Folau ‘wrong bear to poke’: Brumbies

Chirpy Brumbies halfback Nic White says whoever sledged Israel Folau during their last Super Rugby clash against the NSW Waratahs “poked the wrong bear”.

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White insists it wasn’t him and hopes whoever it was won’t make the same mistake again in Saturday’s do-or-die semi-final at Allianz Stadium.

“They poked the wrong bear,” White said on Thursday.

“It didn’t work that time, so I don’t think they’ll be doing it this time.”

Folau lit a fuse earlier in the week when he revealed that Wallabies teammates playing for the Brumbies sledged him during the Waratahs’ 39-8 victory last month.

Some immediately pointed their finger at White, especially because Folau singled him out ahead of that clash by stating that the Wallabies’ first-choice scrumhalf had “a fair bit to say”.

But White’s denial comes with a plausible alibi.

“He’s a long, long way away from me. I’ve got my head in there with the forwards,” White said.

White, who is one of the Brumbies’ main kickers, said he wouldn’t be tailoring his game to deny Folau counter-attacking opportunities come Saturday.

“It doesn’t matter what you throw at Izzy. He’s going to make it work,” White said.

“You’ve got to be on your game as there’s not one technique that will work against him. He’s a genuine freak.”

Yet Folau won’t be the only player to take to the field at Allianz Stadium in red-hot form.

White’s been outstanding himself, playing a huge role in the Brumbies’ past two knockout wins against the Western Force and Chiefs.

He opened the scoring against the Chiefs and then set-up their next two tries for a 19-point lead.

His combination with flyhalf Matt Toomua is only getting better every week and they’ll only benefit from the fact that an unchanged Brumbies squad has been named for the semi-final.

But White knows they’ll be up against it when they battle fellow Wallabies duo Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley.

“They’ve proven this year through the comp that they’re the most consistent halves,” he said.

“They’re really leading the Waratahs around the park.”

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Robbie Coleman, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Mowen (capt), Jarrad Butler, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Leon Power, Ben Alexander, Josh Mann-Rea, Scott Sio. Res: Ruaidhri Murphy, Ruan Smith, Allan Alaalatoa, Fotu Auelua, Tom McVerry, Michael Dowsett, Joe Tomane, Pat McCabe.

Morning people more likely to lie to their bosses in the afternoon

There are morning people and there are evening people; there is ethical behavior and there is unethical behavior.

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That much we know, and previous attempts to suss out how those categories overlap with each other pointed researchers toward what’s called the “morning morality effect.” The effect, written up in a study last year, suggests that people behave more ethically earlier in the day, the theoretical underpinning being that as a person grows drained from the day’s mounting obligations, they lose the wherewithal required to behave in a saintly manner.

This seems plausible enough, but another group of researchers wondered if the morning morality effect might overlook an element of existing sleep research: that people have specific “chronotypes,” meaning they’re predisposed to feeling alert at different times of day. (One’s chronotype can change over the course of a lifetime.) The morning morality effect, they figured, doesn’t account for the portion of the population—roughly 40 percent—whose vitality blooms in the evening. These researchers conducted a study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, that found that an evening person is roughly three times as likely to behave unethically in the morning than a morning person.

“An important aspect of this research is not that morning people are more moral, it’s actually the match that’s the most important thing. It’s that morning people are more ethical in the morning, but evening people are more ethical in the evening,” says Sunita Sah, a co-author of the study and an assistant professor of business ethics at Georgetown University.

“An evening person is roughly three times as likely to behave unethically in the morning than a morning person.”

Classifying behavior as either ethical or unethical is a fraught process that might trouble some philosophers, but Sah and her co-authors turned to agreed-upon research tactics that would allow them to determine when a subject was lying to get ahead. The study included two different experiments, both of which involved self-reported results. In one, subjects were paid 50 cents for each math puzzle they completed in five minutes’ time, and in another, subjects rolled a die several times and were given lottery tickets in proportion to the dots on each roll. In both scenarios, several subjects lied about their results, and they did so along chronotypical lines.

