Te’o waits for the phone call he thought would never come

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As former Queensland State of Origin star Ben Te’o waits for the phone call on Thursday which will reportedly confirm his shock selection in Warren Gatland’s 40-man British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand, he would be well advised to reflect on just how fast his star has risen since switching codes in the wake of winning the 2014 NRL Premiership with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
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After a successful league career with the Wests Tigers, Brisbane Broncos and then Souths, seven Origin appearances and a Rugby League World Cup cameo for Samoa, the Auckland-born star opted to head to Irish province Leinster to try his hand at rugby a little under three years ago.

Now at English Premiership strugglers Worcester, the centre has made eight appearances in the white jersey of Eddie Jones’ England, albeit only chalking up a solitary start – in an untidy victory over Italy which was mired by the home side’s legal, yet controversial no-ruck tactics.

Having qualified for the national side via his English mother, Te’o earned a deserved reputation as an aptly named impact player, coming off the bench with marked success as Jones’s side retained their Six Nations title.

However, it is not a label that sits comfortably with the 30-year-old Lion-in-waiting: “It’s not something I like doing,” he told England’s Times newspaper.

“I’ve never liked not starting a game. When you’re in a training camp with England, it’s such an intense environment and you put a lot into the training. Then it comes to game day and you only get 20 minutes …”

“You don’t want to say, ‘I’m an impact player.’ I’d never want to say that” he added.

He may be typecast, but it is this reputation which will see the rookie picked ahead of eminent centres including compatriot Jonathan Joseph, Ireland’s Jared Payne and Garry Ringrose, Scotland’s Huw Jones and Wales’ Scott Williams.

“You play whatever role you’re given,” he said. “But you can start to be seen as a certain type. You play for 20 minutes and feel like you’ve got so much more to give.”

Previously, Te’o had spoken cooly on the subject of the Lions, suggesting that not even he believed his career would lead him to the storied shirt so late in his career – and so soon after his switch: “I know the significance of the Lions but I can’t say I grew up wanting to be a British Lion,” he told the Times.

The subject of a fierce tug-of-war between Ireland, England and , Te’o eventually opted to swap Leinster for Worcester and throw his hat into the ring for a shot under Jones – and the gamble has paid off handsomely.

“I’d had meetings with [ head coach] Michael Cheika, and going back there was a possibility,” he said. “Eddie said he could only pick players who play in the Premiership but, if I came over here and played good rugby, he’d have a look at me. I just chose what felt right.”

The popular centre says he was inspired to widen his horizons after watching his former Broncos teammate – and one-time flatmate Israel Folau – swap league for AFL, and then rugby.

“However successful people say Israel was in AFL, in his head he was successful,” Te’o said. “He gave it a go and the most important thing was that he learnt a lot about himself along the way. You’ve got to challenge yourself sometimes and I wanted to do that.”

When Te’o answers the call on Thursday, he will join the ranks of such luminaries as Jack ‘Iron Man’ Matthews, Mike Gibson, Jeremy Guscott, Jamie Roberts and Brian O’Driscoll.

Perhaps more importantly, he will achieve what many thought 2014 Premiership-winning teammate Sam Burgess might, and rubber-stamp a successful conversion to the code. Big shout out to this bloke, when I first thought about going to Rugby Union he was the first guy to tell me I could make it. Told me it wasn’t too late to learn, that I had the talent, just to back myself. And two and a bit years later we are playing a test match against each other.A post shared by Ben Te’o (@ben.teo) on Dec 6, 2016 at 10:25pm PST

ADVERTISING FEATURE: City fires up for visitor

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SAILING INTO TOWN: HMAS Newcastle and her crew will play a pivotal role in Anzac Day centenary celebrations this year.GUIDED missile frigate HMAS Newcastle will fire a seven-gun salute tomorrow afternoon as she sails for the last time into her namesake port.
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Fort Scratchley will welcome the ship with a salute from its No.2 Mk.7 gun before the HMAS Newcastle replies with a salvo from its ceremonial deck gun.

