Labor wants live sheep export suspension

28/01/2019 Posted by admin

A former Liberal minister wants laws to ban live sheep exports after the death of 2,400 animals.Labor has called for live sheep exports to be suspended immediately pending the outcome of a review into the northern summer trade.
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A veterinarian-led audit is due to hand down a final report by May 11, which the government says will be before the highest-risk months for extreme heat in the Middle East.

But Labor has demanded no new shipments before the findings are handed down.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes the review is unlikely to say the northern summer trade is sustainable, but will wait for the findings.

“Until that happens, northern summer shipments of sheep not already beyond the farmgate should be suspended,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.

It comes after former Liberal minister Sussan Ley pledged to next month introduce a private members’ bill to phase out live sheep exports to the Middle East.

Ms Ley, a former farmer from NSW, said it was “inherently impossible” to transport sheep to the Middle East during the northern summer in a humane way.

“I want to see this live sheep trade permanently cease,” she told Sky News on Thursday.

WA Labor backbencher Josh Wilson also broke ranks with his party on Thursday, saying he had a long-held view the trade should end.

“There are a lot of people across the parliament who when they look at the evidence around the long-haul live export of sheep recognise that this can’t continue,” Mr Wilson told Sky News.

But Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack rejected calls for a ban, citing the repercussion of the Gillard government’s “knee-jerk” decision to shut down the live cattle trade in 2011.

“I don’t believe that we should ban the trade holus-bolus,” he told the National Press Club.

Mr Shorten urged the Turnbull government to adopt Labor’s plan to appoint an independent inspector to oversee animal welfare in the industry.

That proposal has the support of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council.

“The community wants it, the industry needs it, and animals deserve it,” Mr Shorten said.

His deputy Tanya Plibersek would like to see live exports phased out over time, while opposition frontbencher Ed Husic believes Australia needs to “seriously consider” moving away from the trade.

ALEC voted in Brisbane on Wednesday to establish an independent inspector-general to observe the treatment of livestock onboard ships, ending years of opposition to the policy.

It comes after shocking footage emerged last week of sheep dying in inhumane conditions on a ship bound for the Middle East, sparking outrage.

The Greens and independent Derryn Hinch have been vocal supporters of a ban on live exports, while his fellow crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm has backed the industry to continue.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has announced the terms of reference for a separate review into the capabilities, investigative capacity and culture of his department.

The review, by former public servant Philip Moss, will also consider the idea of an independent inspector and is due to report by August 24.

Australian Associated Press

Popovic return to Wanderers unlikely

28/01/2019 Posted by admin

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Josep Gombau has been sacked by the A-League club.Western Sydney have all but ruled out a Tony Popovic return as they search for a new coach to restore the club as an A-League powerhouse.
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With plenty of options abroad, local free agent Paul Okon also shapes as a candidate to reverse the deterioration during Josep Gombau’s ill-fated tenure.

The Wanderers sacked Gombau on Thursday, less than six months into his three-year contract, facing the critical decision of installing his successor.

Popovic’s return to Australia after his short-lived stint in Turkey has ignited speculation the highly successful foundation coach could turn prodigal son.

But it’s believed the board are unlikely to entertain re-hiring the man who walked out on the eve of the season and created uncertainty in the first place.

Although there is ample time to get this appointment right, it’s believed some European coaches are being looked at already .

Former Central Coast coach Okon is also on the lookout for a job after walking away from the Mariners.

The western Sydney-born former Socceroo would be a seamless fit with the club’s culture, one yearning for direction after a hugely disrupted season on and off the field.

Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas broke the news on Thursday morning to Gombau, four days after the Wanderers failed to make the finals in his first season in charge.

A short club statement said the call had been made “following a review of the season”, one in which Gombau was found to have repeatedly reneged on the overtures that won him the job in the first place.

They included his apparent desire to develop young players, as evidenced by his tenure as Olyroos boss, and his ability to instil his signature possession-based playing with the team he was given.

The shortfalls became apparent in the lack of youth players promoted to the first team and Gombau’s requests to sign further players, who’d been successful under his philosophy at Adelaide United, having already brought in Marcelo Carrusca.

