Final throes – Use of the death penalty in America may be ending | United States


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Here’s how – America’s vaccination roll-out will improve with practice | United States


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Western United beat Perth Glory 5-4 after thrilling eight-goal second half in A-League classic



Geelong’s Kardinia Park has become the scene of a chaotic A-League encounter, with a staggering nine goals scored in Western United’s 5-4 victory over Perth Glory.

Western United snatched the lead through Victor Sanchez after just 10 minutes, before the teams traded eight goals in the space of just 28 minutes during an enthralling second half.

It was a record for most goals scored in the second half of an A-League match.

Dylan Pierias scored a double for Western United during the second term, as did Carlo Armiento for the Glory.

The home team made their early dominance count when Connor Pain squared the ball to Steven Lustica, who cleverly left it for Sanchez to curl a delightful shot into the top corner.

During the week, coach Mark Rudan had demanded more from his captain Alessandro Diamanti and the Johnny Warren medallist responded, returning to his captivating best as Western United’s midfield largely outhustled their Glory opponents.

Glory coach Richard Garcia hooked Daniel Stynes after just 38 minutes in favour of Armiento, who landed the Glory’s first shot on target in added time.

The visitors swung two more changes at the break and burst out after half-time, with star striker Bruno Fornaroli sparking the contest to life.

The Glory marksman shuffled on the ball then laid it off for Armiento to fire home from an angle in the 56th minute.

Two minutes later, Armiento repaid the favour, cutting the ball back for Fornaroli to cheekily back-heel the Glory in front.

In response to the goal, Rudan made three changes, bringing on Pierias, Lachie Wales and Brendan Hamill in one move.

They paid off immediately when Wales burst down the left wing and lifted a cross over the Glory defence for Pierias to head home on 60 minutes.

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Four minutes later, the young attacker — who had not scored in his previous 26 appearances — controlled Tomoki Imai’s cross, outmuscled his opponents and smashed home his second to regain the lead.

Glory quickly responded in the 69th minute when skipper Neil Kilkenny floated a free kick to the back post, where Nicholas D’Agostino snuck in to head home.

In the 75th minute, Western United regained their lead when Wales whipped a ball across the face of goal, with Imai pouncing at the far post.

Three minutes later, Armiento snared his brace when he reacted quickest at a free kick, drilling home a spilt ball to level the scores again.

But it would be Western United who had the last say in the 84th minute.

After a pack of players met Diamanti’s corner, the ball spilled out to Lustica, whose shot took a deflection and rattled home to hand United their first win of the campaign.

AAP

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In the line of fire – What next for the bankrupt NRA? | United States


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Joe Biden sworn in as 46th President of the United States


Democrat Joe Biden has been sworn in as President of the United States, vowing to end the “uncivil war” in a deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic.

While Kamala Harris made history as the first woman, first black person and first Asian American to serve as Vice President.

With his hand on a 12cm-thick heirloom Bible that has been in his family for more than a century, Biden took the oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts that binds the president to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States”.

“Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge,” Biden said in his inaugural address.

“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy… At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

Joe Biden holds up his right hand as he is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Camera IconJoe Biden holds up his right hand as he is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Credit: Saul Loeb/AP

Biden, 78, became the oldest US president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington DC that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the January 6 assault on the Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.

The norm-defying Trump flouted one last convention on his way out of the White House when he refused to meet with Biden or attend his successor’s inauguration, breaking with a political tradition seen as affirming the peaceful transfer of power.

Trump did not mention Biden by name in his final remarks as president on Wednesday morning – when he touted his government’s record and promised to be back “in some form” – but predicted the new administration will have “great success”.

President Donald Trump boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, one last time.
Camera IconPresident Donald Trump boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, one last time. Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

He boarded Air Force One for the last time and headed to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.

Top Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence and the party’s congressional leaders, attended Biden’s inauguration, along with former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, was sworn in by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member.

Biden takes office at a time of deep unease, with the country facing what his advisers have described as four compounding crises: the pandemic, the economic downtown, climate change and racial inequality.

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (L) is sworn in as the 49th US Vice President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Camera IconUS Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (L) is sworn in as the 49th US Vice President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Credit: SAUL LOEB / POOL/EPA

He has promised immediate action, including a raft of executive orders on his first day in office.

After a bitter campaign marked by Trump’s allegations of election fraud, Biden struck a conciliatory tone, asking those who did not vote for him to give him a chance to be their president as well.

