Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jesse Ryder fights for life

The cricketer's manager, Aaron Klee, said at a press conference today Ryder was still in a serious condition, but is doing "a lot better".
Ryder was taken to hospital early Thursday with critical injuries after he was attacked outside Aikmans bar in Merivale, Christchurch.
It was "awful" seeing Ryder in intensive care with "tubes everywhere", Klee said.
But this morning, Ryder was responsive and gave the "thumbs up" to his neurosurgeon as his sedation levels were lowered, which has given his family and friends hope.
"They are assessing his coma at the moment and when the right time will be to bring him out of the coma," he said.
The support Ryder's family and friends had received was "phenomenal", Klee said.
"Lots and lots of messages" had flooded in from Kiwis and people from all over the world.
"We have had lots of down time sitting around and have been reading the messages of support... We have been collating those and trying to communicate them with Jesse," Klee said.
Ryder is now in a stable condition, but still needs support breathing as his lungs were injured in the assault.
At the press conference a joint statement from Ryder's mother, Heather, and his partner, Ally, was read.
They spoke of their gratitude for the amount of support they had received and of their disgust at the "heinous crime".
"Jesse will be chuffed knowing how many people care and have reached out, including the huge number of cricket fans and players from around the world.
"We have read many of the messages online over the past 24 hours and we are keeping them for Jesse to read when he recovers," the statement read.
The pair thanked the ambulance staff who treated him at the scene and the hospital staff "for looking after him since".
They also thanked New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Wellington for their "ongoing support" and Christchurch police for their investigation to find the "people responsible for this heinous crime committed on our Jesse".
This afternoon Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said a 37-year-old man, who was not from Christchurch, had been interviewed today in relation to the attack.
He was related to the 20-year-old Christchurch man who was arrested and charged with assault earlier today after police tracked him down with the help of a taxi company.
The 20-year-old man has been released on bail and was due to appear in Christchurch District Court on Thursday.
Archer would not comment on how the pair were related or if the older man had been charged.
Police have watched the CCTV footage of the incident and Archer confirmed Ryder was attacked twice in close succession.
"At the moment we have a reasonably clear picture of what has taken place... but we don't know the full ins and outs of why this has occurred," he said.
Archer said the men involved in the first incident, which occurred outside Aikmans Bar, were also involved in the second incident, which happened in the Merivale McDonald’s car park.
Police currently had "no idea" behind the motive of the attack and Archer said there was nothing to indicate either man had met Ryder before.
Archer thanked the members of the public who have come forward so far, but said police were still seeking more witnesses.
Up to 10 people were believed to have watched as Ryder collapsed to the ground at the entrance to the Merivale McDonald's car park and started vomiting and shaking before he became unconscious.
Aikmans owner Steve Holmes said after reviewing the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage the assault was "completely unexpected".
Holmes said Ryder, who had played cricket for Wellington against Canterbury in Christchurch on Wednesday, was leaving the bar about 12.30am with 10 to 12 of his teammates.
He was the last in the group to leave and as he was doing so, Holmes said one of the alleged attackers called out to him.
Ryder went back to talk to the man and the two appeared to chat before shaking hands, Holmes said.
After a few minutes he said the "body language changed" between the two. Ryder walked out of the bar and the man followed him, seemingly yelling after him.
An older man, who was at Aikmans with the other man, also followed and Holmes said there was a bit of "pushing and shoving" outside the bar before Ryder walked away.
The two men followed and attacked the cricketer again.
Holmes said one of the bar's senior staff members broke up the fight and stopped the attackers from re-entering the bar while Ryder staggered over the road to the McDonald's.
After telling the attackers "they were not welcome", the staff member went to check on Ryder and realised "just how bad it was".
Holmes said he had "no idea" how the fight started.
"One of the groups was outside and one was inside. There was no altercation until the cricket team left basically.
"No-one was heavily intoxicated, it was just a mediocre Wednesday night," he said.
"We didn't have security on because it was quiet night of the week and we didn't need it.
"Obviously the bar sends its best wishes to Jesse's family over Easter. We wish him a speedy recovery."
Police were last night still hunting for his attackers, believed to be aged in their late 20s, and appealed for them to hand themselves in.
The attack has shocked the nation and messages of support for the controversial cricket player have poured in from around the world.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said it was in the second attack outside the nearby McDonald's in which Ryder sustained his most serious injuries.
A motive for the attack was yet to be established, but witnesses said it appeared to be unprovoked.
There was "no suggestion" the incident was related to cricket, Archer said.
Most of Ryder's teammates were at McDonald's ordering food when he was attacked.
Ryder - who has had a well-publicised battle with alcohol - had been drinking. But alcohol was not an aggravating factor in the attack, which was witnessed by about 10 people, he said.
New Zealand Cricket Players' Association chief executive Heath Mills confirmed Ryder had fallen off the wagon after a highly publicised battle with alcohol.
He was aware that Ryder had been drinking on at least two other recent occasions.
Regan Harvey, who has given a statement to the police, said he believed Ryder was ambushed in an unprovoked attack that he described as a "Jesse hate fight".
Harvey said he was drinking at an outdoor table in Aikmans when he heard a fight erupt outside.
"As I walked out there were a couple of guys beating up this one guy on the ground as they were calling him a wanker," he said.
One of the attackers did "two massive kicks" into Ryder's stomach and rib cage that were so violent it made Harvey wince.
Harvey, 32, approached the group with his arms out saying: "I think he has had enough, back off guys."
