Prominent Chinese tycoon ‘missing’

Fosun International employees were unable to contact Guo Guangchang beginning at midday on Thursday, the magazine Caixin said on its website.

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It cited what it said were messages on social media that Guo was last seen with police at an airport in Shanghai.

Guo’s disappearance comes in the midst of a sweeping anti-corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping in which dozens of executives at state-owned companies have been detained or questioned. Businesspeople in previous investigations have been held for weeks for questioning with no public notice.

Fosun and its pharmaceutical unit suspended trading of their shares in Hong Kong. They cited the pending release of an announcement with “inside information.”

Phone calls to Fosun’s media and investor relations departments weren’t answered.

Guo, 48, is one of China’s biggest investors abroad. Fosun, which he co-founded in the 1990s, has businesses in real estate, steel, mining and retailing.

The Financial Times dubbed him “China’s Warren Buffett” for following the legendary American investor’s approach of using the cash flow from insurance operations to buy other businesses.

Fosun won a bidding war this year to take over Club Mediterranee, the French resort operator. Last year, it paid 1 billion euros ($A1.50 billion) for Portugal’s biggest insurance company, Caixa Seguros.

In 2013, it bought the 60-storey tower at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City for $725 million.

In the United States, it owns Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc. and 20 per cent of insurer Ironshore Inc.

Guo had denied earlier he was the target of a graft investigation.

According to Caixin, a court in Shanghai said in August he had “inappropriate connections” with a former executive at several state companies, Wang Zongnan, who was sentenced to 18 years in jail on charges he misused corporate money.

Sri Lanka’s hopes rest with Chandimal after defiance

With Angelo Mathews falling for two, just five runs later, Sri Lanka’s inexperienced side will now look to Chandimal to build on their close of play score of 197 for four and ensure they do not concede a mammoth first innings lead.

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The 26-year-old Chandimal, who is his country’s leading test run scorer in 2015 and assumed the mantle of the critical number four spot left by the retirement of Mahela Jayawardene, ended play on 83 and within sight of his sixth test century.

New Zealand have only bowled one over with the second new ball, however, and opening bowler Trent Boult felt there was still enough in the wicket to put pressure on Sri Lanka early on the third day.

“If we can get one early the cliche is one brings two and we’ll be into the tail and that starts with (Rangana) Herath at eight,” Boult told reporters about the importance of breaking Chandimal’s partnership with Kithuruwan Vithanage, who was on 10. “That’s the incentive.

“We’re looking to turn up and put a strong foot forward.”

Karunaratne and Chandimal had weathered a tough working over from New Zealand’s four-pronged pace attack and looked well settled to bat through until the close to drag their side closer to parity.

Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, however, managed to break their partnership when Karunaratne went to cut a delivery that did not turn and only succeeded in getting an edge to wicketkeeper BJ Watling for his third catch of the innings.

The 30-year-old took his fourth catch when Tim Southee tempted Mathews with a full delivery on leg stump and he got a faint inside edge before the ball also brushed his pad.

Umpire Nigel Llong, who was the centre of controversy as the third umpire in New Zealand’s last test in Adelaide, initially gave the Sri Lankan captain not out but Paul Reiffel overturned the decision after Brendon McCullum asked for a review.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O’Brien/Sudipto Ganguly/Amlan Chakraborty)

Karunaratne stands tall for inexperienced Sri Lanka

“There is no (Kumar) Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene) so we have to put our hands up and play big knocks,” Karunaratne said in a televised interview after he made a patient 84 in Sri Lanka’s 197 for four at the close of play at University Oval in Dunedin of the second day.

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“We have to play with the youngsters and hang on with them, rotate the strike and try to get a big one and (for me) to play a senior role.”

Unfortunately Mendis and Jayasundera were unable to put that advice into action, with the side slumping to 29-2 before the opener combined with fellow ‘veteran’ Dinesh Chandimal, also playing his 24th test, to patiently rebuild Sri Lanka’s innings.

The opening batsman, who had a previous reputation as a dashing player who needlessly gave his wicket away chasing the shot that was not quite on, buckled down with Chandimal and thwarted, then frustrated, New Zealand’s attack.

He took 136 deliveries to reach his sixth test half century, though it was brought up with a elegant straight drive off Neil Wagner for his fifth boundary.

After tea he had looked set to secure his fourth test century but he fell tantalisingly close and it was something of a surprise given the way he had blunted the efforts of New Zealand’s disciplined four-pronged pace attack.

Having resisted temptation for so long, he sat back and looked to punch a wide delivery from left arm spinner Mitchell Santner behind point, only for the ball not to turn and he succeeded in giving BJ Watling the third of his four catches in the innings.

