McCartney drawn into hacking scandal

In comments on Thursday to US television journalists delivered via videolink from Cincinnati, Ohio, McCartney said that he would be in touch with law enforcement as soon as he was finished with his summer tour.


“I will be talking to them about that,” McCartney told the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles, just hours before a performance.

“I don’t think it’s great. I do think it is a horrendous violation of privacy, and I do think it’s been going on a long time, and I do think more people than we know knew about it. But I think I should just listen and hear what the facts are before I comment,” he said.

McCartney is the latest celebrity to be dragged into Britain’s phone hacking scandal, which centres on allegations that journalists routinely eavesdropped on private phone messages, bribed police officers for tips and illegally obtained confidential information for stories.

Until recently the scandal was largely been limited to the British arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, but an allegation made on Wednesday by McCartney’s former wife Heather Mills implicates the Trinity Mirror PLC group of newspapers, and CNN celebrity interviewer Piers Morgan, who once edited the group’s flagship Daily Mirror tabloid. It is one of several indications that the phone hacking scandal could yet spread to other British newspapers – even the Guardian, which helped unearth the scandal.

Mills’ allegation, made Wednesday in an interview with the BBC, was that a senior Mirror journalist admitted to her that his paper had been spying on her messages. While the broadcaster said that the unidentified man was not Piers Morgan, the former model’s allegation echoes a claim Morgan himself made back in 2006 – a few months after the couple began divorce proceedings.

In an article published by the Daily Mail, Morgan said that he had been played a tape of a message McCartney had left on Mills’ mobile phone in the wake of one of their fights.

“It was heartbreaking,” Morgan wrote. “He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang ‘We Can Work It Out’ into the answerphone.”

Questions over how Morgan came to hear such a message have led several British MPs to call on him to return to the UK and explain himself.

Morgan has so far not offered comment on his article, although he did describe Mills’ allegation as unsubstantiated and noted that the judge in the couple’s divorce case had cast aspersions on her credibility.

He has repeatedly denied having ever ordered anyone to spy on others’ voicemails, while his former newspaper group has insisted that its journalists obey the law.

Mills’ office on Thursday declined to elaborate on what she told the BBC but said that the 43-year-old “looks forward to receiving Piers Morgan’s answer as to how he knew the content of her private voicemail messages”.

Several British parliamentarians have also said that Morgan has questions to answer – among them Conservative legislator Therese Coffey.

“I think it would help everybody, including himself and this investigation, if he was able to say more about why he wrote what he did in 2006,” Coffey told the BBC on Wednesday.

Morgan’s publicist, Meghan McPartland, said that as far as she knew the CNN star – who is spending his summer working as a judge on America’s Got Talent – was not returning to England to answer questions.

Morgan himself made light of the calls on his Twitter feed, saying he found it “so heartwarming that everyone in UK’s missing me so much they want me to come home”.

In a separate development, the publisher of Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper announced late on Thursday that it was reviewing its editorial procedures. No reason for the review was given but Morgan is one of many media veterans who’ve claimed that phone hacking and other shady practices were common across Britain’s newspaper industry.

And in what is surely one of the odder twists in the phone-hacking tale, it emerged that a senior journalist with the Guardian – whose aggressive investigative work helped air the scandal – had apparently acknowledged hacking into a phone.

“I’ve used some of those questionable methods myself over the years,” David Leigh wrote in a piece published by the Guardian in 2006 and still posted to the paper’s website.

The investigations editor described intercepting the voicemails of a corrupt arms company executive, admitting that there was “certainly a voyeuristic thrill in hearing another person’s private messages”.

But he insisted he was after a serious scoop, not celebrity gossip. In any case, Leigh wrote, “there is not a newspaper or TV channel in the country that has not, on occasion, got down in the gutter and used questionable methods”.

The Guardian’s press office was unstaffed early on Friday morning. Leigh did not immediately return an email and a text message seeking comment.

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Chat leads to possible cancer breakthrough

What started out as a quiet chat over dinner between Australian and German scientists has the potential to create a major buzz for doctors treating cancer and other deadly diseases.


A team of scientists from Newcastle, Sydney and Berlin have come up with a revolutionary way to prevent the spread of viruses in the human body.

The breakthrough discovery means their technique could one day be used with anti-viral drugs to stop deadly diseases such as cancer, HIV and Ebola, saving millions of lives in the process.

The idea came from a chat Professor Phil Robinson, of the Children’s Medical Research Institute in Sydney, had with German scientist Volker Haucke while dining in San Francisco three years ago.

The pair were discussing how they had been trying to find a molecule that could stop substances such as viruses entering human body cells and realised their work had a lot in common.

“We decided to join forces and not compete so that’s what we did,” Prof Robinson said.

