Trott is no-go zone, Broad tells Australia

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England have challenged Australia to keep the Jonathan Trott issue to one side and avoid any on-field banter on the topic in next week’s Adelaide Test.

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The tourists’ No.3 batsman has returned home with a stress-related illness following England’s defeat in the first Test in Brisbane.

England paceman Stuart Broad says he’s unsure if the Aussies will refrain from bringing up Trott’s name in the heat of battle, as demanded by England coach Andy Flower.

“I can’t say how they’ll react but as international cricketers and professional sportsmen they will understand the pressures that everyone is under and it can happen to anyone,” Broad told British newspapers.

“The Australian players will respect the decision of Trotty’s to go home and there is no doubt there is a lot of respect between the two sides.

“I can’t see any advantage Australia would gain from that.”

Flower and Broad have criticised Australia batsman David Warner for telling a news conference during the Gabba Test that Trott’s effort with the bat was weak.

Broad says the tourists are heartbroken over Trott’s departure.

“We’re on the end of a phone when he needs us,” Broad said.

Another England top-order batsman, Marcus Trescothick, pulled out of the 2006/07 Ashes tour with a stress-related illness before the first Test.

“I don’t think Tres going home was directly linked to England losing five-nil,” Broad said.

“Within the changing room there is no looking back at 2006 but we will certainly draw on our experience from 2010/11 and 2009 and 2013 where we played some excellent cricket against Australia.”

Broad defended Australia’s captain who was fined 20 per cent of his match fee for telling tailender Jimmy Anderson to get ready for a “f**king broken arm”.

“Michael Clarke was disciplined by the ICC because it was picked up by the stump mic,” Broad said.

“I don’t think it went overboard.”

But in a crack at Warner, Broad said England’s players don’t comment on opponents as they don’t know what’s going on in their personal lives.

Broad pointed out Warner’s century came after Australia established a 159-run lead on the first dig.

“He scored a very good hundred when he could play with no pressure on him. It is up to us to get runs on the board and apply some pressure to all their top order,” Broad said.

Gittany bit policeman’s ear

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Simon Gittany, the man infamously convicted of throwing his fiancee from a Sydney high-rise balcony, bit off part of a policeman’s ear while being arrested in 1994, records show.

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Gittany, 40, pleaded not guilty to murdering his fiancee Lisa Cecilia Harnum by throwing her off their inner-city balcony on July 30, 2011.

He was convicted in a Sydney Supreme Court on Wednesday of killing her and will be sentenced next year.

Often unemployed and living at a Merrylands home with his mother, Gittany was in sight of Sydney police back in 1993.

Court documents reveal he attacked a police officer who went to his family home to arrest him over stolen goods.

When two officers, David Burgess and Keith Bristow, came to take him away on March 23, 1994, he resisted and a struggle ensued.

His mother Lamia Gittany was also involved in the melee, the documents say.

When the officers went to secure his arrest in a bedroom of the home, the then 20-year-old bit the ear of Senior Constable Bristow, who suffered “a severed portion to the left ear and generalised bruising”, the documents say.

Photos tendered to the court show Sen Const Bristow holding a piece of cloth to his ear as blood drips on his shirt and blood can be seen on his face as he sits in a wheelchair.

He required surgery.

The arrest was over stolen goods Gittany was caught with in August 1993 in Parramatta.

This included a VHS video recorder, a car stereo, a gold and diamond ring and a black-flowered bikini.

When asked by officers where he had obtained them, Gittany said a man at a pub had sold them to him for $200.

He later pleaded guilty to maliciously wounding an officer and receiving stolen goods.

He was sentenced to two and a half years of periodic detention.

Police on Thursday corrected media reports that the drug squad was investigating Gittany over business links with two methylamphetamine producers.

Bieber’s graffiti – will it stay or go?

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Graffiti by Justin Bieber is at the centre of a stoush between a Gold Coast hotel, which wants to keep it, and local authorities, who want it erased.

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Bieber landed himself in trouble after photos and video footage showed the pop star nonchalantly spraying cartoon faces in fluorescent paint on the QT Hotel wall at Surfers Paradise early on Wednesday following his first Brisbane show.