“To overcome these challenges to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,” he said.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this – if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

US President Joe Biden hugs first lady Jill Biden, as his son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden look on after he was sworn-in during the 59th Presidential Inauguration.
Camera IconUS President Joe Biden hugs first lady Jill Biden, as his son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden look on after he was sworn-in during the 59th Presidential Inauguration. Credit: ANDREW HARNIK / POOL/EPA

The ceremony on Wednesday unfolded in front of a heavily fortified US Capitol, where a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building two weeks ago, enraged by his claims that the election was stolen with millions of fraudulent votes.

The violence prompted the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives to impeach Trump last week for an unprecedented second time.

Thousands of National Guard troops were called into the city after the siege, which left five people dead and briefly forced lawmakers into hiding.

Instead of a throng of supporters, the National Mall on Wednesday was covered by nearly 200,000 flags and 56 pillars of light meant to represent people from US states and territories.

“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work on our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground,” Biden said.

“It did not happen; it will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

Biden’s inauguration is the zenith of a five-decade career in public service that included more than three decades in the US Senate and two terms as vice president under former president Barack Obama.

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Fulham vs Manchester United LIVE! Starting lineups, team news and Premier League match stream today


F

ulham vs Manchester United LIVE!

Man United are aiming to retake top spot in the Premier League as they travel to west London to face Fulham this evening.

Leicester City’s 2-0 win over Chelsea last night saw the Foxes go top of the table, but United play their game in hand this evening and will leapfrog Brendan Rodgers’ men with a victory.

As for Fulham, Scott Parker’s side have looked more impressive of late after a poor start to the season, but they are struggling to turn draws into wins as they sit four points away from safety – albeit with games in hand over fellow strugglers Brighton and Newcastle.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are likely to meet a stern test tonight despite Fulham’s position in the table – and the Cottagers’ recent draw at Tottenham will serve as a warning that they can compete with some of the best forwards the League has to offer.

With kick-off at 8:15pm GMT, follow all the latest team news and match action with Simon Collings live at Craven Cottage.

Live updates

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Simon Collings at Craven Cottage

Here’s what Simon makes of that team news then…

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Fulham team news

Fulham: Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Tete, Reed, Zambo, Bryan, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman, Ivan Cavaleiro

Subs: Hector, Odoi, Kebano, Mitrovic, Rodak, Ream, Lemina, Onomah, Kamara

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Man United team news

Man Utd: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Fred, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Martial, Cavani

Subs: Mata, Rashford, James, Henderson, Alex Telles, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe, McTominay

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Simon Collings at Craven Cottage

Joe Bryan doing some pre-match media, so he will – as expected – be starting for Fulham.

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We are around 10 minutes away from team news, so watch this space…

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Premier League table as it stands

Here are how things look tonight…

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Parker: Goals now the key

Parker says the next task for Fulham after tightening up their defence is to start putting the ball in the back of the net.

“We’ve got draws, we now need to turn some of those draws into wins. That’s the next big challenge for us. We’ve been able to stay in games, give ourselves a platform, become a lot more solid.

“The fine margins of this division, you need to take your opportunities when they come. To do that, you’ve got to do the hardest thing in the game and that’s put the ball in the back of the net.

“We have one recognised striker in the building in Mitrovic. We understand where we are a little bit light. But this window is a tough window and time’s not on our side, really. We’ll work relentlessly hard to try and improve our attacking play.”

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Parker: Fulham no longer a ‘laughing stock’

Scott Parker thinks Fulham have been transformed from a Premier League “laughing stock” to the battling side they are now.

“We’ve done remarkably well considering where we were at the start of the season,” said Parker. “We were probably the laughing stock in terms of how people were portraying us – never was that the case in-house.

“We’ve done remarkably well to be fighting and punching away like we are – not just with determination and grit, but with a real style about us. It’s clear that you can see a real drastic improvement in our overall game.

“There was a narrative around us at the start of this season and that narrative was probably helped by the previous time we were in this division. We lost two games by more than two goals, that narrative was instantly in people’s heads, ‘Oh look, it’s the same Fulham’.

“I just think people were blurred a little bit by the last time we were here. I can understand why. It was certainly an area we needed to address.”

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Solskjaer impressed by Shaw

One player who has gone under the radar a little at United recently is Luke Shaw, who has kicked on and improved following added competition from Alex Telles – including an excellent display against Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday.

Solskjaer said of the left-back: “Luke has immense quality. He has got very good technique, good quality.

“You see the few times against Liverpool he takes the ball and drives forward. It’s something that I’ve pushed him more to do because we know he can do it.

“It’s generally down to the boy himself. He’s mentally very good at the moment. He has become a dad, he’s physically very good, his fitness is so much better. He keeps beating his high intensity stats, his total distance stats.

