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AUSTRALIA

Italian rugby players probed over bar brawl

Two Italian players are facing sanctions after a punch-up at a bar on the sidelines of the rugby league World Cup in Australia, officials said on Wednesday.

Italian rugby players probed over bar brawl
Italy's James Tedesco (R) was hit to the ground in a punch-up in Australia. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Australian media said star fullback James Tedesco was hit to the ground by Shannon Wakeman at The Pier nightclub in Cairns as the team drowned their sorrows after a shock loss to Ireland on Sunday.

Wakeman reportedly believed Tedesco was propositioning his girlfriend, with the melee spilling onto other tables.

“It has been reported in social media and news that two members from the Italian Rugby League World Cup squad were involved in an altercation on Sunday October 29th at an establishment,” Italian Rugby League president Orazio D'arro said.

“As a result of an internal review by the Federazione Italian Rugby League of the incident, both players involved will appear before an internal review committee within the next 24 hours.”

Tedesco wasn't injured and told the Sydney Daily Telegraph he didn't want Wakeman kicked off the team.

“It was just a miscommunication between myself and him, there were a few drinks and it quickly escalated,” he said.

“We were all there after the loss, we wanted to get away from it all a bit. It's sad it happened. The next morning we met, shook hands and apologised.”

The World Cup kicked off on October 27th with co-host Australia favourites to win. The final is in Brisbane on December 2nd.

WILDLIFE

Why an early Italian drawing of a cockatoo rewrites what we know about trade routes

Drawings of an Australasian cockatoo discovered on the pages of a 13th-century Italian manuscript suggest trade Down Under was flourishing as far back as medieval times, researchers said on Tuesday.

Why an early Italian drawing of a cockatoo rewrites what we know about trade routes
A rare manuscript suggests cockatoos have been in Europe longer than we thought. Photo: Guillaume Souvant/AFP

Four images of the white cockatoo feature in the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Sicily's De Arte Venandi cum Avibus (The Art of Hunting with Birds), which dates from between 1241 and 1248 and is held in the Vatican Library.

The coloured drawings pre-date by 250 years what was previously believed to be the oldest European depiction of the bird, in Andrea Mantegna's 1496 altarpiece Madonna della Vittoria.

Heather Dalton, an honorary research fellow at Melbourne University, published an article about the cockatoo in Mantegna's painting in 2014, which was seen by three scholars at the Finnish Institute in Rome. They were working on De Arte Venandi cum Avibus and realized they had found much older depictions.


An image from The Art of Hunting with Birds.

A resulting collaboration between Dalton and trio revealed that Frederick's bird was likely to have been either a female Triton or one of three sub-species of Yellow-Crested Cockatoo. This means it originated from Australia's northern tip, New Guinea or the islands off New Guinea or Indonesia.

Essentially, it indicates that trade off Australia's north was taking place much earlier than previously thought, and linked into sea and overland routes to Indonesia, China, Egypt and beyond into Europe, Dalton said.

“Although our part of the world is still considered the very last to have been discovered, this Eurocentric view is increasingly being challenged by finds such as this,” she said.

“Small craft sailed between islands buying and selling fabrics, animal skins and live animals before making for ports in places such as Java, where they sold their wares to Chinese, Arab and Persian merchants.

READ ALSO: Seven places to see wild flamingos in Italy

“The fact that a cockatoo reached Sicily during the 13th century shows that merchants plying their trade to the north of Australia were part of a flourishing network that reached west to the Middle East and beyond.”

According to the National Library of Australia, the first documented landing by a European in the country was in 1606. There are claims of earlier landings by the Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Arabs and Romans, but there is little credible evidence.

Dalton said the Latin text next to one of the images revealed that the cockatoo was a gift from the fourth Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt to Frederick II, who referred to him as the 'Sultan of Babylon'.

She pieced together the journey a cockatoo would have taken from Australasia to Cairo and then on to Sicily –which would have been primarily overland and taken several years.

The findings are published in the current edition the Parergon Journal. 

READ ALSO: US returns stolen 'Columbus Letter' to Vatican Library


Photo: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana/AFP