Weeping South Africans say goodbye to slain captain Meyiwa

The mood was in part sombre, with red-eyed fans sobbing or blowing into tissues as a hearse carrying the 27-year-old’s flag-draped coffin drove around the stadium, and at times festive as they blew vuvuzela horns and sang soccer chants.

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Meyiwa was shot and killed in what appeared to have been a botched robbery at his mistress’s house on Sunday night, highlighting the scourge of gun violence in Africa’s most advanced country.

One suspect, Zanokuhle Mbatha, has been arrested after witnesses picked him out in an identity parade. The 25-year-old briefly appeared in court on Friday and will reappear on Nov. 11. Police had issued identikits of two black men on Tuesday.

“We’ve got every reason to be angry about Senzo,” Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula told the mourners. “Justice is grinding and we will find them. We will never rest until we find all of them.”

Meyiwa’s death came days after the jailing of paralympian Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder lurking in his luxury Pretoria home in the capital of crime-ridden South Africa.

The country remains one of the world’s most violent, although the murder rate been dropping gradually. Police recorded more than 17,000 murders last year, or 31 per 100,000 people – seven times the rate in the United States.

An average 50 guns are reported lost and stolen every day from licensed owners, according to lobby group Gun Free South Africa.

TEARFUL FAREWELL

“Lest we forget, this is not the first time that an icon of this nature departs in the fashion that Senzo departed,” said Kaizer Motaung, founder of the Kaizer Chiefs, the main rivals to the Orlando Pirates club Meyiwa played for.

Thousands of people braved drizzling rain in the 85,000 Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a short distance from the Umhlazi township where Meyiwa was born.

Most of the crowd wore the Pirates’ red or black colours but there was also a sprinkling of the yellow worn by the Chiefs.

Team mates and mourners wiped away tears as they watched video clips showing father of three Meyiwa training, diving to make saves, or pumping his arms in celebration of a win.

Meyiwa had captained South Africa in their first four African Nations Cup qualifiers over the last two months without conceding a goal.

Two other sporting icons died within days of Meyiwa. Former world 800 metres champion and Olympic silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car accident last week.

Light middleweight Phindile Mwelase, 31, also passed away last week after a knockout punch in a fight against Liz Butler two weeks ago put her in a coma.

(Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ken Ferris)

New Zealand ready for Pakistan challenge

New Zealand’s cricketers are looking forward to pitting their wits against the in-form Pakistani spin attack in the forthcoming three-match Test series according to bowling coach Shane Bond.

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Pakistan are currently in a strong position to beat Australia 2-0 in their ongoing contest thanks largely to the effectiveness of their spinners.

Bond admitted the Pakistanis will be tough opponents on the dry pitches of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which will help slow bowlers.

“I think this is a really good challenge for us,” Bond told reporters.

“It has been a good last year for us and Pakistan are also playing well. This is going to be real good measure of us as a team and so we are looking forward to it,” added the former bowling ace.

The Black Caps will start the tour with a three-day warm-up game against Pakistan ‘A’ — a second string team — in Sharjah on Monday.

The first Test starts in Abu Dhabi on November 9.

“Pakistan as a team have been difficult for a long time. They are in their own conditions though they are not in Pakistan,” said Bond, who played 18 Tests in which he took 87 wickets and 82 one-day games, taking 147 wickets.

“So Pakistan in these kind of conditions are very tough and there are extra young players coming through we have seen.

“We are coming in fresh and Pakistan will have played two Test matches and this will see them play five in a row.”

The second Test between Pakistan and New Zealand will be in Dubai from November 17 followed by the third in Sharjah from November 26.

They will then play two Twenty20 games followed by five one-day internationals against Pakistan.

Hussey fires, Vics 3-265 in Shield clash

David Hussey has dolled out a first-class cricket lesson, hitting a classy century to put Victoria in a good position at the end of day two of their Sheffield Shield clash with NSW.

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Hussey finished 107 not out at the MCG on Saturday as the Bushrangers reached 3-265 in response to NSW’s first-innings total of 366.

The 37-year-old attacked debutant spinners Will Somerville and Patrick Jackson, but showed more deference when facing the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Gurinder Sandhu.

Hussey brought up his 18th Shield ton in style, effortlessly crashing offspinner Jackson for a six over the long-on fence.

There was scarcely a false stroke in the three hours preceding.

