Argentina held by Venezuela at home

The home side had won all six of their previous home qualifiers against Venezuela and were expected to do the same against the team that is bottom of the South American group and without a win in 10 games.


Argentina’s failure to take all three points left them fifth in the standings with two matches remaining, out of the top four spots which bring with them direct qualification for the finals.

Venezuela are well out of the running but got the opening goal just four minutes into the second half.

Jhon Murillo ran onto an incisive through ball and expertly chipped the advancing goalkeeper to give the visitors a surprise lead.

The advantage, though, lasted just four minutes and when Argentina equalized it came from the same left flank where all of their most dangerous attacks originated.

Marcos Acuna, who had replaced the injured Angel Di Maria after 25 minutes, fought off his marker and the cross was knocked into his own goal by Rolf Feltscher.

Mauro Icardi had a good shout for a penalty waved away after an hour but Argentina, with Lionel Messi not at his commanding best, looked lacklustre throughout and were unable to stamp their authority on the match.

Neither they nor Venezuela created many clear-cut chances and the home side trooped off to the boos of their disgruntled fans.

Brazil top the 10-team group and are the only South America side to have so far qualified for Russia 2018.

Uruguay, who won 2-1 away at Paraguay, are in second-place with 27 points, followed by Colombia on 26.

Peru, who have not played in the World Cup Finals since 1982, beat Ecuador 2-1 earlier in the evening to move into fourth place with 24 points, ahead of Argentina on goal difference.

The fifth-placed side go into an intercontinental playoff against New Zealand.

(Writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

‘Abu Kevin’: Video of Arabic speaking Swedish security guard goes viral

Abdullha Abdulhameed, an Iraqi man in Sweden, posted the video of his encounter with Swedish security guard Kalle Alm speaking fluent Arabic video to Facebook.


The original clip has been viewed almost 850,000 times and shared more than 5000 times, the BBC reports.

In the video, Mr Abdulhameed asks how Mr Alm, also called “Abu Kevin” which means father of Kevin, if he really is Swedish.

“Yes I’m originally Swedish,” Mr Alm responds.

“How did this happen? How did you learn Arabic?” Mr Abdulhameed asks.

Abu Kevin explains he is married to a Syrian woman and has two children, Kevin and Sandy.

He added that he learnt Arabic from watching well-known Syrian TV show “Ghawwar Toshe”.

“I love speaking Arabic, I learned from watching TV,” Abu Kevin said.

Mr Abdulhameed first met Abu Kevin three years ago in the Swedish town of Västerås, and when he bumped into him again at an unidentified checkpoint he made sure he filmed the encounter.

“I was shocked the first time I met Kalle,” Mr Abdulhameed told SVT Nyheter.

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“I couldn’t believe that a Swedish security guard spoke Arabic and knew about a show that is broadcast on Syrian TV,” he said.

Arab social media users embraced Abu Kevin, praising his fluent Arabic.

Social media reaction to Abu Kevin video.Sveriges verklighet

“Instead of his wife having to learn the language, she had him learn hers. Good on her. Seriously though, good on him for learning to speak this way this fast,’ Basel Any wrote on Facebook.

“:D it’s a proper old damascene accent, with all its stretches,” Rhama Kouly wrote.

Basem Khaled Khaled joked to his friends, “I’ve been trying to teach you Swedish for two years, Swedes already learnt Arabic.”

Another user, Mazen Al Atrash, said “I think there is no point of us learning Swedish anymore, soon enough Uncle Gostav will start preaching in Syrian Aleppo dialect.



Low carb, high fat diet improves memory, research suggests

The very low carbohydrate, high fat ketogenic diet has been linked to improved memory and longevity in mice, although it did lead to weight gain.


The findings of two independent mouse studies, published in journal Cell Metabolism, have raised the hope that ketogenic diets can extend the length of time someone lives in good health.

“The older mice on the ketogenic diet had a better memory than the younger mice. That’s really remarkable,” said senior author of the paper Eric Verdin, President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California.

“The fact that we had such an effect on memory and preservation of brain function is really exciting,” he said.

However, mice allowed to remain on the ketogenic diet will eventually become obese, he said.

The ‘keto’ diet is where carbohydrate intake is so low that the body shifts to producing ketones to help fuel organs. Both fasting and exercise can also kick off the process of ketosis. The keto diet is so ultra low in carbs it also causes ketosis, whereas other diets can be low in carbs but not produce this.

