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Australian Open: Johanna Konta & Kyle Edmund lose in first round

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Johanna Konta was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in 2016 and had never lost before the second round
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Johanna Konta made her earliest exit from the Australian Open by losing to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the first round.

Konta, seeded 12th, was beaten 6-4 6-2 by the tricky world number 78 at Melbourne Park.

The 28-year-old was playing only her second match in almost five months because of a knee injury.

Compatriot Kyle Edmund was also knocked out with a 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) loss to Serbia’s 24th seed Dusan Lajovic.

Konta struggled to settle as Jabeur knocked out Britain’s highest-ranked player.

“It’s important to recognise the season is long,” Konta told BBC Sport.

“I’m not going to rush or sprint towards suddenly packing it all in. Things will come with time and putting the right work in.”

Four other Britons play later on Tuesday, which features a packed schedule with 96 first-round matches needing to be completed after the opening day was washed out by heavy rain.

Katie Boulter, Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Cameron Norrie should also play as planned with a much-improved weather forecast.

Rusty Konta unpicked by Jabeur

Konta, a 2016 semi-finalist at Melbourne Park, went into this year’s opening Grand Slam having played only one match since September’s US Open.

A tendonitis-like inflammation of the knee, which she suffered in the latter stages of last season, has had to be carefully managed.

Although she did not look troubled by the problem against Jabeur, Konta did show signs of rust and was unable to take her game to the levels that took her to the French Open semi-finals, along with the Wimbledon and US Open quarter-finals, last year.

Konta, who said afterwards she was “pleased” with how her knee felt, hit 19 unforced errors, while Jabeur also punished her with 19 winners.

The Briton’s serve came under immediate pressure from Jabeur, who is able to unsettle opponents with her variety, and she had to save a break point in the opening game.

After steadying herself, an erratic game where she struggled on her first serve enabled Jabeur to strike and take the opening set.

Konta, backed by a healthy number of British fans, came out for the second set with renewed purpose, playing more aggressively to break in the opening game.

However, she was unable to back that up with a hold and from that point Jabeur took control to win in just one hour and two minutes.

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Johanna Konta looked a long way off the pace in what was only her second match since 4 September.

She could have played in Adelaide last week, but took the decision to build up the load on her troublesome knee more gradually.

In fact, listening to her post match, it is clear she was not 100% sure she would definitely play in Melbourne when she boarded the plane to Australia.

Konta will now have to be patient. A first-round exit here, coupled with her decision to skip Fed Cup in 2020, means the earliest she could return to action would be in St Petersburg in three weeks’ time.

However, it may be too late to get a spot in the draw, even if she wants one, with Konta’s next scheduled tournament not starting in Dubai until 17 February.

As for Jabeur, she played with admirable control – like a higher-ranked player dealing efficiently with a tricky opponent.

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New Email-Based Extortion Scheme Targets Website Owners Serving Ads Via Google AdSense

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Brian Krebs sheds light upon a new email-based extortion scheme targeting website owners serving banner ads through Google’s AdSense program. “In this scam, the fraudsters demand bitcoin in exchange for a promise not to flood the publisher’s ads with so much bot and junk traffic that Google’s automated anti-fraud systems suspend the user’s AdSense account for suspicious traffic,” writes Krebs. From his report: Earlier this month, KrebsOnSecurity heard from a reader who maintains several sites that receive a fair amount of traffic. The message this reader shared began by quoting from an automated email Google’s systems might send if they detect your site is seeking to benefit from automated clicks. The message goes on to warn that while the targeted site’s ad revenue will be briefly increased, “AdSense traffic assessment algorithms will detect very fast such a web traffic pattern as fraudulent.”

The message demands $5,000 worth of bitcoin to forestall the attack. In this scam, the extortionists are likely betting that some publishers may see paying up as a cheaper alternative to having their main source of advertising revenue evaporate. The reader who shared this email said while he considered the message likely to be a baseless threat, a review of his recent AdSense traffic statistics showed that detections in his “AdSense invalid traffic report” from the past month had increased substantially. “We hear a lot about the potential for sabotage, it’s extremely rare in practice, and we have built some safeguards in place to prevent sabotage from succeeding,” Google said in a statement. “For example, we have detection mechanisms in place to proactively detect potential sabotage and take it into account in our enforcement systems.”

“We have a help center on our website with tips for AdSense publishers on sabotage,” the statement continues. “There’s also a form we provide for publishers to contact us if they believe they are the victims of sabotage. We encourage publishers to disengage from any communication or further action with parties that signal that they will drive invalid traffic to their web properties. If there are concerns about invalid traffic, they should communicate that to us, and our Ad Traffic Quality team will monitor and evaluate their accounts as needed.”

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Coronavirus live updates: China deaths rise by 98 amid Cambodia ship concerns – latest news

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UK trying to track passengers who disembarked from MV Westerdam and Apple warns of iPhone shortages as economic impact deepens. Follow the latest developments here

Apple warns of iPhone shortages amid factory shutdownUK trying to contact passengers who left MV WesterdamVirus causes mild disease in four out of five patients, says WHO

12.33am GMT

The latest figures show that more than 12,000 people have recovered from the infection out of a total of more than 73,000 who have contracted it.

