Mourners arrive in Macksville for funeral

by admin on January 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Michael Clarke arrived in Macksville via helicopter on Monday morning.

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The mode of transport might differ, but the trip is something hundreds of cricketers past and present will make for Phillip Hughes’ funeral on Wednesday.

They will say final farewells alongside Hughes’ heartbroken family and a local community still coming to terms with the 25-year-old’s shock death.

Hughes’ love of cricket was matched only by his love of the land, specifically the banana farm he grew up on in the NSW country town.

Some 5,000 mourners are expected to attend Hughes’ service at Macksville High School, which starts at 2pm AEDT.

Clarke, a near-constant presence at St Vincent’s Hospital where Hughes underwent emergency brain surgery on Tuesday after being struck by a bouncer, made a statement on behalf of the national team on Saturday.

Hughes’ close friend remains the bleary-eyed face of the raw pain being felt by not only his side, but the entire cricket community.

South Australia and NSW, the two state sides where Hughes plied his trade in Australia, will both flock to Macksville.

Other states will also be well represented at the service, with more than 10 Queensland players set to undertake the five-hour road trip.

Qantas and Virgin Australia have scheduled extra flights, altered timetables and arranged larger planes to help shuttle more people to Coffs Harbour for the funeral.

For those unable to attend, it will be screened on TV and broadcast on radio.

In addition, public viewings will be held at Adelaide Oval, the SCG and Blundstone Arena.

“His presence will always be felt with our players and supporters and it will be a fitting tribute for thousands of people to pay their respect at the ground he called home for three seasons,” South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw said.

“The field of play will also be open after the service and members from the public will have an opportunity to leave a tribute for Phillip near the centre wicket.”

Hughes was on 63 at the SCG when his life was tragically cut short.

SCG Trust chief executive Jamie Barkley is hoping fans remember Hughes’ many triumphs at the venue, including a century he scored at age 19 in the 2008 Sheffield Shield final.

“It is fitting that the people whose lives he touched can say farewell from a ground where he had so much success,” Barkley said.

Greg Chappell and Simon Katich penned touching tributes on Cricket Australia and AFL club Greater Western Sydney’s website respectively.

“The response from around the world has been staggering. His death has stopped the Australian nation in an unprecedented way. This has been Australia’s Princess Diana moment,” Chappell wrote.

“What we must take from this is the legacy of how Phillip lived his life … he never complained if breaks didn’t go his way.”

Katich noted Hughes was “cheeky, charming, humble, respectful and confident. But most importantly, he had been brought up by his beautiful parents Greg and Virginia to never forget where he came from”.

Hugh Jackman on Monday joined the likes of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak as the #putoutyourbats campaign showed no signs of slowing down.

Corrupt ex-MP quits Sydney council

by admin on January 30th, 2019

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Ex-NSW MP Ivan Petch has quit from Sydney’s Ryde City council after being found to have acted corruptly.

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The ICAC in June ruled the former Ryde mayor had acted corruptly by releasing information about porn found on a council employee’s laptop.

Shortly after the commission’s findings, he was suspended from his duties as a councillor and on Monday, he tendered his resignation.

Petch’s resignation came hours after he lost a Supreme Court challenge to overturn the ICAC’s corruption findings against him.

Local Government Minister Paul Toole said Petch, a former Liberal state MP, had indicated he would not seek to return to office for five years.

“I expect councillors to adhere to the highest of standards – standards that the community would expect of their elected officials,” Mr Toole said in a statement.

The ICAC had recommended Petch be dismissed and charges laid against him after he was found to have corruptly released “confidential information concerning the discovery of adult material” on former council general manager John Neish’s laptop.

Petch released the information to various people in an attempt to “encourage its reporting in the media so as to undermine Mr Neish’s credibility and reputation”.

Soon after pornography was discovered in 2013 on his computer, Mr Neish resigned from the council.

Although the material had been located on Mr Neish’s computer, that, in itself, did not establish that he was responsible for the material being there, the commission said.

Within hours of the findings, Mr Toole suspended Petch from his council duties.

Petch held the seat of Gladesville from 1988 to 1995.

Williamson to captain NZ T20 and ODI squad

by admin on January 30th, 2019

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Top-order batsman Kane Williamson has been handed the New Zealand captaincy for the Twenty20 and one-day internationals against Pakistan, with regular skipper Brendon McCullum returning home to rest.

