England hammer South Africa in first ODI

Eoin Morgan played down concerns over Ben Stokes’ fitness after England kicked off their Royal London One-Day Series with a convincing 72-run defeat of South Africa at Headingley.

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All-rounder Stokes, making his return to the side after his MVP-winning turn in the Indian Premier League, left the field during the second innings after experiencing pain in his left knee and, though he later returned to the field, he did not add to his two overs.

Captain Morgan, who hit a decisive 107 to underpin his side’s winning effort, revealed that Stokes had been cleared to bowl by medical staff but made the on-field call to keep him on the shelf with the game all-but won.

Stokes underwent an operation on the same knee exactly a year ago and concern is natural given his importance to England’s Champions Trophy push, but Morgan appeared relaxed after the game.

“When he came back on the field he was fit to bowl, but we managed to take a wicket when he came back on and I felt bowling him again, even though he was fit, wasn’t worth the risk,” said Morgan.

“It doesn’t even have swelling, no significant signs of an injury, but we’ll assess that in the next couple of days.”

Minor nerves over the condition of the team’s key all-rounder were outweighed by the satisfaction of piling on 6-339 against the No.1 ODI side in the world – then dismissing them for 267.

Morgan, pipped to the man-of-the-match award by Moeen Ali’s unbeaten 77 and two wickets, was a contented skipper as he reflected on the display.

“It was the best way we could have started, a very good day at the office and a pretty complete performance,” he said.

“It’s very satisfying putting in a performance like that, especially against a really, really strong team and given the start they got and the calibre of batting all the way down the order.”

South Africa skipper AB de Villiers admitted the game got away from his side after he won the toss and put the hosts in.

“We couldn’t get a partnership going and at the end of the day we were outplayed,” he said.

Moore’s heartwarming meeting with child

A lifelong James Bond fan has paid a heartfelt tribute to Sir Roger Moore, telling how the late star pretended to be the real 007 when he met the actor as a child.

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TV writer Marc Haynes, now 41, described him as a “tremendous man” for the attention he paid to a young fan – and then again in another chance meeting years later.

He told how his seven-year-old self was thrilled when the actor asked him to help keep his Bond identity secret to avoid being traced by villains.

Haynes shared the story via Facebook after the news broke on Tuesday that his movie hero had died aged 89.

“As an seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my granddad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper,” he wrote.

“I told my granddad I’d just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph.

“As charming as you’d expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes.

“I’m ecstatic, but as we head back to our seats, I glance down at the signature. It’s hard to decipher it but it definitely doesn’t say ‘James Bond’.

“I tell my grandad he’s signed it wrong, that he’s put someone else’s name … I remember staying by our seats and my granddad saying ‘He says you’ve signed the wrong name, he says your name is James Bond’.

“He leant over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, “I have to sign my name as ‘Roger Moore’ because otherwise … Blofeld might find out I was here.

“He asked me not to tell anyone that I’d just seen James Bond, and he thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight.

“My granddad asked me if he’d signed ‘James Bond’. No, I said. I’d got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.”

Haynes went on to become a writer and producer and at 30 took part in a scriptwriting project that involved children’s charity UNICEF and one of its key ambassadors, Sir Roger.

“He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him in passing the story of when I met him,” Haynes said.

“He was happy to hear it, and he had a chuckle and said ‘Well, I don’t remember but I’m glad you got to meet James Bond’.

“And then he did something so brilliant.

“After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car – but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, ‘Of course I remember our meeting in Nice. But I didn’t say anything in there, because those cameramen – any one of them could be working for Blofeld’.

“I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at seven. What a man. What a tremendous man.”

Hanson questions halal certification practices

Pauline Hanson has taken senior bureaucrats to task over whether cows are still alive when they’re slaughtered under halal certification.

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“It has been brought to my attention that under halal certification, these cattle are actually still alive when their throats are slit,” the One Nation leader put to agriculture officials during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

A department staffer said all cattle halal slaughtered in Australia are stunned beforehand.

But Senator Hanson insisted she’d been told otherwise.

“I have been advised that is not the case. In one of the slaughterhouses the cow is still alive when it’s throat is slit,” she said.

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The department vowed to investigate any incidents of animal welfare concerns.

But agriculture officer Narelle Clegg then stepped in to clarify the process.

“Senator Hanson, the other point to make is that animals are alive when they’ve been stunned. It’s just that they’re unconscious,” Ms Clegg said.

“So animals will be slaughtered when they’re alive, but they will have been stunned first. So they’re not like you and I at the moment, they’re like you and I when we’ve been knocked out.”

The vast majority of halal slaughter in Australia complies with standard practice, where all animals are stunned beforehand, according to the RSPCA.

“The only difference with halal slaughter is that a reversible stunning method is used, while conventional humane slaughter may use an irreversible stunning method,” a spokesperson told AAP.

However, a small number of abattoirs in Australia, which are authorised by state food authorities, have an exemption to kill cattle and sheep without stunning them first for either halal or kosher slaughter.

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The RSPCA believes there are eight abattoirs across three states with approval for such religious slaughters.

“For cattle, stunning is still required but this occurs immediately after the throat is cut,” the spokesperson said.

