Cowboys can still win NRL title says Green

The experts say North Queensland can’t win the NRL premiership without Michael Morgan.

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Paul Green begs to differ.

“He’s a terrific player, I can understand why they’d say that,” the Cowboys coach said.

“But I don’t necessarily agree.”

Either way, someone is about to be proved right.

The Cowboys are now preparing for a finals campaign without Morgan, the man who has transformed their team this year and allowed the world’s best player, Johnathan Thurston, to somehow find another level.

Both Morgan (ankle) and front-rower James Tamou (neck) have been sidelined indefinitely, putting a huge dent into North Queensland’s hopes of capturing a maiden NRL title.

Tamou could be back next week but it is the syndesmosis injury to Morgan that has placed what seemed an inevitable top-two finish for the Cowboys into grave doubt.

Without him, league legends including Peter Sterling believe North Queensland are no longer a serious contender.

Green remains “hopeful” of Morgan making an early return but typically, injuries like the one he suffered against the Warriors on Saturday take at least four weeks to recover from.

That means in a best case scenario, North Queensland will have their first-choice playmaking combination back for the third week of the finals.

“He’s a quick healer so hopefully he’s back soon,” Thurston said.

“He’s obviously going to be missing for a while but you saw during the Origin period, when players are missing we’ve had boys come in and do a job for us. We’ll be expecting the same.”

It’s a reasonable argument to lean back on.

For all the disruptions and distractions of Origin, the Cowboys lost just one game between March and the start of this month.

Green and his players will be clinging to that record as proof that North Queensland are not a spent force.

“One of the most pleasing things when we look back this year is when guys have been asked to step up and do a job, they’ve all been able to do that,” Green said.

Ray Thompson has been named to replace Morgan at five-eighth for Saturday night’s clash with Melbourne, and Green has given the 25-year-old a very simple brief – keep it simple.

“Play his part in the team. Do his job,” Green said.

Tamou, meanwhile, has been cleared of any major damage to his neck and is viewed as a “week-to-week” proposition.

The NSW Origin prop battled neck issues through the pre-season and looked in strife when he was felled by New Zealand’s Simon Mannering halfway through Saturday’s clash in Auckland.

Back-rower Gavin Cooper has come into the Cowboys side in his place, with Ben Hannant to move to prop alongside co-captain Matt Scott.

Chelsea move a gamble I had to take, says Pedro

“Of course I would have liked to have stayed at Barca and retire here,” Sky Sports quoted the 28-year-old as telling the Spanish media in his farewell press conference for which he flew back to Barcelona on Monday.

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“That was my intention when I signed my contract extension. But I’ve taken a gamble because it’s what I wanted.

“I wasn’t going to stay here just to appear on the photo,” he added.

Pedro, who has scored 59 goals for the Catalan club in 128 La Liga starts, found his opportunities limited after the arrival of Luis Suarez from Liverpool last season and decided to move despite signing a new four-year contract in June.

“I was really happy when I signed that contract. But then I saw that my situation would not change.

“I’m always ambitious but it was difficult to have continuity here. Now I have new challenges and the opportunity to continue to play,” he said.

“This offer arrived and it gave me everything I needed to take a decision. I wanted to leave to have more playing time,” the Spain international and World Cup winner added.

Pedro won 20 trophies in his time with Barcelona, including five La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues crowns.

“I’m very happy to be at Chelsea because it’s a club that, like Barca, are fighting for titles,” he said.

“I had offers from other English clubs — Manchester United, City and Chelsea, who were the club that more rapidly resolved my transfer and the one that showed more interest in me,” the striker added.

“I just hope I don’t have to face Barca or step out at the Nou Camp wearing another jersey. It would be difficult, I wouldn’t like it.

“I don’t think Barca will miss me because they have plenty of quality players, but I will sure miss them, the players and the club,” he said.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

China delivers Blackmores a record profit

Shares in vitamin and supplement maker Blackmores have jumped more than seven per cent after the company announced a record annual profit.

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Blackmores’s net profit surged 83 per cent to $46.6 million on the back of frenzied development of its Asian division, where sales increased 26 per cent.

The result pleased investors, with the company’s shares surging by $6.04, or 7.2 per cent, to $90.44.

Sales to China, where the brand is endorsed by retired tennis champion Li Na, skyrocketed to $75 million in the year to June 30 from just $2 million the previous year.

