post by admin | | Closed

Rooney keen to end league drought against Liverpool

“I am very happy and grateful, but I go back to Manchester, get back into training and start focussing on Liverpool.


Hopefully getting two goals in the last two games will mean I continue scoring,” Rooney said.

“There’s no better game to go into than Liverpool at home after losing our last game (2-1 at Swansea City). It is a game we have to win and it’s something I’m looking forward to,” the former Everton striker added.

“To achieve what I have (by becoming England’s top scorer), I would be lying if I said it didn’t put a spring in my step and make you want to carry on scoring,” Rooney, who also scored in the 6-0 win over San Marino that booked England’s place in the Euro 2016 finals in France, said.

Meanwhile, Ander Herrera has said United’s midfield needs to start chipping in with goals to take some of the pressure off both Rooney and new signing Anthony Martial.

The Red Devils have struggled for goals in the early part of the season and have just three in their four league games so far, including the own goal by Kyle Walker in the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the season opener.

“We don’t have to give all the responsibility on scoring to Wayne or Anthony Martial. We have to help. It is very important as a midfielder to score. We all have to help,” the Spanish midfielder said.

“Wayne is very important to us. Most of the time he will score but when he doesn’t, he is helping the team and he is always fighting for the team.

“He runs for the rest of the team and he likes to provide assists. We are very lucky to have him,” the 26-year-old added.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)

post by admin | | Closed

Debate over Iraq-Syria fight timeframe

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews says Australian forces involved in Syria and Iraq could pull out after two to three years, but a former military chief believes it’s more likely to be a decade.


Mr Andrews is the first cabinet minister to put a timeline on the fight against Islamic State, which military strategists believe will take a decade or more.

Asked to define how many years the fight would take, he told the Nine Network: “Two, three years. I can’t say for exact terms.”

Former defence force chief Peter Gration said the prospect of sorting it out in two to three years was remote.

“We are in for a longer haul – I’d be thinking in terms of a decade,” he told the ABC.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who on Wednesday announced RAAF military aircraft would be allowed to cross from Iraq into Syria to target IS fighters, said personnel would return when the job is done.

His comment was backed up by Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss who said in response to a Labor question in parliament on the military pullout: “I cannot give you a date as to when that will be. We all hope that it will be soon but we will not be leaving until the job’s done.”

Labor has thrown its support behind the government in extending the mission into Syria.

Australia’s representatives to the United Nations wrote to the president of the security council on Thursday morning giving notice of the expansion.

The legal basis is Article 51 of the United Nations charter which states all member nations have a right to individual or collective self defence against armed attack.

However, Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said the ultimate solution lay in finding a political resolution in Syria, as well as defeating Islamic State.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke overnight with US Secretary of State John Kerry about how to disrupt IS bases and supply lines in eastern Syria.

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs warned that bombing IS targets in Syria would create more refugees.

Australia’s policy of accepting 12,000 people fleeing the conflict and conducting air strikes was “contradictory”, she said.

“I think it’s inevitable that will increase the refugee flow and it will almost certainly lead to the deaths of more civilians.”

Mr Andrews likened the Iraq-Syria border to something closer to home.

It made sense to be able to go over the border because it was a bit like the border between NSW and the ACT.

“We know where it is on a map but most people wouldn’t know where it is and Daesh (IS) certainly doesn’t respect it.”

post by admin | | Closed

Perrett closing in on new Canterbury deal

An elusive premiership ring is the sole reason why Canterbury veteran Sam Perrett is close to re-signing with the club on an multi-year deal.


In an added boost ahead of Saturday night’s elimination final with St George-Illawarra, the self-managed Perrett revealed he is on the verge of a contract extension at Belmore.

“It’s not official yet, but everything’s looking good to stay here,” he said.

“It’s just a matter of putting it all on a formal contract.”

Perrett, 30, said he was comfortable looking after his own contractual affairs because, at this stage of his career, his priorities aren’t about extracting the most dollars.

“For me, there’s a lot of other things that hold value for me – comfort, momentum, opportunity, and a good, healthy environment,” he said.

