Siddle feels for felled McLaren

Peter Siddle says spooking batsmen is one thing, causing concussion quite another.


Ryan McLaren was on Tuesday ruled out of the second Test in Port Elizabeth, where Australia can seal their first Test series win on foreign soil since downing the West Indies in April 2012.

McLaren was suffering from post-concussion syndrome, brought about by a brutal Mitchell Johnson bouncer that drew blood in the first Test at Centurion.

Siddle noted McLaren’s ill-health didn’t sit well with any of the Australian pacemen.

“On the field it’s hard and aggressive, but when you see things like that happening it is a little bit disappointing,” Siddle said.

“You don’t want to hurt anyone in a way that they can’t come up (for the next match).

“It’s not as if you’re trying to do it. At the time you’re just obviously trying to build a bit of pressure and get a wicket.”

Left-armer Wayne Parnell is expected to take McLaren’s spot in the hosts’ XI for the second Test that starts on Thursday.

“A couple of the netties (net bowlers) were left handed so it gave the boys a bit to look at there,” Siddle said after training on Tuesday.

However, if South Africa selectors opt to shore up their batting order then left-hander Dean Elgar could come into contention.

Elgar made a pair on Test debut, against Australia in 2012 when Johnson twice dismissed him at the WACA.

Beanpole Morne Morkel suggested the squad had full faith in Elgar, who was 12th man for the first Test and dropped a catch provided by David Warner when the eventual centurion was on 26.

“Dean is like a Staffy. He’s tough as nails. I’m sure if he gets the nod he’ll be more than capable of doing the job,” he said.

“It’s a tricky question (who replaces McLaren).”

The Proteas are expected to retain spinner Robin Peterson, who was largely unthreatening in the first Test.

Morkel described Johnson’s short ball to McLaren as part of part of the reason cricketers love the sport.

“Spectators also love that sort of bodyline action in Test matches,” he said.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Scott to step up Masters defence

Adam Scott has to return his green jacket to the Augusta National clubhouse in six weeks but the world No.


2 says he’s on track to snare a second one.

Scott is in the final week of his six-week “off-season” and ramps up his preparations for the Masters with a return to the US PGA tour next week as he aims to peak once more at Augusta National from April 10-13.

Recharging his batteries and playing less tournament golf has been the recipe for success over the last two years when Scott has been the best-performed golfer in relation to par across the last eight majors.

Scott admits it felt strange to sit out when he was coming off the brilliant form that took him within a whisker of completing the Australian Triple Crown late last year.

“You don’t really want to take some time off. You want to keep it rolling,” he said.

“You see a guy like Jimmy Walker out there who is hot and he’s taking advantage of it, and that’s what you want to do.

“But I’m also keeping the big picture in mind and my priorities are the Masters and the other three majors later this year, and I think the break was necessary, even though I was playing well.”

“I haven’t been competitive but I’ve certainly been working on all areas of the game. Hopefully I’m on track.”

The Queenslander ended Australia’s Masters curse with his playoff win over Angel Cabrera at Augusta last year and hopes that breakthrough will benefit all of his countrymen going forward.

Currently only Jason Day, who was third last year and second in 2011, and Marc Leishman (tied fourth last year), are qualified to join Scott in the Masters field.

“Hopefully every Aussie that’s there from now on will appreciate not being asked whether it will be them (to be the first) this year,” said Scott.

“Maybe that’s also crushed a couple of dreams of others that wanted to be the first but I’d like to think it will lift the shackles.

“I’ll just talk about Jason (Day) for the moment who has played in a few of them and he’s done extremely well in the few he’s played in.

“He’s obviously got to be thinking he’s going to be a Masters Champion one day, and that’s probably quite likely if he keeps playing the way he is and on the path he is.

“So hopefully the shackles are off and we’re going to have a host of Aussies up there in the champions’ locker room in the future.”

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Profit growth slows for Trade Me

Trade Me Group has posted a slower pace of earnings growth in the first half of its financial year as New Zealand’s largest online auction site invests in marketing and more staff.