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McCullum and pace bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult will leave the tour party in the United Arab Emirates to give them extra time to prepare for the coming domestic series against Sri Lanka.

The Blacks Caps play two Twenty20 matches against Pakistan, the first on Friday, before the teams meet in five one-dayers.

National selection general manager Bruce Edgar says the decision concerning McCullum, Southee and Boult was based on their workload.

Edgar pointed out the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka would begin less than a week after the ODI squad returned.

“Managing players’ workloads will be an important part of our summer’s plans and this is simply an example of that,” Edgar said.

It would also give selectors the chance to evaluate other players in contention for the World Cup and allow the Black Caps to work on contingency plans, such as developing Williamson’s captaincy experience.

Williamson, 24, has led New Zealand in three ODIs and two T20s, the last against the West Indies in July.

Other features of the 15-strong squad are the return of the previously injured Ross Taylor, who came back for the Test series against Pakistan, and the addition of fast bowler Adam Milne and batting allrounder Anton Devcich.

NZ T20 and one-day squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Dean Brownlie, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori.

Aussie beach makes ‘sexy’ list

by admin on September 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Byron Bay was the sole Aussie beach to get a nod from Forbes Traveller, which compiled the list based on research by their own journalists, and other industry experts including tour planners, meteorologists, hotel owners and marine biologists.

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The north coast New South Wales beach was lauded for its “chalky-white sands, deliciously temperate weather and occasional visits from dolphins and migrating whales”.

Byron Bay’s cosmopolitan population, local festivals and nudist beach were also given the thumbs up.

Forbes Traveller journalist Bruce Kluger said it was difficult to narrow the field to just 25, and that the criteria for the sexiest beaches was a special combination of “sensuality, sassiness and scenic beauty – both geographic and human”.

It’s a description that could fit many of Australia’s beaches, however, no other part of the country’s coastline made the exclusive list.

The snub has already drawn criticism from at least one region that relies heavily on its beaches as one of its biggest tourism drawcards.

Surfers Paradise Management CEO Lilliana Montague today defended the Gold Coast’s 42 beaches in an article in the local newspaper, saying that sexiness was a state of mind.

Tourism Australia chairman Tim Fischer said he believed Byron Bay may have pipped the Gold Coast because it better balanced development with natural beauty.

“Full marks to Byron Bay on what I call the Bold Coast… which stands for Balance Over Licentious Development,” he said.

“I congratulate them on their win and say to all the other beaches, don’t give up… you have plenty to offer, right around Australia.”

Byron Bay ranked alongside other stunning destinations such as Eleuthera in The Bahamas, Lover’s Beach on the Baja Peninsula, and Fiji’s Natadola Beach.

Rio took two of the top 25 places, with Ipanema Beach and Copacabana recognised for their hedonistic atmosphere and plethora of bronzed bodies, and two of Hawaii’s iconic beaches, Ka’anapali and Kauapea, also made the grade.

Europe also featured highly, with the Greek Islands, France, Spain, Cyprus and Italy rating a mention.

Mulrunji case may be reviewed

by admin on September 30th, 2019

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Mr Beattie visited the island off Townsville to meet with the Palm Island Council and address a public rally protesting the decision.

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Mulrunji Doomadgee, 36, died in a police cell on Palm Island after his arrest for public drunkenness in 2004.

Despite state Deputy Coroner Christine Clement’s ruling that Mulrunji’s fatal injuries were caused by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, the Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare last week said there was not enough evidence to support criminal charges.

Palm Island Council chief executive Barry Moyle today said the premier had promised to ask Ms Clare to consider an independent review.

But Mr Moyle said Mr Beattie had reiterated he could not order her to do so as she was an independent officer.

“He said he would ask her to consider it, he said that she’s independent and he can’t instruct her and we understand that but he will ask for it to be considered,” Mr Moyle said.

Mr Moyle said the family of Mulrunji had not met Mr Beattie as planned. He said he did not know whether the family had declined the meeting.

Protesters burn flag

Meanwhile protesters outside Queensland’s parliament burned the Australian flag in a show of anger against black deaths in custody.

It was one of the final gestures after a lunchtime demonstration in Brisbane protesting Doomadgee’s death.

The death and the release of an autopsy report sparked a riot a week later on the island in which the courthouse, police watchhouse and police accommodation were burned down.

Mulrunji’s cousin Alec Doomadgee, in Brisbane for the protest, said the six people charged over the riot faced a similar fate to the dead Palm Islander.

