Clarke won’t be rested during ODIs

Australia have no plans to lighten the load on captain Michael Clarke during a crowded one-day schedule in the UK in a bid to manage his chronic back problem.

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In a further sign Cricket Australia’s rotation days are long gone, coach Darren Lehmann says Australia will pick its best team to win every match against England and Scotland.

That includes Clarke, who missed the Champions Trophy due to a flare-up of his back injury and also suffered some discomfort early in the Ashes series.

“We won’t be resting him. If he’s fit he plays,” Lehmann told AAP.

“It’s a simple fact of life and that’s what we want to do with all our players.

“You want to get the best team on the park each and every day but, having said that, if he’s not 100 per cent fit then he won’t play.”

Australia will play six 50-over games in the next two weeks.

While England have rested a host of big names from the five-match one-day series with a crowded schedule and the return Ashes series in mind, Lehmann says Australia “won’t be going down that path.”

“Every time we’ll be picking our best team to win that game,” the coach said.

Australia have made some forced changes for the one-dayers, starting with a one-off ODI clash with Scotland in Edinburgh on Tuesday, after Mitchell Starc joined Steve Smith in being released from the 15-man squad due to minor injuries.

CA said Starc had back pain and he joins a growing list of injured Australian paceman including Ryan Harris, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Jackson Bird.

Lehmann admitted the situation wasn’t ideal but said it was a side-effect of having a young pace attack.

“At the end of the day you have injuries. It’s part and parcel of being a fast bowler,” Lehmann said.

“Hopefully that settles down as they get a bit older and a bit stronger.”

Lehmann and his players have ruled out any chance of complacency against the Scots on Tuesday.

“We’ve got win as many games as we can,” wicketkeeper Matthew Wade said.

“We haven’t had that much success on this tour … we want to win all these games.”

Scotland coach Pete Steindl says his side was expecting an “extremely motivated” Australian outfit but welcomed another chance for the non-Test nation to get some valuable experience.

“The more times you can play against teams who are higher-ranked and better than you it teaches you where you have to get to,” Steindl said.

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Hewitt’s US Open run fires Cup team

Lleyton Hewitt’s run at the US Open is inspiring his Australian Davis Cup teammates to end three years of World Group qualifying heartbreak.

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Captain Pat Rafter’s team – minus Hewitt – has already left New York to train in Munich ahead of the World Group promotion tie against Poland later this month.

But team trainer Josh Eagle said they were closely following the progress of team veteran Hewitt who was preparing to face Mikhail Youzhny in the Open fourth round for a likely quarter-final berth against world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

“He’s just such a competitor and just such a warrior,” said Eagle.

“The guys will be in Munich watching his next match and they watched him when they were here and you know he’s just such an inspiration to the team.

“We’ve seen it for 10 years, so many times when you think he’s down and out he finds a way to win.”

Hewitt is in his tennis heaven right now.

The two things that keep the 32-year-old former world No.1 playing the game are the grand slams and Davis Cup and he has the chance to achieve big results in both in the next fortnight in New York and then Warsaw.

He’s already ousted sixth seed and former champion Juan Martin del Potro from the Open.

And he’s fiercely motivated to get Australia back into the Davis Cup World Group after the team fell agonisingly just short for the past three years – losing from 2-1 up going into the final day of the promotion playoff tie against Belgium (2010), Switzerland (2011) and Germany (2012).

“People probably don’t realise how much energy and effort and focus he puts into every tie,” said Eagle.

Hewitt is expected to partner doubles specialist Chris Guccione in Cup doubles rubber in the September 13-15 tie.

The veteran is also likely to play at least one singles match – with Bernard Tomic the other singles player – but backing up on consecutive days has been problematic for him.

Win or lose in Warsaw, Eagle can see Hewitt continuing to play Davis Cup for some time now that he has finally overcome injury worries that plagued him in recent seasons.

“The fact that he is healthy to me I see no reason why he won’t continue on playing for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“He’s just hasn’t been 100 per cent (previously) which has really hurt his ability to prepare and train properly and you know the game’s changed.

“Ten years ago when he was No.1 in the world he could run every ball down.

“Now these guys, they’re six foot five. They hit the ball bigger and stronger so he really needs to be able to train just to match it with these guys.”

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Merrill Lynch ‘settles’ prejudice lawsuit

Lawyers for hundreds of black financial advisers have reached a $US160 million ($A180 million) settlement in a lawsuit accusing Wall Street brokerage giant Merrill Lynch of racial discrimination, a plaintiffs’ lawyer says.