The dismissal ended his 122-run partnership with Chandimal, who was left 83 not out with Sri Lanka 197-4 at the close and will now need to take on the mantle left by Karunaratne to ensure his side continue to chip away at the home side’s 431.

“I did all the hard work in the first few overs and unfortunately I didn’t get to bat through the innings and get a big one,” Karunaratne added.

“I missed out on a golden opportunity.”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Australia in control in Hobart after record stand

Spinner Nathan Lyon (3-43) and paceman Josh Hazlewood led the charge as the Australian bowlers drove home the advantage in the rain-disrupted final two sessions to reduce the tourists to 207-6 at stumps.

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Darren Bravo gave a timely reminder that West Indies do have some quality in a defiant innings of 94 and will resume his 91-run partnership with Kemar Roach (31 not out) on day three looking to make further inroads into Australia’s 376-run lead.

The day, though, belonged to Western Australians Voges and Marsh, who were scarcely troubled in the opening session when, having resumed on 438-3, they plundered runs and sent records tumbling almost at will in an epic stand.

“It was great to see those two do what they did,” Hazlewood told ABC radio.

“Voges especially from ball one just hit the ball so well and was scoring at quite a quick rate without even trying. Really happy for Shaun Marsh as well.”

The duo were separated when Marsh was caught at midwicket just before lunch, leaving them just two runs shy of the Australian record set by Bill Ponsford and Donald Bradman for the second wicket against England at the Oval in 1934.

Voges’s brilliant knock gave him his maiden test double century and overhauled the Bellerive Oval individual test record of 209 that Ricky Ponting set against Pakistan in 2010.

Still in his first year of test cricket after making his debut against West Indies in June, Voges may have been aggrieved that the declaration robbed him of a chance to go for a triple.

The 36-year-old faced only 285 balls and hit 33 fours, including the one that took the partnership past the fourth-wicket record of 437 that Sri Lankans Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera scored against Pakistan in Karachi in 2009.

An attempted slog sweep by Marsh off left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican that went straight to Bravo at midwicket brought an end to a glorious partnership and, a couple of overs later, the innings.

Hazlewood made an early breakthrough by trapping opener Kraigg Brathwaite lbw for two but it was not until Lyon came on that the West Indies wickets started tumbling.

The 28-year-old, playing his 50th test, dismissed Rajendra Chandrika (25), Marlon Samuels (9) and Jermaine Blackwood (0), the latter two in a wicket-maiden over shortly before tea.

Hazlewood claimed his second victim when he trapped Denesh Ramdin (8) lbw before Peter Siddle took the final wicket to fall when West Indies skipper Jason Holder (15) was also adjudged lbw by a delivery that technology showed was going over the stumps.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Alleged Qld police stalker gets bailed

A man says he was engaging in “tit for tat” when he allegedly posted pictures of Queensland police officers on Facebook and asked for help finding their addresses.

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Romley Stewart Stover is facing four counts of stalking and two counts of unlawfully possessing a weapon, after guns, computers and recording devices were found at his Cairns home.

The Cairns Magistrate Court on Friday heard there were concerns Facebook posts including names and badge numbers of the officers could incite vilification or violence towards the police.

But the 59-year-old man, who repeatedly said he should be referred to as Romley Stewart only, told the court police had stolen his cars and harassed his family.

“I’ve never claimed to be a sovereign citizen or a freedom fighter,” he said referring to media reports linking him to an anti-government ideology.

“My family’s been under great duress by the Queensland police and every time that happens I put up the (Facebook) posts.”

On his Facebook page, Stover refers to police as “goons” and says they are no better than “Nazi criminals”.

He told the court the guns found at his house, including an alleged semi-automatic, should not be considered weapons because they hadn’t been fired in “30 to 40” years.

“They’re weapons, let’s not play games” Magistrate Kerry Magee said.

The prosecution alleges Stover does not acknowledge Queensland law or the authority of police and hid under his house when officers came to his house.

They argued he was an unacceptable risk of not appearing if given bail.

Magistrate Magee said she was “very concerned” by the posts but granted him bail on the condition that he delete his Facebook page, not use social media and avoid contact with the officers involved.

He must also reside at his Aeroglen address and not publish any pictures or comments about serving police officers.

The matter is due to be mentioned again on January 13.

Weakened rights language in Paris climate draft sparks alarm

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008px; line-height: 1.538em;”>Extended coverage: COP21

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is hoping to have the final text ready on Friday, and key issues remain open, with talks likely to carry on through the night.

Human rights organizations, aid agencies and climate-impacted people were disappointed to find an earlier binding proposal that said a Paris agreement should be implemented “on the basis of respect for human rights” had been thrown out.

