An 18-wheeler collided with a train in Milam County, Texas, on Tuesday morning, February 23, causing several fuel tank cars to catch fire, reports said. Milam County Sheriff Chris White shared video from the scene, showing black smoke billowing from the fiery crash in Cameron. Sheriff White wrote on Facebook that the fire was “primarily petroleum,” and that there were no reports of chemical hazards. Officials told local media that both the driver of the truck and the conductor of the train were uninjured. Residents were advised to avoid the area, which was being attended by “numerous” emergency vehicles, White said. Credit: Sheriff Chris White via Storyful
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Russia said Thursday it would respond in kind if the EU imposes sanctions on Moscow over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and a crackdown on protests by his supporters.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell earlier this week said he would propose the bloc impose new sanctions on Russia, as he blasted the imprisonment of Navalny and the crackdown.
Borrell made the comments during an address to the European Parliament after a chastening visit to Russia last week, during which Moscow announced the shock expulsion of three European diplomats.
“I would like to warn our EU partners against taking rash steps,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Thursday.
Any new sanctions, she said, “will inevitably be followed by a proportionate response,” Zakharova added.
Navalny’s supporters have called on the EU to sanction the moneymen they accuse of protecting Putin’s wealth and financing his regime.
The EU’s ties with Russia have been tense since Moscow seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and fuelled the war in eastern Ukraine.
Relations worsened further after Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent domestic opponent, was sentenced to almost three years in prison following his return to Russia last month from Germany, where he had been recovering from a poisoning attack.
His jailing sparked widespread protests across Russia that saw at least 10,000 people detained.
EU foreign ministers are set to discuss their next moves on Russia at a meeting on February 22.
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Collingwood has responded to a report revealing that “systemic racism” has occurred within the club.
A 35-page independent report revealed by the Herald Sun has uncovered that the Magpies have “become synonymous with off-field and on-field racism in Australian sport” and their response to accusations of racism “has been at best ineffective, or at worst exacerbated the impact”.
The ‘Do Better’ report was tabled to Collingwood on December 17 and came about following Heritier Lumumba’s claims that he was the target of racist abuse during his time at the club.
Magpies president Eddie McGuire described the report as a “brave new step” towards repairing the culture of systemic racism.
“This is a historic and proud day for the Collingwood Football Club,” McGuire told reportrers.
“We have spent the last six years in a deep dive into how we can make ourselves better, provide leadership and conversation in the community as only Collingwood can. We have decided as a club that this fight against racism and discrimination is where we want to be.
“We make mistakes. We learn, we strive to be better.
“We commissioned this report not to pay lip services to a worldwide tragedy, but to lay the foundations for our game, our people and our community.
“This isn’t criticism. This is a review. It’s very strong because we asked them to go as hard as they could, so we could have a base to build our club on.
“We wanted to seize the moment, look at world affairs over the last 12 months, and put ourselves head of it.
“What’s happened on my watch is we’ve built a fantastic club, we’ve commissioned this report, we’ve built all sorts of mechanisms for getting involved in the community. We look back and say, in 2021, what is it we need to do?
“It was not systemic racism, as such, we just didn’t have the processes to deal with it that we do now.”
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Western Australia’s move to a snap five-day lockdown, and the procession of states declaring Perth, the Peel Region and the south-west as hotspots, has thrown the state’s sporting teams into a scramble to ensure their seasons can continue.
Those teams currently on the road are being forced to stay living out of suitcases for their immediate futures.
For those teams currently in Western Australia, the issue is getting out of the state — especially when they have matches fixtured and potential quarantines to contend with.
AFLW season in chaos
West Coast and Fremantle both opened their AFLW seasons in Perth, but their scheduled matches in Adelaide on Saturday and Sunday respectively have been postponed, with no rescheduled dates named.
The South Australian Government closed its borders to WA late on Sunday night, asking travellers to quarantine for 14 days.