“That’s really important for me and my family.”

However, the former Sydney Rooster said he had been in the game long enough to know other players had differing demands when it came to taking a seat at the negotiating table.

“They don’t really want to focus on that. They want to focus on their football and they’re not too interested in that side of it,” he said.

“In that instance, it’s good to have someone else working for you.”

Having lost three grand finals over his 12 seasons in the NRL so far, Perrett said winning that elusive premiership ring was his sole motivation at this stage of his career.

The former Kiwis representative gets another chance when he begins his fifth finals campaign in his past six years this weekend.

“It’s another shot for me personally that I’ve been looking forward to, and another opportunity to get that ring. It’s something that I’m pretty hungry for,” he said.

“To fall short just one step, it’s heartbreaking.

“But they are always opportunities to learn from, so long as you can the lessons and apply them.

“Hopefully the last couple of GFs that we’ve missed out on, we can fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle.”

post by admin | | Closed

Brit Broady prevails after racquet row in Auckland

“She threw the racquet and hit the ball boy, no way was that accidental,” the 25-year-old Broady complained to the umpire.


Play was delayed as the umpire and ball boy had a conversation. The umpire opted for a code violation over a disqualification after the Latvian wildcard argued the racquet slipped from her hand but a clearly upset Broady called for another official to adjudicate.

“I asked for the tournament referee to come down onto the court to give his opinion,” Broady was quoted as saying by local media.

“But as he isn’t the chair umpire, he goes by what the chair umpire says and his opinion was that it had slipped from her hand, as Jelena had said, so it was just a code violation and move onto the next point.”

Broady, who knocked out former world number one Ana Ivanovic in the first round on Tuesday, settled quicker to take the tiebreak and force a deciding set but she looked down and out as she trailed 5-1 in the third.

But the British qualifier saved a second match point as she stormed back to prevail 4-6 7-6(4) 7-5, helped by 21 aces, and book a spot in the quarter-finals where she will face American fifth seed Sloane Stephens.

Both players shook hands at the end of the contest but bad blood remained with Broady clearly angry about the incident and repeating her accusation that Ostapenko intentionally threw her racquet in the second set.

The umpire attempted to quell the trouble as the players continued their verbal volleys.

“Jelena commented that my behaviour was terrible,” Broady said.

“Which I thought was a bit out of order, considering the events that had gone on in the match. I don’t think I did anything disrespectful to her, or anyone else on the court.

“So I’m not really sure where that came from, but tensions were high, adrenalin was going. We had a bit of a confrontation, but she’s going to be a fantastic player and I’m sure we’ll both learn from any mistakes we made today and move forwards.”

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

post by admin | | Closed

Qld govt pushes lockouts despite critics

Queensland’s government is pushing on with its pub and club lockout laws, but critics warn they won’t stop assaults and violent deaths at nightspots.


Labor has renewed its campaign for lockout laws, which will make most venues serve last drinks at 2am, in the wake of Brisbane teen Cole Miller’s death on Monday from an alleged one-punch attack.

But acting Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek says if the government is serious about stamping out violence then it should drop its plan to call last drinks earlier.

He’s urging the government to develop a comprehensive plan like the former Liberal National Party government’s 60-point Safe Night Out Strategy.

That plan featured tougher penalties for drunken offenders, more police on streets and proactive education.

“They’re proposing one simple solution, which is just about hours,” Mr Langbroek said.

Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne has said he doesn’t want the laws to affect existing venues in his far north Queensland electorate.

“Where places … have made an effort to be a good community citizen, I think we have to acknowledge that,” Mr Pyne told the Cairns Post.

Mines and Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said there was too much concern about the proposed laws as many state pubs and clubs didn’t even open past 2am.

He claimed evidence also proved business actually got better for venues in entertainment precincts when they were safer.

“I understand that some communities will simply not even be affected at all by this legislation, other communities will have a small effect,” he said.

“So this fear-mongering campaign just has to stop by the nightclub proponents.”

However, anti-violence foundation Just Let It Go believes lockout laws won’t reduce violence and is planning to present an alternative plan to Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath this week.