The hotel says it gave the Canadian permission and that the council had no authority to get rid of the graffiti because it is on private property and not accessible from public land.

“He asked, and we said YES”, the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast said on its Facebook page next to a picture of the colourful spray can artwork.

The hotel said in a comment on the page that “we absolutely gave approval”.

The hotel reckons it’s a coup to have the star paint “a piece of art in appreciation of his stay”.

“This piece of art is now available to be viewed by fans of the artist and we believe that it is a wonderful addition to the colourful Gold Coast arts scene,” it said.

Even so, Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate says the council will order the removal of the graffiti.

“It might be on private land, but it’s in prominent public view,” a council spokesman told AAP.

“The mayor will be contacting our compliance officers today to have a notice issued to the hotel to clean it up.”

A photo of Bieber’s artistic offerings was posted on Instagram while entertainment website TMZ published a video of the incident.

Earlier, the mayor said the singer should clean up his mess.

He even suggested Bieber should perform for free at an upcoming Christmas carols event to make amends.

Mr Tate said the singer risked undermining the good work of the council in its fight against the scourge of graffiti.

“The last thing we want is to have graffiti glorified and more young people thinking it’s a cool thing to do,” he told AAP.

He said Bieber was welcome to use one of the council’s clean-up kits to get rid of his mess.

“I know he’s got beautiful eyes. I’ve got some goggles for him, and some gloves because I know he doesn’t want to get his hands dirty,” Mr Tate said.

“Just come and clean it up and we’ll be happy with you,” said Mr Tate.

“Alternatively come and sing at our mayoral Christmas carols on the 7th of December for an hour and I’ll let you go.”

Comment: India gets a snooping scandal of its own

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The tapes show that in 2009, a young woman architect, nicknamed “Madhuri” to protect her identity, was put under continuous surveillance for more than a month by the state intelligence bureau, the crime branch and the anti-terrorism squad of the western Indian state of Gujarat, in an operation run by the state’s notorious home minister, Amit Shah.

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Shah himself reported the results of the surveillance to a higher-up only named in the tapes as “Saheb” (literally, “sir,” but more akin to “big boss”).

Why should this have ramifications not just for Gujarat but all of India? Well, the only man above Shah in Gujarat’s state machinery in 2009 was Narendra Modi, the charismatic and controversial chief minister of the state — and the man recently entrusted by India’s second-largest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, to lead its campaign in next year’s general elections. To put it another way, the enormous power already enjoyed by a man who could soon become prime minister was recently used by him in a grossly unethical and illegal stalking operation.

Modi has refused to speak on the matter. Confirmation that the “Saheb” masterminding the operation in the tapes was none other than Modi came from an unlikely source — the BJP itself, which circulated to the press a letter defending Modi written by the victim’s father, Pranlal Soni. Different sources have revealed that “Madhuri” was known to Modi beginning in 2005, when she was introduced to an officer in the state police department, and thereafter visited Gujarat frequently on assignments given to her by the government. Her father claimed that he himself had enjoyed “long-standing relations spread over two decades” with Modi, and it was he who had asked the minister to keep watch over his daughter “in her own interest, safety and security.”

So it was only Papa who was feeling concerned. Really? Far from exculpating Modi from the charge of a terrible violation of privacy, the letter amplifies its seriousness. This possibility seems never to have occurred to his party, which seems to have imagined the letter would lead to the burial of the matter as “a family affair” in which two old friends got together to look out — for mystifying, but generally well-meaning, reasons — for a defenseless young woman.

