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‘Top Gear’ presenter Clarkson jokes about suspension

 

READ MORE: Top Gear presenter brushes off suspension

Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial presenter of hit BBC program Top Gear, has joked about his suspension as an online petition for him to be reinstated gathered over half a million signatures.

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“I’m just off to the job centre,” he told reporters outside his home in London, a day after the BBC said it had suspended Clarkson and cancelled upcoming episodes of his show over a “fracas” with a producer.

“It means I’m going to be able to go to the Chelsea match tonight,” he added, later making an animated appearance at the Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

The outspoken 54-year-old presenter has helped Top Gear become one of the BBC’s biggest draws, with 350 million viewers a week in 170 countries.

The Radio Times magazine said Clarkson, already on a final warning over his alleged use of racist language, was accused of aiming a punch at a male producer.

No sooner had the suspension been announced on Tuesday than fans set up a petition urging the BBC to reinstate him.

“We the undersigned petition the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson. Freedom to fracas,” said the online appeal at 南宁夜网.change南宁夜生活,, which had gained over 535,000 signatures by Wednesday.

“I’m signing because Clarkson is a superb presenter,” wrote a supporter.

A petition for the BBC to sack him had just 8,100 supporters.

“Clarkson has got away with his bigoted rantings for far too long whilst others have been sacked for less. Why do the BBC let him get away with it?” said one.

Top Gear remains a major earner for the broadcaster though it has been dogged by scandals.

The show’s executive producer Andy Wilman described 2014 as “an annus horribilis” after accusations of racism and an incident in which the show’s crew were driven out of Argentina.

10-man PSG stun Chelsea with Thiago Silva header

PSG, who had striker Ibrahimovic dismissed after 31 minutes, went through after the two sides battled to a 3-3 draw over the two legs of their last-16 tie.

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The deciding goal was headed home in the 114th minute by Thiago Silva, who redeemed himself after he had given away the penalty nine minutes earlier that put Chelsea 2-1 ahead by handling a high cross.

Eden Hazard coolly converted that spot kick in the 95th minute which looked like settling a fiery tie that threatened to boil over several times, but also had plenty of good football.

“Our performance was not good enough,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“The opponent was stronger than us, they coped better with the pressure of the games. Because they had 10 men we felt more the pressure of winning and they had nothing to lose.

“We couldn’t cope with that, we concede two goals in two set pieces, that is difficult to accept.”

The pendulum seemed to swing Chelsea’s way when Ibrahimovic saw red for a clumsy challenge on Chelsea midfielder Oscar, but the visitors never gave up the fight against the side that knocked them out at the quarter-final stage last year.

They came storming back after Gary Cahill gave Chelsea the lead when he lashed home after 81 minutes and their never-say-die attitude was rewarded with four minutes of normal time to go.

Former Chelsea defender David Luiz scored with a powerful header from a corner that flew in off the underside of the bar to make it 1-1 on the night and force extra time.

The French side should have taken the lead after 58 minutes when Edinson Cavani rounded goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but he hit the inside of the near post.

Despite an electrifying start to the match that included an attempt from Cavani after two minutes, and end-to-end play, neither team actually had an effort on target in the first half.

Yet the football both were producing was ruggedly entertaining with Chelsea’s Hazard creating opportunities for his front men which they could not capitalise on.

PSG dominated possession but Chelsea were never seriously troubled and Ibrahimovic had a forgettable 30 minutes before departing.

Costa was unlucky not to win a first-half penalty after a mazy run through the Chelsea defence ended when he appeared to be tripped by Cavani.

But it was PSG’s fans who celebrated a famous success as Chelsea lost to a French side for the first time in the Champions League.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Serena’s U-turn on Indian Wells praised by peers

Williams had skipped the showpiece event at the desert resort of Indian Wells after winning her second title there in 2001, beating Kim Clijsters in a final marred by the racist abuse of some fans who booed and heckled the American and her family.

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The crowd reaction was in apparent response to her sister Venus having withdrawn from their semi-final that year just minutes before the match, citing injury.

“It’s great for tennis, it’s great for her,” Danish world number five Wozniacki told reporters at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday. “It’s great for a tournament like this to have the best player in the world playing.