“We would certainly think human rights is not something that should be dropped,” said Benjamin Schachter of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. “There still is time to bring this language back.”

There has been concern during the two-week talks in Paris that some states – including Saudi Arabia, Norway and the United States – have been trying to weaken the presence of human rights in the climate deal.

The removal of the reference was a particular affront because of its timing, campaigners said.

“Incredibly, references to human rights have been stripped from the body of this U.N. agreement on the very day that people around the world mark Human Rights Day,” said Friends of the Earth International climate justice coordinator Sara Shaw.

On Thursday morning, U.N. experts said human rights are already being violated by climate change impacts, including more extreme weather and rising seas, as well as solutions.

A report from the U.N. Environment Programme said the environmental impacts of climate change pose a threat to human rights, including the rights to health, food, water and adequate housing.

Ursula Rakova of the Cartaret islands in the Pacific, a community leader who has been trying to relocate some of her people threatened by rising seas to Bougainville, said she was “very angry this agreement does not protect our rights”.

“Looking at this (text), it doesn’t give us any hope. It means business as usual. Climate change impacts violate our rights,” she added.

International aid group Oxfam described the loss of the binding human rights language as “extremely disappointing”, noting it followed the earlier loss of references to gender equality and a just transition to a clean economy.

The non-binding introduction to the latest version of the text acknowledges that climate change is “a common concern to humankind”. It says countries should “promote, respect and take into account their respective obligations on human rights” when developing policies and taking action to address climate change.

But this does not satisfy human rights officials or campaigners.

“The language in the preamble is merely aspirational. It doesn’t require (governments) to do anything,” said Alyssa Johl of the Center for International Environmental Law. “This means it’s not a priority issue for them.”

Joni Pegram, climate change policy advisor with the U.N. children’s agency Unicef UK, said combating climate change and helping communities adapt should be about ensuring the rights of children, particularly the poorest, and other vulnerable groups, including migrants, indigenous peoples and women.

“World leaders talk of securing a deal that will protect the planet for children and future generations, but what they are proposing suggests that these are nothing more than warm words,” she said. 

Breakers’ comeback NBL win over Kings

Captain Mika Vukona was at the heart of a thunderous NZ Breakers comeback, maintaining their unbeaten NBL home record with a 96-84 win on Friday over the Sydney Kings.

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The defending champions cement third place with their 10th win from 15 games – and their eighth from eight at home – while the last-placed Kings lose further ground, slumping to an 11th loss from 14.

Winless on the road, the visitors threatened to turn form on its head after powering nine points clear early on and leading 21-14 and 45-37 through the first two quarters.

Vukona orchestrated the home revival, not only through his trademark rebounding where he pulled down a game-high 11, but the burly power forward also led the Breakers for scoring (18 points) and steals (three).

Point guard Cedric Jackson wasn’t far behind for effectiveness, scoring 17 and dishing 11 assists as the Breakers made it three from three this season against the Kings.

Charles Jackson, Thomas Abercrombie and the returning Tai Webster all scored in double figures, atoning for a quiet night for Corey Webster.

The league’s leading scorer notched two points in the first half before finishing with 10.

Jason Cadee scored 19 for Sydney, while fellow guard Marcus Thornton managed 17 and centre Julian Khazzou 15.

New import Damion James showed some promising touches for the visitors after entering late in the first quarter.

The four-season NBA forward snared 11 rebounds in his first appearance as a replacement for the injured Josh Childress. His shooting was mixed, finishing with seven points.

James faces another whistle-stop plane flight, with the Kings to play the Perth Wildcats on Sunday in Sydney.

The Breakers will enjoy a nine-day break before playing the Illawarra Hawks in Auckland.

Get rid of tennis umpires, says McEnroe

John McEnroe, sport’s original superbrat, is advocating the radical removal of umpires in a bid to liven up tennis.

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McEnroe made his stunning proposal while also recommending tiebreaks at four games all in the fifth and deciding set – rather than at 6-6 – in an effort to keep fans interested.

But it’s the former world No.1’s call to get rid of chair umpires that is sure to spark furious debate.

“There should be no umpires as well. That would maybe be a major innovation as well,” McEnroe told The Tennis Podcast when asked what changes he’d like to introduce.

“I’ll have to throw that in. That could excite things along with a tighter format, quicker format.”

It’s not the first time, of course, that McEnroe has sought the ditching of umpires.

He spent a career butting heads with officials and often demanded umpires controlling his matches be removed.

But he first raised the subject of permanently losing umpires and linespeople last year and now he’s continuing his crusade ahead of what shapes as another bumper summer of tennis in Australia.