We have to assume that many more will recover if we factor in the latest comments by the head of the World Health Organization.

More than 80% of patients have mild disease and will recover, 14% have severe disease including pneumonia and shortness of breath, 5% have critical disease including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure, and 2% of cases are fatal,. The risk of death increases the older you are.

Related: Coronavirus causes mild disease in four in five patients, says WHO

12.22am GMT

Those national health commission figures have been released in the last few minutes.

98 new fatalities were recorded on Monday, the commission said on Tuesday morning, taking the death toll in mainland China rose to 1,868. There were 93 deaths in Hubei, 72 of them in the capital Wuhan where the outbreak started.

#Coronavirus has killed 1,868 on Chinese mainland as of Monday, over 12,000 patients recovered. Other key figures:- 72,436 confirmed cases, another 60 in HK (1 death), 10 in Macao and 22 in Taiwan (1 death) – 12,552 discharged from hospital- 11,741 in critical condition pic.twitter.com/kWy7MjM9Rg

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Long-term offenders have different brain structure, study says | Science

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Parents should not worry about their teenagers’ delinquent behaviour provided they were well behaved in their earlier childhood, according to researchers behind a study that suggests those who offend throughout their life showed antisocial behaviour from a young age and have a markedly different brain structure as adults.

According to figures from the Ministry of Justice, 24% of males in England and Wales aged 10–52 in 2006 had a conviction, compared with 6% of females. Previous work has shown that crime rises in adolescence and young adulthood but that most perpetrators go on to become law-abiding adults, with only a minority – under 10% of the general population – continuing to offend throughout their life.

Such trends underpin many modern criminal justice strategies, including in the UK where police can use their discretion as to whether to a young offender should enter the formal justice system.

Now researchers say they have found that adults with a long history of offences show striking differences in brain structure compared with those who have stuck to the straight and narrow or who transgressed only as adolescents.

“These findings underscore prior research that really highlights that there are different types of young offenders – they are not all the same. They should not all be treated the same,” said Prof Essi Viding, a co-author of the study from University College London.

Prof Terrie Moffitt, another co-author of the research from Duke University in North Carolina, said the study helped to shed light on what may be behind persistent antisocial behaviour.

“It could have been just that the life-course-persistent group were choosing to lead their lives in a difficult way and could have chosen differently. I think that what we see with these data is that they are actually operating under some handicap at the level of the brain,” she said, adding that while such individuals may have committed serious crimes, the study suggested a level of compassion was needed.

The team say the findings suggest more needs to be done to identify children who show signs of ongoing antisocial behaviour and to offer them or their parents support – a move they say could reduce crime later on.

Prof Huw Williams, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Exeter, who was not involved in the study, stressed it was not set in stone that a child with antisocial behaviour would go on to become a persistent offender.

“This [study] reinforces the need to help children and young people who have trouble ‘self-regulating’ to get help at the earliest opportunity to reduce risk of escalation of behaviour,” he said, suggesting one approach would be a boost in support available through schools.

Writing in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, the team report how they used data from 672 people in New Zealand born in 1972-73. Detailed records of participants’ antisocial behaviour were collected at regular intervals from the age of seven up until the age of 26 . At age 45, participants had their brains scanned.

The team split the participants into three groups based on their history of antisocial behaviour: 441 showed little sign of such behaviour, 151 were only antisocial as adolescents and 80 displayed antisocial behaviour from childhood onwards.

The latter group had higher levels of mental ill-health, drug use and had more deprived backgrounds than those in the other groups. What’s more, their antisocial or criminal behaviour was generally more violent than for adolescent-only delinquents.

The team found brain scans of adults who had a long history of offending showed a smaller surface area in many regions of the brain compared with those with a clean track record. They also had thinner grey matter in regions linked to regulation of emotions, motivation and control of behaviour – aspects of behaviour they are known to have struggled with. The team say the findings remained even when other factors such as IQ and socioeconomic status were taken into account.

Those who had been delinquent only as adolescents also showed some differences in the average thickness of grey matter compared with the law-abiders, but no difference in surface area.

However, the picture of cause and effect for the persistent offenders is far from clear. The team say genetic and environmental factors – such as childhood deprivation – may have shaped their brains early in life. It is also possible that other, later factors such as smoking, alcohol or drug abuse could have caused the brain changes.

The study has other limitations. Brain scans were taken only when the participants were adults, while only a small group showed long-term antisocial behaviour, meaning larger studies are needed to be sure the findings hold. In addition, more than 90% of the participants were white, and the team looked at only one type of brain tissue.

Williams added that the possibility of head injuries playing a role in the brain differences was not robustly considered, despite such events affecting the brain and behaviour and being more common among people of lower socioeconomic status.

Prof Kevin McConway, of the Open University, said that even if the brain differences were down to genetics or other early-life factors, it may be those factors themselves, not the resulting brain differences, that were behind persistent antisocial behaviour.

“It’s true that these research findings are consistent with the hypothesis that life-course-persistent antisocial behaviour arises as a result of abnormal brain development,” said McConway. “But observations being consistent with a hypothesis doesn’t mean that the hypothesis must be true, only that it can’t yet be ruled out.”

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‘We have dropped the ball,’…

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