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July 29, 2014

Rare EF2 tornado hits Revere, Massachusetts

Rare EF2 tornado hits Revere, Massachusetts

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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File photo of Revere City Hall, one of the buildings damaged in the tornado.
Image: John Phelan.

A rare tornado ranked EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale struck the city of Revere, Massachusetts around 9:30 am local time (1330 UTC) on Monday, causing a swath of destruction over two miles (about three km) long and 3/8th of a mile (about 6/10 km) wide as winds topped around 120 mph (about 190 kph). The tornado began at the border of Revere and neighboring Chelsea, Massachusetts and traveled along the street of Broadway in Revere, according to the National Weather Service‘s preliminary report.

Over 65 buildings have been damaged, according to officials, reportedly including Revere’s city hall, an ice rink, and an auto body business which had its roof ripped off. Thirteen buildings are reported to be uninhabitable. Partial building and roof collapses along with downed power lines and trees were reported through the city. Cars were crushed by trees or flipped over. Nevertheless, no serious injuries or deaths were reported in the densely populated city.

Revere mayor Dan Rizzo said, “We were very, very fortunate to have no casualties and just some minor injuries from this monumental storm that took us all by surprise”. Rizzo added, “Given the magnitude of the storm, it’s really a miracle that no one sustained more serious injuries”. Revere Police are urging people to avoid the city until further notice as clean up begins. A shelter has been opened at the Rumney Marsh Academy school.

The tornado is the first to strike the Boston area since records were first kept in 1950.


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Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400 – Wikinews, the free news source

Jeff Gordon wins the 2014 Brickyard 400

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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On Sunday, Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports recorded his 90th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in the 2014 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Starting the race in second, Gordon won his second race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and his fifth at the track, breaking a tie with teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most event wins, while tying Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most wins at the track. The win marked his first 400 win since 2004, and was on the twenty-year anniversary of his 1994 Brickyard 400 win; Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard declared the day “Jeff Gordon Day”. Additionally, the win was the twelfth consecutive Brickyard 400 victory for Chevrolet, and the ninth for Hendrick Motorsports.

The race began at 1:19 PM EDT (1719 UTC), with Kevin Harvick holding pole position, his series-high fourth of the season. Harvick’s lead would end after just one lap, yielding to Gordon, who led the following 20 laps. Joey Logano would lead for the next ten laps, with the lead later being split by Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer. After claiming the lead from Bowyer, Kahne would lead for 25 consecutive laps; he would end the race leading the most laps with 70.

The first caution flag was flown as an arranged competition caution on lap 22, allowing Cole Whitt to become the beneficiary, nicknamed the “lucky dog”, and gain back a lap. On lap 69, the second caution, for Danica Patrick stopping in turn 1, allowing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to become the beneficiary; Trevor Bayne‘s crash in turn 3 on lap 98 led to Brad Keselowski gaining a lap. The final caution occurred on lap 140 due to Ryan Truex being too slow in turn 2, with Michael McDowell being the “lucky dog”.

On the final restart with 17 laps remaining, and Gordon, who struggled with restarts for seasons, passed teammate Kahne and led for the remainder of the race. Kyle Busch finished second, 2.325 seconds behind Gordon, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, with the top five being rounded out by Logano. Kahne dropped to fifth on the restart, and ran out of fuel on the last lap, finishing sixth, with the top ten closed out by Larson, Harvick, Earnhardt, Jr., and Dillon.

After the race, Hamlin had firewall plates, which protect the driver from smoke and fire, but can assist a car’s aerodynamic performace if airflow is permitted, confiscated by NASCAR.

The drivers’ points standings after the race featured Gordon in the lead with 717 points. Earnhardt, Jr. with 693; Keselowski, 666; Kenseth, 661; Johnson, 628; Kyle Busch, 609; Ryan Newman, 606; Carl Edwards, 603; Logano, 591; and Bowyer, 577, closed out the top ten. With the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format introduced for the 2014 season, Gordon, Edwards, Johnson, and Logano clinched spots in the Chase Grid, which Keselowski leads, with Johnson, Gordon, Earnhardt, Jr., Edwards, Logano, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Newman, Bowyer, Larson, and Dillon comprising the remainder of the current leaders for the sixteen-driver Grid.

