NRL obstruction rule now a mystery to Eels

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has accused Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks of taking a dive to deny his side a try in Monday’s absorbing NRL clash at ANZ Stadium.

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The Eels are the latest club to express their exasperation at the beleaguered video referees after Will Hopoate’s second-half effort was awarded by on-field official Matt Cecchin but overturned on review for obstruction by Steve Clark in the Tigers’ 21-18 win.

Clark ruled prop David Gower had taken out the young playmaker when he was making a decoy run in the build-up to Hopoate’s superbly finished effort 10 minutes from fulltime.

The Eels scored through Semi Radrardra soon after but Brooks’ late field-goal and Pat Richards’ long-range penalty snatched victory for the Tigers in the dying minutes.

“I don’t know what obstruction is any more and as coaches we are going to start encouraging players to take a dive,” Arthur said.

“David Gower clearly got back on his inside shoulder. The rule is you have get on the inside shoulder and he went through the line sideways.”

Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne, who scored two first-half tries, accused the video referees of making the obstruction issue almost unfathomable and said the inconsistency is a blight on the game.

“As players, fans and coaches all we want is consistency,” Hayne said.

“As soon as there is a media storm the video refs get a bit of fear behind them. It then becomes a lottery.

“It was clear Gowie didn’t take him out, but if they are the rules then stay with it.

“There’s definite confusion and I am not just saying that because it affected us, but in the past that is a try.

“If that’s going to be the rule that a player can touch a player and they fall down and it’s a penalty then stick with it. Stop changing it.”

Brooks laughed off the accusation but admitted his heart was in his mouth when it went upstairs for Clark to assess.

“No, I don’t think so, he ran into me for sure,” Brooks said.

“It was a bit of a 50-50 call, but luckily it went in our favour.”

Earlier this weekend, South Sydney and North Queensland were furious when obstruction calls cost them dearly against Canterbury and Manly respectively.

The Eels’ claim somewhat overshadowed a superb display from Brooks, who at 19, already looks destined to be a representative player.

In only his eighth NRL game, he slotted home the decisive field goal in front of 50,000 people in ice-cool fashion.

“They dropped the ball and after they did that it was all set up for me,” Brooks said.

“We practise them at training – it was the biggest crowd I have played in front of, they were going crazy; they really gave us a lift.

“I didn’t feel too much pressure, I think I have only kicked one or two in my junior career, but thankfully it went over.”

In addition to his field-goal, Brooks scored a 90-metre runaway try after a Hayne offload fell to the ground allowing the youngster to scoop up the loose ball and outpace Fuifui Moimoi to the line.

“I was bit nervous there, you can’t let a front-rower chase you down,” he said.

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World Cup to kick up prices in inflation-weary Brazil

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The arrival of roughly 600,000 foreign tourists for the month-long tournament that starts in mid-June will likely cause substantial increases in the prices of airline tickets, restaurant meals and hotel rooms.

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Those three areas account for about a tenth of the weighting of Brazil’s benchmark IPCA consumer price gauge. That could spell trouble for President Dilma Rousseff as the inflation rate is already at 6.19 percent.

“The World Cup will make things more difficult for the government,” said Reginaldo Nogueira, economics professor at Ibmec business school in Belo Horizonte.

The World Cup has already been bogged down by cost overruns, delays in infrastructure projects and deadly accidents.

Although the government expects the tournament to add half a percentage point to economic growth and thousands of jobs, rising inflation and persistently weak growth has eroded Rousseff’s popularity as she seeks re-election in October.

Nogueira said that price shocks from the Cup could be the last straw that puts Brazil’s 2014 inflation target – between 2.5 and 6.0 percent – out of reach.

Estimates as to the exact impact of the World Cup on consumer prices vary. Juan Jensen, chief economist with Sao Paulo-based consultancy Tendencias, said it may add 0.35 percentage points to inflation in June alone.

Most economists agree that any spike will ease after the World Cup ends in July but some officials still worry it could scare consumers and contaminate expectations going forward, giving new impetus to price increases.