“What we’ve found is a way to tackle infectious diseases and viral infections; not all of them but probably a large chunk of them.”

Prof Haucke, of the Freie Universität in Berlin, identified two tiny molecules out of a library of 20,000 that he believed could stop viruses entering cells.

Prof Robinson put him in touch with Newcastle University’s Professor Adam McCluskey, who used his skills as a medical chemist to develop improved artificial versions of the two molecules.

Dubbed “Pitstops” by Prof Haucke, the molecules block a protein known as clathrin that allows things such as hormones and nutrients to enter cells.

Viruses hijack clathrin so they can invade a cell and steel its genetic material in order to replicate and spread through the body.

Existing anti-viral drugs target viruses that are already in the body and try to stop them replicating.

What the scientists hope is that any new drugs that are developed based on the Pitstops will stop the viruses entering cells in the first place.

“If a virus can’t get in to replicate, then hopefully it will die off,” Prof McCluskey said.

“There’s no magic bullet for viruses or cancer. What we are trying to do is give a cocktail that will knock these things down and allow us to live fruitful lives.

“The potential is massive. I keep looking at this and so far the compounds are so simple and the scope for improvement is breathtaking.”

So far the scientists have shown in laboratory experiments that Pitstops in tissue culture can block HIV from entering cells.

The next step is to test how effective and safe the Pitstops are to use in animals before any human trials are considered.

A study based on how the Pitstops were developed is being published online by the prestigious science journal Cell on Friday.

Prof Robinson said the trio hoped the study would attract attention from scientists around the world who could help find new uses for them.

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Bomb nightmare over, manhunt underway for attacker

Police have confirmed that the suspected bomb attached to 18-year-old Sydney schoolgirl Madeleine Pulver, contained no explosives.


The hunt is now on for whoever carried out the attack.

Sydney schoolgirl Madaleine Pulver has been released from hospital this morning, as she begins her recovery from her horrifying ordeal in which she was strapped to a bomb for ten hours.

The wealthy family of an 18-year-old Sydney girl attached for ten hours to what was thought to be a bomb have no idea why she was targeted, police say.

Police were called by Madeleine to the family’s Mosman home about 2.30pm (AEST) on Wednesday and found her inside alone, attached to the device.

There are reports she was collared to the “bomb”.

A tense ten hours ensued, as police negotiators and bomb disposal experts worked to defuse the situation.

Nearby properties were evacuated and roads were closed off as the extensive operation, involving the bomb squad, rescue squad, State Emergency Services, fire crews and paramedics got underway.

The device was eventually released, still intact, from the girl shortly before midnight on Wednesday and she was reunited with her parents.

Speaking to reporters shortly afterwards, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said it was still too early to tell if the device was explosive.

“It’s taken us ten hours to get to grips with,” he said, describing the device as “very elaborate, sophisticated”.

There was still no evidence as to a motive for the attack and police had had no contact with whoever put the device in place, he said.

“We want to get our hands on who has done this and pretty smartly,” he said, adding the girl had had some interaction with her attacker and had given “a lot of information” to police.

Mr Murdoch said the situation was “very very difficult” for the girl, who was not allowed to speak to her parents throughout the ordeal for operational reasons.

She is understood to be a Year 12 student at a nearby private school.

Two police negotiators stayed with her throughout the ordeal, keeping her calm, warm and fed, as two bomb disposal technicians worked on the device.

“She’s been kept in a very uncomfortable position for in excess of ten hours, so she has been and will be uncomfortable for some days to come. But she’s in good hands, she’s with mum and dad, who are the most important people to be with,” Mr Murdoch said.

It was far too early to say whether the attack had been an extortion attempt, he said.

“Certainly the family are at a loss to explain this, but you wouldn’t expect someone would go to this much trouble if there wasn’t a motive behind it,” he said.

“The family have endured something no one needs to endure…but they have held up remarkably well,” he added.

The investigation was being led by the State Crime Command’s robbery and serious crime squad, which deals with extortion and several other agencies, including the British military were asked for advice on the device.

“This is an unusual situation for NSW and Australia, I’m not aware of anything like this happening in the country before,” he said.

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Tevez gives Juve another 1-0 victory, Roma win

Juve’s third straight victory by the same scoreline put them on 67 points as they remain 14 points clear of second-placed AS Roma, who also won 1-0 at lowly Cesena, with 10 games left.


Despite the size of their lead, Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri remained cautious, telling Sky Sport Italia: “We haven’t won anything yet. We’ll celebrate when the time comes.”

Tevez scored when he collected a pass from Claudio Marchisio on the edge of the area in the 25th minute and ran past Andrea Bertolacci and Sebastien De Maio before rifling a shot past Mattia Perin from an acute angle that went in off the bar.