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If approved by a federal judge in Chicago, the payout by Merrill Lynch to around 1,200 plaintiffs would be one of the largest ever in a racial discrimination case, Chicago-based lawyer Suzanne E. Bish said.

Speaking from his Merrill Lynch office in Dallas, one of the first plaintiffs from the earliest days of the suit, Maroc “Rocky” Howard, said he wished he and his fellow black brokers never had to resort to litigation.

“Working in a fair environment, I would have made more money than this settlement is going to make me,” Howard, 55, said in a phone interview. “But it is a positive thing.”

Another plaintiff who has since left the firm, Marshell Miller, 58, of Arkansas, also welcomed that eight years of litigation was drawing to a close.

“It’s been a long struggle,” Miller said. “But it was something that needed to be done.”

Bank of America-owned Merrill Lync”h – one of the world’s largest brokerages with more than 15,000 financial advisers – issued a statement Wednesday saying only, “We’re not at this point commenting on the existence of the settlement nor the status of a settlement.”

Lead plaintiff George McReynolds accused Merrill Lynch of steering black brokers away from the most lucrative business and so, under a compensation system emphasising production, they earned less than their white counterparts. They made 43 per cent less in compensation on average in 2006, plaintiff filings allege.

The settlement coincides with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have a Dream Speech, Bish noted. She said she hopes the case will help ensure the kind of equal opportunity King spoke about in Washington, D.C.

Bish said the settlement should force changes beyond the company singled out as the defendant.

“They are leaders on Wall Street,” she said. “And increasing opportunities for African-Americans at Merrill Lynch should spill over to the rest of Wall Street.”

In its own filings in the case over recent years, Merrill Lynch denied the discrimination allegation and staunchly defended its compensation programs.

“All (financial advisers), regardless of race, are judged by the same metric,” one of the company’s filings argued. “The rule is simple: produce more, earn more.”

Settlements don’t necessarily imply that a defendant accepts any wrongdoing. Bish said she could not discuss detailed terms of the agreement with Merrill Lynch.

But plaintiffs claimed discrimination pervaded Merrill Lynch, at least partly because the company employed relatively few African-Americans overall. In a 2009 plaintiffs’ filing, they contended that fewer than two per cent of the brokers at Merrill Lynch were black.

“Far from being a colourblind meritocracy, race permeates policy and practice in a way that creates substantial obstacles to equal employment opportunity for Merrill Lynch’s African-American employees,” William T Bielby, a professor of sociology, said in the filing.

Merrill Lynch sometimes relied on stereotypes, the filing also asserted, once allegedly suggesting managers encourage black brokers to “learn to play golf or other activities designed to learn how business gets done in manners (they) might not be familiar with.”

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Souths hold on to beat Bulldogs 28-20

Adam Reynolds with one foot and Greg Inglis on one leg combined to all but secure South Sydney a top-two finish with a 28-20 win over Canterbury in a sumptuous NRL finals entree.

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In a result which will virtually put paid to the Bulldogs’ top-four hopes, the Rabbitohs finished the stronger in an absorbing duel – the two sides alternating tryscorers in a second half in which Souths never managed to get more than 10 points in front.

It was down to just a converted try when Mitch Brown scored his second of the night nine minutes from fulltime, but the Bulldogs’ inability to hold onto the ball during the opening half-hour proved costly.

It was only fitting then that their last crack at the Bunnies’ line ended with Michael Ennis innocuously knocking-on from dummy-half with five minutes to go.

The Rabbitohs will have some concerns over the health of Inglis, however, the Queensland and Australian Test star limping noticeably throughout the second half after copping yet another knock on the right knee.

It is the same knee which caused him to miss four games after Origin III – of which the Bunnies lost three matches – but he was good enough on one leg to set up second-half tries for Isaac Luke and Bryson Goodwin.

If Inglis dominated the second stanza, it was Reynolds who controlled the first – on the same ground and against the same opposition that a hamstring injury in last year’s preliminary final ended the Bunnies’ premiership hopes.

A year on and the Rabbitohs appear a more formidable prospect, with Reynolds again a key – a crucial 40-20 in the lead-up to Dylan Farrell’s opening try backed up by a deft grubber to set up Dylan Walker for a 12-0 lead.