Net profit rose two per cent to $NZ38 million ($A35.30 million) in the six months ended December 31, slower than the 2.7 per cent growth in earnings in the year earlier period, the Wellington-based company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Profit was below First NZ Capital’s estimate of $NZ40.9m. Revenue increased seven per cent to $NZ85.7m while expenses rose 19 per cent to $NZ25.2m.

Trade Me employed an extra 50 people in the past six months, taking its total headcount to 350, as it strives to improve its website, adding more services and functions, in order to grow future profits.

The company will probably increase full-year profit seven per cent this year, before picking up to an 11.2 per cent pace in 2015, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

“We’ve embarked on a period of re-investment which will impact short-term earnings growth but ensure the company’s long-term growth and success,” said chairman David Kirk.

“We are convinced this is the right approach for Trade Me and we believe investment now will result in stronger market positions and greater growth opportunities in the future.”

Investment in the business had gone well and Trade Me would continue to “invest assertively” in the second half of the company’s financial year, Mr Kirk said.

Trade Me will pay a first half dividend of 7.6 NZ cents a share on March 25.

The shares last traded at $NZ4.05, and have slipped 0.3 per cent this year.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

What issues will a WA Senate re-vote be fought on?

By Ian Cook, Murdoch University

It appears certain that Western Australians will vote in fresh Senate elections later this year.


Following the initial vote last September and the recount – when 1375 votes were unable to be located – the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, declared yesterday that:

The only relief appropriate is for the election to be declared void.

While reserving its final judgment for Thursday, a new election to elect six senators seems to be an inevitability.

The court’s decision isn’t going to recast the political landscape. And yet it’s back to the polls that Western Australians will likely go. That means new candidates and new campaigns. And more fun – unless you’re feeling election fatigue (Western Australians did have state and local government elections as well as the federal election last year).

So, what will be the key issue areas a re-vote will be fought on?

The major parties

The Coalition will urge Western Australian voters to allow the Abbott government to govern. After all, it won a significant majority in the House of Representatives last September.

Prime minister Tony Abbott will generally play better in Western Australia than opposition leader Bill Shorten. They are both from “over east”, so neither really understands WA, but Abbott can run a pro-development line more believably than Shorten.

The latest Nielsen poll appears to reflect Shorten’s inability to engage voters outside the party while he tries to rebuild inside the party. He is being outmanoeuvred in public, however much they lionise him inside the party.

Late last year, when a re-run was first mooted, some media outlets suggested that the fresh election will be a referendum on the carbon tax. It is unlikely to be that simple. This is especially so if there is enough evidence to show that the carbon tax is working, which the IMF certainly thinks is the case.

But an election re-run is likely to play out better for the conservatives. It is hard to see the Liberals losing or gaining a seat. It is more about the fate of the Palmer United Party (PUP) and the Greens.

Much of the hostility to Labor has been vented in Western Australia, so Coalition strategists shouldn’t assume they can rely on strong anti-Labor sentiments to carry them through. Presenting themselves as the government that has stopped asylum seekers will work well in WA, where arrivals by boat have had a greater impact than elsewhere.

However, the secrecy around asylum seekers coming by boat is making the public’s reaction to this issue hard to predict.

State issues

One problem for the Coalition is that Western Australians know the Abbott government won’t do anything to increase the amount of Goods and Services Tax (GST) the state receives.


WA premier Colin Barnett suffered an annus horribilis in 2013. Will state issues play a role in a WA Senate re-vote? AAP/Alan Porritt


While it was never directly stated, the view that Labor had something to do with WA’s share of GST revenue was left conveniently – for the Coalition – in the air for much of last September’s federal election. Now it is clear that the Coalition will do nothing for a state government struggling, and failing, to balance its budget.

This is why Labor will want the election to be about the effectiveness of Coalition governments. The ALP campaign will attempt to shift the focus from federal Labor and use WA premier Colin Barnett’s woeful recent performance as evidence that Coalition governments across Australia aren’t up to the challenges of governing.

Abbott will struggle to persuade people to support him because of his record. The federal government has done little so far that will have particularly impressed West Australians. The carbon and mining taxes are not such “hot” topics, so they do not carry the same weight.

The Greens, PUP and microparties

The Greens can regain ground if they can establish themselves as being necessary to moderate the excesses of the Abbott government, and to generally ensure that the government does not lose sight of the environment in pursuing jobs growth.