Even more perversely, Soni claimed that his daughter was aware that she was being kept under watch. But even if we assume this is true, the state has no business breaching a citizen’s privacy based on an offer made by one person speaking on another’s behalf. Further, the conversations in the tapes reveal that the purpose of the surveillance seems to have less to do with ensuring “Madhuri’s” safety, and more with determining men she was meeting. Gulail.com, the news portal that broke the story, supplied some of the astonishing details of the operation:

The recordings reveal that Madhuri was tailed even as she visited shopping malls, restaurants, ice-cream parlours, gyms, cinema halls, hotels and airports. She was followed even when she visited her ailing mother in a hospital in Ahmedabad. When she boarded a flight out of Ahmedabad, orders were issued to put cops on the flight so that she was not out of sight even when she was flying. Strict orders were given to closely observe and profile those who met her. Shah was particularly interested in knowing the men she was meeting and whether she was alone or with some man when she checked into a hotel in Ahmedabad. Her phones and that of her family and friends were tapped. Every bit of information was conveyed to Shah in real time, who in turn claimed to be relaying it to his ‘saheb’.

But Snoopgate and the reactions to it don’t just reveal something about Modi, they also reveal something about India. Indians are rarely very stringent in their regard for personal liberty — especially the liberties due in theory, but rarely allowed in practice, to women. As the columnist Pratap Bhanu Mehta wrote in a crushing piece on Modi and the BJP in the Indian Express, “In India, there is way too little outrage at the ease with which states violate privacy rights.”

Plenty of people seemed willing to interpret the story of Madhuri being stalked as evidence of the woman’s good fortune in being “protected” by an entire police force, a sign of how deeply patriarchy runs in India’s veins. And much of the news media seemed to treat the revelations as a matter that lay within the domain of a politician’s private life, an arena generally agreed to be out of bounds. Seen in this light, it was very clever of the BJP to activate the word “family” in its defense of Snoopgate, as that word in India can be used to sanctify all manner of outrages.

The fact remains: Something is rotten in the state of Gujarat. A recent report by Mahesh Langa, the Gujarat correspondent of the Hindustan Times, revealed that illegal surveillance is widely practiced by the state administration. Langa writes,”The extent of snooping is so pervasive that Gujarat’s director general of police Amitabh Pathak was shocked to learn in May that his own police officials had obtained call detail records of as many as 93,000 mobile phone numbers without his knowledge since December 2012.”

If Snoopgate is just the tip of the iceberg, this has serious implications for the future of Indian democracy and the rights and freedoms guaranteed to its citizens. Were the general public to fall for the BJP’s spin and accept the explanation — as many seem to have done — that the surveillance of “Madhuri” was actually something benign, a future Indian state headed by Modi could indulge in further such trespasses.

The feebleness, ineffectuality and corruption of the coalition government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made many middle-class Indians, including substantial sections of the youth, clamor for “a strong man” to lead the country in a new direction in 2014. Modi has emerged to fill this space, attracting hundreds of thousands in rallies all around the country. In the run-up to next year’s elections, it was Modi’s alleged sins of omission or commission in the terrible religious violence of Gujarat in 2002 that had thus far been cited as the main reason for his being unfit for the post of prime minister.

But the sordid details of Snoopgate reveal that the chief minister of Gujarat has many other skeletons in his closet, and that the great power and slavish admiration he enjoys in his state means that he runs it like a kingdom.

India’s economy may be faltering, and the potential and aspirations of its billion-plus people still largely unfulfilled, but at least it qualifies in some measure as a country committed to civil liberties. Can it entrust those freedoms to a man so in love with his own power that he cannot see the contradictions inherent in keeping a woman under constant surveillance “in her own interest”? I wouldn’t think so.

Chandrahas Choudhury, a novelist, is the New Delhi correspondent for World View. His novel “Arzee the Dwarf” is published by New York Review Books.

Report debunks assumptions on trafficking

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More females than males have been convicted in Australia for human trafficking and slavery, and none have had links to organised crime groups.

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Since Australia introduced tough laws to crack down on trafficking a decade ago, nine schemes have been successfully prosecuted in Australia.

The Australian Institute of Criminology said that while middle-aged men were often assumed to be behind trafficking and slavery, eight of 15 people eventually convicted in Australia were women.

The report found the female offenders were all migrants, born in the same foreign country as their victims, and typically from similar poor socio-economic backgrounds.

The majority of the schemes involved slavery of Thai women in the sex industry, with the victims forced to pay debts of tens of thousands of dollars, owed to offenders for organising their passage to Australia.

