Ukrainians flee rebel bastion

Panicked Ukrainians are flooding highways and rail lines leading out of Donetsk, fearing a reprisal assault by government forces after the loss of 30 servicemen to defiant rebels.

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Separatists near the Russian border mowed down 19 troops in a hail of heavy rocket fire on Friday in a bloody reminder of their resolve to reverse the recent tide of government gains across the eastern rustbelt.

The military said four other troops died elsewhere on Friday and seven more were killed overnight in attacks that also left more than 120 soldiers wounded.

Ukraine’s new Western-backed leader immediately vowed to hunt down the guilty militias in a push that would shatter all hopes of a truce in one of Europe’s most explosive conflicts in decades.

“The rebels will pay for the life of every one of our servicemen with tens and hundred of their own,” President Petro Poroshenko told an emergency security meeting.

“Not a single terrorist will avoid responsibility.”

The militant talk convinced many in the million-strong eastern hub of Donetsk – the new home to a flood of gunmen who had abandoned surrounding cities since last weekend – that their riverside city was about to be bombed.

The local mayor rushed out to meet Poroshenko on Friday to discuss measures that could “avoid bloodshed and the use of air strikes and heavy artillery”.

But separatists in control of Ukraine’s coal mining capital said locals were not taking any chances after three months of fighting that has claimed nearly 550 lives and sparked the biggest East-West crisis since the height of the Cold War.

“I would say that one car in five is filled with refugees,” said a young separatist volunteer manning a roadblock around 20 kilometres east of Donetsk.

“I have lived here more than 40 years and it is very difficult for me to leave this town,” said Natalia as she prepared to catch a train that would eventually take her to Russia.

“But there is no other solution,” she said.

Friday evening political talk shows filled with voices questioning tactics and demanding to know why most of the rebels were allowed to slip out of the towns and cities they had abandoned in recent days.

Poroshenko had last Saturday proclaimed the seizure of Slavyansk – the symbolic heart of the uprising – a turning point in a conflict set off by the February ousting in Kiev of a Kremlin-backed president and Russia’s subsequent seizure of Crimea.

European Union leaders quickly joined Russia in a rare collective bid to dampen Kiev’s new-found bravado and convince Poroshenko to launch direct truce talks with the separatists.

The EU said on Saturday that it was also adding 11 separatist leaders to the names of 61 Russians and pro-Kremlin Ukrainians blacklisted for their roles in inflaming the conflict.

But Poroshenko’s top aide said that all talks with the rebels were off.

“Those who call themselves leaders of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are nobodies – they are puppets, servants of the Kremlin,” presidential administration chief Yuriy Lutsenko told Kiev’s Inter television.

First dengue fever vaccine shows promise

Scientists in the Philippines claim they’ve produced the first vaccine to fight dengue fever.

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While it is still only effective on 56 per cent of people – it is the only treatment available for dengue, which is a severe and potentially deadly disease, infecting millions of people around the world.

 

For many Australians, a mosquito bite is nothing more than an itchy nuisance, but in other countries it can be deadly

 

Dengue fever infects more than 200 million people worldwide every year, mostly in South East Asia and Latin America.

 

Sydney sider Simon Kennedy is one of them.

 

He contracted Dengue fever on a trip to Delhi with his young family

 

“Within two or three days I had a really high fever, about 39 or 40 degrees and had to be hospitalised for 10 days.”

 

Rapid growth in the cities of developing countries and a lack of mosquito control has led to a rise in the spread of the disease.

 

But now scientists from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila claim they have developed a new vaccine and they claim they’re ready to take it to market

 

Dr Maria Rosario Capeding is from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.

 

“Dengue is a major public health problem and the study shows it reduces the severity of the disease.”

 

The trial focused on children aged two to 14.

 

They were randomly assigned to receive three injections of the dengue vaccine or a placebo vaccine.

 

After the first vaccination, the second was given six months later and the third six months after that.

 

The children were followed for up to two years.

 

The results showed the vaccine only prevented dengue fever in 56 percent of the 10,000 children who got the shots, but it did protect more than 88 percent of them from severe disease.

 

In the worst-case scenarios, dengue fever can lead to hospitalization, and sometimes death.

 

Prof Martin Hibberd is from the London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

 

“Typically vaccines have a higher efficacy than 56 per cent, but in the abscence of anything else this at least a little bit of good news.”

 

Professor Ian Wronski is an expert in communicable diseases at Townville’s James Cook University.

 

He has concerns about the efficiacy of the vaccine – especially because it wasn’t equally effective against all four dengue viruses.

