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Cape Town - Western Province toppled the Golden Lions 27-14 in their the top-of-the-table third-round Currie Cup clash at Newlands on Saturday evening.


After leading 14-8 at the break, WP added a third try late in the match to sign off in grand style in front of just under 15 000 spectators.

Both teams ran the ball at every opportunity in the early exchanges. There were several half-chances to score, mainly because clearing kicks were charged down at either end, but the defences remained intact.

In the 11th minute, however, WP threatened several times after a maul from a lineout five metres out but their three-quarters made the breakthrough when right wing Kobus van Wyk rounded off, before flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis added the conversion (7-0).

Lady Luck smiled on WP four minutes later when Van Wyk gathered a poor Catrakilis clearance kick from virtually on his own goalline and ran the length of the field to snatch a second converted try (14-0).

Referee Craig Joubert punished WP for a breakdown infringement and left wing Ruan Combrinck goaled the 40-metre penalty to open the Lions' scoring in the match (14-3).

The Lions staged a fightback in the final 10 minutes of the half but WP absorbed the pressure with ferocious tackling in their own 22-metre territory and looked set to retain their lead. But then a minute ahead of the half-time whistle, Andries Coetzee, the Lions' fullback, found an inviting opening out wide and dotted down his side's first try, which went unconverted (14-8).

The Lions looked strong at the start of the second half but they made no headway against a stubborn WP defence. Their early second-half territorial advantage proved handy when Combrinck goaled a penalty, but the advance was blanked out three minutes later by a Catrakilis penalty, which restored WP's six-point lead (17-11).

The Lions continued to apply pressure for a 10-minute spell but they had to rely on another Combrinck penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over. However, WP struck back four minutes later with a second Catrakilis penalty (20-14).

By the time the second half reached the halfway stage, WP seemed to find their early rhythm again. They did enough to record a third try but lost possession twice when the tryline was at their mercy. On both occasions, the Lions responded with counter-attacks from their in-goal area but the WP cover-defence scrambled well enough to rescue the situation.

Seven minutes before the end, WP ran the Lions ragged in a move initiated on their own 22-metre line and, despite several excellent tackles, substitute Jaco Taute was handily placed to take a scoring pass and crash over for his side's third try.

Substitute pivot Kurt Coleman added the conversion to stretch the lead to 13 points.

Taute's try effectively put the match beyond the never-say-die visitors and, with their 13-point defeat, they surrendered the top spot on the Currie Cup log.

Scorers:

Western Province:

Tries: Kobus van Wyk (2), Jaco Taute
Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2), Kurt Coleman
Penalties: Catrakilis (2)

Golden Lions:

Try: Andries Coetzee
Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (3)

Teams:

Western Province

15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Alistair Vermaak

Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Ruan Botha, 19. Rynhardt Elstadt, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Jaco Taute

Golden Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Stokkies Hanekom, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Derick Minnie (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Guy Cronjé, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Howard Mnisi

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London - Arsenal scored twice in the last seven minutes to escape with a 2-2 draw at Everton on Saturday after the home side had largely dominated the Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.

Aaron Ramsey scored after 83 minutes and substitute Olivier Giroud planted home a header in the 90th to cancel out the lead Everton held after first-half goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith.

The result meant Arsenal stayed third in the early-season table with four points from two games although their run of six successive league victories, which started after they lost 3-0 at Everton in April, came to an end.

Chelsea, who beat Leicester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, and Swansea City, who sank Burnley 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium, head the standings with six points.

In the day's other matches West Ham United won 3-1 at Crystal Palace while the games between Aston Villa and Newcastle United and Southampton and West Bromwich Albion both ended goalless.

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Swansea - Swansea winger Nathan Dyer bagged the winner as his side maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday.

Garry Monk's team had enjoyed a shock win against Manchester United on the opening day of the new Premier League campaign and Dyer's first half strike was enough to claim another three points in a hard-fought clash at the Liberty Stadium.

Burnley had been beaten by Chelsea in their first game back in the top-flight on Monday and Sean Dyche's side remain without a point despite a battling display that saw Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski produce an excellent second half stop to deny David Jones and preserve the win.

The Swans were unchanged following their shock victory at Old Trafford, with midweek signings Federico Fernandez and Tom Carroll not included in Monk's squad.

They went close to taking a third-minute lead when Wayne Routledge's cross found Wilfried Bony 12 yards out.

The Ivory Coast striker's header seemed destined for the far corner of the net but Burnley defender Jason Shackell intervened to clear the danger.

