during a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf, which has seen Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and other allies cut ties with Qatar.

They severed relations over what they said is Doha’s alleged financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival.

Long-running tensions broke out into the open last month after Qatar claimed its state news site was hacked by unknown parties who posted “false” statements attributed to the emir in which he speaks favourably of Iran and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

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The remarks were widely reported as true across the region.

Earlier this month, Qatar said the FBI was helping it investigate the source of the alleged hacking.

Subsequently there was a media report suggesting that Qatar had been targeted by Russian hackers – a claim dismissed by Moscow.

WATCH: UAE’s Minister for Foreign Affairs on Qatar rift

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Loss proves India not invincible: Kohli

India captain Virat Kohli says his team are not invincible after the defending champions allowed Sri Lanka to chase down a target of 322 to win a pulsating Champions Trophy match at The Oval.

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India, inspired by Shikhar Dhawan’s superb 125, racked up a healthy total of 6-321 but Sri Lanka knocked off the runs with eight balls left to leave Group B wide open.

All four teams in the section have two points going into the last round of games in which India play top-ranked South Africa on Sunday and Sri Lanka meet Pakistan on Monday.

“I think Sri Lanka played really well,” Kohli told a news conference following his team’s seven-wicket loss.

“The other teams are also champions and that needs to be kept in mind. We are not invincible.”

India had beaten Sri Lanka in 14 of their last 17 one-day internationals, including the last five.

India’s bowlers struggled to contain the Sri Lankan batsmen, however, as Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis shared a second-wicket partnership of 159 before captain Angelo Mathews steered his team home with a composed unbeaten 52.

“We all felt we had enough on the board at the halfway mark,” Kohli said.

“We trusted our bowlers, but they (Sri Lanka) were pretty good on the day. Kept their momentum going and executed their shots really well. Our bowlers bowled decently, but they batted really well.”

Kohli blamed poor execution as India’s bowlers took only one wicket, the other two Sri Lankan wickets coming from run-outs as they achieved the highest successful run chase in the tournament’s history.

“There is always hindsight when you don’t win games. As I said we bowled decently well, but the execution wasn’t quite there,” added Kohli, who was out for a duck to complete a bad day for one of the world’s leading batsmen.

“Obviously, there is food for thought but you have got to give credit to other teams as well. You don’t take any team lightly. It’s going to be like this throughout the tournament and we don’t expect anything less.”

Arrest made in Melbourne anti-terror raids linked to siege

A man has been arrested and a fake shotgun found during dawn counter-terrorism raids in Melbourne linked to the Brighton siege.

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About 150 state and federal police and ASIO agents raided properties around the city in a bid to find out who gave Yacqub Khayre the gun he used to kill a man and injure three police officers on Monday.

Properties in Ascot Vale, Glenroy and Gladstone Park were raided on Friday about 5am, with a 32-year-old man taken into custody and two others, aged 31 and 51, interviewed.

“I want to make perfectly clear, we haven’t yet uncovered anybody with links to terrorism who are associated with the offender from the Brighton attack,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters on Friday.

“We believe these persons may be involved in the provision of firearms in respect to this matter that were used by the offender.

“They are not persons of national security interest. They are, however, persons who are known to us through their criminal history.”

Australian Federal Police (AFP) attend an address at Ascot Vale, Melbourne, Friday, May 9, 2017. (AAP)AAP

Entry was forced at the Ascot Vale flat, which had no one inside, and police are currently searching it for evidence.

At a second raid in Glenroy, five people were in the house and police took a 32-year-old man into custody, where he is currently being interviewed by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team.

He suffered a graze to his face during the arrest, police say.

Police are speaking to a father and son in relation to the Gladstone Park raid, where the imitation shotgun was found.

The raids relate to “aiding and abetting commission of engagement into terrorist acts”.

A witness said at least 20 police had been “running around” on a major road, including Special Operations Group officers.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the raids are connected to the siege in which Khayre shot and killed Chinese-born Kai Hao and held an escort hostage before dying in a hail of bullets.

“We’re obviously limited in what we can say, we don’t want to put any of our operational staff in harm’s way by speaking about these matters, but they are in connection with the terrible tragic events of Monday in Brighton,” Mr Andrews told Sky News.

At least half a dozen officers remain at the Ascot Vale unit bagging items as evidence, while AFP officers are at a property in Flemington.

Others officers are inside the home on Churchill Ave, putting evidence into bags.

A crime scene has been established around a black Toyota Celica without number plates and a blue Mazda 3, while a police helicopter hovers above Flemington.

