F1 revamp on agenda at ‘crucial’ strategy meeting

Past Strategy Group meetings, each billed as increasingly ‘crucial’, have rarely lived up to even modest expectations.


“We might change the date of the next meeting. Possibly. I’m not sure. It’s not easy to get decisions made,” commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters when asked what might be achieved this time.

Leaving aside the 84-year-old’s cynicism, Formula One has major challenges to address including soaring costs, struggling teams, falling viewing figures in some regions and a failure to engage a younger audience.

Ferrari are among those to have called for a rules ‘revolution’ from 2017, with bigger, louder and more affordable engines in faster and more fearsome cars.

More immediately, there will be a vote on whether to increase the engine allocation for this season from four per driver back to the five they had last year — with some teams opposed.

The Strategy Group meeting at Biggin Hill in southern England includes six teams — Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Force India — as well as the governing FIA and commercial rights holder.

“Every meeting is crucial,” FIA president Jean Todt told Reuters at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend.

“We know there are some things to assess. And I hope we will be able to have a good agenda and come with good proposals and decisions to submit to the F1 commission and then to the world council.

“I hate reacting to ‘this one says this, this one says that’,” he added when the various standpoints were put to him. “So we will have all the different stakeholders around the table and it will be a proper opportunity to speak about everything.

“A lot of work has been done, we have been doing some working groups, an enquiry with an external consultant, with the technical and sporting people, so I think we will have a quite clear situation to discuss about.”

The increased engine allocation proposal already looks doomed, however, with Mercedes-powered Williams and Force India against it on grounds of cost and a reluctance to help Renault-powered rivals Red Bull in the championship battle.

Red Bull and McLaren, whose partners Honda have also had reliability problems, are in favour.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

AFC suspend general secretary Soosay

The AFC released a brief statement saying the Malaysian had been suspended while they investigate the media claims relating to a case dating back three years.


“Asian Football Confederation General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay was today suspended by the AFC following media allegations which have recently surfaced concerning a case in 2012,” the statement said.

The AFC said deputy general secretary Windsor John would replace Soosay on an interim basis while the investigation was carried out.

Soosay was accused by a Malaysian newspaper of ordering some documents to be hidden during a review of AFC practices under former president Mohamed bin Hammam, who was later banned for life by FIFA for corruption.

Soosay has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and told Reuters earlier this month that he believed the case was closed.

But the AFC said on Wednesday that he had been suspended after they had seen and verified a video that was part of the investigation.

“A video statement conducted as part of a FIFA investigation was passed to media recently and the AFC has now been able to verify its authenticity, the AFC said.

The allegations first surfaced last month when the Malay Mail newspaper published a report claiming Soosay had asked another AFC official to “protect me”.

The newspaper said Soosay had made the request to AFC financial director Bryan Kuan Wee Hoong.

The Malay Mail said the video involved a conversation between Kuan and FIFA investigator Michael John Pride where the AFC official discussed a conversation he had with Soosay in 2012.

A former player, Soosay has held the position of AFC general secretary since 2008.

His role meant he worked closely with Qatari Bin Hammam, who was initially banned by football’s governing body for bribery ahead of the 2011 FIFA presidential elections in which he was standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam eventually overturned the verdict after a lengthy court process only to be banned following a review of AFC accounts by FIFA who accused him of repeated violations of the ethics code during 2008-2011.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O’Brien/Julian Linden)

Pakistan gunmen kill 43 on Karachi bus

Gunmen on motorcycles boarded a bus and opened fire on commuters in Pakistan’s volatile southern city of Karachi on Wednesday, killing at least 43, police said, in the latest attack directed against religious minorities this year.


The pink bus was pockmarked with bullet holes and blood saturated the seats and dripped out of the doors on to the concrete.

“As the gunmen climbed on to the bus, one of them shouted, ‘Kill them all!’ Then they started indiscriminately firing at everyone they saw,” a wounded woman told a television channel by phone.

Police Superintendent Najib Khan told Reuters there were six gunmen and that all the passengers were Ismailis, a minority Shi’ite Muslim sect. Pakistan is mostly Sunni.

Militant group Jundullah, which has attacked Muslim minorities before, claimed responsibility.

The group has links with the Pakistani Taliban and pledged allegiance to Islamic State in November. “These killed people were Ismaili and we consider them kafir (non-Muslim).

