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Study looks at sexy long-distance running

Male long-distance runners are not only fitter than most – they may also find it easier to attract women, researchers say.


People who are better at running half marathons are likely to have been exposed to high levels of the sex hormone testosterone before birth, researchers from the University of Cambridge have found.

This means they not only have better cardiovascular efficiency but also a strong sex drive and high sperm count – suggesting they have historically been chosen by women as more desirable mates.

Dr Danny Longman, from the university’s division of biological anthropology, said: “The observation that endurance running ability is connected to reproductive potential in men suggests that women in our hunter-gatherer past were able to observe running as a signal for a good breeding partner.”

Pre-birth exposure to testosterone has previously been found to give men an evolutionary advantage.

The latest research focussed on half marathon competitors and found the faster runners also tended to also have longer ring fingers – a signal of hormone exposure in the womb.

Researchers say the finding suggests females may have selected mates for athletic endurance.

This may be because ‘persistence hunting’ – exhausting prey by tirelessly tracking it – was a vital way to get food.

The team analysed 542 runners at the 2013 Robin Hood half marathon in Nottingham by photocopying hands and taking run times and other key details just after runners crossed the line.

They found that the 10 per cent of men with the most masculine finger ratios were, on average, 24 minutes and 33 seconds faster than the 10 per cent of men with the least masculine digits.

Dr Longman said that while training and muscle strength were more important than hormone exposure in running performance, the size of the study meant the findings were “conclusive” evidence of a predisposition.

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Tennis megaplex in central Florida to help sport and region grow

Scheduled to open in late 2016, the complex is intended to anchor an envisioned cluster of sports businesses in a fast-growing section of Orlando that is also seeking to position itself as a major medical hub.


The tennis facility will feature a mix of red and green clay courts, as well as hard courts and a show court to be used for collegiate tournaments. The complex also includes a lodge to house up to 32 youth players.

The U.S. Tennis Association is leasing 63 acres for $1 per year in Lake Nona, a community developed by Tavistock Group, a Bahamas-based private-equity firm, which recruited the tennis organisation to relocate from White Plains, New York.

Tavistock aims to build a sports-oriented mega-complex modelled after the adjacent 650-acre health sciences cluster that it began developing in 2005.

Adding the tennis complex is “not a game changer but it should serve as a catalyst” for regional growth, said Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo Economics Group, who is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Lake Nona Medical City was launched around a new medical school at the University of Central Florida and has grown to include a half-dozen medical research and treatment facilities.

The development has been a significant driver of urban growth in Orlando, long known for its theme parks. A new commuter rail line launched last year in the region, now also home to a major league soccer franchise.

The non-profit U.S. Tennis Association, with 715,000 members, owns the U.S. Open, one of the sport’s leading international tournaments.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Mohammad Zargham)

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Dugan versatility could work for NSW

Josh Dugan’s versatility could emerge as a trump card for NSW in this year’s State of Origin series following a a series of injuries which have hit at the Blues’ outside backs.


Dugan successfully transferred from centre to fullback in the Blues’ drought-breaking series win last year.

He was keen to stay in the frontline for St George Illawarra in 2015, but was moved back to fullback by coach Paul McGregor.

The 24-year-old has been a key figure in the Dragons’ three successive victories to kick-start their premiership campaign and remains well and truly in NSW coach Laurie Daley’s plans ahead of Origin I in Sydney on May 27.

Daley said Dugan is in line to replace Jarryd Hayne in the Blues No.1 jersey as they chase back-to-back series wins for the first time since 2005.

He’s not the only contender for that role however, with Manly’s Brett Stewart and Penrith’s Matt Moylan also catching Daley’s eye this year.

The hamstring injury to Brett Morris has put a dent in Daley’s plans with the Canterbury fullback sure to have been one of the first picked on the right wing.

Parramatta’s versatile back Will Hopoate, who scored a try on debut from the wing in 2011, looms as a possible replacement.

