Ball-tampering scandal: David Warner faces the media after fallout from sandpapergate. REPORT & VIDEO;

Warner and wife Candice arrive home with their daughters late on Thursday nightAn emotional David Warner has faced the music over the ball-tampering scandal – in a teary press conference in Sydney this morning.

Warner, labelled the mastermind behind the whole incident, spoke to a packed room at the Sydney Cricket Ground reading from a prepared statement.

He repeatedly apologised to the people of Australia and cricket fans and said he took ‘full responsibility, for his part’ in the scandal that has rocked Australian cricket.

“I apologise for my actions and I take full responsibility for my part in what happened at day 3 in the Newslands Test.

“To Cricket Australia I apologise for my actions and the affect it has had on our game under your care and control.

“To the fans and the lovers of the game that have inspired me on my journey in the game of cricket … I’ve let you down badly,” he said.

He went on to say that he was backing a review in to the culture in the national team’s set up and conceded that while he would jump at the chance to play again for Australia that that was now unlikely.

“To all Australians, cricket fan or not I apologise for my actions…

VIDEO via Ball-tampering scandal: David Warner faces the media after fallout from sandpapergate

Cronulla beats Melbourne in penalty-marred match, South Sydney scores comeback win over Bulldogs

Nelson Asofa-Solomona of the Storm and Paul Gallen of the Sharks square off at the end of the game.Cronulla Sharks have upset Melbourne 14-4 in one of the most dour affairs of the NRL season, marred by a massive penalty count.

The Sharks rattled the premiers from start to finish but the wash-up will centre on referees Matt Cecchin and Alan Shortall who blew 30 penalties.

On another three occasions Storm players were marched 10 metres for back-chat.

External Link: Sharks v Storm summary
The game — which ended on a sour note with both sides grappling with each other and squaring up as the cheerleaders celebrated the Sharks’ win 30 metres away — will place further scrutiny on NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and referees boss Bernie Sutton and their crackdown on infringements.

The game was a stop-start affair with the Storm failing to cross for a try despite the home side giving away 14 penalties.

Both sides were frustrated by persistent whistleblowing and referee Cecchin finally ran out of patience when he sin-binned Storm skipper Cameron Smith for dissent.

External Link: Sharks v Storm chalkboard
Smith was last year mockingly labelled “referee Cameron Smith” by Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and the 13,196-strong crowd was whipped into a frenzy when he was banished to the sheds for back chat.

Centre Will Chambers was also put on report for a grapple tackle late in the game.

The Sharks ran out winners after a try-less second half with three Chad Townsend penalty goals and a Joe Stimson penalty goal the only times the scoreboard attendant was bothered during the second stanza.

External Link: Sharks v Storm stats

via Cronulla beats Melbourne in penalty-marred match, South Sydney scores comeback win over Bulldogs – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Sixteen Palestinians killed, hundreds injured as ‘Land Day’ protest begins along Israeli border

Israeli soldiers are seen on one side of the fence as Palestinian protesters gather on the other.At least 16 Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured by Israeli security forces confronting one of the largest Palestinian demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border in recent years, Gaza medical officials have said.

Key points:
Tens of thousands of Gazans, including families with children, gather along the border as clashes unfold
Israeli troops fire live bullets and tear gas at Palestinians on the other side of the fence
Protesters are demanding that Palestinian refugees be allowed the right of return to towns and villages from which their families fled in 1948
Tens of thousands of Palestinians, pressing for a right of return for refugees to what is now Israel, gathered at five locations along the fenced 65 kilometre frontier where tents were erected for a planned six-week protest, local officials said. The Israeli military estimate was 30,000.

A day in an occupied life

Palestinians in the West Bank have now spent 50 years under Israeli military control, and their daily lives are full of checkpoints, walls and patrols.
Families brought their children to the encampments just a few hundred metres from the Israeli security barrier with the Hamas Islamist-run enclave, and football fields were marked in the sand and scout bands played.

via Sixteen Palestinians killed, hundreds injured as ‘Land Day’ protest begins along Israeli border – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Arnold Schwarzenegger stable after undergoing heart surgery. Waking up with the words “I’m back”

Arnold Schwarzenegger poses looking stately in a suit.Actor and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger underwent heart surgery to replace a valve that was originally replaced 20 years ago, waking up with the words “I’m back” in a twist on his catchphrase, a spokesman said.