“For sheep, stunning is not required except where the animal is distressed or does not rapidly lose consciousness, in which case they must be immediately stunned.”

US budget cut makes it ‘impossible’ for UN

US President Donald Trump’s bid to slash funding for the United Nations would make it “impossible” for it to continue its essential work, a UN spokesman says, adding that the organisation is ready to discuss reform with Washington.

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The Trump proposal cuts about a third from US diplomacy and aid budgets, or nearly $US19 billion ($A25 billion). This includes cutting some $US1 billion from a UN peacekeeping funding and a steep cut to funding for international organisations.

The United States is the biggest UN contributor, paying 22 per cent of the $US5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 per cent of the $US7.9 billion peacekeeping budget. These assessed contributions are agreed by the 193-member UN General Assembly.

“The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the UN to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Congress sets the federal government budget, and Republicans who control both houses and Democrats have said they do not support such drastic cuts.

Trump has said the US share of the UN budgets was “unfair.” The General Assembly is currently negotiating the peacekeeping budget from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 and will later this year negotiate the next UN regular budget.

Trump wants to cap the US peacekeeping contribution at 25 per cent. The United States is reviewing each of the 16 UN peacekeeping missions as the annual mandates come up for renewal by the Security Council in a bid to cut costs.

During a lunch with UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House last month, Trump described the US contributions to the United Nations as “peanuts compared to the important work” as he pushed the world body to reform.

“The Secretary-General is totally committed to reforming the United Nations,” Dujarric said. “We stand ready to discuss with the United States and any other member state how best we can create a more cost-effective organisation to pursue our shared goals and values.”

Trump’s budget proposal included a 44 per cent cut to funding for international organisations that work against US foreign policy interests.

Explainer: What is halal, and how does certification work?

What is halal food?

Muslims choose to eat halal food because it meets requirements that they believe make it suitable for consumption.

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Halal originates from rules set out in the Qur’an and the Hadith (the Prophet Muhammad’s example), which have been followed throughout generations of Islamic practice.

As a concept, halal does not only pertain to food. Halal means “permissible” and can refer to any aspect of life covered by the teachings of Islam.

Halal is a part of sharia as a system of morals to guide Muslims’ actions and behaviour, but this should not be confused with halal as part of a codified system of sharia law. Halal prescriptions might be considered by observant Muslims to be religious obligations, but Australia is a secular country and halal forms no part of any Australian law.

As with many aspects of Islamic practice, the definition of halal food is a contested issue. For example, there is disagreement within the Muslim community about whether stunning animals before slaughter produces halal meat. Both sides draw on Islamic teachings and traditions to support their positions. Disputes such as this highlight why halal certification is important for Muslim consumers.

How does halal certification work?

There are three different types of halal certification in Australia.

Individual products can be certified, meaning the production process and ingredients in that particular product are halal. So a consumer could buy halal yoghurt, for example, from a store that also sold non-halal yoghurt.

Production facilities can be certified, so that any products produced according to the certification standards can claim to be halal. For example, in an abattoir that is certified to produce halal meat, the meat will be halal no matter what cuts or final shape the meat takes. However, it may not even get labelled as halal when it reaches the market.

Retail premises can also be certified so that all food prepared and sold from that business is halal.

The halal certification process varies depending on who is performing the service. This is where uncertainty creeps in. Muslim consumers are largely unable to find out exactly what process has been followed in the certification process and what standards have been set by the certification provider.

Why is halal certification needed?

Halal certification is needed in Australia for two key reasons.

Firstly, certification helps local Muslims decide which products to buy. Modern food processing and globalised markets make it hard for Muslims in Australia to know how their food was produced and where it has come from. To get around this uncertainty, consumers who want to buy halal food need a system that checks whether products meet the requirements of being halal.

In this sense, halal certification is similar to any type of food certification and audit system. Whether it be halal, kosher, gluten-free or organic, food certification services help consumers to make informed decisions about the food they eat.

The second reason has to do with trade. With the global halal food trade estimated at A$1.75 trillion annually, Muslim markets provide a lucrative opportunity for Australian companies. If companies want to export their products to those markets, they need to have halal certification.

Who certifies halal food?

Certified halal products in Australia can come from two sources: domestic products that are produced locally and certified by local businesses, or imported products that have been certified overseas.

Numerous halal certifiers operate in Australia. The Department of Agriculture maintains a list of Islamic organisations that have an “Approved Arrangement” to certify halal meat for export. There are 21 such organisations operating in Australia as of November 2014.

However, Australian government regulation applies only to providers that certify meat for export. While much of this meat may end up in the domestic market, certification providers that service only the Australian market do not come under any government regulation.

While some halal certification providers are associated with, or part of, larger Australian Islamic organisations, such as the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, others are stand-alone businesses that provide local certification services.

With so much uncertainty about what constitutes halal, how products are certified and who is doing the certification, consumers who wish to buy halal food can find that a difficult task.

For non-Muslim Australian consumers, however, halal food is little different to any other food available. It only matters whether or not food is halal if a person has the religious conviction and desire to eat only halal food. Although improvements could be made, halal certification is one way Muslims are able to do this.

The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. They also have no relevant affiliations.