The Argentine, the league’s top scorer with 16 goals, then missed a penalty just past the hour mark when Genoa’s substitute keeper Eugenio Lamanna, who had replaced the injured Perin nine minutes earlier, made a terrific save.

Daniele De Rossi’s first-half strike from close range gave struggling Roma their first win in five games at Cesena.

“Today there was a battle to be won. We have ten (games) left awaiting us,” Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan told reporters.

De Rossi, filling in as captain for the injured Francesco Totti, took advantage of Jose Holebas’s low cross in the 41st minute to score his second goal of the season.


Lazio remain one point behind Roma after a 2-0 win at home to Verona. A Felipe Anderson header and a powerful Antonio Candreva free kick handed Lazio a sixth straight victory.

Sampdoria stayed in the hunt for a spot in next season’s Europa League after defeating visitors Inter Milan 1-0 with a ferocious free kick by Eder that went in off the post.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side are fourth on 48 points, one above Napoli who scored a last-gasp goal to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Atalanta, who had Alejandro Gomez sent off after he received a second yellow card.

The home side, despite playing for 35 minutes with an extra man, fell behind in the 72nd when Mauricio Pinilla took advantage of an Henrique blunder. Napoli substitute Duvan Zapata headed in the equaliser one minute from time.

Sixth-placed Fiorentina drew 2-2 with Udinese thanks to Mario Gomez’s second-half double and they now have 46 points.

Bottom side Parma, declared bankrupt last week, went down 2-0 at home to Torino with their 20th defeat in 26 games after captain Alessandro Lucarelli was sent off in the 36th minute.

Empoli’s Riccardo Saponara struck a second-half double as they defeated Sassuolo 3-1 in a mid-table clash.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Remodelling Pies dare to aim high

“It’s never too early and it’s never too late.


With those words, spoken at Collingwood’s season launch, president Eddie McGuire put a premiership on the agenda for his club in 2015.

Even the most ardent supporter probably found that lofty goal a touch optimistic, while the majority of neutral observers labelled it downright fanciful.

Coach Nathan Buckley, however, has no problem having the bar set high for his team.

“Without that ‘aim high’ mentality, without the courage to say that you’re capable of something that other people don’t think you’re capable of, you’re never going to find your best,” Buckley told AAP.

“We certainly won’t be aiming low.

“In 22 games this year we expect to improve and we can improve drastically, so (as a player) if the president tells you that he’s happy to aim high, the coach says there’s no limits and we’re not going to put a cap on what we’re capable of, then I reckon that mentality is really important.”

After waving goodbye to a host of household names in the past three years, the Pies are widely thought to have a playing list in transition – one more likely to finish outside the eight than to play finals this year, let alone win the flag.

Buckley concedes Collingwood have “lost thousands of games of experience” over the past three years, but he doesn’t buy into the philosophy that the cyclical nature of the competition makes it necessary for clubs and their fans to be content with seasons spent consolidating their playing stocks rather than contesting finals.

“Everyone wants to put a label on playing lists in some shape or form, whether it be contending, rebuilding or whatever,” he said.

“But I think the cycles in the game now turn quicker than they ever have.

“We’ve got blokes between 10 and 35 games and that can be a millstone, but it can also be an opportunity if enough of those blokes stand up.”

The Pies have slipped from fourth to eighth to 11th in Buckley’s three seasons in charge.

There will inevitably be a price to pay when any club attempts to re-position for another period of success as Buckley has done after recognising that the 2010 premiership group didn’t have another flag in it.

Buckley’s task hasn’t been made any easier by a wretched run of injuries over the past two seasons that rarely allowed him to field his best 22.

Ben Reid, Brent Macaffer, Nathan Brown, Dayne Beams, Lachie Keeffe, Dale Thomas and Clinton Young headlined the list of long-term casualties as the Pies slipped down the ladder.

Of course, Thomas and Beams are no longer part of the mix, but Buckley has been buoyed by the number of players he’s had at his disposal during a positive pre-season, which he believes will translate well into the home-and-away campaign.

Reid, in particular, will be a welcome addition in the back half after a season ruined by soft-tissue injuries.

Despite the remodelling of the past three years Buckley still has 10 members of the 2010 outfit at his disposal.

But it’s the gap between those players and the unproven part of Collingwood’s list that is the concern outside the club.

“I know there’s not a lot of expectation externally,” Buckley said.

“We haven’t set ourselves a certain number of wins – what we’ve set ourselves to do is to play our best footy as often as we possibly can and to improve as the season progresses.

“We think we’ll be better in ’16 than we were in ’15 and better in ’17 than we were in ’16 – there’s a lot of natural growth and evolution that we’re capable of taking.

