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International Sports: Summary of the latest news and action

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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International Sports: Summary of the latest news and action | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World sporting news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Tennis – Novak Djokovic

The world’s top three players all scaled dizzy heights in 2012 but Novak Djokovic ended the year staring down at his rivals after grinding down Roger Federer to win the ATP World Tour Finals title in brutal fashion at London’s O2 Arena yesterday.

The 25-year-old shed sweat and blood before dethroning Federer 7-6 7-5 in a showdown that provided a memorable climax to an incredible men’s season.

Since winning a fifth grand slam title at the Australian Open in a near six-hour epic against Rafa Nadal back in January, Djokovic’s reign has come under attack from both Federer and Britain’s Andy Murray, but after beating both in London he is clearly still the dominant force going into 2013.

World number two Federer has been all but unbeatable in the tournament since it switched to London in 2009 and was seeking a hat-trick of titles at the eye-catching Thames-side dome.

Cricket – South Africa trail
South Africa were 31 for one at lunch on the final day of the first test against Australia on Tuesday after the hosts had declared at 565-5 with a first innings lead of 115.

Australia captain Michael Clarke was unbeaten on 259 when he made the declaration, giving his bowlers more than two sessions to try and bowl the tourists out and claim a remarkable victory.

James Pattinson gave Australia hope by having opener Alviro Petersen caught behind by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for five to leave South Africa on 6-1.

The young seamer also bowled Hashim Amla for seven but the world’s number one batsman was brought back to the crease for a no ball. Amla had reached seven alongside skipper Graeme Smith, who was 17 not out, at the break.

Clarke had sparkled again with the bat on a bright and sunny morning at the Gabba, adding 41 runs to his personal tally and taken the record for the highest individual score at the famous Brisbane ground.

The 31-year-old shared a partnership of 228 with Mike Hussey, who reached his 17th test century in 128 balls with a rushed single before being dismissed on the next delivery he faced.

Morne Morkel claimed the wicket, his third, with substitute fielder Faf du Plessis taking a fine catch at full stretch at short cover.

It was Clarke, who had resumed on 218 with his team on 487-4 in reply to South Africa’s 450, who shone brightest with the bat, however, and he crashed a Dale Steyn delivery back over the bowler’s head to bring up his 250 with his 28th four.

His innings, from 398 deliveries in 582 minutes, eclipsed England’s Alastair Cook’s 235 scored in the opening test of the Ashes series two years ago.

Matthew Wade provided back up with 19 runs from 35 balls and looked set for more when his skipper, determined to try and force a result, declared during the drinks break.

It was a remarkable turnaround for Australia, who were reeling at 40 for three when Clarke took the crease on Sunday afternoon.

South Africa’s number one test ranking is on the line in the series, which continues with matches in Adelaide and Perth after Brisbane.

Football – John Terry
Chelsea captain John Terry will be out for weeks, not months, after he injured his knee on his comeback against Liverpool at the weekend, the Premier League club said yesterday

Terry, who had missed the previous four domestic matches for the European champions while serving a ban for racially insulting Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last year, was hurt in a first half collision with Luis Suarez.

“Today’s MRI scans on John Terry’s right knee thankfully show no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments,” Chelsea said on their website.

Football – La Liga spat
Levante have published a heavily ironic response to a Real Madrid statement addressing reports of clashes between players and officials from the two clubs after Sunday’s La Liga match.

Spanish media reported that Real defender Pepe and Levante captain Sergio Ballesteros had been involved in a confrontation near the dressing rooms and the referee referred in his match report to a clash between an official from each club that had to be broken up by security staff.

Real won the game, which was played in atrocious conditions on a heavily waterlogged pitch, 2-1 after playing the second half without top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese was struck in the face by David Navarro’s elbow early in the match and the blow opened a gash below his left eye and caused problems with his vision.

It remains to be seen whether the Spanish soccer federation’s disciplinary committee, which typically takes action only on incidents that appear in the referee’s match report, will sanction the two clubs.

Golf – World number one Rory McIlroy adds further accolades
World number one Rory McIlroy added further accolades to his already bulging resume when he was named winner of the PGA of America Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy yesterday.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who clinched his second major title with a record eight-shot victory at the PGA Championship in August, was always likely to land both honors after triumphing a season-high four times on the 2012 PGA Tour.

McIlroy followed in the footsteps of his Ryder Cup team mate Luke Donald when he became the second player to win the money list titles in both Europe and the United States.

He is also a heavy favorite to become the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year, which is voted upon by tour members and scheduled to be announced early next month.

McIlroy comfortably held off the challenge of Americans Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar to claim PGA of America Player of the Year honours.

He finished with 100 points while Woods ended up with 66, Masters champion Watson and Dufner each totaled 50, Snedeker earned 36 and Kuchar 34.

