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Masur shoulder ends prospect of Kyrgios duel

It’s the match Canberra has been waiting for, a match between a favourite son and an emerging star. The Master versus the Apprentice. Wally Masur v Nick Kyrgios.

A showdown in the Asia-Pacific Tennis League had ACT tennis fans salivating.

But alas, it’s not going to happen.

Former world No. 8 Masur had put his name down to play for the Stanmore Wyverns, who play Canberra Velocity at North Woden on November 16, setting up the chance he’d face Kyrgios in an all-Canberra match-up.

But an injured shoulder has ruled Masur out of even the shortened format of the ATL.

Instead, 18-year-old Kyrgios could face Sandon Stolle – the 1998 US Open doubles champion.

Several former professionals have put their names down to help increase the profile of the ATL, which has been designed to give Australia’s emerging talent something to play in during the typically quiet November.

Australia Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter will play in the Queensland section.

The Velocity women, who finished sixth last summer, will face stiff opposition, with Casey Dellacqua playing for the Wyverns women.

”I had grand plans to maybe play a little bit, but I found out very quickly my shoulder’s not up to it,” Masur said. ”I’m 50, I think it’s a hangover from being 50.”

Ranked 180 in the world, Kyrgios has been struggling with an elbow injury recently, but hopes to be fit to make his Australian Open debut this summer.

He beat Radek Stepanek in his first French Open outing mid-year and also qualified for the US Open.

The former Daramalan student then made his Davis Cup debut, helping Australia back into the main group after six years in the wilderness.

Masur said there’s only one way to avoid an outbreak of second-year syndrome: hard work.

He pointed to world No.1 Rafael Nadal as the perfect example.

”If you look at ‘Rafa’ and these guys and how good they are, they just keep adding another brick to the wall, they just keep working hard to get better, and Nick’s no different,” he said.

”Nick’s had a great year and learnt a lot, and to consolidate it’s just another year of hard work.”

The Velocity men will be Kyrgios, Jake Eames, James Frawley, Alun Jones and Todd Larkham, while the women are Alison Bai, Nicole Hoynaski, Tyra Calderwood, Ashley Keir and Annabel Parolo.

ASIA-PACIFIC TENNIS LEAGUEDraw for Canberra teamsMen: Canberra Velocity v Sydney Uni Lions at Newington College, Friday November 8, 4pm; Canberra Velocity v Stanmore Wyverns at North Woden, Saturday  November 16, 2pm; Canberra Velocity v Macquarie Uni Warriors at North Woden, Sunday November 17, 2pm; Next Gen Rebels v Canberra Velocity at Talus St, Sydney, Saturday November 23, 5pm.Women: Canberra Velocity v Stanmore Wyverns at Sydney University, Wednesday November 6, 11.30am; Canberra Velocity v City Lizards at North Woden, Saturday November 16, 2pm; Canberra Velocity v Sydney Uni Lions at North Woden, Sunday November 17, 2pm; NSTA Angels v Canberra Velocity at Talus St, Sydney, Saturday November 23, 5pm.

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Hair-brained critics offer stars free advice

“If it’s not collagen then please use a new make-up artist”: Criticism sent to Sky presenter Jacinta Tynan. Photo: Ellis ParrinderThe face matters, as does the decolletage, although the critic will generally deploy a far less polite term when referring to it. Body weight is obviously crucial, as is the choice of the presenter’s clothes. But for women on television, it seems, it’s mostly about the hair.

In what looked almost like a lady-conspiracy but was more probably a zeitgeisty coincidence, two high-profile television journalists, the ABC’s Annabel Crabb and Channel Nine’s Lisa Wilkinson, spoke out over the weekend about the abuse they cop for their appearances, whenever they dare to commit an act of journalism on television using their actual faces and bodies as vessels for communication.

Despite being two of the nation’s most likeable and intelligent female journos, they are beset by abusive tweets, reader emails, and quaintly, even some letters, about how they look like old boilers/tarts/boilers-dressed-as-tarts/would-be tarts/tarts who have had make-up inexpertly applied to their tarty faces/just stupid.

