Motorists flee California freeway wildfire

by admin on 18/03/2019

Trucks have been burnt out on Interstate 5 in California after another wildfire hit the US state.Truckers abandoned their vehicles and motorists screamed in fear as they came dangerously close to an explosive wildfire in California.
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The blaze shut down about 45 miles of a major interstate near the Oregon border that authorities were desperately trying to reopen.

In one video, a passenger in a vehicle screams: “Oh my God, I want to go!” as nearby trees burst into flames.

“I can’t breathe,” the woman says, sobbing. “Please, guys, come put it out.”

The fire erupted on Wednesday afternoon in a rural area and devoured timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 as it nearly tripled in size overnight, officials said.

Elsewhere in the state, a fire raging in the Sierra Nevada shut down stretches of US 395, State Route 108 and the Pacific Crest Trail along the eastern spine of California.

The US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Centre, campgrounds and other areas were evacuated.

Ranchers were told to prepare to move livestock out of the area in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

The two fires on Thursday were raging just weeks after a blaze in the Redding area killed eight people and burned some 1,100 homes in a frightening start to the fire season.

The two fires destroyed or damaged a combined 8,800 homes and 329 businesses.

“The worst may be yet to come,” Commissioner David Jones warned at a San Francisco news conference, noting California wildfires are typically more destructive after September 1.

Thursday’s blaze along I-5 has blackened 23 square miles, prompting mandatory evacuations.

About 17 trucks were abandoned along the interstate and at least four caught fire, Lieutenant Commander Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol’s Mount Shasta office told the Los Angeles Times.

At least two trucks were partially melted.

US Forest Service workers helped the driver of one flaming truck to safety while truckers, firefighters and others aided more drivers.

Stratton hamstrung after AFL finals loss

by admin on 18/03/2019

Ben Stratton’s AFL season could be over after the top Hawthorn defender suffered a hamstring injury in the qualifying final loss to Richmond.
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The Hawks said on Friday that Stratton suffered a low-grade hamstring strain, ruling him out of next week’s semi-final against Melbourne or Geelong.

“Ben won’t take part in our match next week and will be a test beyond that, depending on how our finals campaign progresses,” fitness boss Andrew Russell told the club website.

Stratton was hurt in the third term on Thursday night at the MCG and he sat out the rest of the game with ice on his right hamstring.

He was unlucky not to make the All-n squad and his absence is a major blow to the Hawks.

It will be the first game he misses this season.

Fellow defender Blake Hardwick also hurt his hip, but was able to return to the match.

Tall utility Ryan Schoenmakers could be back in the side next week after he was a late withdrawal with an Achilles problem.

Clarkson rubbished pre-match speculation that his coaching could prove the difference on Thursday night, calling AFL pundits a pack of sheep.

The four-time Hawthorn premiership coach said Richmond’s system was too strong as the Tigers kicked clear in the second half for a 31-point win.

While Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said Clarkson gave the Tigers coaches some worries, the Hawks coach said system and not tactics were all-important in finals.

“I don’t mean to be too unflattering, but you guys are like a bunch of sheep,’ Clarkson said in his post-game media conference.

“Someone brings up the fact that Clarkson is going to tactically have an impact on this game – you haven’t watched the way I’ve coached for 14 years.

“We’re a system-based … side and that’s why Richmond are so strong at the moment.

“They’re system-based – every side that’s won premierships is system-based, none of it tactics.”

Clarkson was pleased with his team’s effort, but rued their lost opportunities.

He noted while the Hawks had 12 more possessions, but lost the inside 50s by a whopping 67 to 37.

“In games like that, you need to take your chances,” he said.

“But really, the game was won or loss in the intent, in terms of them being prepared to take the ground more than we were.”

Ellis remains in Tigers’ AFL finals mix

by admin on 18/03/2019

Brandon Ellis could return for Richmond’s AFL preliminary final after missing the win over Hawthorn.Brandon Ellis could return for Richmond’s AFL preliminary final, with coach Damien Hardwick saying it was a tough call to drop the defender.
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Hardwick also was confident after Thursday night’s qualifying final win over Hawthorn that star backman Alex Rance would recover in time from his foot injury.

Rance played out the match, but was limping heavily post-match and had ice on his left foot.

Ellis was Richmond’s only omission for the opening match of the finals series, making way as Kane Lambert returned from ankle surgery.

The premiership defender has played 18 games this year and was also dropped earlier in the season.

“His form was pretty good, it’s just we probably didn’t need his skill set (against Hawthorn) and we went a different way,” Hardwick said after the 31-point win.

“He’s such a valuable player for us, so it was really tough leaving him out.

“Obviously, it was upsetting for him and it was upsetting for me.

