Taiwan’s efforts to prevent ship oil spill

Taiwan has launched a salvage operation to drain the tank of a grounded cargo vessel leaking oil off the coast of northern Taiwan to minimise environmental pollution.

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State-run Central News Agency reports the 15,487-ton Taiwanese cargo ship TS Taipei was stranded on March 10 en route from Hong Kong to Keelung Port in northern Taiwan. All 21 crew members were rescued safely.

However, the ship split in two on Friday and started leaking more oil, as bad weather hampered the clean-up operation. Since then, more than 100 workers had been sent to contain the oil slick contaminating about a 2-kilometre stretch of coast at Shihmen in New Taipei City.

Environmental officials boarded the ship on Sunday to evaluate the conditions for the salvage operation as the weather improved, cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun said. He said, however, the operation was dangerous as the ship could capsize at any time.

According to Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), about 240 tons of fuel oil and 30 tons of lubricating oil remain on the ship.

“It would take several days to complete the operation since it needs preparation and good weather conditions,” Sun told dpa Sunday in a telephone interview.

Sun said that experts from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) had been at the site to offer advice. Two companies, US Resolve and Japanese Nippon Salvage, are ready to help carry out the salvage operation.

Nine cargoes containing dangerous chemical substances on board had been closely monitored, Sun said.

As the site is near a fishing port and a nuclear power plant, environmental experts have warned that potential damage to the ecosystem could last for two to three years, local media reported.

Dean ton puts Vics on top in Shield

He started the season with the most-ever runs by a batsman on first-class debut, but Travis Dean’s final main act of his maiden season could help win Victoria the Sheffield Shield.

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Dean batted for more than five hours on the second day on Sunday, and his 111 helped Victoria reach 4-269 at stumps and achieve a slight edge over their South Australian rivals at Glenelg’s Gliderol Stadium.

They still trail by 71 runs going into the third day, but with seven wickets in hand, Dean’s ton could prove to be even more defining than the two he scored on debut again Queensland at the MCG.

“Hopefully we get the win here and the Shield final one will stand out,” he said.

“That was a long time ago when that happened.

“So I proved to myself and to my teammates (today) that I deserved to be there.”

With the exception of a 67-ball burst where he racked up his second 50, Dean was particularly circumspect on a pitch that offered South Australia’s quicks plenty of movement under low cloud cover.

The 24-year-old lost Rob Quiney (23) early, and became the rock of the innings when Marcus Stoinis (35) became the second man to be dismissed by a short ball from Redbacks quick Daniel Worrall (3-51).

But Dean batted with composure and rarely looked troubled as LBW appeals regularly followed balls beating the bat at the other end.

“I’m a very limited player. I don’t have many shots. I try and stick to my game plan. It’s pretty simple,” he said.

“Play your natural game, which is take time out of the game and face as many balls as I possibly can and … the runs will eventually come.

Dean combined with Peter Handscomb for a vital 140-run third wicket partnership before he edged Redbacks quick Elliot Opie through to wicketkeeper Alex Carey with 10 overs left in the day.

Handscomb, who was dominant off the back foot, remains unbeaten on 79, but the Bushrangers lost captain Matthew Wade to a Worrall inswinger four overs before stumps with the second new ball.

Nightwatchman Scott Boland (five not out) was also lucky to see the close when Worrall had him edging to gully in the second-last over, but the chance was dropped by Sam Raphael.

Earlier, Victorian quick Chris Tremain (3-73) cleaned up the South Australian tail to have the home team dismissed for 340 within the first four overs of the second day.

Alex Ross (72), wicketkeeper-batsman Carey (50) and rookie opener Jake Weatherald (66) hit half-centuries for the Redbacks.

Frenetic AFL suits Port: Hinkley

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley hopes this frenetic, freewheeling AFL footy is here to stay.

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After Port’s comeback 33-point victory against St Kilda in a Sunday shootout, Hinkley welcomes the all-out attack of the opening round.

“I don’t mind the game being fast and frenetic,” he said after Port’s 20.13 (133) to 15.10 (100) win at Adelaide Oval.

“I do mind giving up scores.”

Hinkley’s much-fancied Port took some time to shake a spirited St Kilda who, inspired by ruckman Tom Hickey (57 hitouts, 20 disposals), played with great dash for three quarters.

But after leading by 21 points deep into the third term, Saints coach Alan Richardson accused his players of losing their dare, and subsequently losing the game.

“There was a game that was up for grabs,” Richardson said.

“Port Adelaide went to another level and we didn’t go there. We fumbled, we didn’t cope with the pressure.

“We just lost a bit of dare.”

In contrast, Port cashed in on wildcards Robbie Gray, Chad Wingard and trump recruit Charlie Dixon.

Gray slotted four goals in his influential 26-disposal display, while Wingard (three goals) produced moments of brilliance.

