Archive for: ‘September 2019’

‘Are we going to send people to Mars?’ New refugee plan panned

20/09/2019 Posted by admin

The federal government is keeping mum on reports it’s considering resettling refugees in Kyrgyzstan.


The Central Asian country is on a list of nations authorities are weighing up sending those detained on Nauru and Manus Island, particularly Hazara Afghans, The Australian reports.

Related reading

“We are having conversations with other countries to support our offshore processing arrangements and when we’re in a position to make relevant announcements, the minister for immigration will do so,” cabinet minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News on Saturday.

The Greens say Australia’s asylum seeker policy is now verging on the ridiculous.

“What next? Are we going to send people to Mars?” Greens leader Richard Di Natale asked reporters in Melbourne.

“This is ridiculous that we would look for any option other than the most logical, humane and economically responsible option which is to ensure we process people here in Australia and, if they are found to be genuine refugees, that they are settled here.”

Shorten says to ‘trust’ Labor on refugees

Labor said the government should disclose which countries it’s talking to and trust the opposition in consultations for a solution.

Related reading

“Let’s not make it a domestic political point-scorer game – people’s lives are involved, it’s too important,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Sydney.

However, he labelled a plan which saw just four refugees sent to Cambodia at a cost of $40 million as a failed experiment.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called on the government to “trust Labor” in consultations for a solution to refugee settlement, as the government hinted it’s considering resettling refugees in Kyrgyzstan.

Mr Shorten has told reporters in Sydney politicians shouldn’t be making the issue “a domestic political point-scorer game,” adding the issue is too important as people’s lives are involved.

The Australian reports Kyrgyzstan is on a list of nations authorities are considering sending those detained on Nauru and Manus Island to, particularly Hazara Afghans.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann has told Sky News they’re having conversations with other countries to support Australia’s offshore processing arrangements, but Mr Shorten says the government should disclose which countries it’s talking to and trust the opposition in consultations for a solution.

Farah to fight for Tigers’ spot: Taylor

20/09/2019 Posted by admin

Robbie Farah’s “fight” to keep his hooking spot at Wests Tigers begins on Monday when the NRL club commences pre-season training.


However embattled Tigers coach Jason Taylor continues to give no assurances NSW hooker Farah will play first grade in 2016.

Taylor insists the Tigers remain comfortable with their move to attempt to oust the club skipper from Concord ahead of next year, despite him being contracted for two more seasons.

Farah, 31, has dug in over the matter despite being told he he will play reserve grade if he stays.

The Tigers said always said they will honour’ Farah’s contract if he stays and he will be there when the Tigers start their 2016 premiership campaign, despite the differences between him and Taylor.

“We are really comfortable, it is probably too early to talk about round one but we are comfortable Robbie will be with us for pre-season training on Monday,” Taylor told Triple M.

“It will be business as usual for us.”

“Robbie has said he is going to stay and fight for his position and that is what we want.”

Farah is likely to have to battle with Matt Ballin for the No.9 spot at Concord with the Sea Eagles rake reportedly signing a two-year deal with the Tigers.

The Manly stalwart has been strongly linked to a move to the Tigers after being told he was unwanted by new Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett.

Taylor declined to confirm that Ballin had signed with the club but said he was happy with the squad he would have under him for next season.

“We have had to work on our depth and we have done that and we are looking forward to getting started on Monday,” Taylor said.

In another curious retention decision the Tigers released New Zealand international Marty Taupau to Manly on Friday, despite him having a year left on his contract.

“Marty was contracted with us for next year, but he said he was not going to stay beyond that so there was on point in keeping him for next season,” Taylor said.

“It allows us to free up money and to better plan for the future of this club.”

Tarzino gives Mick Price an overdue Derby

20/09/2019 Posted by admin

The enduring partnership between trainer Mick Price and jockey Craig Newitt has reached a new high with Tarzino’s win in the Victoria Derby.


Price had tried many times to win the Classic with his best result a second with Kempinsky in 2003.

On Saturday he went to Flemington with Tarzino, the overwhelming $2.90 favourite, entrusting Newitt to steer him like the best horse in the race.