The idea of scheduling “big ethical decisions” for certain times a day, based on your chronotype, seems impractical, but there are still things that can be done to accommodate these findings. Sah suggested that important meetings shouldn’t by default occur early in the morning, and would be better scheduled mid-day. She had another idea, based on her experience as a professor teaching undergraduates, who, given their typical age, tend to be evening people: “If we’re setting exams at 8:00 in the morning, we might want to think about how many students are likely to cheat in those exams,” she says. Her findings might also add to the existing evidence that high school students might perform better if their school days started later.

Sah said she’s interested in exploring the effects of culturally-imposed sleep habits on ethical behavior. For example, when Daylight Savings Time goes into effect and people lose an hour of sleep, their moral compass might be, at least marginally, thrown out of whack. (This isn’t entirely implausible: Consider a 2009 study that found that, among miners, losing sleep to Daylight Savings increased the risk of having an accident the following Monday.)

Another unexplored phenomenon is napping. “Some cultures already have napping in the afternoon, siestas, which might mitigate some of the effects for morning people as the day goes on. It might renew their energy and make them more ethical,” Sah said. “Napping might refresh their cognitive abilities so that they could make a better decision at the end of the day.”

This article was originally published on The Atlantic. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Bolt says his best is yet to come

It has been five years since Bolt set the 100m world record of 9.

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58 seconds and the 200m best of 19.19 at the Berlin world championships, and this season began late for him as he recovered from minor foot surgery and a hamstring injury.

The lanky Jamaican missed nine weeks of training after having surgery on his left foot in March but shrugged off any suggestion that he might be past his best as prepares for the sprint relay at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.

“Personally I don’t think so,” Bolt, 27, told Reuters at his training base in Kingston when asked if his fastest times were now behind him.

“It’s all about just being dedicated. Every year I’ve been injured at some part of the season, so the key thing is try to stay injury-free, try to be more focussed on track and field and not be distracted by other things.

“Try to cut down a little on the sponsor-duty things and stuff like that for the upcoming season, try to limit it as much as possible. Then I can put in a lot more work and I’ll have more time to work and stay fit and to be focussed.”

Coach Mills, who has guided Bolt to his six Olympic golds and a record 10 world championships medals since 2007, also believes the sprinter is capable of running faster.

“I wouldn’t say that we have seen the best of him,” Mills told Reuters after putting Bolt through a sprint workout. “I think that he’s capable of more (speed), if he has (injury) uninterrupted preparation.”

Bolt appeared to rule out the chance of a mouth-watering duel this year with in-form American Justin Gatlin.

“I don’t think the clash will happen,” Bolt said. “I’m just coming back, so I’m just trying to get myself into shape and run a few races, just for the fans.”

U.S. world silver medallist Gatlin, who is undefeated this year, owns the season’s best 100m in 9.80 seconds and has also clocked a world-leading 19.68 seconds for the 200m.

“I don’t really worry, I guess he’s doing his thing,” said Bolt. “I’m just trying to get back and focus on what I need to get done for this season, and then just look forward to next season.”

Bolt is scheduled to leave Jamaica on Friday to begin his injury-shortened season at the Commonwealth Games with the 4x100m relay set for Aug. 1 in Glasgow. He has then pencilled in four 100m races over the next six weeks.

(This story has been refiled to correct 100m record time in second paragraph)

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

Bitcoin miner hails results

Digital currency firm Digital CC has increased the number of bitcoins it has earned from bitcoin “mining” and says the bitcoin system is going from strength to strength.

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Digital CC, which trades as digitalBTC, was the first bitcoin-focused company to trade on the Australian Securities Exchange, in June 2014.

Digital currency is a medium of exchange that is electronically created and stored – there are no physical notes or coins.

Digital currencies can be used as alternatives to currencies such as the dollar, yen and pound.