The race was officially named the Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Powered by BigMachineRecords.com. Walding, who served in Iraq as a member of the Green Berets, had his lower leg amputated after being shot. His name was chosen for the race as part of Crown Royal’s “Your Hero Name Here” program.

The next race, the Gobowling.com 400, is to be held on August 3 at Pocono Raceway, and will air on ESPN at 1:00 PM EDT.

Official Top-10 Race Results for the 2014 Brickyard 400
Position Car Number Team Driver
1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Jeff Gordon
2 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Kyle Busch
3 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin
4 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Matt Kenseth
5 22 Team Penske Joey Logano
6 5 Hendrick Motorsports Kasey Kahne
7 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Kyle Larson
8 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick
9 88 Hendrick Motorsports Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10 3 Richard Childress Racing Austin Dillon



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July 28, 2014

Scientists analyse effects of global warming, atmospheric ozone on crops

Scientists analyse effects of global warming, atmospheric ozone on crops

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Monday, July 28, 2014

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A research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Colorado State University of the US and the University of Sheffield of the UK has analysed effects of global warming and ozone pollution over 2000–2050 on the worldwide production of wheat, rice, maize and soybean. The study was published in journal Nature Climate Change yesterday.

The scientists found reduction of crop yields by 2050 exceeded 10% of 2000 levels, substantially decreasing food security, in all cases examined. Several scenarios were considered because of uncertainty of future levels of ozone pollution. They estimated by 2050, increasing population and changing diet would increase world food needs by 50 percent. As coauthor Colette Heald told The Huffington Post, “The climate projections are quite consistent […] the future of ozone pollution is very different […] leading to either offsetting or reinforcing effects [of climate change] on crops”. By 2050, undernourishment would increase by either 49 percent or by 27 percent, depending on the scenario.

The study focuses on ozone–temperature covariation: ground-level ozone increases with temperatures. Heald said although temperature and ozone are separately known to impact crop yields, “nobody has looked at these together”. Depending on region and crops, the yields may be primarily sensitive to ozone —in the case of wheat— or heat —in the case of maize— alone, providing a local estimation of relative benefits of climate change adaptation versus ozone regulation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes, “Ground-level ozone causes more damage to plants than all other air pollutants combined”, highlighting the importance of air quality for agriculture. Results of NCLAN studies, published in a paper by AS Heagle in 1989, show dicot species, such as soybean, cotton, and peanut, lose more yield from ozone than do monocot species such as sorghum, field corn, and winter wheat. The researchers found that ozone pollution caused 46 percent of previously heat-attributed damage to soybean crops.

The model does not include the effect of rising carbon dioxide concentration, which has complex and potentially offsetting impacts on global food supply. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says some crops may have higher yields with increased levels of carbon dioxide. However, global warming also increases probability of extreme crops-damaging weather events such as floods, droughts, and extreme temperatures. Climate change affects distribution of weeds, pests, and diseases. Heald noted the findings show pollution reduction is also important. “An air-quality cleanup would improve crop yields […] Ozone is something that we understand the causes of, and the steps that need to be taken to improve air quality.”

As Heald told The Huffington Post, US surface ozone has dropped partly due to the Clean Air Act. “Despite an increase in vehicle miles driven and energy consumption, surface ozone has declined by 25 percent on average across the U.S. from 1980 to 2012 […] However, the future of ozone air quality in the U.S. and around the world will depend on local emissions, the use of pollution control technology, regulations, and air quality policy.”

The study was supported by the Croucher Foundation, US National Science Foundation, and US National Park Service.