The government has tried to cap hikes in electricity and gasoline prices but not much more can be done to tame prices during the tournament, two senior officials told Reuters.

Luiz Roberto Cunha, an economics professor who advises the government on inflation data, said that all host countries tend to see rising prices when they host the World Cup.

But he said the effects could feel greater because of already high inflation in Brazil, fuelled by home-grown factors such as contracts that force annual increases in rents and other prices, as well as high government spending and even a recent drought that has caused a jump in food costs.

Since the World Cup is being held in 12 host cities across Brazil, an unusually high number, any run-up in prices will be particularly widespread.

Brazilians have already started to complain.

A Facebook page called “Rio $urreal” was created to denounce high prices in Rio de Janeiro, which will hold the Cup’s final in July.

“It seems like drinking beer on a Friday is only for the rich now,” wrote Luiz Felipe Oliveira in a recent post that complained of a local bar charging nearly $4 for a beer.

In the capital Brasilia, already one of Brazil’s priciest cities, tourists can pay more than $600 (357.08 pounds) a day for a room at a four-star hotel near the stadium. A night at a fancier hotel can go for $1,000 during the tournament.

Threats of strikes by metro, airport and hotel workers during the World Cup could also push wages higher and stoke prices even more.

Not even one of the world’s most aggressive monetary tightening cycles has been able to significantly ease the pressure. The central bank has raised its benchmark Selic rate by 375 basis points to 11 percent since April 2013.

(Editing by Brian Winter and Kieran Murray)

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Neville Wran remembered as great statesman

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Nifty Nev showed Labor how to win againThe Neville Wran era: A decade of transformation

Neville Wran has been remembered as one of the country’s greatest politicians, with Labor veteran Bob Carr saying the former NSW premier could have become prime minister.

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Mr Carr, who overtook Mr Wran’s record as NSW’s longest continuous serving premier, believes the boy from Balmain could have been the country’s leader.

“Neville might have beaten Bob Hawke for the federal Labor leadership, but I think he was very reluctant to give up running NSW,” Mr Carr told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

“He relished the use of power in good causes, and you don’t surrender that easily for the prospect of being marooned in opposition in Canberra.”

Mr Hawke said he was saddened by Mr Wran’s death, praising him for the “enormous contribution” he made to NSW.

“Aside from that, he was a very important part of the councils of the Labor party nationally, always ensuring the ALP was relevant to the challenges of the time,” he told AAP.

Despite being put into power by the NSW Right, Mr Wran was “never captive” to the factions, Mr Hawke said. “He was a pragmatist, his own man. We have much to thank him for.”

Mr Wran, who led the state between 1976 and 1986, died in Sydney on Sunday aged 87 after a long battle with dementia.

Wran one of the most significant figures of his generation: PM

Tony Abbott has described former NSW premier Neville Wran as one of the most significant figures of his generation.

“On behalf of the Australian Government I acknowledge the passing of Neville Wran AC CNZM QC,” Mr Abbott said in a statement issued on Monday.

He noted Mr Wran’s achievements as premier from 1976 to 1986 included orchestrating the redevelopment of Darling Harbour and building the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said Mr Wran was a towering figure in the NSW Labor Party and in the state during the 1970s and 80s.

“His legacy is positive and lasting,” he said.

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson described Mr Wran as a giant of the Labor Party and one of the great leaders of his party and the state.

Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally tweeted: “Neville Wran was a great man, a true gentleman and a visionary Labor leader. We are all better for his life. God bless.”

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he couldn’t have asked for a better friend and colleague in Mr Wran.

They met when Mr Turnbull worked as a journalist at NSW parliament and later went into business together in OzEmail.

“He was able to achieve a lot in NSW – to do a lot – and at the same time maintain high levels of popularity,” the federal Liberal frontbencher told ABC radio on Monday.

“He was not an old person in the way he thought about things. He was always a lateral thinker and very much focused on getting something done.

“This was the distinctive thing about Neville as a politician. He got into politics to do things, and he did.”