The Bulldogs scored either side of the break as an epic arm wrestle ensued, the Rabbitohs with the final say when Reynolds made it a perfect six from six with the boot with a penalty on fulltime.

In more bad news for the Bulldogs, both Frank Pritchard and Josh Reynolds were both put on report for shoulder charges, while Tim Browne could be in strife for a leg pull on clearly incapacitated Inglis.

Souths coach Michael Maguire admitted the health of Inglis remained a concern, but he refused to buy into the leg-pull drama that also cost his prop Jeff Lima a one-week ban.

“I’m not going to make a comment about those,” he said of the incident.

“I need to give him (Inglis) a bit of a rap … Greggy’s battled with that knee all week.

“We’ve got to really be aware of how we’re training him.

“He hasn’t trained a lot this week so to get out and do the things he did tonight is a real credit to all the players.

“They want to be out there.”

Asked if he would consider giving Inglis a week off in the lead-up to the finals, Maguire said:

“We’ll assess it after tonight and go through the week and if there’s that chance we’ll have a look at it.

“I know Greg wants to play.”

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said his side paid the price for its first-half struggles.

“There’s no doubt about the effort there but I think we’ve probably got about five bullets in our foot at the moment,” Hasler said.

“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”

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Peace talks off over deaths in Palestine

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been cancelled after Israeli security forces shot dead three Palestinians during clashes in the West Bank, a Palestinian official said.

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“The meeting that was to take place in Jericho … today (Monday) was cancelled because of the Israeli crime committed in Qalandiya today,” the official said, referring to the refugee camp where the clashes erupted before dawn.

He did not set a new date.

“What happened today in Qalandiya shows the real intentions of the Israeli government,” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, told AFP as reports of the shooting started to emerge.

He called on the US administration to “take serious and quick steps” to prevent the collapse of peace efforts.

Medics earlier reported three Palestinians shot dead and 19 wounded by Israeli security forces in Qalandiya camp, between Ramallah and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, very early Monday.

They named the dead as Rubeen Abed Fares, 30, and Yunis Jahjouh, 22, both shot in the chest, and Jihad Aslan, 20, who died of brain damage.

The hospital officials said all the casualties had been hit by live ammunition.

An Israeli police spokeswoman said that border police used “riot dispersal means” to disperse a stone-throwing crowd of 1,500 people, but she did confirm the use of live fire.

“In the early hours of the morning a border police team went into Qalandiya camp to arrest a hostile terrorist activist,” spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

“After his arrest a mob of about 1,500 residents began a disturbance, throwing petrol bombs and stones, endangering the lives of force members, who responded with riot dispersal means,” she said.

She said that three border policemen were lightly injured by stones.

The peace talks formally resumed this month after a hiatus of nearly three years, thanks to an intense bout of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, had at the weekend said they expected a new round of talks to be held Monday in the West Bank town of Jericho, but there had been no official confirmation from either side, in accordance with a US-imposed news blackout.

The talks have been overshadowed by Israeli plans to build more than 2,000 new homes for Jewish settlers on occupied Palestinian territory.

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Abbott seizes momentum in final week

As former treasurer Peter Costello said last week, when the momentum’s with you the momentum’s with you – and all the momentum was with Tony Abbott in the final week of the 2013 election campaign.

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As the Rudd campaign ran out of puff, the opposition leader looked confident and energised, and barely put a foot wrong – with the exception of the internet filtering bungle.

As the polls increasingly pointed towards a thumping coalition win, the man once mocked as Tony “people skills” Abbott looked more and more prime ministerial.

He tried to play down the polls, repeatedly saying he doesn’t believe them and Labor could still “sneak” back into power.

But as the final week wore on, these protestations rang more and more hollow.

Mr Abbott’s popularity has clearly been on the rise.

He was mobbed during a campaign appearance at Sydney Markets on Wednesday, with one man even getting on bended knee and kissing the opposition leader on the forehead.

He mixed easily with workers at the Austral Bricks factory near Launceston, and at a leather factory in outer Brisbane.

Blue-collar Penrice Soda workers in Port Adelaide, one of the safest of Labor seats, even gave the Liberal blueblood a warm reception.

As did shoppers in former treasurer Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley, where he provocatively conducted a mall walk on the second last day of campaigning.

Mr Abbott hit a host of Labor marginals in week five of the campaign. Hindmarsh in Adelaide, Lyons in Tasmania, Reid, Kingsford Smith and Lindsay in Sydney.

