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Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is praying for a takeover

Rafa Benitez looks increasingly frustrated as Newcastle's poor form continues The Magpies were ..

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  • Rafa Benitez looks increasingly frustrated as Newcastle's poor form continues
  • The Magpies were beaten 1-0 by Bournemouth who scored a late winner
  • They have won one in six and have failed to score in five of 11 matches

By Craig Hope for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:41 EST, 5 November 2017 | Updated: 18:02 EST, 5 November 2017

Rafa Benitez’s voice was hoarse, his answers clipped, his mood lower than his opinion of Mike Ashley. It is starting to look like there is more riding on a takeover of Newcastle United than simply getting rid of the unpopular owner.

This team needs January investment if they are to survive this season, and Benitez knows it. He should be applauded for the job he has done so far with limited resources, but cracks have appeared.

They have won one in six – a somewhat fortunate late victory against bottom club Crystal Palace – and have failed to score in five of 11 matches.

Rafa Benitez looks increasingly frustrated as Newcastle's poor league form continues

Rafa Benitez looks increasingly frustrated as Newcastle's poor league form continues

The Magpies were beaten 1-0 on Saturday by Bournemouth who scored a late winnerThe Magpies were beaten 1-0 on Saturday by Bournemouth who scored a late winner

The Magpies were beaten 1-0 on Saturday by Bournemouth who scored a late winner

Newcastle have only won one game in six  and have failed to score in five of the last 11 matchesNewcastle have only won one game in six  and have failed to score in five of the last 11 matches

Newcastle have only won one game in six and have failed to score in five of the last 11 matches

Benitez was agitated when he came to reflect. He had just let loose in the dressing-room, where players, too, had sounded their frustration with a performance littered with mistakes and lacking in energy and ideas.

‘When you have experience, you know things can go wrong and then everybody will be blaming the others,’ said Benitez.

‘I wasn’t very happy with some of the things I was watching, but now is the time to analyse, to change things, this is a learning process.’

Benitez has already drawn up two lists of transfer targets ahead of the New Year window, one in the eventuality of a takeover going through – Amanda Staveley and her Middle East investment fund are in the due diligence process – and another should he be forced to scrap around for bargain buys with Ashley still at the helm.

Benitez’s mood was hardly helped by the sight of captain Jamaal Lascelles hobbling offBenitez’s mood was hardly helped by the sight of captain Jamaal Lascelles hobbling off

Benitez’s mood was hardly helped by the sight of captain Jamaal Lascelles hobbling off

Either way, they need help, especially in attack, where four strikers have just four goals between them.

They played well for half an hour on Saturday but faded and became disjointed. It was no surprise when they were beaten by Steve Cook’s 92nd-minute header.

Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie scored 16 goals last season but is yet to notch this time around. He, though, feels the criticism of the forwards is unfair.

‘I think it’s a bit harsh to say we haven’t been clinical enough,’ he protested. ‘You’re playing against top defenders, some of the best defenders in the world, and you have to work hard for your chances.’

Newcastle do work hard for their chances – 16 of them here – the problem is they can’t take them. Supporters want Aleksandar Mitrovic to start but Benitez does not trust the Serb and prefers former Stoke frontman Joselu, who is beginning to look over-priced even at £5million.

Eddie Howe was in better spirits amid the gloom as Bournemouth rose out of the bottom threeEddie Howe was in better spirits amid the gloom as Bournemouth rose out of the bottom three

Eddie Howe was in better spirits amid the gloom as Bournemouth rose out of the bottom three

Benitez’s mood was hardly helped by the sight of captain Jamaal Lascelles hobbling away from St James’ Park wearing a protective boot and he will have a scan on his injured ankle today.

At least Cherries boss Eddie Howe was in better spirits amid the home gloom. He was able to call on Jermain Defoe from the bench and it was his snap shot which forced the corner from which Cook scored.

‘I have got no doubt about Jermain,’ said Howe. ‘He looked sharp when he came on and that is trademark Jermain really – no back lift and an early strike, and that got us the corner. I’ve got some really good centre-forward options to pick from.’

Benitez has plenty of options, too, he just can’t pick one to score the goals his side so badly needs.

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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