Victorian Premier on Brighton Raids

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Chimps are not people: New York court

Chimpanzees do not deserve the same rights as people, a New York state appeals court has unanimously concluded before refusing to order the release of two of the animals to a primate sanctuary.

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The 5-0 decision by the Appellate Division in Manhattan on Thursday is the latest defeat for the Nonhuman Rights Project and its lawyer Steven Wise in a long debate over whether caged chimpanzees are actually legal “persons” entitled like humans to bodily liberty.

Tommy and Kiko, the chimpanzees in question, are held by private owners in upstate New York.

Citing experts like British primatologist Jane Goodall, the Nonhuman Rights Project said chimpanzees and humans share many behavioural, cognitive and social capabilities.

It said this entitled chimpanzees to many of the same rights, including against improper detention, and sought “habeas corpus” relief to win freedom for Tommy and Kiko.

But the shared capabilities “do not translate to a chimpanzee’s capacity or ability, like humans, to bear legal duties, or to be held legally accountable for their actions,” Justice Troy Webber wrote for the appeals court.

“While petitioner’s avowed mission is certainly laudable, the according of any fundamental legal rights to animals, including entitlement to habeas relief, is an issue better suited to the legislative process,” Webber wrote.

Thursday’s decision upheld rulings by state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe in Manhattan.

The Nonhuman Rights Project was not immediately available for comment.

Wise also tried unsuccessfully to win the release of the chimpanzees Hercules and Leo from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. They later moved to Louisiana after the school decided to stop using them for research.

Tommy’s and Kiko’s cause drew support from Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe in a friend-of-the-court brief.

According to the decision, Tribe suggested that nonhuman animals could face legal duties, citing a “long history, mainly from the medieval and early modern periods, of animals being tried for offenses such as attacking human beings and eating crops.”

Webber, however, said none of the cited cases were recent or from New York, and that chimpanzees’ inability to defend themselves or take sufficient responsibility explains why those that kill or seriously injure humans are not prosecuted.

‘Lies, plain and simple’: Comey says Trump fired him to undermine FBI Russia investigation

During almost three hours of blockbuster sworn testimony to a Senate panel, Comey described himself as “stunned” by Trump’s “very disturbing” and “very concerning” behavior during several private meetings.

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Expanding on the bombshell statement released on the eve of his appearance, Comey said the president asked him for “loyalty” during a White House dinner and to lay off former national security advisor Mike Flynn — who is under criminal investigation — imploring Comey to “let this go.”

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” he told senators. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal.”

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Detailing private talks with a sitting president, which under normal circumstances would never see the light of day, Comey said he took painstaking notes of the extraordinary encounters for fear Trump might “lie” about the meetings.

Comey indicated that it was now up to a high-powered special prosecutor to determine whether the president’s behavior constituted an obstruction of justice, a potentially impeachable offence.

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Trump avoided directly responding to the explosive accusations, defiantly telling supporters at a religious event in the capital: “We are going to fight and win.”

But the White House hit back angrily at Comey.

“I can definitely say the president is not a liar and frankly am insulted by that question,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

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Easing months of speculation Comey did confirm that Trump was not personally the subject of a counterterror or criminal probe when he left the FBI last month.

The probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has ensnared close aides of the president and has vast-ranging political and geopolitical implications.

Watch: Comey concerned Trump ‘may lie’

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‘Lies, plain and simple’

After solemnly raising his right hand and vowing to tell the whole truth, a visibly aggrieved Comey kicked-off his testimony with a bid to set the record straight about the state of the bureau he led until he was sacked last month.

“Although the law requires no reason at all to fire an FBI director, the administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the work force had lost confidence in its leader,” he charged.

“Those were lies plain and simple,” Comey said, firing a shot of tension through hearing room 216 of the Senate’s Hart building, which stood silent except for the shutter clicks of a phalanx of photographers, there to capture this moment of pure political theater.

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Thursday’s hearing started with a call for unity of purpose.

“We are here because a foreign adversary attacked us right here at home. Plain and simple,” said Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Senate Intelligence Committee, in opening remarks.

“Not by guns or missiles, but by foreign operatives seeking to hijack our most important democratic process — our presidential election.”

But the pretence of bipartisanship soon fell away.

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Democrats are intent on determining whether Trump’s actions amounted to obstruction of justice, while Republicans have zeroed in on Comey’s admission he assured the president he was not personally an FBI investigation target.

Republicans also pounced on Comey’s admission that he leaked personal notes on his meetings with Trump to prompt the naming of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia probe.