Adelaide and GWS, who played in WA this weekend, both travelled back to Adelaide yesterday. The Crows are subsequently undertaking their mandatory 14 days of quarantine in Adelaide, while the Giants are able to fly to Sydney on Monday due to the New South Wales Government opting against declaring Perth a hotspot.
However, the Giants players have to isolate in their homes in New South Wales until Friday at 9pm and are not allowed out to exercise.
The reshuffle could potentially throw the AFLW season into chaos, with late changes to travel and fixturing almost certain.
The issue is being handled but the AFL which says “the health and safety of everyone in the game and in the wider community remains the priority and the AFL will continue to be led by government and health officials”.
Many players have jobs outside of football, meaning going into quarantine for the sake of a football game would create a significant logistical issue for the players.
The lockdown also affects the two men’s teams, with training at the Dockers Cockburn headquarters and the Eagles Lathlain base suspended for the rest of the week, with the players not exempt from the state’s lockdown.
Players are limited to spending one-hour outside for exercise, along with the rest of the community.
NBL issues for the Wildcats
The Perth Wildcats’ NBL season was already heavily affected by COVID-19 before this latest lockdown.
Ahead of the season starting, the Wildcats found themselves stranded in Brisbane during that city’s snap three-day lockdown, which saw the WA government close the border with Queensland.
They were granted an exemption to return to WA, but missed the opening round of the season while serving a 14-day quarantine.
They managed just two games before concerns about the virus prevented one opponent, New Zealand Breakers, from travelling to Perth, which forced the postponement of their clash on Sunday, January 31.
Their next match, on Friday, February 5, has also been postponed.
Now, the Wildcats will fly to Sydney — the border between WA and New South Wales is still open — on Monday.
“The Wildcats will temporarily relocate so they can continue to train and play,” NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.
“We thank all of the Perth players, coaches and staff for their support in what is obviously a challenging time for everyone.”
Perth Scorchers lose home ground advantage
In terms of sides at the business end of their season with the most to lose from the lockdown and its consequences, the Perth Scorchers are probably the hardest hit.
They were scheduled to return to Perth last night, but cancelled their flight as news of the lockdown broke.
Instead, they will play their Big Bash preliminary final against the Brisbane Heat on Thursday at Manuka Oval in Canberra, not their fortress Perth stadium.
The Scorchers records at the two grounds could not be more stark.
They are unbeaten in Perth this season, winning four straight games at the venue, while they were comprehensively beaten in their three outings at Manuka, losing twice to the Sydney Sixers and once to the Sydney Thunder.
It is unlikely to get easier, with the Heat boasting a 2-2 record at the ground this season.
The silver lining for the Scorchers is reduced travel and news that the final, if they progress that far, will be played at the SCG — the ground’s first game this Big Bash season.
Perth Glory set for more disruption
Perth Glory’s men’s and women’s sides have also been caught up in the lockdown.
The W-League side has two games scheduled in Victoria this week.
They are meant to play Melbourne City on Thursday, and Melbourne City on Sunday — but it seems unlikely those games will go ahead.
The Glory is waiting for clarity from Football Australia as to what arrangements will be made.
The A-League side is currently on the road, and face Adelaide United at Hindmarsh stadium in Adelaide on Friday night.
They then have an eight-day break before they are scheduled to play Melbourne Victory at home on February 13.
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Scott Spits, the sports reporter for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald who broke the news of the first positive cases linked to the grand slam can understand readers’ responses to the news.
“The decision to plough ahead and stage a major sporting event – with the more than 1200 international arrivals that come with it – is understandably contentious and there’s little surprise our readers, and Victorians and Australians generally, have strong views about it,” he said. “This is a high-stakes situation. The Victorian government and health authorities believe they have the capacity to manage any outbreaks connected with the contingent of Australian Open arrivals and, as a result, they will suffer significant reputational damage if things go awry.