“Potential is a dangerous word, but we’re no different from any other club in that we’re trying to maximise that potential as early as we possibly can, so our expectations are high.”


Coach: Nathan Buckley

Captain: Scott Pendlebury

Last five years: 1-2-4-8-11

Premierships: 15 (1902-03, 1910, 1917, 1919, 1927-30, 1935-36, 1953, 1958, 1990, 2010)

Key five: Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Travis Cloke, Ben Reid, Steele Sidebottom.

One to watch: Ben Reid: The talented tall was restricted to just four games last year by calf, quadriceps and hamstring injuries. The Pies sent Reid to Germany to consult with a world-renowned soft-tissue expert and are confident they’re on top his issues. A fit and firing Reid will make a huge difference this season.

Ins: Jack Crisp (Brisbane Lions), Jordan De Goey (Oakleigh U18), Matthew Goodyear (Calder U18), Levi Greenwood (North Melbourne), Brayden Maynard (Sandringham U18), Darcy Moore (Oakleigh U18), Travis Varcoe (Geelong).

Outs: Luke Ball (retired), Dayne Beams (Brisbane Lions), Martin Clarke (retired), Ben Hudson (retired), Heritier Lumumba (Melbourne), Quinten Lynch (retired), Nick Maxwell (retired).

Best line-up:

B: Tom Langdon, Nathan Brown, Alan Toovey

HB: Marley Williams, Ben Reid, Lachie Keeffe

C: Brent Macaffer, Scott Pendlebury, Travis Varcoe

HF: Jarryd Blair, Jesse White, Steele Sidebottom

F: Tyson Goldsack, Travis Cloke, Jamie Elliott

R: Jarrod Witts, Dane Swan, Levi Greenwood

I: Taylor Adams, Jack Frost, Paul Seedsman, Clinton Young

Predicted finish: 12th

Betting (William Hill)

To win the flag: $31

To make the top eight: $3

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Jones third as Every wins on US PGA Tour

Australian Matt Jones produced a late birdie burst to claim third place as American Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second straight year.


Every made an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole at Bay Hill to win by one stroke from Swedish star Henrik Stenson.

Last year Every rallied from a four-shot deficit for his first career victory.

This time he came from three shots behind on Sunday with a six-under 66 to win at 19-under 269, earning a return to the Masters next month.

Jones, who will defend his first US PGA title in two weeks at the Houston Open, made three straight birdies from the 15th hole as he fired a 68 to finish outright third, two strokes clear of fourth-placed American Morgan Hoffman.

World No.3 Stenson, on solid form after sharing fourth the past two weeks at Doral and Copperhead, was the US tour’s ninth 54-hole leader in a row to lose.

Stenson, who closed with a 70, held a one-shot lead until a three-putt bogey on the 15th hole and a three-putt par from the fringe on the par-5 16th. He missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have forced a playoff.

Every, 31, grew up nearby and attended the tournament as a youth.

Now he has matched 14-time major champion Tiger Woods and fellow American Loren Roberts as only the third player to win back-to-back Bay Hill titles, a feat Woods accomplished five times.

“I know how to win,” Every said.

“I was driving it really good this week and my irons were spot on.

“The accuracy was great. I kind of had a feeling. I was shaking over some of those putts late but that one at 18 was straight downhill.”

World number one Rory McIlroy, who can win his third major in a row and complete a career grand slam by winning next month’s Masters, had four birdies and two bogeys in firing a 70 to finish on 277 for a share of 11th.

“I got quite a lot out of this week,” McIlroy said. “It gave me what I needed going into the next couple of weeks before the Masters.

“I definitely feel like I’ve taken some strides in the right direction. There are still some things I need to tidy up and work on before the Masters. The things I was working on this week, I feel like I’ve made progress.”

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GWS Giants expecting big things

The slogan splashed across the front page of the GWS Giants’ 2015 yearbook sums up the air of optimism surrounding the AFL’s youngest club – expect big things.


A strong end to last season combined with some excellent trading and a raft of crucial off-season contract extensions have the Giants in a bullish mood heading into their fourth campaign.

Chairman Tony Shepherd said he’d be disappointed if the club didn’t make the finals in the next two years and he expected them to be premiership contenders by 2018.

“There’s pressure from the outside of the club, in the media, for us to perform, but we actually put more pressure on ourselves to perform,” said star forward Jeremy Cameron, one of several key players to have signed recent contract extensions.

No Giant is spruiking talk of a finals tilt this year, but everyone is adamant their days as easybeats are over.

“My expectations have lifted for our playing group, our playing group’s expectations have lifted of each other, because if they don’t we’re not improving,” Giants’ coach Leon Cameron told AAP.