Routledge then sped past Kieran Trippier to deliver the perfect ball for Gylfi Sigurdsson, yet the Icelandic midfielder's shot lacked power and Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton held on.

But Heaton was beaten in the 23rd minute as Ben Mee failed to intercept Sigurdsson's ball and Dyer advanced to shoot past the goalkeeper's weak attempted save at his near post.

Bony had another chance straight after the restart when Dean Marney's headed back pass fell into his path but he horribly miskicked as he bore down on goal.

Danny Ings' drive was deflected wide as the Clarets came into the game more in the second half.

And Burnley should have been level when Marney's 64th minute cross picked out the unmarked Lukasz Jutkiewicz but the former Middlesbrough forward headed over.

Monk had seen enough and sent on Bafetimbi Gomis and Jefferson Montero for Bony and Dyer, but Burnley were within inches of equalising when Ings found Jones and his shot was saved by Fabianski.

Swansea nearly landed the killer second goal when South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yeung's rising drive just cleared the crossbar, but the hosts had already done enough.

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London - Newcastle United had still to score their first Premier League goal of the season after a 0-0 draw away to Aston Villa in Saturday's early kick-off match.

The Magpies had gone down to a 2-0 defeat at reigning champions Manchester City on the opening weekend last Sunday.

But they could broken their duck at Villa Park when, with barely a minute of normal time remaining, Dutch midfielder Siem de Jong let fly from close range only for American goalkeeper Brad Guzan to block the shot.

Newcastle finished the match with 10 men after central defender Mike Williamson was sent off in stoppage-time for a second bookable offence.

But it was too late for Villa, 1-0 winners at Stoke last weekend, to make their numerical advantage count.

Saturday's other matches see title-contenders Chelsea at home to newly-promoted Leicester while FA Cup-holders Arsenal travel to Everton.

Managerless Crystal Palace face London rivals West Ham while Southampton play West Bromwich Albion.

Swansea, fresh from their shock opening day win at Manchester United, welcome Premier League newcomers Burnley to south Wales.

Louis van Gaal will go in search of his first competitive win as Manchester United manager when he takes the team to north-east side Sunderland on Sunday, while former Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp will return to White Hart Lane as manager of fellow London club Queens Park Rangers.

Sunday's other Premier League fixtures sees Hull, 1-0 winners over QPR last weekend, at home to Stoke.

The second round of league fixtures is completed by Monday's clash between Manchester City and Liverpool, last season's runners-up, at Eastlands.

By then former City striker Mario Balotelli could be a Liverpool player if his proposed £16m transfer from AC Milan has been completed, although any deal will come too late for him to be registered to play on Monday.

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Tripoli - A wooden boat with around 170 African migrants on board trying to reach Europe has sunk in rough seas off the Libyan coast, a spokesperson for the Libyan navy said on Saturday.

Migrants have been streaming out of North Africa in rickety boats in rising numbers for years. So far in 2014, the total number reaching Italian shores has passed 100 000, the Italian government said this week.

"The coast guards have rescued 17 of the illegal migrants," navy spokesperson Ayoub Qassem said.

A search for the rest of the passengers was underway, he added.

The boat sank late on Friday near Qarabouli, east of Tripoli, a common launchpad used by human traffickers smuggling people to Europe, Qassem said.

Local coast guard official Mohammad Abdellatif told Reuters Television they had been alerted to the sinking by local fishermen at dawn on Saturday morning.

Abdellatif said the coast guard in Qarabouli had no equipment and so is forced to borrow fishing vessels and tug boats to carry out their rescue missions.

He said they had informed the hospital, ministry of health and the criminal investigations department of the accident and that all three had defused to collect the bodies.

All of the people rescued had been released as there was nowhere to detain them, he said.

The Italian navy told Reuters they were not involved in the incident and had no further details.

Italy is carrying out the bulk of patrols in the Mediterranean Sea aimed at preventing major tragedies involving migrants.

More than 70 000 people have been rescued through the "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea) mission of patrols which Italy began last October.

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Johannesburg - The Media Workers' Association of SA (Mwasa) on Saturday welcomed the SABC and production company MMSV's decision to negotiate with the actors who were dismissed from the SABC1 soapie, Generations.

The union was encouraged by the support it received for its call to all role-players including the affected actors, the production company and the public broadcaster to set aside the dismissals and return to negotiations.

"[Mwasa] supports the proposed two-phase process comprising the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed 16 actors which would be followed by a well-planned, inclusive national colloquium," said the union's general secretary Tuwani Gumani.

