Perth curator in hot water with Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia denies it has been involved in pitch doctoring at the sport's new $1.6 billion venue on a day Indian skipper Virat Kohli threw down the gauntlet to Australia's fast bowlers.

The tourists have spoken a tough game heading into the maiden Test at Perth's Optus Stadium, declaring they are ready to tame what shapes as a quick, green and lively deck.

Australian coach Justin Langer and Optus Stadium curator Brett Sipthorpe inspect the pitch.Credit:AAP

However, eyebrows were raised when stadium curator Brett Sipthorpe declared in The West Australian that CA had requested a frighteningly fast and bouncy Perth pitch to unsettle an Indian side more accustomed to placid home conditions – a claim CA vehemently denied when contacted by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

"They want to see this place fly. That's like an early Christmas present to me. To get that fear in the eyes of the opposition turning up and seeing it fly … beautiful," Sipthorpe told the local paper.

The sport's governing body insists it never dictates how the pitch should play, only that it wants a variety of styles around the country.

A CA spokesman said the governing body had not made any specific request to Sipthorpe.

"We work with all of our venues to ensure pitches deliver a competitive match between ball and bat in all Test matches. That we see different characteristics in our wickets across our country is unique in world cricket and we should celebrate this and give freedom to our curators to bring them to the fore," the spokesman said.

The Australians often complain about doctored pitches when travelling overseas, particularly through the sub-continent. Last year in India they expressed dismay at the state of the Ranchi deck days out from the Test, fearing it had been tailor-made for the home team's spin twins Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

The curator's comments also come in a year when International Cricket Council chiefs have made it clear they want more balance between bat and ball, a point acknowledged by Adelaide Oval curator Damian Hough.

Despite what appears a bid to unsettle the tourists, Kohli has declared his side is ready to deal with what shapes as a raging green top but have suffered a major blow on the eve of the second Test, with Ashwin among two enforced changes because of injury.

Ashwin, a key figure in India's 31-run win in Adelaide, has a left-abdominal strain while batsman Rohit Sharma has hurt his back.

Ravi Ashwin will miss the Perth Test.Credit:AAP

Ashwin, the wily spinner with a major trick bag, has 342 wickets in 65 Tests and claimed six wickets for the match in India's historic win this week, where he delivered a marathon 86.5 overs.

This has heightened expectation that the tourists are likely to unveil a four-pronged pace attack and will consider bowling first as they eye taking an unbeatable series lead in the best-of-four Tests to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

All-rounder Hanuma Vihari is likely to replace Sharma at No.6 and provide a part-time spin option, while either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Umesh Yadav will replace Ashwin and join Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah in a pace battery.

Kohli insisted he and his team would welcome the extra bounce.

"Yeah, for sure. We certainly get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches now. We understand that we do have a bowling attack which can bowl the opposition out as much as they are convinced about their attack," he said.

"When you have four or five fast bowlers who are at the peak of their ability, it's always a great feeling to have in the side. For us as batsmen it also gives us a lot of motivation and boosts us up that we can put in those match-winning significant batting performances because we have so much belief in our bowling unit right now. We understand that if we bat well, we will definitely get the result that we want."

Kumar has played six Tests against Australia, including one in Sydney in 2015 when he claimed 5-122 in the first innings. Fellow quick Yadav has played 11 of his 40 Tests against Australia, including taking 5-93 at the WACA in 2012.

Kohli had a double failure in Adelaide with the bat but the world's premier strokemaker has backed himself and his teammates to follow the lead set by Adelaide first-innings century maker Cheteshwar Pujara and flourish a deck which could be dubbed the "green mamba".

"I was pretty happy to see the pitch the way it is. I hope that no more grass is taken off the pitch because that will mean the first three days will be, obviously, very lively and we as a team are happy with that," he said.

There has been considerable debate about the accuracy of the decision review system after umpires Nigel Llong and Kumar Dharmasena had decisions overturned in Adelaide.

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon was particularly frustrated, while skipper Tim Paine questioned whether the technology took into account the change in bounce as the pitch deteriorated.

Kohli revealed the tourists, who were the last team to agree to the use of the technology two years ago, had sought clarification with Llong and Dharmasena, who will both stand in Perth.

INDIAN SQUAD: Virat Kohli (c), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.

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Mum kept stepson, 5, in 'Harry Potter room' under stairs, starved him and made him wear a nappy

Tammi Bleimeyer was jailed for 28 years after starving the child and making him wear a nappy at their home in the town of Spring.

The 37-year-old was found guilty of injury to a child by omission after forcing Jordan Bleimeyer, now aged nine, to sleep in the tiny crawlspace under the stairs with his lone mattress surrounded by exposed nails and wiring.

Jordan weighed just 29lbs (2st 7oz) when he was finally rescued from his hellish ordeal.