A worrying drop-off in the squad’s overall fitness was also noted, a stark contrast to Popovic’s meticulous approach to sports science.

The erratic results – 10 losses, five draws and seven wins – sparked dressing-room discontent that led to the exit of captain Robbie Cornthwaite and featured falling outs with marquee striker Oriol Riera, Kearyn Baccus and Roly Bonevacia.

Ultimately, the club’s top brass were unconvinced of the Spaniard’s ability to mount a title challenge next season.

And if scraping into the finals would have saved him, Sunday’s muddled 3-2 defeat at home to the Reds was the nail in the coffin.

After that match, veteran striker Brendon Santalab foretold Gombau’s imminent departure, warning “something has to change” to re-examine the Wanderers’ identity and playing style.

Santalab is one of a clutch of players coming off contract and needing certainty over their future.

The Wanderers have also endured numerous off-season problems, including a suspended points penalty over flares set off by Red and Black Bloc members and the active supporter group’s subsequent decision to boycott the last games of the season.

Australian Associated Press

Trump could be wooed on a sweetened TPP

28/01/2019 Posted by admin

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has discussed the TPP with US President Donald Trump.US President Donald Trump continues to play hard to get on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, telling reporters he does not want to join the massive free trade pact with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and eight other nations.
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But, in almost the same breath, dangled the prospect he could be wooed.

The author of The Art of the Deal, speaking at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, said he is only interested in signing up the US to the TPP if the other members sweetened the deal.

That seems unlikely.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP, but if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US I would do it,” Mr Trump told reporters after two days of talks with Mr Abe.

“I like bilateral deals.

“I think it’s better for our countries and better for our workers.”

Mr Trump had called the TPP a “rape of our country” before his 2016 election win and pulled the US out of the pact on his first work day in the White House.

Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico moved ahead on the TPP without the US and in March had a formal signing ceremony for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP11.

US farmers, facing a major disadvantage against Australian competitors in key markets including Japan, and Republican members of Congress have pressured Mr Trump to take a second look at the TPP.

Mr Trump, also engaged in a potential trade war with China, floated the idea of the US rejoining the TPP on the eve of Mr Abe’s US visit.

The likelihood of that soured on Tuesday night – after the first day of talks with Mr Abe – when Mr Trump tweeted his disapproval of the TPP because of “too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work”.

The US and Japan will now actively seek a one-on-one free trade deal.

Mr Trump noted the US already has bilateral free trade agreements with Australia and five of the other TPP nations.

Mr Abe, a main architect of the TPP11 with Australia, on Wednesday emphasised Japan’s preference the US joined TPP.

“Our country’s position is TPP is the best for both of the countries and based on that position we shall be dealing with the talks,” Mr Abe said.

Japan has been targeted by Mr Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs.

The president suggested if the bilateral agreement went well the US would drop the tariffs.

“We’ll see what happens,” Mr Trump said.

Australian Associated Press

Catherine Britt warms up the Cold Cold Hearts

28/01/2019 Posted by admin

Catherine Britt warms up the Cold Cold Hearts TweetFacebookBoneshaker.
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There’s been dark and frightening times, like her diagnosis and subsequent surgery and treatment for breast cancer in June 2015, a month after Boneshaker was released.

But there’s also been some of the happiest moments of her life, which haveincluded her marriage to husband James Beverley in October 2015 and then the arrival of their first child, Hank, last Christmas Eve.

On Thursday the 33-year-old four-time Golden Guitaraward-winner announced her return to music with new single Red Dirt, off her forthcoming seventh albumCatherine Britt & The Cold Cold Hearts, out on July 20.

Not surprisingly her life experiences over the past three years have shaped the theme of the record.

“A lot of the songs are about living every day like it’s your last and just enjoying it,” Britt says.

Catherine Britt & The Cold Cold Hearts – Red DirtThe banjo-driven bluegrass-flavoured Red Dirt describes Britt’s growing love for the Australian outback, influenced by her and Beverley’s experience of managing the iconic SilvertonHotel, west of Broken Hill, on a caretaker basis.