“Yes, we improved last last year with six wins, but we expect to win more games.

“We expect to be competitive for longer. We expect to be taking it up to some of the really good sides this year.

“We’re not here to make up the numbers. These players are building to hopefully put themselves in a position to win a premiership.”

A squad containing a heap of emerging stars with three seasons under their belt, has been supplemented by a couple of major recruits in former Western Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen and dual Brisbane best and fairest winner Joel Patfull.

The Giants improved significantly in most defensive categories last year, despite key backs Phil Davis, Nick Haynes and Tim Mohr each missing a stack of games, along with smaller defender Curtly Hampton.

Add the experience of Patfull and Heath Shaw and the reliability of the younger Adam Kennedy and some better luck with injuries and the Giants should continue trending down in the points conceded category.

Last year they conceded 30 points a game less than in 2013 and went from having 19 and 20 100-point scores kicked against them in their first two years, to 11 in 2014.

“We know there’s a lot more improvement in there,” Leon Cameron said.

With Jonathon Patton out until mid-season following a second knee reconstruction and Tom Boyd sacrificed in the trade that brought Griffen to the club, young sharpshooters James Stewart and Cameron McCarthy will vie for the other key forward position alongside Jeremy Cameron.

With Devon Smith, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Jed Lamb and Rhys Palmer also capable of sniffing out goals, the Giants won’t be short of options up forward.

Griffen joins another former Bulldog in Callan Ward and Tom Scully in leading a dazzling array of younger midfielders including Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly, Dylan Shiel, Stephen Coniglio, Toby Greene, Tomas Bugg and Adam Treloar.

“It bodes really well to know that there’s probably 10 midfielders trying to jump in and take five or six spots,” Leon Cameron said.

Reigning best and fairest winner Shane Mumford will again lead the ruck division, with Andrew Phillips, Tom Downie and Rory Lobb as back-up options.


Coach: Leon Cameron

Captains: Callan Ward, Phil Davis

Last three years: 18-18-16

Premierships: Nil

Key five: Callan Ward, Jeremy Cameron, Ryan Griffen, Phil Davis, Shane Mumford

One to watch: Ryan Griffen. The former Bulldogs skipper cited a need to rekindle his love of the game as the reason behind his shock move at the end of last season – hopefully he can recapture that passion because there are few more exciting players in full flight.

Ins: Paul Ahern (Calder U18), Jeremy Finlayson (GWS academy), Ryan Griffen (Western Bulldogs), Caleb Marchbank (Murray U18), Pat McKenna (Gisborne Vic), Joel Patfull (Brisbane Lions), Jarrod Pickett (South Fremantle WAFL), Jack Steele (GWS academy).

Outs: Tom Boyd (Western Bulldogs), Sam Frost (Melbourne), Jonathan Giles (Essendon), Stephen Gilham (retired), Josh Hunt (retired), Kristian Jaksch (Carlton), Jonathan O’Rourke (Hawthorn), Mark Whiley (Carlton).

Best line-up:

B: Curtly Hampton, Phil Davis, Joel Patfull

HB: Adam Kennedy, Nick Haynes, Heath Shaw

C: Toby Greene, Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield

HF: Devon Smith, Jonathon Patton, Tom Scully

F: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson

R: Shane Mumford, Ryan Griffen, Stephen Coniglio

I: Adam Treloar, Dylan Shiel, Josh Kelly, Tomas Bugg

Predicted finish: 13th

Betting: (William Hill)

To win the flag: $101

To make the top eight: $7

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Pocock accuses Waratahs players of homophobic slurs

Accusations of homophobic slurs have overshadowed the NSW Waratahs’ commanding Super Rugby triumph over the Brumbies at Allianz Stadium.


NSW’s 28-13 victory reignited their title defence and bumped the Brumbies off the top of the competition ladder, but David Pocock’s sensational allegation to referee Craig Joubert late in the spicy derby marred the Waratahs’ celebrations.

A vocal advocate of same-sex marriages, Pocock approached Joubert twice in the final 15 minutes, upset at what the referee deemed to be “pretty aggressive comments” from the Waratahs.

Joubert asked NSW vice-captain Michael Hooper, deputising for skipper Dave Dennis – who’d been replaced – to have a word with the Waratahs.

Pocock, though, was not satisfied and Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham later said the ACT franchise would investigate the matter.

“Obviously it’s going to come out in the next couple of days,” Larkham said.

“We haven’t had a chance to chat to everyone about everything that happened out there but we will investigate it further.”

Larkham suspected the allegation was made against one player.

“But I didn’t hear it and I wasn’t on the field … and I certainly didn’t hear it,” Larkham said.

“It was reported as that. We’ll have to talk to individuals and see what the process is.”