Wran achieved landmark social reforms: Iemma

Former NSW premier Morris Iemma said Mr Wran was a pivotal leader of the Labor party.

“He achieved landmark constitutional change and landmark social reforms,” Mr Iemma told the Seven Network.

“He also built massive infrastructure, which set the state up.

“He was a heavyweight and he was an undefeated heavyweight champion of New South Wales and indeed national politics.”

Mr Iemma said Mr Wran had a “towering intellect”, an uncanny ability to pick the mood of the electorate, and was in touch with ordinary people, from the bush to the city.

Another former Labor premier Nathan Rees said one of Mr Wran’s biggest legacies was the University of Western Sydney.

“He made it happen. The federal government wanted to make it a TAFE and he said, frankly, `bugger that’ we’re going to make it a university,” he told ABC radio.

Current and former politicians pay tribute to Neville Wran on social media

After a life dedicated to the service of others, may Neville Wran now rest in peace.

— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) April 20, 2014

Sad news. Neville Wran helped build NSW incl initiating our sister-state relationship with China’s Guangdong province in 1979 #nevillewran

— Barry O’Farrell (@barryofarrell) April 20, 2014

Neville Wran was a great man, a true gentleman and a visionary Labor leader. We are all better for his life. God bless.

— Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) April 20, 2014

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Riot police, protesters clash in Venezuela

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Fresh clashes have erupted in Venezuela’s capital, with hooded anti-government protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at riot police who returned fire with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.

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Eight people were reported injured in the unrest that erupted on Sunday in Caracas’s upscale Chacao neighbourhood, a hotbed of anti-government opposition.

Oil-rich Venezuela has been rocked by two months of deadly protests, with at least 41 people killed since a wave of demonstrations against the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro broke out in early February.

Some 600 people have also been injured in the protests and around 100 have been detained.

Maduro, the hand-picked successor to the late leftist icon Hugo Chavez, was narrowly elected to office in a controversial election one year ago.

A former bus driver and union leader and the self-proclaimed “son” of Chavez, Maduro was elected after Chavez died from cancer and was sworn in on April 19, 2013, pledging to carry on his mentor’s socialist legacy.

Hundreds of anti-government activists marked Easter Sunday in Chacao by holding a peaceful march calling for the “resurrection of democracy.”

With Venezuelan flags fluttering in the wind, the crowd marched to the offices of the United Nations in Venezuela, where more than a month ago students set up some 120 tents and began to camp out seeking support against the Maduro administration.

After police and rioters clashed, Chacao Mayor Ramon Muchacho said in a Twitter message that of the eight injured – including four bruised and two hit by buck shot – there were no bullet injuries.

In a separate Easter tradition, effigies of Maduro and top government officials were set ablaze, a Venezuelan tradition known as the burning of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ.

“I’m tired of the abuses of the government,” said Genesis Reveron, a 20 year-old student who was dragging along a Maduro effigy to burn.

She blamed Maduro for the country’s high inflation and soaring crime rate.

Most economic analysts blame the country’s problems on a decade of rigid currency and price controls, as well rising dependence on imports and debt costs – a lacklustre record for a country that hosts the world’s largest oil reserves.

Maduro however says the problems are the result of an economic war waged by the right-wing bourgeoisie and the private sector, supported by US-based interest groups.

He says the protests are part of a coup plot supported by Washington.

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Biden heads to Ukraine for talks

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US Vice President Joe Biden is to begin a two-day visit to Ukraine amid Russian outrage over a deadly weekend shootout in the rebel east that shattered a fragile Easter truce.

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Washington has warned Moscow that time is running out for the implementation of an accord signed between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union in Geneva last Thursday that was meant to ease tensions in the crisis-hit country.

Moscow in turn has warned that it will not tolerate further US sanctions if the deal falls apart, while stressing that it has tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine’s doorstep.

Biden was expected to reassure Ukrainian leaders of America’s continued support during his visit to Kiev beginning on Monday.