The opening of free trade zones in China last year allowed Blackmores to sell its products to Chinese consumers, although only via an e-commerce platform.

“It really opens up the opportunity for the Chinese consumer to buy a whole range of Blackmores products and for us to offer them,” chief executive Christine Holgate told AAP.

Sales in its Australian-based operations were up 43 per cent, a result Ms Holgate attributed to increased demand for vitamins from Chinese tourists in Australia, the nation’s ageing population and more investment in branding and research.

“A lot of retailers have clearly got some challenges at the moment, so we’re very pleased with that result,” Ms Holgate said.

But the company’s record growth has a downside as it struggles to source enough raw materials to keep up with demand for its products.

“Our growth has put constraints on the availability of raw materials because Blackmores has very high quality standards,” Ms Holgate said.

“We’ve been working very closely with suppliers, investing in capacities and finding new sources which meet our quality standards.”

Ms Holgate is expecting more profit increases in the year ahead on the back of further growth locally and in Asia, as well as in its non-core asset BioCeuticals.

“There’s really strong demand for Australian products in Asia and I think the government is supportive of helping businesses build trade overseas, so I’m quite optimistic about that,” she said.

BLACKMORES’ HEALTHY NUMBERS

* Net profit up 83pct to $46.6m

* Revenue up 36pct to $471.6m

* Fully-franked final dividend up 52 cents at $1.35

The young Australians who don’t want a republic

They’re young, they’re educated, and they don’t want a republic.

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Groups of young Australians are ignoring the push for a republic from public figures such as new Australian of the Year David Morrison, saying there is no need to remove the royals.

Their reasoning goes beyond affection for Kate Middleton’s frocks, or cute royal babies, but seems pragmatic.

University student Evie-Gee Rogers admits she may be a “raging monarchist” because of her English background, but says many young Australians just don’t see the point of conducting a referendum.

“For me a huge reason I support the monarch is also based on the financial detriment I think that switching to a republic will do to Australia,” she said.

“The cost of the a referendum is enormous, as well as the costs of changing Australian money… all of this to change from a system that clearly works, to one that is super untried and untested!”

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Student Joshua Bayly, 19, agrees changing to a republic would be an expensive endevaour, and also thinks the monarchy is part of Australia’s history.

“Australia has been a part of the Commonwealth from the get go, having gone to war for the crown on multiple instances, it forms a part of the integral fabric that makes us Australian,” he said.

Artist Blair Rawlings, 27, identifies herself as on the left side of politics, but does not consider Australia becoming a republic an important political issue.

“Considering how much we already suck when it comes to voting I hate to imagine what would happen if our voting system had to change at all,” she said.

“If we became a republic it would cost a lot of money to change the flags, the laws, and we don’t honestly need to be spending.

“I just feel like out of everything to get excited or angry about, being part of the Commonwealth is just a bit stupid.”

Australia last held a republic referendum in 1999.

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Alcohol laws vary for Grand Canyon rafting

A huge sense of accomplishment rushes over rafters as they conquer the last big rapid on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

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Hands fly in the air. Fists pump. Screams echo through the canyon walls.

Then someone breaks out the tequila for a celebratory drink on the aptly named Tequila Beach.

Alcohol is part of rafting culture in the Grand Canyon. But drinking can make an already risky adventure dangerous.

It has contributed to deaths and, federal investigators said this week, incidents of sexual harassment by male employees of the National Park Service on trips the agency led.

The Park Service last year banned alcohol on its trips conducted for research, education or sightseeing.

The move came while the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General investigated an accusation that the national park’s chain of command had mishandled harassment complaints.

The ban on alcohol doesn’t apply to commercial companies the general public can hire to go down the 450km stretch of the river or private trips that are won through a lottery system.

Night-time is prime drinking time as rafters sit around a campfire, playing music and sharing stories.

Most choose beer, launching their trips with hundreds of cans strapped by the case to the sides of boats and stashed in compartments.

Others choose wine or hard liquor kept in bags or plastic containers because they take up less space and pack more of a punch.

A trip sans alcohol is rare.

“That’s not to say everyone on every trip drinks alcohol, of course, no,” said Jack Billings, of Eugene, Oregon, who prefers boxed wine on river trips.