“Equally, Tennis Australia wants to play a key part in Victoria’s revival – economically and by lifting the mood of the community – by successfully running an event that is a mainstay of the state’s major events strategy. In the background there’s the threat – real or imagined – that Australia’s national tennis tournament could lose its grand-slam status due to skipping a year, but opinions are well and truly varied on that.”
These opinions included the following:
Mogly Kingston: “Shouldn’t be happening. Risks are too high. The resources should instead be spent on helping residents return safely. [But] I also feel for professional athletes about to spend two weeks in a small box.”
Aquarius: “As a business owner still under incredibly heavy and limiting restrictions, wondering daily if I’ll have enough money at the next pay cycle to pay my staff, [the AO] makes my blood boil. We are all sacrificing so much, and did so for so long under the last lockdown, how can the government jeopardise this with such a stupid folly? I can’t stand listening to the spin about the possibility of losing grand slam status, it just doesn’t wash when even the Olympics were delayed. Sport is not king.”
Roger Roger: “I am no fan of Daniel Andrews and his leadership during this pandemic … however the decision to proceed with the AO is one he got right. There will be bumps in the road but if they manage quarantining correctly then it will work out fine. We need some return to things people love. It is good for our collective national mental health for these events to proceed so in this instance please lay off Dan and be proud that we can and will host a COVID-free grand slam.”
WillamB: “After months of lockdown and sacrifice by Victorians in 2020 and 800+ lives lost, Mr Andrews is concerned about losing the Australian Open to another country! … Now enormous risks bringing tennis players and support people from countries around the world struggling with the virus. Protect Victorians not the Australian Open.”
Porridge “Zero sympathy for these players. Not a fantastic way to prepare for a tournament but this is our community not theirs. They will be on the next flight out and we will have to clean up the mess if there is an outbreak. They’ll still pocket a very good amount of cash even if they get knocked out in the first round.”
1984: “Reading thru these comments one could think the sky was about to fall in – so much hysteria and rampant speculation about what may happen … I’m more concerned about the tennis players who have to endure 14 days of hard lockdown and the disadvantage that this will place them under. Nevertheless, the optics of the situation don’t look good when you have Victorians stuck interstate who can’t get [home] not to mention all the Aussies stuck overseas.”
Ernie’s Milkcart thinks the AO is being unfairly targeted: “The test for the Australian Open is no different to the Melbourne Cricket Test. And that was not a problem. We also had spring racing in Melbourne. International horses and jockeys. No problem. I do not see the difference … In no way does this event impact on a single Australian trying to get home or someone attempting to travel interstate. Comparing apples and pears.”
Kafem said: “It’s always all about the money, isn’t it?” but neither the money angle nor comparing the cricket to the tennis made sense to Andy: “I don’t understand this from a $$ perspective, with fluid state borders that put interstate spectators at risk on a moment’s notice, international visitors can’t fly in to enjoy it. What was the point? I suppose they’ve done this international sport thing with only a couple of glitches with the cricket – but tennis is different. India is one cricket team and entourage, not lots of individual players with their separate entourages.”
Faith in the willingness of elite sportspeople and their entourages to toe the line was at a low ebb for some readers.
Sonia Henderson: “I’m expecting we will find some bored members of the ‘entourage’ out on the town next week in breach of quarantine.”
DDS:“Let us hope that tennis players are more honourable than some cricketers and football players, and do actually respect their quarantine requirements, otherwise it won’t be long before they are spotted in restaurants, shops etc. And we all know what might happen then!”
While many readers have been damning about the Andrews government’s decision to hold the AO, Matthew asked: “Do you really think the Libs would have cancelled the tennis? These are the guys who think living with COVID is normal. If it was up to the Libs, we would be the same as the UK. Have a look overseas.”
Sue Black: “This must have been an incredibly hard decision to make. Dan has been criticised for being too cautious so he would not have gone ahead unless he really felt we would lose the tournament. Fingers crossed.”
