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Conflicting reports on NSW Taser victim who died in custody

A NSW man who died in custody after being tasered was reportedly battling an addiction to ice and had been on a bender.

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Police officers used capsicum spray and then a Taser to subdue 38-year-old Kevin Norris at a McDonald’s restaurant in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands on Sunday night.

The roof tiler was then taken to Bowral police station where he later slumped to the ground and died.

His brother says he had just started turning his life around.

But Mr Norris’s girlfriend said he was addicted to ice, and had been on a bender in the days running up to his sudden death.

“Off that drug he was so beautiful it wasn’t funny,” she told the Seven Network.

“He looked after me so well.”

She told the Nine Network he had been on a three day ice binge and threatened to kill her before he left their house, ending up at the nearby McDonald’s.

Mr Norris’s younger brother, David, criticised the police tactics used.

“I don’t think the sort of punishment he got was appropriate,” David told AAP.

“I’ve lost all respect for police officers.”

Mr Norris had just moved to Mittagong from Gunning, about 130km away, to be with his girlfriend who lived near the restaurant.

“He had problems his whole life, mixing with the wrong crowd,” David said.

“But a couple of years ago he started getting his life back on track and doing well for himself.

“He was working every day, got a licence, got his first car.”

Police firstly received a call about a nearby domestic incident on Sunday and were then called to the McDonald’s after reports of a man being troublesome and disruptive.

Up to five police officers went to the restaurant with two sustaining minor injuries from a physical altercation.

“Police … used capsicum spray and eventually had to Taser the man to get control of him,” Assistant Commissioner Gary Worboys said.

Mr Norris was handcuffed at the restaurant and was conscious when he arrived at the police station, Mr Worboys said.

Police and ambulance officers tried to resuscitate him after he collapsed but were unsuccessful.

Mr Worboys said CCTV would form an important part of the investigation as there weren’t many witnesses.

“There’s no doubt there will be footage from the fast food restaurant, indeed the police station,” he said.

An autopsy is expected to be carried out in the next couple of days.

“It is a tragic set of circumstances and our thoughts go out to his family and friends,” Mr Worboys said.

“And also to the two police officers who are recuperating.”

After initially stating Mr Norris had not been known to police, a spokesperson informed the media on Monday afternoon they had actually had previous contact with him.

A critical incident investigation has been launched.

Australia adopts ‘Daesh’ terminology

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has decided to follow the lead of other Western leaders and rebrand the self-proclaimed Islamic State with an acronym they despise.

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After talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Mr Abbott has started using the name Daesh.

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic spelling of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

Greg Dyett reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

Tony Abbott’s decision to use the acronym comes a few months after the French Foreign Minister Lauren Fabius called on the media to use Daesh because he says the name Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists.

The United States government started using the term late last year.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry used the terminology at a summit in Brussel of the US-led coalition of nations fighting the Islamic State militants.

“We have made already significant progess in two and a half months but we also acknowledge there is a lot more work to be done. Daesh is still perpetrating terrible crimes.”

At a news conference at the Pentagon last month, Lieutenant General James Terry explained why he had started using Daesh.

“Daesh is a- it’s a term that our partners in the Gulf use. It speaks to a name that’s very close to ISIL in Arabic and it also speaks to another name that means ‘to crush underneath your foot’.” And so it’s a regional acronym for Daesh and I would just say that our partners, at least the ones that I work with, ask us to use that because they feel that if you use ISIL you legitimise a self-declared caliphate.”

The Islamic State hates the use of the acronym not least because of those negative connotations and has promised to remove the tongues of anyone who dares to speak it.

The Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations welcomes the Prime Minister’s adoption of the acronym.

Director Kuranda Seyit says a change in terminology will have positive results.

“There is a perception that Islam is a problem and I think that it’s very important that we try and avoid associating Islam as a religion in general with these criminal acts or these terrorist acts so it’s really important that the terminology we use coming from particularly the title of the organisation and the names used all the way down to the connotations that we represent through the media. So it’s really important that we do change the way we refer to these organisations because it will help in alleviating some of the strains that the Muslim community are going through at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draw opens up for Stosur after shock exits

Sam Stosur’s hopes of reaching the latter stages of the Sydney International have been given a huge boost after the shock exits of Caroline Wozniacki and Flavia Pennetta opened up her side of the draw.

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Wozniacki, who would have met Stosur in the second round with a win over veteran Czech Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, forfeited Monday’s match midway through the second set due to a wrist injury.

