Archive for May, 2019

Kenyans dominate Chicago marathon

Kimetto won the men’s race after a gripping duel with compatriot Emmanuel Mutai while Jeptoo cruised to an easy victory to add the Chicago women’s crown to the Boston title she won this year.


Taking advantage of ideal conditions, Kimetto covered the 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards) in two hours three minutes 45 seconds to shatter the course record of 2.04:38 set last year by Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede.

Pushed by Mutai, Kimetto had been on world record pace over the closing kilometres but fell short of Wilson Kipsang’s mark of 2:03:23 set in Berlin this year.

Kimetto was followed across the line by Mutai, who also broke the course record, while Sammy Kitwara finished third as Kenyans dominated the race by sweeping the top four positions.

“I am happy because I set a course record,” said Kimetto during a brief television interview in the finish area. “The conditions were very good.”

Jeptoo, who also won the Boston marathon in 2006, showed her class by pulling away from the elite field and smiling and waving to the massive crowd as she completed the route through the Windy City neighbourhoods in a time of 2:19.57, the fastest by a woman this year.

Jemima Sumgong Jelegat came home a distant second 53 seconds behind the winner with Russia’s Maria Konovalova taking third to prevent another Kenyan podium sweep.

Jeptoo’s relaxed victory was in sharp contrast to the punishing battle she waged on the Chicago streets a year ago when she suffered a one-second loss to Atsede Baysa.

“I feel good, I’m happy,” said Jeptoo. “This year I trained very, very good because I was training with a new coach.

“I was not 100 percent thinking I am going to win but because of training I believe I ran good.”

Security was heavily increased for the race, which attracted 40,000 runners, after the Boston marathon bombings.

A uniformed police presence was noticeable along the entire route while bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the start and finish areas.

“After a major tragedy like Boston, you know that the next major event is going to be covered,” said 48-year-old spectator Jackie McGowan, who has been attending the race for 15 years.

Arthur Lockrem, 36, of DeLand, Florida, was at the race with two his sons, to support his wife who was running.

“I sat next to a Chicago police officer on the flight and she made me very comfortable about it,” Lockrem said.

Prior to Sunday’s race police had already warned they would step random searchers of spectators’ bags and any unattended bags would be checked and removed.

For the first time tickets were required to enter the finish area while access to the start was also restricted.

Although fans were enthusiastic, the Boston bombing was in the back of their minds. “I am staying away from the finish line,” said Josh Lamers, 25, who watched the race from the far north side of the course.

(Additional reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by John Mehaffey and Julian Linden)

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Aussie swim trio’s triple gold in Moscow

Australian swimming trio, Ashley Delaney, Robert Hurley and Kenneth To, each picked up a gold medal on the last night of competition at the FINA World Cup short-course meeting in Moscow.


Following their five-medal haul on the opening day, the short-course specialists took their total to 12 on Sunday night with seven more medals.

Dual world short course representative Hurley added another gold medal to his tally with a win over teammate Delaney in the 50m backstroke.

With Delaney quick off the wall, Hurley worked hard underwater to finish first in a time of 23.44. Delaney’s 23.81 was quick enough for silver ahead of Russian Anton Butymov in 23.91.

In the 200m backstroke, Delaney turned the tables to finish ahead of Hurley and pick up his first gold of the series.

Delaney stopped the clock at 1:54.21 with Hurley securing the silver in 1:54.92 and Nikita Ulyanov from Russia taking bronze in 1:55.98.

After taking two backstroke medals on the final night in Moscow, Hurley then won a silver medal in the 200m freestyle, hitting the wall in 1:44.33 to finish just behind Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski in 1:44.12. South African Myles Brown rounded out the top three in 1:44.46.

The 21-one-year-old To won the 100m breaststroke final, with less than half a second separating the top three.

To swam 58.42 ahead of Britain’s Michael Jamieson in 58.83 and Russian Viatcheslav Sinkevich in 58.89.

To then snuck in behind South Africa’s Olympic and world champion Chad Le Clos (1:53.04) to pick up silver in the men’s 200m individual medley with a time of 1:54.91.