Captain Matthew Wade (58 not out) was a fine foil in an unbeaten stand of 135 runs, the most productive partnership of the game.

The knock was fitting reward for a hard-hitting batsman who could easily have followed the Twenty20 gun-for-hire path beaten by former teammates Brad Hodge and Dirk Nannes.

“I really enjoy playing first-class cricket,” said Hussey, who played over 100 limited-overs matches for Australia.

“I’ve always said I’ll never stand in the road of someone who is going to play for Australia.

“In this group we’ve got probably four or five young batters who possibly can be the backbone of the Australian cricket team for the next 10 or 15 years.

“I’m just happy playing, scoring a few runs and trying to teach our younger kids how to bat for longer periods of time.”

The innings came two weeks after Hussey’s dad Ted died.

“The last couple of weeks weren’t easy,” he said.

“But it’s probably my utopia, batting. It’s pretty easy to just focus on the ball and not worry about external stuff.”

NSW captain Peter Nevill top-scored against his former side with 87, being one of four Blues batsmen that failed to convert a half-century into a ton.

Rob Quiney (43) and Marcus Stoinis (37) both made starts for the hosts, but failed to go on with it.

“I was lucky enough to get a good partnership with Matt Wade, who probably proves he’s one of the best batters in the country – let alone batter-keepers,” Hussey said.

Wade, recalled by Australia for the upcoming one-day series, and fellow wicketkeeper Nevill both performed well under the gaze of national selector Mark Waugh.

Nevill shared a final-wicket stand with Hazlewood worth 89 runs as the visitors added 100 to their overnight total, then pouched a sensational diving catch to remove Quiney.

Cricket-Australia collapse and face battle to save series

Pakistan, who declared their first innings on 570-6, did not force the follow-on even though Australia fell 110 runs short of the mark and decided instead to set them a target to chase.

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Mitchell Johnson removed both their openers in the second innings, but Pakistan, who comprehensively won the first test in Dubai, stretched their overall lead to 370 at the close.

Younus Khan, who has hit 106, 103 not out and 213 in his last three innings in the series, was unbeaten on 16 with Azhar Ali on 21.

The Pakistani bowlers had earlier generated enough turn, bounce and reverse swing from a lifeless track to run through the tourists.

Imran Khan claimed three for 60, impressing both with the new and old ball, while fellow paceman Rahat Ali and the spin duo of Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah claimed two wickets apiece.

David Warner, who had started Australia’s reply with three fours in Imran’s first over on Friday, chased a short and wide Rahat delivery to find the point fielder and depart on 19.

There was never any doubt about Glenn Maxwell’s aggression but a brisk 37 failed to answer the lingering questions about whether the 26-year-old has the temperament to succeed at test level, especially in the crucial number three position.

Before being dismissed by Rahat, Nathan Lyon survived several leg-before appeals as Pakistan resisted wasting reviews on a nightwatchman.

They did not hesitate, however, to seek a review to dismiss the scoreless Steve Smith, who was hit on the pad by a Babar delivery.

Clarke, who added 64 runs with Marsh for the sixth wicket, looked decisive against the spinners, taking big strides and using his feet to get to the pitch of the ball.

It was reverse swing, which ultimately proved his undoing.

After repeatedly failing to middle Imran’s reverse-swinging balls, Clarke had his middle stump pegged back by one that curved back from outside the off stump and went through the bat-pad gap.

Brad Haddin braved a shoulder injury that had forced him off the field on Friday to contribute 10 runs before leg-spinner Shah’s double strike deepened Australia’s crisis.

Marsh fell 13 runs short of his maiden test century, hitting a full toss from Khan to the mid-on fielder to depart after a defiant knock that included 13 fours and a six.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Toby Davis)

Virgin Galactic to press on with space tourism after crash

Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides said the crash is a tragedy, but has not changed the company’s commitment to developing space tourism.

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“Space is hard and today was a tough day,” he said.

“We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened; and we’re going to get through it.

“The future rests on – in many ways – hard days like this. But we believe, we owe it to the folks who were flying these vehicles, as well as the folks who have been working so hard on them, to understand this and to move forward.

One pilot was killed and another seriously injured when a Virgin Galactic spaceship crashed in the desert, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol said.

The injured pilot was taken to hospital, a spokesman said.

The flight took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 150 kilometers north of Los Angeles.

The company said a “serious anomaly” resulted in the crash.

“Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so,” it said in a statement.