The US and its NATO allies have bolstered military deployments in eastern Europe. Washington and Brussels have also pledged billions to shore up Ukraine’s battered economy.

In Ukraine’s restive east, the situation appeared calm early on Monday, with pro-Kremlin separatists still in control of public buildings they have occupied for over a week.

“There was no shooting overnight,” rebel Yevgen Gorbik told AFP, while wearing camouflage and a military cap and standing at a barricade in the flashpoint town of Slavyansk.

“We will only shoot if attacked,” he added.

Gorbik summed up the bellicose posturing and political jockeying by saying: “Currently, we have a virtual president in Ukraine, a virtual army, and a virtual war.”

On Sunday, though, the bullets were real in a shootout at a roadblock near the rebel-held town of Slavyansk. It killed at least two of the separatist militants.

Pro-Moscow insurgents in Slavyansk and the Kremlin blamed the attack on Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), an ultra-nationalist group that was at the vanguard of Kiev street protests which forced the February ouster of pro-Moscow former president Viktor Yanukovych.

But Ukrainian officials and Pravy Sektor dismissed the allegation as Russian propaganda.

A spokesman in Kiev for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Michael Bociurkiw, said the organisation currently had 100 monitors in Ukraine, more than half of them in the east.

It plans to triple that number this week.

However, its teams were encountering some difficulties in travelling around the separatist east, particularly into Slavyansk, because of insecurity and insurgent-manned roadblocks, he said.

President Barack Obama last week said Russia has days to prevail upon the rebels to abide by the Geneva accord, otherwise it risks more Western sanctions on top of those already levelled at Putin’s inner circle.

Russia, which last month annexed Crimea after sending in Russian troops, retorted that Washington should not treat it like a “shameful schoolboy”.

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Call for stricter regulation of homeopathy in Australia

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(Transcript from World News Radio)

A major review of homeopathy in Australia could lead to stricter industry regulation and changes to private health insurance coverage of homeopathic treatments.

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The investigation by Australia’s top health research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council, has found no reliable scientific evidence to support claims that homeopathic remedies are effective in treating medical conditions.

Kristina Kukolja reports.

The philosophy of homeopathy can be traced back to the late 18th Century and a German physician, Christian Hahnemann.

He advanced the principle of ‘like cures like’, with diluted solutions used to treat symptoms that in an undiluted form they would cause.

Remedies can be sourced from mineral, herbal, animal and synthetic origins.

In Australia, homeopathy is classified as a form of complementary and alternative medicine, as are the chiropractic profession, Chinese medicine, yoga and pilates.

The first systematic review of homeopathy in Australia by the National Health and Research Council concludes there’s no reliable scientific evidence of the efficacy of homeopathy in the treatment of clinical conditions.

The Australian Homeopathic Association disagreed with the findings, saying relevant systematic research it submitted wasn’t considered.

Spokeswoman Anna Lamaro says some of the Association’s other submissions were also overlooked.

“The veterinary studies with homeopathic medicine, 56 of which were strongly supportive of the efficacy of homeopathy. Neither did they look at the laboratory studies. Both the veterinary studies and the lab studies are great because they are placebo-free zones, really. And the evidence is strongly there that there is an effect gained on a physiological level from homeopathic dilutions. They also chose not to look at observational studies. Now, that is the lowest level of evidence. However, there are very large observational studies from homeopathic outpatient hospitals in Europe and the United Kingdom.”

The NHMRC considered 57 systematic reviews of homeopathic treatments in humans relating to 68 conditions — ranging from irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, depression, through to HIV.

For a majority of them, the results of controlled clinical trials were examined.

It says many of the available primary studies it encountered were poorly designed, conducted and reported.

President of the Australian Medical Association, Steve Hambleton, says not all research is admissible.

“Observational studies might be a reason to do a proper study and not actually to conclude that something is cause and effect. What you really want to do is actually look, in particular, at the double-blind randomised control trials where you truly get rid of bias and you can truly test something against the placebo to see whether there is any difference to placebo treatment. That’s where the NHMRC has gone. We hear lots of testimonials which peoples say, I tried it and it works for me. Sometimes there’s a string of testimonials none of which are credible scientific evidence. When we look at animal studies, just because it works in a rat or another non-human animal doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work in a human.”

