Quintana takes Catalonia lead, Porte 3rd

Belgian rider Thomas de Gendt has won the mountainous fourth stage of the Tour of Catalonia, but Nairo Quintana took the overall lead after surpassing his title rivals in the Pyrenees, while Austalia’s defending champion Richie Porte is third.

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De Gendt got the win for his Lotto Soudal team after finishing the 172-kilometre route from Baga to Porte Aine that featured two special-category summits in just under five hours.

Quintana was next up the snowy ascent, crossing over a minute later after he dropped Alberto Contador, who sits second overall, and Chris Froome among the other favourites to take the lead from Daniel Martin.

Porte edged Alberto Contador at the finish line to finish the stage third, and is third overall at :17 behind Quintana, followed by Martin at :24 back.

De Gendt caught and passed fellow solo rider Pieter Weening up the final 19-kilometre climb to the finish.

De Gendt, whose previous career win came at the Tour of Catalonia in 2013, said he was surprised by the result because he “had a bad feeling.”

“But on the last climb with only two kilometres to go I had him just in front of me and I had to go on full,” he said.

Quintana entered the day in fifth place at 19 seconds behind Martin. The Colombian climbing expert for Movistar turned that deficit into an eight-second advantage over Contador.

“The pace was very fast in the group and we had to go on the attack,” Quintana said.

“I took advantage of my opportunity as soon as I saw it. I was able to launch a great attack and make up the distances from yesterday.”

Froome fell :46 off the pace after the Tour de France champion failed to keep up when the other contenders exchanged attacks on the final push.

Friday’s fifth stage is a 187-kilometre ride from Rialp to Valls.

The weeklong race in northeastern Spain ends in Barcelona on Sunday.

Jason Day eases back worries with big win

Jason Day eased concerns over a bulging disc in his back as he trounced Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee at the World Golf Championships Match Play.

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In agony a day earlier when he struggled to a first-up win over Graeme McDowell, Day returned to the course on Thursday and blasted to a pain-free 5 and 3 victory.

It was a big relief for Australia’s world No.2 just two weeks out from the Masters, though he must continue to manage the back issue.

Arriving at Austin Country Club still uncertain if he could continue, Day surprised himself by completing his warm-up without issue and then spanked his opening drive to set up an eagle on the 371-yard par four first hole, boosting his confidence in his back.

“It’s a disc (issue),” explained Day later.

“When it gets inflamed the facet joints lock up, and then everything kind of goes into spasm and I can’t really move and it’s really difficult to play golf.

“The biggest hurdle for me was to get through the warm up without going, should I push it or should I not.

“Once I got out on the golf course and was focusing on hitting the right shots then I forgot about it, which was good.

“And today I played some good golf. There wasn’t one shot where I felt it today, which was good.”

With the Masters looming, Day is mindful not to push the injury too far.

Taking legal steroids to reduce inflammation and rigidly sticking to an hourly recovery protocol continues to be the key to his fitness.

“I was so disappointed and so angry last night that I was injured because I have been doing the right things with my body,” Day said.

“These things just pop out of the blue and you can’t do anything about it. It’s so frustrating because I am playing really good golf right now. I know that if I can keep playing this way, I can win.

“I’m just trying to stay focused on the positive side of things, that I have recovered pretty good from it.

“I’ll try to stay on top of it and be disciplined with the protocols and go from there.”

Day will now play England’s Paul Casey, needing only to halve the match to make it to the weekend. Even a loss would, at worst, put Day in a sudden-death playoff to make the knockout stages.

A relieved Adam Scott won his first match in the WGC-Match Play since 2010, closing out England’s Chris Wood 3 and 2 with a 25-foot birdie on the 16th hole.

“It’s very satisfying. I felt like I just wanted to get it done early and not let it go down to the end where something might not go my way, which has been the story of this tournament for me in the past six years,” Scott said.

Scott next takes on American Bill Haas, who can move on with just a halved match, so the Australian must win.

It was not a good day for the remaining Australians.

Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Marcus Fraser were all eliminated from contention for the knockout stage and will play for pride only on Friday.

Lee Westwood beat Leishman 1-up while Jones fell 3 and 1 to another Englishman, Andy Sullivan.

Despite leading two-up through 10 holes and with Westwood conceding four holes throughout the match Leishman was unable to get home to repeat his group winning effort from a year ago.

Jones jumped out to an early two-up lead but could not maintain it.

Fraser was three-down through nine holes to Ireland’s Shane Lowry but managed to take a one-up lead into the last before a bogey meant he halved the match, not enough to keep his hopes alive.

World No.1 Jordan Spieth won for the second time and is odds on to make it out of his group as he looks to protect his top ranking against Day’s challenge.

Search continues for missing SA woman

A health worker missing in remote South Australia is thought to have been abducted from her outback home, prompting a wide-scale air and land search.

