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Smith, Warner recalled for Australia’s World Cup defence

Steve Smith and David Warner completed their remarkable comeback from the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket when they were on Monday selected in defending champion Australia’s World Cup squad. But there was no room for Josh Hazlewood or Peter Handscomb at the tournament in England and Wales. It is the first call-up for the former…

Smith, Warner recalled for Australia’s World Cup defence

Steve Smith and David Warner completed their remarkable comeback from the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket when they were on Monday selected in defending champion Australia’s World Cup squad.

But there was no room for Josh Hazlewood or Peter Handscomb at the tournament in England and Wales.

It is the first call-up for the former captain and his deputy since the expiry last month of year-long bans for their part in “sandpapergate” in Cape Town that had wide repercussions for Australian cricket.

Then-coach Darren Lehmann quit and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review said their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture was partly to blame for players bending the rules.

Both players were eligible for the final two games of Australia’s recent limited-overs tour against Pakistan, but selectors preferred that they eased themselves back at the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.

Both grabbed the opportunity and have been in good touch, particularly the bombastic Warner who has made a blistering return.

“As far as I’m concerned they have done everything that’s been asked of them in the last 12 months,” said one-day skipper Aaron Finch, adding that he didn’t believe their return would be destabilising.

“Knowing them both personally as I do, I don’t think there will be any issues whatsoever. They are both great, great guys.”

Their return has left coach Justin Langer with a dilemma on the back of Australia winning eight one-day internationals on the trot, against India and Pakistan.

All the top order have been firing, and it is Handscomb who is the fall guy despite averaging 43 in 13 games this year. The decision to drop him means the team only has one wicketkeeper in Alex Carey.

Australia’s recent red-hot form has been built on the back of a rock-solid opening partnership between Finch and Usman Khawaja.

The decision for Langer now is whether to retain that combination when the 50-over World Cup begins at the end of next month or move one of them down to make way for Warner, who traditionally opens the batting.

Shaun Marsh, Smith, Glenn Maxwell and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis make up the middle order.

“There’s so much flexibility in our order and there will be a lot of options,” said Finch. “There’s been a couple of hard decisions made on the 15, but there’s going to be some even tougher ones with the 11.”

Selectors opted for two spinners in Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon and five quick bowlers.

As with the batsmen, Australia’s selectors faced a bowling conundrum as they target a record sixth World Cup triumph.

Pat Cummins will spearhead the attack while Mitchell Starc, the 2015 World Cup player of the tournament, has been recalled after being sidelined with a muscle tear since early February.

But Hazlewood, who has been out of action since January with a back injury, missed out, with chief selector Trevor Hohns saying the focus was on having him ready for the Ashes Test series in England which begins in August.

Jhye Richardson, who dislocated his shoulder last month, makes the grade along with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff.

Hazlewood and Handscomb were instead named in both Australia’s one-day A squad, which will play games in England while the World Cup is on, and their four-day A squad to face English county sides in the build-up to the Ashes.

Australia World Cup squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa

Australia one-day A squad: Travis Head (capt), Matthew Wade, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner, Mitch Marsh, D’Arcy Short, Kurtis Patterson, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson, Sean Abbott

Australia four-day A squad: Tim Paine (capt), Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Josh Hazlewood, Chris Tremain. 

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Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo win Booker Prize

The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel ‘The Blind Assassin’. The judging panel for the Booker Prize in London named Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo as the winners of the prestigious literary award. Despite the fact that the rules of the competition say that the…

Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo win Booker Prize

The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel ‘The Blind Assassin’.

The judging panel for the Booker Prize in London named Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo as the winners of the prestigious literary award.

Despite the fact that the rules of the competition say that the award may only be bestowed on a single individual each year, the judging panel decided to make an exception on this occasion and declare a tie after more than five hours of deliberations on Monday, Efe news reported.
Atwood, the author of “The Testaments,” and Evaristo, who earlier this year released “Girl, Woman, Other,” will share the cash award of 50,000 pounds sterling (57,200 euros or $63,051) that comes with the recognition.
This is the 79-year-old Atwood’s second Booker of her career, taking the honours this time for her sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), a dystopic story that has acquired new relevance in the feminist genre thanks to its popular television adaptation.
Evaristo, meanwhile, at age 60 becomes the only black woman to take home a Booker, her first, for a work exploring the lives and struggles of different black women in the modern-day United Kingdom.
The president of the judging panel, Peter Florence, said after announcing the decision at London’s Guildhall that the more the panel discussed it the more they came to the conclusion that they wanted both women to win.
The Booker Prize sponsors in 1992 had established an internal rule that just one person could win the award each year after Canada’s Michael Ondaatje and Britain’s Barry Unsworth received the prize in that year.
The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel “The Blind Assassin,” and with this latest triumph she has become the fourth person and the second woman to receive the award twice, along with Hilary Mantel, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Cary.
In “The Testaments” Atwood returns to the imaginary totalitarian and patriarchal Republic of Gilead – which has supplanted the United States – to further the “Handmaid’s Tale” narrative from different female points of view.
So far, the book – published in September – has sold more than 100,000 copies in the UK, making it the most successful novel published in the country in the past four years.
This is Evaristo’s eighth novel, divided into 12 chapters, each one telling about the life of a character, most of them black women, whose fates are intertwined in some way.
The author said she was honoured to receive the award, and especially to share it with the likes of Atwood, but she expressed her hope that it would not be long before she would be joined by other black female authors as Booker recipients.
Also in the running for the Booker this year were Salman Rushdie, for his work “Quichotte,” an adaptation of the Don Quixote story set in the modern-day US, along with Chigozie Obioma, for “An Orchesta of Minorities,” Lucy Ellmann, for “Ducks, Newburyport,” and Elif Shafak, for “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.”
The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