It would help, in Western Australia, for the Greens to articulate a conservative environmental position. This is not the state to be anything but conservative.

Incumbent senator Scott Ludlam, who was elected for the Greens in the recount, argued to keep the recount instead of publicly welcoming the challenge to respond to those who have turned away from the Greens. That would have sent the right message to voters.

The Greens are likely to join the Coalition and Labor in trying to make a re-run election about microparties manipulating the voters to get candidates elected who gained very few first preference votes. Expect to see Glenn Druery – the so-called “preference whisperer” – copping a lot of criticism.

The Greens ought to be careful with the microparties. Support for them expresses discontent with the system, which is also manifested in votes for the Greens. Dismissing other people’s discontent in favour of your discontent won’t win you friends. Besides, the Greens need to think about possibilities for working with any microparty candidates who are elected.

A re-vote solely in Western Australia provides the PUP with a great opportunity. The new party’s success in September’s election means that the PUP now represents a credible option for those attracted by a conservative approach.


Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party may have its electoral success in the WA Senate repeated in a re-vote. AAP/Paul Miller


Palmer’s very deep pockets will help the PUP to generate a significant profile in traditional and social media. So, the PUP can expect to repeat its (albeit voided) success of winning a Senate seat in WA. There’s always the chance that Palmer will say something to offend Western Australians, but he speaks fluent mining magnate, which is a language that people in the state understand well.

The mainstream media is helping the major parties’ attempts to make microparties appear sinister and manipulative, so we are likely to see people not trusting them with their “above the line” preferences.

The Sports Party, which won a seat in the disputed recount despite gaining just 0.23% of the first preference vote, will also struggle.

Ian Cook does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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Human rights in North Korea: the implications of the Kirby report

By Benjamin Habib, La Trobe University

The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) report into human rights abuses in North Korea, released on Monday by panel chairman Michael Kirby, highlights the impact of the government’s extreme social controls on ordinary North Koreans.


Despite the attention that the UNHRC investigation has received, the report does not reveal much new information about the human rights situation in North Korea. It accuses the regime of six main human rights abuses: arbitrary detention and torture, starvation, denial of freedom of thought, denial of freedom of movement, foreign abductions and discrimination.

Nonetheless, the report is valuable as a systematic and comprehensive catalogue of evidence. Chief among its recommendations are that “the international community must accept its responsibility to protect the people” of North Korea from crimes against humanity.

However, the obvious moral force of this proposition belies the intractable difficulties of undertaking any real action.

Lack of enforcement mechanisms

The fraught strategic environment that has complicated international nuclear non-proliferation efforts in North Korea also makes it difficult to enforce any indictment of the North Korean leadership for crimes against humanity.

Military intervention is a non-starter for obvious reasons. If we consider the potential impact of war in North Korea, with estimated casualties of up to 500,000 people at a cost of more than US$1 trillion, the risk is too high to justify the desired gain.

It is disingenuous to argue for protecting the human rights of North Korean citizens by risking the lives of millions of Koreans on both sides of the demilitarised zone through international military intervention.

A united front among regional states is vital if military options are to achieve their desired goals. Such unity seems a remote possibility in a region characterised by an emerging contest between the United States and China.

It is noteworthy that the Chinese government refused the UNHRC investigators access to witnesses in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture adjacent to the North Korean border: an area that is the primary exit route for North Korean defectors. The Chinese government provides support for North Korean border controls by repatriating fleeing North Koreans. China is generally cautious about the international human rights agenda, given its own problems with prominent ethnic minorities.

No other legal mechanisms exist to enforce the indictment of a sitting leader whose country does not recognise the International Criminal Court (ICC). In that context, the report establishes an inventory of Kim regime crimes that could be used as evidence to prosecute high-ranking officials through the ICC, but only in the event that the current government falls.

The Kirby panel’s recommendation that the North Korean leadership be referred to the International Criminal Court should not be seen as an empty threat. But past examples in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia suggest that high-level officials charged with crimes against humanity are generally untouchable until they lose power.