Bill G wants everyone “to calm down. The reason we have a quarantine program for the Australian Open is because we knew that it was highly likely that some of the international arrivals would be COVID positive. The system is working as expected.”
To which Andy 1 replied: “Except that we’ve seen many times before that the virus can escape from quarantine. It’s not a foolproof system.”
Some readers support the event and some are amused by the antics of the players, including their complaints. Doctor h even wonders if “some players might utilise their enforced isolation to focus on improving their mental endurance to deal with unexpected adversity. Hopefully flared tempers will dissipate by February 8 and the AO will be a success.”
Gordon: “I don’t see why [tennis players with an entitled attitude] would turn us off the tennis – it never has in the past. If anything, it is a bonus. We normally expect these players to entertain us on the court, this year they are entertaining us with three weeks until the first serve. I cannot wait for Nick Kyrgios to offer his commentary. The tennis gets better every day this year!”
Online readers of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age made 43,344 comments on 490 stories in the past week.
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Lissa Christopher has more years’ experience as an editor and writer with The Sydney Morning Herald than she cares to count, and is now a print and digital producer for Traveller. She’s a glamper not a camper and wherever she travels she likes to start eating as soon as possible after making it through passport control.
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Police in Tennessee said an explosion that shook buildings in downtown Nashville early on Christmas morning appeared to be an intentional act. The blast, which police said was linked to a vehicle, shattered windows and damaged buildings. Three people were transported to hospital but no major injuries were reported, officials told local media. This footage shows smoke rising from the scene of the blast. Credit: @DJ_PAPA_SMURF via Storyful
“One of the worst, lethargic performances I have seen in the last session of any cricket,” Border said.
“This is Australia A, they are representing Australia, they are young blokes trying to make their way. That fielding performance, bowling performance, captaincy performance – an absolute disgrace. Not up to scratch at all.
“I’m happy for any of those guys to come talk to me about what was going on yesterday afternoon and stand corrected but very ordinary stuff.”
Speaking after the three-day match was called off an hour before stumps on Sunday night, Carey said he was more than happy to chat with Border.
“Absolutely, I love talking to the greats that have been in Australian cricket and picking their brain. One of Australia’s best captains and players, I would love to have a chat with AB,” he said.
“I guess, personally being out there, the attitude wasn’t bad. We were trying. We had difficult situations with our bowlers, as I mentioned, making sure they got the right overs in.
“It was difficult out there with two set batters, and Rishabh (Pant) slogging it the way he did. But I absolutely would love to sit down and chat with AB for all parts of my game.”
The dashing Pant crunched his way to an unbeaten century while Hanuma Vihari also posted an unbeaten ton. The home side was without key fast bowler Sean Abbott (calf) in the final session but the decision to use the tame spin of Nic Maddinson for seven overs was also criticised.
Border, who played a key role in rebuilding the Australian side after the dark days of the mid 1980s, singled out Carey.
“If Alex Carey is in line to be an Australian captain, he has got a lot of work to do. He has gone down quite a few pegs. He is a good cricketer Alex Carey, I like what he brings. He has a bit of energy himself but he should have reacted to the general feel around the team,” he said.
Carey, who supplied a fine 58 with the bat on Sunday, was dropped as a co-vice-captain of the one-day international side in September after a decision was made to streamline the leadership under Aaron Finch. Pat Cummins is now the sole vice-captain but Carey remains high in the selectors’ thinking.
Border’s potent comments were a talking point among the Test squad, for he rarely takes aim in that way at Australian players.
On a day openers Joe Burns (1) and Marcus Harris (5) again failed in their bid to rubber-stamp their Test spots, batsman Ben McDermott (107 not out) and emerging allrounder Jack Wildermuth (111 not out) impressed with the manner in which they handled the Indian attack.
McDermott, the son of former fast bowling great Craig McDermott, used his strong off-side play to log only his second century in 18 first-class matches. At 26, he has struggled to have an impact in his dozen Twenty20 internationals but more knocks like this could have him firmly in long-form calculations.