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It’s believed Gayle Woodford, 56, was taken from outside her home in Fregon, on the APY Lands, early on Thursday morning.

A four-wheel-drive ambulance that she used in her work has been recovered and is being forensically examined.

One of three people using the vehicle when it was located in Coober Pedy on Thursday has been arrested and charged with theft.

Ms Woodford’s disappearance has also been declared a major crime.

“We’ve got grave fears for the safety of Gayle, very grave fears, and, at this stage, we are hoping for the best and we are doing everything we possibly can in case she is out there somewhere injured,” Superintendent Des Bray told reporters on Friday.

Ms Woodford was last seen on Wednesday night and was reported missing on Thursday when she failed to report for work at the local health clinic.

A GPS device in her ambulance shows it left Fregon early on Thursday and travelled to Mimili.

It then travelled to Indulkana, Marla and finally onto Coober Pedy where it was intercepted by police.

The 36-year-old man behind the wheel has been remanded in custody on the theft and driving charges while no charges were laid against a second man and a woman.

Police have called for anyone who spotted the ambulance travelling between Fregon and Coober Pedy to come forward.

They have a report of a possible sighting of Ms Woodford at Marla at about 6am on Thursday but are yet to confirm it if was the missing woman.

Supt Bray said the most likely scenario was that, for some reason, Ms Woodford left the safety of her own house and something happened to her outside.

Life needs at least 473 genes to succeed

Life requires a minimum of 473 genes, scientists experimenting with artificially created genomes have shown.

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The research is a step on from ground-breaking work published in 2010 in which the same US team produced the first replicating microbe containing a genetic code that had been put together in a laboratory.

Now the scientists, co-led by pioneering geneticist Professor Craig Venter, have achieved their ultimate objective – to create a minimal cell containing only the genes necessary to sustain life in its simplest form.

As before, they used Mycoplasma, a bacterium possessing the smallest known genome of any self-replicating cell.

The scientists once again created a synthetic genome, inserted into Mycoplasma, but then set about disrupting the functions of various genes.

Eventually they whittled the genes down to the smallest number that appeared to be necessary for autonomously replicating life – 473.

The resulting genome, known as JCVI-syn3.0, could become a versatile tool for investigating core life functions.

The research, based at the J Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, California, is published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

British expert Dr Vitor Pinheiro, lecturer in synthetic biology at University College London, described the work as a “remarkable tour de force”.

He added: “The research started with a simple organism … and removed DNA sequences that were identified as unnecessary for growth in the standardised culture conditions being used.

“It shows that despite our efforts, there are still aspects of biology we don’t understand, exemplified by the 65 genes (nearly 14 per cent) that have no known function.”

Professor Paul Freemont, head of molecular biosciences at Imperial College London, said: “One of the main goals of synthetic biology is to develop technologies and protocols to allow the construction of new biological cells and systems at the genetic level.

“This paper contributes a next step in the evolution of such techniques in enabling genome construction from synthetic DNA.”

Sarajevo siege survivors tell their stories

More than 11,000 people lost their lives and two million were displaced in the most horrific conflict Europe has seen since the Second World War.

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For many who survived the ordeal, aspects of it are still too difficult to talk about.

Marko Ivakovic escaped the city after being shot by a sniper.

“The reason why we stayed in the city is because I figured out if the war is going to break out in Bosnia it’s going to be as bloody as possible,” Mr Ivakovic told SBS Radio.

“And I couldn’t believe something like that could happen in 1992. However, it can happen, that’s exactly what happened. As bloody as you can get. Just shooting at people for no particular reason, all the time, most of the time. But perhaps it was to be expected to happen sooner or later.”

Listen to survivors tell their stories:

Alma Milos fled Sarajevo with only an infant son in her arms.

“We’d burn anything we could,” Ms Milos told SBS.

“First we started with the things we really didn’t need and then we’d burn the things we needed, the things we loved. People would burn the books they loved, shoes, furniture, … We just threw everything into the fire, first of all so we could cook ourselves something to eat, then to stay warm.

“It was mere survival, nothing else… Just mere survival.”

For almost four years Serb forces held the city captive – cutting off water, food and electricity supplies.

Ms Milos says the stress of living in a city under siege for months on end took a physical and emotional toll on residents.

“We all lost weight, we changed, we all had fear in our eyes, but we managed to smile sometimes, and to sing.

“And on those nights when we sat there and listened to the shooting, we talked about things that didn’t concern the war, and that’s what I love about Sarajevo.”

Twenty years on, the pain and anger is still raw.

“There will always be anger,” says Ms Milos. “There will always be a sense of dissatisfaction: why did this happen to us?”

“I mourn because this happened to us and ruined all of our lives… I sometimes live in my dreams… wondering what would life be like now, had the war not happened.”