US researchers fed the mice in both studies one of three diets starting in mid-life: a ketogenic diet, a control diet, or an average low-carb, high-fat diet.

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For the ketogenic diet, 90 per cent of the calories came from fat.

The researchers then tested the mice at various ages in tasks such as mazes, balance beams, and running wheels.

Further testing, revealed that the diets influenced insulin signalling and gene expression patterns typically found in fasting.

While both studies showed improvements in mid-life lifespan and memory tests, one study also found that a ketogenic diet preserved physical fitness, such as grip strength, in old age.

“The magnitude of the changes surprised me,” said senior author Jon Ramsey, PhD, a professor at the University of California Davis.

Professor Helen Truby from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food at Monash University says to ensure the body remains in a state of ‘ketosis’ means consuming extremely low levels of carbohydrate, which can be difficult for many people.

Prof Truby warns it could also mean people miss out on important nutrients.

“This would mean in a human adult only 20-30g of carbohydrates per day – a dietary pattern that would lead to deficiency in vitamins and minerals unless the diet is carefully constructed, and would usually require micro-nutrients and minerals to be provided by supplements,” Prof Truby said.

Former Brazil presidents Lulu, Rouseff charged amid corruption probe

Brazil’s top prosecutor has charged former presidents Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff along with fellow Workers Party members with forming a criminal organisation, the latest accusations in Brazil’s sprawling corruption scandal.


The prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, alleges that eight members of the Workers Party, including Lula and Rousseff, committed a series of crimes involving state-owned oil firm Petrobras such as cartel formation, corruption and money laundering.

They are the first criminal charges to be levelled against Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 for breaking budgetary laws.

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The 230-page document filed with the Supreme Court on Tuesday accused Lula of heading the organisation.

Lula’s lawyer said the law was being misused to persecute the former president.

The Workers Party said in a statement that the charges were baseless and being used to divert attention from other investigations, including one into a former federal prosecutor, referring to a case Janot announced on Monday.

A representative for Rousseff said the prosecutor’s office had offered no evidence of the crimes and called on the Supreme Court to guarantee the right to defend against them.

Lula, who is still Brazil’s most popular politician, is appealing a corruption conviction that would bar him from running for president in 2018. He faces four other corruption trials.

The charges stem from the Operation Car Wash investigation that uncovered a cartel of companies paying bribes to officials to secure Petrobras contracts, revelations that have spawned a host of investigations that has shaken Brazil’s political system and economy.

Burning coal profitable, PM says amid Liddell power station confusion

But there’s confusion over whether the Liddell power station will be sold, with its owner resolute it’s not selling it off, despite the Prime Minister asserting he’s in talks with the company to find a buyer.


Mr Turnbull on Wednesday warned there will be up to 1000 megawatt shortage in baseload dispatchable power generation with the 2022 closure of the station, located in the NSW Hunter region.


He said the station should remain open to ensure a stable supply of electricity.

‘It is very, very important to maintain dispatchable generation,” he said.

“You can’t run an electricity system just on solar panels and wind farms. You can’t.”

The Prime Minister said energy companies are benefitting from higher electricity prices.

“Burning coal to make electricity has never been more profitable than it is at the moment.”

He said he’s also in talks with the chief executive of AGL Andy Vesey, to keep Liddell open, despite Mr Vesey earlier claiming the company was adamant about exiting coal.

“They’ve said they want to get out of it but they have said they are prepared to discuss the sale of the power station to a responsible party,” the Prime Minister said.

“That is what we will be discussing further with Andy when we see him next week.”

However, AGL has said it’s made no promises to sell.

“The company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell Power Station nor to extend its life beyond 2022,” it said in a statement.

Labor accused the Prime Minister of having no plan on energy.

“We’ve seen in a statement by AGL to the ASX, to the stock exchange, that AGL has no plans to sell the Liddell power station,” opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler said.

“This just demonstrates that Malcolm Turnbull is making this up as he goes along. Rather than indicating to the country in its broadest sense that there is stable, viable energy policy for the country, he’s making this up.”

Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon, whose electorate encompasses Liddell, said the station is 50 years old and keeping it open would be costly.

“It’s very difficult to extend its life, it would take at least half a billion, probably a billion dollars, to get just a few more years out of it and even then it would be less reliable than it is now,” he said.

When asked for clarity on whether it was selling Liddell, AGL told SBS World News it was not making any further comment.