Yemen PM prepares to flee Aden

YEMENYemen’s prime minister is preparing to flee the country for Saudi Arabia after separatists seized the area around the presidential palace in the southern port city of Aden in fierce battles overnight, security officials say.
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According to the officials, fighters loyal to the so-called Southern Transitional Council fought all way to the gates of the Palace of Maashiq in the district of Crater in Aden, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s troops to abandon their positions.

The officials said Hadi’s prime minister and several Cabinet members would leave imminently to Riyadh.

The palace is the seat of Yemen’s internationally backed government. The separatist forces did not enter the palace itself and were stopped by Saudi Arabian troops who have been guarding the palace for the past months.

However, a senior government official told The Associated Press that Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghar and several ministers remain inside and that the separatists have not seized the palace itself.

The official declined to say whether the prime minister was to leave Aden. The security officials and the government official spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

The fighting in Aden first erupted on Sunday, when a deadline issued by the separatists for the government to resign expired. Hadi, who himself is in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia has described the separatists’ action as a “coup.”

The violence in Aden has killed at least 36 people and wounded 185 since Sunday, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

It has also exposed deep divisions within the alliance between Hadi’s government and the Saudi-led coalition. The two are fighting against Yemen’s Shi’ite rebels, known as Houthis, who are in control of the country’s north.

The warring parties have been locked in a bloody stalemate for most of the last three years.

But within the Saudi-led coalition, allies from the United Arab Emirates have trained the separatist forces and empowered them over the past year, in a direct challenge to Hadi, who is in Riyadh.

The US State Department has expressed concern and called upon all parties to “refrain from escalation and further bloodshed.” Washington backs the Saudi-led coalition.

“We also call for dialogue among all parties in Aden to reach a political solution,” the statement said.

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Scorchers are the BBL’s greatest: Bancroft

BBL SCORCHERSCameron Bancroft has declared the Perth Scorchers the BBL’s greatest-ever team, and he wants them to convert the city’s new $1.5 billion stadium into a fortress.
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The Scorchers’ success in ‘s T20 competition is unrivalled – three titles, and two runner-up finishes in six completed seasons under master coach Justin Langer.

Perth have the chance to continue that glittering dynasty when they take on the Hobart Hurricanes in Thursday night’s semi-final at Optus Stadium in Perth.

If the Scorchers win that match, they’ll host the final on Sunday given they finished the regular season on top of the table.

A sellout crowd of 55,000 is expected to turn out for Thursday’s match.

But just how Scorchers players adapt to their shift from the WACA remains the big unknown.

The Burswood venue made its grand opening last Sunday – with losing to England by 12 runs in a thrilling ODI match.

Bancroft said he and his teammates would have to prove themselves at the new stadium.

“It’s a bit of a weird one,” Bancroft said.

“The one thing we do have is the respect – we’re the best team in this competition. We have been since the beginning of time since the beginning of BBL.

“We’ll showcase our skills… If we can do that, I’m sure we can make Perth Stadium a brand new home and a brand new fortress for us.”

The Hurricanes will be without this season’s leading runscorer – D’Arcy Short – because of international duties.

Bancroft said without Short, Hobart’s biggest threat with the bat was veteran George Bailey.

And he said West Indies paceman Jofra Archer was a big weapon with the ball.

Archer has taken 15 wickets at an average of 19.7 this season.

“He’s got a bit of an arrogance about him,” Bancroft said of Hobart’s star import.

“But in saying that, he’s been able to back that up with his skills in the tournament. We respect him really highly.

“That over he got Maxy Klinger out in that game a few weeks ago was without a doubt a yard quicker than his first over.

“That’s what he’s able to bring – he kind of jogs in, and just lets go with a thunderbolt. You certainly don’t expect that. He’s a class player.”

The Scorchers will be boosted by the return of Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh, but spinner Ashton Agar will be missing because of international duties.