“What we understand from research that has been done is that the assaults are occurring after people exit the precincts,” director Simon Turner told the Courier-Mail.

“It’s these spaces where the resources and investments have to be made.”

The parliamentary legal affairs and community safety committee is examining the government’s lockout legislation and is due to report back to parliament on February 8.

post by admin | | Closed

Seniors oppose call to curb older drivers

NSW Police head of traffic Assistant Commissioner John Hartley has urged senior citizens to stay off the state’s roads after a spike in the number of seniors killed in traffic accidents.


But Combined Pensioners and Supperannuant Association policy officer Paul Versteege disagrees with the generalised statement that drivers over 70 are all dangerous, telling SBS News the spike in numbers may reflect greater numbers of older drivers on the road.

Mr Versteege said older drivers were already subject to  “quite stringent and even draconian measures” which were designed “to drive them off the road, so to speak.”

Drivers over 75 in NSW must already undergo annual medical testing while those still driving over 85 are required to sit licence tests every two years.

This is on top of licence disqualification programs including demerit points and mandatory reporting of medical conditions that can impair driving ability.

Mr Versteege calls says many older Australians rely on being able to drive to maintain their independence.

“People are dependent on their cars, to get groceries, to get to medical services in particular, so more people are compelled people are to get off the road the more isolated they will become and it may lead to early admissions to nursing homes,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Hartley urged senior drivers to “be aware of your driving skills and your driving ability”.

If that’s starting to diminish you need to go and see your doctor, see a specialist, certainly restrict your driving if you’re not comfortable driving longer distances these days,” he said. 

“Chances are if you’re a driver over 70, you’re double the risk of being involved in a fatal crash than others.”

“If you’re right to drive, drive the car. So if you’re working, no doubt you’re probably right to drive, and you have great skills. The fact is people need to review their driving habits, the risk is higher when you’re over 70 on our roads in New South Wales.” 

post by admin | | Closed

In musical aftermath, Logan tries to keep song going

Six months after a groundbreaking musical production in the ethnically mixed Queensland city of Logan, the sometimes troubled community is experiencing a revival.


Negative international coverage of a street fight two years ago was the catalyst.

The local council says it has been a turning point.

Stefan Armbruster reports.

It is the sound of Logan locals enjoying a renewal of community spirit in the city’s heart.

Almost half a year ago, this was the site for a one-off musical extravaganza called Under This Sky that put the best of Logan on show.

Deputy mayor Russell Lutton has been a councillor for 30 years and performed in the show.

“I talk to people now — I still talk to people months after the event — and they rave about how good it was. I’ve seen kids who were involved with it, and they’ve just grown in confidence, and they’re still buzzing about it.”

In all, 700 locals performed in the musical that brought together many of the 200 nationalities in Logan, south of Brisbane.

Peter Irankunda is a member of the Queensland Theatre Company’s Traction youth-performance group in Logan that played a key role in Under This Sky.

“I really learnt about different people and how they like to be seen. I knew there would be dancers, but I didn’t know what type of dances they would be doing. I knew there would be cultural dancers, but I thought it would just be people dressing up as other cultures just coming on stage. But it was about everyone, and how they fit into Logan and how they create this Logan community. And, also, created a mean-ass* show.”

One of south-east Queensland’s poorest and most ethnically diverse areas, Logan has a reputation.

A street fight in the suburb of Woodridge two years ago attracted international media attention.

Russell Lutton, the deputy mayor, says that did not help.

“It’s fair to say that, over the years, we haven’t suffered from great publicity. We’ve had a few negatives along the way.”

The local council, together with the biennial Queensland Music Festival, decided it was time to show the world there was more to Logan than Woodridge.

The creative director of Under This Sky was Sean Mee, a veteran of community theatre who has led similar Queensland Music Festival projects in the state’s regional areas.

“These projects have an extraordinarily potent effect upon people, because it’s all about possibility and opportunity. And then that reflects, I think, to the larger purpose of the exercise. Though the performance is one thing, its real impact is about that idea of possibility and capacity — ‘Has this community the capacity to be able to come together?'”