Transformative change in North Korea

The UNHRC report makes clear reference to North Korea as a totalitarian state. During the Kim Il-sung era (1945 to 1994), North Korea was one of the closest approximations of a totalitarian state that the world has seen. Nevertheless, there is a danger in emphasising North Korea’s totalitarian tendencies without proper context.

The North Korean coercive apparatus developed in a fortress-like cocoon, influenced initially by the experience of Japanese colonialism and the brutality of the Korean War. It then matured within the polarising political climate of the Cold War and the North’s intense competition with South Korea and the United States.


The Kirby panel’s recommendation that the North Korean leadership be referred to the International Criminal Court should not be seen as an empty threat. EPA/Salvatore Di Nolfi


Any attempts to improve human rights in North Korea through engagement should try to avoid aggravating this siege mentality. This is the world view in which human rights violations are justified by the government.

We should also consider the significant economic and social forces that have coalesced in North Korean society since the mid-1990s, which have eroded the country’s totalitarian system.

Food distribution is a good example. The impact of government food rationing has been weakened by broadening access to food from outside the state rationing system, either through local markets, home-grown produce or theft from state farms. Grassroots entrepreneurialism has provided some people at the bottom of the class hierarchy with access to foreign currency and with it an increased ability to buy food. This has decreased the leverage of official social controls.

At the same time as grassroots forces are altering the relationship between the North Korean state and its people, the government has embarked on cautious economic reforms. These are opening the country to foreign capital and expertise. The firewall isolating the people from information about the outside world is also more porous than in the past.

So in the absence of a credible “big stick”, fostering evolutionary social change may present another option to improve the human rights situation.

This is not to downplay the pain of those North Koreans who have suffered horrendous abuses, or excuse the perpetrators of these abuses. But it is important to recognise the impact of the burden of history and the transformative influence of emerging social forces as we consider the implications of the UNHRC report.

Benjamin Habib does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Alleged Vic hospital attacker ‘unstable’

A man charged with the attempted murder of a neurosurgeon at a Melbourne hospital is in an unstable mental state, a court has heard.


Kareem Al-Salami, 48, is accused of repeatedly stabbing the doctor in the foyer of the Western Hospital in Footscray when he arrived for work on Tuesday.

The victim, 43-year-old Michael Wong, is in a serious condition but his injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.

Al-Salami, of North Sunshine, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon charged with attempted murder and two counts each of intentionally causing serious injury and recklessly causing serious injury.

“I have concerns about his mental state … concerns about what he might do to himself,” his lawyer Rainer Martini told Magistrate Duncan Reynolds.

Mr Martini said Al-Salami was using several medications and a nurse would need to visit him in custody.

He said his client spoke little English and while no Arabic interpreter was available, he said he was satisfied he was aware of the severity of the charges.

The court also heard police feared Al-Salami was unfit to be interviewed, but he was determined to go ahead with the interview.

Al-Salami will next face court for a committal mention in May.

Police have praised visitors and hospital staff who helped drag Dr Wong away from his attacker.

Inspector Tony Long said visitors and medical staff in the foyer acted very bravely in helping the victim.

“They have been able to drag him away and he was taken to the emergency department,” he told reporters at the scene.

Western Hospital acting CEO Russell Harrison said at this stage the alleged offender was not believed to have been a patient at the hospital.

The attack prompted the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation to call on the Victorian government to tighten security in the state’s public hospitals.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Sleeping on a remote Ugandan island

The sky is overcast and lightly raining, and our open wooden fisherman’s boat is ominously leaking with every bumpy wave.


We’re in the middle of nowhere on Uganda’s Lake Victoria and I’m now seriously regretting last night’s gin and tonics.

Finally, after an almost never-ending three-hour journey, we see a faint mass of green land on the increasingly clear horizon. This is our destination: a tiny and almost untouched island located right in the middle of the world’s second largest freshwater lake.

My first impression of Banda Island is of a strip of yellow sand, a whimsical white cottage, and a middle-aged man surrounded by a bunch of dogs.

The island’s caretaker, David, greets my partner and I with a warm smile, a helping hand, and a faint Australian accent.

It doesn’t take long to reach our accommodation. It’s literally five metres from the shoreline.

