TIME Cricket

Indians to Outnumber Australians at the Cricket World Cup Semifinal in Sydney

CRICKET-WC-2015-IND-IRE
MICHAEL BRADLEY—AFP/Getty Images India fans wave their national flags during the Pool B Cricket World Cup match between India and Ireland at Sedden Park in Hamilton on March 10, 2015. 

Organizers estimate that about 70% of the seats at the Sydney Cricket Ground have been bought by Indian fans

Every sports team loves the slight advantage that playing at home provides. While it all comes down to the players’ performance on the day, thousands of fans screaming their lungs out for you definitely gives a psychological edge.

But the home ground advantage will very likely be rendered irrelevant when Australia take on India in the second semifinal of the 2015 Cricket World Cup on Thursday, even though they are playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground — one of their favorite and most iconic venues.

That’s because, according to organizers, Indian fans have bought about 70% of the 42,000 seats in the stadium, Agence France-Presse reports. Cricket is akin to a religion across South Asia and Indian cricket fans are among the most boisterous and dedicated, so it’s not surprising that Australian captain Michael Clarke is worried.

Clarke and batsman David Warner sent out identical tweets over the weekend, calling for a “gold-out” (the team’s colors are primarily yellow).

“It will be very loud, very intimidating” said Kartik Ayyalasomayajula, one of the founders of an Indian fan collective called the Swami Army. “It will feel like an away game for them.”

Australia have their work cut out against India, who are the defending champions after winning the 2011 World Cup on their home turf in Mumbai. Both teams have been in fine form thus far in the tournament, and Thursday’s encounter promises to be a tense and closely fought one. “People will be going nuts,” Kartik said.

Should Australia win, though, they will definitely have the home advantage at next week’s final in Melbourne against World Cup co-hosts New Zealand, who edged out South Africa Tuesday in the other nail-biting semifinal.

But Kiwis, as New Zealanders are colloquially known, are scrambling to fill those stands as well, with the New Zealand Herald reporting that a fresh round of tickets for the final released by the International Cricket Council sold out almost immediately on Wednesday.

TIME World

790 Aussies Just Held the World’s Biggest Skinny-Dip

“It was very nerve-racking in the lead-up, but then everyone started dropping their sarongs”

The world record for the largest simultaneous skinny-dip has apparently been set in Perth, Australia, by 790 participants.

The event appears to have surpassed the previous record of 744 set in Gisborne, New Zealand, in 2013, according to Perth Now. Guinness World Records still has to confirm the new feat, however.

“It was very nerve-racking in the lead-up, but then everyone started dropping their sarongs and strangely it felt so normal because if you weren’t naked you were the odd one out,” said Heidi Anderson, a Perth Now columnist who participated in the event.

Local media reported that the mass skinny-dip raised money and awareness for the Butterfly Foundation, a group that helps those affected by eating disorders.

“I had huge body image issues over the last few years and over the last three years I have been working on myself. This was the next step towards embracing who I am,” said Anderson.

TIME Parenting

Man Says He Was Forced to Choose Between Newborn Son with Down Syndrome and Wife

Samuel Forrest Samuel Forrest's son Leo

The baby was born in Armenia, where estimated 98% of all Down syndrome newborns are abandoned annually

When Samuel Forrest’s son Leo was born Jan. 21, doctors informed him that Leo had Down Syndrome, which made no difference to Forrest.

“I looked at this guy and I said, he’s beautiful – he’s perfect and I’m absolutely keeping him,” Forrest told ABC News.

But for Forrest, a native New Zealander living in Armenia, there was one thing he hadn’t counted on. Leo’s mother, Ruzan Badalyan, issued him an ultimatum there in the hospital room, he says: It was her or Leo.

As Forrest explains on his GoFundMe page, “scores of babies are abandoned [in Armenia] each year, for reasons ranging from physical or intellectual disabilities and minor ‘imperfections’ … health professionals estimate that 98 percent of all Down syndrome babies born in Armenia are abandoned, every year.”