The actors were fired this week after they went on strike, claiming that the broadcaster and MMSV had failed to deliver on promises made to them during their strike last year.

They were reportedly promised three-year contracts which they had not received and they also wanted salary adjustments.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng on Friday said the public broadcaster understood their complaints but advised them to return to work as there were processes that needed to be followed to resolve their issues.

He said the broadcaster would always be open to negotiations but pointed out that there were people always willing to fill vacancies.

"It is a 50/50 situation because if some people are going, some people are coming in," he said.

MMSV owner Mfundi Vundla said the actors were receiving an average salary of R55 000 a month which was not peanuts as they had claimed.

When asked if he would accept the actors back if they wanted to return to work, he said he would, but on his terms.

Gumani said the union noted both the SABC as well as MMSV's interests.

"Our call has been along the lines that the affected parties must commit to bona fide consultations and negotiations under facilitation by an independent facilitator," said Gumani.

He added that the role played by Motsoeneng and his team in the dispute was, "not in keeping with common appreciation of fairness."

The union held a meeting with the Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa and a senior team in the ministry, as well as leadership from the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA) and Communication Workers Union (CWU) regarding the dispute on Friday.

"The meeting generally acknowledged that the plight of creative workers across the board may only be addressed with any modicum of success if and only when workers in the sector are organised into collective bargaining units and entities, said Gumani.

He said actors who "ride on ephemeral by-lines, fame, publicity, celebrity status and stardom," did not advance the developmental agenda in the industry and that "radical change" was needed in the industry as it had the potential to generate job creation.

Gumani also said a more favourable dispensation was needed in the law for all workers in the sector.

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Gaza City - Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza on Saturday, killing five Palestinians from the same family, two of them children, as the war between Israel and Hamas entered a 47th day.

Eighty-one Palestinians and a 4-year-old Israeli boy have been killed and nine Israeli civilians wounded since Tuesday, when truce talks collapsed ending nine days of calm.

Israel has vowed no let-up until it can guarantee the safety of its civilians, while Hamas insists that Israel must end its eight-year blockade of the territory as part of any truce.

The Israeli military said it had carried out more than 20 air strikes over the Gaza Strip on Saturday and that at least three rockets or mortar rounds had hit southern Israel.

Witnesses and Palestinian officials said two mosques were destroyed in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza, while a third, in the Shati refugee camp, which had already been damaged, was bombed again.

The deadliest Israeli air strike on Saturday levelled a home in al-Zawayda in central Gaza, killing a couple, their sons aged 3 and 4, and a 45-year-old aunt, medics said.

Another seven Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli strike that struck a house in Zeitun, east of Gaza City, medics said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Friday that the army would exact harsh retribution for the killing of a four-year-old child by shrapnel that tore through his home in kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel.

First Israeli child killed

Daniel Tragerman was the first Israeli child killed since the current conflict began on July 8.

Israel said militants had fired the deadly mortar round from next to a school in the Zeitun neighbourhood of Gaza City.

Netanyahu said "Hamas will pay a heavy price for this attack," his spokesperson Ofir Gendelman said on his Twitter account.

The army and the Shin Bet security agency would "intensify ops against Hamas", he added.

At least 2 097 Palestinians have been killed since 8 July, 70% of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

On the Israeli side, 68 people have died, all but four of them soldiers.

It is the deadliest fighting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2005 end of the second intifada, or uprising.

Execution

On Friday, Hamas executed 18 people it accused of collaborating with Israel a day after three of its top commanders were assassinated in Israeli air strikes.

Hamas gunmen grabbed six of them as worshippers left midday prayers at Gaza's biggest mosque, witnesses told AFP.

Another witness saw 11 people shot dead in a square near the remains of Gaza police headquarters, bombed by Israeli warplanes.

An 18th person was shot in front of bystanders in a separate incident.

The Western-backed Palestinian president and Hamas's exiled leader urged the United Nations on Friday to draw up a "timetable" for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories to end, Qatar state media reported.

President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal issued the appeal during talks in Doha, hosted by the Qatari emir, a key backer of the Islamist de facto rulers of Gaza.

The two Palestinian leaders have been holding talks since Thursday, but little has filtered out.

Ceasefire

Britain, France and Germany have advanced key points of a new UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, and the lifting of Israel's blockade.

Diplomats said the text was aimed at advancing efforts to reach agreement within the 15-member council after a draft resolution from Jordan met with resistance from Israel's US ally.

Washington has wielded its veto powers at the Security Council repeatedly in the past on behalf of Israel, although the now 46-day war has strained relations between the allies.