World No.12 Pannetta, who has been a nemesis for Stosur throughout her career, holds a 5-0 record over the Queenslander and the pair could have met at the quarter-final stage.

However, the Italian lost 6-3 7-6 to unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.

Stosur recorded her first win in Sydney since 2011 with a 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-3 victory against world No.16 Lucie Safarova and she believes it is the tonic she needs ahead of next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

It was the first time in seven encounters she’s beaten the 2014 Wimbledon semi-finalist.

Rain twice took Stosur and Safarova off court in the opening set and windy conditions made it difficult for both players ,but the Australian held on to win in just over three hours on Ken Rosewall Arena.

“The stop-start kind of spinning rain and the wind was really tricky out there,” Stosur said.

“It wasn’t like a constant breeze. It was going all different directions.

“You mix that with a quality opponent down the other end, and it was certainly a really tough match. I am very happy to get through that one.”

Stosur crashed out in the first round in Brisbane last week and the 30-year-old said coach Simon Rea had given her some ideas about ending her wretched run against the Czech left-hander.

“Simon brought a couple different things to the table and we spoke about that,” she said.

“I think it was the last six or seven times I have lost to her, even though a lot of those have been very close.

“He obviously thought I should try something different and kind of change what I was trying to do on return a little bit.”

Stosur is in a great position to progress to the quarter-finals after Wozniacki’s withdrawal, but the former French Open champion said world No.29 Zahlavova-Strycova, who she has never faced before, is a dangerous opponent.

“I don’t think I’ve played her but she had one of her best seasons ever last year,” she said.

“I guess I can enjoy this for a little bit and be back at it tomorrow.”

Australian world No.68 Jarmila Gajdosova, who was given a wild card for the tournament, shocked the 13th-ranked Anna Petkovic of Germany 6-1 7-6 to reach the second round.

Buoyant Lyon keep feet on ground after climbing to top

Lyon, who gradually dropped out of sight after clinching seven consecutive top-flight titles from 2002, were 17th in August after losing their first three games.

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But Alexandre Lacazette’s rise as a top-notch striker helped them climb up the ladder as everything fell into place for a team essentially made of home-grown players.

Eight starters in Sunday’s 3-0 home win against Toulouse come from Lyon’s youth academy, including France striker Lacazette.

Lacazette has scored 19 goals from 20 games, a tally last reached after 20 round of matches in the French top flight by PSG’s Vahid Halilhodzic in the 1984-85 season.

Lyon have been producing some free-flowing football to leapfrog their rivals and reach a tally of 42 points from 20 games.

The road to an eighth Ligue 1 title is still a long one, however.

“I do remember where we come from. If we are less rigorous, we can expect another month of August,” defender Christophe Jallet warned in French sports daily L’Equipe on Monday.

Coach Hubert Fournier said: “We can pronounce the word ‘title’ but we have to remain realistic.”

Fournier, however, would not say the hardest part of the season was yet to come.

“We’ve already been through tough periods this season and the best times are coming. But we’ll now have to live up to expectations,” he added. “PSG has an incredible team and Olympique de Marseille have had a superb start to the season.”

Marseille and PSG both lost at the weekend and dropped to second and fourth respectively, one and four points off the pace.

St Etienne are third, three points behind their arch rivals.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Truss says Newman doesn’t need Abbott

Acting prime minister Warren Truss has dismissed claims Tony Abbott isn’t supporting Campbell Newman, saying the Queensland premier doesn’t need federal help to win this month’s election.

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While federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has been a notable presence alongside Queensland opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk in the early days of this month’s election campaign, it’s unclear whether Mr Abbott will join Mr Newman on the hustings.

National Party leader Mr Truss has taken on the prime minister’s office for the week with Mr Abbott on leave.

A Queenslander himself, Mr Truss was on the election trail on Monday, joining treasurer Tim Nicholls to announce a $74 million road project on the Gold Coast.

Mr Truss said criticising the prime minister for not yet appearing alongside Mr Newman was off the mark given the other events, nationally and internationally, with which Mr Abbott has been dealing.

He added that, in his opinion, Mr Abbott’s presence wasn’t really necessary during a state campaign anyway.

“I’ve got no doubt that when there are important things for the prime minister to do, that he’ll be in Queensland,” Mr Truss said.

“Premier Newman doesn’t need someone else to hold his hand. He’s an experienced premier. It’s his election.