FAA investigates crash

The US Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation into the incident, while the US National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) said it is “in the process of collecting information”.

Former senior NTSB investigator Greg Feith told said the NTSB and FAA are likely to treat the investigation in the same way as it would treat a crash involving a commercial airliner.

“They will be looking a rocket fuel. They will be looking at the entire launch sequence. It will be conducted as if the FAA were conducting a major investigation of an aircraft, a commercial airliner,” he told CNBC.

“So there is going to be a lot to be done, but it is too early to even speculate because there is no real solid information at this point.”

Eyewitness reports mid-flight explosion

Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw a midflight explosion and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert.

Blogger Doug Messier with space news website Parabolic Arc said he witnessed the crash from a station overlooking the crash site in the Mojave desert.

鈥淲e saw the twin contrails of WhiteKnightTwo overhead. They do that prior to a drop,鈥?he tweeted.

鈥淪paceShipTwo dropped. From what I could tell, motor fired and then stopped then fired again. I think that鈥檚 what happened.鈥?/p>Richard Branson travels to crash site

Part-owner of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson said he is flying to Mojave to be with his Virgin Galactic team in the wake of the crash.

Thoughts with all @virgingalactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.

鈥?Richard Branson (@richardbranson) October 31, 2014Concerns over the dangers of space tourism

Former corporate pilot Anthony Roman said the crash underscores the dangers of space tourism.

“The early airlines of the ’20s were a risky endeavour and went down with some regularity; so did the early single engine, single pilot aircraft.

“And it’s a series of technological steps and mishaps; and learning from these mishaps and the sucesses that eventually build to modern and safe technology.”

Retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly said despite the risks, space tourism will be a reality in the future.

“I know Richard Branson is not doing this so he can bring passengers to an altitude of 68 miles and safely back to the ground.

“You know, ultimately he and others envision the way you would get – let’s say from Los Angeles to London, would not be on an airplane. Somewhere in the future [it] would be on a spaceraft.

“If I was take off in a space shuttle from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and land in London, I could do that in about 25 minutes. You know the future is that travel around this planet will be in a spaceraft and not necessarily in an aircraft.”

The test flight was part of Virgin Galactic’s long-running program to prepare the SpaceShipTwo for trips in outer space.

More than 800 people have booked flights aboard the spaceship, which takes people 100 kilometres above the Earth, offering them an experience of a few minutes of weightlessness.

The tickets cost as much as $250,000, with actors Angelina Jolie and Tom Hanks among those who have booked a spot.

The spaceship is based on an award-winning prototype that was recognised a deacde ago as the first privately developed manned spacecraft to fly in space.

The accident is the second this week by Virgin airlines. On Tuesday, a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station exploded 15 seconds after liftoff from Wallops Island, Virginia.

Teenager Coric is a man on a mission

It is a lofty claim but the 17-year-old from Zagreb has already taken giant strides this year, collecting some notable scalps to crack the world’s top 100 — the youngest player to do so since Rafa Nadal burst through in 2003.

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Coric’s victory over 14-times grand slam champion Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Swiss Indoor tournament last week capped a remarkable 12 months for the latest player to roll off the Croatian production line.

In April he beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz in five sets in a Davis Cup clash in Poland, in August he qualified for the U.S. Open before beating Lukas Rosol in the first round and a few weeks later he won his first ATP Challenger title in Turkey.

In reaching the semis in Basel his ranking rose to 93, a rise of more than 400 places from last year.

Yet, despite all that, the remarkably self-assured teenager took the bold decision to split with his coach of two years, Briton Ryan Jones, before the Swiss Indoors.

Asked why he had made the decision, Coric spoke with the authority of a player mapping out his destiny.

“It has been a very good two years but we had some small disagreements and when you are travelling for two years with the same guy you can get a bit stuck,” Coric told Reuters in an interview.

“I felt it was not as good as before so I thought I shouldn’t wait for the bad times to come, I’m gonna find a new coach and I want to do it now.

“If you want to become number one you need to stay on top of everything.”

There will be no shortage of applicants for the post but until a new coach is named Coric will continue having daily chats with former Wimbledon champion and Croatian hero Goran Ivanisevic, a man he calls his mentor.

“I talk to Goran every day, he has been a great influence on my career so far,” said the teenager. “He’s a fighter, like all the Croatian players, and it’s great to hear his advice.”