Queenslander Wildermuth was a thrashing machine and acknowledged his third first-class century, as he and McDermott shared in an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 165 before play was called off an hour early with Australia A 4-307 – 166 runs from victory.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.
Wendy’s Co. has struck a deal with India’s Rebel Foods to open about 250 so-called cloud kitchens across the country, one of the most ambitious efforts yet to serve customers through delivery rather than the traditional fast-food stores as the industry adapts to the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. company is experimenting with a new format as the Covid-19 outbreak makes many consumers unwilling or unable to visit traditional stores. Cloud kitchens, which derive their name from cloud computing, are remote facilities without seating or cashiers that prepare food exclusively for delivery.
Wendy’s, with nine brick-and-mortar outlets in India, said it believes its cloud kitchen alliance is the largest yet in the industry. Rebel Foods, backed by Sequoia Capital and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is the world’s largest cloud-kitchen operator with more than 300 locations.
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“India is one of our high-growth, high-potential markets,” Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s chief development officer, speaking via video conference from the chain’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. “I don’t know of any other global brand that has announced this kind of significant multiyear, multi-unit commitment.”
As lockdowns and social distancing disrupt their business models, fast-food chains are experimenting with a variety of ways to adapt. With deliveries surging, many recognize their existing stores aren’t the optimal way to meet demand and have turned to cloud kitchens, also known as ghost or dark kitchens. Chains like Chili’s, Applebee’s and Chipotle have already set up their own delivery-centric virtual locations.
Wendy’s push in India appears to be the largest cloud-kitchen outsourcing deal announced yet, based on the number of locations. Leading startups such as CloudKitchens and Virtual Kitchen, which work with a range of brands in the U.S. and abroad, have fewer than 100 sites. One fast-food operator in Thailand said it plans to open 100 cloud kitchens within five years.
Wendy’s, with 6,800 restaurants in 30 markets worldwide, followed rival burger chains like McDonald’s Corp. into India, opening its first restaurant in New Delhi in 2015. It plans about 150 physical stores over the next decade, in addition to the cloud kitchen push. Sierra Nevada Restaurants, the chain’s franchise partner, will help with both initiatives.
“India is one of the most under-penetrated markets on earth” for quick-serve restaurants, said Jasper Reid, managing director of Sierra Nevada.
Wendy’s, once known for its “Where’s the beef?” tagline, has particular challenges in India, where the majority of citizens worship cows as sacred. Its local menu items include chicken chili, masala fries and the best-selling 69-rupee ($0.93) bun tikki, a spicy potato cutlet served between two burger buns.
Rebel Foods, co-founded by former McKinsey & Co. alum Jaydeep Barman and his INSEAD business school classmate Kallol Banerjee, helped pioneer the cloud kitchen concept. The duo operate their own restaurant brands and are expanding into outsourcing for chains like Wendy’s. With money from Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Travis Kalanick, along with Sequoia and Goldman, the company has grown to hundreds of kitchens across countries including India, Indonesia and the U.K.
Leveraging the fixed costs of tightly packed, centralized kitchens, it serves far-flung customers who have no idea where their food is prepared. With space-saving, stacked kitchens located in low-cost sites like industrial complexes or side alleys, its model helps side-step the costs of running traditional restaurants with seating and wait staff.
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of food delivery around the world. In the U.S., deliveries now account for more than 5.5% of Wendy’s overall business, while they’ve reached 11% in Canada.
“For generations, brands building a national presence relied solely on a brick-and-mortar strategy and made significant investments over decades,” said Banerjee on a video conference call. Cloud kitchens are aimed at helping chains expand “at far lower levels of capital.”
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International teams have tried for years to dismiss Smith the traditional way: through line and length. It has cost them time, effort and plenty of runs.