Doctors said he was days from death when he was found, and compared his state of malnourishment to that of a Holocaust survivor.

The child’s dad Bradley Bleimeyer was found guilty of the same charges as his wife in 2016 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The case was brought to the attention of authorities in March 2014, when the evil stepmother’s then 16-year-old son reported her.

The unnamed teenager told authorities his mum and 24-year-old step dad were abusing the boy, and had put him in a diaper.

He told police he believed someone had slammed the child’s head into a wall, and had even tasered him.

Tammi was six months pregnant at the time of the report, and vanished from the family home taking Jordan with her when police arrived.

Using mobile phone records, police traced her to a nearby motel where they found her with her severely underweight stepson.

Jordan was also found to be covered in bumps and bruises and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

According to a paediatrician, the five-year-old had suffered “severe physical abuse and habitual starvation” and was just days away from death.

Court documents revealed the child was not allowed to eat at the family dinner table with his siblings, who were all the children of his stepmother.

He was given just one slice of bread to eat daily – and that too would be snatched away if he didn’t eat it fast enough.

Prosecutors also revealed that the child would be drugged up by his dad in order to keep quiet when guests were at their home.

Officials claims the child’s health had deteriorated rapidly following a visit from Child Protective Services, who had made numerous visits to the Bleimeyer home in 2014.

The stepmother was arrested and charged in February 2015 and she was sentenced following a 10-day trial.

Two of her biological sons took to the stand to testify against her.

In a prepared statement, one of the boys addressed his mother saying: “You made a big mistake, and ultimately have to face the consequences.

“I'm up here to ask a rhetorical question of how, how could you put your children through all that?

“The people who should be your pride and joy.

“You caused me feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, and emptiness.

“I can't say that I'll ever be the same emotionally because of this.”

Jordan, now aged nine, was reunited with his biological mother and made a good recovery from his ordeal.

Child Protective Services took custody of Tammi’s six children, while her seventh – a newborn – was given to a foster family.


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What’s Leaving Netflix in January 2019


The dedicated detectives of the Special Victims Unit are leaving Netflix in January. That is, mostly. Seasons 15-17 of “Law & Order: SVU” are being pulled, but it looks like Season 18 will still be available.
Also getting yanked: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” all three “Godfather” films and — oh no! — all the “Sharknado” films.
And heads up, horror fans: “The Shining” is rotating off Netflix (again) as is “It Follows,” “Blade,” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
Here’s everything scheduled to leave Netflix in January:Leaving January 1
“Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure” (2011)
“Blade” (1998)
“Blade II” (2002)
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
“Catwoman” (2004)
“Face/Off” (1997)
“Finding Neverland” (2004)
“Friday Night Lights” (2004
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003)
“I Am Ali” (2014)
“Interview with the Vampire” (1994)
“Into the Wild” (2007)
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008)
“Kung Fu Panda” (2008)
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”: Seasons 15-17
“Like Water for Chocolate” (1992)
“Love Actually” (2003)
“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” (2008)
“Marie Antoinette” (2006)
“Meet the Fockers” (2004)
“Meet the Parents” (2000)
“Million Dollar Baby” (2004)
“Monsters vs. Aliens” (2009)
“Mortal Kombat” (1995)
“Rent” (2005)
“Sharknado” (2013)
“Sharknado 2: The Second One” (2014)
“Sharknado 3” (2014)
“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” (2017)
“Sharknado: The 4th Awakens” (2016)
“The 6th Day” (2000)
“The Godfather” (1972)
“The Godfather: Part II” (1947)
“The Godfather: Part III” (1991)
“The Green Mile” (1999)
“The Iron Giant” (1999)
“The Princess Diaries” (2001)
“The Queen of the Damned” (2002)
“The Reaping” (2007)
“The Shining” (1980)Leaving January 4
“Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” (1998)Leaving January 13
“It Follows” (2014)Leaving January 14
“Armageddon” (1998)Leaving January 18
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)Leaving January 19
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)

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Liam Payne Looks Sharp in Black & White While Leaving Dinner

Liam Payne keeps it cool during a night out in West Hollywood, Calif.!

The former One Direction member was seen finishing up his dinner at Craig’s on Tuesday (December 11).

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Liam Payne

It was just announced that Liam will perform a concert for London-based music startup MelodyVR’s first virtual reality live broadcast.

Fans around the world can watch using an Oculus Go or Samsung GearVR headset with the MelodyVR app. The interactive performance will feature multiple points of view that viewers can switch between.

“I can’t wait for this show,” Liam said in a statement (via Billboard). “For those who are going to be there on the night, it’s going to be amazing … but the fact there will be people from right across the globe watching the live stream via MelodyVR makes it extra special.”

The event will take place on December 19 at 3 p.m. EST.