Onballer Brad Ebert (three goals, 25 touches) and Sam Gray (37) were prominent, and former Gold Coast forward Dixon did what he was recruited for – booting 3.3 and adding menace on debut for the club.

“He’s 60 minutes into his season as far as game time (entering) today so he was always going to be a bit underdone,” Hinkley said.

“But by the end of the game, 3.3, and the amount of score we got from his contests was exactly why we brought him here.”

Port’s victory before 44,807 fans came at a cost to fleet-footed Matt White, who hurt a right pectoral muscle.

White will have scans, and Hinkley said he would miss between four weeks and three months “depending on how bad a rupture or whether it’s a slight tear”.

The Power meet arch-rivals Adelaide on Saturday, while St Kilda host the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night.

Dugan centre experiment over: McGregor

He may have scored from out wide, and may forever be the centre of the attention, but Josh Dugan’s experiment on the flanks is all but over.

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St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor confirmed as much after his star provided a clutch try in his side’s 14-12 NRL win over Penrith in Wollongong on Sunday.

Down four with four minutes remaining, Dugan showed why he’s the NSW State of Origin No.1, levelling the scores with a powerful run over former Dragon Jamie Soward and Tyrone Peachey.

And while skipper Gareth Widdop kicked the go-ahead conversion, it was Dugan’s power game as a fullback that forced his coach to signal that, for now, his time as a centre is done.

“His involvement is a lot higher at the back, without a doubt. Josh did well and he’ll be staying at the back,” McGregor said.

“He’s a big game player, and that’s what you like to see from the big players in situations like that. The better players go to the game at times like that, they don’t shy away from it.”

Dugan has previously stated a desire to move to the flanks, and the recruitment of Kurt Mann over the summer allowed McGregor to test the new combination out.

But after the former Melbourne utility flopped in two losses to start the season, the Dragons have since recorded back-to-back wins with Dugan in the backfield.

Over the past fortnight, he has run 401 metres and busted eight tackles.

“It’s something I’m comfortable with and I know my role there,” he said.

“I am always going to try and put myself in spots where it’s going to benefit the team, that’s what I’m trying to do. I love getting my hand on the ball and playing off the back of our forwards.”

Ruthless New Zealand thrash Bangladesh

New Zealand crushed Bangladesh by 75 runs in a World Twenty20 Group Two match at Eden Gardens on Saturday to maintain their 100 per cent record and ensure their opponents exited the tournament without a win in the Super 10 stage.

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New Zealand won the toss and skipper Kane Williamson, who opted to bat on a very dry pitch, struck five fours and a six in his 42 off 32 deliveries to guide his side to 145-8.

Williamson, whose captaincy and team selection have been one of the highlights of the tournament, brought in Nathan McCullum as an extra spinner in place of pacer Adam Milne, and watched his side stroll to an emphatic victory.

“I think going into each game we look to read the wicket as best we can, the opposition as best we can and pick the team that’s best suited,” Williamson told reporters.

“That’s what we’ve done today and we’re going to look to try and continue that.”

Paceman Mustafizur Rahman made life difficult for the Black Caps, taking five wickets for 22 runs, including two off consecutive deliveries in the final over, but ultimately Bangladesh had no answer for New Zealand’s prowess in the field.

Colin Munro set the tone in the second over, running out the in-form Tamim Iqbal on three with a direct hit from short third man and New Zealand picked up wickets at regular intervals to dismiss Bangladesh for 70, their lowest total in Twenty20 internationals.

Mitchell McClenaghan bowled Iqbal’s strike partner Mohammad Mithun for 11 and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner took the wicket of the dangerous Shakib Al Hasan to leave Bangladesh struggling at 31-3 in the eighth over.

Santner saw off Sabbir Rahman with a well-judged catch off a Nathan McCullum delivery in the next over, before Ish Sodhi and Grant Elliot took three wickets apiece to bring the contest to a speedy conclusion.

Leg-spinner Sodhi got Soumya Sarkar stumped on six and deceived Mahmudullah with a googly on five, before getting tail-ender Al-Amin Hossain out for a duck.

Medium-pacer Elliot used the slower ball to good effect, bowling Mushfiqur Rahim for a duck and getting Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza lbw for three. Rahman was caught behind by Luke Ronchi immediately after hitting the only six of Bangladesh’s innings.

“There is no doubt that New Zealand have always been a tough side, especially in the World Cup. They have already proved it in their last three matches and I just want to wish them luck in the semi-finals,” Mortaza said.

Afghan breakthrough win hailed by coach

Afghanistan coach Inzamam-ul-Haq believes his team’s triumph against World Twenty20 title contenders West Indies on Sunday could bring more opportunities to compete against test playing nations.

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“No doubt it’s a very big win for us,” former Pakistan captain Inzamam said.