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said he was reluctant to comment until he had all the facts in front of him.

“The way I see it is like this: if there’s an issue, it will come to light,” Cheika said.

“When it comes to light, I’ll make my position clear on it.

“I know that it’s a big thing about speculation; it’s something that fills a newspaper, but I’m about seeing what really happened and then making a comment.”

Allegations of slurs aside, Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore said he didn’t consider any of the “banter” to be out of the ordinary in the niggly encounter.

“It’s always like that,” Moore said.

“I think off the field there’s a lot of guys out there that are quite good mates.

“You know, Michael Hooper and ‘Whitey’ (Brumbies halfback) Nic White used to live together for a couple of years so they know each other pretty well and there was a bit of banter out there.

“But I think it was all in the spirit of the game, and that’s the way it goes out there and I didn’t see it as an issue.”

The accusations overshadowed the importance of the Waratahs’ win.

Had they lost, the titleholders would have fallen 14 points adrift of the Brumbies in the Australian conference.

The Brumbies, who dropped to second behind the unbeaten Hurricanes, and Waratahs are the only Australian sides in touch with the leaders after the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force suffered gutwrenching defeats in round six.

The Rebels squandered a golden opportunity to score successive wins for the first time since 2013, conceding a 78th-minute try in a 20-16 loss to the Lions at AAMI Park on Friday night.

After opening the season with a shock win over the Waratahs in Sydney, the Force have now lost five straight after being sunk by a last-minute penalty in a 25-24 defeat to the Bulls in Pretoria.

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Possible new rules for foreign property investors

(Transcript from World News Radio)

New foreign-investment rules could lead to civil penalties and fees being imposed on property investors who are not Australian citizens.


As Sacha Payne reports, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he wants to give Australian property buyers what he calls a “fair go.”

“There are millions of Australians who want to realise the dream of owning their own home. It’s not easy, but the job of government is to try to ensure that there are no unnecessary obstacles put in people’s way.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says new rules contained in a discussion paper on foreign investment would give prospective Australian property buyers an advantage.

Under the changes, foreign investors would pay a five-thousand-dollar application fee to buy a residential property under one million dollars.

For properties over one million, the fee rises to an extra $10,000 for every extra million in the purchase price.

Mr Abbott says he wants to encourage investment from overseas but it must not be at the expense of Australian buyers.

“It’s comparable to the system which has long operated in New Zealand, and it’s much more modest than the fees that operate in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, because, while we do want the rules to work, we also are open to foreign investment, and we welcome foreign investment, but it’s got to be foreign investment which is in our national interest.”

Non-resident foreign investors are currently banned from buying an existing home.

A temporary resident holding a visa of more than 12 months can purchase one existing home to live in while resident in Australia, but it must be sold when his or her visa expires.

Treasurer Joe Hockey says anyone found to be breaking the law would be fined and made to sell.

“There will be a new register set up so that we know how many foreign residential and agricultural property owners are in Australia, who they are … which is a very important form of reassurance to the Australian people. And if anyone does break the law, then we can fine them up to 25 per cent of the value of the property, as well as forcing them to sell the property. These integrity measures are absolutely essential for reassuring Australians that, when they go to an auction, they are on a level playing field.”

Mr Hockey says the extra $200 million raised through the new measures could help enforce rules around foreign ownership better.

He says investments are now more complex and the government needs more resources to scrutinise them.

“Transactions now are far more complicated. Money is coming from the four corners of the earth. We welcome that. But also it raises significant issues, ranging from national security to potential criminal activity, money-laundering and a range of other things. So our actual enforcement of the foreign-investment regime is costing far more — far more — than ever expected. Australians are paying for that. And what we are saying is, “Enough.” Those people who get the benefit of putting foreign investment into Australia should also pay for that service.”

The Government says it will make a final decision after March the 20th.



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Auschwitz legacy taints three generations

(Transcript from World News Radio)

It’s been 70 years since detainees were released from the Auschwitz concentration camp, in Poland.


In its brief five years in existence, the Nazi camp was the last home of more than 1.1 million men, women and children who were gassed, shot, tortured and starved to death.

Those fortunate to survive the genocide were scarred by trauma, and that trauma has trickled down through the generations.

Phillippa Carisbrooke takes a look at the legacy of the Holocaust for one Australian family.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

Eva Slonim was 13 years old when she and her younger sister Marta were imprisoned at Auschwitz.

Mistaken for twins, they were subjected to horrific medical experiments.

Eva’s forearm still bears the number the Nazis used to identify prisoners.

The tattoo has faded … but memories of her imprisonment have not.

“It’s with me every day of my life. And I tried to conceal it so that my children and family would not not suffer from my feelings and my hurt.”