 

“I think its a step forward, the science is improving but i think theres a way to go before you’d deploy the vaccine.”

 

The vaccine makers say they plan to apply for regulatory approval next year.

 

Dockers taking lowly GWS seriously

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon wants another look at rookie forward Michael Apeness to see if he can play a part in September’s finals campaign but the Dockers won’t be taking the GWS Giants lightly at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

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Fremantle and GWS are at opposite ends of the AFL ladder heading into their clash, with the Dockers looking to further close in on a top-two spot and the Giants trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Dockers regain captain Matthew Pavlich to play in the same forward line as Apeness for the first time while down back they have Michael Johnson returning but fellow All-Australian Luke McPharlin is out with a calf complaint.

The Giants have made five changes from the team that last week lost to Adelaide highlighted by Adam Treloar, Jonathon Patton and Stephen Coniglio going out injured, and Jacob Townsend and first-year ruckman Rory Lobb returning.

While the Dockers are unbackable favourites heading into the contest, Lyon won’t be taking anything for granted and has made sure that his team have done everything right in recovering from last Saturday night’s win in Darwin over Melbourne.

“We always ask the players for gold-standard recovery and we’re fortunate that it’s a longer lead-in, eight days to Sunday so that natural recovery should help us,” Lyon said.

“We understand they have had some challenges, but they are very talented; they have been put under pressure and they tend to respond so we will be picking our best possible team.”

Apeness is being earmarked as a forward replacement for Pavlich when the Fremantle captain retires, but that won’t be until at least the end of 2015 and the pair will need to work together.

They get the first chance of that on Sunday with Apeness to play his second AFL game after being drafted last year from the Eastern Rangers, and having at times shown at WAFL level with Peel Thunder this year that he can be a dominant presence as a marking, goal-kicking target.

Lyon just wants him to compete and provide a target for now.

“At the end of the day, I don’t worry if they take too many marks. As long as they don’t get out marked. As long as the ball gets brought to ground you’re pretty happy as a coach because the worst result is going in, they roll off and mark and they bounce out,” Lyon said.

“Last week he was outnumbered a bit and brought it to ground and he brings (Hayden) Ballantyne and those guys into the game.

“We’re not a super tall front half either so we could do with some more height.”

Israel vows no let-up, Hamas defiant

Israel has pounded Gaza for a fifth day with air strikes and artillery, killing 22 Palestinians as Hamas defiantly keeps up its rocket fire into the Jewish state.

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Both sides brushed off international calls for a truce on Saturday and Israel pushed on with its build-up of troops and armour on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion.

The strikes, which Gaza emergency services said hit a mosque and a centre for the disabled among other targets, brought the death toll since the Tuesday start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to 127.

The Israeli army said the mosque housed an arms cache.

It said over the same period 530 rockets hit Israel, nine of them on Saturday.

US President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and Washington offered to use its influence in the Middle East to bring a return to calm.

But speaking at a news conference in Tel Aviv on Friday, Netanyahu said he would not end the military campaign until he achieved his goal of stopping the Hamas fire.

“No international pressure will prevent us from striking, with all force, against the terrorist organisation which calls for our destruction,” he said.

“No terrorist target in Gaza is immune.”

The latest border flare-up – the deadliest since November 2012 – can be traced to last month’s kidnap and murder of three young Israelis in the occupied West Bank and the brutal revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists.

Israel responded with a major crackdown on Hamas, even though the Islamist group declined to confirm or deny its involvement, while Gaza militants hit back with intensified rocket fire.

Despite international concern, truce efforts have been unsuccessful, according to Egypt, which has been key in mediating previous ceasefires between Hamas and Israel.

“Egypt has communicated with all sides to halt violence against civilians and called on them to continue with the truce agreement signed in November 2012,” the foreign ministry said.

“Unfortunately, these efforts … have met with stubbornness.”

Former British premier Tony Blair, the envoy for the so-called Quartet of Middle East diplomatic players, flew into Cairo on Saturday for talks on ending the violence.

Ismail Haniya, Gaza’s former premier and the most senior Hamas official in the coastal enclave, ruled out any halt to hostilities.

“(Israel) is the one that started this aggression and it must stop, because we are (simply) defending ourselves,” he said.

Israel says preparations are under way for a possible ground incursion, with tanks and artillery massed along the border and 33,000 reservists mobilised out of 40,000 approved by the cabinet.

More armour was seen heading south on Saturday morning.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he expected a political decision on a possible ground operation by Sunday.