What emerged was Under This Sky.

The musical production celebrated all that is good about Logan.

And it changed performer Peter Irankunda’s life.

“I got motivated to try for leadership. I joined the change-makers group at school. And right now, it’s motivating me to actually chase my dream, because it made me realise what I wanted to do and what I want to become in the future, which is, obviously, being on stage and showing off.”

The council credits Under This Sky with giving Logan a morale boost.

Sean Mee, the creative director, says it was a step towards a brighter future for the city of 300,000.

“The effect on Logan is hard to gauge at the moment, because I think that the real impacts are five, 10 years away. What I learnt about Logan was I think they still have a hell of a long way to go, its creation as a community was still nascent.”




post by admin | | Closed

Obama makes executive move on gun control

United States President Barack Obama has used his executive order to announce modest gun restriction measures.


In an emotional White House speech, he called for a sense of national urgency to address gun violence.

Brianna Roberts has more.

For President Barack Obama, a long and political fraught battle to pass gun control measures appears to have taken an emotional toll.

Mr Obama previously described the failure to tackle gun control as the greatest frustration of his Presidency.

As he announced limited gun restrictions, and reflected on the massacre at Sandy Hook Primary school in 2012, he paused wipe away a tear.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

The executive actions announced by the President include expanded background checks for buyers, as well an investment in mental health care.

Mr Obama says government departments will also explore development of new technology to improve gun safety.

“If we can set it up so you cant unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns? If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet – which happens to me often the older I get, if we can do it for your iPad there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun.”

Drawing on executive powers granted to Presidents in the constitution, most of the actions can be carried out without the approval of congress.

Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton has welcomed Mr Obama’s announcement.

“90 people a day die from gun violence – that’s 33,000 people a year. Homicides, suicides and terrible, avoidable accidents. I know we are smart enough as a country to protect the rights of responsible gun owners consistent with our constitution and to do more to keep guns out of the hands of felons, fugitives, stalkers and for godness sakes, potential terrorists. “

But not everyone has welcomes the measures.

In a Facebook post, the Republican party accused Mr Obama of overstepping his constitution authority to force his policies on the American people.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush tweeted that he would repeal the actions and protect the Second Amendment.

Gun lobby groups have also condemned the measures.

Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt says he expects the move will backfire for the Democrats.

“The president and by extension the Democrats are making a big mistake but I wouldn’t want to try to restrain them too much. Every time the Democrats get involved in pushing gun control politically it costs them an arm and a leg. And if they want to go into the 2016 as the champion of gun control be my guest.”

The United States congress has been reluctant to pass any laws restricting gun ownership, facing pressure from gun owners and the powerful National Rifle Association.

Mr Obama’s attempts to introduce expanded background check legislation after a 2012 shooting in Connecticut – failed in Congress.





post by admin | | Closed

Writing off Wales will fire up Gatland’s side – Thomas

Welsh preparations were dealt a huge blow when the pair were ruled out of the tournament, which starts next Friday, after suffering injuries in the warm-up win over Italy at the weekend.


“What I think the injuries will do is send Wales in under the radar,” Thomas told WalesOnline.

“It was always going to be a difficult group and Wales were always going to be under pressure but I think it’s a good thing if we’re written off now.

“We have been losing to England and Australia for too long now — it’s been happening on a regular basis. To go into a game with a different mindset and game plan might not be the worst thing.

“Wales always perform best as an underdog anyway and being written off by others could end up being a good thing.”

Wales, semi-finalists in 2011, must do battle with hosts England and Australia in a group containing three of the world’s top five ranked teams — with only the top two progressing to the knockout stage.

Thomas said the absence of Halfpenny, arguably the most reliable goalkicker in international rugby, may result in a different approach from coach Warren Gatland which could see Wales “less reliant on the boot”.

“I think the injuries could mean Wales end up playing a lot more rugby,” Thomas said.

“Leigh Halfpenny will be a big, big miss. Wales rely on him to keep them in games. Not only do other sides fear Leigh but he’s a massive confidence booster for Wales too.