McIlroy won the Vardon Trophy, first presented in 1937, with an adjusted scoring average of 68.87. Jim Furyk was second on 69.30 and Dufner third (69.45).

McIlroy, who secured the European Tour Race to Dubai title by finishing third at the Singapore Open on Sunday, is vying with Woods, Dufner, FedEx Cup champion Snedeker and Watson for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award.

Those five players were named on Monday as the final nominees for the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Award.

The nominees for Rookie of the Year were Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr.

When all is said and done, though, McIlroy will overshadow everyone else after his stellar 2012 campaign.

The richly talented Northern Irishman has made a habit of beating the game’s best style in when given the chance and he claimed PGA Tour victories this season at the Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.

McIlroy clinched the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA Tour’s leading money winner, with earnings of $8,047,952, and was delighted to follow that up with the European Tour order of merit on Sunday with two events remaining.

Horse racing – Jockey charged
Leading Australian jockey Damien Oliver was charged today with two offenses related to placing a bet on another horse two years ago.

The 40-year-old, who admitted to the wager, was stood down from the sport immediately pending a hearing on November 20, Racing Victor

— Reuters

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World

Johnson tells MPs that there is ‘no better outcome’ than his Brexit plan

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Johnson tells MPs that there is ‘no better outcome’ than his Brexit plan | The Thaiger

British PM Boris Johnson is warning British MPs there was “no better outcome” to the tortuous Brexit process than his divorce deal, as he scrambles to get MPs behind the agreement ahead of today’s knife-edge vote in parliament (Saturday UK time).

Johnson is urging lawmakers to back the “fantastic” terms he struck with EU leaders and let Britain leave the bloc on October 31.

“There’s no better outcome than the one I’m advocating tomorrow.”

“I want colleagues on all sides of the House to think about a world tomorrow night in which we’ve got this thing done,” he added in a separate interview with ITV.

“I think the nation will heave a great sigh of relief.”

Johnson pulled off a major coup in agreeing a new divorce deal at a Brussels summit on Thursday, only a fortnight before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU. But the deal’s fortunes, and Britain’s immediate fate, rest in the hands of a few undecided MPs, who will vote in the first Saturday session of the Commons since the 1982 Falklands War.

Political pundits suggest the vote could be exceptionally tight. Johnson has no majority among MPs, every opposition party has come out against the deal and even his parliamentary ally, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), says it cannot support the terms.

Johnson requires the support of 319 other MPs to guarantee victory – and claims he is confident of getting the numbers, as he spent the day meeting and calling MPs.

He must convince diehard eurosceptics in his own Conservative ranks, former colleagues he expelled from the party for seeking to block a “no deal” departure, and main opposition Labour MPs from Brexit-backing constituencies to have any chance.

Labour is ordering its MPs to vote against the deal but threatening no punishment if they vote in favour. Several MPs spent yesterday wrestling with their consciences as the more than three years of turmoil since the June 2016 EU membership referendum came to a head.

Johnson is expected to deliver a speech to parliament from 0830 GMT on Saturday, kicking off a day of debate that could last well into the evening.

The turning of the screws

If the Commons rejects the deal, Johnson will be forced by law to ask the EU to delay Brexit, for what would be the third time. He has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch”.

French President Emmanuel Macron piled the pressure on MPs, saying he did not want a new delay now a deal was struck.

“The October 31 date should be respected. I don’t think that new deadlines should be given,” he said at the EU summit in Brussels.

“We need to end these negotiations and get on negotiating the future relationship.”

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel added: “There is no choice between Brexit or no Brexit: it’s a choice between deal or no deal.”

Johnson took office in July vowing to keep to the October 31 Brexit deadline, deal or no deal.

He pledged to renegotiate the most contentious elements of a divorce text agreed by his predecessor Theresa May with Brussels last year, which MPs rejected three times.

The compromise deal that was finally struck on Thursday has a new arrangement for keeping open the border between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

The DUP has said it cannot support the plans, as efforts to avoid checks on the Irish land border would lead to new trade barriers between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

Meanwhile…

Former Conservative prime minister John Major (1990-1997) and his Labour successor Tony Blair (1997-2007) pleaded with MPs to back a second referendum, ahead of a major rally by the “People’s Vote” campaign outside parliament on Saturday (UK time).

“Whatever is the outcome, no deal or bad deal, it should not pass without the final say resting with the people,” said Blair.

Major said Brexit was a “thoroughly bad idea” that risked breaking up the UK.

The Pound steadied around $1.29 yesterday as dealers took a breather at the end of a dizzying week.