“But to say we’re not going to have any? That would be unheard of.”

The Park Service doesn’t allow the crews from 16 companies that have river concessions contracts to drink while they’re operating boats or for four hours before they get out on the river, but they can once their duties are done for the day.

Companies once brought wine and kegs of beer on trips for passengers but that stopped long ago.

Guests now bring their own, though some companies have a no-alcohol policy.

The private, or self-guided, trips have the most relaxed rules.

They are highly coveted non-motor trips that launch year-round.

The Park Service rangers brief participants before their trips but generally make no mention of excessive drinking.

Larry Lorusso, of Clarksburg, Massachusetts, has celebrated with tequila after Lava Rapid – a 20-second ride that has rafters grasping a rope tightly as water thrashes around them.

He’s seen people belligerently drunk and been the guy accused of drinking too much.

“To me, it would be sacrilege to bring any alcohol out of the Grand Canyon,” he said.

Commercial and private boaters say their trips have the kind of checks and balances needed to avoid the type of abuses that federal investigators outlined on those led by the Park Service.

The investigation released on Tuesday found that male employees in the Grand Canyon’s river district preyed on female co-workers on river trips, propositioning them for sex and retaliating against them when they refused.

No one outside the Park Service was implicated in the investigation.

A Park Service official said that alcohol consumption seemed to play a part.

John Dillon, executive director of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, said commercial companies risk losing their contracts if they don’t abide by the Park Service regulations and have policies against sexual harassment.

Guides urge passengers to drink water over beer in the arid environment, he said.

“If that’s ever an issue, guides cut it off and say ‘absolutely no more’,” he said.

Private trips usually include friends or family, rafters say, and a sort of community policing exists.

John Hulburd lobbied a crew to reduce the 70 cases of beer, eight gallons of wine and 21 bottles of hard liquor planned for a 21-day private trip he joined last year but with little success.

The split among drinkers and mostly non-drinkers soured the trip, as did the shards of glass left by broken bottles in the sand and the rubbish created when beer cans escaped into the river, he said.

“Since there are so many opportunities for people to get hurt going down big rivers, I am sorry to see no effort made to restrict the amount of alcohol being consumed,” said Hulburd, of Ridgway, Colorado.

A Colorado woman who had been drinking disappeared from her campsite in early 2013. Her body was found floating in the river months later.

Commercial rafting trips can cost more than $US3,000 ($A4,373.18) a person, but pricing can vary based on factors including time of year and the length of the trip. The cost of private trips can vary by wider margins.

Children’s author French takes home award

It all started with a helpful wombat whose disruptive droppings paid for a much-needed car registration.

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Children’s author Jackie French lived in a shed with three animals – a wallaby, a snake and a wombat called Smudge who pooped all over her typewriter.

Her first book Rainstones was messy thanks to Smudge’s droppings, and tainted with misspelt words because of her dyslexia.

“It was pulled out of the slush pile because it was the messiest, worst spelled mess they had ever seen,” the author told AAP.

“If it hadn’t been for that bad spelling, the publishers may never have picked up my book.”

Most widely known for her beloved children’s classic Diary of a Wombat, French has now written more than 170 books and is an advocate for children’s literacy.

The author can now add an Australia Day honour award for her service to literature to her list of accomplishments.

Having taught herself to read at the age of three, the author admits her dyslexia prevented her from “reading a single word on the board” at school.

She figured she needed to be taught to read in a different way.

“There is no such thing as reading difficulties, only teaching challenges,” French said.

With a writing career spanning over 25 years, French has dedicated the last two years to helping children in literacy.

“After 170 books I am not ashamed to say I am dyslexic. I can’t spell and I can’t find my way out of a car park.”

“It has inspired my work for literacy and teacher training … every child has a right to learn to read with the methods that best suit them.”

Despite her impressive resume including more than 60 literary awards, French said her ultimate accomplishment was being the author of her two-year-old grandson’s pick-of-the-day book – without him knowing it was hers.

“I don’t think it gets better than that, it really doesn’t.”

But despite her successes, French doesn’t consider herself worthy of the honour.

“There are so many who work for kids and literacy who deserve this far more than me.”

The humble author said she “can’t imagine ever retiring”, with several books on the horizon, including children’s book Grandma Wombat, which is due to hit shops on March 1.