Dogs embarrass Souths in 42-12 NRL blowout

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has refused to blame the dreaded five-day turnaround for the 42-12 Good Friday hiding they copped from Canterbury.

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A Rabbitohs outfit minus star Sam Burgess had their underbelly exposed by the Bulldogs, with a mauling that included six tries inside the opening 30 minutes at ANZ Stadium.

But on the same day the NRL agreed to fund extra provisions to teams coming off short turnarounds, Maguire didn’t use last Sunday’s effort against St George Illawarra as an excuse.

Of the six teams to back up after just five days, only North Queensland have won, although they were also facing off against a team with the same turnaround.

Instead, Maguire chose to lay into his men for failing to aim up in defence.

“Nothing at all there, nothing at all. I have a team in there that can perform better than what we did. It’s up to us to make sure we do,” he said.

“At the end of the day it’s a game where you’ve got to put your body in front and we didn’t do that in the first half.”

All the damage was done in a brutal opening 40 minutes that Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould labelled “the most one-sided game we’ve seen in a long, long time”.

In front of crowd of 38,192, the Bulldogs romped to a 32-0 lead at the break, including two tries to centre Josh Morris in his 200th game.

His second try came when Rabbitohs forward Paul Carter bizarrely attempted to offload the ball while being driven back into his in-goal.

Morris simply had to put his hand on the ball for the try.

Captain James Graham’s 140 metres in the first half alone equalled South Sydney’s entire starting forward pack, while second-rower Tony Williams wasn’t too far behind him with 123.

“It was obviously a good bounce-back for us but Souths had a few out. They were down on troops today,” coach Des Hasler said.

“You have those halves of footy – the second half was sloppier. But we controlled the possession well and that certainly contributes. I’ve said a number of times, this competition is about possession.”

The Rabbitohs added some respectability with back-to-back tries in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 12-10, however an upset Maguire didn’t want to claim any positives.

“At the end of the day we weren’t performing well enough in the first half. Our game’s about putting your body in front,” he said.

“We allowed them to roll down the park. They got control, built pressure and sure enough scored some pretty soft tries.”

Trump, Cruz feud over wives draws rebuke

The escalating personal feud between US Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz over their spouses has drawn criticism from a top lawmaker.

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“Talk about things that people really care about, and knock this crap off because these are serious times, and you’re not behaving like you want to be president of the United States,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who supports Cruz, said on Thursday on NBC’s Today show.

Earlier this week, an anti-Trump Super PAC, Make America Awesome, published an ad featuring a photo of Trump’s wife Melania lounging nude.

Trump in reply threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife.

But Cruz denies anything to do with it and tweeted: “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.”

Republican frontrunner Trump won Arizona and Cruz took Utah in the latest state primary contests.

Attacking another candidate’s wife carries political risk.

Half of US women say they have a “very unfavourable” view of Trump, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling in March.

Cruz fared better, with 24 per cent of the 5000 women surveyed saying they had a “very unfavourable” view of him.

The Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, did worse than Cruz but better than Trump, with 36 per cent of women polled saying they had a “very unfavourable” view of her.

After Tuesday’s contests, Trump has 739 of the 1237 delegates needed to win the nomination, according to The Associated Press.

Cruz had 465 and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has only won his home state, has 143.

Republican candidates are looking for endorsements from the dozen or so candidates who have dropped out of the race ahead of the convention in Cleveland in July.

On Wednesday, Cruz won the backing of former rival Jeb Bush.

The next Republican contests are on April 5 in Wisconsin and on April 9 in Wyoming.

Family mourns mother’s death in Brussels

It was supposed to be a family reunion, but it ended in tragedy in Brussels.

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Adelma Tapia Ruiz of Peru – on her way to New York to visit her sisters – was waiting on Tuesday with her Belgian husband and their three-year-old twin daughters at Brussels Airport when a terrorist’s bomb went off.

Her husband and one daughter were unharmed, and the other suffered a shrapnel injury to one arm.

But the 36-year-old wife and mother was dead.

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The little girls were very lucky, said Tapia’s brother Fernando Tapia Coral.

“The girls were probably running through the hall and my sister’s husband was running after them.

“If they hadn’t been playing around, they would have been dead too,” he told Peruvian broadcaster Canal N.

“My sister stayed in the waiting area, where the suicide attack happened,” he said.

Tapia Ruiz was from the Ucayali region in eastern Peru.

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She had been living in Belgium for nine years, according to the El Comercio newspaper, and been married to Belgian Christophe Delcambe for the last eight.

She was a cook and wanted to open a restaurant in Belgium, Radio broadcaster RPP reported.

After a stop in New York, the family had planned to continue on to Peru, where Tapia Ruiz and Christophe had first met and later got married.

She hadn’t been back to Peru in a year, her father Fernando Tapia Cano, told the newspaper La Republica.