There are several accommodation options on the budget-friendly Banda, including basic beach cabins, dormitories and traditional camping. Our “lazy camping” selection features an already pitched two-man tent with a blow-up mattress, which turns out to be surprisingly comfortable. We quickly dump our backpacks and take a quick tour of our home for the next two nights.

Banda feels wild, remote and almost oddly quiet. There are only a few paths and the tropical forest is largely overgrown.

As dusk approaches, we head back to the beach and get chatting to the island’s other travellers around a bonfire. There are only six other tourists on Banda and they all seem well travelled, intelligent and very interested in Africa.

Just as it gets really dark, David calls out to us from the cottage to come inside for dinner and drinks. It turns out that Banda’s only resort comes with home-cooked meals that rival any restaurant in Uganda’s hectic capital, Kampala.

The night’s meal is fish freshly caught from Lake Victoria. It comes with a side of salad and animated conversation with David. After a while, conversation turns into a game of Jenga and trivia. Hanging out in the cottage feels a bit like school camp, albeit with adults and ice cold beers.

We eventually head back to our tent with David’s torch. There is no electricity or internet on Banda, and we quietly talk in the dark before falling asleep. I wake the next morning to the soft sounds of forest birds. It takes me a while to remember that I’m in a plastic two-man tent in the middle of Uganda.

My partner and I sleepily stumble to the cottage for fruit, eggs and coffee. As he serves breakfast, David tells us that all the other guests left Banda on a boat that morning. My mouth automatically grins as I realise that it’s just us, a few resort staff, and a disconnected fishing village. A few hours later, David takes us for a trek to the other side of Banda to meet these fisherman and their families.

As we walk up muddy hills and dodge cows, our talkative guide tells us about his decision to become caretaker on Banda.

“This place has got so much potential,” David says.

David hopes to turn Banda into a self-sustaining community, with help from staff and travelling volunteers.

He’s on his way to achieving this dream.

The resort features a water purification system and there are plans for a toilet compost system and solar-powered boats for taking travellers to the mainland.

When we reach the fishing village, a huge group of children come screaming out of huts and quickly demand piggy-backs. We hang out with the children by the ocean, and even play a few games of pool with some fisherman.

A few hours later, we’re back on the beach at dusk with beers, blankets, and some trashy books borrowed from the resort’s guest library.

We end our second night around the dinner table with David and two packs of playing cards. He’s an obliging host that’s patient enough to teach two novices to play a game called canasta. We take our new card skills back to Australia, along with special memories about camping on a secluded patch of Ugandan paradise.


GETTING THERE: Banda Island is a three-hour boat ride from Kasenyi in Western Uganda. Travellers should organise transport details in advance with Banda Island (

Emirates fly from Australia to Uganda’s international airport, Entebbe.

STAYING THERE: Staying on Banda Island costs between $30 and $50 per night per person, depending on whether you camp or sleep in a beach cabin. Rates include all meals.

PLAYING THERE: Activities include volleyball, boating and swimming. If you ask nicely, David may take you to Banda Island’s fishing village or teach you how to play canasta.

* The writer travelled at her own expense.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

‘Whistleblower’ fired from US nuclear site

Whistleblower Donna Busche, who raised safety concerns at the United States’ most polluted nuclear weapons production site, has been fired from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.


Busche’s complaints are part of a string of whistleblower and other claims related to the design and safety of an unfinished waste treatment plant at Hanford.

Busche, 50, said she was called into the office on Tuesday morning and told she was being fired for cause.

“I turned in my key and turned in my badge and left the building,” Busche said in a telephone interview from Richland.

Busche worked for URS Corp, which is helping build a $US12 billion ($A13.32 billion) plant to turn Hanford’s most dangerous wastes into glass.

Construction of the plant has been halted over safety concerns.

Busche has filed complaints with the federal government, alleging she has suffered retaliation since filing her original safety complaint in 2011.

Hanford was created by the federal US government in the 1940s as part of the top-secret project to build the atomic bomb, and cleanup costs today run about $US2 billion annually.

Central to the cleanup is dealing with 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste left from decades of plutonium production for the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

The waste is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, many of which have leaked, threatening the groundwater and the neighbouring Columbia River.

The US Department of Energy is investigating Busche’s safety concerns, while the US Department of Labor is reviewing her complaints about retaliation and harassment.