Libya peace deal at risk

A UN-backed peace agreement to end the split between Libya’s two rival governments has run into trouble with one of the country’s two parliaments blocking a key clause.

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The internationally recognised House of Representatives, meeting in the far eastern city of Tobruk, voted by an overwhelming majority to accept the peace deal but without a provision that would hand control of the armed forces to the UN-backed unity presidential council.

The legislators’ move aims to protect the position of hardline Tobruk army chief Khalifa Haftar, who is unacceptable to the rival Islamist-leaning administration, which controls the capital, Tripoli.

Martin Kobler, UN special envoy on Libya, welcomed what he called “the endorsement in principle” of the UN-brokered peace agreement, adding that he noted the reservation on the article regarding the presidential council taking responsibility for army command.

“We will continue consultations with all parties to find consensual solution to all outstanding issues,” Kobler said Monday.

The United Nations, European Union and other powers have been pushing for the deal to end Libya’s civil strife, which has allowed the Islamic State extremist group to establish a growing presence in the oil-rich North African state.

The parliament also withheld approval for a unity government proposed by the presidential council and backed by the UN and EU.

It instead asked the council to come back within 10 days with a smaller cabinet line-up, Benghazi parliamentarian Abu Bakr Baira told broadcaster Libya HD.

“Our indication is that they are voting in favour of the agreement with some conditions,” said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, noting that the UN was monitoring the votes.

Under the peace agreement, the unity government had to be approved by the House of Representatives within 10 days of its announcement by the presidential council. That approval came on January 19.

Analyst Mattia Toaldo of the European Council on Foreign Relations said the vote on the cabinet had short-term implications, and the parliament might approve a revised line-up.

But blocking the handover of military powers pointed to a more serious issue, he said.

“In the long term, it demonstrates that you can’t work around the issue of Haftar. That’s what this is all about,” Toaldo told DPA.

“If you reopen the agreement [as requested by the House of Representatives] … then Tripoli will ask for other changes and you’re back to square one,” he warned.

Pregnant women urged to consider Zika

Updated travel advice on the fast-spreading Zika virus has been issued, with pregnant Australian women warned of the effects of the mosquito-borne virus on their unborn babies.

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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller website has added advice on Zika to a number countries in response to the “rapidly evolving situation”.

DFAT is urging pregnant women to reconsider visiting 22 nations in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa and the Pacific Islands where Zika is transmitted.

Previously, only five country advisories contained information about Zika.

“Recent outbreaks in Central and South America, particularly Brazil, have raised concerns that infection with Zika virus in pregnant women might cause certain birth defects,” the Smartraveller website says.

The warning also applies to women who plan to become pregnant.

Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which infants are born with smaller heads.

Brazil has reported almost 4000 suspected cases of microcephaly, over 30 times more than had been reported in any year since 2010, according to the World Health Organisation.

Brazilian authorities have confirmed six cases of microcephaly in which the infant was infected with the Zika virus.

Zika has spread to 21 countries and territories in the Americas since May 2015 and is likely to spread to most countries in the region, WHO said.

The disease, which is transmitted by the dengue fever-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, has no vaccine or treatment and about 80 per cent of those infected show no symptoms.

DFAT warns travellers to take measures to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes and also advises people to be aware of transmission in nearby countries.

“Areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time,” it says.

COUNTRIES WHERE ZIKA IS TRANSMITTED

Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, Venezuela.

*Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Pregnant Australians warned to avoid Zika-affected countries

The Department of Foreign Affairs has released an updated list of 22 countries where the mosquito-borne Zika virus is transmitted.

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It includes nations in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa and the Pacific Islands.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning the Zika virus is likely to spread to all countries in the Americas except Canada and Chile.

Zika virus is suspected of being behind an unusually high number of brain-damaged newborns in Brazil.

The disease has rapidly spread to 21 countries and territories in that region since May 2015, due to a lack of immunity among the population and the prevalence of the mosquito which causes the Zika virus.

The United Nations health agency, the World Health Organisation, is warning the virus is expected to spread to all countries in the Americas, apart from Canada and Chile.

WHO head Margaret Chan says the situation is extremely worrying.

“The explosive threat of Zika virus, to new geographical areas, with little population immunity is another cause for concern, especially given the possible link between infection during pregnancy and babies born with small heads.”