The video was filmed at the Silverton Hotel and featuresBritt pulling beers at the bar and her family drivingtheir caravan along the dusty red dirt roads.

Catherine Britt & The Cold Cold Hearts was recorded in her recently-built home studio in Mayfield East and features new bandmates Newcastle musician Michael Muchow and Brisbane’sAndy Toombs.

Britt says after Boneshaker she had no intention of recording in Nashville again and was searching for a more organic and homely experience.

“I thought of building the studio and doing it ourselves,” she says.

“I’ve always wanted to do one of those ‘artist and a band’ projects like Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Emmylou Harris & The Hot Band.

“It’s still the artist but they have this band of mates behind them.

“When I was writing the album I was going back to when I was a kid and rediscovering that music that I grew up on.”

Catherine Britt & The Cold Cold Hearts perform at Lizotte’s on September 1.

Hanson returns from Afghanistan visit

28/01/2019 Posted by admin

One Nation’s Pauline Hanson is on her way home from Afghanistan where she visited Australian troops.Pauline Hanson is headed home after spending more than a week on the ground with Aussie troops in Afghanistan.
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The One Nation leader posted a video about her time in the country, following a visit with colleague Brian Burston and Labor senator Kimberley Kitching.

“I wanted to experience what our Aussie soldiers go through in a war zone,” she said.

She said she will bring what she’s learnt back to the floor of parliament.

“I’ve got a lot to say over the next few weeks.”

Senator Hanson said the military do a fantastic job and she thanked those in Afghanistan for having her.

Before she left, she told The Australian she can see Australian soldiers being in the country for the long haul and it’s necessary that they are.

“You can see the changes that are happening in the country,” she said.

“One soldier came up to me and said, ‘Can you please tell the media and the people that we want to be here. This is the highlight of our careers. We’ve trained for this’.”

Australian Associated Press

Cops seek clues in Vic scrub to shooting

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Police are continuing their investigation into the shooting death of Muhamed Yucel in Melbourne.A burnt patch of bushland on Victoria’s surf coast is set to be scoured for clues to solve the case of a suspected mistaken identity execution of a young man.
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Muhamed Yucel, 22, was shot in the chest while playing computer games in a Keysborough garage, in southeast Melbourne, in May.

The killing is thought to be a case of mistaken identity linked to Comancheros bikies and the firearm used in the shooting was later uncovered in grassland at Eastern View Beach off the Great Ocean Road, more than 150km from the shooting.

A burn-off on Thursday was designed to allow investigators to clear the area so it could be more closely for clues.

“It’s clear that the firearm used to kill Muhamed has been discarded at this location,” Detective Inspector Tim Day told ABC radio.

“So we work on the assumption or we ask ourselves the question, ‘has anything else been dumped at this location?’.”

Det Insp Day said while detectives were satisfied they had not missed anything during previous searches, they wanted to double check.

The area is set to be analysed on Friday.

Investigators previously said a dark coloured Jeep Cherokee was seen leaving the scene of the Keysborough shooting.

“We believe it to have been a case of mistaken identity and the shots were fired by a gunman at the wrong property on the street,” Insp Day said.

He added a grey Toyota Corolla was spotted near Eastern View Beach in the early hours of May 3, and believed its occupants discarded the firearm in thick scrub.

Det Insp Day had previously said Mr Yucel’s shooting was a ruthless act that “crossed the line, even in the criminal world”.

Mr Yucel’s family joined police to plead for information about the much-loved son.

“There’s not a day that goes past when we can’t think of him,” his father Bekir Yucel said in March.

Australian Associated Press

New road plan bulldozes through family homes

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Fighting on: Adam Mitchell, Ethan, Alyssa and Aiden Bennett, and Heather Smith outside the two homes now in the path of the road corridor.Three generations of the one family are facing the prospect of losing the homes they haven’t even finished building under the State Government’s Bells Line of Road –Castlereagh Connection proposal.
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TheBells Line of Roadis a 59-kilometre arterial road that providing an alternative crossing of theBlue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Adam Mitchellwas granted permission to build two houses –one for him and his wife, the other for daughter Alyssa Bennett and her family – on 10 acres at scenic Baileys Lane, Kurrajong Hills, last November.