Forrest said, “[Badalyan] told me if I kept [Leo] then we would get a divorce.” (Badalyan confirmed to ABC News that she had given birth to a child with Down syndrome and did leave the father and child, filing for divorce about a week after Leo was born. She declined further comment.)

Forrest hadn’t been aware of the practice beforehand. “What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them,” he said. “My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back.”

A freelance contractor, Forrest was unprepared to deal with the sudden costs of being essentially abandoned in a different country with a newborn son. He set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help him return to New Zealand with Leo.

Though his initial goal was set at $60,000, the page has raised nearly $300,000 at the time of this writing, some of which Forrest says will be used to “fund facilities and programs here in Armenia that will support future parents to keep their kids despite all disabilities.” Another portion will go to the one orphanage in Armenia that regularly takes Down syndrome babies.

“After what I’ve been through with Leo, I’m not going to sit back and watch babies be sent to orphanages,” Forrest said. “As a child with Down syndrome, that becomes somewhat of a label. If we can get around this label, we’ll see that they’re normal. They’re a little different from us, but they’re still normal.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME weird

New Zealand City Shocked By Unintentionally Priapic Sculpture

Artist says he didn't mean sculpture to resemble a large phallus

Residents of Auckland, NZ aren’t so sure this sculpture of clouds reminds them of the sky. Instead, it reminds of them of something else:

“What the hell is that? It’s certainly not a cloud. It looks like a penis,” Mt Roskill resident Joy Dale told the New Zealand Herald.

Gregor Kregar, the sculptor who created the piece with his wife Sara Hughes and architect Davor Popadich, said he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. He thinks the sculpture is about clouds, vapors, and raindrops, with an emphasis on the modernity of the area, and is surprised by the public response.

“Art is out there to stir reaction,” Kregar told the Herald.

Kregar also says the sculpture will look different once the neon lighting is installed.

[NZH]

TIME New Zealand

Major Earthquake Rattles New Zealand Close to Christchurch

Kiwis experience a tremulous start to their morning

New Zealand’s South Island was jolted awake after a severe earthquake struck near its west coast on Tuesday morning.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck close to Arthur’s Pass, about 60 miles (100 km) west of Christchurch, just before 7 a.m. local time, reports the BBC. It was recorded as one of the strongest seismic events in New Zealand since the 2011 Christchurch quake that killed 185 people.

More than 30 aftershocks measuring up to 4.2 in magnitude were felt by people around the area.

GeoNet, New Zealand’s natural-hazard-monitoring service, identified the quake as “severe” and has warned of more aftershocks.

“In a typical aftershock sequence, we can expect the largest aftershock to be up to magnitude 5.0,” the agency said in a statement.

GeoNet seismologist John Ristau told the New Zealand Herald it was not unusual to have earthquakes of this magnitude in Arthur’s Pass.

No damage or serious injuries have been reported across the affected area.

[BBC]

TIME isis

New Zealander ISIS Fighter Accidentally Tweets Secret Location

This screenshot shows Mark Taylor's twitter profile before it was suspended.
Mark Taylor, also known as Kiwi Jihadi (@M_Taylor_Kiwi) via Twitter This screenshot shows Mark Taylor's twitter profile before it was suspended.

He deleted 45 tweets after learning that they were geotagged

A New Zealand man thought to have been fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) inadvertently revealed his precise location by posting geotagged tweets, a security researcher revealed.

Abu Abdul-Rahman, also known as Mark Taylor, left New Zealand to join the fight with ISIS in May 2012. Soon after, he tweeted that his mission to Syria was a “one-way trip” that featured a picture of his burned passport, the Guardian reports.

Taylor has since deleted 45 tweets after learning that they were geotagged with his precise coordinates. Security researcher Jeff Wyers, who runs an open-source intelligence group called iBrado, used the tweet geo-location information to place Taylor in a specific house in the Syrian town of al-Taqbah.

Since he first traveled to Syria, Taylor has reportedly been in touch with the New Zealand passport office to get a replacement travel document but hasn’t heard back.