We had four attackers. In the coming days we will attack Ismailis, Shi’ites and Christians,” spokesman Ahmed Marwat told Reuters. At least 43 people had been killed and 13 wounded, provincial police chief Ghulam Haider Jamali told media. Outside the hospital where the wounded were taken, and where the bus was parked, scores of grim-faced young men formed a human chain to block everyone but families and doctors.

Emails and Facebook posts on Ismaili pages encouraged the community not respond or say anything that might further endanger them. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was saddened by the attack.

“This is a very patriotic and peaceful people who have always worked for the wellbeing of Pakistan,” he said.

“This is an attempt to spread divisions in the country.”


Uzma Alkarim, a member of the Ismaili community, said the bus took commuters to work every day. The Ismailis had faced threats before, she said.

“Around six months ago, our community elders had alerted us to be careful because of security threats but things had calmed down recently,” she said.

English leaflets left in the bus were headlined “Advent of the Islamic State!” and used a derogatory Arabic word for Shi’ites, blaming them for “barbaric atrocities … in the Levant, Iraq and Yemen”.

The leaflets also blamed Shi’ites for a deadly sectarian attack in Rawalpindi, next to the capital Islamabad, and raged against extrajudicial killings by police.

In January, 60 people were killed when Jundullah bombed a Shi’ite mosque in the southern province of Sindh. The Taliban bombed another Shi’ite mosque in the northwest city of Peshawar weeks later.

Both the Taliban and Jundullah claimed the bombing of Wagah border crossing last year, which killed 57 people. Jundullah also claimed a church bombing that killed more than 80 people in Peshawar in 2013.

Many religious minorities blame the government for not doing enough to protect them. Police are underpaid, poorly equipped and poorly trained. Karachi, a megacity of 18 million that is Pakistan’s financial heart, is also under the responsibility of the paramilitary Rangers.

(Additional reporting by Saud Mehsud and Mehreen Zahra-Malik in Islamabad; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Dallaglio says England right to turn back on Pietersen

As the fall-out over Kevin Pietersen’s failed bid to return to the international fold continues, Dallaglio offered his support to England’s new director of cricket and former Ashes-winning captain Andrew Strauss.


“I think culture is really important in a team, particularly in a sport like cricket,” Dallaglio, 42, said on Wednesday at the Daily Telegraph Business of Sport event in London.

“These guys spend a huge amount of time together and trusting each other is very important.

“I know from my own experience both at club level with Wasps and with England that we spent an enormous amount of time putting together a culture and certain values and certain ways of behaving, both together and outside of the team environment.”

Dallaglio, a key member of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2003, said current England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster had been faced with dressing room issues when he took over but had worked hard to establish a new team ethos.

He said it was the way forward for English cricket.

“When Stuart took over he had to reconnect the players with their responsibilities and what it means to play for England,” said Dallaglio. “He had to relocate the moral compass of the team and the identity of the team, that was the first criteria.

“That took about 18 months, then he could start focussing on performance and we are seeing the benefit now.

Strauss said on Tuesday that Pietersen was not in his plans because of a complete breakdown of trust.

“I wasn’t surprised to hear the comments made yesterday about Pietersen,” added Dallaglio. “It’s a great shame because he has been a fantastic cricket player and scored lots of runs and still is, but the team should come before the individual.

“If England feel they can’t cope with Pietersen then that’s the decision they have made. People will disagree, but that’s the decision they have made and until that changes I think Kevin will be playing in the IPL.”

Pietersen, who has scored more than 8,000 test runs, was sacked by England last year following a number of incidents that culminated in the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia during which he was accused of being disengaged from the team.

This year’s Ashes series starts on July 8 in Cardiff.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Six dead in Philadelphia train derailment

A passenger train has derailed and overturned in Philadelphia, killing at least six people and leaving a horrific scene of mangled metal and broken glass.


Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the death toll could rise from the derailment on the busy northeast US rail corridor as some of the 243 people on the train had not been accounted for.

Emergency personnel said 65 people were hurt after Tuesday night’s (Wednesday AEST) accident on the train heading from Washington to New York. Others walked away from the crash with light injuries.

The train’s seven train cars, including the engine car, were crushed, turned over on their side or upside down in the late evening disaster.

One was unrecognisable as a train car, as it lay on the ground in a ruined mass of metal.

As night fell, rescuers with torches gingerly scoured through the remains.

“It is an absolute disastrous mess,” Nutter told reporters. “I have never seen anything like this in my life.”