And so it proved to be.

Tarzino settled midfield before Newitt moved him up towards the lead rounding the turn and, as instructed, counted to 10.

“At the top of the straight I counted to ten but it felt like 30,” Newitt said.

“But I knew he was the best horse in the race and I had confidence in him.”

That confidence was rewarded when Tarzino reached the post two lengths in front of Etymology ($13) with West Australian visitor and second favourite Kia Ora Koutou ($6.50) another 4-1/2 lengths away third.

“It panned out pretty good and it was a great ride by Craigy,” Price said.

“I was a little bit nervous when he hit the front a long way out but he is a really, really good horse with a lot of capacity to him.

“He is a beautiful colt. He will have a light autumn and then I think he can come back as a four-year-old and be a weight-for-age star.”

Newitt threw all his eggs in the Tarzino basket on Saturday, rejecting other rides.

“I wanted to concentrate on just him,” he said.

The jockey has had his ups and downs including a lengthy disqualification for misleading a stewards’ inquiry.

His highs include a slew of Group One wins including one at Royal Ascot on the Lee Freedman-trained Miss Andretti.

The one constant has been Price and they have shared many great moments particularly with sprinter Lankan Rupee.

Theirs is a working relationship based on respect but it is Newitt’s family ties that make the Derby the biggest win in his life.

“This is so much more special because I’m sharing it with these guys,” he said pointing to three small and excited boys.

Noah, 6, Chase, 5, and three-year-old Casey Newitt along with their mother Karli were among the throng that greeted Newitt who remained calm.

“Mick has been my biggest backer throughout my career and I’m happy I got the job done,” he said.

Etymology didn’t quite get the job done but trainer John O’Shea was pleased with his performance.

“It’s a shame he couldn’t win but I think we have a nice horse to go on with,” he said.

Adam Durrant will take Kia Ora Koutou back to Perth for a break and get him ready for the WA Derby in April.

“I thought he did really well,” Durrant said.

“It was his first trip away from home and we will give him a break and get him ready for the autumn.”

Wellings, Robinson win 5km Noosa road race

20/09/2019 Posted by admin

Eloise Wellings reckons she is the best form of her life and it showed on Saturday as she powered away to a dominant victory in the Noosa Bolt 5km road race.


Training partner Genevieve LaCaze stayed with Wellings for the first couple of kilometres before being dropped by the 32-year-old who went on to win in 16 minutes and four seconds.

It had been a long time between drinks for Wellings in Noosa, whose only previous victory here came back in 2006.

Wellings finished an impressive 10th in the 5000m at the world championships in August in Beijing.

But with the 10,000m likely to take precedence next year, she will look to book her spot on the Australian team for the Rio Olympics at next month’s Zatopek meet in Melbourne.

“I just want to leave my options open,” said Wellings.

“The 10,000 will probably be the focus and, if I’m in the 5000 as well if I get selected, I think it will be a bit of an after-thought.

“I will just be treating the Zatopek like any other race and hopefully I run well, it’s good conditions and I can cover the qualifying time.

“Obviously the win would be good too because that’s an automatic Olympic selection.”

Steeplechase specialist LaCaze will act as Wellings’ pacemaker next month in Melbourne.

“I knew going into this race Eloise would be the one to beat,” she said.

“She’s just so fit right now and has had one of the best years of her life.”

LaCaze finished second in 16:19 on Saturday, 13 seconds ahead of Linden Hall.

Brett Robinson successfully defended his men’s Noosa Bolt title, winning in 14:14 ahead of Sam McEntee (14:22) and Josh Wright (14:25).

“I was pretty confident coming in,” said Robinson.

“I thought if I went really hard, they wouldn’t cover me so that was the plan.

“I reckon I bluffed them a little bit to think I was going a little better than I actually was.”

Robinson would also like to qualify for the 5000m and 10,000m for the Rio Games, although much of his focus to date has been on the shorter distance.

Mosques should open doors: Islamic leader

02/09/2019 Posted by admin

Mosques around Australia have thrown open their doors to the public in the hope of reducing misunderstandings about Islam.