The new resolution proposes a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire and supervise the movement of goods into Gaza to allay Israeli security concerns.

It also calls for Abbas's Western-backed Palestinian Authority to take back control of Gaza, seven years after his loyalists were driven out of the territory by Hamas.

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Cape Town - Dates, venues, kick-off times and line-ups for Round 3 of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup tournament.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 23

Blue Bulls v EP Kings, Pretoria - 15:00

Blue Bulls
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques Du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van Der Merwe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi
1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenburg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers

EP Kings
15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Gary van Aswegen, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Paul Schoeman,6  Stefan Willemse, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Steven Cummins, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Jaco Grobler, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Siyanda Grey

Western Province v Golden Lions, Cape Town - 17:05

Western Province
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Alistair Vermaak

Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Ruan Botha, 19. Rynhardt Elstadt, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Jaco Taute

Golden Lions
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Stokkies Hanekom, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Derick Minnie (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Guy Cronjé, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Howard Mnisi

Sharks v Free State Cheetahs, Durban - 19:10

Sharks
15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. S'bura Sithole, 12. Paul Jordaan, 11. Tonderai Chavhanga, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Cameron Wright, 8. Tera Mtembu (Captain), 7. Francois Kleinhans, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick

Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies / Johan Meyer, 20. Conrad Hoffmann, 21. Heimar Williams, 22. Lionel Cronje

Free State Cheetahs
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Kevin Stevens

Substitutes: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 JP du Plessis

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Johannesburg - The missing head of a woman who was killed in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal has been found, police said on Saturday.

The head was found in Imfume on the south coast on Friday while her body had been discovered on Thursday, said Colonel Jay Naicker.

"On Thursday... Chatsworth [police] detained six suspects... including a woman and a traditional healer," said Naicker.

The group aged between 18 and 32 would appear in the Chatsworth Magistrate's Court on Monday where they would face murder charges.

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Johannesburg - Shadrack Kemboi of Kenya will not return for next month's Gauteng Marathon, according to his manager, after he was allegedly poorly treated following his impressive victory in last year's race.

Cuan Walker, who oversees the professional Maxed Elite team, said on Saturday the race organisers had lashed out at him and his athlete after the 2013 event.

Walker said the 28-year-old East African runner, who was second at the 2012 Zurich Marathon, had never before received such poor treatment by the organisers of a major race.

"There was nothing at the finish in terms of hospitality for someone who has won the race, something Shadrack is used to when he races in Europe," Walker said.

"We waited around for a long time with no info regarding when prize giving would be held, so I took Shadrack from the stadium to get food.

"I then got a call from the organiser (Nhlanhla Ngwenya) who screamed in my ear and asked why Shadrack was not at the prize giving, as it stipulated in the entry form the time it would be held, which it actually did not.

"He told me I was unprofessional and a disgrace and threatened that he would find a way to disqualify my athlete for not being at the prize giving."

Kemboi was not disqualified and received his R250 000 prize money, despite the alleged threats from the organisers.

Immediately after crossing the line in 2:14:02, more than two minutes clear of South African Benedict Moeng, Kemboi had said he would be back for the 2014 race.

Walker confirmed, however, that he had changed his mind after the treatment he had received.

Last year's event, which attracted more than 6 000 athletes, was delayed by more than half an hour due to transport problems, as runners were left stranded at Johannesburg Stadium when the race was scheduled to begin, waiting for transport to take them to the start in Krugersdorp.

Despite the forced delay, hundreds of entrants did not make it in time for the start, and were still on buses when the gun was fired.

"Shadrack had to warm up three times due to the start being delayed," Walker said.

"We are purposely not going back to the race this year because of these factors."

Ngwenya, the chief executive of race organisers Ultimate Sporting Concepts, said last year the Putco buses they had ordered did not arrive in time, and a different service provider would be used this year.

Ngwenya was not available for comment on Saturday.

Local athlete Mapaseka Makhanya, who won the women's race on debut last season in 2:37:06, confirmed this week she would be back for the 2014 event, which takes place on September 7.

The Gauteng Marathon forms part of the Gauteng Sports Challenge, an initiative launched by the provincial government in 2012, which also includes annual rugby and football tournaments.

The event offers one of the largest prize purses of any road race in the country, attracting some of South Africa's best athletes, as well as elite foreign runners.

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Johannesburg - As part of commemorating women's month, female police officers arrested 60 drunk drivers during roadblocks around Johannesburg, metro police said on Saturday.