WHO says women planning to travel to areas where the virus is active should consult a healthcare provider before travelling and on return.

Brazil’s Health Ministry in November confirmed the Zika virus is linked to a foetal deformation known as microcephaly, in which infants are born with smaller-than-usual brains.

Brazil has reported 3,893 suspected cases of microcephaly, over 30 times more than has been reported in any year since 2010.

Evidence about other transmission routes is limited and the WHO says there is currently no evidence of Zika being transmitted to babies through breast milk.

Margaret Chan explains.

“Although a causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly has not, and I must emphasise, has not been established, the circumstantial evidence is suggestive and extremely worrisome. An increased occurrence of neurological symptoms, noted in some countries coincident with arrival of the virus, adds to the concern.”

Zika has historically occurred in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands and there is no vaccine or treatment available

It is normally a mild disease and there is little scientific data on it, so it is unclear why the virus might now be causing microcephaly.

Experts say an outbreak could happen in Australia but would most likely be limited to north Queensland.

Peter Horby is Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Oxford University in the UK.

He told the ABC the potential for the virus to spread is worrying.

“The mosquitoes that transmit this virus are very widely distributed. The same mosquito that carries dengue and that’s spread across the whole of Asia, parts of Africa and Central America and even in Northern Australia. So the potential for this virus to spread over very large areas of the globe is huge.”

Meanwhile the eradication of another mosquito-borne infection, malaria, has received a massive boost.

Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates and the British government are pledging more than AUD$6 billion to help end deaths from malaria in the next 15 years.

Between 2000 and 2015, malaria deaths fell by 60 per cent globally but 438,000 people still died from malaria in 2015.

 

Hope of freedom for US juvenile killers

The US Supreme Court has expanded its ban on mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for inmates convicted of murders committed before age 18, saying even those imprisoned years ago should have an opportunity to argue for their release.

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The court, in a 6-3 ruling, sided with Louisiana inmate Henry Montgomery, who was convicted in the 1963 fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy at age 17 and has spent more than a half century behind bars with an automatic sentence of life without possibility of parole.

The court in 2012 had ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole in homicide cases involving juvenile killers violated the US Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The justices, in their ruling on Monday, said that decision must be applied retroactively to inmates convicted before that ruling was issued.

That means Montgomery and more than 1000 people serving similar sentences across the United States could be resentenced or given the chance to apply for parole. It does not, however, guarantee their release.

Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania are among the states likely to be most affected.

“For these people, it will be the first time a judge will be able to take into account the qualities that made them, as children, less culpable than adults who commit the same crimes,” said Katherine Mattes, director of the criminal litigation clinic at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.

Montgomery, who is black, was convicted of killing a white sheriff’s deputy in East Baton Rouge at a time when racial tensions in the region were boiling over.

The ruling, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the court’s four liberals, was the court’s latest to protect juvenile offenders from the harshest sentences.

In 2005, the Supreme Court banned capital punishment for those under 18 at the time of their crimes.

Monday’s ruling, authored by Kennedy, left open the possibility of juveniles being sentenced to life without parole in certain cases. Kennedy said Montgomery himself showed “his evolution from a troubled, misguided youth to a model member of the prison community”.

Kennedy emphasised that “children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change”.

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, along with fellow conservatives Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Scalia called the ruling “a devious way of eliminating life without parole for juvenile offenders”,

UN mission to verify Colombia peace deal

The United Nations Security Council has approved the creation of a UN mission of unarmed international observers to monitor disarmament should Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels reach a deal to end Latin America’s longest war.

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The 15-member council on Monday unanimously adopted a British-drafted resolution that would establish a political mission for 12 months “to monitor and verify the definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and the laying down of arms”.

“This concrete mandate of the Security Council will benefit all Colombians and will contribute to build confidence in a country determined to overcome the aftermath of a decades-long conflict that caused too much suffering for generations,” Colombia’s Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said after the vote.

Colombia’s government and FARC jointly asked the Security Council to help monitor and verify rebel disarmament should the two sides reach a deal to end their 50-year-old war, which has killed 220,000 people and displaced millions, by a March 23 deadline.

“It is a commendable step forward from the government of Colombia and the FARC to voluntarily bring this issue to the United Nations. That’s a rare occurrence,” Britain’s UN ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters ahead of the meeting.