“Almost all the offenders in the sex industry had prior work experience in that industry,” the report, released on Thursday, found.

“At least three of the female offenders had reportedly been victims of slavery in Australia themselves.”

The trafficking often involved other crimes such as immigration fraud and money laundering.

The report also found local offenders did not match common assumptions that they were involved in “high-end organised crime”, which was often the case internationally.

“In fact, groups identified as having trafficked people into Australia have been relatively small, with many using family or business contracts to facilitate recruitment, movement and visa fraud.”

Institute deputy director Rick Brown said understanding the nature and motivation of trafficking would help authorities stamp out the crime.

“The report found that offenders often effectively partnered with trusted co-offenders from close knit, cultural or family groups and were able to rely upon their connections in the source country to facilitate human trafficking crimes,” Dr Brown said in a statement.

“It’s important that law enforcement understands the characteristics of trafficking crimes in Australia to ensure policy is properly targeted.”

Larrazabal gets one-shot win in Abu Dhabi

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Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal has ended his title drought on the European Tour by holding off Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy to win the $US2.

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7 million ($A3.1 million) Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship by one shot.

At the Abu Dhabi Golf Club course on Sunday, the 30-year-old from Barcelona shot a final-round 67 to finish on 14-under par 274, while world number five Mickelson (69) and number seven McIlroy (68) were tied second at 275.

While Larrazabal was solid throughout the day, barring a bogey on the fifth hole, the tournament turned around massively in his favour when Mickelson made a mess of the 13th hole, where he hit the ball twice trying to come out from under a bush playing a right-handed shot.

Mickelson ended up with a triple bogey and from leading the tournament at 13-under par he dropped down the leaderboard, and even three birdies after that could not help him overtake Larrazabal.

McIlroy was left ruing the two-shot penalty that was imposed on him for not taking full relief from a spectators’ crossway in the third round Saturday.

South African George Coetzee (66) and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello (68) were tied for fourth place at 12-under par 276.

Larrazabal said: “It just feels unbelievable. I’ve been working so hard for the last two years and this winter. They always say that the hard work pays off, but it’s hard to believe it.

“Today has been very special, to fight against Rory and Phil, top-five players in the world, both of them. It’s been a great fight.”

A disappointed McIlroy said: “I feel like I’m standing here and I should be 15-under par for the tournament and win by one. But that’s the way it goes.

“I played the least shots of anyone this week. So, I mean, I can count it as a moral victory more than anything else.

“It’s frustrating. I’ve played well the whole week. It’s a very positive start to the season so I’m not going to let one little negative ruin that.”

For Larrazabal this was his third European Tour title, his previous wins coming in 2008 and 2011.

Emergency warning as NSW fires flare up

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Residents in a NSW town under threat from grass fires that have intensified following a southwesterly wind change are being advised to take shelter.

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An emergency warning was issued on Sunday night for the Hebden Road grass fires near Singleton, in the Hunter Valley.

“Firefighters are responding to the scene, but it is too late to leave,” the Rural Fire Service (RFS) said on its website.

“Seek shelter now from the heat of the fire.”

Emergency warnings were earlier issued for the Minimbah fire, an out-of-control blaze that burnt through more than 8000 hectares around Wagga Wagga, and the fire in the Copperhannia National Park area, near Bathurst, which is also out of control.

The Minimbah bushfire was threatening properties as it moved towards Carabost, but the alert at 6pm (AEDT) decreased it to a watch-and-act level of danger.

Three homes have been confirmed destroyed by the Minimbah blaze.

Other buildings have also been lost and firefighters will assess the area when it’s safe to do so.

Residents have been advised to leave if the path towards Tumbarumba, to the southeast, is clear.

“It is not safe to stay,” the RFS said on its website.

About 100ha have been burnt by the fire near Bathurst, which at 6pm (AEDT) was heading east towards Trunkey Creek.

People in Trunkey Creek need to be aware of burning embers, the RFS said.

“These embers can start spot fires well ahead of the main fire front,” it advises.

“Put out any spot fires that may start on your property.”

Two watch-and-act alerts remain in place.