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Fighting in Gaza sparks riots in West Bank

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Fighting in Gaza sparks riots in West Bank

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Monday, July 28, 2014

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While fighting between Hamas and the Israeli military occurred in Gaza, violent demonstrations took place continuing into the weekend in the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem, in which eleven Palestinians died and more than a hundred were injured.

On Thursday, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank encouraged their followers to go out and demonstrate for their Palestinian brothers, in protest of the eighteen days of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Thousands took to the streets and participated in rallies in various locations throughout the West Bank, as well as the Old City of Jerusalem. Some of the rallies were violent ones, and at least four Palestinians were killed in clashes with the Israeli security forces. This Friday was dubbed a “day of anger” as it saw continued violent protests, in which five Palestinians were killed in three different occurrences. A large funeral was held on Saturday in Hebron for the Palestinians who had been killed in the last clashes. Two more Palestinians were killed that day.

An Israeli military spokesperson told AFP, protesters on Thursday threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, and rolled burning tires, at the Israeli security forces. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in the Old City of Jerusalem a few policemen were injured and about 20 protesters arrested. According to BBC, Palestinian leaders said we are in the midst of an “uprising of freedom and independence”

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes continue, as well as rocket shootings from Gaza into Israel. So far, about 1,000 Palestinians and 42 Israelis have been killed in the fighting. The UN said over 118,000 Palestinians are using UN facilities for shelter throughout the Gaza Strip, while over forty percent of the Gaza Strip was under evacuation warning by the Israeli military.

Ground reporters say Israel struck a UN facility in Beit Hanoun on Thursday and there were casualties. An Israeli Military spokesperson said there was no intention to attack that place, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas is accountable for any civilian casualty. Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal from his exile in Qatar told the BBC, “We don’t want to be controlled by a border crossing that makes Gaza the biggest prison in the world”.



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July 27, 2014

India and Pakistan accuse each other of ceasefire violation

India and Pakistan accuse each other of ceasefire violation

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

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During the last week, through Friday, there have been several incidents of firing at the IndiaPakistan border, causing deaths on both sides: members of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani citizens, suspected by India to be infiltrators. Both India and Pakistan have accused the opposite side of initiating the ceasefire violation.

On Sunday, July 20, a citizen of Pakistan was killed in a cross-border firing by India’s BSF. The place was described as located in Charwa and Harpal sector near Sialkot by Pakistani press, and Karole in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district by Indian press. On Tuesday, Indian press reported two Indian Army troopers were injured and one killed in a firing at the Line of Control in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district; reportedly, there was an infiltration into India happening. On Wednesday, Pakistani press reported a Nangal Village resident, Iftikhar, was shot by India’s BSF across the border, at the district Shakar Garh control centre, Narowal. Indian army said there was an infiltration attempt late Wednesday in Tarkundi area of Poonch district. There was yet another firing on Friday evening, in Balakote part of Mendhar sector, Poonch district; reportedly, there were no deaths or property damage.

According to Pakistani Rangers, the firing from India was unprovoked in both Sunday and Wednesday incidents; Punjab Rangers in the first incident, and Chenab Rangers in the second incident, retaliated with intention to stop the firing. After each incident, the Rangers have demanded a flag meeting to resolve tensions.

According to Pakistani Dunya News, seven people were injured during the Sunday incident, including a woman and a child, who were immediately brought to Combined Military Hospital, Sialkot. Pakistani The Express Tribune reported there were three women and a child injured. Firing reportedly continued for several hours starting late Saturday night, creating panic in the nearby population.

According to DNA India, there were five ceasefire violations in June. According to The New Indian Express, there were previous incidents on July 20, July 18, July 17, July 16, July 12, and July 1, making the incident on Friday the seventh ceasefire violation in July.

On Sunday and Wednesday, the heavy firing has also reportedly killed livestock.



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July 24, 2014

Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan

Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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In the capital city Peshawar of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, unidentified armed men targeted security guards at the Hayatabad Industrial Estate on Sunday. At the time, two security guards were checking vehicles entering the estate, while others were praying. Police said guard Akhtar Zaman died at the scene, while guard Imran Zaman was taken to Hayatabad Medical Complex and died shortly thereafter.