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60 new species discovered in Suriname

A scientific expedition has discovered 60 new species, including frogs, snakes and fish, in the least accessible jungle region of southeastern Suriname, South America, Conservation International says.


A team of biologists from several countries explored remote areas of Suriname where there is no human presence and came across dozens of species native to that area which have never been catalogued before.

The expedition was undertaken during 2012 in the thinly-populated country north of Brazil and bounded by Guyana, French Guiana and the Atlantic Ocean. It included a team of 16 scientists participating in a Conservation International program.

The scientists’ work resulted in the discovery of 60 completely new species, including six types of frogs, one snake, 11 types of fish and a number of insects.

The discoveries were made in the upper basin of the Palumeu River where, for example, the team reported the existence of the “cocoa frog”, a chocolate-coloured arboreal species that is helped by the rounded shape of its fingers to position itself in the treetops.

Another of the more noteworthy finds of the expedition was that of a small Lilliputian beetle just 2.3 millimetres long. It is considered to be, probably, the second-smallest such insect in South America with antennae that allow it to sense smells from a great distance away.

Suriname contains 25 per cent of the world’s rainforests and 95 per cent of its territory is unspoiled jungle, Conservation International said.

The organisation has worked with Suriname’s government for more than 20 years to protect its most important asset: the rainforest with its astounding biodiversity.

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Socceroos sorry for 6-0 shamble: Bresciano

Socceroos stalwart Mark Bresciano has apologised to fans for his side’s woeful loss to France, while warning Guus Hiddink is not capable of turning back time.


Holger Osieck was this weekend sacked as Australia’s manager after he oversaw consecutive 6-0 losses, with Hiddink firming as the man Football Federation Australia is most likely to enlist ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Bresciano said there was a “cone of silence” in the Parc des Princes dressing room as Australia struggled to come to terms with their second shambolic loss in as many starts.

“On behalf of the team we’d like to apologise to our fans and the people in Australia,” the 33-year-old told Fox Sports on Sunday.

“This is not what football is all about … obviously it’s humiliating for us.

“There wasn’t much to say after the game … it’s probably something you want to forget about.

“But you can’t keep forgetting about it, (if you do) it’s going to keep occurring.”

Bresciano, who flourished in the national team under the reign of Hiddink in 2005-06, was forthright when asked if he’d like to see the Dutchman back in charge.

“Of course. I think a lot of people want to see Guus back,” he said.

But Bresciano asked fans to keep expectations in check instead of romancing about what might be possible under the man who helped guide Australia into the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“He did a great job with us in 2005 and 2006,” he said.

“But I can say that it’s not the same team. I think a lot of people have to realise that.

“We have to be realistic.

“We should stop comparing this (current Socceroos) team to the one we had in 2006.

“Because you can see the players involved in today’s national team aren’t playing at the same level as the boys in 2006.”

Bresciano urged his teammates to embrace the philosophies of Osieck’s long-term replacement, and make an on-field statement under caretaker Aurelio Vidmar in the upcoming friendly against Canada in London.

“We have to look forward,” Bresciano said of the Craven Cottage clash on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEDT).

“We got to try and push everything aside and take on the new path, and prepare ourselves for the game on Tuesday.”

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Comment: Innuendo becomes currency of news in Madeleine McCann case

By John Jewell, Cardiff University

When Madeleine McCann tragically disappeared whilst on holiday in Portugal in May 2007, it became the news story of the year.


The nature and scale of the reporting was unprecedented – as was the public interest in the story. Madeleine’s disappearance (and the speculation around the circumstances of it) meant the story occupied airtime and newsprint on a level not seen since the death of Princess Diana ten years before. The intensity and frequency of reporting and speculation was staggering.

By my count, the Daily Express and Sunday Express combined had “Maddie” as lead front page story with picture 23 times in September 2007. And, in fact, there was no day throughout that month when the front pages did not contain some sort of reference to Madeleine or her parents, Kate and Gerry.

Since 2007 the investigations into the disappearance have continued, as has the speculative reporting and high-profile international PR campaign run by the McCann family to keep Madeleine’s disappearance in the public eye. Now, with the BBC due to broadcast a reconstruction of events surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance on Crimewatch and the British police announcing they are to analyse mobile phone data from thousands of people who were around the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz at the time of the vanishing, there is renewed interest in the case.