“We could no longer bear not seeing each other,” he said.

Writing on Facebook, her brother said: “It is still hard to understand how fate can rip a loved one from us.

“She did not survive the Jihadist attack. That we will never be able to understand.

“Rest in peace, little sister. We all have to be strong now.

“It is hard to accept that we will no longer see you in the short life that you had.”

France fines Google over data privacy

The French data protection authority has fined Google 100,000 euros ($A148,590) for not scrubbing web search results widely enough in response to a European privacy ruling.

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The only way for Google to uphold the privacy ruling was by delisting results popping up under name searches and linking them instead to outdated information across all its websites, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) said in a statement on Thursday.

The US internet giant has been at loggerheads with several European Union data protection authorities since the European Court of Justice ruled in May 2014 that people could ask search engines, such as Google and Microsoft’s Bing, to remove inadequate or irrelevant information – dubbed the “right to be forgotten”.

Google complied, but only scrubbed results across its European websites such as Google.de in Germany and Google.fr in France on the grounds that to do otherwise would have a chilling effect on the free flow of information.

In May last year, the CNIL ordered Google to expand its application of the ruling to all its domains, including Google长沙桑拿按摩论坛,, because of the ease of switching from a European domain to Google长沙桑拿按摩论坛,.

“Contrary to Google’s statements, applying delisting to all of the extensions does not curtail freedom of expression insofar as it does not entail any deletion of content from the internet,” the CNIL said.

A spokesman for Google, now a unit of holding company Alphabet Inc, said the company had worked hard to implement the “right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe”.

“But as a matter of principle, we disagree with the CNIL’s assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France, and we plan to appeal their ruling.”

Karadzic verdict does little for those suffering say Australian Srebrenica survivors

Australian survivors and relatives of victims of the Bosnian War’s Srebrenica massacre have responded to Radovan Karadzic being found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica and of other war crimes during the war in the 1990s.

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Saidin Salkic was just 12-years-old and seeking refuge in Potocari, near Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia.

He was there with his mother and sister, along with thousands of other Bosnian Muslims, in that fateful July of 1995.

His father had been killed earlier in the war.

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Mr Salkic, now grown up and living in Melbourne, says what the United Nations had declared a safe zone soon became anything but that.

“They’d taken me away from my family and put me on the side of the road with the people who never came back,” he said.

“And my mum started pulling me back… and, eventually, through a lot of hustle and bustle – they almost wanted to shoot us on the spot, but I suppose it was way too public… we got to get away.”

Bosnian Serb troops overran the enclave.

“One life sentence for so many lives lost would have been at least some symbolic justice.”

Although Mr Salkic’s life was spared, about 8,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed in Srebrenica over several days.

It has been described as one of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

Mr Salkic says Radovan Karazdic’s conviction means little to the survivors and the families of the victims.

“This sentence they handed out, to be honest, means very little to me and those who have gone through what they’ve gone through – and through what they will be going [through] for the rest of their lives.”

Haroz Halilovich was not living in Srebrenica at the time of the mass killings. But he, like many others, lost family members and friends.

Mr Halilovich says he, too, does not think the sentence goes far enough.

“I wish, also, that the sentence of 40 years was a life sentence. Purely symbolically, it would have meant more, because he did directly order, or inspired or knew of, hundreds of thousands of deaths. So, one life sentence for so many lives lost would have been at least some symbolic justice.”

Mr Halilovich researches the impact the conflict has had on communities and in the diaspora at Melbourne’s RMIT University.

“In Saint Albans, here in Melbourne, almost every second Bosnian family is a fatherless family – you know, families where significant male family members, they’ve perished,” he said.

“There are mothers without sons, wives without husbands, children without fathers. And this is the reality of the Bosnian diaspora today, not only in Australia but in many countries.”

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International-law expert Gideon Boas, also in Melbourne, formerly assisted Karadzic’s defence.

Mr Boas says not everyone will welcome the guilty verdict, though.

“It’s always been felt by Serbs, including Bosnian Serbs, that the Yugoslav tribunal was set up to prosecute Serbs and a great deal more Serbs have been prosecuted than Muslims and Croats, and that’s a fact,” he said.

“On the other hand, they orchestrated a large number of crimes, and calling to account someone like Radovan Karadzic is crucial. It’s just as crucial as calling to account other leaders – Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims. 

“There have been trials for those people as well, but it’s understandable that Bosnian Serbs who are here, or Serbs who are here, will feel as though this is just another example of the international community really going after the Serbs and ignoring their suffering. And I understand that.”

Saidan Salkic says the United Nations also failed the victims when it mattered most.

“It’s too late, nothing can heal the wounds. The wounds would have been healed if they had been prevented from happening by the people who were supposed to do it by law – by UN law.”