Corbyn under fire for war on terror speech

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from opponents and his own ranks after a speech in which he sought to draw links between involvement in the “war on terror” and attacks on the streets of Britain.

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As election campaigning resumed on Friday following the Manchester Arena attack, Corbyn was also careful to stress that foreign policy decisions could not “remotely excuse” terrorists such as Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who killed 22 people at a concert on Monday.

But Conservative Security Minister Ben Wallace said Corbyn’s comments were “totally inappropriate and crassly timed”, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused him of trying to use the “grotesque act to make a political point”.

Senior Labour figure Mike Gapes said Islamic State terrorists “hate us for what we are”, not “for what we do”.

In his speech in London, Corbyn vowed to reverse Prime Minister Theresa May’s police cuts and give the security services more resources if they needed them.

“No government can prevent every terrorist attack. But the responsibility of government is to minimise that chance, to ensure the police have the resources they need, that our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country,” he said.

“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, pointed out the connections between wars that we’ve been involved in or supported … in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home.”

Corbyn, a veteran anti-war campaigner, said foreign policy was not solely to blame for terrorism but he would shy away from the interventionist approach that has seen Britain join military action in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

“We must be brave enough to admit the ‘war on terror’ is not working,” he said.

May’s Conservatives are leading in the opinion polls before the June 8 election.

Trump says North Korea problem ‘will be solved’

“It’s a big problem, it’s a world problem,” he said in the Sicilian town of Taormina, just weeks after he called North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un a “madman with nuclear weapons.

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The issue of North Korea, whose missile and nuclear tests have its neighbours and the wider world concerned, will be discussed in joint meetings with the other six heads of leading industrialised countries, Trump said.

“It will be solved, you can bet on that,” he said before going into closed-door talks with Abe, without giving further details.

Abe intended to use the summit to underscore the danger posed by the unpredictable regime in North Korea following its recent series of missile tests.

“The issue of North Korea is a grave threat not only to East Asia but also to the world,” he told reporters before leaving Tokyo, urging the G7 to act “resolutely”.

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Pyongyang has launched a series of missiles this year, including a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range projectile this month which the North claimed was capable of carrying a “heavy” nuclear warhead, fuelling tensions with Washington.

It carried out two atomic tests last year, insisting it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion.

The US is worried that if Kim is not stopped, other countries in the region including Japan and South Korea would be compelled to seek their own nuclear capability as a defence measure.

North Korea lashes out at US

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‘A lot of firepower’

Washington says it is willing to enter into talks with North Korea if it halts its nuclear and missile tests, but it has also warned that military intervention was an option, sending fears of conflict spiralling.

In an April telephone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Trump said “we can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that”.

“We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 — but we don’t want to use it,” the US leader said, according to a transcript of the conversation released by US media.

Bishop: ‘nuclear North Korea is a threat’

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Trump also queried Duterte about whether he believed Kim was “stable or not stable.” The Philippine leader responded that their North Korean counterpart’s “mind is not working and he might just go crazy one moment.”

The United States has for weeks been negotiating a new Security Council sanctions resolution with North Korea’s ally China.

But Beijing, the North’s main trade partner, has made clear that the push for diplomatic talks — not imposing more sanctions — is the priority.

North Korea has also been accused of being behind the ransomware epidemic that hit global computer networks earlier this month, crippling hundreds of thousands of computer and demanding payment in Bitcoin to return control to users.

Pyongyang has angrily dismissed these allegations.

Cats get up in a thriller against Port

As is so often the case, the big two of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood were front and centre as Geelong won a tense AFL arm-wrestle against luckless Port Adelaide on Thursday night.

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But just as important in ensuring the Cats got up by two points was the performance of fellow midfielder Mitch Duncan, who took another step closer to making it a big three.

The 25-year-old was clearly the best player on the park for the opening three quarters of the clash at Simonds Stadium.

And even though it was another Danger-wood special that conjured up the winning goal in the dying minutes, Duncan also had a big moment late in the final term.