The roadblocks were held by 94 female metro police officers on Friday night, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

The roadblocks were held along Chris Hani road in Soweto, Bree and Mooi streets in the CBD, Jan Smuts drive and Seventh avenue in Parktown, as well as the M1 and Corlett drive offramp.

"The drunk drivers were given bail ranging from R1 000 to R1 500," said Minnaar.

They were expected to appear at different courts around Johannesburg next week.

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Gaza City - Hamas has signed a pledge to back any Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court, two senior officials in the group said on Saturday. Such a step could expose Israel - as well as Hamas - to war crimes investigations.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has debated for months whether to join the court, a step that would transform his relations with Israel from tense to openly hostile and could also strain his ties with the United States.

The decision by Hamas to sign a document in support of a court bid removes a major obstacle, though it's not clear if Abbas now will go ahead. A hesitant Abbas has said he would not make any decision without the written backing of all Palestinian factions. Last month, he obtained such support from all factions in the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Hamas, which is not a PLO member, has said it would study the idea. Its decision to support the court option came after almost seven weeks of a deadly cross-border war with Israel and several failed cease-fire efforts.

Since the war erupted July 8, more than 2 090 Palestinians have been killed, including close to 500 children, and about 100 000 Gazans have been left homeless, according to United Nations figures and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 64 soldiers and four civilians, including a 4-year-old boy killed by a mortar shell on Friday.

Abbas under pressure

During the war, Gaza militants have fired more than 3 800 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, while Israel launched about 5 000 airstrikes at Gaza, the military said. Israel says it has targeted sites linked to militants, including rocket launchers and weapons. UN and Palestinian officials say three-fourths of those killed in Gaza have been civilians.

On Saturday, an airstrike on a house in central Gaza killed two women, two children and a man, according to medics at the Red Crescent. Six strikes also hit a house in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza, causing severe damage but no injuries, Gaza police said.

Since the start of the Gaza war, Abbas has come under growing domestic pressure to pave the way for a possible war crimes investigation of Israel. Last month, he told senior PLO officials and leaders of smaller political groups he would only go ahead if Hamas supports the bid.

If Abbas were to turn to the court, Hamas could be investigated for indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel since 2000. Israel could come under scrutiny for its actions in the current Gaza war as well as decades of settlement building on war-won lands the Palestinians seek for a state.

Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said on Saturday that Hamas was not concerned about becoming a target of a war crimes investigation.

"We are under occupation, under daily attack and our fighters are defending their people," he said in a phone interview from Qatar. "These rockets are meant to stop Israeli attacks and it is well known that Israel initiated this war and previous wars."

However, it is not clear if such arguments would hold up in court. After the last major round of Israel-Hamas fighting more than five years ago, a UN fact-finding team said both Israel and Hamas violated the rules of war by targeting civilians - Hamas by firing rockets at Israel.

'Signed the paper'

Hamas' decision to back a court bid came after meetings on Thursday and Friday in Qatar between Abbas and the top Hamas leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader who participated in the meetings, wrote on his Facebook page early Saturday that "Hamas has signed the paper" of support Abbas had requested. Rishq said that "we studied the paper and signed it".

Abu Marzouk's post was also reported on Hamas news websites.

There was no comment from Abbas aides and no immediate reaction from Israel, which has opposed involving the court.

Turning to the International Criminal Court became an option for Abbas in 2012, after the UN General Assembly recognised "Palestine" in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands captured by Israel in 1967, as a non-member observer state. The upgrade to a state opened the door to requesting the court's jurisdiction in Palestine.


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Johannesburg - One person died and 18 other people were injured when a taxi and a car collided head-on on Saturday, on the N18 in Hartswater, Northern Cape, paramedics said.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said when paramedics arrived, the car and taxi were scattered across the highway.

"After triaging they established that one person had tragically died, one was in a critical condition and seventeen others sustained injuries ranging from serious to minor," he said in a statement.

The injured were stabilised on the scene before they were taken to hospital.

Botha said the cause of the accident was not known.

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Monrovia - Every region of Liberia has now been hit by Ebola, officials said on Friday, as the World Health Organisation warned the fight against the worst-ever outbreak of the killer disease would take months.

After seeing people fall to the deadly virus in area after area, Liberia said two people had succumbed to the virus in Sinoe province, the last Ebola-free bastion in a country that has seen the biggest toll with 624 deaths.

The virus has spread relentlessly through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and Nigeria has also been affected despite showing some progress in fighting the epidemic, which has killed 1 427 people since March.

