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England women crush New Zealand 56-15 in second straight record win
7 November 2021, 9:27 PM

England women’s hooker Amy Cokayne scored a hat-trick of tries as the Red Roses powered past world champions New Zealand 56-15 at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday for their second victory by a record winning margin over the Black Ferns in as many weeks.

In the second of back-to-back clashes between the two top-ranked sides in the world, England – who claimed a 43-12 win in front of nearly 10 000 supporters at Sandy Park last Sunday – produced a dominant display that flattened their opponents.

It was the first time that the team had secured consecutive victories over the Black Ferns since 2012, to send out a timely reminder to fellow title contenders ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Victory also stretched England’s unbeaten run to 16 matches with Ellie Kildunne, Leanne Infante, Lark Davies and Abby Dow all crossing the line, while Zoe Harrison’s conversions meant New Zealand were never in the contest.

“Coming into the series we knew playing them back-to-back was going to be tough, and even after the result last week we knew they were going to come back firing,” Cokayne said.

“As a forward pack we spoke all week about having to back up our performances and so to do it again this week is huge for us.

“The Black Ferns are a great side, so to put 50 points on them is huge, it goes to show the hard work we’ve been putting in and support we have received.”

New Zealand’s Portia Woodman scored two tries and Stacey Fluhler also crossed the line but could not prevent the rout.

“We’re here to make sure we push ourselves as hard as we can and we’re doing that justice,” skipper Poppy Cleall said. “Today was a hugely proud moment for me and my career, I couldn’t have wished for more.”

New York City Marathon returns for golden anniversary run
7 November 2021, 5:49 PM

The TCS New York City Marathon is back live for its 50th anniversary on Sunday after 2020’s virtual run, with participants raring to cross the blue finish line painted inside Central Park.

“Coming out of such a pause in life, very similar to what we experienced in ’01 after 9/11 … was the shot in the arm that the city needed, that sense of life and energy the city needed, a connection and togetherness that the city needed,” said Ted Metellus, race director at New York Road Runners, which operates the event.

The marathon went virtual last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 16 000 runners finishing their own 26.2-mile (42.2 km) course in 108 countries. The event, which began in 1970, has grown from a local road race in Central Park to the world’s largest marathon.

About 33 000 participants will cross all five of the city’s boroughs on November 7.

“To have the run is incredible,” said Meb Keflezighi, 2009 New York City Marathon champion and a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, calling it “a celebration of life.”

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea was pleased with the event’s return.

“Can we put to bed virtual anything in 2022?” he asked.

Vatican confirms December Pope trip to Cyprus and Greece
7 November 2021, 5:27 PM

The Vatican on Friday officially announced that Pope Francis will visit Cyprus and Greece, including the island of Lesbos that hosts many foreign migrants, on December 2-6, confirming a Reuters report last month.

The announcement of the trip was further confirmation that the 84-year old pope has fully recovered from intestinal surgery in July. It was made as he was paying a visit to thank staff at the hospital where he was operated on.

The Vatican announced the trip but did not issue a full programme.

Francis will stay in the Cypriot capital Nicosia December 2-4, his first visit to the ethnically split Mediterranean island.

Cyprus’s internationally recognised government is run by Greek Cypriots, while a breakaway administration in the north is recognised only by Turkey.

Francis will be in Greece December 4-6, most of the time in Athens. A Vatican source told Reuters last month the visit to the Greek island of Lesbos would be on December 5.

Francis visited the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos in 2016 and returned with a dozen Syrian refugees.

Moria camp was destroyed by a fire last year and replaced with another camp called Mavrovouni.

Francis visited the Gemelli hospital earlier on Friday to mark the 60th anniversary of its medical school.

“It is good to kindle our memory with those who loved us, cured us, lifted us up,” he said in the homily of an outdoor Mass for several hundred staff, referring to his hospital stay.

Francis was in the Gemelli for 11 days in July during which he underwent surgery to remove part of his colon, which had narrowed. It was the first time he had been hospitalised since his election in 2013.

The medical school said it would mark the visit by sending medicines needed for emergency treatment to Lebanon, Syria and Sudan.