Firefighters, assisted by water-bombing aircraft and heavy machinery, are backburning and building containment lines around the Minjary fire, which has burnt through 2675ha of scrub between Canberra and Wagga Wagga.

Stock animals have reportedly been killed in the Minjary fire but it’s unclear how many, the RFS said.

Another fire has entered a pine plantation near Bathurst and is “proving difficult to contain”, the RFS said.

More than 60 firefighters, aircraft and heavy machinery are working to bring the 350ha Redbank fire under control.

More than 900 firefighters were deployed across NSW on Sunday, fighting 92 fires, 28 of which are uncontained.

High temperatures in the 30s and another tough day for firefighters are predicted for Monday.

“The fire danger is going to be very high,” an RFS spokesman told AAP.

No “significant” rain is expected for the start of the week, he said.

“There’ll be crew out until all hours doing what they can to strengthen containment lines and also patrolling a lot of those fires to make sure they don’t get out of hand.”

An emergency warning was at 7.30pm (AEDT) issued for the Dog Rock forest fire, which is burning out of control between Rockley and Black Springs, south of Bathurst.

The 120-hectare fire is heading in a easterly direction.

“Only well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety,” the RFS said.

“If you plan to leave, or you are not prepared and there is a safer place nearby, leave now if it is safe to do so.”

Pakistan strike early but Sri Lanka extend lead to 220

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At stumps on the penultimate day of the series, Sri Lanka reached 133 runs for five wickets to add to their first-innings lead of 87.

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Jayawardene, who made 129 in his team’s nine-wicket win in Dubai in the second test, became the first Sri Lankan to cross 11,000 test runs and eighth batsman overall during his innings.

His careful knock came to an end when his bat-pad catch off Saeed Ajmal was smartly taken by Azhar Ali at short leg.

Left-arm spinner Rehman extracted good turn from the pitch and picked up the wickets of opener Kaushal Silva (36) and Kumar Sangakkara (eight) while Talha dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne (eight) and Dinesh Chandimal (13).

Khurram Manzoor did not help Pakistan’s cause by dropping an easy chance from Mathews at cover off fast bowler Junaid Khan with the batsman on nine.

Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed also dropped a sharp chance from Prasanna Jayawardene (six not out) off Ajmal before the batsman had opened his account.

Earlier in the morning, Rangana Herath picked up his 17th five-wicket haul in tests for Sri Lanka as Pakistan were bowled out for 341.

Fast bowler Shaminda Eranga picked up the first two wickets to fall to take his innings tally to four as Pakistan went for quick runs to wipe off the deficit.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq hit three sixes and a four in his knock of 63 before being caught at long-on trying to clear Herath over the ropes.

Junaid also struck two sixes to reduce the fist-innings deficit before he too was caught in the deep off Herath.

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Justin Palmer)

Weekend Sports Wrap

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We begin with the A-League, where Adelaide has shot from ninth to fifth on the ladder with a one-nil win over the West Sydney Wanderers.

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The Red’s have turned their season around with six games unbeaten – having gone eight previous matches without a win.

 

But Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic told Fox Sports that Adelaide’s goal should have been disallowed for crossing the goal line in the build up.

 

“It’s not nice losing two games in a row. We’ve had a tough little period, but I still think we gave it our all, you know we weren’t really out of that game. It just seems that the field’s a foot longer for Adelaide over here. You know it’s disappointing we copped a goal that should never have stood.”

 

Sydney FC’s rotten run has continued, as they lost – also by one goal to nil – to the Central Coast Mariners.

 

Not even Alessandro Del Piero could inspire the Sky Blues as they slumped to defeat in front of their home fans, after Mile Sterjovski’s deflected strike proved the difference.

 

Coach Frank Farina had no excuses for the lacklustre performance, and warned heads could roll.

 

“Some of the performances weren’t as good as I expected, without naming individuals. If we have to change, we’ll change. It’s about winning games of football, getting points. And I’m not happy with that tonight.”

 

The shock of the round came in Wellington, where a rejuvenated Phoenix dismantled the Melbourne Victory, winning five-nil.

