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Australia Test team
Australia’s Patterson earns late call-up for Sri Lanka tests
21 January 2019, 6:11 AM

Australia have called up Kurtis Patterson for their two-test series against Sri Lanka starting in Brisbane on January 24 after the New South Wales batsman scored two centuries in a warm-up match against the tourists.

The uncapped Patterson scored unbeaten knocks of 157 and 102 for a Cricket Australia XI in Hobart last week.

“Kurtis has joined the squad in Brisbane today to commence our preparations for the first test starting on Thursday. We have been asking batters around the country to score hundreds if they want to be considered for selection. Given Kurtis’s consistent performances for NSW and his two unbeaten centuries in last week’s tour match against our upcoming opponent, Sri Lanka, we believe he deserves to be added to the test squad,” national selector Trevor Hohns said.

Patterson has played 58 first-class matches, scoring 3,813 runs with six centuries and 26 half-centuries at an average of 41.

Toyota and Panasonic
Toyota and Panasonic set to join venture on battery production
21 January 2019, 5:47 AM

Toyota Motor Corp and Panasonic Corp are set to launch a joint venture next year to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV) in an effort to compete with Chinese rivals, a source familiar with the matter said.

The joint venture, to be owned 51 percent by Toyota and the rest by Panasonic, could also provide batteries to Toyota’s EV technology partners Mazda Corp and Subaru Corp, the source said on Sunday.

The source declined to be identified because the talks on the joint venture are private.

A joint venture would build on the agreement that the pair announced in late 2017 on joint development of batteries with higher energy density in a prismatic cell arrangement.

A Toyota spokesman said the two companies have been working on the battery partnership announced in 2017 and declined to comment further. Panasonic made the same comment in a statement.

The two companies may announce the joint venture plan as early as this week, according to the source.

The battery joint venture will help Toyota achieve an annual sales target of around 1 million zero-emission battery EVs and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) by 2030.

It will also give Panasonic cost and scale advantages in battery production at a time when China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology has grown to be on par with the long-time industry leader on the back of the rapidly growing home market.

Panasonic, the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla Inc’s current production models, could also reduce its heavy reliance on the United States (US) EV maker whose production delays previously weighed on the Japanese company’s earnings.

Panasonic is set to lose its exclusivity as Tesla plans to source cell production locally at a new auto plant in Shanghai, “most likely from several companies” including Panasonic, Elon Musk, Tesla chief executive, tweeted in November.

The reported joint venture plan boosted shares of Panasonic by as much as 4 percent on Monday, whereas Toyota shares were almost flat.

Under the planned joint venture, Panasonic would shift most of its prismatic battery-related equipment and facilities in Japan and China to the joint venture, while those producing batteries for Tesla will remain under the company, the source said.

Panasonic already makes prismatic batteries for Toyota, whereas for Tesla it makes cylindrical batteries of a type similar to those used in laptops.

It’s not clear yet how Panasonic would supply its prismatic batteries to other automotive clients, which include Honda Motor and Ford Motor.

Soccer Premier League
PSL battles hot up
18 January 2019, 12:51 PM

Bidvest Wits have a chance to stretch their lead in the ABSA Premiership when they visit Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Mamelodi Sundowns are hot on their heels in third place and a win against Highlands Park will place them second within touching distance. Sundowns have three games in hand though.

It’s still early days to predict which club will finally clinch the ABSA Premiership but all the teams which occupy the top eight bracket have a chance of winning it.

Contenders Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloem Celtic will all be in action over the next 5 days.

The Students are expected to consolidate their top position on the log when they face Polokwane City on Sunday.

Sundowns, who are yet to lose a match, will find it tough against a rejuvenated Highlands Park on Tuesday. On the same day, Pirates face Baroka.

Black Leopards will be up against Golden Arrows on Saturday. Lido da duvha emerged from the relegation zone unscathed.

Their top striker Mwape Musonda is joint top league goal scorer with Mothobi Mvala of Highlands Park and Cape Town City striker Siphelele Mthembu. Arrows have collected four points in their last two games.

Also on Saturday, a relegation battle is looming as Chippa United prepare to host Maritzburg United, who are bottom of the log. After 17 games Maritzburg have only won one, lost eight and drew eight.

Chippa who are second from the bottom, have won two, lost nine and drew six.

Bloem Celtic has done enough to convince their peers that they belong in the top five.

Despite their dire financial and administrative problems that were laid bare in the public. They have managed to salvage a respectable position seven on the log. They will need to dig deep when they face SuperSport United in Sunday’s encounter.

F-35 warplane
Singapore chooses F-35 warplane to replace fighter jets
18 January 2019, 12:00 PM

Singapore has chosen the F-35 warplane to replace its ageing fighter jets, opting for the United States (US) aircraft over European and Chinese models, the defence ministry said Friday.

The affluent city-state, which has one of Asia’s best equipped militaries, had earlier said it was evaluating Lockheed Martin’s F-35 along with Europe’s Eurofighter Typhoon and Chinese made stealth warplanes.

“The F-16s will have to retire soon after 2030 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been identified as the most suitable replacement to maintain the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) capabilities,” the ministry of defence said in a statement.

The ministry said the air force should first buy “a small number” of F-35s “for a full evaluation of their capabilities and suitability before deciding on a full fleet”.

Australia, Japan and South Korea are among countries in Asia-Pacific that have already acquired F-35s.

It took Singapore more than five years to make a decision on which planes to buy as they had to look carefully at specifications and what was needed, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in a Facebook post.

“Our agencies will now have to speak to their US counterparts to move the process forward,” Ng said, adding it could be up to a year before any planes are purchased.

The F-16s are due to be taken out of service in around 10 years’ time, meaning it was time to acquire their replacement and begin training pilots, he said.

The F-35 is a supersonic plane whose advanced stealth characteristic allows pilots to avoid detection by radars, according to Lockheed Martin.

Its advanced electronic warfare capabilities enable F-35 pilots to locate and track enemy forces, jam radars and disrupt attacks.

The Singapore military also has F-15 fighter jets, Apache helicopters and submarines in its arsenal.

Pitch Black Afro’s murder case postponed to next Thursday
18 January 2019, 11:16 AM

The case against Kwaito star, Pitch Black Afro, has been postponed to next Thursday in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. The musician, whose real name is Thulani Ngcobo is a suspect in his wife’s murder. He will remain in custody pending his next appearance.

Ngcobo faces charges of premeditated murder after his wife of 23 years was found dead in a Yeoville Bed and Breakfast (B&B) on New Year’s Eve. Preliminary investigations found that 41 year-old Catherine “Trisha” Modusane had died of natural causes and an inquest docket was opened.

However, the lead pathologist found signs that she may have been murdered, spurring a murder investigation. Neighbours reported hearing the couple arguing the night before. Modusane allegedly sustained injuries to her upper body.

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