Typhoon Halong leaves 10 dead in Japan

As many as 10 people have died and dozens are injured after Typhoon Halong slammed into the Japanese archipelago over the weekend, with heavy rain still lashing the country’s north.

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The storm was moving over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on Monday morning, after making landfall on the largest and most populous island of Honshu over the weekend, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The outer bands of the storm were continuing to lash northern Japan with heavy rain as officials warned of landslides, floods and possible tornadoes in the area.

The agency downgraded the typhoon to a tropical storm at 9am (1000 AEST) on Monday as it heads toward the far eastern coast of Russia.

The storm, as well as heavy rain last week, killed two people and injured 86 across the country, public broadcaster NHK reported.

But the leading Nikkei newspaper said as many as 10 deaths have been linked to the storm.

The weather agency had issued its highest warning on Saturday – meaning a threat to life and the risk of massive damage – for Mie prefecture, some 300km west of Tokyo.

The warning, which was lifted on Sunday afternoon, said there could be “unprecedented” torrential rain that might trigger massive landslides and floods.

Local authorities, mainly in western Japan, issued evacuation advisories to more than 1.6 million people in total, NHK said.

Airline services largely returned to normal with just a handful of flights cancelled on Monday after more than 700 flights were called off during the weekend, which came just as Japan began its annual “Obon” summer holiday.

In July, typhoon Neoguri killed several people and left a trail of destruction in southern Japan.

Palmer Qld MP’s resignation a major blow

Clive Palmer’s political ambitions in Queensland have been dealt a major blow after a bitter falling out with state leader Alex Douglas.

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Dr Douglas announced plans to quit the Palmer United Party (PUP) on Monday, citing concerns with the party’s pre-selection process.

Soon after, former Liberal Party Queensland vice-president and adviser to Mr Palmer Jim MacAnally was announced as PUP’s candidate in the Gold Coast seat of Burleigh.

Mr MacAnally was caught on tape this year asking a Liberal National Party (LNP) MP what he would have to offer him to join Mr Palmer’s party.

In a statement, Dr Douglas said he did not support “jobs for the boys” and he couldn’t support actions that went against his principles.

“I regret that I have had to take these actions, but I am reliably informed that a list of pre-selected candidates for the Queensland state election will be announced today,” he said.

“I have had no involvement in the pre-selection of candidates.

“From my understanding, this process does not reflect principles which I firmly support.”

Mr Palmer suggested the Member for Gaven quit over ties with the Katter party.

“Well Alex is Bob Katter’s nephew, you know, and he’s had a strong undercurrent pressure from his uncle to join the Katter party for a long time,” the mining billionaire and federal MP told ABC radio.

Dr Douglas joined the PUP after resigning from the LNP in November 2012 following disagreements with the premier.

His decision to quit PUP leaves fellow LNP defector Carl Judge as the party’s Queensland leader and only member of parliament.

Mr Judge said he spoke briefly to Dr Douglas before his announcement on Monday but it was up to his former colleague to elaborate on his reasons for quitting.

“I respect Dr Douglas. I’m disappointed in the decision that he’s taken, but that’s been done now,” Mr Judge told AAP.

“It’s a challenge that we’ll overcome and we’ll concentrate on the task at hand.”

The Member for Yeerongpilly confirmed he would contest Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie’s Sunshine Coast seat of Kawana at next year’s election.

He said Mr Bleijie, along with the premier, had let down Queenslanders.

Dr Douglas is expected to address reporters at his electorate office on Tuesday morning.

Dr Douglas’s resignation coincides with a slide in popularity at the polls for the PUP in the state.

A ReachTel poll of Queensland voters last week found 12.6 per cent said they would vote for PUP, compared with 15.4 per cent in a similar poll a month ago.

Longmire wants ruthless Swans

Sydney coach John Longmire has dismissed suggestions the Swans will rest players and chase percentage boosting wins in their run to the AFL finals, but still wants his side to be ruthless.

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The Swans are locked in a three-way battle for top spot with Hawthorn and Geelong and are sandwiched between those sides on percentage with three rounds remaining.

They finish off at home to St Kilda (last), away to the Bulldogs (14th) and host Richmond (12th), but Longmire said there had been no talk at the club about aiming for big victories to move their percentage above Hawthorn’s.

Nine Swans including veterans Ted Richards, Heath Grundy, Jarrad McVeigh and Nic Malceski have played every game, but Longmire has no intention of resting players prior to the finals.

“We make sure we play our best available squad,” Longmire said.

“If we need to freshen them up, they’ll miss some training sessions, as we’ve done during the course of the year.

“If they are sore, they won’t play, but if they are up and ready to go, they will play.”

Asked if his philosophy was similar to the no rotation policy of Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann, Longmire said “It’s probably a reasonable philosophy, it’s worked alright for ‘Boof’ (Lehmann).”

