AFL ladder leaders Adelaide thrash Port

Port Adelaide were left embarrassed after copping a record 84-point hiding from arch rivals Adelaide, Power coach Ken Hinkley has said.

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The Crows skipped six points clear at the top of the AFL ladder with Sunday’s crushing 18.22 (130) to 7.4 (46) victory — their biggest win against Port.

Adelaide’s utter dominance shocked Hinkley.

The Crows recorded 81 inside 50 entries to 31, won the contested ball count by 46, and had 100 more disposals and 29 more scoring shots than his side.

“We got bashed up,” Hinkley said.

“I find it unexcusable (sic) to play that poorly in a game of football.”

Adelaide’s winning margin bettered their 83-point triumph against Port in a 2005 semi-final.

“We got what we deserved, a smacking,” Hinkley said.

“They (Port players) would feel embarrassed by it, and we should collectively as a club feel embarrassed by our performance.”

The Power are in a mid top-eight ruck, holding fifth spot by percentage and six points shy of fourth-placed Geelong.

But Adelaide appear a lock for a top-two finish and the associated home first final and double chance.

Mercurial Crows forward Eddie Betts kicked four goals — including two more boundary-liners for his highlight reel — just 14 days after having his appendix removed and teammate Josh Jenkins also booted four.

Captain Taylor Walker was imposing with three goals and 23 disposals, while Sam Jacobs kicked two goals and ruled his ruck duel with Paddy Ryder.

Jacobs joined Adelaide legend Mark Ricciuto and Port’s Josh Francou in claiming the Showdown medal for a third time.

He provided silver service for an Adelaide midfield headlined by Rory Sloane (30 disposals, one goal), Matt Crouch (34 disposals), his brother Brad (29 touches, one goal) and Richard Douglas (24 possessions).

And even some extreme rain and tricky winds couldn’t halt Adelaide’s scoring power, though Crows coach Don Pyke warned the best was yet to come.

“We can play better,” Pyke said.

“Self-satisfaction doesn’t lead to progress.”

With three games remaining, the Crows are in the box seat to retain their top billing.

“We’re in a position where tonight we have secured top four,” Pyke said.

“There’s no reason to suggest we shouldn’t be shooting to finish top two and give ourselves the best opportunity come finals.

“We have been able to create that opportunity, now it’s about maximising it.”

ASEAN, China discuss South China Sea

Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China have adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but seen by critics as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.

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The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, which has mostly been ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars.

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All parties say the framework is only an outline for how the code will be established but critics say the failure to outline as an initial objective the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable, or have a dispute resolution mechanism, raises doubts about how effective the pact will be.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the adoption of the framework created a solid foundation for negotiations that could start this year, if “the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable and on the premise that there is no major interference from outside parties.”

He told reporters on Sunday there had been “really tangible progress” so there was “a need to cherish momentum on the South China Sea”.

Signing China up to a legally binding and enforceable code for the strategic waterway has long been a goal for claimant members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), some of which have sparred for years over what they see as China’s disregard for their sovereign rights and its blocking of fishermen and energy exploration efforts.

Beijing insists its activities are for defence purposes, in areas it considers its waters. Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, however, all claim some or all of the South China Sea and its myriad shoals, reefs and islands.

Some critics and diplomats believe China’s sudden interest in the code after 15 years of delays is to drag out the negotiating process to buy time to complete its strategic objectives in the South China Sea, through which more than $US3 billion ($A3.8 billion) of ship-borne trade passes annually.

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Myanmar rejects human rights abuse claims

Myanmar has rejected allegations of crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing during a crackdown against Rohingya Muslims last year, accusing the United Nations of making exaggerated claims in its report on the issue.

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Rohingya militants killed nine border guards in October, sparking a response in which the army was accused of raping Rohingya women, shooting villagers on sight and burning down homes, sending an estimated 75,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.

A UN report in February said security forces instigated a campaign that “very likely” amounted to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing. This led to the establishment of a UN probe which is being blocked by Myanmar.

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The country’s own 13-member investigation team – led by former head of military intelligence and now Vice President, Myint Swe – has been dismissed by human rights monitors as lacking independence to produce a credible report.

Speaking to reporters gathered on Sunday in Yangon to conclude its eight-month-long probe, Myint Swe said the UN report exaggerated the claims and created misunderstanding for the international community.

“There is no possibility of crimes against humanity, no evidence of ethnic cleansing, as per UN accusations,” said Myint Swe.

He added that, “some people from abroad have fabricated news claiming genocide had occurred, but we haven’t found any evidence.”

The panel said that the UN report did not take into consideration “violent acts” committed by the insurgents, instead focusing on the activities of the security forces.

The UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Myanmar commission had received 21 reports from villagers of incidents of murder, rape, arson and torture by the security forces, but, unable to verify their veracity, it referred them to the authorities.

The commission blamed the violence on the insurgents, accusing them of links to organisations abroad, “set up to destabilise and harm Myanmar”.

The treatment of the roughly one million Muslim Rohingya has emerged as majority Buddhist Myanmar’s most contentious rights issue as it makes a transition from decades of harsh military rule.

The Rohingya are denied citizenship and classified as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite claiming roots in the region that go back centuries, with communities marginalised and occasionally subjected to communal violence.

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AFL flag is anyone’s, claims Clarkson

After seeing an impressive Richmond side end his own side’s AFL finals hopes, Hawthorn boss Alastair Clarkson says the Tigers can win the flag.

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And so can Melbourne. Or West Coast. Or Essendon. Or Western Bulldogs.

Or any of the other sides still in finals contention.

But that list no longer includes the Hawks after their 29-point loss to the Tigers on Sunday at the MCG.

Clarkson – who has steered Hawthorn to four of the last 10 premierships – sees a wide open premiership race.

“There’s 11 or 12 sides that could win it,” he said.

“We saw that last year. It’s an unbelievably even season.

“(Richmond) are doing everything right at the present time but they need to do that in September.

“That’s what the Bulldogs were able to do. They won it from seventh for goodness sake.

“Dare I say it, if we were able to sneak in I reckon we would be able to give it a shake as well.

“The team that can get it together in the last four weeks of the season is going to be lifting silverware.”

Clarkson was full of praise for Damien Hardwick’s Tigers, who he said were “harder and ore polished” than his own side.

He said Hardwick – and the Richmond executives who agonised over whether to axe him after failing to win a final in his first seven seasons – deserved credit for sticking at the task.

“Coaching is a tough caper … it takes some soul searching,” he said.

“They’ve been able to change some things around and that’s a credit to Dimma and the whole club.

“When the drums start beating … it’s really easy to make a change but continuity and stability are the two buzzwords in footy. If you’ve got that you’ve got some sort of chance.

“They’re a good side. They’re in the top four for a reason.”

Clarkson said his sidelined senior players – with the exception of Paul Puopolo – were unlikely to return this year.

Injured recruit Jaeger O’Meara is touch-and-go to play senior football in 2017.

“We’re really eager for him to get back and play some footy and then get back, have some rest before pre-season,” he said.

“Jaeger will hopefully play in the next week or two. Maybe even next week. That’s really encouraging but it’s unlikely to be at a senior level.”