“At the moment we are dealing with the first phase … air attacks,” he told Channel One television on Friday.

“I imagine we shall decide tomorrow (Saturday) or the day after on the next stage.”

So far, no one in Israel has been killed. Two have been seriously wounded.

Swans smash Blues to equal club record

Lance Franklin has helped Sydney make history at the SCG, smashing AFL rivals Carlton by 71 points on Saturday night to equal their all-time club record of 12 straight wins.

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Not since their days as South Melbourne have they enjoyed such a streak, the most recent in 1935.

The 18.14 (122) to 7.9 (51) victory keeps the Swans one game clear of Hawthorn at the top of the ladder and red-hot favourites to take out the 2014 premiership.

It’s a tag John Longmire’s men never looked in danger of losing against the Blues, who went into the match clear underdogs.

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse knew his side’s round-17 clash was going to be a challenge – claiming mid-week that Sydney had the strongest and deepest list he’d ever seen in football.

And, boy, did they prove him right.

A 10-goal, third-quarter blitz – including five from superstar forward Lance Franklin – turned what was a tough early battle into a whitewash in front 34,965 fans.

Wind and occasional rain kept goals at a premium early on, with just seven points separating the sides at half-time.

But that blew out to as much as 78 points in the final term, as the Swans looked to the stars and took flight.

Franklin booted an impressive six goals, while fellow forward Sam Reid nabbed four.

It did, however, take the home side nearly 18 minutes to get the game’s first major, thanks to a hard-running Gary Rohan.

The visitors hit back through Brock McLean moments later, only for Nick Malceski to nail a 50m penalty just before the first break to keep the Swans ahead by eight.

The 2012 premiers remained in control in the second quarter, although the Blues refused to give in.

They laid on four majors in the term, including one after the half-time siren from Blaine Johnson – his first in AFL – to take it to 6.6 (42) to 5.5 (35).

While the Blues managed to restrict $10 million man Franklin to just five touches – and no points – in the opening half, it later proved worthless.

A free kick early in the third term gave him his first goal of the night and triggered an avalanche of majors to the Swans.

Adam Goodes, Jared McVeigh and Luke Parker joined Franklin and Reid as scorers in the penultimate quarter, in which the Blues were kept goalless.

Brownlow Medal contender Josh Kennedy put in another stunning performance, finishing with a massive 29 contested possessions.

Dane Rampe also impressed in defence before being subbed, while Ben McGlynn successfully kept Blues star Chris Judd at bay.

After an “ok” first half and a few structural changes, Longmire put the Swans’ late rise down to persistence.

“We kept on persisting at it and then it sort of broke our way,” he said.

“Once you go on a bit of roll like that, you’ve got to make the most of it. And we certainly did that in the third quarter.

“That’s the benefit of a having some really strong leaders and good young kids coming through.”

Blues mentor Malthouse said his side’s third-quarter collapse was reflective of their season.

“It was a micro of the macro,” he said.

“It’s something we’ve got to address, we’ve got to find out exactly how to stop it.

“As much as we are the club, it’s simply got to be player driven.

“If there’s a stoppage, or kicking, or a passage of play, then players have got to take charge and see if they can arrest any momentum shift by the opposition.”

Warriors thrash Eels in eight-try romp

The Warriors proved their stay in the top eight could be long-term, with a stunning 48-0 win against the Eels at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.

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The boisterous 14,087-strong crowd hardly had time to sit as the home side romped to a 36-0 half-time lead before sealing their third-straight win at Mount Smart in style.

The Warriors, who climbed to sixth on the NRL ladder and extended Parramatta’s Mount Smart hoodoo to eight years, began the match two places above their opponents.

But after a dominant eight-tries-to-none win, their biggest of the season, it was apparent that the gap in class was indeed much wider.

It was by far the classiest performance the Warriors have produced under coach Andrew McFadden and came complete with another Shaun Johnson masterclass.

The Kiwis halfback scored a first-half try and converted tries to David Fusitua, Sam Tomkins (two), Konrad Hurrell, Simon Mannering, Ben Henry and Chad Townsend on a perfect night with the boot.

Without Jarryd Hayne – given the week off to recover from three gruelling Origin encounters – there was little of the grit and determination the Eels showed in their loss to the Knights prior to last week’s bye.

Pauli Pauli tried to get things going with a few hard runs at the defence, while Peni Terepo came up with a brilliant one-on-one strip to halt the rampant Warriors, albeit briefly.