“I love the kid and the way he plays … just because he wasn’t in the side this week, doesn’t mean he’ll miss out (for the preliminary final).

Rance sent a major scare through Richmond when he limped to the three-quarter time huddle.

“He finished the game, so my assumption is he’s fine,” Hardwick said.

“He’s a really important player to us, so obviously having the week off is beneficial for that and beneficial for a lot of our players.”

The Tigers now have the weekend off before returning to training on Monday and can sit back to see how the rest of the opening finals unfold.

Their preliminary final opponent in a fortnight’s time will come from the Collingwood-West Coast and Sydney-GWS clashes.

Whoever takes on the Tigers for a grand final berth will be trying to end their 22-game MCG winning streak.

Richmond had not been at their best in the month before the finals, but they were outstanding as they held off Hawthorn’s fierce challenge.

“It felt like a Richmond game … it certainly looked like a Richmond game,” Hardwick said.

“It’s funny, you win 18 games, but I was probably looking for what you guys were looking for – thinking, is it there?

“The thing we’ve probably found this year is we can respond when we need to.

“They all stand up and respond.”

Hollywood star Burt Reynolds dies at 82

by admin on 18/03/2019

Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds has died at the age of 82, according to his agent.Veteran Hollywood star Burt Reynolds has died aged 82, his publicist has said.
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A spokesman for Reynolds said the actor died in Jupiter, Florida, on Thursday morning after suffering a heart attack.

Reynolds, whose good looks and charm made him one of Hollywood’s most popular actors, starred in films such as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit in the 1970s and ’80s.

At the peak of his career, Reynolds was one of the most bankable actors in the film industry, reeling off a series of box office smashes until a career downturn in the mid-1980s.

He rebounded in 1997 with a nomination for a best supporting actor Academy Award for Boogie Nights and won an Emmy Award for his role in the 1990-1994 TV series Evening Shade.

Reynolds cited director John Boorman’s Oscar-nominated 1972 Deliverance as his best film, playing tough-guy Lewis Medlock – opposite Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox – in the chilling tale of a canoe trip gone bad in rural Georgia.

He starred in dozens of movies, also including White Lightning (1973), WW and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), Hustle (1975), Nickelodeon (1976) and Semi-Tough (1977).

Reynolds reportedly turned down the roles of Han Solo in Star Wars and John McClane in Die Hard, later saying he was more interested in enjoying himself than pushing himself as an actor.

In his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me, he said: “I didn’t open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn’t interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time.

“As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance.”

Reynolds’ personal life sometimes overshadowed his movies, with marriages that ended in divorce to actresses Loni Anderson and Judy Carne and romances with others, including Sally Field and Dinah Shore.

Reynolds also generated attention for financial woes and his struggles with prescription pain medication.

‘Not me’ cry top Trump aides over article

by admin on 18/03/2019

Donald Trump’s top lieutenants have declared they are not behind a newspaper article written by a senior US government official who claims to be part of a “resistance” working to restrain the president’s most dangerous impulses.
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The denials over the anonymous New York Times column came from cabinet-level officials, all the way up to the office of Vice President Mike Pence.

Senior staff in key US national security and economic policy roles charged the article’s writer with cowardice, disloyalty and acting against America’s interests.

Trump was incensed over the column, and called confidants to vent about the author, solicit guesses as to his or her identity and fume that a “deep state” within the administration was conspiring against him.

He ordered aides to unmask the writer, and issued an extraordinary demand that the newspaper should reveal the author’s identity.

In an interview with Fox News, Trump said it was unfair for the person to pen the editorial anonymously because there is no way to discredit it.

He suggested it “may not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative, it may be a deep state person who has been there for a long time”.

There is a long list of officials who could plausibly have been its author. Many have privately shared some of the article’s same concerns about Trump with colleagues, friends and reporters.

With such a wide circle of potential suspicion, Trump’s top aides felt they had no choice but to speak out.

The denials and condemnations came from secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis and interior secretary Ryan Zinke.

In Washington, the claims of “not me” were echoed from Pence’s office, from energy secretary Rick Perry, from Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, from Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, as well as a host of other US cabinet members.

On Twitter, Trump said: “The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do.”

Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, suggested it “would be appropriate” for Trump to ask for a formal investigation into the identity of the article’s author.

Former CIA director John Brennan, a fierce Trump critic, called the article “active insubordination … born out of loyalty to the country”.

“This is not sustainable to have an executive branch where individuals are not following the orders of the chief executive,” he said.

“I don’t know how Donald Trump is going to react to this. A wounded lion is a very dangerous animal, and I think Donald Trump is wounded.”

The anonymous author, claiming to be part of the resistance “working diligently from within” the administration, said: “Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

“It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room.

“We fully recognise what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”