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Ex-Aust F1 Grand Prix boss Ron Walker dies

OBIT WALKERA leading figure in F1 motor sport, staunch Liberal Party supporter, successful businessman and all-round fighter.
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That’s how friends, political allies and fellow business names have remembered Ron Walker, who has died aged 78.

Mr Walker, the man who brought the n Grand Prix to Melbourne, died after battling cancer for several years.

The millionaire Melbourne businessman was the n F1 Grand Prix Corporation chairman for 22 years before retiring in 2015.

He wrested the world-renowned race from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1993 and played a role in the creation of Crown Casino, and was briefly Melbourne’s Lord Mayor in the 1970s.

Mr Walker was a prominent Liberal Party figure, working as national treasurer of the party from 1987 to 2002.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull led the tributes describing him as “a great n, magnificent Melburnian and ferociously committed Liberal”.

“Ron was a wise and true friend to me as he was to so many Liberal leaders. We will not see his like again. Our hearts go out to Barbara and their family at this sad time,” Mr Turnbull tweeted.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott wrote: “, Victoria and Melbourne have lost a great son with Ron Walker’s passing. For decades, not much happened in Melbourne without Ron being at the centre of things.

“As well, he was a great supporter of good causes, from medical research to the Liberal Party, which he helped to keep together in tough times.

“He was a staunch friend and constant encouragement to successive Liberal leaders and will be much missed.”

The Confederation of n Motor Sport tweeted: “CAMS is saddened to learn of the passing of former n Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker.

“His contribution to the n motor sport landscape will forever be remembered.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said “whether feared or revered, Ron was someone who you never forgot”.

“It’s in great part thanks to Ron that (Melbourne is) now known as the sporting capital of the world,” he said in a statement.

Mr Walker’s relationship with former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett helped him to become the chairman of the n Grand Prix Corporation and in delivering Melbourne the hosting rights for the event.

Mr Walker served as chairman of Fairfax Media from 2005 to 2009 and was an AC – Companion of the Order of .

In 1976 he held a partnership with Melbourne businessman, Lloyd Williams and the pair formed a property development company called Hudson Conway, which developed the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne.

He also served as the chairman of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation and served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1974 to 1976.

Mr Walker is survived by his wife Barbara, three children and three grandchildren.

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‘Poisoned juice’ killed husband, jury told

MELBOURNE COURT STOCKA pair of lovers murdered a Melbourne husband by sedating him with sleeping pills and giving him either cyanide-laced orange juice or a fatal avocado shake, a jury has heard.
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Sofia Sam, 33, and Arun Kamalasanan, 35, are on trial for murdering the woman’s husband Sam Abraham at his Epping home in October 2015.

Paramedics were called to the home and they initially believed Mr Abraham had died from a heart attack in his bed.

But an autopsy revealed Mr Abraham died of cyanide poisoning and also had a sedative in his system.

Prosecutor Kerri Judd QC says Mr Abraham may have been drugged with sleeping pills before Kamalasanan fed him cyanide-laced juice as he slept.

“He administered the cyanide himself by sneaking into the house and pouring orange juice with cyanide in it into the mouth of the deceased,” she told the jury.

An alternative prosecution case is that Ms Sam put the cyanide in either an avocado shake or an orange juice she prepared for him.

“The female accused said she made an avocado shake for her husband. She also said she made an orange juice for her husband,” Ms Judd said.

Sam and Kamalasanan knew each other from their college days in India and they were allegedly having an affair at the time of the murder.

The jury was told they reconnected after they both moved to Melbourne and were meeting in secret.

“It is the prosecution case that both accused murdered Sam Abraham,” Ms Judd said.

“Their relationship provided the motive.”

Ms Judd earlier illustrated the pair’s relationship by reading passionate diary entries they sent to each other.

“Can you hold me tight? I want to drift away in your love,” she read from one of Sam’s entries, as the diary was displayed on a screen in court on Monday.

The jury also heard that Mr Abraham’s car was transferred into Kamalasanan’s name following his death.

Both Sam and Kamalasanan have pleaded not guilty. The trial continues on Wednesday.

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