Bairstow leads England to rout of South Africa

South Africa chose to bat and laboured to 142 for three before Bairstow and Alex Hales shared a superb unbroken second-wicket partnership of 98 to guide the hosts to their target with 5.

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3 overs to spare.

“I’m trying to progress all the time and I played a few shots I didn’t have a few months ago,” said man of the match Bairstow.

“I’m feeling good, I was really pleased. The lads bowled outstandingly well, to take wickets up front is what we wanted and then our spinners tied them down.”

David Willey bowled JJ Smuts with the first ball of the match and South Africa quickly subsided to 32 for three.

Captain AB de Villiers (65 not out) and Farhaan Behardien (64 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 110 but they never broke free from the shackles imposed by a disciplined England attack and the total always looked below-par.

England openers Jason Roy and Hales plundered 45 off the first four overs before Roy, playing a risky reverse sweep, was trapped lbw by Andile Phehlukwayo for 28.

But Hales (47 not out) and Bairstow looked completely untroubled by a toothless South Africa attack, hitting four sixes and nine fours between them to cruise to their target.

Both teams were playing their first matches since the Champions Trophy in which hosts England lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals and top-ranked South Africa failed to advance from the group stage.

“It is difficult to sum up the performance. The result doesn’t look good for us. We lost our way at the start, had to rebuild and we were 20-30 runs short in the end, which probably cost us,” De Villiers said.

The second game of the three-match series is in Taunton on Friday.

(Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Toby Davis)

Bairstow leads England to rout of Proteas

Jonny Bairstow struck a sublime unbeaten 60 to lead England to a dominant nine-wicket victory over South Africa in the first Twenty20 international in Southampton.

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South Africa chose to bat and laboured to 3-142 before Bairstow and Alex Hales shared a superb unbroken second-wicket partnership of 98 to guide the hosts to their target with 5.3 overs to spare.

“I’m trying to progress all the time and I played a few shots I didn’t have a few months ago,” man of the match Bairstow said.

“I’m feeling good, I was really pleased. The lads bowled outstandingly well, to take wickets up front is what we wanted and then our spinners tied them down.”

David Willey bowled JJ Smuts with the first ball of the match and South Africa quickly subsided to 3-32.

Captain AB de Villiers (65 not out) and Farhaan Behardien (64 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 110 but they never broke free from the shackles imposed by a disciplined England attack and the total always looked below-par.

England openers Jason Roy and Hales plundered 45 off the first four overs before Roy, playing a risky reverse sweep, was trapped lbw by Andile Phehlukwayo for 28.

But Hales (47 not out) and Bairstow looked completely untroubled by a toothless South Africa attack, hitting four sixes and nine fours between them to cruise to their target.

Both teams were playing their first matches since the Champions Trophy in which hosts England lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals and top-ranked South Africa failed to advance from the group stage.

“It is difficult to sum up the performance,” De Villiers said. “The result doesn’t look good for us.

“We lost our way at the start, had to rebuild and we were 20-30 runs short in the end, which probably cost us.”

The second game of the three-match series is in Taunton on Friday.

Uber says embattled CEO Travis Kalanick is stepping down

Kalanick had already been on a leave of absence aimed at restoring confidence in the scandal-plagued ridesharing giant.

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The New York Times reported earlier Wednesday that five of the company’s major investors had demanded his departure.

“I can confirm Travis has resigned,” the spokesman told AFP in an email.

He also quoted from a board statement saying that “Travis has always put Uber first”.

“This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber,” the board said.

The pioneering company has been facing pressure to rein in a no-holds-barred management style led by Kalanick and to reform its workplace culture, which has sparked charges of harassment and discrimination.

Kalanick is to stay on as a board member, Uber said.

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The investors, who made their demand in a letter, include one of Uber’s biggest shareholders, the venture capital firm Benchmark, the New York Times said.

In the letter, titled “Moving Uber Forward”, the investors told Kalanick that he must immediately leave and that the company needed a change in leadership, the Times reported.

Kalanick consulted with at least one Uber board member and after long discussions with some of the investors, he agreed to step down, the paper said.

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“I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement, quoted by the Times and confirmed by Uber.

Last week, Kalanick said one of the reasons for taking a leave of absence was the recent death of his mother.

Uber, which is the world’s richest venture-backed startup valued at some $68 billion, operates in dozens of countries despite problems with regulators in many jurisdictions and protests from established taxi operators.

Kalanick had been seen as the driving force behind Uber despite a series of embarrassing missteps.

0:00 Angry taxi drivers take to London streets protesting Uber Share Angry taxi drivers take to London streets protesting Uber

Portugal fires: Debate reopened over cause of deadly blaze

Politicians added their voice to those of local people who have questioned the handling of the disaster by the emergency services, as the funerals of the 64 killed took place.

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The president of the League of Firefighters, Jaime Marta Soares, said Wednesday he believed that arson had caused the fire, contradicting an earlier account by police.