He was the one who reacted quickest when Charlie Dixon was called to play on, just as the big Port forward was about to take a set shot for goal which would have put the Power up by nine points had he have been successful.

“(Duncan) was fantastic – in the first half he really set us up,” said Cats coach Chris Scott.

“His ball use was fantastic, he’s a really hard runner and he was great in and around the congestion as well.

“We’ve got high hopes for him and he’s pushing towards that A-grade midfielder level that we were always confident he’d get to.”

Selwood had 10 of his 33 possessions in the final term, while Dangerfield finished the night with 24 disposals and three goals, including the late match-winner from a Selwood assist.

“It’s such an asset as a coaching group to have players that you can look in the eye at three-quarter time and know what they’re going to deliver,” said Scott.

“They were great.”

The 11.15 (81) to 11.13 (79) victory improved the Cats’ win-loss record to 7-3, while the Power slipped to 5-4, having had the bye last weekend following their long trip to Shanghai, to take on Gold Coast.

Port Adelaide were well served by midfielders Jared Polec, Ollie Wines and Brad Ebert, ruckman Paddy Ryder and three-goal forward Robbie Gray.

Power coach Ken Hinkley acknowledged the umpires had got it right in calling Dixon to play on in the final quarter as soon as the 30-second shot clock had expired.

“I understood it. Time ran out,” Hinkley said.

“Unfortunately they got it 100 per cent correct as far as right on the dot.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before – but that doesn’t matter.”

The numbers which will decide Origin I

TEN KEY STATS FOR STATE OF ORIGIN I

* Queensland’s dominance at home

The Maroons have only lost one of their past nine home matches – in game one in 2014 when the Blues broke an eight-year losing streak.

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* Smith the tackling machine

Heading into his 40th Origin match, Cameron Smith has made 1459 tackles, nearly double that of the next-best player on the list, Gary Larsen (813).

* Pearce equals Joey

NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce will equal Andrew Johns for most games played in the Blues halves when he runs out for his 16th Origin on Wednesday.

* Pearce’s form

Pearce is also arguably in career best form. After 11 rounds, the Sydney Rooster playmaker has more try involvements (25) than any other player – the next best being Gold Coast’s Ash Taylor. He’s scored four, had nine try assists and 12 try contributions.

* Getting on the front foot

Since 1982, the team that has won game one has gone on to lift the Origin shield on 26 out of 35 occasions.

* Is 18 the magic number for Queensland coach Kevin Walters?

Queensland have won 35 of 37 matches when scoring 18 points or more

* Hayne the Blues’ greatest?

Jarryd Hayne (nine) requires three tries to overtake Michael O’Connor (11) as NSW’s all-time leading tryscorer.

* Boyd on the verge of history

Greg Inglis’ injury has opened the door for Darius Boyd to write his name in the record books. The Brisbane skipper (17 tries from 26 games) requires just one try to surpass Inglis as Origin’s greatest try-scorer

* Maroons still more experienced

Despite losing 107 games of Origin experience in Corey Parker, Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Matt Scott, the Maroons are still vastly more experienced. The Maroons boast a cumulative 210 Origin games compared to NSW’s 108.

* Blues’ Queensland connection

With Nathan Peats and Jarryd Hayne in the Blues line up, it will be just the fifth time NSW have picked two players from a Queensland-based team.

Vixens control their Super Netball destiny

Melbourne Vixens have the chance to put Super Netball’s audacious upstarts in their place by clinching the minor premiership on Saturday.

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The Vixens – the lone established team of five to make the finals of the new competition – lead on percentage from Sunshine Coast Lightning going into this weekend’s final round.

Melbourne (21 points) must win away at lowly West Coast Fever (four points) in Perth on Saturday to try and secure top spot, as they will have dropped to second by the time they take the court.

The two teams immediately below them, the Lightning (21 points) and the Giants (20 points), clash in Sydney earlier on Saturday, with the winner going top for at least an hour.