“Half of them are getting dragged back, back into jail so they can kill them,” Mr Doomadgee told the crowd.

“These brothers and sisters are in jail right now for fighting for the rights of a dead black man who was incarcerated for no reason whatsoever.”

The rally also presented a wide-ranging petition to the Clerk of the Parliament, calling for the replacement of Ms Clare and the resignation of Mr Beattie and Police Minister Judy Spence.

Protests were also held in Townsville, Melbourne and Cairns.

Warne, McGrath ‘set to retire’

by admin on September 30th, 2019

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The Nine Network reported that Warne, 37, was poised to announce his retirement as early as tomorrow, while McGrath, 36, is expected to follow suit.

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The two bowlers will play their final Tests in the fifth Ashes Test against England at the SCG, Channel Nine reported.

Cricket Australia (CA) would tonight neither confirm nor deny the report. CA spokesman Peter Young said it was up to Warne and McGrath to make any announcements regarding their futures.

“Those two players are the masters of their own destiny and the owners of their own futures and when they announce decisions on their futures is up to them,” Mr Young said.

Shocked

The cricket world was in a state of shock after reports that Warne is expected to announce his retirement.

National selector David Boon said the first he heard of Warne’s possible retirement came when journalists began inundating him with calls tonight.

“I haven’t heard anything official yet from Cricket Australia and people have been ringing me non-stop,” Boon said.

“My take on it is that, until he does it officially, I can’t pass comment because I don’t know the facts.

Australian coach John Buchanan wasn’t commenting “at this stage”.

Warne’s former Australian captain Allan Border said he was “in a bit of a state of shock” about his possible retirement from cricket.

Border spoke about Warne minutes after the news broke that the leg-spinning genius might announce his retirement tomorrow.

“It’s just caught everyone by surprise,” Border said on Fox Sports.

When asked if Warne needed to retire, Border replied: “Well, definitely not – he’s in superb touch, he’s bowling well, physically he’s very well.

“I just got the inkling that he was even considering one more tilt at England in England and that would see him out.

“I suppose there’s a lot of innuendo about what the reasons are … I’m in a bit of a state of shock.”

Border captained Warne in his first Test, when the leg spinner returned 1-150 against India during the 1991-92 Australian season.

“There was something special about him, right from the word go,” Border said.

“We just knew there was something about his kid … not many of us in the team had seen Shane bowl.

“He got 1-150 in his first Test, so you wouldn’t predict 698 more but we knew he had something special.”

When asked where Warne would rate in the history of the game, Border put him near the top of cricket’s best players.

“Bradman – it’s hard to make comparison with that guy’s record, but the next level of cricketers, Warne is right there,” Border said.

“He’s been a breath of fresh air, what he’s brought to the game is immeasurable.”

Warne’s former Victorian and Australian team-mate Damien Fleming said he was also “shocked and surprised” at the news.

Former Australian vice-captain Ian Healey, who kept wicket to Warne for seven years, said he wouldn’t: “be saying anything until he makes the announcement himself”.

“I don’t want to steal his thunder or be wrong,” Healey said.

“It’s sort of hard to believe. He’s certainly in good form, that’s for sure.”

Ian Chappell, leading batsman and Australian Test captain of the 1970s, said the timing was right for both Warne and McGrath to retire. “I’m delighted for both of them that they are calling it a day at the end of this series,” Chappell said.

“I think it’s perfect timing for a champion player … if you make a mistake it’s best to get out a little early than a little late.”

Crews brace for ‘monster’ fire

by admin on September 30th, 2019

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“They are just so sure that the fire will jump containment lines if the wind picks up as predicted,” said a spokesman for the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

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The spokesman said the fires, which have blackened more than 800,000 hectares in Victoria, were now so large that a wind change could make conditions much worse.

“In terms of how dry the bushland is – the fire situation – it really is a monster out there,” he said.

Fire has surrounded Mount Buller, with Mirimbah, Sheepyard Flat and Sawmill Settlement to the north and Howqua Hills and Tobacco Flat to the south on alert.

Although conditions today were calmer, a fire yesterday briefly broke containment lines at Mansfield and resources are stretched at other danger points.

Senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology Richard Carlyon said northerly winds would pick up a little this afternoon and tonight, and would be strong tomorrow.