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Trouble in the bedroom? 40 minutes of running can give your man longer, stronger erections

But men with erectile dysfunction don't necessarily need to resort to taking little blue pills for the rest of their lives – exercise might help.

Three Scandinavian academics, Helle Gerbild, Christian Graugaard and Kristina Arsekoug-Josefsson, write for The Conversation that 40 minutes of aerobic exercise four times a week might well be the solution…

Men with erectile dysfunction can improve their sexual function with 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, four times a week, according to our latest review of the evidence.

We reviewed all international studies carried out over the past ten years where inactive men with erectile dysfunction received professional help to become physically active.

The results showed that most of the time it is possible to reduce erection problems with exercise.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the most common male sexual dysfunction.

It is defined as a consistent or recurring inability to get and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity – in other words, persistent problems in getting it up or keeping it up during intercourse or masturbation.

Erectile dysfunction, including weakened night and morning erections, may be an early sign of health problems and, sometimes, a symptom of early-stage atherosclerosis (stiffening and narrowing of the arteries).

We know that erection problems are more common in smokers and in men who are physically inactive or overweight.

It is also more common in men with high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. So erection problems may be the first sign of vascular disease.

About 23 per cent of inactive men and about 23-40 per cent of obese men suffer from erectile dysfunction, as do 40 per cent of men receiving treatment for high blood pressure and 75  per cent of men with cardiovascular disease.

By comparison, 18 per cent of men in the general population have, or have had, erectile dysfunction.

Hardening of the arteries

When a man becomes sexually aroused, blood flows to his penis and the increased blood in the erectile tissue results in an erection.

But in men with atherosclerosis, the penile artery walls become thick and lose their elasticity.

Three-quarters of erection problems are linked to atherosclerosis, a condition typically triggered by lifestyle factors, such as obesity, physical inactivity and smoking.

We already knew that lifestyle modifications, including physical activity, improved heart health, sexual health and erectile function.

Working out for 40 mins, four times a week for six months can improve things

We also knew that there is strong evidence that frequent physical activity significantly improves erectile function.

Our study found that physical activity of moderate to high intensity for 40 minutes, four times a week for six months resulted in an improvement or even a normalisation of the person’s erection.

After six months of physical activity, men who could not masturbate or have sex for a long time were able to resume sexual activity.

The figure below shows, on a scale of 0-30 points, the average erectile function of men in different studies before and after the intervention (exercise). In all studies, men had improved erectile function.

Take-home message

If you are physically inactive and in bad shape, it’s important to not push yourself into a fitness regime that is beyond you, otherwise, you risk injury, which could make exercising difficult and reduce your motivation to continue.

The best approach is to start with simple aerobic activity.

Walk every day, swim or cycle, and increase the pace and distance week by week. After a few weeks, you could add jogging, dancing, tennis or football into the mix. Or, if you prefer, you could join a gym.

To strengthen blood circulation – throughout the body and also the penis – exercise intensity must be moderate to high. This means that you warm up your body and produce sweat, your face turns red, your pulse increases and you become slightly breathless – breathless enough to make it difficult to have a conversation.

If your erectile dysfunction is caused by early stages of atherosclerosis, 160 minutes of physical activity weekly for six months will probably improve your ability to get an erection.

If you are overweight, the effect of the physical activity can be further increased by losing weight.

And if you smoke, the effect of physical activity becomes even stronger by quitting.

But changing your lifestyle from being physically inactive to being physically active is easier said than done, so it is best to seek professional help.

Exercise is much more enjoyable when you do it with others. So why not invite your partner or friends to join you? After all, training is healthy, but it should also be fun.

This article originally appeared on The Conversation

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How can Tottenham stay in Champions League against Barcelona?

Spurs kept their hopes alive at Wembley as Christian Eriksen netted the only goal against Inter Milan, leaving all to play for in the final round.

And their path to the knockout stages is eased by head-to-head record being used by Uefa to sort groups instead of goal difference.

What do Tottenham need to do against Barcelona to stay in the Champions League?

Mauricio Pochettino's side will almost certainly need a win.

Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino's last gasp goals condemned Spurs to a 2-1 loss at the San Siro but Eriksen's strike at Wembley means they hold the advantage over Inter on away goals.

That means if Spurs end up on the same points as Inter – as they are now – then they will go through.

To do that, they must go to the Nou Camp match the outcome of Inter's match at home to PSV, which they are likely to win.

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Las Vegas to host NFL draft in 2020 with Raiders inbound

IRVING, Texas – The NFL will hold its 2020 draft in Las Vegas.

Ahead of the Oakland Raiders’ expected debut season in the city, the three-day event will set up on and around the Las Vegas Strip.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Raiders owner Mark Davis announced the move Wednesday at league meetings.

“Bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas was more than just 10 football games a year,” Davis said. “When you bring the National Football League somewhere, they get a lot of ancillary benefits. The draft is one of them.

“We’re totally excited.”

The Raiders announced their move to Las Vegas in March 2017. Their stadium is under construction and not expected to be completed until after the draft in 2020. But the league plans to hold some type of event at or around stadium property.

The iconic Strip scene follows drafts on the Rocky steps in Philadelphia in 2017 and lower Broadway in Nashville this spring.

Kansas City and Cleveland also submitted proposals for consideration as 2019 and 2020 draft hosts.

The 2018 draft in Arlington, Texas, generated a record $125.2 million in economic impact ($74 million in direct spending), according to a report by VisitDallas, and attracted more than 200,000 fans.

The city of Oakland announced Tuesday it will file a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, Raiders and remaining 31 teams. The lawsuit, the city attorney said, will seek damages including lost revenue and allege legal violations for “boycotting Oakland.”

The Raiders, in the last year of their lease at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, haven’t announced where they’ll play in 2019.

Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

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Napoli fan cries in 38th minute against Liverpool and Twitter users cannot believe it

The supporter was picked up by cameras in the 38th minute crying amongst the travelling support, as the Serie A side crashed out of the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp's side progressed into the last-16 thanks to the narrow victory, while Napoli dropped into the Europa League after Paris Saint-Germian beat Red Star Belgrade.

The thought of competing in Europe's second-tier competition proved to be too much for Italian, as he had no confidence his side would grind out a result.

Twitter users couldn't believe what they were witnessing on their TV screens, and immediately started to poke fun out of the distraught supporter.

One tweeted: "Napoli deserve to lose purely because of that fan crying in the stands. Nothing wrong with emotion but there’s 50 minutes left."

While another said: "Awww a poor Napoli fan crying. The match is not even close to been (sic) over."

Another stated: "Why are some of the Napoli fans crying already?"

One simply stated: "The Napoli fan crying is a hilarious scene,get it together man."

Napoli have exited at the group stage of the Champions League for the second season running, and will learn their last-32 opponents in the Europa League on Monday.

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Iran's Khamenei calls for unity, warns of U.S. plots in 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians on Wednesday to stay united, saying the United States would exploit divisions and was likely to launch plots against Iran in 2019.

Iran is struggling with the economic impact of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and re-impose sanctions.

“Everyone should be vigilant, because our enemy America is sly and evil … and may have plans for 2019,” Khamenei said in a speech, the text of which was posted on his website. “But we are stronger than them and they will fail as they have in the past.”

The rial currency has lost about 60 percent of its value in 2018, as Iranians have increasingly sought dollars and gold coins to protect their savings. Factional tensions and worker protests have been on the rise as the sanctions have spurred inflation and unemployment.

“My advice to the Iranian nation, especially the youth and the country’s various organizations, professional or political, is to be careful and not make matters easier for the enemy,” Khamenei said.

Iran has accused the United States, Israel, regional rival Saudi Arabia and government opponents living in exile, of fomenting unrest.

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Big Brother house in ruins as it's torn down and junk is chucked in famous swimming pool and hot tub

Junk from inside the building has been tossed into the swimming pool and discarded scaffolding lies on the ground where the house used to stand.

The house stood within Elstree Studios for 18 years and fans of the long-running series were devastated when it was revealed it was coming to an end.

And our exclusive pictures, which show the house reduced to rubble, may be hard to look at.

A source said of the building site: “The production company who make Big Brother own the house, but Elstree Studios own the land, so the house has to be taken down now the show has been cancelled.

“It’s not the end for the show and everyone is convinced it’ll find a new home on another channel, but the house has to leave the site it’s stood on for the last 18 years.”

The famous house has witnessed no end of celebrity drama in its long life, from Kim Woodburn being bundled out of its back door during a row, to Megan McKenna's drunken meltdown.

Its bathroom has also played host to endless romances, including Stephen Bear and Chloe Khan snogging in the bath, Steph Davis cheating with Jeremy McConnell, and Lewis Bloor and Marnie Simpson's naked shower scene.

And, most iconic of all, it was home to the “David's dead” debacle where an epic misunderstanding led to Tiffany Pollard believing David Gest had perished in the house.

Big Brother's final host Emma Willis was in tears as she bid farewell to the famous house on the last episode of the show.

However, Rylan Clark-Neal vowed on Big Brother's Bit On The Side that the show “will be back” amid rumours that Netflix bosses were holding secret talks to buy the show.

Speaking to the camera, Rylan was visibly emotional as he told viewers: “That's all we have time for tonight, and for the series… And forever.

“It is sadly time for us to say a final farewell.”

However, he added: “I am sure the powers that be are trying to make sure that this show comes back, and believe me, me, Marcus, and Emma will make sure that Big Brother will get back to you.”

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