URS Corp said in a statement it encourages employees to raise safety concerns.

“We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” URS said, adding Busche was fired for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns.

“Ms Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny.”

A one-of-a-kind plant is being built to convert the waste into glasslike logs for permanent disposal underground, but it has faced numerous technical problems, delays and cost increases.

Busche is the second Hanford whistleblower to be fired by URS in recent months.

Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.

Busche, who worked at the plant for nearly five years, said she had been expecting to be fired for the past month.

“Right now I will take a deep breath, file for unemployment and start another lawsuit for wrongful termination,” Busche said.

She declined to reveal her salary but called herself a “highly compensated executive”.

Busche was a manager of environmental and nuclear safety at the waste treatment plant construction site, and her primary job was ensuring compliance with dangerous waste permits and safety documents.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Ex-cop arrested over French Alps murders

French police have arrested a suspect described as a former policeman over the 2012 killings of a British-Iraqi family and a cyclist.


Checks on the 48-year-old man’s phone “put him in the zone at the moment” of the murders of the al-Hilli family and the cyclist in the French Alps on September 5, 2012, another source says.

He says several arms were seized at a raid in the man’s home following his arrest.

Another raid was carried out on a house in the nearby village of Lathuile.

Ballistic tests will be carried out to determine if these weapons were used.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud said the man, from the Haute-Savoie region, was placed in formal custody and detained following the release in November of an identikit image of a mysterious motorcyclist seen near where the quadruple murder took place.

A source close to the case said the man, a father of three, was a former policeman from the town of Menthon-Saint-Bernard.

Menthon-Saint-Bernar Mayor Antoine de Menthon says the man had been forced to quit his quarters after the sacking. But he refused to give details of the man’s age or identity.

A source close to the investigation says police carried out a search of the man’s home in Tailoires in the presence of his girlfriend.

Maillaud said the man bore a “strong resemblance” to the man in the identikit image.

It is the first time anyone has been arrested in France in connection with the case, which has stumped investigators despite major efforts on both sides of the English Channel.

Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old Iraqi-born British tourist in France, was gunned down in September 2012 along with his 47-year-old wife Iqbal and her 74-year-old mother in a woodland car park close to the village of Chevaline in the hills above Lake Annecy.

Each was shot multiple times in their British-registered BMW estate car and more than two dozen spent bullet casings were found near the vehicle.

The couple’s two daughters, aged seven and four at the time, survived the gruesome attack, but the older girl was shot and badly beaten.

The younger girl survived unscathed after hiding under her mother’s skirts for hours after the killings, initially escaping the notice of police.

A 45-year-old French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was also killed after apparently stumbling upon the scene.

Investigators were looking at an inheritance dispute between the two brothers but Tuesday’s arrest focuses attention on the possibility of a local killer.

Posted in 南宁夜生活

Winter link to family ‘carguments’

The number of family in-vehicle rows – or “carguments” – rises during winter months.


That’s according to a poll of 1,300 drivers by the RAC in the UK, which has found that as many as 54 per cent of motorists say they have arguments in the colder months.

A total of 15 per cent of drivers and passengers say they argue more in the car than anywhere else, with 19 per cent saying the mere act of driving left them stressed and angry, and 14 per cent feeling cooped up in a car.

The poll also showed that drivers argued most with their partners, followed by their children and parents.

One of the main causes was disagreements over the best route to take, followed by attempts to stop children squabbling.

Talking with passengers was seen as the biggest distraction, with as many as 21 per cent of drivers saying they feared a heated discussion could have caused an accident.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) think the act of driving itself causes them to get stressed and angry, while for 14 per cent it is the fact they are in a confined space and cannot escape when they get agitated.

Other common reasons for car spats include arguing over the best route (13 per cent) and trying to stop children fighting (6 per cent).

In many cases (43 per cent), “carguments” break out with partners followed then by children (10 per cent) and parents (5 per cent).

RAC spokesman Simon Williams says arguments can break out between family and friends at any time “but in the winter, where journeys can be delayed or take longer as a result of having to … take alternative routes, it can be particularly stressful.

“Many ‘carguments’ actually begin well before getting into the car and just get worse as a result of being in a confined space together,” he said.

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