That prompted Trump’s son Donald junior to describe Comey sarcastically as a “classy guy.”

SO TRUE: He was more than willing to leak something against @realDonaldTrump but not something that exonerates him? Classy guy 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/UqTtp3b6Nm

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) 8 June 2017

A private lawyer for Donald Trump denied Comey’s bombshell allegations, and suggested the ousted lawman should be prosecuted for leaking “privileged information.”

The president, said Marc Kasowitz, “never told Mr. Comey ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance,” rejecting a key allegation made by the sacked FBI director before a Senate panel Thursday.

Rejecting key parts of Comey’s damning testimony while claiming others as a win for the president, Kasowitz also suggested Comey may face prosecution.

“Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he leaked to friends his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified.”

“We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated.”

WATCH: Trump’s lawyer disputes Comey claims

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‘Very disturbing’

Trump abruptly fired Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on May 9, admitting later that the Russia probe was on his mind at the time. 

In his written statement, Comey described his mounting discomfort in the weeks leading up to his dismissal as Trump pulled him aside in one-on-one encounters and in phone calls to press him on the probe into Trump campaign associates and possible collusion with a Russian effort to tilt the 2016 vote in the Republican’s favor.

At a private White House dinner on January 27, just days after the billionaire took office, Comey said Trump appeared to want to “create some sort of patronage relationship” with him.

“The president said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey said.

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In an Oval Office tete-a-tete the following month Comey said Trump pressed him to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn, who had been fired for lying to the vice president about his unreported conversations with the Russian ambassador.

And he described trying to insulate himself and the FBI from political pressure in the weeks before Trump fired him, as the president complained about the Russian probe and labeled it “fake news.”

RELATED READINGTrump ‘vindicated’ by Comey

Networks and cable news stations provided blanket coverage of the hearing, and a number of bars in Washington were opening early, with TVs tuned to live broadcasts of the hearing — one of them offering free drinks every time Trump tweets about Comey.

At Shaw’s Tavern where the menu featured an FBI breakfast of French Toast with maple syrup, hundreds watching fell silent as Comey entered the hearing.

‘There’s been so much media hype, it’s good to actually hear this from the source,’ said Sadie Cornelius, 33. “It’s good to hear the facts.”

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Democrats have been quick to draw parallels with the Watergate scandal, when president Richard Nixon, facing impeachment for obstruction of justice, was forced to resign in 1973.

But the White House and Trump’s allies have sought to put a positive spin on Comey’s revelations.

“The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda,” said Marc Kasowitz, hired by Trump as his personal lawyer to deal with issues linked to the Russia investigation, after Comey’s statement was released.

Ryan says ‘Trump is new to all this’

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Chinese ‘slap therapist’ agrees to NSW extradition from UK

The 53-year-old was arrested at a London airport in April on an outstanding manslaughter warrant and has been held in custody as NSW Police sought his extradition.

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In Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday Xiao consented to extradition and was refused a third bail application.

Xiao appeared in a glass booth in the court and was handed an extradition form after being warned he could not appeal once he had signed it and would be sent to Australia “in the shortest possible time”.

The case will now go to the UK’s Secretary of State for approval of his extradition, and it could be some weeks before Xiao is flown to Sydney.

The therapist promotes the controversial practice of Paida Lajin in which slapping the skin aims to release toxins from patients.

The six-year-old boy, a type-1 diabetic, died after he was found unconscious in a Hurstville hotel in April 2015 after his parents took him to a self-healing conference conducted by Xiao.

The boy suffered a cardiac arrest, it was reported at the time.

His parents and grandmother were arrested earlier this year and granted conditional bail after being charged with manslaughter.

The court on Thursday heard that Xiao was also being investigated by UK police over the death of a 71-year-old woman who had undertaken his slapping therapy.

The judge declined a bail application by Xiao, saying there was no way to ensure he would not continue his therapy workshops and commit acts “which at the moment are said to have led to the deaths of two people”.

He also said an offer of increased bail security of 70,000 pounds ($A120,000) for Xiao from his ex-wife in the US only increased his risk of flight to another jurisdiction from where he could not be extradited.

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Check-up Medical Column for June 9

A weekly round-up of news affecting your health.

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MUMS WITH MULTIPLE KIDS AT GREATER RISK OF WEIGHT GAIN

Women pregnant with baby number two or beyond are at a greater risk of dangerous weight gain compared to first-timers, new Australian research has found.

Professor Helen Skouteris, from Deakin University’s School of Psychology and the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, says their study showed women who’ve already had one or more children are entering pregnancy at a significantly higher BMI.