He said in ridge-top areas, around where fires are raging, it would get to about 25-30 knots tomorrow, with gusty winds of up to 15 knots in valleys.

Temperatures in Melbourne were forecast to reach 35 degrees today, with conditions in the fire areas to reach the low 30s today and tomorrow, Mr Carlyon said.

He said the cool change would not likely hit fire areas in the high country until just before midnight tomorrow, when rains of 5-10 millimetres are expected.

Deputy chief officer with the Country Fire Authority Graham Fountain said there was no end in sight to the bushfire emergency.

He said if containment lines broke, there were too many towns at risk to list, but those in the Mansfield-Mount Buller corridor and on the southern and eastern edges of the fire were among areas that could be worst affected.

Mr Fountain said if only 5-10 millimetres of rain fell, it would make conditions worse for fire-fighters.

“That amount of rain does more harm than good. It makes roads slippery and makes it harder to do back-burning,” he said.

There are now 4,700 fire-fighters on the frontline fighting the fires and thousands more working behind the scenes to help coordinate efforts, Mr Fountain said.

Top End crews pitch in

Fire-fighters from the Northern Territory (NT) are heading south to help fight Victoria’s bushfires.

Ten grassfire units and other equipment will be trucked to the fire ravaged state this week, while 25 fire-fighters and incident management personnel will fly to Victoria after Christmas.

The CEO of NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services (NTPFES) Paul White entered into the agreement with Victorian authorities yesterday.

“Resources from NTPFES and other territory resources are among many resources being drawn upon to battle these fires and the ongoing threat,” Commissioner White said.

Commissioner White said the agreement was an example of cross-jurisdictional cooperation and the ability to provide assistance in response to critical incidents.

“It’s not just a matter of battling blazes that are burning at the moment, but also about providing relief for those personnel caught up in the efforts at the moment,” he said.

McGrath retirement under wraps

by admin on September 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

McGrath is widely expected to announce some time over the coming days that the fifth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground next month will be his 124th and last.

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His manager Warren Craig did not return calls today. Cricket

Australia officials said they could not comment and inquiries to

Cricket NSW met a similar response.

Any statement from McGrath will be timed to avoid intruding on Warne’s announcement.

McGrath has increasing responsibilities at home. In recent years he has three times put his cricket career on hold to care for his English-born wife Jane, who has had complications from breast cancer. They have two children, James and Holly, and McGrath has made it clear that his family is the No.1 priority.

There is speculation that McGrath may try to hang on as a one-day player until the World Cup in the Caribbean next April, at which Australia will be bidding for an unprecedented third consecutive trophy.

But there are doubts that the fast bowler, who turns 37 in February, would be able to keep his place in the side, given the all-round demands of one-day cricket.

McGrath has looked slow in the field this summer, and suffered the ignominy of being pulled from long-off after dropping a catch off England’s top batsman Kevin Pietersen in Perth. NSW team mate

Michael Clarke, 11 years his junior, was sent to the position instead.

McGrath has not let captain Ricky Ponting down with the ball, despite being out of cricket for 10 months leading into the series.

He is the third highest wicket-taker on either side over the three Ashes Tests, with 13 wickets at 25.69. Only Stuart Clark (16) and Warne (14) have more.

McGrath has taken 555 Test wickets, more than any other fast bowler in history, and is third on the all-time bowling list behind Warne (699) and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (675).

Against England he has 149 wickets at the miserly average of

20.92, including the scalp of former England opener and captain

Mike Atherton 19 times.

The only two Tests Australia lost in England last year were the ones McGrath did not play.

Of the 28 Ashes Tests he has played, Australia has won 21, drawn four and lost three.

Shane Warne: career highlights

by admin on August 30th, 2019

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Shane Warne’s speaks out about the highs and lows of a remarkable and sometimes controversial career during today’s press conference:

Favourite match:

The second Ashes Test win at Adelaide Oval earlier this month.

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“My favourite Test match would have been the 1992 Test match in Sri Lanka, in Colombo. That would have been favourite up until last week in Adelaide. I didn’t think I’d ever top 1992, but Adelaide definitely pipped that, that’s the best match I’ve played in.”

Career high: “The high was just playing cricket for Australia. I’ve been lucky to play in an unbelievable era. I don’t want to single out any particular time or anything like that. I’ve just been very lucky. I’ve been very lucky to play in an unbelievable team, with some unbelievable players, once-in-a-generation players. Together we’ve achieved some special things. And I’d like to think I’ve played my part in that.”