The World Health Organization has recognised homeopathy as one of the fastest-growing complementary and alternative medicines around the world.

But it cautions that some materials used in homeopathic formulations could constitute potential safety hazards.

It also warns that homeopathic solutions should not be used to treat serious diseases, including H-I-V and malaria.

In 2010, the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee found that homeopathic remedies were no more effective than a placebo, and urged the National Health Service to stop funding homeopathy.

Bond University’s Professor Paul Glasziou is the Chair of the federal government’s Homeopathy Working Committee, which conducted the Australian investigation.

He says there’s concern some people may be replacing proven medical treatments with homeopathic ones, meaning that they’re not getting the appropriate health care they need and are also wasting their money.

“Speaking to general practitioner colleagues, I know of their concern about patients who are on the poverty borderline, but who are spending money for — for example — disabled children on homeopathic remedies. So, they’re spending parts of the little amounts of cash that they have to purchase these remedies which appear to be ineffective.”

The Australian Homeopathic Association says there are up to 600 practitioners in Australia registered with the Australian Register of Homeopaths, an industry self-regulation body.

It says more are practising, and around one-million Australians are estimated to be consumers of homeopathic treatments.

But Professor Paul Glasziou says the true extent of the industry in Australia is not actually known.

“This is what triggered this particular report as part of a wider concern that the NHMRC had about the increase in alternative and complementary medicine. I think it’s now up to around $3.5 billion a year across the whole industry being spent. There are some effective complementary medicines, but in general a lot of things both in orthodox medicine and in complementary medicine don’t work. In orthodox medicine there are routine research approaches and regulations that sift out these ineffective approaches, whereas that hasn’t happened to anywhere near the same extent in complementary and alternative medicines.”

Dr Jing Jing Yu is a Chinese medicine practitioner based in Melbourne, who has also practised in China.

Dr Jing has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chinese Medicine and Human Biology.

Like medical and dental practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and psychologists, she is regulated by the federal government’s Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

In order to retain her accreditation as a health practitioner, Dr Jing must belong to a recognised association — in her case the Federation of Chinese Medicine Associations — and undergo continued professional development.

These statutory standards are not required for practising homeopathy in Australia.

Dr Jing argues that Chinese medicine is more credible than homeopathy.

“Chinese medicine, from what I believe, there’s a lot more credibility. If you go to China, for example, it is part of mainstream healthcare. There are a lot of herbs that can benefit a lot of conditions; but having said that it is always about the patients’ health status. Everything is prescribed according to what the patient needs at that certain time. From what I understand, especially in the field of acupuncture, there’s been a lot of scientific evidence that proves a lot of effectiveness in treating pain and a lot of other chronic illnesses.”

Professor Paul Glasziou agrees that some Chinese medicine has been shown to be effective, but he says alternative medicines don’t undergo rigorous testing.

“Taking the Chinese herbs would be Artemisinin, which is now widely used in malaria treatment and has been shown in controlled trials to be effective, and is on the World Health Organization’s list of things to use. There are things we’ve got out of herbs in the past. Digoxin came out of foxglove, for example, and quinine is another example of something that’s grown out of herbal medicine. But I would say, by and large, most things don’t work and we need to screen out and evaluate all of these things to find out the small proportion that do and keep them in our therapeutic armamentarium.”

Chinese medicinal products are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

That’s not necessarily the case for all homeopathic preparations.

The AMA’s Steve Hambleton says the homeopathy industry in Australia is inadequately regulated.

“Unconventional therapies are very poorly regulated in reality. We have health practitioners now fully registered. Chinese medicine practitioners are now fully registered. There are minimum standards to be reached. There is a board whose job it is to protect the public from registered health practitioners who don’t do what the wider body of the profession believes is reasonable. The unregulated industries are very broad. We’ve got multiple forms of unconventional therapy for which there is very little credible evidence. Unless they’re making outrageous claims those industries are clearly very successful.”