In Brisbane, where Kevin Rudd was supposed to sweep all before him, the opposition leader stopped in at Petrie in the outer north, and in neighbouring Lilley.

The headline in that city’s only metro paper on Thursday summed up just how far ahead the coalition is.

“RUDD FREE ZONE” blared the Murdoch-owned Courier-Mail, predicting the prime minister would lose even his own seat of Griffith on Saturday.

Rudd had all the momentum in 2007, when John Howard became only the second sitting prime minister to lose his seat at an election.

The tide is with Mr Abbott this time – and Rudd could well suffer the same indignity he visited upon Howard six years ago.

It would be sweet revenge, delivered by Mr Abbott on behalf of his former boss and mentor.

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Sharks progress no problem for the NRL

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg denies that Cronulla reaching the grand final would be difficult for the code if the Sharks are still under an anti-doping investigation.

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The prospect of fifth-placed Cronulla playing in the October 6 season decider appeared more realistic after they dismantled the ladder-leading Sydney Roosters in a 32-22 win on Monday night, securing their spot in the finals.

The AFL was at pains to head off a similar scenario with Essendon, securing an interim report from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority on their ongoing investigation into that club’s controversial 2012 supplements program ahead of the finals series.

However the NRL has been steadfast from day one of ASADA’s probe into rugby league and Cronulla’s 2011 supplements program that it will take no action until the ASADA investigation is finished.

ASADA interviews with Cronulla players were only completed last week, leaving the likelihood the investigation will still be going during, and after, the NRL finals.

The possibility of the Sharks winning the first premiership in their 46-year history would seem a worry for the code should the club subsequently face sanctions, even though the period being investigated dates back to 2011.

Hypothetically, it could force them to consider taking 2014 competition points from the reigning premiers.

But Greenberg, who’s only been in his new role for less than month, insisted it’s a scenario that’s not being discussed in the corridors of power at Rugby League Central.

“I don’t think it would be (a difficult problem),” said Greenberg.

“(NRL CEO) Dave Smith has spoken about this already and I am going to say the same thing, (the ASADA probe) is a serious issue and we are taking it seriously.

“It’s my information the investigation is some way from being completed.

“It’s really important we don’t pre-judge it and we wait for the facts.

“When we have the facts, we’ll act upon them.

“I have no idea of that timeframe. We will be led by ASADA and what they tell us.”

Cronulla chief executive Steve Noyce said the club were basking in the satisfaction of the win over the Roosters less than a month after they were hammered 40-0 by Trent Robinson’s side.

And, despite all the turmoil surrounding the Sharks, the veteran administrator saw little sign of stress among the players and staff.

“I admire the leadership that (coach) Shane Flanagan has shown and I admire the resolve from the players and the Shire is right behind the team,” Noyce told AAP.

“I’ve been here four months now and I sense externally there’s more talk about (the investigation) than internally. The interviews have been ongoing and they are all finished now.

“I am sure the players sense that there’s support from head office, support from their managers and support from their families and certainly support from the NRL.

“It’s a feeling of everyone sticking together.”

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Three silvers for Kiwi rowers

New Zealand added three more medals to their haul from the world rowing championships in South Korea on Sunday.

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Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson came within a whisker of gold in the women’s double sculls at Chungju, fading in the last 50m as the Lithuanian pair of Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite timed their run to the line impeccably.

Lithuania stormed home in 6min 51.82sec to New Zealand’s 6:51.86, with Ekaterina Karsten and Yuliya Bichyk of Belarus third in 6:55.90.

The Kiwis pushed their bow in front with 300m to go but a bad stroke cost them the win with only a few metres to go.

Bourke said their race plan to match the Lithuanians came close to success.

“But unfortunately there were a few speed bumps along the way which gave the race away in the end.

“We’re impressed with what we’ve done to date, and neither of us have much experience in the small boats,” she said.

“There’s a bit of fire in the belly for next year – disappointment is the biggest feeder for training and we hope to come back in 2014 in Amsterdam to take it out.”

The Kiwi lightweight four of James Hunter, James Lassche, Peter Taylor and Curtis Rapley also took silver, tracking winners Denmark all the way and mounting a strong threat over the last 500m.

Stroke Curtis Rapley said the closeness of the finish reflected the race’s intensity.

“We kept to our own game plan and we nearly came through. The Denmark crew is a top quality crew and you can’t give them an inch.”

The Danish four clocked 5:55.68 for the win, with New Zealand second in 5:57.28 ahead of Great Britain’s third-placed 5:59.98.