Conceding the first try just three minutes after kick-off, the Eels looked stunned and failed to recover as the Warriors went on to score a total of four tries at the turn of the second quarter.

Tomkins proved he is an elite fullback in the NRL, slicing the defence to shreds while showing composure under the high ball.

The England star scored the second of two tries as the Warriors displayed their physical dominance, winning the ball against the scrum feed as Tomkins scooped up the loose ball then slid over from close range.

He then turned provider.

After breaching the Eels’ defence Tomkins set Mannering away for the Warriors’ sixth try that handed them a healthy lead at the break.

The Eels showed some improvement in the second half but failed to register a point as Henry and Townsend crossed for the Warriors.

Five Aussies survive elimination at J-Bay

Five Australian surfers survived the first elimination round at the South African event on the World Championship Tour on a day when Hawaiian veteran Fred Patacchia turned in the the best performance.

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Adrian Buchan, Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson won through from the second round at Jeffreys Bay on Saturday, joining Joel Parkinson and Julian Wilson who won their heats the previous day.

Unfortunately their vanquished rivals were countrymen: Buchan pipping Mitch Crews 11.60 to 10.67, Wright having an easier time against Dion Atkinson 12.07 to 6.87 and Wilkinson downing Bede Durbidge 15.93 points to 14.70.

“Bede never falls, he makes every section and throws so much power. I knew it was going to be a tough heat,” said Wilkinson.

“It’s good to get a heat win under my belt and to be into the third round.”

Waiting for him will be 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, the American gaining direct entry courtesy of victory in his opening heat.

Australian winners in round one were defending world champion Mick Fanning, former champ Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr, and Taj Burrow.

Hawaii’s Patacchia was Saturday’s top performer with the day’s highest single-wave score (9.93 out of a possible 10) and two-wave total of 17.93 against South African veteran Travis Logie (10.60).

“My 9.93 point wave was really special,” said Patacchia.

“I could see it was going to be a gem and I kept telling myself ‘don’t screw this up, Freddie’.

“Travis and I are Quiksilver team mates and we’re staying together at J-Bay. You’re always going to end up surfing against your friends, but I think I have bragging rights now.”

The sixth stop on the World Championship Tour will continue on Sunday, conditions permitting.

Bulldogs blitz beats Ablett-less Suns

A statement needed to be made, but instead the Gold Coast only raised more questions over their AFL finals credentials without injured skipper Gary Ablett.

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The battling Western Bulldogs kicked six unanswered goals in the final term to score a comfortable 13.16 (94) to 9.12 (66) win over the Suns in Cairns on Saturday.

Dual Brownlow Medallist Ablett was ruled out for the rest of the season this week after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction with his side clutching onto eighth spot.

The loss leaves the Suns’ finals hopes hanging by a thread and if Essendon beat Collingwood on Sunday, they will be bounced out of the top eight.

It was also the sixth time the club has lost in six outings without their skipper.

But McKenna said it wasn’t the absence of Ablett that cost them, it was the lack of intensity shown by the 22 men who took to the field at Cazaly Park.

“I don’t think we had any spark from the first bounce,” he said.

“In the 80-odd times that he (Ablett) has played for our football club, six times this has happened (the Suns have lost without him).

“It’s very small data.

“You can throw all the different reasons why, conspiracy theories and all that sort of stuff, we just didn’t win our one-on-ones.”

Emerging midfielder Jack Macrae was the catalyst for the Bulldogs’ win, the 19-year-old kicking two goals in a final term blitz.

His performance came a week after Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney had dumped him to the substitute bench and said the teenager had been “letting us down in some areas”.

“His strengths came out in buckets tonight,” McCartney said.

“I saw a batch of senior experienced players coordinate the team and just drive a standard and a way of doing things and some really exciting young players work their way through a game.

“Play the roles they were asked to do and then their talent came out at the end when the game broke open.”

The Bulldogs had threatened to blow the game wide open in the first quarter, slamming home three majors in four minutes after the wasteful Suns missed three golden opportunities on goal.

The Suns needed something to stop the rot and they found it in Jaeger O’Meara (two goals, 22 disposals) in the shadows of halftime with the 20-year-old loading up from 50m out and goalling.

Charlie Dixon slotted another major for the Suns to open the second quarter, but for the next 20 minutes the two teams traded behinds before finally Tom Lynch (two goals, 16 disposals) broke the goal drought.

His superb individual effort closed the gap to just five points.

The tense battle continued in the third term before the Dogs eased to victory with the match in the balance.

