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Teen jihadi planned Melb attacks: blog

Teenage jihadi Jake Bilardi appears to have planned a string of bombings across Melbourne before he went to Syria.

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A blog post written under the name Abu Abdullah al-Australi reveals the life of an atheist teenager who converted to Islam in suburban Melbourne.

Bilardi was reportedly killed in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq on Wednesday, although his death has not been confirmed.

The ABC reported Bilardi left improvised explosive devices in his Melbourne home before he left for Syria.

The Australian Federal Police said it was aware of the report but refused to comment on the matter.

In a now-deleted blog post published on January 13, the writer, who appears to be Bilardi, details his plans for attacks if he was prevented from leaving Australia.

He planned to bomb foreign consulates and political targets, as well as launch attacks on shopping centres, before dumping the idea.

“I realised that the authorities were oblivious to my plans but if anything was to attract their attention it would be my purchasing of chemicals and other bomb-making materials,” the post said.

The post is full of biographical details, including family information and the fact he was five when the September 11 attacks occurred, that point to the author being Bilardi.

The post says Bilardi was an excellent student who wanted to be a political journalist.

He said he became radicalised watching the news, including Network Seven’s Sunrise program.

After travelling to the Middle East, Bilardi signed up for a “martyrdom operation”, which then failed.

He fought in Baiji before registering again for another attempt at a suicide attack.

Trademark tantrum, two goals from Osvaldo as Boca win 5-0

Osvaldo, who joined Boca a month ago, helped them crush Zamora of Venezuela 5-0 in a Libertadores Cup match at La Bombonera to give the six times champions’ a maximum nine points from three matches in Group Five.

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Having missed a good chance and had another ruled offside in the opening half hour, however, a frustrated Osvaldo blew up when midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro shot and scored rather than pass to him in a good position in front of goal.

Uruguay’s Lodeiro made the score 3-0 after 36 minutes but Osvaldo still enjoyed a night to remember with two goals in the second half, the second a penalty, and was only denied a hat-trick by an offside decision shown in video replays to have been mistaken.

“I was angry because I couldn’t score and I took it out on Lodeiro, poor guy, but the Uruguayan played a blinder,” Osvaldo told Fox Sports after being voted their man of the match.

“I think the man of the match was the team … It was important to play well and win, that’s a huge satisfaction.”

Osvaldo marked his first goal, his second in the competition, with a team picture on the touchline taken by one of the coaching staff.

“When Totti’s ‘selfie’ appeared on YouTube, although Francesco did it alone, I wanted to do something similar,” said Osvaldo, who played alongside Totti at AS Roma.

Osvaldo has had arguments with team mates in the past when they failed to pass him the ball in scoring positions and an incident with Mauro Icardi at Inter Milan led to his departure for Boca on loan from Southampton.

The Buenos Aires native also left the Premier League under a cloud last season over a touchline fracas. He was found guilty of violent conduct and banned for three matches by the FA and suspended by the club for two weeks.

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

In-form young gun set for Bulls debut

Their hopes of making the Sheffield Shield final are shot but the Queensland Bulls will still have plenty to play for when they welcome South Australia to the Gabba on Friday.

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With captain James Hopes’s future up in the air, what could be his farewell match will also double as a welcoming party for a player exactly half his age – highly-rated teenage batsman Matthew Renshaw.

Renshaw, 18, comes into the Bulls squad in place of allrounder Michael Philipson and is in rare form, having smashed scores of 150 for Toombul in Brisbane Grade Cricket and 175 for the Queensland Academy of Sport last week against Victoria.

“He’s scored three centuries in the past month and a bit, at differing levels, with two of them being scores of 150 or above,” said interim Bulls coach Justin Sternes.

“There’s an eye to the future certainly, but his selection is well deserved and gives him the opportunity to bat at the Gabba as part of his development.

“For the team balance, it is also good to have a left-hander in our top order as well.”

The English-born Renshaw will become the 10th player to make his debut first-class appearance this season for Queensland, and the fifth to do so under the age of 21.

Paceman Ben Cutting has held onto his place in the 12-man squad after he was initially dropped, but recalled as a late replacement for Luke Feldman in last week’s game against Western Australia.

Meanwhile, Hopes will give up the captaincy after facing the Redbacks but whether he plays on next year remains to be seen.

The 36-year-old, who also stepped down as Brisbane Heat captain earlier this year, is contemplating retirement but will not make a firm decision until the end of the season.

South Australia are in sixth spot on the Shield ladder while Queensland remain fourth after missing out on a final day run chase against the Warriors.

The Redbacks are also keeping an eye on the future with Nick Benton poised to become SA’s second father-son debutant in as many games.