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Marin Cilic, the player Ivanisevic guided to the U.S. Open title this year, is also a big fan of Coric.

“He’s an amazing talent, it’s amazing spirit that he has, and he’s a big fighter,” Cilic told Reuters at the Paris Masters this week.

“He has got something in himself that you can’t create, something that God gives you, he doesn’t take no for an answer.”

Coric had just been crowned U.S. Open junior champion last year when he was called up for Croatia’s Davis Cup tie against Britain and a baptism of fire against 2013 Wimbledon winner Andy Murray.

While the 6-3 6-0 6-3 defeat looks an emphatic beating on paper, those who witnessed the 16-year-old in action for the first time were busy scribbling down the name of Coric as a future champion in the making.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “In the third set I had a 3-1 lead and a point for 4-1. I think at that moment I realised I could play with these guys and I realised what I needed to do.”

Firstly he got stronger, spending two hours a day in the gym to help prepare his 6-foot-1 frame for life on tour.

“It’s very physical tennis but I think I have been doing very well on that aspect for the past year now so I have got much stronger and bigger and can cope in a physical way,” said Coric.

Apart from 19-year-old Australian Nick Krygios, Coric is the only teenager in the top 100 in the rankings but if proof were needed that he belonged there his 6-2 7-6 defeat of an ailing Nadal provided it.

The Spaniard, who decided to end his season after that defeat because of appendicitis, was not at his best but the Croatian was ruthless against the man he spent seven days training with in Mallorca at the end of last year.

“I was nervous before but at the same time I knew I had to show not too much respect, I needed to be normal,” he said.

Coric’s style and demeanour, not dissimilar to world number one Novak Djokovic, oozes confidence and he says he wants to reach the top 50 next year.

“I can’t stop here, I have to work to achieve something bigger,” he said.

“(Having people know who I am) is a good pressure. I know I will have to train harder now, put in more work on the court. But I’m looking forward to next year.”

(Additional reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Tony Jimenez)

Economics of the Americas hit the fast track at Texas car auction

Classic cars from around the world will be headed to the auction block on Saturday, with a large contingent of the buyers likely to be Latin Americans in Austin for the F1 United States Grand Prix, one of the best-attended races on the F1 circuit.

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“Texas is a hub where you can do these kind of exchanges for beautiful, tangible assets around the world and target the Latin American market,” said Antonio Brunet, president and founder of the Motostalgia auction house that is running the event.

In places like Argentina, which has one the world’s highest inflation rates at around 40 percent on a yearly basis, classic cars are seen as one asset that can be sold on the global market and be used as a hedge against a troubled economy at home.

The F1 in Austin attracts about 60,000 people from Mexico, who are fans of the sport and willing to travel to Texas for the race just across the border, according the Circuit of the Americas, which hosts the race.

Mexico has seen the number of its affluent swell in recent years as per capita GDP has boomed by 56 percent from 2003 to 2013, according to World Bank data.

The F1 race generates about $900 million (563.15 million pounds) for the local economy, the Circuit of the Americas estimates and a small bit of that will be spent at the Motostalgia auction.

The headline car from last year’s event, a 1950 Cisitalia Abarth 204 A Spyder Sport that was found in Argentina, sold for $3.5 million. The sleek silver Italian two-seater that was the last car raced to victory by legendary driver Tazio Nuvolari.

One of the featured cars this year is a 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 coupe that belonged to a collector in Guatemala and is expected to fetch between $285,000 to $325,000. Final results from the Saturday auction will take about a week to complete.

“Latin Americans and Mexicans have been doing business and transactions in Texas for decades. F1 has brought the car culture and business culture all together in one weekend and one place,” said Brunet.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Anzac prime ministers honour WWI troops

In a war that engulfed the world, the young Anzac nations were the hardest hit, forging an unbreakable brotherhood between them.

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Those were the reflections of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his New Zealand counterpart John Key at the most solemn of the centenary commemorations in Albany, Western Australia, on Saturday – 100 years to the day since the first convoy of troops departed for World War I.

The war to end all wars proved a baptism of fire for the two colonies, Mr Abbott told the thousands of spectators near the spot where those servicemen set sail.

“The scale of sacrifice and loss was beyond anything imaginable,” Mr Abbott said.

“From a population of under five million (in Australia), 417,000 enlisted.

“61,000 never came home.

“Of Australian men aged 18 to 42, almost one in two served in uniform. Of those who served overseas, almost one in five died on active service.