Heading into Saturday’s SCG clash with the struggling Saints, Longmire is sticking doggedly to the maxim any team can beat any other team on a given day,

“We always plan for the opposition’s best. We saw what happened with St Kilda-Freo a few weeks ago,” Longmire said.

“You need to be at your best every time and be absolutely professional and ruthless in your approach, no matter who you are playing, and hitting teams like that.”

Defender Nick Smith, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s game against Port Adelaide, is his only injury concern.

“He’s okay today, we won’t know till the end of the week, hopefully he does training on Thursday and he pulls up well from that.

With Smith available Sydney are virtually at full strength, but Longmire insisted players like young midfielders Tom Mitchell and Zak Jones could still push for selection over the closing rounds.

He said the rounds before the finals would give the likes of recently returned trio Kurt Tippett, Dan Hannebery and Rhyce Shaw opportunities to build their match fitness heading into the finals.

Radwanska eases past Venus Williams to win Rogers Cup

“One of my biggest title,” said Radwanska, who has registered a long line of firsts for tennis in her country, including Poland’s first grand slam finalist and first Pole to win a WTA Tour title.

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“As you can see in the draw had pretty all top players. So very, very special title for me.

“I think she (Williams) played great tennis whole week, playing and beating a lot of good players on the way to the final.

“I think I even happier to beat Venus when she’s really on fire.”

Williams, a twice U.S. Open champion, will also be buoyed by her performance in Montreal with a projected return on Monday to the world rankings top 20 for the first time since March 2013.

The tournament also pushed Williams past the $30 million (17.86 million pounds) in career earnings, joining an elite club that includes her sister Serena and Maria Sharapova.

“I totally wanted to be in the top 20 like earlier this year,” said Williams. “I’ve been having goals. It’s always a goal in mind for myself and hopefully most tennis players.

“I would love to hit the top 16 and just keep going forward after that. Obviously, if I can continue this level of tennis, it will be something that can happen for me.”

After a grinding and emotional three-set win over top ranked sister Serena in Saturday’s semi-finals, the 34-year-old American appeared to have little left against an energetic and focussed opponent almost 10 years her junior.

“It’s been a really long week, I played like six matches in a row,” said Williams. “Against her you really have to be patient.

“I just fell a little short today. I wanted to give more but I just didn’t have it.

“I really would like to think under circumstances where I could give everything I have, that the results could have been a little different.

“She just was a little too good today.”

Radwanska took control early on a sunny centre court, breaking Williams twice to race in front 4-1.

Williams would break back but the world number five would not buckle and easily took the opening set.

She opened the second set with another deflating break to quickly put the pressure on Williams and then broke the dejected American again to go up 5-2 before holding serve and finishing off the match with an emphatic ace.

“I was playing much better every match,” said Radwanska. “I didn’t start that well from my first match. I think every match was much better. That’s why I think I sitting right here now.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Gene Cherry)

Police career on hold for Raiders fullback

Canberra comeback kid Jordan Rapana says he was just weeks away from giving up rugby league for a career in the police force before coach Ricky Stuart finally gave him a second shot in the NRL.

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Rapana burst onto the NRL scene as an 18-year-old in 2008 when he scored five tries in five games for the Gold Coast Titans.

But the 23-year-old then embarked on a two-year Mormon mission in the UK before unsuccessfully attempting to win a Super Rugby contract with the Western Force and Brumbies.

The Raiders threw him a lifeline last year, but until Sunday’s comeback match against Parramatta in Darwin, Rapana hadn’t played a game in the NRL in six years.

He was close to giving up, too, revealing on Monday that a little over two weeks ago he had inquired with Raiders manager John Bonasera about how to enroll to become a police officer.

“The first thing JB said was: ‘mate, don’t give up yet, you’ve got a fair few games left in the season’,” Rapana said.

“I said I wasn’t giving up, I was more just wanting security for next year.

“But there were definitely days when I felt like giving it up (in the last few years).”

And who could blame him.

During his time in professional footy limbo, Rapana cut hair, pulled beers and waited tables – while impressing for Souths Logan in the Queensland Cup – just to make ends meet.

So two weeks ago he finally decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncles by working towards becoming a police officer.

But Bonasera was right. An injury to skipper Terry Campese meant regular fullback Anthony Milford moved to five-eighth, creating an opening for Rapana at fullback – and the Raiders re-signed him for another year last Thursday.

“When I look down the line in ten years’ time, it will be a bit of a story to tell, I was two to three weeks off literally giving up rugby. It’s awesome.”

While the Raiders went down 18-10 to the Eels, Rapana held his own, racking up 151 metres including eight tackle breaks.

He admits his first game back was under some pretty tough conditions.

“It was bloody hot up there in Darwin, real muggy, and the ball was slippery as heck,” Rapana said.

“And obviously Jarryd Hayne is a freak, one of the best players in the game.

“But apart from that, it went alright.”