“Today’s win is a signal that this team can do much better if it gets more opportunities against big nations.”

It was Afghanistan’s first victory in T20s and one-day internationals against test playing nations – apart from Zimbabwe.

Afghanistan scored 123-7 before its spinners restricted West Indies to 117-8 for a six-run victory, handing the Group 1 leaders their first defeat in four matches.

Seasoned offspinner Mohammad Nabi and 17-year-old legspinner Rashid Khan baffled the West Indies with identical figures of 2-26 while left-arm spinner Amir Hamza, who bowled with the new ball, contained the opposition with a miserly four-over spell to finish with 1-9.

“Afghanistan has talent, skill and passion, and the more we play against big teams, the more we will learn and give such performances,” Inzamam said.

Afghanistan qualified for the Super 10 after beating Scotland, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe – all on the same turning wickets at Nagpur. It bowed out of the tournament with a solitary victory after providing tough opposition for Sri Lanka, England and South Africa.

The three victories in the qualifying stage gave Afghanistan “home” advantage over West Indies, which also struggled at times against South Africa in Nagpur on Friday.

“We knew this ground better than the West Indies because we had won all our qualifying matches here and it’s like a home to us,” Inzamam said.

Afghanistan attracted much neutral support while competing against accomplished teams in their four group matches.

Captain Asghar Stanikzai scored 62 off 47 balls as Afghanistan posted a respectable 153-7 in the opening Group 1 match, with Sri Lanka reaching its target with only seven balls left.

Afghanistan lost its second match to South Africa by 37 runs but not before opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad scored a swashbuckling 44 off 19 balls in pursuit of South Africa’s 209.

Afghanistan’s best chance of a win came when it reduced England to 85-7 in the 15th over before Moeen Ali hit an unbeaten 41 as England went on to win by 15 runs.

“We didn’t lose any games in a one-sided manner,” Inzamam said.

“The team always believed in itself and we could have been standing somewhere else in this tournament had we won against England and Sri Lanka.”

IS driven out of Syria’s Palmyra city

Syrian government forces have driven Islamic State fighters out of Palmyra, the army says, inflicting a major defeat on the militants who seized the desert city last year and dynamited its ancient temples.

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The army general command said in a statement on Sunday it had restored security and stability to the city in an operation it said showed that IS was beginning to retreat and collapse.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were still clashes on the eastern edge of Palmyra, around the prison and inside the airport, but the bulk of the IS force had withdrawn and retreated east, leaving Palmyra under President Bashar al-Assad’s control.

Syrian state-run television broadcast from inside Palmyra on Sunday morning, showing largely deserted streets and several badly damaged buildings.

It quoted a military source saying Syrian and Russian jets were targeting IS fighters as they fled, hitting dozens of vehicles on the roads leading east from the city.

For government forces, the recapture of Palmyra opens up much of Syria’s eastern desert stretching to the Iraqi border to the south and the IS heartland of Deir al-Zor and Raqqa to the east.

It follows a three-week campaign by the army and its allies on the ground, backed by intensive Russian air strikes, aimed at driving IS back.

Russia’s intervention in September turned the tide of Syria’s five-year-old conflict in Assad’s favour. Despite Moscow’s announcement that it was pulling out most military forces two weeks ago, Russian jets and helicopters carried out dozens of strikes daily over Palmyra at the height of the clashes.

Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said 400 IS fighters died in the battle for Palmyra, which he described as the biggest single defeat for the group since it declared a caliphate in areas of Syria and Iraq under its control in 2014.

The Observatory said around 180 government soldiers and allied fighters were also killed in the campaign to retake Palmyra, which is home to some of the most extensive ruins of the Roman empire.

IS militants dynamited several monuments last year, and Syrian television broadcast footage from inside Palmyra museum on Sunday showing toppled and damaged statues, as well as several smashed display cases.

Syria’s antiquities chief said this week that other ancient landmarks were still standing and pledged to restore the damaged monuments.

“Palmyra has been liberated. This is the end of the destruction in Palmyra,” Mamoun Abdelkarim told Reuters on Sunday.

US couple confirmed killed in Brussels

An American husband and wife missing since the suicide bombings in Brussels have been confirmed to have died in the attacks, according to family members and their employers.

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Justin and Stephanie Shults, Belgium residents originally from Tennessee and Kentucky, were last seen dropping off her mother at the Brussels airport shortly before the check-in area was rocked by a powerful explosion on Tuesday, one of three blasts that took at least 31 lives.

“Today we learned from Stephanie Shults’ family that she and her husband, Justin, were among those killed in the attack on the Brussels airport,” Mars Inc, Stephanie Shults’ employer, said on its Facebook page.

“We are mourning the loss of our colleague and friend. Our hearts and thoughts are with their families, and with all those who are suffering during this terrible time,” the company said.