The arrival marks the start of a busy few days of activities for the ship’s captain and crew.

From 10am Monday, the vessel’s full complement of 184 servicemen and women will take part in a Freedom of Entry march through the city.

The march will start at Perkins Street before proceeding along Hunter Street, turning onto Darby Street and then onto King Street before ending at Civic Park.

HMAS Newcastle commanding officer Commander Mark Sirois said the march was “a fitting honour” for the crew and city prior to the ship’s decommissioning.

“Newcastle is our home port and our namesake city, and the Freedom of Entry is an old tradition that creates an even greater bond,” he said.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who will inspect the crew and preside over the march, said HMAS Newcastle and her crew had maintained close ties with Newcastle since her launch in 1992.

“HMAS Newcastle personnel have regularly taken part in Anzac Day marches and other military ceremonies in the city and they have welcomed thousands of Novocastrians for open days during the ship’s many visits. But equally important is their ongoing charity work with local organisations in need.”

The ship’s crew will be among an estimated 800 current and former servicemen and women and their families taking part in the city’s main Anzac Day march through Newcastle to Civic Park.

Also during the visit, a troop of 100 Scouts from the Hunter and Manning regions will be given an exclusive tour of the vessel.

HMAS Newcastle has been deployed on various military and peace-keeping roles throughout the Pacific and Persian Gulf areas and will continue on operational taskings and exercises throughout 2018 prior to her decommissioning in 2019.

NHRU: Wells heads list of internationals leading the way for Newcastle University

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STAR ATTRACTION: New Zealand fly-half Dan Wells is one of six overseas recruits at University. The 26-year-old Northland sevens star plans to make Newcastle his permanent home. Picture: James GardinerDAN Wells was in need of a change. New town. New rugby environment.
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A Kiwi, he had just represented Northland at the national sevens championships –the platform from which the New Zealand squad for the IRB world sevens circuit is selected.

There was talk of a place in the Northland ITM Cup program but Wells had heard that line before.

He looked at an opportunity in Ireland before Newcastle University entered the equation.

Wells is one of sixinternationals recruited by the Students through the support of the McCloy Group.

The 26-year-old didn’t just pack a bag and jump on a plane.He and partner, Steph Haynes, sold their house in Whangarei, where he was a builder, and relocated stock, lock and barrelto Newcastle.

“It was a bit of a gamble,” Wells said. “We have fallen in love with Newcastle. It is easy to get around andthe beaches are beautiful. We plan to settle down here.”

Apart from Wells, hooker Luke Harwood (Wales), No.8 Jack Cooke (Ireland), centresFausto Carpini (Argentina) and Nelson Gomes (France) and halfback Gianluca Naldi (Italy) are foreigners.

Gomes scored a try and Wells (conversion) and Naldi(penalty) also scoredin the Students’ 20-16 win over Nelson Bay.

“You can see that everyone has skill, but we all have different styles and techniques,” Wells said.“It is taking time for us to gel. By about round three we should be close.”

Wells has played mainly at 12 or 15 in recent seasons but has been handed the job of running the team at fly-half.

“We have a few boys whose English is not that great and they want someone to control the game,” he said. The video clips they saw of me weremainly playing fullback. I enjoy kicking but counter attacking is my strength.Uni have a few boys who can play 15 and they really want me to settle in as a number 10.”

Wells was born in Gisborne and went to noted Auckland rugby academy,Manurewa High School, where he played in the first XV aged 15.He represented Northern Region Maori colts (under-20s) and was picked up by Northland.

Younger brothers Henare, 24, and Dallas, 22, are talented rugby league players. They grew up on the Gold Coast with their fatherand attended Keebra Park High School. Henare played under-20s at the Sydney Roosters and was at the Warriors last year. Dallas played under-20s at Cronulla.

“Theyhave done well in league, but I can still handle them,” he laughed.

Next for the Students are Lake Macquarie.

“I’m used toto playing physical teams back home,” he said.“Club rugby here is pretty strong. From what I’m told wehave a lot more experience this year whichgives the young boys confidence.”