The use of digital currencies is not as widespread as that of conventional currencies: banks do not use digital currencies, and digital currencies may be considered speculative or risky.

There are several digital currencies, but bitcoin dominates the market.

Bitcoin “mining” describes the process of earning new bitcoins, which can then be converted to a major currency.

Bitcoin mining involves the use of powerful computers to verify bitcoin transactions within the bitcoin network.

New bitcoins are created and assigned by the bitcoin network to the providers of verification services, such as digitalBTC.

Digital CC said in a quarterly cashflow report on Thursday that it had earned about 8,600 bitcoins through mining to date. On June 10, Digital CC reported that it had earned more than 5,100 bitcoins.

The current Bitcoin price was $US620. In early June, bitcoins were trading at $US640 on major international exchanges.

Digital CC said it had sold 4,000 bitcoins earned through mining for about $US2.1 million up to June 30.

“Bitcoin mining has offered us exceptional results to date,” Digital CC executive chairman Zhenya Tsvetnenko said.

“The bitcoin system continues to go from strength to strength, with significant new investments and major merchants coming on board.”

Mr Tsvetnenko said the recent move by global technology firm Dell to accept bitcoin as a payment option for online purchases demonstrated the capacity of the bitcoin system to offer enhanced returns for retailers.

Digital CC said the value of the bitcoins it had sold, plus the remaining balance of bitcoins held, now exceeded the total amount of money that Digital CC had spent on computer equipment for mining bitcoins and the power needed to operate it.

Digital CC said the company had now achieved “complete payback” of its original $US4 million equipment purchase and operating costs to date.

Shares in Digital CC were steady at 34 cents at 1417 AEST.

Rumours about uni hotel deal, ICAC told

The University of New England’s (UNE) vice-chancellor knew of rumours that “all might not have been above board” under a deal involving the chancellor buying a share of a pub being sold off by the university, a corruption inquiry has heard.

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Professor Robin Pollard has told the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) he contacted lawyers for advice after John Cassidy told him in January, 2006, that he had invested in the Tattersalls Hotel – an Armidale establishment recently sold off by the university’s student union in a liquidation sale.

Prof Pollard, who was acting vice-chancellor at the time, began his own log of events in relation to the Tattersalls deal, starting with the note: “Late December 2005-Early January 2006. I heard rumours that all might not have been above board.”

The log, tendered to watchdog on Thursday, also noted a meeting Prof Pollard held with UNE business and administration director Graeme Dennehy in February, 2006.

Mr Dennehy expressed concerns to Prof Pollard about the Tattersalls deal – including that Mr Cassidy had access to a confidential valuation of the hotel and that he had influenced the rejection of a $3 million offer for the property.

The ICAC has heard Mr Cassidy’s business partner, Darrell Hendry, won a closed tender for the pub in December, 2005 with a late bid of $2.65 million after Mr Cassidy alerted him to the buying opportunity.

Mr Cassidy also emerged as a major shareholder of the pub through a company in which he and Mr Hendry were directors.

Mr Cassidy is facing allegations before ICAC that he used confidential information to help Mr Hendry buy the Tattersalls Hotel and that he hid his relationship with Mr Hendry and his own part in the purchase.

Mr Dennehy told Prof Pollard rumours were circulating in Armidale about the deal, and that he was concerned that “there could remain a perception that the Chancellor gained an advantage in his purchase of a share of the hotel”.

Prof Pollard told the ICAC he sought advice from solicitors Minter Ellison, who provided questions that he should put to Mr Cassidy.

In the resulting interview, which was tendered in evidence said he had not inspected the hotel or considered investing in it before January, 2006.

Previous evidence to the commission has been that Mr Cassidy was seen inspecting the hotel’s upstairs quarters in November, 2005, and that he helped interview a prospective manager for the pub in December that year.

Mr Cassidy will appear before the inquiry in Sydney on Friday.