Career lows: Losing the 1996 World Cup final to Sri Lanka, and losing the 1992/93 home series against the West Indies. “To lose the final there, with a big opportunity to win a World Cup final, was probably the biggest disappointment. Along with losing to the West Indies by one run in Adelaide. And then watching Curtley Ambrose get seven for one in Perth, and losing that series, which is the only one I’ve lost in Australia as part of the Australian cricket team. I’ve only lost one series, and that was to the West Indies in 1992-93.”

Best international batsmen: Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. “I think those two guys have been the toughest at international level. Brian Lara because of his domination and his placement. It’s just amazing his placement in cricket, he places the ball unbelievably well and can dominate. He can turn a game, as we’ve seen over the years, no matter who’s bowling. Sachin Tendulkar I really admire, I admire Brian too, but I really admire Sachin for what he has to go through every day in India with a billion people wanting him to do well. There’s 50,000 people outside the stadium until he walks in to bat, then they all charge in. One of the hardest things when you’ve been such a successful player is everybody else’s expectations. They can wear you down after a while. Everyone just thinks that you’re going to go out and do the business. It’s not that easy.”

Best Australian opponent: “Darren Lehmann has been the hardest player that I’ve had to bowl to domestically. I think he’s the best player of spin bowling out of anybody in the world.”

Any chance of a comeback? “No.”

AWB shrugs off US ban

by admin on August 30th, 2019

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AWB spokesman Peter McBride said there had been ongoing discussions with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on this issue and there seemed to be a little bit of misunderstanding.

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“Firstly we haven’t received any official notice,” he said.

“Secondly we have not used the export subsidy program since early 2004.

“We have informed them recently that we would voluntarily step down from using the export program. We don’t envisage using it in the foreseeable future.”

“As we haven’t used the program for over two and a half years and we are currently not using it, we will just continue to have discussions with them going forward.”

AWB now has a month to respond to the USDA move and announce whether it will contest the debarment action – a process that could involve a protracted hearing process.

US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced overnight AWB and its affiliates, as well as 11 former employees, could be barred indefinitely from US government programs after further investigations.

The announcement follows last month’s release of the Cole report, commissioned by the Australian government, which found that AWB had funnelled almost $300 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s former regime to secure lucrative wheat export contracts with Iraq in defiance of the United Nations.

Commissioner Terence Cole also recommended 11 AWB employees – including former company chairman Trevor Flugge, former chief executive Murray Rogers and former chief financial officer Paul Ingleby – be further investigated for possible criminal or corporate offences.

“We have a duty to protect the public interest by ensuring the firms and individuals with whom we do business abide by the law,” Mr Johanns said in a statement.

“We have taken this immediate step based on evidence of illicit activities and, in some cases, evidence of attempts to conceal those activities.”

USDA spokeswoman Dana Johnson said the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) looked very closely at the Cole report.

“We have taken this step based on the evidence and on our duty to protect the public interest and to ensure the USDA only does business with responsible individuals,” she told ABC radio.

“We found evidence that led our officials here to order the suspension and debarment of AWB Limited and its affiliates.

“In addition there was a US company that we have also proposed suspension and debarment for.”

Ms Johnson said the debarment still applied to AWB even though most named personnel now had no involvement with AWB and regulations clearly stipulated responsibility of the named entities and individuals.

“That will be decided during debarment proceeding that will unfold over the next few months,” she said.

Ms Johnson said the immediate suspension barred AWB and individuals from contracting with the US government and participating in most US programs.

“AWB USA Limited had in the past in 2002-04 accessed some of the USDA export credit guarantee programs,” she said.

“The suspension and debarment would apply to AWB Limited and all of its current future affiliates. Should AWB USA decide to try to access those programs, this would exclude them.”

Containment lines ‘won’t hold’

by admin on August 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

“They are just so sure that the fire will jump containment lines if the wind picks up as predicted,” said a spokesman for the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

苏州半永久

The spokesman said the fires, which have blackened more than 800,000 hectares in Victoria, were now so large that a wind change could make conditions much worse.

“In terms of how dry the bushland is – the fire situation – it really is a monster out there,” he said.

Fire has surrounded Mount Buller, with Mirimbah, Sheepyard Flat and Sawmill Settlement to the north and Howqua Hills and Tobacco Flat to the south on alert.