The rebels’ willingness to make the request jointly with the government is a sign of progress as the two sides aim to reach a comprehensive peace agreement. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said last year he would make such an appeal to the United Nations. He staked his 2014 re-election on the peace talks.

“Colombia is now on the precipice of a historic achievement,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the council. “The Security Council shows that the United Nations stands with the Colombian people as they forge this new future.”

The resolution asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to present detailed recommendations for such a mission to the Security Council for consideration and approval within 30 days of the signing of a peace deal.

Ted Cruz challenged on claim rapes in Australia spiked after gun laws

US presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s claim sexual assaults on women in Australia went up significantly after strict gun laws were introduced has been challenged by a Washington Post analysis.

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Cruz said on high-profile American radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show on January 12 Australia’s post-Port Arthur massacre gun legislation meant women were unable to defend themselves from being raped.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column examined Mr Cruz’s comment and on Monday rated it a “whopper” of a factual error, the highest rating on its “Pinocchio Test”.

“And as you know, Hugh, after Australia did that (gun buyback program), the rate of sexual assaults, the rate of rapes, went up significantly, because women were unable to defend themselves,” Mr Cruz told the radio host.

“There’s nothing that criminals or terrorists like more than unarmed victims.”

Conservative candidate Mr Cruz is Donald Trump’s biggest rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

The gun debate has become a hot button issue in the presidential race, with Republican candidates like Mr Cruz and the National Rifle Association attacking President Barack Obama and Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton’s references to Australia’s firearm laws.

The Washington Post analysis found no significant spike or drop but a gradual increase in sexual assault rates over the decade after the 1996 changes in Australia.

The increase was likely affected by a rise in the reporting of sexual assaults and there wasn’t prevalent use of handguns for self-defence before 1996, as Cruz suggested, the newspaper concluded.

“The rates didn’t go up ‘significantly’ after the buyback and there’s no evidence changes to gun laws in Australia affected sexual assault rates or jeopardised the ability of women to protect themselves,” the Washington Post told readers.

The newspaper spoke to Samara McPhedran, senior research fellow at Australia’s Griffith University and chair of the International Coalition of Women in Shooting and Hunting.

The Post also examined research by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Law Library of Congress, Christine Neill, economics professor at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University and Andrew Leigh, an Australian MP and former Australian National University economics professor.

The newspaper also concluded given gun culture in Australia and the US is not comparable, including carrying concealed guns and the ability to carry firearms for self-defence, “politicians should refrain from attributing good or bad changes in Australian crime rates to the buyback program or to the legislative package”.

“We also warn politicians on both sides of the gun debate about making broad assertions about Australia to justify policy arguments for the United States,” the Post concluded.

Anderson promises England fight to save test

Set an unlikely victory target of 382, the touring side slumped to 18 for three before limping to 52-3 at the close on day four of the final test.

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England, who have already won the series with an unbeatable 2-0 lead, must now bat out the final day on a wearing wicket if they are to prevent the hosts from ending their nine-test winless streak which stretches back to more than a year.

Only eight times in test history has a side been three down going into the final day and managed to save the test.

One of those occasions was in Cape Town in 2010 when England entered the fifth morning on 132 for three and memorably batted out the 90 overs to be nine down at the close.

Anderson, in as a nightwatchman, hung around for over an hour to play his part in saving that game.

“We’ve got positive players in our dressing room who know they can bat a whole day in a test match,” Anderson told reporters.

“The last time I played here (in South Africa) I think it was Graham Onions and Paul Collingwood that saw us through so there is always that hope if we can get a few people in.

“Losing three wickets is not ideal but we have been in this position before. It’s going to be really difficult but we will give it a go.

“Having won the series we don’t want to go out on a damp note. If Joe Root and James Taylor can continue their partnership then hopefully the ball will get a bit softer and the pitch should do a bit less.”

Anderson gave England the perfect start to day four when he bagged the wickets of Stephen Cook and AB de Villiers with arguably his best spell of the series, but the visitors could not sustain the pressure.

“This morning we thought we had a chance in the game if we got some early wickets, which we did, but we couldn’t quite capitalise on that and leave ourselves with 250 or 300 to chase down,” he added.

“I’ve felt like I bowled pretty well through the series and not got the wickets I would have liked. It’s been disappointing for me but it’s not like I feel as though I’ve bowled badly.”

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)