Professor Paul Glasziou agrees that stricter regulation of the homeopathy industry is needed, both for practitioners and the labelling of products they promote.

He also says private health insurance companies should make changes to their policies that offer reimbursement for homeopathic treatments.

“Let’s start with the private health insurers. I think, either removing them or making it easier for people to have options that don’t include ineffective treatments would be a good thing for both them and the consumers of that private health insurance. I would like to see the evaluation that the NHMRC has done for homeopathy extended to other areas of complementary and alternative medicine. I’d like consumers, in particular, to be a little more wary and sceptical of claims about complementary and alternative medicines, and in particular from this review, the impact of traditional homeopathy.”

The NHMRC is calling for public submissions to the draft information paper on the efficacy of homeopathy.

Submissions close on May 26.

More information: 苏州美甲网,consultations.nhmrc.gov广西桑拿网,/public_consultations/homeopathy_health

 

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Russia may suffer second-quarter recession

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Russia could tip into recession in the second quarter of 2014 after the economy contracted by around 0.

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5 per cent in the first three months of the year, a finance ministry official says.

“It looks like the second quarter compared with the previous quarter will again have a negative value. In this way, the finance ministry does not rule out a technical recession,” the Interfax news agency quoted Maxim Oreshkin as saying.

Oreshkin, who heads the finance ministry’s department for long-term strategy, made the prediction in comments to journalists.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov warned last week that Russia’s economy might not expand at all in 2014.

Siluanov said Russia was facing the toughest economic conditions since 2009, when it went into a deep slowdown.

Russia’s economic development ministry last week announced that the economy had shrunk by 0.5 per cent, fuelling concerns that the Ukraine crisis could tip it into recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of shrinking economic output.

Russia’s economy has already seen colossal capital flight since the start of the Ukraine crisis as worried investors have pulled out of the country.

Oreshkin predicted that net capital flight from Russia in 2014 would be $70 to $80 billion, less than a prediction of $US100 billion ($A107 billion) made by the economic development ministry earlier this month.

Russia has seen growth fall in recent years, from 4.3 per cent in 2011 to 1.3 per cent last year, blamed by experts on its over-dependence on energy exports and failure to modernise the economy.

The latest predictions follow a series of increasingly gloomy assessments this month, including from the International Monetary Fund which slashed its forecast for Russia’s 2014 growth by two-thirds to 1.3 per cent due to political uncertainty.

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Potter salutes his Tiger cubs

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Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter says his young side’s 21-18 win over Parramatta without inspirational skipper Robbie Farah on Monday was a huge step forward in their development.

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A halfback masterclass from 19-year-old Luke Brooks, who kicked the go-ahead field goal three minutes from fulltime – having earlier scored a runaway try – was the difference between the sides in an enthralling encounter in front of a crowd of more than 50,00 at ANZ Stadium.

Both sides made their fair share of errors but in a topsy-turvy affair, it did little to detract from a thoroughly enjoyable game that was only sealed in the Tigers’ favour with Pat Richards’ booming penalty goal from halfway with under two minutes remaining.

However, it was Brooks who stole the show and Potter was delighted with how the youngster, already tipped as a future NSW Origin representative, coped with the occasion.

“I think he’s still developing, but he kicked a match-winning field goal and his kicking got better once he got into a routine,” Potter said.

“He takes it in his stride, if he was playing park footy he would be the same. It really doesn’t faze him. He’s good to coach and he’s good to watch.

“Winning without Robbie, (James) Tedesco and Liam Fulton was above and beyond for these players.

“I think the confidence the young guys will get from this result is going to stand us in good stead for when things get tight and tough later in the season.”

Stand-in Tigers captain Braith Anasta echoed Potter’s sentiments about Brooks.

“He doesn’t seem to be put under pressure too much and he handles every situation with ease,” Anasta said.

“He stays really relaxed and I asked him leading up to the field goal if he wanted to take it and he said ‘give it to me’ and I teed him up.