New Zealand dash Indian dreams en route to semis
7 November 2021, 5:09 PM

New Zealand crushed a billion Indian dreams and breezed into the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup with an eight-wicket victory against Afghanistan in a key Super 12 match on Sunday.

The fates of three teams were tied to the outcome of the match, each fancying their chances of becoming the second side from the pool, behind Pakistan, to make it to the last four.

An Afghan victory would have suited 2007 champions India, who have the best net run-rate among the trio with a match to spare, while New Zealand had to simply win the game to advance, which they did in style.

Najibullah Zadran smashed a career-best 73 to rescue Afghanistan from a top order collapse and post 124-8 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

New Zealand romped home with 11 balls to spare to join England, Australia and Pakistan in last four.

“Strong performance, we know how dangerous this Afghanistan side is,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said after anchoring their chase.

“It’s nice for us to be able to set the tone with the ball first up, take some wickets early and then restrict them to below-par total. It was a 150-155 surface.”

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss but the strong start he expected from his team did not materialise.

They were reeling at 19-3 in the sixth over, a mini-collapse that started when Devon Conway took an acrobatic catch behind the stumps to dismiss Mohammad Shahzad.

Zadran rebuilt their innings with his stroke-filled knock but his stay was cut short by another stunning catch, this time by a diving Jimmy Neesham at long-off.

Trent Boult dismissed Karim Janat in the same over for his third wicket and New Zealand put on a catching masterclass to restrict their opponents to a below-par total.

Off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissed Daryl Mitchell (17) in the fourth over and Rashid Khan sent back Martin Guptill (28) but it was not enough to test New Zealand’s batting strength.

Williamson oversaw New Zealand’s chase with an assured 40 not out while Conway was unbeaten on 36.

New Zealand finished their group campaign with eight points, four ahead of India, who play Namibia in their final match on Monday, and Afghanistan.

“We didn’t start well,” Nabi said after Afghanistan signed off with their third loss in five matches.

“We played good cricket in the tournament, and we will take a lot of positives. We need to correct the mistakes we made with the bat.”

China October exports beat forecasts, offer buffer to slowing domestic economy
7 November 2021, 3:36 PM

China’s export growth slowed in October but beat forecasts, helped by booming global demand ahead of winter holiday seasons, an easing power crunch and an improvement in supply chains that had been badly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, imports missed analysts’ expectations, likely pointing to the overall weakness in domestic demand.

Outbound shipments jumped 27.1% in October from a year earlier, slower than September’s 28.1% gain. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast growth would ease to 24.5%.

Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, said the strong exports would help to mitigate the weakening domestic economy, and give the government greater room for manoeuvre on economic policy.

“The government can afford to wait until the year-end to loosen monetary and fiscal policies, now that exports provide a buffer to smooth the economic slowdown,” he said.

Recent data has pointed to a slowdown in manufacturing. Factory activity shrank for a second month in October, an official survey showed, while growth in industrial output eased to the lowest since March 2020 – the first wave of the pandemic.

EASING CONSTRAINTS

However, under heavy government intervention, some supply constraints have started to ease in recent weeks, including a power crunch that had been triggered by a shortage of coal, tougher emission standards and strong industrial demand.

Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday the government would take measures to support the industrial sector as the economy faces renewed downward pressures.

Imports jumped 20.6% in October from a year earlier, accelerating from a 17.6% gain in September but well below expectations for a rise of 25%.

Goldman Sachs data showed the value of crude oil imports grew 56.3% year-on-year, up from 34.9% in September, and the value of coal imports rose 292% on-year, accelerating further from a 234% gain in September, as the global energy crunch and post-COVID economic recovery drove up commodity prices.

China posted a trade surplus of $84.54 billion last month, the highest on record. It was also above the poll’s forecast of $65.55 billion and September’s $66.76 billion surplus.

The world’s second largest economy grew 4.9% in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, the weakest reading since the third quarter of last year.

China’s trade surplus with the United States was $40.75 billion in October, Reuters calculations based on customs data showed, down from $42 billion in September.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai pledged last month to exclude some Chinese imports from tariffs while pressing Beijing over its failure to keep some promises made in a “Phase 1” trade deal made under the Trump administration.

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