“To not have him is massive but it might mean we are not as reliant on the boot as in the past. We do have players who can play rugby.”

Thomas believes the versatile Liam Williams, who has fitness concerns of his own having broken a foot in June, can step up and shine in Halfpenny’s absence.

“When you lose two key players it brings about an opportunity for others which is massive. Liam has been so unlucky in the last few years,” he said.

“He’s had to play second fiddle and be moved to the wing but he’ll be coming in now as first choice.

“He’ll be desperate to show what he can do. He has been an outstanding player for Wales and this time around it looks like the jersey will be his.”

(Writing by Justin Palmer; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

post by admin | | Closed

Hartung ready for Hawthorn AFL recall

Injured Hawthorn midfielder Isaac Smith has flown to Perth a day early as he tries to prove his fitness for Friday’s qualifying final against West Coast.


Smith was in a Hawks advance party featuring captain Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead, Jordan Lewis, Shaun Burgoyne and Jonathon Ceglar who flew across on Wednesday.

While it is not unusual – Hodge always goes to Perth a day before the rest of the team – Smith’s early flight clearly is related to his recovery from a knee injury.

Smith remains in doubt after hurting his knee last Saturday in the win over Carlton.

“We’re probably a 50-50 chance, so we’ll go over to Perth and give it a crack,” Smith told the Seven Network.

Hawthorn runner Billy Hartung is the obvious inclusion if, as expected, Smith fails to recover in time.

Hartung will fly out on Thursday morning with the rest of the team.

It will mean an uncertain lead-up to what would be Hartung’s first AFL final.

“It can be difficult, but I guess I’ve been sub, so it’s almost the same kind of build-up where you have to wait throughout the game until you come on,” he said.

“You can come on any time, so I’ve been put in situations like that where a player might be injured in the first quarter or I might come on at three-quarter time.

“So I’m ready for whatever comes.”

Hartung played seven games last year in his debut season, but was left out of the team for the finals.

This season, he has continued to progress with 18 AFL matches and a Rising Star nomination.

Hartung, left out of the team for last weekend’s win, has gone a long way to putting himself in Hawthorn’s best 22.

“That side of it has been really pleasing … that I’ve been able to play some consistent footy and just try to build on that,” he said.

“Who knows? Maybe I can put my hand up for a finals spot.”

Hartung impressed in the round-19 win over the Eagles at Domain Stadium.

“If the opportunity ever arises to play finals, I am ready to put my hand up,” he said.

“I have had some good experience playing some big games this year.

“I played against West Coast … and that was a really big game for me.”

post by admin | | Closed

Ex-Bega Cheese CEO ‘contrite’: judge

Former Bega Cheese boss Maurice Van Ryn once described his sexual abuse of children as a “few minutes of stupidity”.


So when Judge Clive Jeffreys found the 59-year-old had shown “deep contrition” over his decade-long crimes, there were murmurs and shaking of the heads in the public gallery.

Outside court, a spokesman for the victims – who only wanted to be known as Ken – said: “He is sorry that he got caught. That is the contrition he shows.”

Van Ryn was sentenced to a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 13 for 14 offences of child abuse carried out on nine boys and girls from 2003 to 2014.

The one-time CEO of the successful cheese company regularly abused his victims while they were at a swimming pool, Sydney’s District Court heard.

In one instance Van Ryn put his hands down the swimmers of a girl – then aged 10, while in another case he carried a 13-year-old boy into a quieter area of the pool, asking “Do you want to be my special friend?”.

He then indecently assaulted him.

Another of his victims fell prey to Van Ryn’s persistent sexual abuse after the former CEO befriended the teenage boy by helping him with computer games.

Over the more than three years that followed, Van Ryn repeatedly abused him.

In one instance the teenager kept his mouth clamped shut as Van Ryn tried to force him to perform oral sex.

The crown has previously argued Van Ryn groomed his victims by ingratiating himself with a young person to the point where the offending became routine.

But Judge Jeffreys said he would not take grooming into account.