National Mosque Open Day, which saw 14 places of Islamic worship around the country invite locals inside, is the perfect time to “break down barriers of misconception”, Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan said.

Mr Dandan believes terrorist organisations such as Islamic State have tarnished the religion’s reputation and more needs to be done to dispel “the ignorance”.

“There’s never been a time more so than now that … any particular Islamic organisation needs to open up its doors to embrace all the different concerns and issues that currently do exist,” Mr Dandan said outside Lakemba mosque on Saturday.

“The only way to try and break down those misconceptions or that level of ignorance is through a dialogue.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison who, along with Labor leader Bill Shorten, visited the mosque in Sydney’s west on Saturday, commended Islamic leaders who were taking part in the event.

Mr Morrison admitted the recent terrorist attack on NSW police employee Curtis Chang by a radicalised teenager may have encouraged anti-Muslim sentiment.

“There’s no comfort in this place or any of the mosques I’ve visited for that sort of murder and violence and terrorism,” he said.

“I think today is a good opportunity for people to see firsthand why that is true for themselves.”

Catholic woman Helen Domench was one of dozens of non-Muslims who took a rare look inside the Lakemba mosque.

“I came here because I hear so much about Muslim people and the negative things … but I have met the most wonderful people,” Ms Domench told AAP.

Ms Domench said she hoped the event would take place every year.

“I think it does dispel myths… and we’ve got to be tolerant, and people aren’t tolerant enough,” she said.

Turkish election to shape political landscape for a decade

02/09/2019 Posted by admin

The outcome of the second parliamentary election this year will be important not only for Turkey’s domestic stability and its role in resolving the conflict in Syria and Europe’s migration crisis, but also for Erdogan himself.


The NATO member and EU candidate nation of 74 million is confronted by a slowing economy, deep social divisions, suicide bombings and renewed conflict in its Kurdish southeast, plus the chaos in neighbouring Syria and an influx of refugees.

Erdogan has made no secret of his ambition to create a presidential system, a constitutional change almost impossible unless the Islamist-rooted AK Party he founded regains the majority it lost in June’s election and dominates parliament.

“Turkey has no time to lose … Sunday is a breaking point for our country … If our people give a single party a chance, then stability will continue,” Erdogan told reporters at a reception on Thursday night at his 1,000-room palace, a grand symbol of the “new Turkey” he wants to build.

“On the morning of Nov. 2, everyone together will undoubtedly show respect and stand up for the result … After that hopefully the new Turkey won’t relive the trouble we have experienced in the last five months.”

If the AKP fails to secure a majority, it may have to share power with the main secularist opposition – an outcome Western allies, foreign investors and many Turks say might ease social divisions and keep Erdogan’s hunger for greater power in check.

If the AKP wins a majority or misses by a margin narrow enough to embolden it to govern alone anyway, its opponents fear Turkey will be led further down a path of authoritarianism and disregard for Western values on free speech and the rule of law.

AKP Confident

Most opinion polls in recent weeks have suggested the AKP will struggle to win back its majority but may take more of the vote than in the June 7 election, when it won 40.9 percent and was left unable to govern alone for the first time since 2002.

One survey released on Thursday by pollster Adil Gur suggested there had been a late surge in support for the AKP and that it could take as much as 47.2 percent, comfortably enough to secure more than half of the 550-seat parliament.

AKP officials seem confident they have a good chance of pulling together at least 276 loyal MPs and going it alone, with one source close to the presidency saying: “Concerns about instability mean votes are coming back to the AKP.”

A senior official in the ruling party said the AKP’s own polling this week put it on 43.7 percent of the vote, suggesting single-party government could be back within reach.

Party chiefs hope a renewed war on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the southeast could win back nationalist support, even if the pro-Kurdish HDP also wins more votes and again crosses the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament, as it did for the first time in June.

They also hope fears about slowing growth – expected at 3 percent this year – will persuade voters to put their trust in a party that built its reputation on its economic stewardship, rather than risk the uncertainty of a fragile coalition.

AKP officials acknowledge privately that if the numbers go against them, a coalition with the CHP would be the most likely, though Erdogan would not relish accommodating a party whose secularist ideals are diametrically opposed to his own.