“He put it over the middle like it was just routine.

“We’ve come a long way in 12 months. We didn’t play our best but we won in adversity as they were all over us.”

The vastly experienced Anasta said playing alongside Brooks and young guns like fullback Kurtis Rowe and winger David Nofoaluma had reinvigorated his career.

“It’s been good for me, I am coming to the end and it has given me a new lease of life and motivates me every day looking at the young blokes and how good they are,” he said.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said his side were let down by a lack of composure but refused to point the finger of blame at Chris Sandow, who missed three very kickable conversions.

“At times we were looking for a quick fix and a quick way of winning the game,” said Arthur.

“We needed to be better to win the game. They scored two tries from our errors and we need to learn how to close the game out.

“It would have been nice to kick the goal, but we had enough opportunities to win the game.”

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Russia to create gambling zone in Crimea

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President Vladimir Putin has submitted a bill to parliament that would turn Crimea into a legal gambling zone as Russia seeks ways to lift the Black Sea peninsula out of poverty.

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Russia has only four official government zones where gambling is legal. Crimea, which was annexed by Russia last month amid international condemnation, would be the fifth such zone.

The precise borders of the new gambling zone will be determined by regional authorities in the Republic of Crimea, the bill states.

The legislation is unlikely to meet any resistance in Russia’s parliament, which is tightly controlled by the Kremlin.

Russia’s existing gambling zones are near the Pacific port of Vladivostok, the Altai region, the southern Krasnodar region and near the Western exclave of Kaliningrad.

Putin also said on Monday he had signed a decree rehabilitating Crimea’s Tartars, an ethnic group accused of collaborating with Nazi Germany and exiled under Stalin.

“I have signed a decree to rehabilitate the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea, the Armenian population, Germans, Greeks, all those who suffered during Stalin’s purges,” Putin told a government meeting.

Crimea’s 300,000 Tartars, who make up around 12 per cent of the population, largely boycotted a disputed referendum last month in which nearly 97 per cent of voters chose to split from Ukraine and join Russia.

The decree is seen is an attempt to win the sympathies of Tartars, who view the Kremlin with distrust and are seeking a quota system to ensure power sharing in local government.

Crimea’s entire Tatar population was deported to Central Asia at the end of World War Two.

They began returning to Crimea under former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and became Ukrainian nationals after that country won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

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Russia simplifies citizenship rules

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New laws passed in Russia make it easier for native speakers and those who can prove they or their families have lived within the borders of the former Russian empire or Soviet Union to get citizenship.

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The amendments were signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, who annexed the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea in Ukraine last month and has asserted his right to protect Russian speakers across the former Soviet bloc.

The law, pushed through in just three weeks, “establishes a simplified procedure to get Russian citizenship for foreign citizens and those without any citizenship who are … recognised as native speakers of Russian,” the Kremlin said.

The fast-track procedure is planned to take three months, Russian television reported. It requires those who receive passports to give up any other citizenship.

To apply, people have to go through an interview to prove they are native speakers of Russian, using the language in a “family and household context and in cultural spheres”.

They also need to prove that “they or their direct relatives live full-time or previously lived in Russia”, within its Soviet borders or the borders of the Russian empire before the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.

Pro-Russian protesters in Crimea and Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking eastern regions have cited discrimination and problems with the legal status of the Russian language when asking Moscow to intervene in the crisis.

Putin signed the amendments into law after they were passed by MPs in the upper and lower houses of parliament this month, the Kremlin said.

Russia has previously made it difficult to gain citizenship for those who consider themselves ethnic Russians but were living outside its borders when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

The new law allows applicants to bypass a lengthy and bureaucratic procedure in order to be eligible for citizenship.

Rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina said she welcomed the simplified procedure but cautioned it was unclear what criteria would be used to determine who is a native speaker.

The new rules do not apply to one famous recipient of a fast-track Russian passport, French actor Gerard Depardieu, who was granted a passport by Putin after he complained about French tax laws.

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