He also said he could not find he had taken one of his victims on a trip to the ACT with the purpose of sexually abusing them.

He found Van Ryn had also suffered public abuse and harassment, his home’s letter box being bombed last year and a sign “I love rape in jail” put up outside his premises.

Van Ryn was CEO of Bega Cheese for 15 years during which he guided its success.

He had retired from his position before carrying out these offences and was working part time at a pharmaceutical company.

Van Ryn will be eligible for parole in December 2021.

post by admin | | Closed

Israeli football strike averted, play on Jewish Sabbath to go ahead

Matches on Saturday came under threat after a court ruling on a petition by religiously observant players against taking to the field during the Sabbath.


Their refusal to participate in some matches that in previous years have been held on weekdays, led an Israeli labour court to rule that without a special waiver that allows companies to employ workers on the Sabbath, which runs from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, Saturday football is illegal.

But Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein said he saw no reason to suddenly enforce a law that had been ignored for decades and that nobody would be prosecuted. Following that, the Israel Football Association said all matches would go ahead as planned.

Football matches have operated for decades without a waiver, as part of a so-called “status quo”. The arrangement between Israel’s secular Jewish majority and religiously observant minority governs which businesses, public transport and places of entertainment can open on Saturdays.

As a result of the court decision, Israeli Economy Minister Arye Deri, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, had to decide whether to issue a football waiver.

To do so would violate his own religious beliefs, but with football being the most popular sport in Israel, he ran the risk of angering many Israelis by cancelling matches on Saturday, their only day off work.

Income from business surrounding football — support staff, broadcasting, transportation, policing, stewarding and refreshments — would all also have been hit.

Some of the professional matches in Israel’s two top leagues are held on Saturdays but hundreds of others involving non-professional teams are also played on the Sabbath.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, an avid football fan, said on Wednesday that the Saturday games should go on.

“I think that the custom for the public in Israel is that on Saturday you go to synagogue and afterward you go to the (football stadium),” he said on Army Radio. “This is the status quo.”

Sports Minister Miri Regev praised Weinstein’s decision and said a committee would seek a solution that would accommodate players who did not want to play on the Sabbath.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ori Lewis; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Angus MacSwan)

post by admin | | Closed

‘Mastermind’ of Thai bomb fled before attack, police sources

Under police interrogation, one of two foreigners in detention admitted to delivering a rucksack to the bomber at Bangkok’s main railway station on the evening of the August 17 attack, two police sources told Reuters.


Police believe the bomber is the yellow-shirted man still at large and caught by surveillance camera placing a backpack at the Erawan Shrine moments before the explosion that killed 20 people and wounded 130.

“The suspect insisted he didn’t know what was in the bag,” one of the sources involved in the investigation said.

The man being questioned, according to another police source, talked of a lead role played by a man named “Izan”, who had fled via Bangkok’s main airport a day before the attack. He had assigned responsibilities during a meeting of those involved.

“From the testimony we found that Izan is likely to be the mastermind but has already left,” he said, without specifying his nationality or destination.

“It is likely others we’ve issued arrest warrants for have already fled.”

The three police sources declined to be identified because they are not authorised to speak to media.

The details, which have yet to be confirmed, would mark rare progress in a case which the authorities have been criticised for handling haphazardly.

Deputy police chief Chakthip Chaijinda told Reuters the man had confessed to being part of a network and to being in the area of the bombing. Chakthip did not elaborate, but added police were looking for four more suspects. 

Evidence has been limited to grainy security video at the shrine and the seizure of bomb-making materials in raids on two properties in Bangkok.

Wearing a flak jacket, the man Chakthip said had confessed was made to perform a reconstruction at the two locations before television cameras on Tuesday.

Forensic tests tie the detainees to the explosives, but not the site of the bombing, police say.

Authorities said there was no clear motive for the attack, in which 14 foreign tourists were killed.

Speculation has been rife about the perpetrators, from ethnic Malay insurgents and foreign militants to opponents of the government and sympathisers of Uighur Muslims from China, angered by Thailand’s deportation to China in July of 109 members of the Turkic-speaking minority.