Conditions calmer

Although conditions today were calmer, a fire yesterday briefly broke containment lines at Mansfield and resources are stretched at other danger points.

Senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology Richard Carlyon said northerly winds, which picked up a little this afternoon and tonight, will be strong tomorrow.

He said in ridgetop areas, around where fires are raging, it would get to about 25-30 knots tomorrow, with gusty winds of up to 15 knots in valleys.

Mr Carlyon said a cool change would not likely hit fire areas in the high country until just before midnight tomorrow, when rains of 5-10 millimetres are expected.

More than 900 injured

Meanwhile, more than 900 people have been treated by St John Ambulance volunteers for injuries sustained in Victoria’s bushfires.

Injuries included eye irritation, dehydration, minor burns, blisters, bruises, broken bones, cuts and spider bites, with 17 patients requiring hospital treatment.

More than 430 St John Ambulance staff and volunteers are supporting Country Fire Authority and Department of Sustainability and Environment areas across the state.

The service has nine first aid posts at Mansfield, Briagolong, Heyfield, Mt Beauty, Bright, Erica, Dargo, Swifts Creek and Mt Hotham.

Bashir sparks terror fear

by admin on August 30th, 2019

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Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty warned of the risks after the Indonesian Supreme Court overturned Bashir’s conviction over the bombings, in which 88 Australians died.

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The Supreme Court has ruled Bashir did not give his blessing to the bombings and overturned his conviction on conspiracy charges in the attack that killed a total of 202 people.

But Mr Keelty said Australians had no reason to be disappointed with Indonesia’s judicial system.

“Circumstantial cases are the most difficult to put before a court,” he told ABC Radio today.

“I don’t think people should be disappointed about the Indonesian criminal justice system,” he said.

“I think we should just accept that it was a complex and difficult case to prosecute.”

The 2002 bombing was followed by attacks against the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and another bombing in Bali in October of 2005 in which 23 people were killed, including four Australians.

Mr Keelty said the consequences of the court’s latest decision were unclear.

“I don’t think even those involved in the activities in Indonesia would have been aware that this decision was about to be handed down, let alone be given time to react to it in such a way.”

Even so, he cautioned Australians planning to visit Indonesia over the holiday season.

“We are concerned at the moment that there may be further bombings during this Christmas period.”

Mr Keelty praised the co-operation between Australian and Indonesian forces in training new police recruits and in tracking down suspected terrorists.

“If you look at it in per capita terms, of how many people we believe are involved in terrorism, the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian authorities have arrested more terrorists and put them through their criminal justice system than any other country in the world.”

McGrath ‘not retiring yet’

by admin on August 30th, 2019

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Ponting said McGrath told him today that he was stunned at the speculation about his future, following the retirement of Shane Warne.

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“I actually sat next to him on the plane today and he can’t believe some of the attention and some of the things that have been written in the paper, particularly today,” Ponting said.

“I certainly haven’t had the conversation with Glenn that I had with Shane the other night so that would to me indicate that he’s thinking about playing a bit longer yet.”

Meanwhile, Ponting said that he never tried to talk Warne out of changing his mind about quitting the game.

He said he was saddened to lose such a good teammate but respected the spin star’s decision.

“I think I was a bit shocked a bit saddened like everybody else was — not that he made the decision because he’d obviously thought long and hard about wanting to retire,” Ponting said.

“But because of the fact I played with him for so long and he’s a really good friend of mine and I’ve learned a lot from him about the game.

“Whenever you lose someone you’ve been close to for a long period of time it’s sad.

“But he’s obviously made that decision on other things he wanted to do in his life so I didn’t at any stage ever try to talk him out of it,” he said.

Ponting said he had impressed on the team the need to win the remaining two tests in Melbourne and Sydney as a testament to Warne.

“We want to win the next two games and it would be a fitting end for Shane if we did that and that’s the way we’ve got to approach these next two,” he said.

Ponting said there was no room for a relaxed approach even though Australia has already wrapped up the Ashes series.

“I think we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to the fans around

Australia to make sure that we aren’t any more relaxed,” he said.

“Losing last time stung everybody and we’ve go to make sure now that… with Warney doing what he’s done, we can actually use that as some sort of motivation to make sure we send off one of the all time greats of the game on the right note.”

And he is convinced Australia can make it 5-0.

“Absolutely, if we keep playing the cricket that we’ve played in the first three then I think England should find it very hard to win a game,” Ponting said.