They are not alone, of course. It happens to all women who appear on TV, and many of the men, too, although the comments tend not to be so acutely focused on their looks. Drum presenter and Sydney Morning Herald columnist Julia Baird has a whole category of comment she summarises neatly as ”creepy sexual stuff”.

Sky news journalist Jacinta Tynan magnetises criticism over her hair, thought by forthcoming viewers to be either too big, too frizzy or fake. During her two pregnancies, Tynan was consistently accused of having Botox on her face or collagen in her lips. Tynan wrote back to one correspondent telling her she had not had either.

”If it’s not collagen then please use a new make-up artist,” the viewer rejoined, seemingly without shame.

Are these women, as some of the reader comments on Crabb’s piece have suggested, simply participating in their own oppression by gussying up for television? Couldn’t they just refuse to wear make-up, or wear the minimal make-up their male colleagues do? Baird notes the former prime minister recently revealed she had her make-up professionally done every morning when she held that office.

”It’s just par for the course and if you do it, you don’t have to think about it, and it prevents a whole other level of criticism,” Baird says. ”It’s part of the job you accept.”

Sky News presenter and host Helen Dalley, who has been on television since the mid-1980s, says she ”gave up a long time ago reading or listening to it all”.

She points out that the make-up gender double-standard applies everywhere, not just on television. But it is women on television who cop the most abuse.

What to do about this nasty aspect of the social media age? As with praise, perhaps it is best to accept criticism only from people you respect. And it’s difficult to respect an anonymous person with a Twitter account and the world-view of a sexually confused Talibani.

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Uni floats cloning to save rare species

THE University of Newcastle is proposing a $40million program to use genetic technology to clone and reproduce native wildlife under threat of extinction.

The project could be used to save threatened frogs, birds, freshwater fish, marsupials and other vertebrates.

The university expects to learn by Christmas if a bid to the federal government to fund the program over eight years is successful.

Bid director Professor John Rodger said the funding would allow the Wildlife Biodiversity Co-operative Research Centre to be established.

It would be a consortium of 40 institutions, including universities, zoos and state agencies, which the University of Newcastle would lead.

‘‘If successful, Newcastle will be heading the major concentration of research in this area in Australia,’’ Professor Rodger said.

He said the project aimed to develop ‘‘breakthrough technology to generate offspring from stored genomes for use in frog breeding and reintroduction programs’’.

One target is the southern corroboree frog – Australia’s most critically endangered frog – of which fewer than 100 remain in the wild.

Other frogs to be targeted could include the booroolong frog and green and golden bell frog in the Hunter.

Dr John Clulow, a University of Newcastle lecturer in the school of environmental and life sciences, said the university had developed procedures using IVF technology and sperm-freezing techniques to conserve endangered frogs.

Technology the university had developed could be used in combination with cloning to generate animals, Dr Clulow said.

‘‘We’ve developed freezing technology to store embryonic cells and that’s a move forward. Then you need a way to turn those back into frogs and linking it up with cloning is the way to do it.’’

Other plans involve working with Tasmanian devils, black cockatoos in Western Australia and a range of kangaroos.

Professor Rodger said the disease that decimated the endangered Tasmanian devil ‘‘came out of left field’’.

‘‘Generally we find out too late if a species has a problem and we haven’t saved the resources,’’ he said.

The program would store sperm, eggs and other genomic resources, so ‘‘when crises occur we’re in a far better position to respond’’.

It would select species with ‘‘the best genes’’ for storage and reproduction, Professor Rodger said.

The program also aimed to reintroduce species from areas where the species’ populations were normal to depleted areas to rebuild ecosystems.

Dr Clulow said it would be like seed banks for plant conservation.

‘‘If populations collapse or go extinct in the wild, we’d have a source of material to prevent their complete extinction,’’ he said.

This technique would be much stronger than breeding in captivity, he said.

AT RISK: The Southern corroboree frog.

Vidmar says Rogic must earn a start

Australian Joeys coach Tony Vidmar believes Tom Rogic may be forced to leave Scottish giant Celtic to increase his chances of playing a bigger role with the Socceroos at next year’s World Cup.

