Captain Laura Geitz has been rested while uncapped Liz Watson gets her chance in the Australian Diamonds netball squad for the three-Test tour to England in January.


Coach Lisa Alexander named six members of her recent World Cup winning squad – Caitlin Bassett, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles, Sharni Layton, Natalie Medhurst and Caitlin Thwaites – as the core of the 12-player tour squad.

The decision to rest Geitz and Kim Ravaillion along with Watson’s selection continue Alexander’s moves to rejuvenate the team in the wake of the World Cup triumph in Sydney.

It follows the recent debuts of Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett, Ashleigh Brazill and Jo Weston in the drawn Constellation Cup series against New Zealand, following key retirements of Julie Corletto, Kim Green and Rebecca Bulley.

“The national selectors and I feel that it’s important to continue to create opportunities and elite international experience for all of our national squad athletes in preparation for benchmark events such as the Commonwealth Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast,” Alexander said.

Just three players, Bassett, Renee Ingles and April Letton, will be returning to England from the Diamonds’ first series defeat by the Roses – 3-0 – there three years ago.

“The series three years ago provided our Diamonds program with the wake-up call it needed to regain the world No.1 ranking,” Alexander said.

“Lessons were learnt and we won’t be making the same mistakes again so we’ve selected our team in November to ensure we give our athletes the best physical and mental preparation for what’s expected to be a hard-fought series.”

Diamonds tour squad: Caitlin Bassett, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles, Sharni Layton, April Letton, Clare McMeniman, Natalie Medhurst, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston. Training partners: Kristiana Manua (NSW), Stephanie Wood (QLD).

Tour of England

First Test: Jan 20, Echo Arena, Liverpool

Second Test: Jan 22, Copper Box Arena, London

Third Test: Jan 24, Copper Box Arena, London


Cedric Jackson can’t wait to lock horns with a familiar NBL foe when his New Zealand Breakers host the Adelaide 36ers on Thursday.


Jackson and Jerome Randle are among the premier point guards in the competition, with Randle having been a standout since joining Adelaide this year.

While Jackson has been as influential as ever for the champions, the output of livewire American Randle has added thrust to the 36ers’ offence.

The 29-year-old produced 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds in their narrow loss to Cairns on Saturday.

The result dropped third-placed Adelaide’s record to 3-3, the same as the fourth-placed Breakers, who are coming off a 90-67 crushing of Cairns a week ago.

The Breakers will have revenge on their mind after losing their season-opener to Adelaide but coach Dean Vickerman noted they were without Randle that day, who has formed a potent combination with guard Adam Gibson.

“With Randle and Gibson being real aggressive from the three point line it adds another dimension to them, they can space you out a little bit more,” Vickerman said.

“Randle is a go to for them down the stretch, they might not have had that in the last couple of years, he adds that.”

A former University of California star, Randle has ties with Jackson, with both players on the books of the Washington Wizards in 2010. Jackson was on a short-term NBA contract and Randle played the Summer League.

“If you don’t do a good job on defence he is a guy who can score in bunches,” Jackson said.

“He has had a huge impact on his team and on the league so far, he is a dangerous player who can score on the inside and outside.”

On Jackson’s team is another red-hot guard, with Tall Black Corey Webster having scored 22 and 35 points in his first two games since returning from the United States, where he failed to clinch an NBA contract with New Orleans.


The company, facing slowing user-growth, joins Facebook and Google’s YouTube in featuring “like” buttons, which have been popular with millions of users.


You can say a lot with a heart. Introducing a new way to show how you feel on Twitter: 苏州半永久眼线,苏州半永久眼线,/WKBEmORXNW pic.twitter苏州半永久眼线会所,/G4ZGe0rDTP

— Twitter (@twitter) November 3, 2015

Instagram, the photo-sharing app bought by Facebook in 2012, also has a heart-shaped icon for users to “like” pictures.

James Cakmak, an analyst at brokerage Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co, said he thought Twitter was trying to make its site more consistent with experiences on other platforms.

“It’s not going to move the needle in any material way,” he said, referring to the company’s efforts to boost user growth.

The modification fits with Chief Executive Jack Dorsey’s drive to improve user engagement.

Dorsey, who became Twitter’s permanent CEO last month after serving as interim boss since July, has rolled out several innovations including a “buy now” button that allows users to make purchases directly through Twitter.

“You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite,” Twitter said in a blog post on Tuesday.

“We know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers.”

The heart, on the other hand, is a universal symbol and more expressive, the company said.

Many Twitter users scorned the change, and a hashtag called #WeWantFavButtonBack quickly appeared.

“Changing @Twitter’s star to a heart is the worst product decision in the history of the internet; makes a bookmark into an endorsement,” tweeted user Jason.

“You Facebooked my Twitter?” user Scott T. Smith tweeted.

Twitter investor Chris Sacca, of Lowercase Capital LLC, had suggested using hearts in a June blog post titled ‘What Twitter Can Be.’

“If Twitter integrated a simple heart gesture into each Tweet, engagement across the entire service would explode,” he had said, adding that “favorite” was too strong a word.

Twitter’s tweak is the latest by a social media company in the never-ending drive to improve user engagement.

Facebook said last month it was testing “Reactions,” a range of seven animated emoticons to help users express emotions including love, sympathy, anger and sadness.