Bulldogs down Storm in physical affair

Canterbury have dealt the Melbourne Storm’s NRL finals aspirations a blow with a bruising 6-4 victory at AAMI Park.

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Storm skipper Cameron Smith had the chance to level the match with two minutes remaining on Saturday night but missed a tough penalty kick from a metre in from the sideline.

That came after Bulldogs centre Tim Lafai took out Storm winger Marika Koroibete, who was unable to challenge for a Cooper Cronk bomb as they were attacking the tryline.

The Storm have a tough run home to the play-offs with five of their remaining eight games on the road and were desperate to wrap up a win on home turf.

But the Bulldogs didn’t follow the script and fought back from a 4-0 half-time deficit to take the points.

They join Manly at the top of the NRL ladder on 26 points while the Storm hold down eighth.

The first half was an arm-wrestle with defence from both sides first rate and unwilling to give an inch.

Melbourne backrower Kevin Proctor scored the only try of the half after some handy lead-up work from Smith and Cronk.

That duo, as well as Billy Slater, Will Chambers and Ryan Hoffman all backed up from Wednesday night’s State of Origin while NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson turned out for the Bulldogs.

Five-eighth Josh Reynolds missed the match through a three-game suspension for his Origin shoulder charge while Josh Morris sat out injured.

The visitors hit the lead early in the second half when prop Sam Kasiano outmuscled three Storm forwards and stretched out to plant the ball across the line.

Hodkinson added the extras for the Bulldogs to take the two-point lead in the 47th minute.

Melbourne threw everything at the Canterbury side but couldn’t find a chink in their armour.

Bulldogs fullback Mitch Brown managed to bat the ball out of the hands of newly-signed Storm winger Marika Koroibete in the in-goal and then pulled off a brilliant tackle to cut down Slater on the burst.

Hodkinson described the win as “ugly”.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Hodkinson said.

“It was probably our ugliest game of the year but we’ll take that win.”

The match was the Bulldogs’ first win in Melbourne in seven attempts dating back to 2005.

Their coach Des Hasler said the win felt like it was worth more than two competition points.

He said he knew it was an important game for the Storm.

“We can take a lot from that game,” Hasler said.

“Parts of it weren’t pretty but it was that kind of night in difficult conditions.

“Walking out of here with these two points is like walking out with four points.”

Storm coach Craig Bellamy rated it as their best defensive effort of the season but said they came up short in attack.

He said the team had opportunities to score throughout the match but couldn’t finish them off.

“Obviously, the Bulldogs are a very good defensive side but I thought at stages we did enough to crack them but we just couldn’t finish it off.

“At the end there were probably weren’t as sharp as we’d like to be with our attack and some of that comes from the guys backing up from Origin which caught up with them.

“It was really disappointing that we couldn’t find enough points to win the game.”

England’s last wicket in record Test stand

England were dismissed for 496 in reply to India’s first innings 457, a lead of 39 runs, on the fourth day of the first Test at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

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Joe Root was 154 not out after sharing a Test record last-wicket stand of 198 with No.11 James Anderson, who was eventually out for his lunch score of 81 when well caught by first slip Shikhar Dhawan off Bhuvneshwar Kumar (five for 82).

The previous Test tenth-wicket partnership was also set at Trent Bridge when Australia’s Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar put on 163 against England last year.

England, after losing six wickets for 68 runs in the face of accurate seam bowling from Kumar and Ishant Sharma on Friday, resumed on 9-352 – a deficit of 105 runs.

Root was 78 not out and Anderson 23 not out, with their stand then worth 54.

Left-handed batsman Anderson was the initial aggressor on Saturday, turning Kumar of his legs for four and cover-driving him for another boundary with shots worthy of a top-order batsman.

Root got in on the act when he hooked Kumar, not fast enough to bowl short on the docile pitch but attempting a bouncer, for four to fine leg to go to 85.

Two boundaries in as many balls, a cover-drive and a square-drive, off Shami saw the 23-year-old Root to a hundred in 186 balls with 12 boundaries.

Yorkshire’s Root, 50 when Anderson, of arch-rivals Lancashire, came in, joyfully hugged his partner as he celebrated his fourth century in 18 Tests.

The 31-year-old Anderson then went past his previous highest Test score of 34 against South Africa in 2008 when he deliberately uppercut Sharma over the slips for four.

Root’s drive for two then completed the hundred partnership.

It was England’s first 100-run last-wicket stand since Alec Stewart and Andy Caddick against Australia in 2001, and only their fifth of all-time.