Commonwealth Bank denies covering up wrongdoing

 

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538em;”>PM non-committal on calls for probe into Commonwealth Bank

Commonwealth Bank says it is sorry some of its financial advisers failed customers, but denies it has downplayed the wrongdoing and tried to minimise its compensation.

A parliamentary committee report has slammed the bank and the corporate regulator after investigating the response to bank whistleblowers who alerted authorities to suspect conduct by financial advisers.

That conduct, between 2006 and 2010, included the forging of client signatures to facilitate profit-producing product switches.

Retiring Labor senator Mark Bishop, who chaired the committee, said CBA failed to open its books and fully identify the number of clients affected and those entitled to compensation.

He said the bank’s focus was on downplaying the extent of wrongdoing and minimising the amount of compensation it had to pay.

CBA said it “strongly refuted” those accusations, as it had worked openly with the Senate committee and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The bank had since transformed its financial planning business, undertaking structural, cultural and management changes, it said.

“We reiterate our apology for the past events that occurred in our Commonwealth Financial Planning and Financial Wisdom businesses,” the bank said in a statement on Friday.

“We deeply regret that some of our financial advisers did not provide quality advice to customers, some of whom had trusted and banked with us for decades.

“We have no tolerance for behaviour that prejudices the financial wellbeing of our customers.”

The committee report made 61 recommendations, including for the establishment of a royal commission into the wrongdoing.

CBA said it would review the report before making a more thorough response.

Glencore denies claim it pays no tax

Global mining giant Glencore Xstrata has rejected claims it has paid no tax on the $15 billion in income it has earned from coal mining in the last three years.

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The Swiss-based company, which is Australia’s largest coal producer, was accused of using a sophisticated profit shifting system that might have breached tax laws in reports by Fairfax newspapers.

The reports say the miner reduced its tax bill by taking $3.4 billion in expensive loans from overseas associates at double what it would have paid banks.

It then claimed tax breaks on the interest payments and lent to related parties interest free.

It also lifted coal sales to related companies indicating profit-shifting, the reports said.

The source of the analysis was a former multinational executive, said Fairfax.

Glencore has rejected the claim that it didn’t pay any income tax in Australia.

The company had paid more than $8 billion in royalties and taxes in Australia in the last seven years, it said.

It did not give a tax contribution for the last three years.

“Glencore complies with all tax rules and regulations in Australia and in each jurisdiction where we operate,” the company said.

“The amount of tax our company pays is driven by the taxation legislation put in place by local, state and federal governments and is a matter of public policy.

“The measure of our economic contribution to Australia is not just about taxes or royalties (which we pay on every tonne of coal we sell).

“Our contribution is measured over decades with investments that serve communities for a generation through job creation and support for local businesses.”

Ten-man Belgium win to send South Korea home

The win made it a maximum nine points for the Belgians, who meet the United States in the last 16 of the Brazil World Cup in Salvador on Tuesday.

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Belgium coach Marc Wilmots made seven changes from the team that beat Russia, with captain Vincent Kompany and fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen dropping out due to injuries and playmaker Eden Hazard starting on the bench.

“This is a Cup played in a very hot country, so you have to anticipate,” he said, when asked to explain his new-look team. “I saved, I spared those I thought I had to spare. Now everybody is at the same level.” For Korea, the tears in the eyes of players and fans at the final whistle said it all. They were out of the World Cup after gaining a single point and finishing bottom of Group H.

The defeat rounded off a miserable tournament for the four Asian sides. Between them, Australia, Japan, Korea and Iran failed to muster a single victory, and all finished bottom of their groups.

“I think all the Asian teams here at the World Cup did their best, but I guess the wall is very hard for us to get over,” said a contrite Korean coach, Hong Myung-bo.

“The players did their best, but it was my shortcomings as a coach that caused this result.”

Belgium had already qualified for the next round, having beaten Algeria and Russia in their first two games, and a draw was enough to claim first place and avoid Germany in the next round.