The “like” icon is also available on Twitter’s Vine video streaming service.


A Melbourne man who tweeted death threats to police and urged Islamic State to behead captives has allegedly breached his community corrections order by accessing social media.


Khodr Moustafa Taha, 36, was handed the two-year order in May and banned from using social media after he pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including using a carriage service to threaten.

Taha appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, and documents show he is accused of accessing social media in September, failing to attend for drug testing and failing to report for unpaid community work as directed.

His matter was adjourned and he will appear before deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic on December 10.

Ms Popovic sentenced Taha to the community corrections order instead of jail, saying at the time there was a causal connection between his offending and a drug-induced psychosis he experienced from October to December last year.

“Notwithstanding the public interest in this matter generated by Mr Taha’s threats and seemingly Jihadist sympathies, Mr Taha is not, in my view, a vehicle for a wide application of the notion of `general deterrence’,” she said at the time.

Taha had been arrested in January following the Twitter rant that condoned terrorist behaviour and was racist, misogynistic and threatening.

“An officer will die,” he tweeted to Victoria Police.

Another tweet urged Islamic State to behead captives.

“As soon as you get them, execute them, film it, send it to the parents of the victim,” the tweet read.

Ms Popovic noted Taha never engaged in any acts of terrorism or behaviour that indicated he intended to.


The composting toilet is adorable; all cheery plastic curves in a bright Smurf blue.


It seems to belong in a playhouse.

Outside, roosters strut and crow, pigs snort and snuffle in their cinderblock pens, and a gaggle of children race around the countryside east of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s biggest city. The late afternoon is swollen with heat, but the outhouse itself is shady and cool, miraculously free of any stink – the stench of a Honey Bucket at a construction site, of a grotty urinal at a dive bar, or even the flush toilet frequented by my four-year-old twin boys.

Founded in 2007, Fundacion in Terris develops dry, composting toilets designed for poor families – an alternative to unsanitary open defecation and water-wasting flush models. About 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to safe sanitation. If captured and stored improperly, human waste can contaminate drinking water and lead to disease and death. About 1.5 million children die each year of diarrheal diseases, much of which could be prevented with improved sanitation and safe drinking water. A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has supported development, field testing and commercialisation of these injection-molded plastic toilets, which costs about $300.

Now hundreds of the group’s toilets are used around Ecuador and Africa, in rural and urban settings where the government has yet to install sewage systems and may not for decades. The models have evolved over the years, with the earliest versions cobbled together out of wood, PVC pipe, and a bicycle’s spoke and chain.

In one version, you pull the lever and your deposit disappears under a trap door – poof! – you don’t have to think about it again. At least not immediately. The compost rolls down a flexible pipe into a plastic barrel that fills up, then is capped and set aside to dry out. After six months, the compost is ready to sprinkle as fertiliser. It’s not intended for lettuce and other food crops, to avoid possible contamination by E. coli and other pathogens, but it’s perfectly safe for flowers and even fruit orchards.

Studies show that cultural beliefs can slow the adoption of dry toilets, pit latrines, and other efforts to improve sanitation. In a recent study of dry toilets in coastal Tanzania, an area dominated by Muslims, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed considered the handling of feces and urine as “unholy.”

The Kichwa people of Saryaku, in the Amazon in northern Ecuador, were interested in such toilets, but balked at using the compost. Upon death, your body returns to the earth. If something passes from their bodies, it can’t be used again, says Juan Pablo Argüello, who coordinates the group’s contracts with local NGOS and municipalities.

It gets me thinking about our own culture’s simultaneous obsession and squeamishness with bodily functions, the abundance of euphemisms for the act, and the appropriation of such words to express anger, shock, and awe. The same kind of awe that we had as toddlers peering into our potty and realizing, hey, I made that – invoking the disgust and wonder that led Sigmund Freud to develop his theory of the psychosexual stages of development.

It’s time for a test drive. I pop a squat onto the seat and urine flows down the lid, through a hole, diverted to the soil where plants act as a biofilter. To make a contribution of the solid sort, you raise the lid. After you excrete, it falls into the sawdust, and you pump a foot pedal on the left side that turns an auger down below – a plastic spiral connected to the freewheel of a bike. Then you press a lever that throws a shower of fresh sawdust.

In the dim recesses below, I glimpse a lump of what might be someone else’s excrement, but I don’t linger. Back outside, I chat with Raquel Alvarez, whose toilet I borrowed. Before its installation last year, her family had to relieve themselves into plastic bags, knot them off, and toss the bagged waste onto the hill – a flying toilet of sorts. She hated going at night, in the dark, and leaving her two girls alone in their weathered wooden house on stilts. She doesn’t mind moving the barrels of compost. “It doesn’t smell bad. I wasn’t grossed out,” says the 27-year-old, who likes the privacy and convenience of the compost toilet.

Her toilet has become a local attraction. Every day after school, her daughter’s friends use it – a curiosity shared around the world. According to research conducted in rural Zinder, Niger, a third of pit latrine owners surveyed shared it with their neighbors, too.

After getting past cost and cultural concerns, what may drive consumers to adopt such toilets is not only a matter of sanitation, but aspiration. As Argüello puts it, “They want a bathroom they can show visitors.”

Vanessa Hua reported from Ecuador on an International Reporting Project fellowship. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker online, Salon, San Francisco, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Newsweek, among other publications.