But this is where Dugan’s versatility comes in.

In the event of injury or poor form, he could cover for Josh Morris and Michael Jennings in the centres, play at fullback or even on the wing, even alternating during games.

“I have always loved playing fullback,” Dugan said.

“I was excited about playing in the centres because I felt I could improve there a lot more.

“But fullback is my position and I will keep centre for the back pocket too.

“I guess it goes to show I have a bit of versatility and I can play a few positions

“It definitely doesn’t hurt it is just another feather in the cap.”

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Coutinho goal sends Liverpool into FA Cup semi-final

Brendan Rodgers’s side, who came into the game after back-to-back Premier League defeats that all but ended their hopes of a top-four finish, will face Aston Villa in a Wembley semi-final.


They came out on top at Ewood Park having dominated possession but struggled to break down the hosts who got men behind the ball and restricted Liverpool to very few sights of goal.

The breakthrough came in the 70th minute when Coutinho exchanged passes with Jordan Henderson from a corner, drove into the box and drilled the ball low into the bottom corner.

“From start to finish, I thought we were brilliant tonight,” Liverpool’s captain on the night Jordan Henderson told BT Sport.

“Now we have a tough game against Villa at Wembley, but it gives the club a good lift.”

The victory kept seven-times Cup winners Liverpool on course to win Rodgers’s first trophy for the club after a disappointing league campaign that has left them out of the Champions League qualification places.

Rodgers had said winning the FA Cup would represent progress for his side despite failing to make any impact in the league after last season’s second-place finish.

It was far from a convincing performance from Liverpool, however, who looked like the confidence had been knocked out of them by consecutive losses to Manchester United and Arsenal.

With the bone-hard and bobbly playing surface making possession difficult, Liverpool, who lost defender Mamadou Sakho to injury early on, spent the first half probing at a pedestrian pace with little success.

Blackburn were rolling their sleeves up and keeping numbers in defence, the tried and tested formula for lower league teams hoping to cause a cup upset.

Liverpool had little more than glimpses of goal in the first half, with Coutinho prodding an effort that was saved by Simon Eastwood and Daniel Sturridge trying his luck with a speculative effort that drifted a fraction too high.

The hosts had two efforts saved by Simon Mignolet at the start of the second half, with the Liverpool keeper tipping Tom Cairney’s 25-metre effort over the bar and palming Ben Marshall’s firm header on to the post.

Liverpool maintained their stranglehold of the ball, however, and Coutinho’s moment of class proved the difference.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond)

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Boston bomber Tsarnaev found guilty, may face death penalty

Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted of all 30 counts against him, with 17 of the charges carrying the death penalty.


The same U.S. District Court jury will now decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison without possibility of parole.

Tsarnaev silently looked down, occasionally fidgeting, as the lengthy verdict was read. The courtroom was packed with survivors of the attack, the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest fatality, and law enforcement officials, including former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

Jurors spent just over 11 hours evaluating Tsarnaev’s guilt in two days of deliberations, following 16 days of testimony.

The amount of time spent in the jury room suggests the jurors were thorough in considering the charges, said David Weinstein, an attorney in private practice who in prior jobs as a state and local prosecutor brought death-penalty cases.

“If this was a fait accompli, they would have been out in the amount of time it takes to shuffle through 30 pieces of paper,” Weinstein said. “Sentencing deliberations are likely to take longer.”

Defense lawyers began the trial by admitting that Tsarnaev carried out the April 15, 2013, bombing but said he did so at the bidding of his older brother Tamerlan, 26, who died following a gunfight with police in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Prosecutors laid out evidence that the defendant, an ethnic Chechen who immigrated from Russia a decade before the attack, had read and listened to jihadist materials, and wrote a note in the boat where he was found hiding suggesting the bombing was an act of retribution for U.S. military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries.

The blasts killed restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, and Richard. Tsarnaev also was found guilty of the fatal shooting of Massachusetts of Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 26.