Officials declined to speculate on the cause of the incident, though some experts suggested the crash may have been caused due to a track defect or wheel failure.

Witnesses said the front of Amtrak Train 188 shook as it went into a turn, and the six cars behind it then went off the rails.

An estimated 243 people, including five crew members, were aboard the train when it crashed.

Nutter warned the casualty and injury estimates were only preliminary, hinting at the potential for a higher toll.

He also would not confirm whether all those aboard the train had been accounted for.

Hydraulic tools had to be used to remove passengers from some of the most badly damaged train cars, firefighters said.

“I’ve never seen anything so devastating. They are in pretty bad shape,” said Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, referring to the train cars.

“You can see they completely, completely derailed from the track, destroyed completely and they’ve been overturned completely.”

Passengers recalled the chaos of the derailment.

Former US Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, who was on the train, said he was sitting on a bench in the cafe car when the train began to topple.

“It went to my right, then to my left. Everyone who was on the left side of the car, where I was sitting, just got thrown completely over to the right side.”

Murphy said the train seemed to be going around 100-110km/h when it suddenly derailed and rolled. Passengers had to kick out a window to escape.

Another passenger, Jeremy Wladis, 51, was on the last car of the train when he felt the jolt. He said he saw “phones, laptops, everything flying,” the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

“There were women launched up in the luggage rack,” he said. “I don’t even know how they got there.”

The US Department of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and along with Amtrak were involved in investigating the causes of the crash.

Strauss open to an Aussie coaching England

Andrew Strauss insists appointing an Australian coach of England is an entirely feasible option for this summer’s Ashes.


Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, currently in charge of Yorkshire whom he led to the English County Championship title last year, has emerged as a leading contender to succeed the sacked Peter Moores.

New England and Wales Cricket Board director Strauss described Gillespie as “one of the candidates” during a marathon round of interviews at Lord’s on Tuesday.

Strauss also confirmed no way back for Kevin Pietersen, citing a “massive trust issue” for various reasons which still linger as a result of the controversial batsman’s previous difficulties with both his former captain and his employers.

As for the identity of the new coach, Strauss hopes to make an appointment in time for the start of the Ashes in July and he sees Australian birth as no impediment.

“We’ve had Australian support staff – David Saker as bowling coach, Troy Cooley in the past,” he said.

“When people are in the team environment, they’re professional.”

The difference with Gillespie, of course, is that as well as being born in Sydney he also took 259 wickets in 71 Tests for his country, including in five Ashes series.

Durham captain Paul Collingwood, who coached Scotland in the recent World Cup, has been mooted as one possible home-grown alternative.

But, speaking after his county completed a six-wicket Championship win over Nottinghamshire on Tuesday, he told the Independent: “It would have to be a ridiculous offer, something I couldn’t turn down.

“If I keep taking wickets and scoring runs and keep enjoying it and bringing some good youngsters through here at Durham, it is going to be a hard thing to give up.”

Pietersen hit back at Strauss and the ECB in his column for the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday night, accusing them too of an abuse of trust.

On Wednesday, on Twitter, he borrowed from a post sent previously by his Surrey team-mate Kumar Sangakkara – implying confusion at how Strauss could tell him he cannot be trusted to play yet also offer him an advisory role with England’s limited-overs team.

Pietersen, who turned down that invitation, tweeted: “Morning all, after a pretty bad day yesterday, I’ve given it a lot of thought overnight. I’m applying for the coaching job! #StraussLogic”

Liberatore re-signs with AFL’s Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs’ strong start to the year has been given a vote of confidence by 2014 best and fairest winner Tom Liberatore, who has re-signed with the AFL club until at least 2018.


The 22-year-old’s 2015 season ended before it began after he suffered a major knee injury during the NAB challenge in February.

But the emerging midfielder was happy with what he had seen from the seventh-placed Bulldogs and was pleased to extend his deal.

“It means a lot to me and obviously a great time for the club and yeah it’s good to be around a good group of young players and moving forward in the right way,” Liberatore told the team’s website.

“With a lot of young players re-signing it shows that the morale of the group is in a good spot, the chemistry with everyone’s very positive and the way that the boys get along as a group reflects our performance on the field I think.”

Liberatore joins Jake Stringer, Jackson Macrae, Easton Wood, Luke Dahlhaus and Jordan Roughead in recommitting to the Bulldogs this year.

He says the rehab for his knee injury is going well and he has been spending a lot of time around the VFL setup, trying to gain a further insight in to game management and the tactical side of football.

