Germany, Czechs into Fed Cup final

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿网

Australia have not only provided Germany with a passage to their first Fed Cup final since 1992, they’ve also provided their opponents with some comfortable sleepwear.

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Germany completed a 3-1 victory over Australia in Brisbane on Sunday, and revealed they’d made a pact.

“We’ll be flying home in pyjamas, that was the deal,” team member Andrea Petkovic said.

The team had previously said they would don nightwear, which were gifts from the Australian team, for the 24-hour flight home via Dubai if they won.

Angelique Kerber put Germany into the final in 22 years – where they will meet the Czech Republic in November – with a fighting victory over Samantha Stosur.

World number seven Kerber fought back from dropping the opening set to beat former US Open champion Stosur 4-6 6-0 6-4 in two hours 14 minutes to give Germany an unassailable 3-0 lead.

The Australian pair of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty prevented a wipe-out when they claimed the “dead” doubles rubber 6-2 6-7 10-2 over Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

“It’s a very special moment for me and the whole team,” Kerber said.

“It feels great. I played a good match but it was a tough one because Sam was playing also very tough and I have never beaten her before.”

Stosur was disappointed with the result, though not the effort.

“It was overall reasonably disappointing, especially when you don’t get through,” Stosur said.

“I don’t know if I can fight any harder than I did in that match.”

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic defeated defending champions Italy in the other semi-final.

Petra Kvitova, the world number six and a former Wimbledon champion, saw off 20th-ranked Roberta Vinci 6-3 7-5 in an hour-and-a-half to hand the Czechs an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Klara Koukalova and Andrea Hlavackova then earned the fourth point for the hosts after beating Camila Giorgi and Karin Knapp 6-2 5-7 11-9 in the dead doubles rubber.

“I’m happy we’ve made it and it will be a pleasure for the whole country to host the final again,” said Kvitova, praising her fellow players as “a superb team”.

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Tube rafting in NZ’s Waitomo Caves

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When, in the darkness, the first lights suddenly appear, tiny and countless, like stars up in the night heavens, then all is forgotten – the strain, the excitement, the fear.

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Even the darkness, which for the past two hours had covered the group deep down in Ruakuri Cave, is forgotten.

The cave belongs to the Waitomo Caves, a labyrinth of caverns, sinkholes and rivers criss-crossing beneath the green hills of New Zealand, about 200 kilometres south of Auckland.

For thousands of years the subterranean waterways have been carving out tunnels and caverns in the soft limestone. Each year, up to 450,000 visitors are drawn to Waitomo to see for themselves the fascinating underground world of countless stalagmites and stalactites.

Most people explore the caves by foot or in boats.

But on a recent day, nine visitors led by Matthew Atkins were out searching for adventure in a place called the Black Labyrinth. It’s an underground tube-rafting tour led by the 27-year-old cave guide, lasting more than three hours and at places going as deep as 65 metres below ground.

The path getting there is slippery. The group makes its way step by step over wet boulders into the cave that, from a distance, looks like a dark eye staring out of the landscape.

The large inner tubes that the people are carrying make it all the more difficult to keep their balance. Helmets protect their heads in any collisions with the cave walls, and diving suits protect them from the river’s icy cold waters.

One after the other, the trekkers wade into the water, the tubes around their bottoms, and off they go, paddling with hands and feet to try to avoid striking the stony obstacles jutting up out of the stream.

The headlamps on their helmets shoot out beams of light against the moist walls. Slowly, the group floats along past towering stone formations.

But suddenly things speed up. A slight current catches the inner tubes and drags them ever deeper inside the cave. The passageways become narrower and the ceiling ever lower.

“Now let’s practice the limbo dance,” Atkins calls out to the group, as he bends his torso backward, flat atop the tube as he manoeuvres his way through a narrow shaft.

At the end of the tunnel the space broadens out again and the group breaths a sigh of relief. Now they proceed on foot a few steps across a dry elevation. And then they hear it: a waterfall plunging 3 metres down into the darkness.

“Now backwards on my command!” Atkins calls out, referring to a routine the group had practiced earlier in the daylight. What he is demanding is that they drop from a ledge into the ice-cold lake.

“Don’t think. Just jump,” he commands.

Floating along, the group enters a cave that is as large as a cathedral above their heads. “Turn off the lamps,” Atkins calls out.