"(Sinoe) was the last area untouched by Ebola," George Williams, head of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, told AFP.

Chaotic scenes

The country has witnessed chaotic scenes in recent days following a surge in the number of patients dying of the hemorrhagic fever.

Aid workers said crematoriums in the capital of Monrovia were struggling to deal with bodies arriving every day, and earlier this week, violence erupted in an Ebola quarantine zone in the capital after soldiers opened fire on protesting crowds.

In a bid to ease the crisis, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is working on nearly quadrupling the capacity of its Ebola centre in Monrovia.

"Currently we have around 60 patients for a capacity of 120 beds," said Henry Gray, an MSF coordinator.

"And we are making our site bigger. In the next 10 days, we hope to have a location that can welcome up to 400 patients."

In neighbouring Nigeria, officials said Friday that two more people had tested positive for Ebola, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 14, including five deaths.

In a news conference in Monrovia, WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Keiji Fukuda on Friday warned efforts to combat the disease would take some time.

"This is not something to turn around overnight, it is not going to be easy; we expect several months of hard work. We expect several months really struggling with this outbreak," he said at a press conference alongside Dr David Nabarro.

Flare up

Nabarro, a physician appointed by the United Nations last week to co-ordinate the global response to the worst-ever outbreak of the disease, was in Monrovia as part of a tour of the region.

Speaking to AFP, he said he was determined to "ensure that every piece of our apparatus is at its optimum so it could deal possibly with a flare-up if that's necessary".

Nabarro is also due to visit Freetown, Conakry and Abuja during the trip, where he is tasked with revitalising the health sectors of affected countries.

No cure or vaccine is currently available for the deadly virus, which is spread by close contact with body fluids, meaning patients must be isolated.

However, two American missionaries who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia made a full recovery in the United States. The two were treated with experimental drugs.

The failure of west African countries to bring the epidemic under control has worried its neighbours and nations further afield.

Senegal on Thursday closed its land border with Guinea, where 396 people have died to date, in an attempt to stop the epidemic reaching it.

Gabon, meanwhile, suspended flights and maritime links from affected countries, and said it would deliver visas to travellers coming from the Ebola zone "on a case-by-case basis".

Jail time

In a further, urgent effort to contain the epidemic, Sierra Leone's parliament passed a law on Friday that imposes a jail term of up to two years for anyone concealing an Ebola-infected patient.

Ibrahim Bundu, a senior parliamentary figure, took the opportunity to blast some of the country's allies over their closures of land borders or flight suspensions.

"We are appalled by... the isolation imposed by those that we considered our best friends at a sub-regional, regional and global level," he said.

Meanwhile, as fears grow that the outbreak will spread across Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo - where Ebola was first identified in 1976 in what was then Zaire - said a fever of unidentified origin had killed 13 people in the country's northwest since August 11.

But a WHO official and MSF said on Friday it was too soon to tell whether a haemorrhagic fever caused the deaths, and the results of swabs are due in a week's time.

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Gaza City - Three Palestinians were killed by an Israeli air strike on central Gaza, medical officials said on Saturday, as the bloody conflict between Hamas and Israel entered its 47th day.

Emergency services spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra said the three were killed in a house in the Nusseirat camp, with five others wounded in the same attack.

Hostilities in the six-week war between Israel and Islamist rulers of Gaza Hamas resumed on Tuesday as Egyptian-brokered truce talks collapsed.

The Gaza emergency services say 79 people have died in the Palestinian enclave since then. One Israeli child was killed by a Gaza mortar on Friday with seven others wounded the same day by other rocket attacks, one of them critically.

At least 2 095 Palestinians have been killed since July 8, of whom the United Nations has identified 70% as civilians, and 68 people have died on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers.

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2014-08-23 08:57
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Dan Carter (Getty Images)

Auckland - All Blacks' flyhalves Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett will have more time to stake a claim for the starting role with Dan Carter not expected to return to the side until at least the final two rounds of the Rugby Championship.

Carter, who broke his leg during the Super Rugby final, had initially hoped to be sidelined for only a month and be available for the All Blacks' clash against Argentina in Napier on September 6.

The 32-year-old, however, said he was not expecting to play until the All Blacks travelled to Argentina and South Africa for their final two matches in the southern hemisphere competition.

The All Blacks, who play Australia in Auckland later on Saturday, will face the Springboks in Wellington on September 13 before they head to Argentina for a September 27 match in La Plata.

They conclude the championship against South Africa on October 4 in Johannesburg.