Feeding on fear

Etyen Mahcupyan, a former advisor to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, wrote in the pro-government Daily Sabah that the outcome could shape the political landscape for the next decade.

“A new 10-year period may start from 2015 (for the AK Party),” he wrote in the newspaper, which depicted an AKP victory as a foregone conclusion.

Senior figures in the AKP and CHP have said they would be ready for a coalition if necessary, noting that despite underlying ideological differences, their opinions on economic and foreign policy, and the Kurdish conflict, are not far apart.

If a coalition proves unavoidable, Erdogan might prefer a deal with the nationalist MHP but its leader, Devlet Bahceli, has earned the moniker “Dr. No” after rejecting suggestions put to him during failed coalition negotiations after the June vote.

Both Bahceli and CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu have said any coalition deal would hinge on a guarantee that Erdogan, a former prime minister who is now 62, refrain from trying to reach beyond the constitutional limits of his power.

“Another hung parliament is the most likely outcome, but it is not a given that Erdogan will consent to an AKP-led coalition government,” Wolfango Piccoli, managing director of London-based Teneo Intelligence, said in an e-mailed note.

Allies in Europe and the United States want a stable Turkey but can do little beyond offering words of caution if the result emboldens Erdogan.

Washington is using air bases in Turkey to strike Islamic State in Syria and European leaders want Turkey’s help to stem the continent’s biggest migration crisis since World War Two.



Historic Dean leads Vics to Shield win

02/09/2019 Posted by admin

A new Australian batting star has been born at the MCG, where debutant Travis Dean has become the first player to make twin centuries in his maiden Sheffield Shield match.


Dean batted throughout Victoria’s two innings and finished unbeaten in both, hitting the winning runs as Victoria achieved a stunning nine-wicket victory on Saturday over Queensland at the MCG.

The 23-year-old from Werribee batted with poise and patience on the final day, resuming on 23 to make an unbeaten 109, adding to his 154no in the first innings.

Dean was a surprise selection for Victoria, ahead of Australian Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch, his name standing out as the only Bushranger in the XI not to have toured for Australia.

He showed he could soon be joining that list, his remarkable run-scoring feats helping the Bushrangers chase down a 229-run target while losing just one wicket.

Opening batsman Rob Quiney made 54 before Marcus Stoinis contributed well with 66no.

Dean’s slice of history was threatened by Stoinis, who made 50 off 80 balls, putting Victoria in reach of the total and stranding Dean in the nineties.

But the unheralded Bushranger upped his run rate to ensure no such drama, bringing up his hundred with a pull shot to the boundary – then closing out the win with another four.

He said he wasn’t thinking about the record books he’d just re-written.

“As (captain Matthew) Wade said before, it’ll probably take 10 years to really sink in,” he said.

“A stat like that, you don’t go out and aim for that sort of thing.

“All we had our sights on was winning with the threat of weather around – that was the main priority.”

Dean is not the only Australian to achieve two centuries on his first-class debut, with Arthur Morris doing so in 1940-41 for NSW.

But Morris’ achievement came during the Second World War during the Shield’s recess.

Dean said comparisons to the Invincibles-era batsman didn’t sit comfortably.

“He’s obviously a legend of the game and all that. I’ve still got a fair way to go, that’s for sure, to be put up with him,” he said.

“I don’t really want to rest on this performance. (I want to) maintain my spot in the team for as long as I possibly can.”

The match was evenly poised at the start of play with the Bushrangers resuming at 0-38.

After a slow start, Victoria scored up the required runs with only Quiney dismissed lbw by Ben Cutting after a century opening stand.

Victoria were in the contest thanks to a bold day-three declaration from Wade.

Chasing Queensland’s first-innings total of 444, Wade brought in his side at 3-319 and his attack then skittled the Bulls for 103.

The final night session of the day-night Shield match wasn’t needed for Victoria to achieve their win, with the target achieved before 6pm (AEDT).

WA beat Tasmania by 162 runs in Shield

02/09/2019 Posted by admin

Two stellar performances with the bat by Michael Klinger have led Western Australia to a 162-run victory over Tasmania in their Sheffield Shield clash in Hobart.