The original replacement pulmonic valve, which Schwarzenegger received in 1997, outlasted its life expectancy, so the former California governor chose to have valve replacement by catheter, spokesman Daniel Ketchell said in a statement on Twitter.

He was recovering and in stable condition at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, the statement said.

The 70-year-old Schwarzenegger “is awake and his first words were actually ‘I’m back,'” Mr Ketchell said.

Schwarzenegger’s character famously says, “I’ll be back” in his breakthrough role in the 1984 movie The Terminator.

Born in Austria, Schwarzenegger won the Mr Universe bodybuilding contest five times and Mr Olympia seven times before turning to acting, starring in action movies such as Conan the Barbarian and Commando.

via Arnold Schwarzenegger stable after undergoing heart surgery to replace valve – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

South Africa v Australia: Fourth Test in Johannesburg, day one

Chadd Sayers pumps his fist while yelling.Two wickets late on day one from Aussie debutant Chadd Sayers have given Australia hope on a day of stellar South African batting to start the fourth and final Test of the series.

First blood definitely went to the hosts, with Aiden Markram’s fourth Test century the highlight as they powered to 6-313 at stumps.

The 23-year-old opener took over as the series’ leading run-scorer en route to his highest Test score of 152, before Australia’s best bowler, Pat Cummins (3-53), finally had him caught in the gully.

It was the first of two in two balls for Cummins, who had Faf du Plessis out LBW the next ball when the captain shouldered arms to an in-swinger.

Double-wicket overs appeared to be the thing to do, so Sayers (2-64) got in on the act in the fifth-last over of the day, nabbing the key wicket of AB de Villiers (69) and night watchman Kagiso Rabada (0) in the space of three balls.

Temba Bavuma (25 not out) and Quinton de Kock (7 not out) managed to make it through to stumps unscathed.

via South Africa v Australia: Fourth Test in Johannesburg, day one live blog – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Mueller just connected a top Trump campaign staffer to Russian intelligence

Paul Manafort, the former chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had a long professional relationship with a man connected to Russian intelligence. And special counsel Robert Mueller says that man, Konstantin Kilimnik, was still working with Russian intelligence in 2016, when Trump was running for president.

Kilimnik had worked with Manafort since 2005, helping with Manafort’s clients in Ukraine, and continued to talk with Manafort’s team during the election.

Mueller’s team made the link public on Wednesday, saying that Kilimnik was still working with Russian intelligence when he was communicating with the Trump team in September and October of 2016.

It’s the closest connection to date between Trump’s campaign staff and Russian intelligence, with Mueller’s team already digging deeply into Manafort’s past businesses.

Mueller’s team is investigating 2016 Russian election meddling, but has expanded to cover President Donald Trump’s business dealings in Russia, and contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russians.

Kilimnik and Manafort also exchanged a series of emails during the 2016 presidential campaign about helping a Russian billionaire. The two used code words, but investigators believe Manafort was offering to provide “private briefings” to Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is reportedly very close with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kilimnik, born in Ukraine, previously served in the Russian Army as a linguist. According to Politico he had told a “previous employer of a background with Russian intelligence.”

The Mueller link between Kilimnik and Russian intelligence comes from court documents filed in the case of a lawyer who worked with Manafort and Rick Gates.

The lawyer, Alex Van der Zwaan, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in February. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team had interviewed Van der Zwaan about his work in the early 2010’s with Manafort and Gates, Manafort’s long-time right hand man.

via Mueller just connected a top Trump campaign staffer to Russian spying – Vox

‘Swinging’ parents accused of drugging, sexually abusing 8yo daughter

A woman holding a pillow across her face walks with police across a road near a park.Western Australian Police have launched a major investigation into the suspected sexual abuse of at least five young children during organised sex activities with groups of adults.

The investigation was launched last month after police obtained footage allegedly showing an eight-year-old girl being sexually abused by her mother, stepfather and a male friend of the pair.

The trio, aged between 39 and 56-years-old, have been charged with a total of 23 offences, including sexual penetration and indecent dealings with a child.

Officers searched six properties in Perth and one in the Pilbara on Thursday and three more people were arrested in connection with what police have described as alleged organised group sex activities, or swinging…

via ‘Swinging’ parents accused of drugging, sexually abusing 8yo daughter – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)