The 20-year-old Canberra product has had limited game time with the Hoops and was an unusued substitute in Celtic’s 2-1 Scottish Premier League win over Partick Thistle on Sunday night.

Rogic could be one of a batch of talented youngsters to benefit from the appointment of new national coach Ange Postecoglou.

While the attacking midfielder was capped seven times under Holger Osieck, Rogic could play a more substantial role during Postecoglou’s five-year tenure. However, it will be tough for Postecoglou to throw Rogic into the mix while he is sitting on the bench.

Vidmar said Rogic faced a difficult decision the longer he struggled to make the first team.

”He hasn’t had much game time and it’d be frustrating for him,” Vidmar said.

”It’s up to Ange to see if he’s going to throw him in there.

”Do you need to be playing regularly for your club as a prerequisite or is Ange going to go with the best players irrespective of game time?”

Vidmar is based in Canberra as the head coach of the AIS program as well as the Australian under-17s team, the Joeys. The former Socceroo is well versed in the quality of the Scottish Premier League having made 104 appearances for Celtic’s cross-town rival, Glasgow Rangers.

The central defender was 27 when he moved to Rangers and had a decade of experience as a professional after becoming a regular in the Socceroos and having a stint in Holland with NAC Breda.

”When you’re an established player you’ve got a good chance of getting into the first team, but Tom’s at an age where he’s still developing,” Vidmar said.

”Is it the right environment where he can develop? I don’t know.

”We’ll know in the next few years.”

Postecoglou isn’t afraid to tap more experienced players on the shoulder and opt for youth as he did in instigating a clearout at Brisbane Roar.

Veterans such as Craig Moore and Danny Tiatto left the club as Postecoglou guided the Roar to back-to-back A-League championships.

Vidmar believed the timing was right for an Australian to be in charge of the national team and hoped it paved the way for other young coaches, such as himself, to possibly be considered for the role in the future.

”It gives us young coaches the belief that one day we can continue,” Vidmar said.

”Ange is there for five years and does he stay there longer or does he have a career overseas?

”During that period of time, it gives us young coaches the belief that if Ange is there then I can become the national team coach.

”We’re at a stage where we should have an Australian coach taking the Australian team.”

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South Africa to sentence 20 extremists for Nelson Mandela death plot

A South African court began sentencing on Monday 20 right-wing extremists convicted of high treason for a plot to kill Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country.

The “Boeremag” organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government.

The trial lasted almost a decade until the organisation’s members were convicted in August last year, the first guilty verdicts for treason since the end of apartheid in 1994.

“The accused had aimed to overthrow the government through unconstitutional methods that included violence,” said High Court judge Eben Jordaan as he began the two-day sentencing hearing.

“They planned a violent attack against people of colour that would certainly be followed by retaliation attacks against whites as a result,” Jordaan said at the hearing taking place in the same Pretoria courtroom where Mandela was convicted of treason in 1964.

One woman died and dozens of people were injured in blasts that shook the Johannesburg township of Soweto in October 2002.

All 20 accused were convicted of treason, but only five of murder and the plot to kill Nobel peace laureate Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.

The state is seeking life sentences for the group’s leaders and bomb specialists, and 10 to 15 years in prison for the other defendants.

South Africa does not have the death sentence.

“We are hoping for a good conviction,” said Paul Ramoloka, spokesman for specialist police unit the Hawks, who investigated the plot.

Security was tight around the courtroom, with police carrying out body searches of the public.

The Boeremag, Afrikaans for “Boer Force”, a reference to the descendants of the first Dutch colonisers, had planned to sow chaos through bomb blasts then take over military bases, replace the government with white military rule and chase all blacks and Indians from the country.

Far-right organisation the Boer Republicans bussed in its members to support the defendants during sentencing.

“I support them 100 percent because their plan was right,” the group’s leader Piet Rudolph told AFP.

“Our people are being oppressed, we are servants, and people should revolt against that.”

The sentences are expected to be handed down on Tuesday.


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