Western Bulldogs list manager Jason McCartney said Liberatore’s re-signing was great news for the club.

“Tom is an incredibly talented young player and is such a crucial part of our midfield and team in general,” McCartney said.

“Tom is universally liked and respected around the club and we look forward to having him back in the team next season.”

Liberatore has played 77 AFL games for Western Bulldogs after being taken as a father-son selection in the 2010 draft.

Pietersen jokes he’s applying for Eng job

Kevin Pietersen joked on Twitter that he had applied for the England coaching job on Wednesday, a day after being sidelined by new director of cricket Andrew Strauss.


“Morning all, after a pretty bad day yesterday I’ve given it a lot of thought overnight,” Pietersen wrote to his 2.56 million followers.

“I’m applying for the coaching job! #StraussLogic”

Strauss revealed on Tuesday that Pietersen, 34, will not be selected for England in the immediate future, citing a “massive trust issue” between him and the South Africa-born batsman.

England are currently without a coach following the dismissal of Peter Moores last weekend.

Pietersen, England’s leading all-time run-scorer across all formats, was axed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year following a 5-0 Ashes whitewash defeat in Australia.

But after new ECB chairman Colin Graves opened the door to a recall by suggesting that he could force his way back into the team by playing county cricket, Pietersen signed for his former team Surrey.

He completed an innings of 355 not out for Surrey against Leicestershire on Monday, his maiden first-class triple century, only to be told later that day by Strauss that he was not part of England’s plans.

In his column for the Daily Telegraph published on Wednesday, Pietersen wrote: “I am absolutely devastated that it looks like my hopes of an England recall have been brought to a close, especially given everything that has been said and asked of me.

“They have used the word ‘trust’ to justify not selecting me, well, trust is a two-way thing. I couldn’t believe just half an hour after I had my meeting, the result of it was on the internet and on the BBC airwaves.

“Now I certainly didn’t tell anybody, so who did? They say they don’t trust me, but how can anybody trust them?”

Pietersen also revealed that Strauss, his former England teammate, had offered him a role as an advisor on one-day cricket, which he rejected.

The batsman missed the start of the final day of Surrey’s County Championship match against Leicestershire on Wednesday in order to have a scan on a calf injury, but a Surrey spokesperson said it was only precautionary.

Pietersen is due to fly to India on Friday to join up with his Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad.

‘Mad Max’ returns three decades on

When director George Miller returned to his dystopian “Mad Max” franchise after 30 years for “Fury Road,” he wanted to find a visceral way to immerse the audience in his surreal, saturated post-apocalyptic world.


“It felt like going back to something we had done in the past,” Miller told Reuters. “I wanted to make a movie almost like visual rock and roll or opera that just sweeps you up into the screen.”

SBS MOVIES: From Beyonce to Burning Man: The cultural copycats of ‘Mad Max’

The 70-year-old director also wanted to put a powerful woman on the Mad Max map, with Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa.

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” premiering in Australia tonight, follows Furiosa on a mission to rescue a group of beautiful women imprisoned by warlord Immortan Joe.

Lone warrior Max Rockatansky, played by Tom Hardy, is captured by Immortan Joe’s War Boys and finds himself thrown into Furiosa’s plan.    

Furiosa provides the biggest progression in Miller’s world:a hardened female counterpart to Max in a society that reduces women to being “breeders” to the warlord.

“I don’t think a lot of filmmakers really truly have an interest to want to understand what women represent not only in the post apocalyptic world, but the world today,” said Theron, who shaved her hair off to play the warrior.

The new film plays out mostly through a constantly moving car chase across the Australian wastelands. Advances in movie-making technology allow Miller to place cameras in positions that give viewers an adrenaline rush by immersing them in the action.

The director said “Fury Road” is “uniquely familiar” to his first “Mad Max” film trilogy released between 1979 and 1985.

Those movies, which starred Mel Gibson, were also set in a world fueled by fire, rage and war.

Humble beginnings  

The Mad Max franchise is considered one of Australia’s best pop culture exports. 

Film critic, Craig Matheison said the orginal Mad Max  “easily stands as one of the most influential cinematic works in the medium’s modern history.”

The 1979 original was the start of a star career for Oscar winning director George Miller. It also launched the career of Mel Gibson, the original Mad Max who was 23 at the time. 

The original low-budget film cost around $350,000 to make yet earned around $100m at the international box office. It spawned the release of a further two successful movies in the 80s. 