When Defour was given a straight red card for a needless, studs-up challenge on Kim Shin-wook in the 45th minute, the game opened up for the Koreans.

They had plenty of possession and a series of good chances, but were caught on the break when Belgium’s excellent substitute Divock Origi took a chance from distance.

Keeper Kim Seung-gyu lamely palmed the ball into the path of the onrushing Vertonghen, who put it away with ease in the 78th minute.

Needing to win and for the result in the other match to go their way, Korea pressed throughout the first half and came close to a breakthrough when Ki Sung-yueng had a rasping long-range shot brilliantly saved by keeper Thibaut Courtois.

At the other end, Dries Mertens missed a golden chance for Belgium eight metres from goal when he shot well over.

Once again it was a far from convincing display from a team that many consider to be “dark horses” to go all the way in Brazil, with a host of exciting talent at its disposal.

“Every game is characterized by tactics and physical fitness,” said Wilmots.

“What is important in the end is the result, to win the match with whatever style of play. We are not here to look at them (other teams). We are here to win. The rest is literature.”

Midfielder Mousa Dembele also defended Belgium’s display so far.

“It’s may be not the sexiest football that we’ve shown, but we’re very happy with nine out of nine points.”

In the other Group H game, Algeria claimed second place with a 1-1 draw against Russia and will face Germany in Porto Alegre on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Kieran Murry, Brad Haynes and Peter Rutherford; Editing by Ken Ferris and Justin Palmer)

World Cup over for Suarez after record ban for biting

Suarez was suspended from all football-related activity for four months by the sport’s world governing body which also ruled he could not play in Uruguay’s next nine competitive games, immediately ending his involvement in the World Cup in Brazil.

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The ban means the striker is unlikely to appear in non-friendly matches for his country until 2016.

“He is totally distraught. He never thought the punishment would be so severe,” said Alejandro Balbi who is a member of the Uruguayan Football Association’s board and Suarez’s lawyer.

The four-month ban means Suarez will have to sit out the first two months of the next English season and he will miss Liverpool’s opening Premier League and Champions League matches.

“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” said Claudio Sulser, the chairman of FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee.

The 27-year-old striker left his Uruguay team mates shortly after FIFA’s announcement, depriving them of their most outstanding player two days before a do-or-die match against Colombia in the second round of the World Cup.

FIFA also fined Suarez 100,000 Swiss francs ($111,000) after 10 hours of deliberations by its Disciplinary Committee.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica joined hundreds of fans in waiting at the country’s main airport to give Suarez a hero’s welcome on Thursday night, although they gave up after a few hours when it became clear he had not yet left Brazil.

He was expected to arrive in the early hours of Friday.

Mujica summed up the indignation in the South American country where Suarez is considered a hero.

“We didn’t choose him to be a philosopher, or a mechanic, or to have good manners – he’s a great player,” Mujica said, speaking on Wednesday. “I didn’t see him bite anyone.”

HOTHEAD IMAGE

The support for Suarez at home is in stark contrast to his image as a hothead for many in Europe where he has been involved in two previous biting incidents.

The Uruguayan FA said it would appeal against the ruling to FIFA as quickly as possible, paving the way for another challenge to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a final appeals body. But Suarez cannot play even if the challenges are lodged.

“Indignation, impotence, I think that’s what we all feel,” Uruguay’s team captain Diego Lugano said. “We’d all like a fairer world, but that world simply does not exist.” Suarez is one of the most gifted players in world football, scoring 31 league goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season.

He returned from a month on the sidelines with an injury to score twice in Uruguay’s 2-1 win over England last week, transforming the team’s World Cup which began with a shock defeat by Costa Rica in a game Suarez missed through injury.

But he is also one of the game’s most troubled players. As well as two previous bans for biting, Suarez was accused of racially abusing a player in England in 2011.

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo had no sympathy.

