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Fiji Time: 2:25 AM on Thursday 24 April

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BRIEFLY

Aap, Pa, Afp, Ap
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

'Safe' games

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - IOC President Thomas Bach says he has full confidence that Russian authorities will deliver a "safe and secure" Games in Sochi despite the two deadly suicide bombings in southern Russia that have heightened concerns about the terrorist threat to the Olympics.

Apology

SAN ANTONIO - NBA star Tony Parker apologised on Monday for making a gesture with anti-Semitic overtones in a photograph taken three years ago, which became an issue after French footballer Nicolas Anelka made the same gesture on Sunday.

Quick recovery

LONDON - Michael Schumacher's former rival Damon Hill said on Monday that he was "praying" for the German as he fought for life following an off-piste skiing accident in the French Alps. The seven-time Formula One champion was airlifted to hospital after hitting his head on a rock while skiing.

Knocked out

LONDON - Australian Simon Whitlock's wait for an elusive world darts title goes on after he suffered a heavy upset defeat to Scot Peter Wright in the world championships semi-finals. The Wizard admitted to having his "biggest chance ever" to secure a world title.

Appointment

LONDON - Ray Wilkins has been named assistant coach of English Premier League strugglers Fulham, the club announced on Monday. The 57-year-old returns for a second stint at Craven Cottage having managed the then-Second Division club between 1997 and 1998 before being replaced by Kevin Keegan.

Charged

LONDON - An Irish man has been charged in connection with the racial abuse of former Manchester United star Andy Cole on a flight from Dublin to Manchester. He and another man were said to be drunk during the flight when the retired striker was subjected to racial slurs.

Cruising

BRISBANE - Four-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova has eased into the second round of the Brisbane International with a straight-sets win over France's Caroline Garcia on Monday night. The world No.4 took just 63 minutes to defeat 74th-ranked Garcia 6-3 6-0 at Pat Rafter Arena in a confident display.

Packers win

CHICAGO - Aaron Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 38 seconds remaining on Sunday to give Green Bay a 33-28 victory at Chicago and a National Football League playoff berth. The Packers joined the New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles in claiming playoff spots on the final day of the regular season.