The second installment in 1981 was Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. The budget for this film was reportedly 10 times its predecessor. 

Mad Max 2 is currently ranked the number one Australian film on review aggregator RottenTomatoes广西桑拿,.

The third film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was released in 1985. 

The script of the first film was originally a comic book concept, with no dialogue. 

“One of the ideas that drove the first Mad Max was Alfred Hitchcock’s notion about making films that can be watched anywhere in the world without subtitles,”  Miller said. 

Mad Max: Fury Road to closes Sydney’s Cahill Expressway

A post-apocalyptic procession of tricked-out desert vehicles has caused a three-hour shut-down of Sydney’s busy Cahill Expressway.

SYDNEY CBD: Traffic’s returned to normal after earlier closure of the #CahillExp from #SydneyHarbourBridge to Conservatorium Rd for filming.

— Live Traffic Sydney (@LiveTrafficSyd) May 13, 2015

The colourful demonstration was publicising the latest instalment in the Mad Max movie franchise.

The road between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music was closed between 10am and 1pm as vehicles from the action blockbuster roared into the Sydney Opera House forecourt.

Heavy traffic conditions are expected in the Sydney CBD around Macquarie Street, with buses delayed on Castlereagh, George and Elizabeth streets.

 Currently at 98% on the Tomatometer, looks like #MadMaxFuryRoad is one to see! pic.twitter广西桑拿,/YpexLDRf8o

— Superhero Of Steel (@SuperheroSteel) May 13, 2015

The film is on it’s way to rank among the three highest-grossing Australian films of all time. 

So far, critics like what they’ve seen. 

The creator of the original Mad Max trilogy has whipped up a gargantuan grunge symphony of vehicular mayhem that makes Furious 7 look like Curious George. – Michael Philips, Chicago Tribine

The fourth instalment of George Miller’s punky post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ saga feels like a tornado tearing through a tea party. In an age of weightless movie spectacles, here’s a movie that feels like it was made by kidnapping $150 million of studio money, fleeing with it to the Namibian desert, and sending footage back to Hollywood like the amputated body parts of a ransomed hostage – David Ehrlich for Time Out

Imagine a movie where Tom Hardy is the point of calm. Max’s re-enfranchisement is a triumph of barking-mad imagination, jaw-dropping action, crackpot humour, and acting in the face of a hurricane – Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine Top rated Australian films on Rotten Tomatoes Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior – 100%Breaker Morant – 100%Mad Max: Fury Road – 98%Animal Kingdom – 96%Picnic at Hanging Rock – 94%The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 93%The Piano – 90%Crocodile Dundee – 89%Gallipoli – 88%Shine – 90%Mad Max – 88%Rabbit Proof Fence – 88%  Replacing Gibson

Tom Hardy said he did not try to fill Gibson’s “Mad Max” shoes.

Instead, he sought to further Miller’s vision of the tormented Max, who spends half the film muzzled by his captors and is haunted throughout by visions of his dead family.

“This is George’s world and he’s pushing the boundaries and endeavoring to grow it and develop more the world of the postapocalyptic landscape that it’s set in,” he said.

Tahiti FA director Temarii banned for eight years by FIFA

“The adjudicatory chamber has determined that Mr Temarii’s conduct violated FIFA code of ethics articles on.


.. general rules of conduct, loyalty, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and offering and accepting gifts…,” said FIFA’s ethics committee in a statement.

Temarii, the general director of Tahiti’s FA, was suspended from all football activity for one year in 2010 following an investigation into allegations he offered to sell his vote in the World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters.

Nigeria’s Amos Adamu, a fellow FIFA executive committee member, was banned for three years in the same case.

FIFA’s ethics committee said Temarii then accepted “an amount of 305,640 euros from Mr Mohamed bin Hammam, who was then a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and the AFC President, to cover the costs of his legal expenses in the context of an appeal.”

“Temarii received the money in January 2011 following a meeting with Mr Bin Hammam in November 2010 in Kuala Lumpur,” added the statement.

Temarii, who was also president of the Oceania Football Confederation at the time, lost his appeal.

Qatari Bin Hammam, another FIFA executive committee member, was initially banned by soccer’s world governing body for bribery ahead of the 2011 FIFA presidential elections in which he was standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam eventually overturned the verdict after a lengthy court process only to be suspended following a review of AFC accounts by FIFA who accused him of repeated violations of the ethics code during 2008-2011.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)