And then the magic. Above the trekkers’ heads, the glittering lights of thousands upon thousands of glow-worms convert the cave ceiling into a mass of sparkling galaxies.

The group floats along in this awe-inspiring world of countless tiny lights up above, wishing it will never end.

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Czechs beat Italy to reach Fed Cup final

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Petra Kvitova has sent the Czech Republic to their third Fed Cup finals in four years by beating Italy’s Roberta Vinci for an unassailable 3-0 lead over the defending champions.

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Kvitova, the world number six and a former Wimbledon champion, saw off 20th-ranked Vinci 6-3, 7-5 in an hour-and-a-half on the hardcourt of the CEZ Arena in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava on Sunday.

The Czechs, who lifted the trophy in 2011 and 2012, will host Germany in the Fed Cup final on November 8-9.

“I’m happy we’ve made it and it will be a pleasure for the whole country to host the finals again,” said Kvitova, praising her fellow players on “a superb team”.

In the first set on Sunday, she took advantage of Vinci’s two straight double faults to take a 5-3 lead before winning 6-3.

In the second set, the fast-serving Czech broke Vinci’s serve to take a 4-3 lead but failed to confirm the break in the next game.

But Kvitova did the same thing for a 6-5 lead and converted her second match point to take the set 7-5.

“The tactic was quite difficult, her chops are quite unpleasant on the hardcourt so I had to move my feet fast and play returns to her forehand side,” Kvitova said.

“I have recently improved my movement so now it’s more pleasant to play longer exchanges.

“And I have also improved my serve, which is a mental advantage,” Kvitova said.

On Saturday, Lucie Safarova first beat Italy’s number-one player Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1 and Kvitova then breezed past Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2.

The Czech Republic and Italy have been taking turns as Fed Cup champions for the last five years, with Italy lifting the trophy in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

In the other semi-final in Brisbane, Germany – who last won the trophy in 1992 – beat Australia 3-1.

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Kuwait shuts papers for breaking blackout

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A Kuwaiti judge has ordered two newspapers to close for two weeks for breaking a news blackout on a videotape allegedly showing former senior officials plotting a coup, a legal source says.

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The order against the independent Al-Watan and Alam Al-Youm newspapers was issued after the information ministry filed a complaint, the source said.

The videotape has shaken the Gulf state, prompting an investigation and parliament to hold a secret debate on the issue.

Kuwait’s attorney-general ordered a blackout on news relating to the tape, while the royal court has called for calm.

Following parliament’s debate, parliamentary speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem on Tuesday said the prime minister had told MPs that the videotape had been “tampered with” and not reliable.

Local media have said the former officials in the videotape include a senior member of the ruling family, without elaborating.

The government informed parliament it will hand over all the tapes and related documents to the public prosecution, which is currently conducting an investigation.

The Al-Sabah ruling family has been in power in Kuwait for more than 250 years.

But since 2006, Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political disputes between the Sabah-controlled government and MPs, and occasionally between members of the ruling family.

About a dozen governments have been formed and parliament has been dissolved on six occasions.

Since parliamentary elections last July, when pro-government candidates won a majority after an opposition boycott, Kuwait’s political scene has been relatively calm.

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Labor loses ‘giant’ in Neville Wran

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Australian Labor has lost a “giant” with the death of Neville Wran, who led NSW as premier for a decade.

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Mr Wran, 87, died with his family by his bedside just before 6pm on Sunday at the Lulworth House nursing home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, where he had been in care for the past two years.

He suffered from dementia.

“This is of course a very sad time for us all, but in fact a blessed release for Neville,” his wife, Jill Hickson, said in a statement to AAP.

“Dementia is a cruel fate and I have been grieving the loss that comes with it for some years.

“But I hope now, especially in this political climate, people will join me in celebrating the life of a great man, a true political hero.”

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Australian Labor Party had lost a giant.

“Few are made as tough, as smart and as honourable as Neville Wran,” he said.

“After 1975, the Wranslides helped rebuild Labor in New South Wales and nationally. It was Neville who kept the light on the hill burning bright.”

Mr Wran was a decent man of the utmost integrity, he said.

Liberal Mike Baird, who became NSW Premier last week, said he was deeply saddened and described Mr Wran as a towering figure in the NSW Labor Party and in the state during the 1970s and `80s.

Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Mr Wran was a dear friend, great business partner and mentor.

“We send our love and condolences to his family especially Jill, his wife, and his children Kim, Glenn, Harriet and Hugo,” he said.

“He was a true believer, a doer, a reformer and a builder.

“There was nobody better to have on your side in a crisis than Neville – a remarkable combination of sagacity and solidarity.”

Bob Carr, who surpassed Mr Wran’s record for the longest continuous service as NSW premier, said Mr Wran set a template for successful Labor leaders, including prime ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

“He was a master politician,” Mr Carr told Sky News.

“He presented a model of stable state government that had a big impact on future Labor governments that followed his.”

Barry O’Farrell, who last week stood down as NSW premier, tweeted: “Sad news. Neville Wran helped build NSW including initiating our sister-state relationship with China’s Guangdong province in 1979.”

Mr Wran led the Labor government in NSW from May 1976 to July 1986, before dramatically announcing his resignation to a shocked Labor conference.

He was a successful lawyer before entering parliament in the Legislative Council in 1970. He moved to the lower house in 1973 before becoming Labor leader.

In 1976, he led Labor to government in a tight election, forming government after a 10-day wait, with the support of an independent.

Mr Wran and his government were involved in damaging scandals.

In 1983, he stepped aside while a royal commission examined allegations he’d tried to influence a magistrate over a misappropriation hearing against rugby league boss Kevin Humphreys. He was cleared.

Prisons minister Rex Jackson was jailed for selling early releases and chief magistrate Murray Farquhar was jailed for perverting the course of justice. Senior police were caught up in corruption scandals.

Mr Wran was fined $25,000 for contempt of court after declaring his belief in the innocence of his old friend Lionel Murphy, the High Court judge facing a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

After politics, Mr Wran had success in the business world, including running a merchant bank with Mr Turnbull.

Mr Wran was married twice, first to Marcia Oliver, whose son he adopted before they had two more children, and then to Ms Hickson, with whom he had two children.

He was put into care as dementia took hold two years ago.

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Ramsey return boosts Arsenal’s top-four bid

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Ramsey, who scored the first and was instrumental in Lukas Podolski’s two goals as Arsenal ran out easy winners against Hull, made his return from injury two weeks ago having missed three months with a thigh injury.

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His absence coincided with Arsenal’s slump in form as they fell from being title contenders into a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

His return, however, has revitalised their efforts to hold off Everton in the race for a top-four finish.

Victory at Hull kept Arsenal fourth with 70 points from 35 games, a point ahead of Everton after their 2-0 win against Manchester United.

“Obviously it was a very difficult time for me to be on the sidelines for three months watching on especially after what went on at the start of the season,” Ramsey told Sky Sports.

“It was a frustrating time but I’m just delighted to be back now… Hopefully, I can put in some good performances before the end of the season.”

Before his injury Ramsey had been playing the best football of his career, scoring 13 goals in 27 games in all competitions.

“Aaron Ramsey is getting back to full fitness and sharpness, but everyone played well today,” manager Arsene Wenger said.

“It was a good team performance as it will be when you win 3-0 away from home in a game you have to win.

“We have had to cope with five to six players all out at the same time and we have done as well as we can. You live in the real world.”

Podolski scored twice for the second consecutive game and his exploits in front of goal have prompted questions about whether he is best suited as a central striker or on the left side where he has frequently been used.

The 28-year-old, however, said his focus was on winning games rather than his own role.

“When you score goals nobody speaks about where you play,” he said.

“I feel well on the left side and the coach makes the decision about who plays on the left and who plays striker.

“In the end it is just important we play well and have the three points.”

Arsenal face Hull again in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 17 as they try to secure their first trophy since winning the same competition in 2005.

(Reporting By Tom Hayward, editing by Ed Osmond)

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From lab to kitchen, ‘wonder’ nanomaterial

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Graphene has been touted as a wonder material – the world’s thinnest substance, but super-strong.

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Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Thus far, graphene has proven elusively hard to manufacture on an industrial scale.

Methods have required a choice between high quality graphene in small quantities, or large batches with defects.

A team from England and Ireland, however, reported on Sunday they had used a blender to make microscopic sheets of graphene.

They placed powdered graphite, the stuff from which pencil lead is made, into a container with an “exfoliating liquid”, and then mixed at high speed.