“It’s an election for Queensland and he doesn’t need someone from the southern states to come up and hold his hand to win this election. He’ll win it on his own merits.”

Mr Truss said Queensland would decide this election on which party they felt was best equipped to lead the state.

He claimed Mr Newman’s government had proven its credentials during its first term of office.

“He inherited a state economy that was in utter disarray. The most debt of any in the country which is hugely embarrassing for a wealthy state like Queensland,” he said.

“It’s taken strong leadership and this election is about who can provide strong leadership for the state of Queensland.”

Wozniacki hoping to be fit for Melbourne

Caroline Wozniacki will fly to Melbourne from Sydney on Wednesday morning as she battles to prove her fitness for next week’s Australian Open.

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The world No.4 forfeited her first-round match in the Sydney International against the experienced Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova after injuring her wrist in the first set.

Wozniacki was attended to by the courtside trainer on three occasions in the first set but lost 6-4 to the 25th-ranked Czech before retiring in the second with the score locked at one-all

With less than a week until the opening grand slam of the year, the Dane said it was more important to get receive treatment and give her the best possible chance of being able to play at Melbourne Park.

“I felt it during one shot, I hit it against the wind and hit it late and I felt it in my wrist,” Wozniacki said.

“I’ve had it before so I kind of know what it is.

“It’s painful every time I had to hit a backhand and I didn’t want make it worse before Melbourne, so I’m just going to try and get some treatment on it and try and get ready for next week.”

Wozniacki is confident she will be fit to play, but said the injury was a new one and the treatment from the trainer made no real difference to her discomfort.

“She taped it up and it didn’t really make a difference taped or not taped,” she said.

“I just felt like it was getting a little worse, so I felt like I wasn’t going to win the match without being able to hit like a proper backhand.

“I can only make it worse, and that’s really too negative. I thought it was better to get treatment and see what’s happening.

“I just need to take it day by day and see how it feels. Hopefully it’ll take a couple of days and it’ll be fine.”

Matosevic crashes out in Sydney

Australia’s Marinko Matosevic has hit out at Sydney International organisers after he crashed out in the first round to Italian world No.

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51 Simone Bolelli in under at hour on Ken Rosewall Arena.

The 29-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals here last year, looked completely out of sorts as Bolelli eased to a 6-3 6-2 victory against the 80th-ranked Victorian on Monday.

A bitterly disappointed Matosevic was knocked out in the first round in Brisbane last week and then flew to Perth to play in the Hopman Cup and only arrived in Sydney late on Saturday night and asked to play his match on Tuesday.

With most of Sunday washed out with rain, Matosevic claimed he had no time to prepare until he walked out on court.

“My preparation was my warm-up today for my match,” he said.

“I was surprised I was playing today. I thought I would get a Tuesday start.

“I thought I was going to get one. I was told before I went to Hopman Cup they would ask for me.

“I wasn’t able to practice yesterday so it was a tough, tough preparation.”

On a quiet day in the men’s competition, fifth-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker 7-6 6-2, with the sixth-seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas seeing off Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 6-4.

Australia pair Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios are in action on Tuesday, as is former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who plays his first match in 11 months.

Del Potro faces Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first match on Ken Rosewall Arena, with Tomic up against Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Kyrgios faces Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz in the evening session.

Cahill to fill in as Australia captain

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said the 35-year-old striker would lead the side in Tuesday’s Group A clash with Oman after regular skipper Mile Jedinak was ruled out with an ankle injury.

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Cahill captained Australia once before at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and said it was an honour to be given the job a second time.

“I don’t really want to put too much emphasis on it because Mile is our captain,” said Cahill.

“It’s a massive honour and something that is great in my career to have, but it’s a great responsibility that I will make sure I deliver in the right way.”

Australia won their opening match 4-1 against Kuwait in Melbourne and know a victory over Oman in Sydney would likely secure their place in the quarter-finals.

But Postecoglou said it was also important that the players remain fresh for the campaign so he planned to ring in several changes.

“We’ve learnt pretty clearly at the World Cup, by the third game against Spain we were pretty spent as a group because we relied on a core group of players,” Postecoglou said.

“We don’t want to fall into the same trap. We want to do well in all three games and tomorrow night is a very, very important game for us.”

Australia are overwhelming favourites to beat Oman, who lost their opening match 1-0 to South Korea, but Cahill said the Socceroos were expecting a tough encounter.

“We know that they’ve got a great squad and a coach that has been with them for a very long time,” Cahill said.