According to the police, the three perpetrators were riding motorcycles, and escaped. Police cordoned off the area while collecting evidence. Reportedly, attackers look for checkposts with incautious policemen. Superintendent of Police Faisal Kamran said targeting of police is on the rise, especially during the Iftar. The security guards may have been mistaken for policemen by the attackers. Describing alertness measures, he said, “One out of every three cops will be standing alert at some distance at a checkpost or police car”.

The security guards were private employees of the estate sanctioned by the police department. Hayatabad police station official Ihtisham explained the police department provided their uniforms. According to Malik Niaz, president of Industrialists Association Peshawar, “They belonged to a group of private guards who assist the police in safeguarding the industrial estate […] formed by industrialists about five years ago after an increase was reported in kidnapping cases from the estate in broad daylight”. He also mentioned they had assigned more guards recently following increases in extortion and attacks.

A handout issued on Sunday evening said Chief Minister Pervez Khattak condemned the incident.



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July 23, 2014

The fighting in Gaza continues at a great cost to both sides

Filed under: Archived,Middle East,Palestine,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

The fighting in Gaza continues at a great cost to both sides

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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International pressure to end hostilities between Palestinian armed forces and the Israeli military in Gaza is mounting. The conflict is intensifying after two weeks of fighting and several days of ground clashes.

Despite Israeli ground maneuvers in the Gaza Strip, Hamas is maintaining rocket fire towards Israel and simultaneously battling the Israeli forces on the ground. Furthermore, Hamas is continuing its attempts to execute effective attacks against Israel, sending operatives through a tunnel into Israel on Sunday. Ten operatives were located and eliminated by the Israeli military.

On the same day, a gory battle occurred in a Palestinian town Shaja’ia, dubbed a “terror stronghold” by Israel. According to the BBC, at least 60 Palestinians were killed during the ongoing offensive on the town, the harshest offensive of the operation so far. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced the offensive and described it as “an atrocious action”.

The Palestinian side has seen over 500 deaths. On the Israeli side two civilians died as a result of the rockets launched from Gaza, while 18 soldiers died during the clashes. Palestinian news channels have shown damage to civilian infrastructure in Gaza. The Israeli military claimed that armed militants were using the buildings to store and fire rockets towards Israel.

The UN has reported that 70% of Palestinian dead were not armed. Israel blames Hamas for the death of the innocent residents, since, according to Israel, Hamas tells residents to stay in their homes, in spite of Israel’s instructions to evacuate the area and save themselves. Over 83 thousand Palestinians adhered to the instructions and found shelter in UN complexes.

In light of the ongoing clashes, American officials have addressed the escalation of the conflict and have called for a ceasefire. “No country, no human being, is comfortable with children being killed, with people being killed” said the American secretary of state, John Kerry. The Whitehouse stated that President Barack Obama “raised serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers.”

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Reserve Bank of India announces plan to list systemically important banks

Reserve Bank of India announces plan to list systemically important banks

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) posted a press release on its website yesterday stating it will identify up to six banks as domestic systemically important banks (D-SIB), which would be equivalent to the too big to fail banks of other nations.

Seal of the Reserve Bank of India.
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RBI is to reveal the names of the banks every year in August, starting from 2015. The press release also said RBI had identified four to six banks to be under D-SIB category according to data compiled through March 2013.

The primary criterion to be used for selection of the banks is size — banks with size larger than 2% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as defined by Basel regulations. Other criteria to be used are interconnectedness, how easily the bank can be substituted for, and its infrastructure and complexity. RBI also said four subcategories of D-SIBs will be created, each with different Tier 1 capital requirements, which will be higher compared to other banks. These four categories will have Tier 1 capital requirements ranging from 0.20% to 0.80% of their risk-weighted assets.

Ananda Bhoumik, senior director of India Ratings, a unit of Fitch Ratings, said the new regulations will not hinder the growth of the banks, as they already maintain capital above the expected regulation levels. Banks considered by analysts likely to be classified as D-SIBS include State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank.