The result is minuscule sheets of graphene, each about a nanometre (a billionth of a metre) thick and 100 nanometres long, suspended in a liquid.

The force generated by the rotating blades separated the graphite into graphene layers without damaging their two-dimensional structure.

“We developed a new way of making graphene sheets,” Trinity College Dublin chemical physics professor Jonathan Coleman, who co-authored the study in the journal Nature Materials, told AFP.

“This method gives lots of graphene with no defects.”

The team used industrial equipment called shear mixers, but successfully repeated the experiment with a kitchen blender.

The liquid so produced can be spread onto surfaces as films of graphene sheets, like paint, or mixed with plastics to produce reinforced, composite materials.

“In the lab, we produced grams. However, when scaled up, tonnes will be produced,” said Coleman.

Graphene is the world’s thinnest substance, transparent but stronger than steel – a conductive super-material made of carbon just one atom thick.

There is a surge of interest in it to replace semiconductors in next-generation computers, touch screens, batteries and solar cells.

Graphene was aired as a theoretical substance in 1947. But for decades, physicists thought it would be impossible to isolate, as such thin crystalline sheets were bound to be unstable.

The problem was resolved in 2004 by a pair of scientists who used ordinary sticky tape to lift a layer from a piece of graphite.

That layer was itself pulled apart using more tape, and the process repeated until just the thinnest of layers remained – a graphene sheet.

Coleman said a company that sponsored the study has applied for a patent on the new method.

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Website turns homes into take-away outlets

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, when and for what price.

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“Sometimes I only put one serving up for sale, sometimes up to 20. It depends on what I’m making and how much time I have,” said Ana Teresa Salas, a 32-year-old consultant from Copenhagen.

The website, Dinnersurfer.dk, is sometimes described as a restaurant version of the popular lodging site Airbnb, on which homeowners make their spare rooms or unoccupied dwellings available to paying lodgers for a fee.

And just like on Airbnb, the cost to consumers is often considerably less than if they had used a professional service – with the added benefit that many of the homemade dishes may be healthier than the greasy fare typically available at take-out counters.

“It sounded exciting. I make food for my family every day anyway, and I always make too much,” said Salas, who sells her food on the website two to three times a week.

“On weekdays I try to make food that’s healthy, without too much starch and fat.”

On most days she makes food inspired by her father’s Argentinian background, which she sells for 35 kroner ($A6.96) per serving to her customers, most of whom are young and single.

“When I make healthy dishes it’s mostly women, and when it’s pasta and so on it’s mostly men,” she said.

Since being launched in February, the website has attracted 2900 members, of whom 460 are registered as cooks, meaning they sell food.

Nearly all of them live in Denmark, where the website is especially popular in the trendy Copenhagen neighbourhoods of Noerrebro and Vesterbro, but the site’s founders are hoping it will go global after recently launching an English-language version.

Earlier this month, another Danish take-away website, Just-eat广西桑拿,, which allows users to order food from 36,000 restaurants in 13 countries, was valued at 1.47 billion kroner when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange 13 years after being founded.

However, feeling peckish one night, the team behind Dinnersurfer – made up of two business students and a computer programmer – felt regular take-away wasn’t what they were looking for.

“We were working quite late on another project and we were eating a lot of fast food, which we were getting really tired of,” said co-founder Kasper Kraegpoeth.

“Where we were working, we could see a lot of other people cooking their own food and we thought: ‘Why can’t we just buy some of their food?’

“We thought it could be a fun idea if there could be a service that allowed people who want to sell food to find people who want to buy food. That’s how we came up with Dinnersurfer.”

Kraegpoeth’s last order was a chicken tikka masala for 30 kroner. “And that was with rice and naan bread,” he noted.

The site recently added a function that allows cooks to register a signature dish which they are good at making, and the possibility for members to register their interest so that they know when it will be available.

Otherwise, the only way of knowing what is on the menu is to check the website in real-time. A mobile app is currently being developed to facilitate ordering on the go.

But not everyone is convinced that ordering food from strangers online is a good idea.

While the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries regularly publishes inspection reports from the country’s restaurants, Dinnersurfer’s cooks operate without any supervision.

On one Danish internet forum, users questioned how buyers could know whether hygiene standards were being upheld and how the origin of the food could be verified.