After Jake Lehmann’s successful debut against Victoria, Benton, a bowling all-rounder, looks set to follow in the footsteps of his father Jeff, who played four first-class matches for SA.

Queensland Bulls: James Hopes (capt), Cameron Boyce, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Peter George, Chris Hartley, Charlie Hemphrey, Chris Lynn, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Jack Wildermuth.

SA Redbacks: Travis Head (capt), Nick Benton, Tom Cooper, Mark Cosgrove, Callum Ferguson, Trent Lawford, Jake Lehmann, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Kelvin Smith, Cameron Valente, Adam Zampa.

Mayweather, Pacquiao start long build-up

Standing on a red carpet almost as long as what’s rolled out at the Oscars, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were expected to add hype to their mega fight.

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Mayweather is expected to pocket $US240 million ($A316.58 million), win or lose, from the long-awaited welterweight world-title showdown in Las Vegas in May.

Pacquiao will take around $US140 million ($A184.67 million).

But, at Wednesday’s “official kickoff” press conference in Los Angeles, the boxers’ words appeared aimed at dousing the hype.

“It’s just another fight,” Mayweather, the undefeated welterweight champion, shrugging his shoulders on the red carpet, said.

“I was more worried about my fights with Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto,” Pacquiao, who destroyed both fighters, said.

Mayweather and Pacquiao, followed by entourages bigger than what trail heads of state, made their way from the red carpet into the theatre and then to the stage where the boxers stood toe-to-toe and locked eyes.

The smaller Pacquiao tilted his neck up to reduce the height difference.

“It’s great to be part of an event that so elevates the sport of boxing,” Paqcuiao’s manager, Bob Arum, who compared the fight to the Olympics and Super Bowl, said.

Talk of a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown has existed for almost a decade, but despite being among the top two boxers in the world in comparable weight divisions, animosity between their camps, bickering over drug tests and contracts with rival US TV networks meant it was unlikely a super fight would happen.

An apparent chance meeting at a Miami Heat NBA game on January 27 led to the fighters, without their handlers present, working out a path to follow.

While Mayweather and Pacquiao were on their best behaviour, it was Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach who tossed petrol on the fire.

“We’re going to kick his ass,” Roach told the press conference attended by 600 reporters.

Soon after, Mayweather took his turn at the microphone.

He was full of praise for Pacquiao, but the well-behaved Mayweather, with the clock running down on the press event, politely played some mental warfare.

Mayweather has a 47-0 professional record.

The biggest knock on Pacquiao is the 36-year-old Filipino is past his prime and lost five, drawn two of his 64 fights.

“One thing I do know about any sport, when you lose it’s in your mind,” Mayweather, 38, said.

“If you lost once, it’s in your mind.

“If you lost twice, it’s in your mind.”

More than 1000 unknown fish identified

More than 1000 new-to-science fish have been identified in the past eight years – an average of more than 10 a month.

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The new fish species include 122 sharks and rays, 131 members of the goby family, and a Mediterranean barracuda.

All were identified by researchers compiling the World Register of Marine Species (Worms), an inventory of all known ocean life.

Last year alone, some 1451 sea creatures were added to the register.

“Though a few relatively minor gaps remain, we consider the register now virtually complete with respect to species described throughout scientific history,” said Worms co-chair Jan Mees, director of the Flanders Marine Institute in Belgium.

“And, of course, we are constantly updating with newly-described species, revisions of taxonomy, and adding occasional species that have been overlooked.”

Dr Mees said an estimated 10,000 or more new-to-science species were in laboratories around the world waiting to be described.

New species of relatively large marine animals are still regularly being discovered, said the scientists.

They include the ruby red sea dragon Phuylopteryx dewysea from southern Australia which was added to the inventory only last month.

It was distinguished after comparing its DNA with two other sea dragon species.

Other new fish curiosities include Sphyraena intermedia, a new species of barracuda found in the Mediterranean, Histiophryne psychedelica, an Indonesian frogfish with “psychedelic” colouring, and the African frilled shark species Chlamydoselachus africana.

Non-fish marine creatures described last year include two dolphins from Australia and Brazil and 139 sponges.

The scientists have also been sorting out confusion over the registered names of sea creatures, many of which have been duplicated over the years.

One species of sea snail was found to have 113 different names.

Even at the rate at which marine species are being described today, it would take 360 more years to identify every creature thought to exist in the oceans, say the researchers.

“It is humbling to realise that humankind has encountered and described only a fraction of our oceanic kin, perhaps as little as 11 per cent,” Mees said.

“Sadly, we fear, many species will almost certainly disappear due to changing maritime conditions – especially warming, pollution and acidification – before we’ve had a chance to meet.”