On Sunday, police chief Almeida Rodrigues had ruled out arson, blaming dry thunderstorms for the blaze after saying they had found a tree hit by lightning.

But Marta Soares told local news media the fire had already been burning for two hours before the storm started Saturday.

“I believe, until there is evidence to the contrary, … that the fire was of criminal origin,” he added.

“The country needs clear answers to legitimate doubts,” said the president of the parliament Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, reacting to the claims.

He was addressing lawmakers during a special parliamentary session in memory of the victims of the fire, which has injured more than 200 people.

Questions also remain over how so many people could have died, most of them perishing on a single road that locals say should have been sealed off by first responders.

Early Wednesday, firefighting planes flew sorties over the smouldering forest canopy in the central Pedrogao Grande region, dropping water to bring the blaze there “under control” late afternoon, regional civil protection head Vitor vaz Pinto said.

By the evening, firefighters — 1,500 were mobilised in all — and firefighting planes were concentrating on fires in the area around Pampilhosa.

The blaze had appeared to be under control on Tuesday, only for it suddenly to flare again, forcing authorities to evacuate 40 hamlets near the village of Gois, not far from Pampilhosa.

Officials expressed concern that some residents were refusing to leave homes threatened by the flames.

Related readingQuestions, anger mount 

In the tiny village of Alcafaz, near Gois, local people said they had stayed on to fight the fire.

“They told us the fire service would come but they never arrived,” said Jose Antonio Gomes, 55, columns of smoke still rising in the hills around the village.

At another hamlet, Candosa, 33-year-old Sergio said he had worked “all day and all night without anyone coming” to help as residents themselves put all hands to the pump.

He says no one came to evacuate them, and locals had to drive the elderly to safety.

As he stood there with others, columns of smoke and flames were appearing over the top of the hill in front of the village. This time though, firefighters were on hand.

Related readingMinute’s silence 

Many of those who perished were caught in their cars as they tried to flee the blaze, most of them on the N236, now dubbed the “road of death” by local media.

“My nephew died, a fireman” said Joaquim Serra da Fonseca, 68. As news of the fire spread on Saturday, his 40-year-old nephew and several colleagues rushed down the road to help.

Faced with the fury of the fire, they turned back but in the thick smoke, they apparently crashed into a car full of people, Serra da Fonseca said.

They were caught by the flames as they tried to help the passengers.

Serra da Fonseca wondered why they were allowed to take the road when police knew that a fire was raging in the area.

Martyrs

Prime Minister Antonio Costa has also asked why the N236 had not been closed to traffic. He has also called for answers as to why the emergency services communications network was interrupted.

Press reports suggested Portugal’s fire plan had not been revised for four years and that the intense heat might have made some communication antennae malfunction.

As anger mounted among the relatives of those killed, the daily Publico reported that civil protection personnel and back-up fire crews only reached the fire site two hours after the first emergency calls. 

Costa has called for “immediate explanations” from authorities, but insisted that there was “no evidence” of any rapid response failure.

The first funerals began late Tuesday not far from the still-burning forest.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa attended the funeral of a firefighter in the village of Castanheira de Pera along with several other politicians and hundreds of locals.

A large crowd earlier had gathered in the tiny hamlet of Sarzedas de San Pedro to bury six victims. 

The front page of the Correo da Manha showed images of tearful relatives next to pictures of some of those killed alongside a headline that read simply: “Martyrs”.

Medical cannabis: who has access?

IS MEDICAL CANNABIS LEGAL IN AUSTRALIA?

Yes, medical cannabis is now a controlled substance rather than a prohibited one under the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA)

It was rescheduled from Schedule 9 (prohibited substance) to Scheduled 8 (controlled substance)

The federal government approved the reclassification, which came into effect in October 2016

This gave doctors a pathway to prescribe to patients

CAN PATIENTS ACCESS MEDICAL CANNABIS?

Yes, but it is reasonably difficult

Medical cannabis is not approved by the TGA as a registered good, therefore there is a lot of paperwork to apply for access

If patients are looking to access medical cannabis they must use other pathways such as the Special Access Scheme

States and territories can independently make access available to specific types of patients

Doctors also have to apply to become an authorised prescriber

To date, fewer than 150 people in Australia have been given access to medicinal cannabis

WHO CAN APPLY FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS?

The TGA doesn’t specify which illnesses might be eligible for special access to medicinal cannabis

Doctors need to be able to show the drug would be of benefit for a patient

THE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MEDICAL CANNABIS

Most agree that the evidence is still not in on medical cannabis

Very few randomised double blind placebo control studies – the gold standard in medicine – have been conducted to test the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis

There is a body of evidence around the world that suggests it can benefit numerous conditions.

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These include:

* Epilepsy

* Multiple sclerosis

* Chronic neuropathic pain

* Nausea from cancer-related chemotherapy

* Parkinson’s disease