Cruden has assumed the starting role increasingly over the last two seasons as Carter battled a succession of injuries, but was off key last week against Australia and could find his position under scrutiny if he does not perform at Eden Park.

Barrett was considered the form flyhalf in Super Rugby but has yet to start in the position under coach Steve Hansen, who prefers to inject the Hurricanes' pivot off the bench in Test matches.

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Paramus - Defending champion Adam Scott made a run of four consecutive birdies and closed with a tap-in birdie to share the lead after Friday's second round of The Barclays PGA tournament.

The Australian star, who captured his first major title last year at the Masters, fired a six-under par 65 to match American Cameron Tringale atop the leaderboard halfway into the first event of the season-ending PGA playoffs.

And Scott was disappointed that he couldn't put the score even lower, lamenting his lone bogey at the third hole and two other pars on par-5 holes at Ridgewood Country Club.

"I played the par-5s in one-over today, so I could find four there for you, and missed so many 10-footers," Scott said.

Scott, who made a Sunday charge to win last year, opened with a birdie, took his bogey at the third, then responded with a run of four birdies in a row that ended with a 21-foot birdie putt at the par-3 eighth.

He also birdied the 12th and then put his approach at the 18th hole inches from the cup to set up his final birdie.

World number one Rory McIlroy, trying to become only the fifth player in PGA history to win his fourth event in a row, also fired a 65 to bounce back from an opening 74 that he blamed on his enjoyment last week of his British Open and PGA Championship wins, the third and fourth major titles of his career.

"I felt like my game is in pretty good shape," McIlroy said.

"The work I did on the range really helped, got back in the rhythm and the flow of things. I knew my game was there. I just needed to think more about the chances I was giving myself."

McIlroy stood on 139 in a share of 27th, five strokes off the pace of Scott and Tringale, who has never won a PGA event.

Tringale, who began on the back nine, opened with a bogey and followed with a double bogey at 12, but responded with birdies at 13, 15, 16 and 18, then adding two more at the par-5 third and par-4 seventh.

One stroke off the pace were Americans Kevin Chappell, Brendon Todd and Jim Furyk.

Four-time major winner Ernie Els was in a pack on 136 that included Aussie Jason Day, Sweden's Henrik Stenson, Scotsman Russell Knox and Americans Bo Van Pelt and Kevin Na.

Leading scores on Friday after the second round of the US PGA Barclays tournament (par-71, USA unless noted):

134 - Cameron Tringale 66-68, Adam Scott (AUS) 69-65

135 - Kevin Chappell 68-67, Brendon Todd 66-69, Jim Furyk 66-69

136 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 72-64, Ernie Els (RSA) 68-68, Bo Van Pelt 65-71, Russell Knox (SCO) 67-69, Jason Day (AUS) 72-64, Kevin Na 70-66

137 - Paul Casey (ENG) 66-71, Erik Compton 68-69, Hunter Mahan 66-71, Patrick Reed 71-66

138 - Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 66-72, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 70-68, Justin Rose (ENG) 68-70, Zach Johnson 68-70, Matt Kuchar 68-70, Danny Lee (NZL) 67-71, Scott Langley 70-68, Bubba Watson 68-70, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 68-70, Retief Goosen (RSA) 69-69, John Huh 69-69

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Pretoria - Following a dismal start with two devastating defeats the Blue Bulls will be desperate to salvage their Currie Cup campaign with a home victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Pretoria on Saturday.

The hosts are experiencing a serious dry period in the Currie Cup competition having gone title-less for four years.

Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made some bold selections with almost a completely new backline taking on the Kings.

"We didn't expect to get these results in the first two weeks, but we take it and felt that we deserved it because we weren't good enough," Ludeke said.

"We want to change it this weekend by playing well... we can talk a lot but we know we need to deliver this weekend," Ludeke said.

Ludeke rang the changes following their 41-17 defeat to Western Province last weekend in Cape Town.

The most significant changes were made to the backline where the Young Turks were selected ahead of some of the more seasoned campaigners.

Centre William Small-Smith will form an exciting midfield combination with Burger Odendaal, who made his Currie Cup debut only a fortnight ago.

The much-talked-about Jesse Kriel will be keen to make an impression at fullback while flyhalf Tony Jantjies will combine with scrumhalf Rudy Paige.

Ludeke believed these players had the potential to resuscitate his side's wobbly campaign.

"We've got quality in the side, good players, so there are no excuses," he said.

"We are not happy with the first two results, it was not up to our standards and we disappointed a lot of people and ourselves.

"The only way to sort it out is to go out, play well, get the result and be accurate."