Justin Shults’ brother, Levi Sutton, remembered the slain man in a post on Twitter.

“He was smart and kind and generous. I never met a single person who didn’t like him. He worked hard his whole life and achieved goals that most could only dream about,” Sutton said in the post.

Of Stephanie Shults, he said: “Stephanie was always so happy. I really enjoyed any chance I got to be around her. The world lost two amazing people today. It’s not fair.”

Justin Shults was employed by Clarcor Inc, a Tennessee-based filtration system company.

“We grieve with his family and continue to offer our support as they mourn this unimaginable loss,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.

Family members of the couple had been among those waiting anxiously for word of their loved ones following the attacks at the airport and a metro station in Brussels.

On Friday two Dutch siblings who lived in New York, Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, were confirmed to be among the dead.

Sanders gains momentum with primary wins

Fresh from Democratic presidential primary wins over the weekend in three US states, Bernie Sanders claims to have garnered the political momentum that he says could help him win the backing of Democratic power brokers in his race against Hillary Clinton.

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Sanders easily won nominating contests in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii on Saturday. His latest remarks reflect his plan to chip away at Clinton’s commanding lead in the number of delegates needed to win the party’s nomination.

Interviewed on Sunday by US broadcasters, Sanders said Democratic “super-delegates,” who can change their allegiance, might rally behind him because some polls suggest he has a better chance than Clinton of beating a Republican candidate.

“Momentum is with us. A lot of these super-delegates may rethink their position with Hillary Clinton,” said Vermont Senator Sanders on CNN’S State of the Union news program.

About 85 per cent of the votes at the July 25-28 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where a party nominee will be chosen to face the Republicans in the November 8 election, are being determined by state nominating contests.

The other 15 per cent is held by party power brokers who are free to vote as they like, meaning they could hold the key in a tight contest. Super-delegates include party leaders and elected senators, members of the US Congress, and governors.

After Saturday’s contests, the former secretary of state led Sanders by just under 300 pledged delegates in the race for the 2382 needed to be nominated. Adding in the support of super-delegates, Clinton had 1712 delegates to 1004 for Sanders, according to a tally by RealClearPolitics长沙桑拿按摩论坛,.

The US senator from Vermont needs to win up to two-thirds of the remaining delegates to catch Clinton, who will keep piling up delegates even when she loses under a Democratic Party system that awards them proportionally in all states.

Sanders said party leaders in states where he has won decisively will come under pressure to back him whether they have pledged to support Clinton or not.

Stars shine as Eagles thrash Lions

Matt Priddis, Josh Kennedy and Nic Naitanui have led West Coast to a 64-point round one AFL victory over the Brisbane Lions at Domain Stadium.

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Coming off a grand final appearance in 2015, the Eagles weren’t expected to be troubled by the lowly Lions and cruised to the 26.10 (166) to 15.12 (102) victory.

Brownlow Medallist Priddis had a field day with 29 first half possessions and 43 for the day to go with 12 clearances.

Naitanui was a powerful force in the ruck opposed to Stefan Martin with 22 touches, six marks and 46 hit outs.

Josh Kennedy dominated up forward with Brisbane sorely missing an ill Daniel Merrett.

Kennedy kicked eight goals from 25 possessions and 16 marks.

Josh Hill and Jamie Cripps both kicked three goals apiece for the Eagles.

Eric Mackenzie returned from a knee reconstruction to be outstanding down back while Andrew Gaff also had 33 possessions, Luke Shuey 30 and former Lion Jack Redden 25.

Allen Christensen and Lewis Taylor kicked three goals each for Brisbane while No.2 draft pick Josh Schache kicked two on debut as did former Cat Josh Walker.

The recently re-signed Daniel Rich was terrific with his left-foot kicking a highlight. He had 23 possessions, two goals and 11 tackles.

Tom Bell, Ryan Bastinac and Tom Rockliff worked hard for Brisbane while Mitch Robinson had a mixed day, appearing to injure a calf late and also getting reported for rough conduct in the second quarter.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan might be happy with the more attacking style and 41 goals kicked, but Eagles coach Adam Simpson not so much.

“It was a weird game and Gil’s got his request. High-scoring footy was at its best,” Simpson said.

“I’m not entirely happy with the defence. We conceded 100-odd points from 43 entries and that’s not good enough.”

Lions coach Justin Leppitsch was happy with his team’s approach but wants an improvement in turnovers.

“I thought our style of play was much better,” Leppitsch said.

“We actually won scores from stoppages well but the difference in the score was from turnovers.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit but at least we are playing with a bit of flair and we’ll continue that.”

Injuries: West Coast: Nil. Brisbane: M Robinson (calf), D Merrett (ill) replaced in selected side by C Beams.

Reports: Brisbane: M Robinson (Brisbane) for rough conduct on X Ellis (West Coast) in the second quarter.