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Cultural celebrations begin in Abu Dhabi to mark Putin’s visit

The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of cultural activities at the Emirates Palace. The UAE-Russia week kicked off in Abu Dhabi on the eve of the landmark visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of Emirati and Russian cultural activities…

Cultural celebrations begin in Abu Dhabi to mark Putin’s visit

The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of cultural activities at the Emirates Palace.

The UAE-Russia week kicked off in Abu Dhabi on the eve of the landmark visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The event that runs until October 17 will feature a variety of Emirati and Russian cultural activities at the Emirates Palace.

The inaugural day saw traditional Emirati performances like ayyala; a selection of Emirati and Russian culinary treats including qahwa coffee and Emirati dates and Russian bread and salt; a musical performance by Emirati pianist Fatima Al Hashimi; and a showcase of traditional handicrafts.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, inaugurated the event on Monday. Sergei Kuznetsov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UAE, and a number of senior officials attended the opening ceremony.

Noura Al Kaabi said: “Cultural collaborations and the sharing of our traditional heritage with one another are integral to bringing two cultures closer. It provides a strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations and injecting renewed strength in the process of UAE-Russian cooperation.

“The UAE’s relationship with Russia dates back over 47 years when our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundations of these bilateral ties.

“With thousands of Russian citizens residing in the UAE, our leadership is eager to strengthen our friendship and collaboration with Russia. The launch of the UAE-Russia Week is a key implementation in sharing knowledge in the field of culture between our two countries and it opens opportunities for artists and creatives to communicate,” she added.

Cultural relations between the UAE and Russia have developed rapidly over the past few years. Sharjah was the guest of honour at the 2019 Moscow International Book Fair, in celebration of its Arab and international cultural status after it was chosen as the World Book Capital.

Additionally, the UAE will be welcoming Russia as the Country of Honour for the 30th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2020.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com

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Doc, can we have a clean bill of service after one for health?

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Down with seasonal flu or gum problems or even that niggling migraine. Nothing that a visit or two to the doctor won’t set right. So, you take an appointment and arrive at the requested time. Yeah, you may have to still wait for your turn despite the appointment, but let’s…

Doc, can we have a clean bill of service after one for health?

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Down with seasonal flu or gum problems or even that niggling migraine. Nothing that a visit or two to the doctor won’t set right. So, you take an appointment and arrive at the requested time. Yeah, you may have to still wait for your turn despite the appointment, but let’s put a pin in that peeve (to be addressed at a later date). The doc finally examines you and comes up with a diagnosis. The medical professional then goes on to explain the treatment – the medication and any accompanying lifestyle adjustments that you might have to make – along with the duration of such a drill. All done, and you proceed to collect the prescription after making the required payment.
This is where my – and I’d believe a lot of others’ – issue begins. We make the co-payment that our insurer requires and we’re handed over the stamped prescription, which we then take to the pharmacy to collect the medicines. At the end of the day, besides the credit card counterfoils (if a card is used) and a bag of medicines, there are no tell-tale signs of our visit to the doc. We may have just walked across to a pharmacy and bought those medicines off the rack. I’ve tried the other route – of asking for an invoice from the reception, and I must confess that I’ve received it, too. But it’s done grudgingly every time I’ve insisted for one and, even then, the invoice just mentions the very basic details – like ‘doctor’s consultation’ and the amount charged, at times without even referring to the doctor by name, leave alone the diagnosis and/or a copy of the prescription.
The practice in most developed countries is that individuals do have access – both physical and online – to their own health records while parents have access to their kids’ health records until they turn 18 years of age. I’m told that my physician is obliged to share a copy of my records with me if I insist, but I’d welcome you to volunteer for such a venture and enlighten us on how it went. While the quality of medical professionals in Dubai and across the UAE is second to none, why is it that there is this cloud surrounding the billing process? You’ve given us a clean bill of health on several occasions, doc. How about a clean and transparent bill of services, too?

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