“Football must set an example and show examples of good players,” he told reporters. “People who are out of line must be punished.

“If my little children bite me, they are sent to the dark room with the big bad wolf. This is football’s equivalent.”

Suarez cannot even train or attend matches with Liverpool until late October, a big blow to their domestic and European ambitions.

RECORD BAN

Although FIFA has banned many players for life and issued other lengthy playing suspensions, this is the record punishment imposed for wrongdoing at the World Cup, surpassing the eight- game ban handed to Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for breaking the nose of Spain’s Luis Enrique in 1994.

As well as the previous biting cases, Suarez was banned for a match at the 2010 World Cup for a deliberate handball that cost Ghana a match-winning goal in a quarter-final.

The latest incident occurred in the tense final minutes of Uruguay’s last Group D match against Italy, shortly before the South American champions scored to seal a 1-0 win and knock Italy out of the tournament.

Suarez clashed with Giorgio Chiellini and the defender pulled down his collar to show the mark on his shoulder to the referee, who took no action.

Reuters photographs showed what FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee accepted were bite marks. Pictures also showed Suarez sitting on the ground holding his teeth.

The ruling may have long-term repercussions for Suarez off the pitch. His sponsors had said they would decide on their relationship once the outcome of the investigation was known.

German sportswear firm Adidas stopped short on Thursday of axing Suarez but said it would not use him in any further World Cup marketing. “Adidas certainly does not condone Luis Suarez’s recent behaviour and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players,” a spokeswoman said.

Suarez’s value in the transfer market, estimated to be at least 50 million pounds ($85 million), could also be affected should Liverpool decide to sell him.

He served a 10-match ban last year after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League match and in 2010 he was suspended for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax Amsterdam.

The other major controversy of his career came in 2011 when he was alleged to have racially abused Manchester United’s France defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match.

(Writing by Ed Osmond,; additional reporting by Malena Castaldi and Irene Schreiber in Montevideo and Emma Thomasson in Berlin and; Editing by Kieran Murray and Ken Ferris)

Analysis – Pragmatic Belgium justify dark horse status

But Belgium, a country of 11 million people squashed between Germany, the Netherlands and France, have shown little of the flair that marked their qualifying campaign and the way they ground out three one-goal wins has been more Germanic efficiency than French flair.

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“It’s maybe not the sexiest football we’ve shown but we’re very happy with nine out of nine points,” Mousa Dembele told reporters after Thursday’s 1-0 win over South Korea.

“Every game we win we’re more and more confident.”

The win over a poor South Korea side was a classic example.

Coach Marc Wilmots made seven changes from the side who beat Russia against team who needed three points to have any chance of progressing.

He transformed the defence in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen, both of whom were injured, and gave a start to 19-year old winger Adnan Januzaj.

“This is a World Cup played in a very hot country, so you have to anticipate,” Wilmots said. “I saved, I spared those I thought I had to spare. Now everybody is at the same level.”

The changes almost backfired when one of the new boys, Steven Defour, was sent off for a foolish stamp shortly before halftime.

But Belgium recovered from the setback to show great resolve.

Their towering defensive line remained strong with full back Jan Vertonghen outstanding.

It was Vertonghen, allied with another substitute who won them the game. Teenager Divock Origi, making his third substitute appearance in three games, got free of the Korean midfield to fire in a shot that Jung Sung-ryong could only parry.

Vertonghen had charged forward and slotted the rebound home. It was a fitting reward for the Man of the Match. 

Wilmots had said his fringe players were itching for a chance to “showcase what they can do” and they did not disappoint.

Their confidence is growing and they have an eminently winnable last-16 game against the United States coming up next.

Just do not bet on them turning on the style again.

“What does it mean to play beautifully?,” Wilmots said.

“Every game is characterised by tactics and physical fitness. What is important in the end is the result, to win the match with whatever style of play. We are not here to look at them (other teams). We are here to win … The rest is literature.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)