Vixens coach Simone McKinnis won’t be trying to ascertain the result of that game.

“I don’t think you can get caught up and focused on the wrong thing, just looking at percentages and ladders and things like that,” McKinnis told AAP.

“We’ve purposely not paid attention to that and we’re not speaking about percentage or anything.

“It’s just about the game in front of us, playing well and winning that game and the rest will look after itself.”

The Vixens beat the Fever 56-45 in Melbourne in round four, the same round in which the Giants shaded the Lightning 55-54 on the Sunshine Coast.

“I think with the form we’ve been having we’ve wanted to play them earlier, but unfortunately we’ve had to wait to this very last game,” Lightning’s star shooter Caitlin Bassett told AAP about the game against the Giants.

“It’s an important game for us. We can’t take our foot off the pedal for a couple of reasons.

“Obviously for finals placings we want to finish one or two, but also we need our form to continue into the finals because we know that the other teams that make up the top four are ridiculously hard.”

Former Fever stalwart Bassett wasn’t above asking her former teammates to do her a favour by upsetting the Vixens.

“I talked to Kate Beveridge last night, I said ‘can you please please win, come on just pull it out’, that would make our lives a lot easier,” Bassett said.

Sri Lanka set Australia 319 for ODI win

Australia have been set a challenging target of 319 for victory by Sri Lanka in their Champions Trophy warm-up match at The Oval.

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Stand-in skipper David Warner won the toss and elected to field and the decision looked vindicated as Sri Lanka slumped to 4-92.

However, skipper Angelo Mathews (95) and Asela Gunaratne (70no) led a fine recovery as Sri Lanka reached 7-318, with 61 runs scored in the final five overs on a scorching hot day in south London.

Australia named a 12-man squad with Josh Hazlewood not permitted to bat after bowling his 10 overs but it was Moises Henriques who was the pick of the attack taking 3-46.

Hazlewood took the first wicket when Upul Thuranga was caught smartly by Henriques for 13 to reduce Sri Lanka to 1-49 off as many balls.

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella was the next to depart after an entertaining 41, with his eight fours including successive ramp shots that flew to the rope off the bowling of James Pattinson.

But he was deceived by a slower ball from Henriques and Pat Cummins did well to take an awkward running catch to reduce the Lions to 2-60.

Henriques grabbed his second wicket when the dangerous Kusal Mendis holed out to Warner for five to leave Sri Lanka wobbling at 3-71.

Soon after they were four down when Pattinson’s superb delivery re-arranged Dinesh Chandemal’s stumps for 17 and he was joined back in the pavilion by Chamara Kapugedera (30) who was caught and bowled in Travis Head’s first over.

But Matthews and Gunaratne led their side’s recovery from 5-150 with a 91-run stand for the sixth wicket before the skipper was dismissed five runs short of his century as Henriques grabbed his third wicket.

Gunaratne chalked up his 50 three overs from the end of the innings and brought up the 300 with a big six off in an expensive over from Hazlewood that went for 24.

Seekkuge Prasanna was the final man out for 31 to hand Cummins his first wicket.

Hawks pip Swans in AFL thriller

A clutch captain’s goal from Jarryd Roughead delivered Hawthorn a six-point win over AFL rivals Sydney on Friday night at the SCG.

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Roughead converted a tough set shot from beyond the 50m arc with 80 seconds remaining as the Hawks triumphed 12.9 (81) to 11.9 (75).

The visitors looked to be on track for a comfortable victory earlier in the game, but the Swans launched a barnstorming comeback during the third quarter.

Sydney led by seven points late in the final term after kicking five consecutive goals, a run that Lance Franklin started with a trademark showstopper from outside the 50m arc.

Shaun Burgoyne, who slotted his second astonishing goal of the night, and Roughead ensured there was one final twist.

Franklin, who booted five goals, was awarded the Goodes-O’Loughlin medal for best on ground.