A photo taken at the liberation of Auschwitz captures the two sisters.

“That’s me. And that’s Marta.”

The pair stand among other child detainees, behind barbed wire and mesh fencing.

Eva didn’t recognise herself when shown the image.

The sisters were among some 35,000 Jews who migrated to Australia from Europe after the war.

Eva married an Australian-born Jew and the couple had five children.

Daniel Slonim used to think his mother’s past didn’t greatly affect him and that her efforts to shield her children from the horror had been successful.

“She would sit on the back porch and tell us stories. But she wouldn’t make us fearful. She would tell us stories like a storyteller and occasionally with humour so as not to frighten us.”

But the father of three has come to realise there’s a legacy associated with losing loved ones.

“I have terrible separation anxiety whenever my children go away. Even on short holidays I have trouble saying goodbye. When I leave for work in the morning, saying goodbye and walking out the door is a ceremony.’

Eva’s grandson, Ronen, suffered nightmares after first learning about the Holocaust at school.

Later he felt the need to quiz his grandmother about her past.

“I used to come to come every Saturday morning to my grandmother after prayers and ask her about her experiences during the Holocaust. It’s always been something on my mind. I read books on it all the time. So it’s something that I’ve been obsessed with.”

The 21-year old is troubled by the senselessness of the Holocaust, and it affects reports he hears about abuse today.

“Current affairs. For some reason, I think it’s due to the Holocaust and what my grandmother went through, when there are injustices in the world it just really hits me hard.”

Eva’s parents died without ever speaking to her about her imprisonment.

She struggled to talk to her own children about it.

She finds speaking with her grandchildren easier and is keen they learn from her experience.

“Protect themselves. Be aware. And also not to be vengeful. Just to learn a lesson.”

But the Melbourne grandmother’s family says she has had her revenge in creating a big family – one the Nazis so cruelly tried to deny her.



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A year on, MSF slams global Ebola response

A year after the start of the Ebola outbreak, aid agency Doctors Without Borders has slammed the international community’s slow response and detailed the “indescribable horror” faced by its staff.


More than 10,000 people have been killed and some 25,000 infected since the Ebola epidemic was first identified in west Africa in March 2014, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A report released on Monday by Doctors Without Borders – known by its French initials MSF – says “months were wasted and lives were lost” because the UN’s World Health Organisation, which is charged with leading on global health emergencies and “possesses the know-how to bring Ebola under control”, failed to respond quickly or adequately.

Its report accused the WHO’s Global Alert and Outbreak Response Network of ignoring desperate pleas for help from Liberia when it met in June.

“I remember emphasising that we had the chance to halt the epidemic in Liberia if help was sent now,” said Marie-Christine Ferir, MSF emergency co-ordinator.

“It was early in the outbreak and there was still time. The call for help was heard but no action was taken.”

The WHO did not set up a regional hub for co-ordinating the response until July, by which time a second wave of the epidemic had struck.

“All the elements that led to the outbreak’s resurgence in June were also present in March, but the analysis, recognition and willingness to assume responsibility to respond robustly were not,” the report said.

It was only when a US doctor and Spanish nurse were diagnosed with Ebola that the world woke up to the threat, MSF said.

The aid agency also blamed the governments of Guinea and Sierra Leone for refusing to admit the scale of the epidemic, saying they put “needless obstacles” in the path of MSF teams.

MSF built a 250-bed centre in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, but even that was far from enough. The centre able to open only 30 minutes each morning, filling beds vacated by deaths overnight.

The report describes people dying on the gravel outside the gates, and a father who brought his daughter in the boot of his car, begging MSF to take her in so as to not infect his other children at home, but who was turned away.

“It was an indescribable horror,” said Rosa Crestani, Ebola task force co-ordinator.

There were so many patients and so few employees that the staff had on average only one minute per patient.

The report also points the criticism inward, saying it too should have mobilised faster.

“This Ebola outbreak has wrought an exceptionally heavy toll on MSF’s staff, and particularly on our west African colleagues,” it said.

“Not since the early days of HIV care have MSF staff sustained the loss of so many patients dying in our facilities and never in such an intense short period of time,” the report concluded.

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Commemorations mark end of Australia’s war in Afghanistan

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

There have been nationwide commemorations to mark the end of Australia’s war effort in Afghanistan.


And parades to officially welcome home all those who served.

Phillippa Carisbrooke reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

“Sergeant Matthew Locke. Medal for Gallantry. Special Air Service Regiment. 25 October 2007. Age 33.”

The names of the 41 Australians killed serving in Afghanistan, read at a sombre ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Around the country there have been services and events to honour the near 35,000 defence personnel, officials, police and diplomats who from late 2001 through to the end of last year (2014) served in Afghanistan, in what was called Operation Slipper.