I don’t necessarily see Smith as being any more vulnerable to the short stuff than any other player but teams will use this tactic because he is so strong elsewhere.
As well as Neil Wagner bowled against him last year, it should be pointed out Smith still averaged 43 and Australia won the series 3-0. Teams will have taken note that his strike rate of 34 was well below usual, so at the very least they can dry up his runs.
To me, it comes down to attitude for Smith. I recall an Ashes Test at the SCG in 1995 where we were chasing 449 over about a day and a half. Devon Malcolm, who was one of the fastest bowlers in the world, was posing many concerns to me with his short-pitched bowling.
I decided to take him on as I would rather go down swinging than popping one up to bat pad or the man they had set up around the corner. After I nailed a few hook shots and got off to a flyer – it was one of the few times I scored faster than Michael Slater – England adopted a more conventional line and length strategy. This aggressive approach helped Slats and I: we both made centuries and we saved the game.
Or he could adopt Steve Waugh’s strategy. Waugh, who was dubbed the Ice Man for his steely resolve, stopped playing the hook shot, opting to wear a few instead. A lot of us thought in the dressing room: ‘How can you keep going like this?’, but he was mentally strong and extremely determined. His record suggests it worked for him.
I don’t have any doubts over Smith’s courage but I suspect he will want to take it on.
That said, Smith has the temperament to absorb the blows as he is one of the few players I’ve seen who is not bothered if his score is not ticking along. Some players feel the pressure and get out to rash shots but Smith just keeps batting and batting – probably because he loves it so much.
The Test series is the main prize but if India are to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy they will need to play well in the one-day internationals and Twenty20s.
If they struggle and negativity pervades the camp this could be big trouble for them, especially with captain Virat Kohli to leave after the first Test.
I won’t do a Glenn McGrath and declare a whitewash but it becomes a distinct possibility if Australia can maintain their perfect record in the pink-ball Test and go one up in Adelaide.
India need to stamp their authority in the white ball games and show the Australians they are up for the challenge. It could be trouble otherwise.
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In the episode, Mary’s Group founders Jake Smythe and Kenny Graham criticised the work ethic of some young hospitality workers, calling some of them “Whiny f***ing c***s”.
The discussion came after the pair talked about the working conditions of “old hospitality” where “tyrannical, abusive bosses” were common in the industry.
“There’s no way any of us were happy to be working under tyrannical, abusive bosses…It was all-out war in kitchens and it needed to change,” Jake Smythe said in the podcast earlier this month.
Do you know more about this story? Email Hack@abc.net.au
However Smythe said there had been an “over-correction” of abusive culture in hospitality some years ago; the culture in place today, he said, made it hard for owners to run their businesses “without offending somebody.”
In the episode Smythe added that not all young hospo workers were “entitled”.
Jake Smythe told Hack that the podcast had been unfairly “distilled into sound bites” and critics weren’t seeing the full picture of his views.
“I’m actually a millennial, I’m a young person. I completely understand this which is why our company has worked tirelessly and will continue to do that, to be champions of this exact topic. What I do find difficult is when things are distilled down to sound bites that don’t represent my actions as a whole.”
“At Mary’s Group and every single venue we operate, we are absolute champions of young people and of work-life balance for them.”
The podcast has drawn criticism on social media. Australian Unions said, “In an industry rife with wage theft, insecure work and exploitation, it’s the workers who are entitled”; Hospo Voice labelled the comments as “tone deaf”.
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In a statement today which called the reaction to the SMH article a “public shaming” and contained an apology to Mary’s Group workers who felt hurt by the comments, Jake Smythe and Kenny Graham also acknowledged that the hospitality industry has a long way to go with a number of issues.
“Wage theft and crushing work conditions still exist in corners of the industry.
“Mental health pressures are exacerbated by the ready supply of alcohol and the normalisation of drug use. As humans who wrestle with these issues personally, there is a fine line to walk between normalising these behaviours and encouraging people to explore their own agency and support that path.”