Franklin and Burgoyne were both wearing No.67 to recognise the 50th anniversary of the referendum that was a landmark achievement for indigenous Australians.

Both stepped up superbly in Indigenous Round.

Franklin moves to 10th on the list of VFL/AFL goalkickers after lifting his career tally to 819.

Franklin also dished off a handful of goals, while his pressure acts were influential in the Swans’ stirring third-quarter fightback.

The Swans, coming off consecutive six-day breaks, rallied despite having only two fit men on the bench.

Jake Lloyd was knocked out early in the first quarter, while Sam Reid also failed a concussion test after being slung to the ground by Burgoyne during the second term.

It was a spiteful match, with Sydney’s Zak Jones among many players from both sides likely to sweat on the match review panel’s findings.

Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy tallied a combined 68 disposals for the Swans, while Liam Shiels laid 10 tackles and had 31 possessions for the Hawks.

“It was satisfying because we had our backs to the wall and we were challenged,” Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said.

“We lost a close game in similar circumstances against Collingwood last week.

“We’ve been pretty good in clutch games in recent times.”

Clarkson was full of praise for leaders Burgoyne, Roughead and Luke Hodge but also former charge Franklin.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit hard to admire when you’re an opposition coach,” Clarkson said.

“He consistently does brilliant things.”

Swans counterpart John Longmire agreed Franklin was “enormous”.

Longmire cut a desolate figure after the game, with the Swans slipping to a win-loss record of 3-7 after the upset.

“We had some courageous efforts (when the side was down to two fit men on the bench during the second half) … unfortunately it was not enough,” he said.

“We didn’t play the footy that we wanted to.”

Thiem can dream big at French Open after recent run of Nadal matches

The 23-year-old sixth seed at Roland Garros beat the Spaniard – who has won a record nine titles in Paris – in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters shortly after losing a tight final to him in Madrid and another final to him in Barcelona.

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He can safely say he’s had a good preparation for the 15-day tournament in Paris.

“The win over Rafa was of course a big thing for me. I played the best player on clay three times in three tournaments,” Thiem told reporters on Friday.

“I learned a lot from those matches so I think I prepared well for this tournament.”

Thiem, who will take on Australian Bernard Tomic in the first round, has not left the top 10 of the ATP rankings since making his breakthrough when he reached the last four of the French Open last year.

“In the beginning, it’s very tough to stay there. You think more a little bit to not fall out again,” said Thiem.

“And now I’m a little bit more confident. I feel that I belong there, basically. And it’s a little bit easier for me.”

While Nadal remains the absolute favourite for Thiem, the Austrian is confident he can go far into the tournament.

“I think that Rafa is the big favourite. Novak (Djokovic) is coming, for sure, behind him. And then (Andy) Murray, you never know. He’s such a big player. He can also play amazing here,” he said.

“And after these three I think there are some players who can go very deep here, who can make big surprises and in these players I count Sascha (Zverev) and myself.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Trump sets up ‘war room’ over Russia ties

US President Donald Trump’s White House is preparing to establish a ‘war room’ to combat mounting questions about ties between Russia and his presidential campaign, administration officials and persons close to Trump said, addressing a scandal that has threatened to consume his young presidency.

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Upon Trump’s return from a nine-day overseas trip, the administration will add experienced political professionals and possibly lawyers to handle the Russia probe, which has gained new urgency since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to head the investigation, the sources told Reuters.

Beyond pushing back at suggestions that Moscow is unduly influencing Trump’s administration, the messaging effort will also focus on advancing Trump’s stalled policy agenda and likely involve more trips out of Washington that will feature the kind of raucous rallies that were the hallmark of Trump’s campaign.

A person in regular touch with the White House said it needed a new structure to focus on the “new reality” that there would be continued leaks to the media, which have increased in frequency since Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey this month.

“Since the firing of Comey, that really exposed the fact that the White House in its current structure … is not prepared for really a one-front war, let alone a two-front war,” he said. “They need to have a structure in place that allows them to stay focused” while “also truly fighting back on these attacks and these leaks.”