The Kings were in a similar position to the Bulls making an equally bad start to their re-entry to Currie Cup.

A first-round defeat to Western Province was followed by a demolishing 60-19 defeat to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.

Kings coach Carlos Spencer also made sweeping changes to his team with four among the forwards pack.

The coastal side will welcome back inspirational captain Luke Watson after missing last weekend's clash against the Lions with a bout of flu.

Spencer said his team needed to increase their intensity against a wounded Bulls outfit if they wanted to avoid another hiding.

"We have spoken all week about the need for urgency and commitment, which is something we lacked in abundance against the Lions," Spencer said.

"We know the Bulls have their backs to the wall and will come out firing, and if we don't match that aggression, we will come second."

Both teams were languishing at the bottom of the log with neither having earned a point since the start of the competition.

The Bulls were ahead of the Eastern Province side on the log due to a "better" points difference of -52 compared to the Kings's -60.

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Dresden - A German police officer went on trial on Friday accused of murdering a willing victim he met on a website for cannibalism fetishists so he could make a grisly pornographic home video.

In a macabre case that has captured global attention, prosecutors say the 56-year-old defendant, Detlev Guenzel, killed the man at his home last November, then cut his body into small pieces and buried them in his garden.

"He killed and dismembered him to get sexual stimulation and then later to get sexual stimulation by watching the video he made," chief prosecutor Andreas Feron told the regional court in the eastern city of Dresden.

Guenzel could face 15 years in prison if convicted of murder and "disturbing the peace of the dead".

Beyond imagination...

The men came across each other in October 2013 on a website for slaughter and cannibalism fantasies billed as "the #1 site for exotic meat" and boasting more than 3 000 registered members.

A click on a box allows participants to say if they would like to go beyond the realm of the imagination.
Investigators say, however, there is no evidence that the suspect ate any part of the dead man.

Guenzel has retracted a confession he made to police in which he said he killed 59-year-old Polish-born Wojciech Stempniewicz by cutting his throat, and an autopsy found the cause of death was asphyxiation.

His defence team argued that Stempniewicz, who had long expressed a death wish, hanged himself in Guenzel's custom-designed "S&M studio" in his cellar before Guenzel took a knife, then an electrical saw, to his body.

'A very sheltered childhood'

Guenzel, a trim man with closely cropped grey hair, entered the courtroom wearing a white hoodie jacket and neat grey trousers and smirked slightly as media photographers took his picture.

He told presiding judge Birgit Wiegand that he would not address the facts of the case for now but he recounted his life story.

"I grew up in a beautiful house with my parents and had a very sheltered childhood," said Guenzel, a three-decade veteran of the police force who was raised in communist East Germany.

"I was the baby of the family and was spoiled by everyone."

Guenzel had been married to his male partner in a civil union for 10 years at the time of the killing but said they divorced earlier this year.

He has two adult children from a previous marriage and said he had adopted his partner's daughter, who now lives in Ireland.

"I have close contact with all of them and they have all visited me in prison," he told the court.

Guenzel's partner, neighbours and police colleagues have told investigators they were shocked to learn of his double life.

'Sink so low'

The 50-minute video is to be presented during the trial, which is scheduled to last at least until November and hear testimony from around 20 witnesses, including the dead man's estranged wife.

Prosecutor Feron recounted the video's content in graphic detail, quoting the blood-soaked Guenzel as saying at one point as he mutilated the corpse, "I never thought I would sink so low".

However Guenzel's defence attorney Endrik Wilhelm said the recording proves that Stempniewicz committed suicide by hanging himself.

Wilhelm said the man's knees were bent while he hung, his mouth taped shut and his hands bound behind his back with his consent.

"It is clear he could have extended his legs to touch the floor, in which case he would still be alive," he said.

Media attention

Stempniewicz, a business consultant from the northern city of Hanover, and Guenzel had extensive contact online and by telephone before finally arranging the fatal date on 4 November.

Their emails had the title "Schlachtfest", the German word for a country feast after the slaughter of a pig.

Guenzel picked him up at Dresden's main railway station and drove him back to his house in the mountain town of Hartmannsdorf-Reichenau near the Czech border, which he ran as a bed and breakfast.

Wilhelm expressed fears that massive media attention had created a bias against his client.

He noted that most reports drew parallels with the infamous case of German cannibal Armin Meiwes, who admitted to killing, mutilating and eating the flesh of a lover in 2001 after meeting him on the internet via an advertisement looking for a "slaughter victim".

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006.

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