This week has seen the Sunday Mirror publish an “exclusive” which revealed that Madeleine had been seen alive on a Mediterranean beach just a few weeks ago. Then, on October 9, the Daily Star, the Express and the Mirror all devoted their front pages to Kate McCann’s wish to appear in court to “confront” former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral.

He had written in his book that Madeleine had died in an ­accident which her parents covered up before hiding her body. Ahead of the Panorama programme, Sky News has reported a new picture of a possible suspect connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann which will be released by police.

What is troubling about these new reports – and this is true for the whole affair since 2007 – is that in the absence of fact, insinuation and innuendo becomes the currency of news. To this day, Madeleine’s disappearance is the only relevant fact of this terrible affair. What we have seen on television and in the press is a situation where innuendo and speculation are presented as fact on one day and as nonsense the next. The process is one of the peddling and recycling of the same stories. This week’s sighting of Madeleine is only the latest of countless since 2007, where she been reportedly recognised everywhere from Algeria to Arizona.

But why does the Madeleine McCann affair still command interest in a Britain where, according to recent research, a child goes missing every three minutes.

The decision taken by the McCann family to keep their daughter in the public eye is clearly significant. They have used a highly sophisticated PR campaign to make sure that Madeleine is not forgotten. They believe, we are told, that the world will forget she is missing if the story falls off the news agenda. To that end “Team McCann” as the operation has been dubbed, has ensured a constant flow of information is available to the media.

As soon as Madeleine disappeared, Gerry McCann started the website that has become Find Madeleine. Since then there has been the YouTube channel “Don’t you forget about me”. There have been books, television shows and documentaries, appearances at the Edinburgh television festival and the close relationship with PR man Clarence Mitchell, a former BBC journalist and director of Labour’s media monitoring unit.

We must also remember that people identify with this case because throughout history, missing children have represented the worst that can happen to adults. All parents can point to this case and shudder. It has become a sort of national collective worst experience scenario.

The press has encouraged, via comment threads, a form of participatory journalism where members of the public can respond to particular reports, often in severe ways. An article) written by Roy Greenslade in October 2007 expressing pity for the McCann’s in the media “spider’s web” was greeted below the line with comments such as this:

Why should anyone “pity” the McCanns. They have brought all this down on their own heads

We can ask ourselves whether our fascination with Madeleine is a product of celebrity culture, where we are routinely fixated with the fate of individuals we don’t know and never will. Is it a further example of the Diana syndrome where there is a mass transference of public empathy onto others, made all the more striking by our increasing alienation from each other in a physical sense?

Is our fascination an example of a kind of collective bias in favour of the middle classes? It is a fact that scores of children disappear every year yet not one has received a fraction of the attention given to Madeleine who comes from a family of wealthy, white, photogenic doctors.

The fact that the Madeleine mystery – and I use my words carefully – began abroad in less affluent, less prosperous Portugal may also be significant in why we’re so interested. This is because (in a sense) we as nation can absolve ourselves from responsibility. Despite evidence to the contrary in terms of crimes committed against children in Britain, we can tell ourselves that this is crime that happened because the family was abroad.

So in a sense we and the McCann family become one representing Britain against foreign incompetence and foreign dangers. There has been a none-too-subtle superiority complex in the way the British media has treated perceived Portuguese police inadequacies. Now that the British police are involved, we may feel, real progress is being made. On May 17, UK detectives reviewing the case said they had identified “a number of persons of interest”.


shabby treatment: Daily Express


All of this in no way excuses or indeed explains why the McCanns have been treated so shabbily by sections of the press. In 2008 they received £550,000 libel damages and front-page apologies from Express Newspapers over allegations they were responsible for Madeleine’s death. The Leveson report stated that Express appetite for news of Madeleine was “insatiable” with the search for the truth “the first principle to be sacrificed”. Kate McCann told the enquiry that when the News of the World published her diaries without permission she felt “mentally raped” and “violated”.

It will be interesting to see if, in this post-Leveson world, the attitude and behaviour of British press’ attitude is any different. The publicity generated by next week’s Crimewatch will be a test of that, if nothing else.

John Jewell does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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