[Guardian]

Read next: ISIS Executed Almost 2,000 People in Syria Over the Past Six Months

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Healthcare

Illness Strikes 200 on Cruise Ship

The passenger liner Dawn Princess, operated by Carnival Corp.'s Princess Cruises, sits docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Princes Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand, on March 20, 2013.
Brednan O'Hagan—Bloomberg/Getty Images The passenger liner Dawn Princess, operated by Carnival Corp.'s Princess Cruises, sits docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Princes Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand, on March 20, 2013.

Sick passengers have been confined to their cabins

A norovirus outbreak aboard a cruise ship near Australia has left 200 passengers sick and confined to their cabins, health officials said.

Princess Cruises, which operates the ship, said it has taken measures to prevent the spread of the disease, the New Zealand Herald reports. Crew members aboard the Dawn Princess, which is en route to Australia from New Zealand, have taken measures to disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of the disease. The ship has a doctor on board responsible for overseeing the situation and the health of all 1,500 passengers.

“It takes relatively few cases to be reported onboard for even more stringent sanitation levels to be implemented,” the company said in a statement. “The containment response worked effectively and the number of new cases declined significantly.”

Norovirus, a gastrointestinal virus transmitted through blood and urine, causes diarrhea and vomiting and lasts one to three days.

[New Zealand Herald]

TIME celebrities

AC/DC’s Phil Rudd Appears in Court on Drug and ‘Threatening to Kill’ Charges

Phil Rudd
Alan Gibson—AP Phil Rudd, drummer for the rock band AC/DC, stands in the dock in the High Court at Tauranga, New Zealand, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.

Rudd is on bail and has entered no plea

Phil Rudd, the Australian drummer of AC/DC, has appeared in a New Zealand court on charges of threatening to kill and drug possession.

BBC News reports that when Rudd, 60, failed to appear at 9:00 a.m. local time, the judge issued an arrest warrant for the no-show rocker. The warrant was withdrawn when Rudd arrived just minutes later.

Rudd was initially charged earlier this month for attempting to procure a murder, but the charge was dropped soon afterward.

The musician, who has not entered a plea for the other charges, is out on bail. After his appearance, he rode piggyback on his security guard from the courthouse to his sports car.

The band’s new album, Rock or Bust, is expected to drop next month.

[BBC News]

TIME celebrities

AC/DC’s Drummer Is Innocent of ‘Attempting to Procure Murder’

ACDC Drummer Appears In Court
Joel Ford — Getty Images AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court after being charged with attempting to procure murder on November 6, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand.

But he still faces charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis

Prosecutors in New Zealand dropped the “attempting to procure murder charge” against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd on Friday morning, a day after the rocker was arrested during a high-profile police raid on his home.

The crown solicitor in the city of Tauranga cited a lack of evidence as the reason for dropping the charge, the New Zealand Herald reported.

However, Rudd, 60, still faces charges of “threatening to kill” and two counts of possession of cannabis and methamphetamine.

The sensational allegations that the famed drummer had tried to hire a hit man to murder two individuals and had threatened to kill a third were quickly picked up by media outlets worldwide on Thursday.

On Friday, Rudd’s attorney Paul Mabey blasted New Zealand police for publicly charging Rudd without first consulting prosecutors. He described the damage done to Rudd’s reputation by the move as “incalculable.”

[New Zealand Herald]

TIME celebrities

AC/DC’s Drummer Has Been Charged With Attempting to Arrange a Murder

The shocking news comes just before the band releases its new album

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd is set to appear before a New Zealand court on Thursday to face charges for attempting to procure a murder after being arrested earlier in the day by police, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

During the raid on his home in New Zealand’s Tauranga city, the drummer was also found to be in possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.

Rudd’s arrest caps what has been a somber year for the iconic Australian hard rock outfit. In September, the family of Malcolm Young, who founded the band alongside his brother Angus, announced that he would be retiring from the group due to an ongoing battle with dementia.

AC/DC burst onto the international music scene in the mid-1970s with fist-pumping anthems like Highway to Hell and It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll). Ironically, the band scored one of their earliest hits with the title track from their third album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap — an ode to vigilante justice.

The band is set to release a new album Rock or Bust in December.

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