“We don’t supervise the cooks, but through our ratings system you can see if they have received good or bad reviews,” Kraegpoeth said.

“So far we haven’t heard of anyone getting sick.”

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Paul McCartney wows Uruguayans

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Ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has wowed fans at an Uruguay concert, performing classics from his long career and dazzling the crowd with his rendition of Let It Be.

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McCartney opened the Montevideo show – part of the “Out There” world tour – late on Saturday with Eight Days a Week, a 1964 Beatle hit released long before many of the audience members were born.

But age was not a factor as “Macca”, now 71, belted out decades-old hits like in the good old days with George, John and Ringo.

Sir Paul also played post-Beatle songs from the 1970s when he was with the band Wings, hits from the solo period that followed, and tunes from his latest album, New (2013).

But it was the Beatle songs from the 1960s such as Blackbird, Yesterday and Helter Skelter that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The stadium lit up with flashes from cell phones and personal cameras when McCartney sang the 1970 Beatle classic Let It Be. The legendary band broke up in that year.

Two determined female fans managed to get onstage for a signature from the rock great. McCartney also honoured the request of a loud front-row fan by playing One After 909, a lesser-known song from the Let it Be album.

More than 45,000 people crammed into the Centenario football stadium – built to host the 1930 World Cup, which Uruguay won – for the concert.

Just before the concert, a video was released featuring Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan football star and Liverpool player, interviewing McCartney.

Sir John was diplomatic about choosing his favourite player (“Me!” he said), and predicted an England World Cup victory.

Macca next performs in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica before heading to Japan and South Korea in May. The tour then heads to the United States, McCartney’s website says.

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Dutch student sells his data for $517

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By Anya Skatova, University of Nottingham

A dutch student has taken the bold decision to sell all his data at auction.

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It’s a decision that should make us think about the future of our own information.

In an auction on 12 April, Shawn Buckles sold his complete “data soul” – his location records, his medical records, his personal calendar, the content of his emails and all the information from his social media communications. He sold his online conversations, his consumer preferences and his internet browsing history. The lot. And for his soul he received €350.

Like Buckles, we all generate vast amounts of data on a daily basis and it is used by various companies for various purposes, such as to tailor online advertising. People don’t generally understand the value of their data, which is partly what Buckles was commenting on when he sold his.

It might seem that exchanging your personal data for benefits will not feature in the near future but Buckle’s auction shows us that a scenario in which we commercialise our personal information is not necessarily that distant.

As yet there is no market on which an individual can sell their personal data. While it is already to some extent clear what companies such as Google, Facebook and Tesco can get out of it, it is unknown how much a data soul is worth nor how one might use all the pieces of data that one person produces as a single package.

Perhaps luckily for Buckles, his auction is unlikely to provide any answers. The winning bidder was technology news company The Next Web, which Buckles says will use his data to highlight the issue of online privacy rather than to a more sinister end.

The sale is also probably not an accurate measure of the true market value of a person’s data soul. It is plausible that in the future the value of personal data will be determined through an emergent market that can leverage it effectively.

There is demand from the health research sector, entertainment industries and insurance companies, to name but a few. If a more established market was operating to serve this demand, we could probably expect to get out of the data what it actually worth.

That said, it is also possible that a market could emerge that would see us exchanging our data for something other than money. Insurance companies might reduce insurance premiums based on lifestyle data collected through life-logging. Information from apps that monitor your sleep, activity or exercise could work for both you and the company. In fact, this type of exchange is already happening in car insurance, where premiums depend on your driving record.

Benefit doesn’t have to imply direct monetary value to the person, either. We might in the future decide to use our data as a philanthropic resource. Instead of or as well as giving a monthly donation to our favourite charity, we might donate our data. A disease research charity could benefit from your health records, for example.

Buckle’s auction also raises important ethical questions, of course. At what point do digital records of human behaviour stop being personal? Obviously the content of Buckle’s inbox is personal but is a calculation of the average number of emails per day per country personal? Is GPS data averaged across millions of people personal?

The first ever data soul auction has certainly raised more questions than answers. Buckles is in a sense ahead of the pack. We are all growing increasingly aware that our personal data is valuable but while we continue to struggle to define what we are willing to accept in exchange for its use, companies are already basing their business models on the contents of our internet history. Would you accept €350 euros for digital soul? You may have to decide on your price sooner than you think.

Anya Skatova 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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