The frames are up, the windows are in and the family was looking forward to moving into their homes later this year.

But the situation changed drastically on March 26 when plans for the new Bells Line of Road –Castlereagh Connection were announced, showing the road passing directly through both houses.

“[The road] goes straight through the house. They didn’t miss it, they got it all,” Mr Mitchell said.“We had our solicitor do all the homework, there were no existing rights, nothing on the land, we paid extra for that.

“[This road corridor]was the last thing I was expecting. If someone had mentioned it to us we would have thought about what we were going to do [because] we were looking at nine other properties.”

It has left Ms Bennett devastated.

“The plan was one day when [my parents] are older, they don’t have to go to a nursing home, we can still care for them and my kids will eventually live next door in the house Nana and Pop used to live in,” she explained.

The majority of homes on Baileys Lane –and some nearby properties in the surrounding hills – look set to suffer a similar fate under the proposal.

It has lead to angry residents putting “No Perrottet” signs on their property’s gates in reference to Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet, and vowing to fight the proposal.

“The road goes through our place and up to the neighbour’s place,” said Willow Glen Road resident Garry Watterson. “They are going to take the house I drew when I was 18, the house that I built …and just put a road through it.”

Angry: Residents of Bailey’s Lane, Kurrajong Hills, affected by the proposed Bells Line of Road – Castlereagh Connection plan. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Apart from the house -which contains unique elements such as convict bricks and parts of the old Manly wharf -the Wattersons have previously received government grants to preserve the flora and fauna on their property.

“The creek runs through our property and there are platypus in the creek and two species of plants they can’t identify,” Mr Watterson said.

“We worked with local Landcare, we had students from the uni come out to clean out the lantana. We had six to eight people a day for nearly eight weeks from the Green Army helping us to maintain it, which they are now going to put a road through.”

Chris Keen, another Baileys Lane resident, said he was currently considering whether to bother building the house he gained approval for just two days before the government’s announcement.

“It’s all psychological. I can’t build a house and put a garden in when I know people are just going to hit it with a bulldozer,” he said.

A public meeting on the proposal has been organised for May 2 inside the Phillip Charley Pavillion at Hawkesbury showground from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Lobby group Hawkesbury BLOR Corridor Action Group (BLORCAG) stated Transport for NSW representatives would be in attendance, and Mr Perrottet would also be invited.

Hawkesbury Gazette

Labor denies secret Vic firies union deal

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Firefighters union secretary Peter Marshall says he has a secret deal with Premier Daniel Andrews.Victoria’s government doesn’t have a secret deal with the United Firefighters Union and is not being blackmailed, Premier Daniel Andrews insists as the fire services debacle reignites.
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Union boss Peter Marshall claims a deal was struck and has threatened to reveal the details before the November state election.

“We made election commitments all of which are public and well known,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

When asked if there was any material, including a secretly recorded tape, that the union has been using to blackmail the government, Mr Andrews replied “no”.

The premier also said he does not “have a need to speak” to Mr Marshall.

The union official would not confirm if he had a recording of Mr Andrews, but told ABC Melbourne on Wednesday deals were done.

“There was a number of promises and they’ll come out in the near future,” he said.

Mr Marshall came out swinging against the appointment of new Metropolitan Fire Brigade chief Dan Stephens from the UK, calling him an “attack dog against the union”.

The war of words is the latest blow-up in the government’s bid to reform the state’s fire services, nearly two years after Mr Andrews vowed to fix them.

But the premier said he is not frustrated by the union.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called the situation an “unedifying spectacle”.

“If the government made a pre-election deal with the firefighter’s union, well Victorians deserve to know how much it’s worth and what the deal involved,” he told reporters.

The MFB and Country Fire Authority have been locked in bitter, protracted pay disputes with the union for years, resulting in former emergency services minister Jane Garrett resigning, the CFA board being sacked and other officials departing.

It became a federal election issue and the Turnbull government made the CFA pay deal illegal, prompting the state government to try and make it a volunteer-only service while creating a new, expanded professional fire brigade.