“It was sacrifice on a stupendous scale and it was a sacrifice shared by our neighbour New Zealand.”

Mr Key said it was the nations’ coming of age, which suffered the most of all who took part on the bloody conflict.

“As the New Zealanders’ vessels met the Australian vessels, the cheering and counter-cheering, the Maori war cries and the answering cooees would have moved a stoic,” he said.

“Young Australia was welcoming young New Zealand … in the first meeting of those brothers in arms, soon to be known by a glorious name.

“And the very first part of their legend was written here.”

Mr Key said the growing number of people honouring the Anzac legend was testament that their memory would not be forgotten.

“We give thanks to the privileges we enjoy today because of their efforts,” he said.

Silver Ferns to rebuild for World Cup

New Zealand’s well-documented shooting woes aren’t the only area of concern for Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu.

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While midcourt stocks are at encouraging levels, Taumaunu says the defensive end of the court could also do with some bolstering.

With the netball World Cup in Sydney just nine months away, there’s not much down time for Taumaunu to dwell on New Zealand’s much-improved second Test performance against England.

After losing the first Test 38-42 in Rotorua on Tuesday, the Silver Ferns stormed back in Palmerston North on Friday with an emphatic 52-38 win.

Evergreen goal shoot Irene van Dyk’s retirement and goal attack Maria Tutaia’s season-ending foot injury has exposed a lack of depth in the shooting circle.

Bailey Mes, Jodi Brown and Ameliaranne Wells converted a dire 62 per cent of their shots in Rotorua, but Cathrine Latu and Brown impressed in Palmerston North with 83 per cent accuracy.

Taumaunu admits New Zealand needs to build shooting depth, but says she doesn’t believe much more could have been done earlier.

“When you’re fortunate enough to be able to call on Maria and Irene for 10 years, it doesn’t matter what’s been going on underneath, they’re going to be the ones you put on court.

“This day was coming.”

It’s been a challenging year for the Silver Ferns. Their gold medal loss to Australia at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games was followed by four straight losses in the Constellation Cup, and capped off by the defeat at English hands in Rotorua.

Taumaunu is taking the weekend off to unwind from what she describes as a pretty tough three months, but after that it’ll be straight back to work.

“We need to think about the next eight months leading into the world champs and the changes we need to make,” she said.

“We’ll be starting that on Monday.”

Garvey and Hemsworth draw Derby Day crowds

An awkward run-in between Blake Garvey and his ex-fiancee Sam Frost had tongues wagging on Derby Day, while Hollywood A-lister Chris Hemsworth played the strong, silent type.

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Australian and international stars braved Saturday’s wind and rain in their monochrome best to party in Flemington’s famous Birdcage.

Such was the frivolity it was a wonder anyone even realised the Chris Waller-trained Preferment had won the Victoria Derby over on the racetrack.

In the Swisse marquee, real estate agent and male strip company owner Garvey (the Bachelor) was playing happy families with Terry, the father of his new girlfriend and third-placed bachelorette, Louise Pillidge.

Pillidge was at a wedding, which was probably a good thing given Frost, who Garvey proposed to on the show before promptly dumping her, rocked up at the tent before making a swift exit.

At Johnnie Walker’s House of Walker marquee, Hemsworth put on his best strong, silent performance.

Fans and the media gathered for nearly an hour to see Thor, but when the dapper 31-year-old finally emerged on the balcony he didn’t say a word, posing serious-faced for 60 seconds before retreating.

Also turning heads was race day regular Jennifer Hawkins, who sizzled on her 10th year in the Melbourne Cup Carnival Birdcage.

She wore a sexy but classy figure-hugging black lace Alex Perry dress with a plunging neckline.

Megan Gale rocked her new-mum glow as she and her AFL player partner Shaun Hampson mingled with fellow models Ashley Hart and Montana Cox.

Italian designer and brand ambassador Margherita Missoni hung out at the Lavazza marquee, where Beyonce’s sister Solange Knowles performed for the crowd.

Missoni admitted she didn’t get the monochrome memo after arriving in a colourful dress, pink wedges and floral crown.

Meanwhile, Kate Peck won the award for bringing the most security guards.

The Myer ambassador had eight bodyguards in tow as she swanned around Flemington wearing the most expensive hat in the world.

Created by milliner Natalie Bikicki and jeweller John Calleija, it featured 1264 white diamonds worth a cool $3 million.