Federal prosecutors detailed jihadi writings, including a copy of al Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine with an article on bomb-making found on of Tsarnaev’s computers, describing that as evidence that he was an extremist who wanted to “punish America.”

Dark memories for Boston

The trial, which began in early March after a two-month jury selection process, dredged up some of worst memories in living memory in Boston. The twin pressure-cooker bombs ripped through the crowd of spectators at the race’s finish line, setting off a mad rush to save the hundreds of people wounded, many of whom lost legs.

Three days later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released images of the Tsarnaev brothers, saying they were the suspected bombers and seeking information on their identities. That set the stage for 24 hours of chaos as the duo fatally shot Collier in an unsuccessful attempt to steal his gun and went on to carjack a Chinese entrepreneur before police found them in the suburb of Watertown.

The pair fought a desperate gunfight with police, throwing a smaller pressure-cooker bomb similar to the ones they used at the race, as well as smaller pipe bombs. When Tamerlan Tsarnaev ran out of bullets in the rusty Ruger handgun his brother had borrowed from a drug-dealing friend, he charged Watertown police officers who were trying to wrestle him to the ground. Dzhokhar then hopped into the carjacked Mercedes SUV and sped toward the group, running over his brother and dragging him.

The city’s mayor, Marty Walsh, said he was glad to see the trial moving toward a conclusion.

“I am thankful that this phase of the trial has come to an end and am hopeful for a swift sentencing process,” Walsh said. “I hope today’s verdict provides a small amount of closure for the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events.”

(Additional reporting by Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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NRL beef up security to stop crowd drama

The NSW Police and the NRL have moved to beef up ANZ Stadium security for Sunday’s round six clash between Canterbury and St George Illawarra following the Good Friday crowd dramas.


Head of football Todd Greenberg insists the NRL and police are closing in on those who showered match officials with bottles after the Bulldogs’ controversial loss to South Sydney.

Authorities continue to sift through video footage of the ugly post-match scenes with unruly fans facing a life ban from venues.

But security has been strengthened ahead of the Dragons v Bulldogs match to prevent a repeat of crowd trouble.

“We have spoken to both clubs and the stadium and people can be very comfortable in the fact they can go to that game and they can enjoy themselves,” Greenberg said.

“There will be an additional overlay of resources there to ensure that game is run smoothly.

“In simple terms it is an overlay of staff so it will be an additional overlay of NSW police.”

Greenberg said it would be at least another week before those who threw bottles would be identified and subsequently punished.

“There were some discussions yesterday, between the authorities, police, the stadium, the club and the NRL I understand they will be sifting through more vision, both broadcast and CCTV,” he said.

“We are very helpful of first of all identifying the culprits who threw bottles, and then after that imposing sanctions to those people or utilising the rules and putting bans in place.

“Clearly when we find those people who did the wrong thing we will come down hard on them.

“We haven’t identified anyone as yet, we are working hard to do that

“As you can imagine there is a crowd of 40,000 and we are trying to hand pick individuals. It is not a simple exercise so it it may take some time.”

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Finance News Update, what you need to know


The Australian dollar is slightly higher after the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s May meeting gave no clarity on the timing of an interest rate rise.


At 0630 AEST on Thursday, the local unit was trading at 76.86 US cents, up from 76.77 cents on Wednesday.

And the Australian share market looks set to open flat after Wall Street rose as the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting show a split on the timing of a US interest rate rise.

At 0645 AEST on Thursday, the June share price index futures contract was up five points at 5,964.


WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve policymakers were split at their last meeting on when to raise ultra-low interest rates, with liftoff ranging from June to 2016, minutes to the meeting show.

WASHINGTON – International banks have slowed cross-border lending since the financial crisis, but their local affiliates are filling the gap in a positive sign for greater financial stability, the IMF says.

LONDON – Interest rates are expected to be left on hold when Bank of England officials announce their last policy decision before the May 7 General Election.