“Each successive birth adds an average of one kilogram of post-partum body weight above what would normally be gained with age,” Professor Skouteris said.

While “it’s not rocket science”, there still needs to be greater awareness about unhealthy pregnancy weight.

Approximately 50 per cent of Australian women enter pregnancy either overweight or obese.

“You’re not eating for two and unless ordered by your doctor, you don’t need to put your feet up all day.

“These kinds of old wives tales are not relevant today,” said Prof Skouteris.

The findings were published in journal Obesity Reviews.

FRUIT-BASED SUGAR HELPS HIT THE SWEET SPOT

Swapping table sugar for fruit-derived sugar may be a healthier option when watching your waistline.

Researchers from the University of Canberra’s Health Research Institute examined the short-term and long-term effects of swapping sucrose or glucose for fructose, the sugar found in many fruits, vegetables and honey.

The research, which has been published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found blood glucose and insulin levels were lower after consuming food or drink that contained fructose instead of sucrose or glucose.

University of Canberra Adjunct Professional Associate and senior author of the report Dr Kerry Mills said in the short-term study, the reduction in blood glucose was far greater in people who were overweight or had diabetes than in those with normal blood glucose levels.

“The sharp rise in blood glucose after eating glucose and sucrose is a risk factor for diabetes. Fructose, on the other hand, has to be converted by the liver before it can affect glucose concentrations in the blood,” Dr Mills said.

“Because this conversion takes time, it’s impossible for the body to receive the near-instant sugar hit we get from sucrose or glucose. This reduces blood glucose levels, which is particularly important for people with diabetes, who must monitor and control these levels.”

While consuming too much sugar is advised against, Dr Mills says the results show healthier choices when it comes to sugar intake can make a difference for people with diabetes.

TOO MUCH EXERCISE RISKS A LEAKY GUT

A review has found people who exercise excessively may be prone to acute or chronic gut issues.

Investigators found with increasing intensity and duration of exercise, there is a proportional increased risk of gut damage and impaired gut function.

Specifically, the cells of the intestine are injured and the gut becomes more leaky, allowing pathogenic endotoxins normally present and isolated to the intestine to pass into the bloodstream.

This scenario is referred to as ‘exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome’ and may lead to acute or chronic health complications, warn researchers at Monash University.

Research leeder Dr Ricardo Costa says exercise stress of more than two hours at moderate intensity (60 per cent VO2max) appears to be the threshold whereby significant gut disturbances arise, irrespective of an individual’s fitness.

Running and exercising in hot ambient temperatures appear to exacerbate gut disturbances.

The review also found patients who have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease may find low to moderate physical activity beneficial.

“Despite excessive exercise being confirmed to compromise gut integrity and function, we have identified several exacerbating factors which can be controlled, and several prevention and management strategies that can attenuate and abolish the damage and compromised function,” said Dr Costa.

CONSUMERS CAUTIONED OVER BACK PAIN APPS

Researchers have found smartphone apps for treating back pain have questionable value as they are generally of “poor quality” and have not been rigorously evaluated.

Low back pain is a major global public health issue and the leading cause of disability in most countries.

In response to this, there are now more than 700 apps in the Australian iTunes and Google Play stores that use the keyword “back pain”.

It remains unclear, however, if any of them are effective, warns research fellow and physiotherapist Gustavo Machado from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.

A review of 61 apps, published in Best Practice & Research: Clinical Rheumatology, found they offered questionable information, lacked engaging and customisable features and had poor visual appeal and questionable credibility.

“Developers usually claim consumers could rapidly improve back pain symptoms by following their exercise programs. However none of the apps have been directly tested for their effectiveness and only very few provide the educational content and information that is key to guideline recommendations,” said Mr Machado.

Surfstitch rejects key shareholder probe

Embattled online sport clothing retailer Surfstitch has refused to answer a major shareholder’s questions put to it in an open letter because, it says, they are “speculative”.

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The open letter from Crown Financial, which made a failed takeover bid for the retailer last year, says Crown is deeply concerned about Surfstitch’s recent trading halt.

“SRF is in a precarious position and disclosure to the market to date has been superficial at best,” Crown said in the letter, which was released to the ASX by Surfstitch.

Surfstitch said it has been fully compliant with its statutory and regulatory disclosure obligations.

Among a list of 18 questions, Crown asked Surfstitch whether it expects to be solvent by the end of the year, what its restructure plan is, and which assets is the company planning to sell.