“So the familiarity for their team and of their players playing together, they’ve got the upper hand there.

“When it comes to us, we just have to focus on ourselves. We’ve trained well, we’ve had a great start. We know this is going to be a difficult opposition.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden in Brisbane. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

Van Gaal no closer to title challenge than Moyes was

United, who spent 150 million pounds on new players in the summer, failed to get a shot on target at home for the first time in more than five years as they went down to a 1-0 defeat to the Saints who had not won at Old Trafford since 1988.

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The defeat leaves United with 37 points from 21 matches, exactly the same total they had this time last year when David Moyes was manager, and they have scored one goal less. Moyes was sacked in April after less than a season in charge.

Van Gaal, who left Colombian striker Radamel Falcao out of the squad raising doubts about his future at the club, still had Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in attack and Juan Mata went close twice to scoring late in the game.

An additional thorn in Van Gaal’s side on Sunday was that Southampton are coached by fellow Dutchman Ronald Koeman and the one-time Ajax Amsterdam colleagues have not been friends since Van Gaal was forced out of the club by Koeman in 2004.

The two gave each other a cursory handshake after the game which Van Gaal said Southampton were lucky to win.

“We didn’t create so much but we dominated the game. They came for a draw and they go away with a victory, that is disappointing,” he added.

“We played a much better game than Southampton. They were lucky to score out of nothing.”

United slipped to fourth, one place behind Southampton, and while there are still questions over how much progress they have made since Moyes left, there are also questions over the future of Falcao at United.

United must pay 46.0 million pounds to AS Monaco if the striker is to remain at United permanently when his loan deal ends in the summer.

Van Gaal said he opted to include teenager James Wilson on the bench rather than Falcao because of the England Under-20 international’s pace.

“Falcao wasn’t injured, he was just not selected in the squad,” Van Gaal said.

However, when Van Persie came off injured after 61 minutes, Ander Herrera replaced him, not Wilson.

Eight minutes later United went behind with the goal that sealed Saints victory.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Palestinians celebrate Asian Cup breakthrough

Hundreds of fans, including women and children, gathered at a large venue in Gaza City to watch their national team on a giant screen take on the title holders of Asia’s biggest football tournament play in a country that does not recognise them.

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An eighth minute goal for Japan, scored by Yasuhito Endo, did not dampen spirits as drums continued to be heard, while fans called out the names of players and their team ‘Palestine’.

Goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh, who said before kick-off he wanted to use the tournament to promote his homeland, and the skilful forward Ashraf Al-Fawaghra received the bulk of the cheers.

Palestinians call their team ‘Al-Fedayi’ which means the one who sacrifices life for the sake of the homeland.

Japan predictably added further goals but still the party atmosphere flowed, with those in Gaza seeing Palestinian flags being waved by singing supporters inside the Newcastle Stadium.

“Regardless of the result we are very proud of our team, our players, who are flying the flag of Palestine in such international contests,” said Ali Abu Khalil, a high school student.

“Today we do not have the capability and the resources to compete but one day we will gain the way and the talent to win contests,” said the boy, wearing a Palestinian flag on his shoulders and surrounded by a group of friends.

Youth danced to the rhythm of the drum and national music in a large covered hall, the smoke of cigarettes clouding over those in attendance.

In a place torn apart by political differences, the Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million people, sport represents a common source of entertainment and cafes get usually packed of people during football matches, especially the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga.

BRAVE PLAYERS

The national team are also keenly followed and have made great strides since being recognised by FIFA in 1998.

Last year they won the AFC Challenge Cup to qualify for the 16-team Asian Cup in Australia despite difficulties in arranging training camps, matches or even gathering their best players.

The Palestinians say that Israel, which controls coming and going from Gaza and the West Bank, has been restricting the movement of Palestinian athletes and have urged FIFA to step in and give out sanctions.

Israel cites security concerns for restricting movement between Gaza, controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, and the West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-rule.

Abdel-Salam Haniyeh, member of the Palestinian Higher Council of Youth and Sports, watched on with the hundreds in Gaza as the team, ranked 115th in the world by FIFA, fought on.

“We have lost to Japan, the strongest team in Asia and one of the world’s best football teams therefore, we can’t blame our brave players,” Haniyeh told Reuters.

“Our participation was not only of sport nature, it has also a political nature, the playing of the national anthem of Palestine and flying of the Palestinian flag is a source of pride for every Palestinian.”

Next up is a match against Jordan in Melbourne on Friday.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)