LONDON – Energy titan Royal Dutch Shell has announced a mega-takeover of British rival BG Group worth STG47 billion ($A91 billion), consolidating their positions in a sector battered by sliding oil prices.

NEW YORK – Generic drug giant Mylan has offered to acquire healthcare supplier Perrigo for $US28.9 billion ($A37.9 billion) in the latest proposed mega-merger in the pharmaceutical sector.

PARIS – The French government is increasing its holding in carmaker Renault to gain a blocking minority stake and ensure that measures designed to reward long-term investors come into force.

BRUSSELS – The EU has put more than 30 Iranian shipping companies and a top bank back on its nuclear sanctions list after a European court had earlier struck them off, citing insufficient evidence.

WASHINGTON – AT&T will pay a $US25 million ($A33 million) fine for “lax security” at overseas call centres where employees stole personal data for mobile phone traffickers, US regulators say.

BRASLIA – Prices in Brazil spurted 1.32 per cent in March, the biggest monthly jump in 12 years, lifting inflation in Latin America’s largest economy to 8.13 per cent on an annualised basis.

BERLIN – German officials have ordered Google to limit the collection of personal data, in the US internet giant’s latest run-in with authorities in the European Union.

MONTREAL – Armed robbers have made off with nearly 200kg of gold worth $US8.5 million ($A11.1 million) at current prices from Canadian firm McEwen Mining’s mine in Sinaloa, Mexico, the company says.

HONG KONG – German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW has recalled almost 80,000 of its vehicles in China due to flaws in their engines, China’s quality regulator says.

NEW YORK – Insurance giant American International Group says it has won US government approval to use drones to survey disaster areas, including territory that may be otherwise inaccessible.

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Injury-hit Bayern need penalties to edge past Leverkusen

Spaniard Thiago Alcantara, only back this month from a one-year injury absence, scored the decisive spot-kick for the Bavarians, runaway leaders in the Bundesliga and through to the Champions League last eight.


Without injured wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben along with Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Alaba, Pep Guardiola’s team were at times on the backfoot and an aggressive Leverkusen threatened them repeatedly.

Bayern were also lucky not to have Thiago sent off in second half stoppage-time after his flying studs-up challenge on Stefan Kiessling who had to be taken off.

Mario Goetze missed Bayern’s best chance when he was left unmarked at the far post but could not score from three metres out.

They stayed calm and converted every penalty with Josip Drmic having his spot-kick saved by Manuel Neuer before Thiago scored.

Earlier, third division Arminia Bielefeld stunned in-form Borussia Moenchengladbach, also on penalties, after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time.

Bielefeld, who claimed their third Bundesliga scalp, matched Gladbach, third in the Bundesliga, throughout and had a chance to snatch victory late in extra time as they showed no sign of fading against their more illustrious rivals.

Gladbach’s Ibrahima Traore missed the decisive penalty as Bielefeld beat another Bundesliga club after eliminating Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen earlier in this competition.

Borussia Dortmund, last season’s finalists, booked their spot with a 3-2 extra-time victory over Hoffenheim on Tuesday and VfL Wolfsburg edged past Freiburg 1-0.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Leishman out of Masters to be with wife

Australian golfer Marc Leishman has withdrawn from the Masters to be with his family as wife Audrey continues to recover from a life-threatening illness.


Audrey Leishman has been battling pneumonia and multiple infections, at one stage placed in an induced coma to help the fight.

While her condition has improved significantly, the Victorian has put family first to be with his two young sons in the difficult time.

“It is with both deep regret and incredible relief I am withdrawing from the Masters tournament this week,” Leishman said.

“My wife Audrey has survived a life-threatening medical emergency and I have decided to remain by her side with our children during this difficult time.

“Thanks to an incredible team of doctors and nurses Audrey appears to be on the road to a full recovery and our two young children remain blessed to have the worlds best mum in their lives.

“I want to pass along our thanks to all who supported us through this difficult period.