"At that stage I was trying to weigh up how fight-ready these guys were, in case they tried to turn on me," he said.
A woman Ryder had left the bar with quickly ran to his side and tried to help him up.
When Ryder got to his feet, with his shirt ripped in two, he faced the men and tried to act brave before "stumbling" toward the McDonald's car park, leaning on the woman.
Minutes later, Harvey walked went to try and help Ryder and found him "unconscious and lying on his side in the recovery position".
"As far as I can tell Jesse has done nothing wrong here. It looked like it was completely unprovoked," he said.
Emma Ferguson was also at Aikmans having a drink with friends when the incident unfolded in front of her on the footpath.
''Jesse walked out of the bar and was standing outside when a group of three or four guys were literally just on him - punching and kicking [him].
"It seemed as if all of a sudden there was a fight."
Within seconds Ryder was on the ground and while she could not see him being assaulted, because a wall obscured her view, she could hear the blows landing.
"They were kicking him very hard. As hard as they could. It was pretty horrific."
She was amazed that he was able to stand up and stagger across the road where he collapsed at the entrance to the McDonald's car park and started ''vomiting and shaking''.
"I felt it [the attack] was completely unprovoked. It just seemed to come out of nowhere on a very idle ... night. It was very brutal.''
Alysha Green was also at Aikmans and said Ryder was with a group of about six people before the attack. All of them were drinking, but didn't seem "overly intoxicated".
"They weren't causing any drama or drawing attention to themselves."
McDonald's Merivale owner Murray Traill said he had reviewed CCTV footage, which showed the incident did not happen on the fast-food outlet's premises or in its carpark.
In July last year, a 20-year-old suffered head and neck injuries after he was "glassed" in the side of the head with a beer bottle in Aikmans Bistro Bar. He was discharged from hospital the following day.
A "candlelight vigil" will be held outside Christchurch Hospital tonight in honour of injured cricketer Jesse Ryder.
The vigil will be led by Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon and city councillor Aaron Keown to "show the rest of the country this is not what Christchurch is about".
"I am really upset this has happened in our city and it is a really bad image for Christchurch. Good Friday is meant to be a day of peace and the whole country will be looking at Christchurch and saying, 'If a cricket player can't go out with his mates and not be assaulted then what is going on?'," Keown said..
The community has been invited to bring down a candle and gather on the footpath outside the main entrance of Christchurch Hospital at 7pm.
"We want to show Jesse, his family and the rest of the country that this is not Christchurch. We want to support him through this."
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White issued a statement saying ''we are all shocked by what has occurred and extremely concerned for Jesse.
''New Zealand Cricket's thoughts are with him and his family.''
Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted that the attack was "devastating news" and he hoped Ryder would pull through.
Ryder was due to fly out tomorrow to start his $300,000 contract in the Indian Premier League.
Hours before the attack Ryder was dismissed for a first-ball duck when his team the Wellington Firebirds faced the Canterbury Wizards.
He is in a self-imposed exile from international cricket, resisting calls to return to the Black Caps scene. He has not played for New Zealand since February last year.
Ryder's career has been blighted by off-field incidents, usually involving alcohol, though he appeared to be in a stable mindset this summer where he played consistently well for the Firebirds.
Last year, he and team-mate Doug Bracewell were reprimanded by Black Caps team management for "unacceptable behaviour" after the pair "verbally reacted to taunts from a member of the public" outside a Napier bar.
Ryder has been dropped from the Black Caps side multiple times, and in 2010 revealed his own troubled history with alcohol.
"Dad bounced when I was about 14; he just took off man. He just dropped me off at a mate's one day and said he'd see me in a week. He never came back," Ryder said in an interview.
"That's probably where that rebel streak and badness comes from. I just didn't have any boundaries once he left.
"I guess I could be classed as a bad boy and it's true, I did like going out on the p**s. It wasn't so much fighting, more so just getting on the beers with the boys."
He said he had a real habit of binge drinking.
"I would be with my boys and we'd do drinking games. It was like 'bang' and I would be sculling drinks throughout the night which probably caused most of my problems." 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Samsung wants to get its hands on wristwatch market too

Apple isn't the only company itching to get its hands on thewristwatch market. A Samsung executive tells Bloomberg that it too has been working on wearable devices that act like smartphones.
"We've been preparing the watch product for so long," Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile business, said during an interview with Bloomberg in Seoul. "We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them."
Lee offered no specifics when it came to features, price, or target release date. The South Korean electronics giant already has a pretty active product release calendar scheduled for 2013, with three high-end smartphones expected to ratchet up its competition with rival Apple.
The disclosure comes after reports last month that Apple already has a team of 100 people working on a rumored smart wristwatch, sometimes called "iWatch," including some prominent Apple employees. Key members of the team are said to include James Foster, Apple's senior director of engineering, and Achim Pantfoerder, a program manager who is credited with 13 Apple patents, including an electronic sighting compass and ambient light sensor.
Other reports have it that Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices that sported curved glass. However, a team of this size and with such prominent membership suggests the company might be farther ahead than the experimental phase.
Of course, neither company is exactly breaking new ground with the development of Dick Tracy-like tech. A lot of smartwatches, fitness bands, or some hybrid of the two, were talked up earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Some of those devices include the the long-awaited Pebble wristwatch, which made its debut at the conference, and the 007-inspired Martian Passport Watch.
Apple itself even encouraged wearing previous versions of the iPod Nano on wrists in 2011, with manufacturers selling watchbands that could be attached to the Nano to wear it as a wristwatch.