But that legislation came to a spectacular end on Good Friday, when two opposition MPs who had asked to be excused from the final parliamentary vote for religious reasons, came back into the chamber and voted down the bill.

Australian Associated Press

Trump may walk if NKorea summit fruitless

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

US President Donald Trump will walk out of a meeting with North Korea’s leader if it’s not fruitful.US President Donald Trump hopes an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be successful after a recent visit to Pyongyang by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but he has warned he will call it off if he doesn’t think it will produce results.
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Trump told a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday that his campaign of “maximum pressure” on North Korea would continue until Pyongyang gave up its nuclear weapons.

He also said Washington was negotiating for the release of three Americans held by North Korea and there was “a good chance of doing it.” He did not answer a reporter’s question as to whether that would be a condition for going ahead with the summit.

“I hope to have a very successful meeting (with Kim),” Trump said in Palm Beach, Florida.

“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” he added. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

Trump said earlier that Pompeo, one of his most trusted advisers and his pick to be the next US secretary of state, formed a “good relationship” with Kim when he became the first US official known to have met the North Korean leader.

US officials said Pompeo met Kim when he visited Pyongyang over the Easter weekend, which ran from March 31 to April 2, to lay the groundwork for the planned summit, in which Trump hopes to persuade North Korea to abandon development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea,” Trump tweeted earlier. “Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”

A senior administration official said Pompeo brought up the case of the three American prisoners with Kim in North Korea and that the United States was hopeful for their release.

Pompeo’s visit provided the strongest sign yet of Trump’s willingness to become the first serving US president to meet a North Korean leader.

Trump said on Tuesday he believed there was a lot of goodwill in the diplomatic push, which he has said could take place in late May or early June.

Australian Associated Press

Newcastle scientist on a quest to cure cancerPHOTOS

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Newcastle scientist on a quest to cure cancer | PHOTOS Under the Microscope: Dr Nikki Verrills is developing a drug to treat breast cancer. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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TweetFacebookThe story of humanity’s drive to crack the cancer code is filled withdedicated scientists on a mission toend suffering.

Also part of this story are the fundraisers who help pay for thisresearch.

These two sides will come together in Newcastle on Saturday night at the Pink Frangipani Ball.

The ball will raise money for the research of DrNikki Verrills, a scientistwith the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute [HMRI].

Dr Verrills is developing a drugthat aims to help cure breast cancer.

Her research is targeting a protein that is switched off in women with breast cancer. This missing protein enables cancer cellstogrow and divide.

“This proteinseems to be switched off in patients who do particularly poorly with current therapy,”Dr Verrillssaid.

“They’re the ones we want to focus on to find better therapies.”

The drugshe is developing switches this missing protein back on. It hasbeen found to kill breast cancer cells grown in a laboratory.

“It kills tumours in mice in pre-clinical models, which is the final step before we can take a drug into human trials,” she said.

Funds raised at this year’s ballwill go towards testing the new drug in combination with standard treatment, like chemotherapy andradiation.

Dr Verrills said a cure for breast cancer was “ideally what we’re after”.

“We’re trying to cure as many patients as we can,” she said.

Breast cancer, if detected early, is treatable for many women.

Butthe current treatment ofchemotherapy and/or radiation is “pretty awful” for patients to go through.

Nevertheless, the curerate for breast cancer patients is 88 to 90 per cent.

“In Australia, we still lose 3000 women every year to breast cancer becauseit’s such a common disease.”

In the Hunter, about 250women die each year from breast cancer.

Dr Verrills said cancer wasa “horrible disease that takes too many lives”.

She has“huge hopes” forthe emerging area of precision medicine, which is “precisely what we’re doing”.

Pink Frangipani Ball founder AndreaRufo said the six previousballs had raised a combined $500,000 for cancer research and awareness.

Mr Rufo, who lost his wife Sandra to breast cancer, said Dr Verills was doing “amazing work”, whichcould lead to the drug she is developing being used in clinical trials in a few years.

“Where would we be without the researchers in every field who do this kind of work?”he said.

“We’d be lost. They’re brilliant people.

“You’ve got to hold them in such high esteem.”