“We ask that you keep Audrey in your thoughts and prayers and I wish my best to all of the competitors for a great 2015 Masters.”

In a great sign the mother of two took to her social media pages on Wednesday morning with a smiling selfie and the hashtag #thumbsupforbeingalive.

“This is not the highlight reel and I hope to God I never look like this again but I think we sometimes get caught up in the beauty of our own worlds that we forget parents are taken away from their babies everyday,” she posted.

“So if you haven’t, cuddle your families, your babies, those cute furry ones, and your friends. #thumbsupforbeingalive.”

Leishman was shaping up to play in his fourth Masters.

He missed the cut on debut in 2010 but was tied fourth in 2013 after leading following the opening round. He played with champion Adam Scott on Sunday and had his own chances to win Australia’s first green jacket.

He once again found himself in the mix in 2014, surging to the lead early in the second round only to drop a humbling 10 shots in 12 holes to miss the cut.

Adam Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden and amateur Antonio Murdaca will now carry Australian hopes into the 79th Masters.

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Suicide still the biggest killer of younger Australians

Suicide is still the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age, with 85,032 potential years of life lost in 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says.


Yesterday’s release of cause-of-death data from the ABS shows the number of younger Australians taking their own lives is still proportionally high.

In 2013 there were 2,520 suicide deaths nationwide, down slightly from the previous year, the ABS data shows.

The ABS warned that number would likely grow as more deaths by suicide for 2013 were confirmed by looking at coroners reports, an ABS spokesperson said.

The rates among Indigenous Australians are worse than non-Indigenous Australians, and the reasons for this still need more research, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group Co-chair Tom Calma said.

“We’re mapping all the suicides that have taken place in the past 10 years,” Dr Calma said.

It is hoped that study, due to be published in August, will reveal the reason why Indigenous Australians are committing suicide at higher rates, Dr Calma said.

Intentional self harm, defined as a category of suicide when lethal, ranked as the 14th largest contributor to deaths in 2013 across all age groups.

Beyond Blue Chief Executive Officer Georgie Harman said for friends and loved ones, stopping someone ending their own life can start with asking a hard question.

“Are you thinking about killing yourself,” was a hard, but effective question, Ms Harman said.

“We know from research that… that’s exactly what men in particular want people to ask them.”

If there was an immediate danger of harm, people should call emergency services (000), Ms Harman said.

When suicide was not compared to other causes of death, the suicide rate was highest in the 85 or older age group.

However, young Australians were more likely to have ended their own lives (compared to all deaths) than Australians in older age groups.

Intentional self-harm was the biggest contributor to years of potential life lost (including all deaths under the age of 78) compared to other leading causes of death in 2013.

“A total of 85,032 years of potential life lost was due to this cause, even though it was the 14th leading cause of all deaths in 2013,” the ABS said.

The number of suicides has increased, but so has Australia’s population, and the rate of suicides for all Australians grew from 1.6 in 2003 per cent to 1.7 in 2013.

Help is available

Chief executive for the 24/7 phone support service Lifeline, Jane Hayden, said the service would answer 820,000 calls this financial year.

“It’s important to remember that behind each suicide statistic are real people facing loss and distress,” Ms Hayden said.

Some calls came from concerned loved ones, not from people considering ending their lives.

In 2014, Lifeline received its highest amount of calls – 930,000 – since the charity was established in 1963.

However, their team could only answer 795,000 of those calls, Ms Hayden said.

Lifeline encourages people to talk about suicide, learn about suicide prevention and connect with each other to save lives.

Need to talk?

In an emergency, with a risk of harm to yourself or others, call emergency services by dialing 000.

The support hotlines below can assist at all hours, every day, for people considering ending their lives or for people who are worried about people they know.

Lifeline – 13 11 14 – 苏州皮肤管理中心.lifeline深圳上门按摩,苏州皮肤管理中心,/gethelp Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 –  苏州皮肤管理中心.suicidecallbackservice深圳上门按摩,苏州皮肤管理中心,