Surfstitch refused to respond, saying many of Crown’s questions would require disclosure of detailed financial, strategic and management information.

“Many of these questions are speculative or would require the company to comment on ongoing or incomplete negotiations,” Surfstitch said in a statement.

Crown Financial, which has a more than five per cent stake in the retailer, has also called for an extraordinary general meeting to vote on removing Surfstitch’s newly installed chair Sam Weiss from the board.

It has also taken legation action against Surfstitch over content sharing deals.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is also investigating Surfstitch’s disclosures in connection with the content sharing deals.

Surfstitch went into a trading halt in late May after shareholders launched a potential $100 million class action.

The action launched by law firm Quinn Emanuel in Queensland’s Supreme Court accuses Surfstitch of making misleading statements and forecasts of its 2015/16 earnings.

The company last traded at 6.8 cents a share, significantly lower than its peak of $1.90 a share in December, 2015, and is expected to resume trade when it reports its full-year results in August.

Vixens out to prove they’re Giant killers

Captain Kate Moloney says the Melbourne Vixens know what to expect from Giants Netball and she backs her team to thrive in the do-or-die setting of a Super Netball elimination final.

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The Vixens are undefeated at their usual home of Hisense Arena this season but suffered a one-goal loss across the road at Margaret Court Arena last week to allow the Sunshine Coast Lightning to advance to the grand final as hosts.

For finishing as minor premiers, the Vixens received a second chance in the finals and face a fast-finishing Giants side in Melbourne on Saturday night.

The Giants tipped Collingwood out last week.

Moloney said the Giants would rate their chances of going all the way to the decider after chasing down a sizeable fourth quarter deficit to run out one-goal victors against the Diamond-studded Magpies.

“We expect the Giants to absolutely come out firing this weekend, they’re going to be super confident after their win against Collingwood,” Moloney told AAP.

“I think every final, and especially this one this weekend, it’s like a grand final.

“We saw it in the Giants Magpies game, there is that increased intensity and that increase in physicality that comes with the game.

“I’m expecting the intensity to step up again and that’s what we want. As netballers, we play to play finals. I can’t wait to get out there and hopefully win.”

Midcourter Moloney said the Vixens had done their homework on the Giants since their round 12 loss away in Canberra and would be ready to put it all on the line, facing elimination for the first time.

In the Vixens attacking department, goal attack Tegan Philip’s steely confidence and accuracy far out from goal could prove as a potential game-breaker.

Philip is shooting at 84 per cent accuracy for the season, with many of her shots coming from outside 2.5m.

“We get so much confidence from Tegan because you feed her the ball and she’ll turn and shoot from anywhere and most of the time they’re going in,” Moloney said.

“That provides us with a lot of scoreboard pressure for the other team.”

The winner will advance to play Lightning in the grand final at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday, June 17.

Gold Coast wary of Tuivasa-Sheck threat

In spite of his $1.

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2-million man returning to the fullback role, Gold Coast NRL coach Neil Henry admits he has been pre-occupied with a rival No.1.

Jarryd Hayne has been named at fullback after playing in the centres as the Titans prepare to take on the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.

But Henry says containing Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be vital to his team’s chances of beating their New Zealand-based rivals.

The Kiwi fullback has been one of the competition’s best, running for a whopping 1938m with 41 line breaks to his name already this season.

“Their fullback is very, very quick – they have some big wingers and rely on them heavily for their carries, it’s going to be a big job for us,” Henry said.

Adding to the fear factor of the Warriors’ back three is their strong record at Robina.

They have won their last six games at the venue and beaten the Titans in 12 of their last 13 fixtures.

Both sides have been inconsistent this year in the NRL and sit level on the leaderboard with Gold Coast looking to break a two-game losing streak.

The Titans are likely to be without Tyrone Roberts, who has been shunted out of the fullback position for Hayne but also injured his shoulder earlier this week and was not at training on Friday morning.

They welcome back NSW State of Origin Origin hooker Nathan Peats who missed last week’s loss against North Queensland after corking his thigh in the Blues win over Queensland.

It’s likely to be the Titans’ first game of the season where Henry has all his key players in place for 80 minutes.

After an injury-riddled start to the season, the coach’s plan will finally come to fruition with Ash Taylor and Kane Elgey in the halves, Jarryd Hayne at fullback and Nathan Peats as hooker.

STATS THAT MATTER:

– The Titans have beaten the Warriors only once since 2010.

– The Warriors have lost all six away matches this season.

– Gold Coast’s Ashley Taylor currently leads the NRL this season in try assists with 19, he has five more than the next best.

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