Emma Twigg rounded out the day with a strong finish in the women’s single sculls, taking silver in 7:33.57 behind Australian Kim Crow, who dominated the race throughout with 7:31.34.

Although disappointed to miss out on gold, Twigg said Crow’s early work was hard to pull back.

“Obviously gold was what I came here for but silver is pretty good.

“Kim put a lot of distance in the early part of the race, but I didn’t stay in touch as much as I would’ve liked.”

New Zealand had already picked up a gold on Saturday (NZT) when Olympic champions Eric Murray and Hamish Bond won the men’s pair, while Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt took bronze in the women’s pair.

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PM’s launch will focus on jobs

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will talk up Labor’s plans to grow jobs and highlight the opposition’s secret plan to cut services when he launches the party’s election campaign on Sunday.

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Mr Rudd will officially launch his bid for re-election on Sunday in Brisbane, where he will continue to push the opposition to reveal what Labor says are plans to cut funding to hospitals, schools and jobs to pay for their expensive paid parental leave scheme.

One person who won’t be there is former prime minister Julia Gillard who doesn’t want to distract from her successor’s “powerful message”.

Mr Rudd says he understands and he’ll continue to acknowledge her contribution.

“I’m in the business of acknowledging all strong, positive contributions of those who have gone before me,” he said.

“Julia’s one of those, Paul Keating’s one of those, Bob Hawke’s one of those, Gough Whitlam’s one of those.”

The prime minister will continue his focus on jobs with plans to boost apprenticeships and strengthen the TAFE system.

Labor will introduce new rules for Commonwealth government building contracts and some projects that are more than 50 per cent Commonwealth funded – that 10 per cent of total labour hours worked must be by apprentices.

“Apprenticeships for us are a number one, two and three priority,” Mr Rudd told reporters in the marginal Country Liberal Darwin seat of Solomon on Saturday.

“Unless we are producing the apprenticeships of the future, we’re not building properly for the future as well.”

Mr Rudd says Labor had funded hundreds of thousands of apprenticeships and traineeships since coming to office.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced last week a plan to give HECS-style loans for apprentices to buy tools and equipment.

Resources Minister Gary Gray told Mr Rudd on Friday that he will be sky diving on the day of the launch and will miss the event.

The prime minister says he’s not sure if former Treasure Wayne Swan will attend.

But Mr Swan has tweeted in response to shadow treasurer Joe Hockey that he will be attending.

“@JoeHockey I’ll be there reminding people of the cuts you & Abbott would make & the $11B hole in your costings after the 2010 election.”

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Risks remain in global economy: OECD

Australia’s next federal government faces a world that’s still a long way from a sustainable economic recovery.

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The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) latest report on the world’s biggest economies says North America, Japan and the United Kingdom are expanding while the euro area as a whole was no longer in recession.

Growth in China – Australia’s number one trading partner – also appears to have passed a trough, but recent financial market turbulence points to difficulties in a number of other emerging economies.

“While the improvement in growth momentum in OECD economies is welcome, a sustainable recovery is not yet firmly established and important risks remain,” the Paris-based institution said in a 2013 economic update released on Tuesday.

The group’s findings tally with the current Labor federal government’s view that Australia continues to face economic headwinds from offshore that could dampen domestic growth.

The OECD believes the euro area remains vulnerable to renewed financial, banking and sovereign debt tensions.

At the same time, there are potential serious negative economic consequences if there’s a repeat of earlier episodes of “deadlock and brinkmanship” over fiscal policy in the United States.

It also says there’s a risk recent financial market volatility and strong capital outflows in some emerging economies could intensify, exerting an additional drag on global growth.

“As emerging economies contributed the bulk of global economic growth in recent years, and since their share of global output has increased so much, this widespread loss of momentum makes for sluggish near-term growth prospects for the world economy,” the OECD says.

It believes major economies should keep interest rates low, but also thinks the US Federal Reserve should gradually reduce its pace of quantitative easing by buying back US debt.

In China, subdued inflationary pressures create room for monetary policy easing if growth were to flag, but authorities need to be cautious because of strong credit growth.

The OECD’s latest outlook did not include Australia.

But in May it forecast Australia’s growth to slow to 2.6 per cent in 2013, before picking up to around 3.2 per cent in 2014.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release June quarter growth numbers on Wednesday.

The report’s expected to show Australia is growing at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent.

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