The White House declined to comment on plans for a ‘war room’ but said Trump will be looking to build on momentum it believes it has built up during the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Europe. A White House official confirmed plans to hold more rallies.

Trump returns to Washington on Saturday from his first trip abroad as president.

“The president has had an incredibly successful trip overseas and the White House looks forward to continuing an aggressive messaging strategy to highlight his agenda when we return to DC,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, will be involved in the new strategic messaging operation, as will Steve Bannon, another top adviser who specialises in managing Trump’s populist appeal and shaping his political image, the sources said. Bannon and Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, have been laying the groundwork for the plan this week, they added.

On Thursday, NBC News and the Washington Post reported that Kushner, who held several meetings with Russian officials following the election, is a focus of the probe, making him the first current White House official to be caught up in the probe, although Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, is also expected to be part of the effort. Lewandowski, who has been seen in the White House recently, could join the administration as early as next week, a source close to him said.

Red Bull have a tight hold on their drivers, says Horner

Asked at the Monaco Grand Prix if the two drivers had performance-related elements that might allow them to look elsewhere he told Reuters: “No, none at all.

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They are both straightforward clean contracts.

“I’ve got no doubt that both Max and Daniel will be driving an RB14 next year.”

The question has become more of an issue, in a paddock where rumours are rife, as former champions Red Bull have slipped back after finishing runners-up to Mercedes last season.

They have two of the most coveted drivers while Ferrari and Mercedes have yet to confirm who will partner multiple champions and title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton respectively.

The Red Bull pair are both race winners, exciting overtakers and hugely popular among the sport’s fan base.

Mercedes and Ferrari are the only teams to have won so far this season and while Ricciardo was third in Spain two weeks ago, he was well over a minute behind race winner Hamilton.

Ricciardo started on pole position in Monaco last year and was second fastest in practice this Thursday around the twisting street circuit, where engine power is less of a factor.

But Red Bull reckoned they had the best chassis last year, compensating for a lack of grunt from the Renault engine, and they cannot say that now.

“Chassis-wise I think we are having to make up ground to our competitors,” said Horner.

“Ferrari I think have got a very strong package at the moment. Mercedes obviously are right there also and I think we’re closing the gap to them, but we’re not quite at their level yet.”

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Horner has been saying loud and clear for some time that he wants Renault, whose engines are badged Tag Heuer in the Red Bull after a previous tiff between the fractious partners, to provide an upgrade with the least delay.

When that will be remains guesswork, with Horner saying in a recent interview that he was going to church every week in the hope his prayers would be heard.

Such comments have not gone down well with Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul, who has chafed at “wrong communication”.

“Cyril obviously can be a bit irritable at times,” said Horner, pronouncing the word as if it were an alternative surname for the Frenchman.

“Sometimes we get mixed messages but the most important thing is that they’re working hard, they’re making progress and hopefully with the introduction of each power unit we should see incremental improvements.”

Horner did not expect any change by the next race in Canada, however.

Monaco has rewarded Red Bull in the past, with three wins in a row between 2010-12, and Horner was hopeful of another strong performance.

“Daniel has always excelled at this circuit, he’s very confident. He’s won support races here, he’s qualified on pole here, he’s led a lot of laps here. He put in an outstanding performance in 2014, same again in ’16,” said Horner.

“But Max is getting there as well. He had a bit of a scruffy day yesterday afternoon, with just traffic and red flags, but he’s in pretty decent shape.”

After Monaco, the next circuits that Red Bull can feel confident about will be Hungary and Singapore but the boss hoped for other chances as well. An upgraded engine could write another script entirely.

“Who’d have predicted we’d have won Malaysia last year or Barcelona? And we had some other great races at Silverstone, in Austria and Hockenheim,” added Horner.

“We don’t take anything for granted and we know we have ground to make up. But the whole team is massively motivated to close that gap down and I think has actually been doing a very good job over the early races.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)