The seven-times grand slam champion believes greater use of the challenge system, where players are currently allowed three unsuccessful challenges per set plus an additional one in a tiebreak – and having opponents umpire their own matches would really spice things up.

“So obviously there would be unlimited challenges and I think you’d see some little bloodbath between the two players,” McEnroe said.

“Or at least more of sort of this conflict that you saw back more in my day where the players seemed to be going at it more.

“It seems like to me they get along too well.”

Widely regarded now as tennis’s premier commentator, 56-year-old McEnroe believes earlier tiebreaks to decide matches are a must.

“In this day and age, people’s attention spans seem to be dwindling and the longer the match goes, it seems that it gets less compelling for too many people,” the American said.

“I think it’s too good a sport to not to try to think of ways to interest the fans.”

First planeload of Syrian refugees lands

After months of promises and weeks of preparation, the first Canadian government planeload of Syrian refugees has landed in Toronto.

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Those aboard a military aircraft were met by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau was elected to a surprise majority in October promising to accept more refugees more quickly than the previous Conservative government.

“This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations,” Trudeau told airport workers and volunteers standing by to meet the refugees.

Trudeau’s Liberal government scaled back the number of Syrian migrants it will accept by year end after the attacks in Paris sparked concern that the election promise to bring in 25,000 by December 31 would not allow enough time for security checks.

The plane carrying 163 Syrian refugees touched down in Toronto just before midnight on Thursday and will be followed by a second military airlift to Montreal on Saturday.

Trudeau has said 10,000 will be resettled by the end of the year and a further 15,000 by the end of February.

Privately sponsored Syrian refugees were also arriving on commercial flights at Toronto’s main terminal, greeted by sponsors and ordinary Canadians who had come to the airport to welcome the much-anticipated newcomers.

Toronto’s airport authority urged Canadians not to come to the airport to greet the refugees or drop off donations, saying: “We’re so proud that our community wants to help, but such a response would be very overwhelming for those arriving.”

The request did not deter Shai Reef, 20, who held up a sign that read: “Welcome to Canada” in Arabic.

“I’m here to show my solidarity for and support of the Syrian people going through genocide in Syria,” Reef said. “As Jews, we were also locked out, I know what it feels like.”

Toronto’s mayor tweeted a welcome, while the Toronto Star, the country’s largest newspaper, covered its front page with a “Welcome to Canada” banner headline in English and Arabic, along with an article explaining Canadian weather, ice hockey and slang.

Atlassian co-founder ‘chuffed’ as stock skyrockets on debut

The co-founder of Australian tech phenomenon Atlassian said he was “chuffed” by his company’s debut on the Nasdaq, whose closing share price has seen its value soar to nearly $8 billion.

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Mike Cannon-Brookes, along with co-CEO Scott Farquhar rang the opening market bell to celebrate their company’s listing in front of family and friends.

“It was pretty special to bring them all over from Australia and San Fransisco to celebrate with us,” Mr Cannon-Brookes told SBS World News via Skype. “Obviously the whole team here is pretty chuffed, I think it’s a real validation of the work they’ve done in the last 13 years.”

The Sydney-based software maker develops and licences a range of workplace collaboration tools including Jira and Confluence and counts Facebook, NASA and Toyota among its 51,000 customers around the world.

What an amazing day. Thank you to every Atlassian. Huge step on the journey. We are now officially public. Go $TEAM! pic.twitter韩国半永久纹眉会所,/k4bZirUySh

— Mike Cannon-Brookes (@mcannonbrookes) December 10, 2015

Hitting the boards under the code name “TEAM”, Atlassian debuted at $(US)27.67, up from the $(US)21 premium investors paid during the company’s initial public offering.

It ticked higher to a peak of $(US)28.50, before settling to trade strongly around the $(US)27 mark throughout the session, eventually closing on $(US)27.78 – a rise of 32 per cent.

Mr Cannon-Brookes said the listing gives Atlassian a huge opportunity to expand its team and products.

“The war for talent is pretty fierce and we hire in some pretty competitive markets,” he said. “Continuing to attract the best and brightest in the world, growing the people we have as the company keeps scaling is a constant challenge, and just making people understand the culture we’ve created at the company and we remain a great place to work.”

Atlassian’s listing on the Nasdaq is the biggest ever float from an Australian company on US markets.

Mr Cannon-Brookes is adamant there won’t be any huge changes at Atlassian, including its co-CEO structure.

“The company we were yesterday is the company we have to be tomorrow,” he said. “(We) shouldn’t change that in terms of creativity, in terms of innovation and just building great products and that’s what we have to keep doing.”