“I think he’s been consistently up there with what a full-back should be doing. And when you have the talent of Luke, when that fitness and mental bit is sorted, you are always going to get good performances.”

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Bruno Fernandes expected to start

So, will Bruno Fernandes get a rest tonight? It doesn’t sound like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to bench his star man…

Speaking on Tuesday, Solskjaer told reporters: “His form is very good, He was just voted Player of the Month. He’s not tired, no. No chance. He is one of the players who runs and covers the ground in every single game. Very good at recovering, very good at recharging his batteries.

“If he’d scored his free-kick or just had a little air on the ball when Luke (Shaw) put the cross in, he would have been lauded as the best player in the Premier League again.

“Since he’s come in, he’s been absolutely immense. No, he’s not tired. If I ask him there’s absolutely no chance he’ll say he’s tired.

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Stars and gripes – What to expect from Texas legislature’s new session | United States


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Perth Glory open season against Adelaide United


A timely return of enthusiasm has eased coach Carl Veart’s fears that his Adelaide United side could be caught flat against Perth Glory on Wednesday night at HBF Park.

The Reds haven’t played since beating Melbourne City 2-0 at Coopers Stadium on January 3.

It’s a break of more than two weeks that Veart didn’t want just two games into Adelaide’s season.

“It’s been strange,” Veart said.

“It’s almost like we’ve gone back into pre-season mode so it has been difficult to keep that interest up.”

However, much to his relief, Veart noticed the spark had returned to his squad at training on Tuesday morning.

“You could see the sharpness back and the focus,” the Reds boss said.

“We’re really looking forward to getting back to playing again.”

While the Reds feel like they are virtually restarting their season, the Glory are in fact beginning their A-League campaign.

Having been forced into hard hotel quarantine for two weeks on their return last month from AFC Champions League duties in Qatar, the Glory requested the start to their A-League season be delayed.

Perth’s season was supposed to start last Saturday but the game was pushed back to Wednesday due to COVID-19-enforced border closures and travel restrictions that have caused havoc with the scheduling in the opening mouth of the season.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to get used to for this whole season,” Veart said.

“There’s going to be interruptions all through the season. It’s something that we just have to manage and take it game by game.”

With an eye on Adelaide’s home game on Saturday night against Melbourne Victory, Veart elected not to take Ryan Strain and Javi Lopez – who are recovering from respective groin and knee injuries – to Perth.

“(Strain’s) disappointed that we haven’t taken him for the Perth game, (but) he’s definitely available for Saturday,” Veart said.

The Reds – who are yet to lose under Veart in a seven-matrch spell stretching across two seasons – have had confirmed that following their game against the Victory they will meet Brisbane Roar at Dolphin Stadium on January 30.

Meanwhile, Glory striker Andy Keogh said he was delighted to back in Perth after leaving the club during previous coach Tony Popovic’s tenure.

He said it was “great” to be coached by Popovic’s replacement, Richard Garcia.

“It will be fantastic to work under him and give my all to help him achieve success,” the Irish marksman said.

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Ndombele’s magic guides Tottenham to easy win at Sheffield United


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Tottenham had looked commanding in the first half with Aurier heading in from a corner after five minutes and Kane’s clinical finish doubling their lead in the 40th minute.

In the end it was a routine win, but there was nothing ordinary about Ndombele’s fifth league goal for Spurs.

When Steven Bergwijn popped a ball over the top of the United defence, Ndombele was moving away from goal on the left side of the penalty area.

There appeared no way he could produce an effort on goal but with the outside of his right foot, and with his back to goal, he lifted the ball back over himself and over home keeper Aaron Ramsdale into the far corner.

“Tanguy’s goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the keeper was truly special,” Kane, who bagged his 12th league goal of the season, said.

“Anyone who can put a good spell together (is in the title race), that’s why it has been disappointing and frustrating for us dropping points from winning positions.”

Considering the lift they received by beating Newcastle, Sheffield United were terribly flat in the first half.

Their defence was nowhere when Aurier connected from close range with Son Heung-min’s corner and they were almost punished again soon after when Son was denied by the post.

Tottenham’s second goal stemmed from the hosts trying and failing to play out from the back. Tottenham won the ball and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fed the ball to Kane who did not have much space but dispatched a fizzing low shot past Ramsdale.

Tottenham have been criticised for an overly-cautious approach when leading – and when McGoldrick glanced in John Fleck’s cross, it appeared to be happening again. But Ndomebele ensured this time there was no repeat.

Reuters

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Where bullets fly – America is experiencing the worst recorded increase in its national murder rate | United States


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