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July 22, 2014

Thirteen Israeli soldiers, scores of Palestinians killed in deadly day of fighting in Gaza Strip

Thirteen Israeli soldiers, scores of Palestinians killed in deadly day of fighting in Gaza Strip

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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On Sunday, in the deadliest day of fighting for the Israeli military in several years, thirteen Israeli soldiers were reported killed in the Gaza Strip. Over 500 deaths of Palestinians have been reported in the Gaza Strip in the now-fourteen days of Israel’s offensive against Hamas.

Over 67 deaths of Palestinians on Sunday, by one report well over 100 — both civilians and fighters combined — occurred in one area, the Gaza City suburb of Shujai’iya, following heavy fighting and shelling by Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday, including two soldiers who were United States citizens. Furthermore, the armed wing of Hamas claimed in a statement, “We have captured a Zionist soldier and the occupation has not admitted that”, and displaying a identification card and a serial number. The IDF is investigating the claim. A anonymous senior Israeli military source told The Guardian in regards to Hamas fighters, “We have to admit we were facing good fighters, very well equipped with sophisticated weapons systems, accurate weapons, heavy weapons including mortars, booby traps.”

All this occurred while a United Nations Security Council meeting was held in New York City at the request of Jordan. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Rwanda‘s UN ambassador Eugene Gasana said, “The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern about the growing number of casualties. The members of the Security Council called for an immediate cessation of hostilities”. Gasana continued saying, “The members of the Security Council called for respect of international humanitarian law including protection of civilians[…] The members of the Security Council emphasized the need to improve the humanitarian situation, including through humanitarian pauses.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in Doha, Qatar meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement, “As I travel the region, I will continue to press for an [immediate] ceasefire — an immediate end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza and the rocket fire by Hamas and Islamic Jihad“. Ban criticized Israel for the civilian death toll saying, “While I was en route to Doha, dozens more civilians, including children, have been killed in Israeli military strikes in the Shejaiyah neighborhood in Gaza[…] I condemn this atrocious action. Israel must exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians.”

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in press conference, “We will continue this operation for as long as it takes.” Netanyahu also appeared on CNN saying Hamas uses civilians as human shields; “They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better”. He further added, “We try to target military targets and unfortunately there are civilian casualties which we regret and we don’t seek”.



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July 20, 2014

University defeat Caloundra in round 11 of 2014 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union season

University defeat Caloundra in round 11 of 2014 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union season

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

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July 19, 2014
University 20
Caloundra 12
University of the Sunshine Coast
Sippy Downs, Queensland
Australia

University has defeated Caloundra yesterday in their round 11 Sunshine Coast Rugby Union match at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Sippy Downs, Australia.

Caloundra went 3–0 up at the five minute mark after being awarded a penalty due to University playing the ball in the ruck. University had a chance to even up the scores five minutes later but the ball sailed wide.

The hosts went two points in front at twenty seven minutes scoring a try off the back of a rolling maul. 5–3 University. Caloundra retook the lead five minutes later through another penalty goal. 6–5 Caloundra.

University hit back right off the resulting kickoff scoring their second try, which they converted. This score was at such a pace that the reporter of this article was still transcribing the notes for the previous penalty goal. 12–6 to University.

A third try for the half would see the half time scores at 17 points to 6 in University’s favour.

The second half opened with University forcing a scrum five metres from Caloundra’s try line. This was achieved by making Caloundra ground the ball behind said try line after carrying it over.

The game was held up briefly by back-to-back injury stoppages at about the fifteen minute mark. Caloundra would score their third penalty goal of the game two minutes after play resumed. Their fourth would come five minutes later taking the scores to 17–12 in University’s favour.

University slotted the match’s final penalty goal around five minutes before full time. Final score — University 20, Caloundra 12. In the other A-grade game, Noosa defeated Maroochydore 24–10.


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