And while Klinger helped set the target, Test allrounder Mitch Marsh (3-30) did the damage with the ball on Saturday at Bellerive Oval, with the hosts all out for 217, well short of the 380-run victory target.

It is good preparation for the 24-year old Marsh who now heads to Brisbane to join the Australian squad for the first of three Tests against New Zealand, starting on Thursday at the Gabba.

Bowling at a consistent, full length, Marsh accounted for Alex Doolan (16), Tim Paine (five) and Evan Gulbis (two).

It was a sorry story for the Tigers, despite a gallant knock by skipper George Bailey (68).

The captain top-scored for the home side with little support offered by his teammates, except for fellow international James Faulkner (31) with whom he put on a 96-run partnership.

Klinger (202no and 50no) had positioned WA well, remaining unbeaten in both innings with a double ton in the first and a half-century in the second.

His efforts at the crease helped resurrect WA who stalled in each innings at 3-31 and 3-33 respectively.

Klinger had assistance from skipper Adam Voges (71) and Ashton Agar (105) during WA’s first turn with the bat and a quick-fire half-century from Mitch Marsh (50no) helped on Friday.

The Warriors’ 8(dec)-432 and 4(dec)-136 left Tasmania scrambling after managing just 189 in their first innings.

Helping complete WA’s demolition job on Saturday were Simon Mackin (1-16), Mitchell Johnson (2-32), Agar (1-13) and Voges (1-31).

The Warriors will be without Test players Johnson, Mitch Marsh and Voges for their next Shield fixture against South Australia from Friday in Adelaide.

The Tigers will be at home again and host Queensland.

Indication regulations broken in club fire

02/09/2019 Posted by admin

There are “indications” safety regulations were ignored at a Bucharest nightclub where a fire and stampede killed 27 people, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis says.


“We already have indications that the legal regulations had not been respected,” Iohannis said.

“I hope that the authorities manage their inquiry with speed and rigour.”

Romania has plunged into mourning after a fire ripped through an underground nightclub in the country’s capital.

Survivors spoke of the horror that unfolded when fireworks – set off during a pre-Halloween gig by a heavy metal band – unleashed a blaze, followed by a stampede as terrified clubbers sought the exit.

The government declared three days of national mourning and was holding an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday morning.

The blaze broke out just before midnight on Friday at the Colectiv nightclub, where between 200 and 400 youngsters had gathered for a performance by rock group Goodbye to Gravity.

Twenty-six people died in the club and one died in hospital, the secretary of state for the interior, Raed Arafat, said after a meeting of a national emergency committee.

Of the nearly 200 injured, 146 people were treated at hospitals for burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries.

Hospital sources said 10 were in a critical condition.

The band’s singer and bassist were said to be in a serious condition, according to local reports.

“This is the worst tragedy of its kind” to have ever happened in Bucharest, Arafat said.

Iohannis said he was “shocked” and in “deep pain”.

“It is a very sad moment for our nation,” he said in a post on his Facebook page, expressing his “solidarity and compassion” for the families of the victims.

Witnesses described nightmarish scenes when fireworks, let off as part of a show to promote the band’s new album, set fire to a pillar and part of the ceiling.

The crowd panicked as thick smoke engulfed the room, prompting people to scramble to escape from the club, located in a communist-era basement.

“People were fainting, they were fainting because of the smoke. It was total chaos, people were trampled,” witness Victor Ionescu told local television station Antena 3.

Another witness, Alin Panduru, said the fire spread “in 30 seconds”.

“People could not get out of the club because there was only one exit open and the stampede happened immediately,” Panduru told online news portal Hotnews.

Several media outlets reported a second exit was closed at the time the blaze broke out.

Identifying the victims has proved difficult as many were not carrying identification.

Fireworks and restricted exits have been a lethal combination in many nightclub fires around the world.

In one of the worst such disasters, 156 clubbers in the Russian city of Perm died in 2009 in a blaze caused by pyrotechnics, and 83 were injured.

Seven people were jailed for up to nine years after the tragedy.

AFP ab/rwj