“It’s a big step for her and I’m sure she is going to handle it great. I am happy to see her back here.”

Eighth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who struggled with a knee injury as she was crushed 6-2 6-1 by Italy’s Flavia Pennetta in last year’s BNP Paribas final, agreed.

“It was her decision to come back and we are all happy about that,” said Radwanska. “It’s always another challenge for us playing her.

“There are so many other top players but of course when she is in the draw it’s going to be even more tough.”

In an interview with TIME magazine last month, Williams said she had discovered the “true meaning of forgiveness” and would end her lengthy boycott of Indian Wells by bidding for a third title at the venue.

“I’m fortunate to be at a point in my career where I have nothing to prove,” the 33-year-old Williams, a 19-times grand slam singles champion, wrote. “I’m still as driven as ever, but the ride is a little easier. I play for the love of the game.

“It is with that love in mind, and a new understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness, that I will proudly return to Indian Wells in 2015.”

Wozniacki, who described Serena as one of her closest friends, was not at all surprised by the American’s U-turn.

“That’s who she is,” said Wozniacki. “She is a forgiving person.

“She has her principles and she stands by what she believes in. It’s great that she is back.”

(Editing by Steve Keating.)

Mayweather-Pacquiao come face-to-face to hype megafight

Pacquiao, wearing a dark suit and tie, arrived on stage for the news conference as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared through the speakers.

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He was followed by Mayweather, who was in a light suit with no tie and walked in to Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

The two men then stood face-to-face and side-to-side, as a roar of camera shutters tracked their every move, before sitting with their respective camps in the only news conference they will hold to hype their May 2 fight.

And while neither boxer took questions from the media packed inside the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles, each exuded confidence.

“This is a fight that the world can’t miss,” Mayweather said from his podium. “I’m in the gym working right now, … pushing myself to the limit because I never wanted to win a fight so bad in my life.”

The fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas between Mayweather and Filipino southpaw Pacquiao is expected to be the highest grossing bout in history.

“This is what you are waiting for since five years ago,” said Pacquiao, who has held world titles in eight different weight divisions. “The fight is on and we’re very excited … we will do our best on May 2 to make you happy.”

Pacquiao told a group of reporters that he was not worried about the upcoming bout and was more concerned about prior fights with Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto.

Those fights came when Pacquiao, 36, was closer to his prime. Mayweather, 38, is also closing in on the end of his career and Pacquiao’s camp feel that works to their advantage.

“(Mayweather) had a better chance of winning five years ago,” said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach. “He has slowed down. I think Manny knows how to beat him.”

There are no shortage of contentious storylines in this matchup. Roach has exchanged words with Mayweather’s father and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., while fight promoter Bob Arum used to work with Mayweather instead of Pacquiao before a falling out split the pair.

“For me to be in the biggest fight in boxing history … I kept my fingers crossed and here we are today,” said Mayweather.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Ex-Eagles captain Cousins charged again

Former West Coast Eagles star Ben Cousins has been charged after allegedly being caught driving recklessly and refusing to give a breath test.

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Police did not name Cousins as the offender, but confirmed a 36-year-old Bicton man was arrested at 10.30pm on Wednesday.

The AFL premiership player was allegedly seen driving erratically on Preston Point Rd and did not stop when requested by police.

Cousins was eventually caught at the intersection of Gill and Solomon streets in Mosman Park.

Channel 7 has footage of Cousins leaving Fremantle Police Station.

Reporter Monique Dirksz told Fairfax radio on Thursday that Cousins ran red lights at very slow speeds, and told police over the phone that he could not stop because he had a family emergency.

The Brownlow medallist and former Eagles captain has been charged with reckless driving, failing to stop and failing to comply with a requirement to provide a sample of breath for analysis.

He is due to appear in the Fremantle Magistrates Court on April 8.

It is just over a year since the midfielder’s last brush with the law, when a drug charge against him was dropped.

His lawyer said at the time that a trace amount of drugs was found in the boot of a car that Cousins was driving in October 2013, but he did not own the vehicle or the drugs.

Cousins fell from grace following a string of off-field incidents and substance abuse problems.

The father of two was suspended for one year by the AFL in 2007 for bringing the game into disrepute before making a comeback with Richmond. He retired in 2010.