Speaking at a welcome home ceremony in the nation’s capital, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott recognised their sacrifice.

He noted that decades earlier soldiers returning from Vietnam were not properly acknowledged.

And stressed that it would be different for those who served in Afghanistan.

“I say to all our Afghanistan veterans, we are grateful to have you home, we acknowledge your achievements, and we thank you for your service. (clapping)”

Over 260 Australians were seriously wounded in Afghanistan.

And hundreds of others suffered unseen wounds.

The leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, said he saluted those who’d served in Australia’s longest war, and who had brought new honour to the Anzac tradition.

“We honour your steely professionalism and your conspicuous personal bravery. We renew our promise to remember you brothers who lost their lives in the valleys and green mountains of Afghanistan.”

Speaking in Canberra, the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, paid tribute to those who over 13-years supported operations from home.

“To the partners. Parents. Children and siblings who carried on in our absence. Thank you. Every one of us on parade here today shares a deep appreciate for your service. And a genuine admiration for you strength and endurance.”

The Prime Minister said the war in Afghanistan had ended not with victory or with defeat, but with hope for a better Afghanistan and a safer world.



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Report condemns Nauru detention centre conditions

(Transcript from World News Radio)

The long-awaited Moss review into allegations of abuse against asylum seekers in Australian detention on Nauru is damning about conditions on the island and the treatment of asylum seekers housed there.


The review has found a pressing need to improve the way sexual abuse claims are handled, better training for staff, and better protection for asylum seekers.

It has acknowledged the environment in which officers of the Australian Immigration Department, service provider staff and Nauruan authorities are working is difficult but says urgent changes need to made.

Amanda Cavill reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

The Moss review has found it’s possible that guards had traded marijuana for sexual favours with asylum seeker children, that there’s been under reporting of sexual and physical assault allegations to authorities, and that some allegations may not have been reported.

It has also found that 17 children engaged in self-harm between October 2013 and October 2014, including attempted hanging.

The Moss review makes 19 recommendations including that contract service providers review sexual harassment and sexual relationships guidelines and that the Nauruan criminal code should be changed to address child protection issues.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says all of the Review recommendations have been accepted and work has begun to implement them, in cooperation with the Government of Nauru.

“They have in place a strong law and order system and they have to deal with difficult circumstances. They have committed themselves to making sure that they can provide appropriate accommodation for people within the regional processing centres, and like the Australian government, they don’t have a tolerance for illegal behaviour, including in particular sexual assault. I find the thought of anybody, in particular children, being sexually assaulted completely abhorrent.”

Mr Dutton says the government will also work with service providers and the Australian Federal Police to implement change.

The review has recommended the Department and the government hold a joint investigation into the breakdown of trust with the aid group, Save the Children, which led to the removal of ten Save the Children employees from the island.

It also examined claims workers from Save the Children at the Australian-run detention centre were coaching detainees to self-harm and to make false claims.

Head of the Immigration Department, Michael Pezzullo says he believes the Save the Children staff were fairly removed, but concedes there appears to be no evidence to back up the claims against them.

Mr Pezzullo won’t say if they deserve an apology.

“I don’t want to speculate about any future hypothetical outcome. We’ll work through all the issues including the issues on both sides of the discussion. If you read chapter 4, there were instances, credible allegation of Save The Children staff behaving in a way that was about ideologically debating of the policy rather than actual delivery of service. That led to a breakdown in the relationship in part.”

The Moss review has recommended that several dozen cases of sexual and physical abuse should now be referred to Nauruan authorities.

It has also acknowledged Nauruan authorities have limited resources to investigate claims and need better forensic services.

Mr Pezzullo says the the Immigration department is already reviewing procedures and processes at all other detention centres to ensure that the vulnerable are protected.

“We’re also quite separately, with the changing nature of how we’re using the Migration Act, and shifting changing profile if you like of the population of these detention centres, working through the release of detainees under temporary protection. The very nature of our centres are going to change in any event so we’re taking the opportunity along with the advent of the Australian Border Force on 1st July, subject to legislation passing and these centres coming under the operational management of the Border Force, we are taking the opportunity to look at all of our practices around the protection of children, vulnerable people and the management of people in our … care.”

Greens Immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson Young says she finds it unacceptable that there have been no proper provisions in place to deal with the abuse before now.

“I note that the department has said they will respond and accept all of the recommendations. They include having proper management and teaching and training for staff about how to engage properly with asylum seekers inside in terms of not accept ing sexualised behaviour, not carrying out sexual harassment. You’d think that those types of things should’ve been in place long before now. “

The department says it will now undertake a two-month comprehensive review of how best to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented in full.


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