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Australia bowler Harris doubt for First Test

Ryan Harris could be missing in Cardiff. Credit: PA

Pace bowler Ryan Harris was a late withdrawal from the Australia side to face Essex in Chelmsford with a knee problem, which could put him out of contention for the opening Ashes Test in Cardiff next month.

The 35-year-old from New South Wales struggled with knee soreness following the first tour match in Kent last week, and was replaced in the XI at the Essex County Ground by Peter Siddle.

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Rugby League player dies after tackle

An Australian rugby league player has died after suffering injuries in a tackle during a match.

Prop James Ackerman, 25, was treated on the pitch for head injuries sustained in a tackle in the opening five minutes of Sunshine Coast Falcons' Queensland Cup match against North Devils on Saturday.

Ackerman was transported to hospital but was unable to recover from his injuries.

James Ackerman was injured in a tackle. Credit: Sunshine Coast Falcons

QRL managing director Robert Moore said: "We send our deepest condolences to James' family and friends, and the Sunshine Coast club.

"This is obviously a very difficult and traumatic time for a considerable amount of people and we ask for the privacy of the family to be respected.

"Our immediate priority is to provide support for the family as well as the players, coaches and referees who were involved in this game."

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Australia PM doesn't deny paying smugglers to 'turn back'

Tony Abbott has refused to deny reports in Australian media Credit: DEAN LEWINS / AAP

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined to comment on reports that the Australian Navy paid people-smugglers thousands of dollars to turn their boat of migrants away.

Australia has a very strict anti-immigrant policy, and has been diverting asylum seekers in increasing numbers either back to Indonesia, or into camps in Papua New Guinea and Nuaru.

However, Australian and Indonesian media this week reported that Abbott's government had paid people smugglers on a boat carrying 65 migrants around $5,000 Australian each to turn back, after being intercepted at sea.

Mr Abbott has declined to deny that this exchange took place, claiming that "we don't go into the details of operational measures on national security".

Malaysia Airlines plane makes emergency landing

A Malaysia Airlines flight was forced to return to Melbourne (file photo). Credit: Reuters

A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane has been forced to make an emergency landing in Australia amid reports of an engine fire.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed that flight 148 from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur landed safely after returning in the air.

According to the Associated Press, the airline could not confirm media reports that its return to Melbourne was due to an engine fire.

Melbourne Fire Service said it was "assisting with an incident at Melbourne Airport" but did not give any further details.

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