 

A first-half hattrick of goals, made in Costa Rica by Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham, gave coach Ernie Merrick a satisfying win against his old club.

 

“It was a case of it was going to come, we’ve been playing good football. I don’t think at any stage we were under real pressure, we controlled the midfield; our backline got it right – they pushed up, they dropped off, they pushed up. And our strikers were just in the right positions – maybe could have scored a couple more actually.”

 

To Tennis, where the big news from the Australian Open was the shock loss of five-time champion Serena Williams.

 

Hampered by a niggling back injury, the American was no match for an impressive Ana Ivanovic who won 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

 

The 2008 finalist was over the moon, telling Channel 7 it was some of the best tennis she’d ever played.

 

“Yeah, you know it was very consistent, I was very happy with that, it’s not easy playing such a champion and like you said I’ve never beaten her before, but you know she is also just a human and has lots of pressure on her, you know I just went out there to swing at the ball, and I did that really well.”

 

No such fairytale for Australia’s last remaining hope in the singles, Casey Dellacqua, as she lost to rising star, Eugenie Bouchard.

 

The Australian won the first set 7-6, but couldn’t match the Canadian teenager, who ran away with the next two sets 6-2, 6-love.

 

In the Men’s draw, there were no problems for World Number 2, Novak Djokovic as he breezed past Italian Fabio Fognini.

 

The four-time winner and reigning champion was in ruthless form as he won 6-3, 6-love, 6-2.

 

He told Channel 7, the only difficulty was keeping his emotions in check, playing against an opponent he considers a close friend.

 

“It is a bit different feeling when you have as opponent your long-time friend, someone you know over ten years. Obviously I wanted to laugh at his jokes, but on the other hand I didn’t want to have any loss of concentration, so it was very important to stay focused til the end.”

 

To cricket, and Australia have recored another emphatic win over England, to secure the One Day International series.

 

Powerful batting by David Warner and Sean Marsh saw the Australians comfortably chase down the English total of 243, with ten overs left to spare.

 

Warner continued his aggressive form from the Ashes series, hitting 71, with Marsh also finishing with 71 runs.

 

It’s the eighth consecutive win the Australians have recorded over a demoralised English side, who have two more one dayers and three T-twenty matches left on the tour.

 

In hockey, the Netherlands have won the inaugural Hockey World League Final, whalloping New Zealand 7-2, to win the gold medal.

 

World champions Australia who had lost to the Dutch in a tight semi-final, also succumbed to England in the bronze medal playoff match, 2-1.

 

And finally, some bad news for Socceroos fans, with reports coming from Germany that striker Robbie Kruse has torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

 

Australia’s international player of the year, looks set to spend a lengthy time on the sidelines, and is little chance to be fit again in time for the World Cup.

 

Vic Govt considers kids in cars crackdown

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The state government will consider tougher penalties for people who leave children in cars on hot days after almost 40 cases during Victoria’s record heatwave.

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Ambulance Victoria says 39 children were left in hot cars as Victoria sweltered with four consecutive days over 41C, and over the full week 60 cases had been reported.

Among them were two children under five years left in a car while their father placed a bet and a man who left four children under 10 in a car while he went to buy alcohol, Fairfax Media reports.

People can be jailed for three months or fined up to $2165 for leaving a child in a car on a hot day, but the state government is considering toughening penalties to further deter people, the report said.

Ambulance Victoria CEO Greg Sassella urged parents not to lock children in cars.

“Sadly we are still getting kids locked in cars and that is absolutely a lethal oversight from the parents,” he said.

“Children die when they’re locked in cars, animals die when they’re locked in cars. So please, we are still pleading with the community to be very careful with their children.”

On Wednesday as temperatures reached nearly 42C, 13 children were left in cars.

The heatwave saw a record number of calls to Triple-0, with 2553 calls received on Friday.

Thursday’s 2506 calls is the second most ever received.

Cardiac arrest calls were up 700 per cent on Friday, with 77 calls received.

At one stage cardiac arrest calls were coming through on average every six minutes.

Between Monday and Saturday night ambulance officers attended 208 cardiac arrests and 505 cases of heat exhaustion.