ETX Capital analyst Michael Baker said the market was “really gambling” on the vote and had “not priced in fully all scenarios – so expect big moves”.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse | PHOTO: Associated Press

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Economy

Local investor sentiment dampened by Brexit woes and slump in Chinese economy

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Local investor sentiment dampened by Brexit woes and slump in Chinese economy | The Thaiger

The British pound fell today as investors fret over PM Boris Johnson’s chances of pushing his Brexit deal through the British parliament, while Asian markets were mostly down after data showed China’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in nearly three decades.

The pound rallied almost to US$1.30 yesterday following news that negotiators had hammered out an agreement that would avoid Britain leaving the EU without a divorce deal – a move many warn would be economically catastrophic. But the brief celebrations were soon tempered by the realisation that the British PM faces an uphill task in getting the deal past lawmakers, with opposition MPs and even some in his own Conservative party saying they won’t pass it.

Most importantly, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up Johnson’s government, said it was “unable to support these proposals”.

Forex traders sold sterling, pushing it back down below $1.29, and it extended losses in Asia. Focus is now on a crucial vote in London on the deal scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday).

“Much will depend on the PM’s ability to get some if not all DUP and (Scottish National Party) MPs onside, in addition to also getting the backing from the 21 ex-Conservative MPs he expelled from the party last month,” said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.

“Rejection of the deal might well see more political brinkmanship around a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, but the most likely scenario would be yet another extension of the 31 October Brexit date.”

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said whichever way the vote goes, “traders should prepare themselves for some severe volatility on Monday morning, with multiple big-figure moves a strong possibility”.

China growth slows again

Asian equity markets, meanwhile, were mostly lower after China said its economy expanded 6% in the third quarter, the slowest pace in 27 years, as leaders struggle to address weak domestic demand and the long-running US trade war.

The reading was a drop from the previous three months but in line with an AFP forecast and the government’s 6-6.5% target for the year.

While the National Bureau of Statistics said the economy “maintained overall stability”, it added that it “is under mounting downward pressure” from weakness at home and abroad.

Shanghai ended down 1.3% with Stephen Innes at AxiTrader saying traders were concerned the figures were not weak enough to prompt the Chinese central bank to embark on a big stimulus drive.

“With the People’s Bank of China, who arguably have plenty of policy ammunition to right the ship, probably unwilling to turn on the monetary taps, investors are taking risk off the table,” he said in a note.

Hong Kong was off 0.5% amid concern over the possibility of more violent protests over the weekend, while Sydney closed down 0.5 percent and Singapore eased 0.4%.

Seoul shed 0.8% and Wellington lost 0.7%, with Taipei and Manila also lower. But Tokyo closed 0.2 higher at a 10-month high, while Mumbai and Jakarta also edged up.

Hopes for the China-US trade talks were given a lift after Beijing’s commerce ministry said negotiators have “accelerated efforts” to hammer out details of last Friday’s mini-deal and were holding talks on moving on to the next phase of a wider agreement.

Donald Trump said Wednesday he hopes to sign the deal with President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in Chile next month.

And the Turkish lira jumped more than 1% after Ankara said it would pause military operations in northern Syria for five days and US Vice President Mike Pence said Washington would not impose any fresh sanctions.

Key markets today…

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2857 from $1.2891 at 2050 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 86.48 pence from 86.31 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1122 from $1.1127

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.63 yen from 108.62 yen

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4% at 7,152.55

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2% at 22,492.68 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5% at 26,719.58 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.3% at 2,938.14 (close)

West Texas Intermediate: UP four cents at $53.97 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 22 cents at $59.69 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.1% at 27,025.88 (close)

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Philippines

Powerful 6.4 earthquake kills five in the Philippines

May Taylor

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Powerful 6.4 earthquake kills five in the Philippines | The Thaiger

PHOTO: AFP

A strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake has struck the southern Philippines, killing five, including one child, destroying property and disrupting power supply. The death toll is expected to rise.

The powerful quake was felt across the Mindanao region, even causing a 3-storey shopping mall to burst into flames. Residents were evacuated and a child was killed when a house collapsed in the town of Datu Paglas.

AFP reports that the quake was 14 kilometres deep and followed by two aftershocks. The Philippines is part of the “Ring of Fire”, a zone of constant seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific.

Several injuries have been reported as a result of falling debris. The shopping mall that caught fire was evacuated when the quake struck, but it’s not yet known if there were still people inside as the fire took hold.

The mall was still on fire three hours later as nearly 100 firemen battled to put it out.

Residents on the coast in Davao fled to higher ground fearing a tsunami, even though a government seismologist reassured people there was no tsunami risk as the quake had occurred inland.

It’s understood that prisoners in the municipal jail in the town of Bansalan were also let out, but placed in handcuffs and held outside for the duration of the evacuation.

SOURCE: AFP

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