Private health insurance ‘putting Medicare under threat’

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The Age, News, 18/01/2017, picture Justin McManus. Greg Hunt is named the new minister for Health and Sport. Hunt speaking at a doorstop at Frankston Hospital. Photo: Justin McManusThe Turnbull government is under renewed pressure to tackle the cost, complexity and poor coverage of private health insurance amid warnings the problems are threatening the future of Medicare.
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Health leaders, consumer advocates and policy experts have given damning assessments of the state of ‘s private health care regime in a new series of articles published by the Consumers Health Forum.

The authors warn relentless above-inflation premium price rises are threatening the viability of the entire sector, that insurers are failing people with chronic illnesses, and that the current model is contributing to growing inequality.

The strongest criticism comes from distinguished former public servant John Menadue, who says Medicare is now “seriously threatened” by the growth in what he describes as “inefficient and unfair” private insurance.

“It threatens our universal health system through seriously weakening the ability of Medicare as a single funder to control costs,” Mr Menadue writes.

“We have seen the enormous damage that PHI [private health insurance] has wrought in the US. We are steadily going down the same dangerous path.

“On present trends, we will have a divided healthcare system. One system will be for the wealthy with a safety net system for the indigent.

“The n government today knows that PHI is in real trouble. But for ideological reasons it wants to prop up what John Howard foisted on us in 1999.”

That was when the Howard government introduced the private health insurance subsidy, which now costs n taxpayers $11 billion a year. Since then, premiums have risen by over 150 per cent, while inflation has been just 60 per cent.

The Consumers Health Forum hopes the contributions will help convince the government to order a comprehensive review of the sector.

“Most of these articles are pointing to serious inadequacies, whether it be in relation to the cost and complexity of insurance, the meagre coverage for many people, particularly the chronically ill, or ineffectiveness of government subsidies which are supposed to ease public hospital waiting times,” CEO Leanne Wells said.

The government last year established a Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee to advise it on reform but there are concerns it will not recommend any significant changes. In one of the articles released today the advisory panel’s chairman, seasoned public servant Jeff Harmer, says the government has “limited options” for regulation.

In another contribution, Dr Lawrie Malisano from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons said: “The long term viability of the private health model in will also decline if health insurance premiums continue to rise above CPI and wages growth.”

Professor Malcolm Hopwood from the Royal n and NZ College of Psychiatrists questioned whether it was “morally justifiable” for insurance companies not to cover such a large percentage of the burden of disease.

Health financing analyst Ian McAuley described private health insurance as a “high cost, privatised tax” that failed to deliver value and certainty for consumers, while CHOICE’s Matt Levey said the “toxic combination” of surging prices and complexity was leading many ns to downgrade or drop their cover.

While Health Minister Greg Hunt has been keen to promote this year’s average premium price increase of 4.84 per cent as the “lowest premium price rise in 10 years”, it pushes the cumulative premium price rise to 54.6 per cent since 2009.

Over the same time period, inflation pushed up the general level of prices 17 per cent.

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Canberra’s median house price surpasses $700,000

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Canberra house prices surge as unit prices take a dive: report

Rents rise faster in Canberra than in any other n capital city: report

Canberra’s median house price has surpassed $700,000 for the first time.

The Domain State of the Market Report released on Thursday shows house prices have jumped 10.4 per cent over the past year to a new median of $705,059.

It represents a rise of 5.3 per cent over the March quarter; the highest quarterly increase among ‘s capital cities.

Units prices, on the other hand, have fallen for the second consecutive quarter, dropping 0.6 per cent to a median of $401,661.

It represents a 2 per cent fall over the past 12 months.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said Canberra’s housing market had gained momentum over the past 12 to 18 months.

Three key factors had driven house price growth in the ACT: a stronger economy with a higher employment rate; migration, as more people moved to Canberra for work; and the territory’s relative affordability compared to Sydney and Melbourne.

“Certainly, there’s lots of confidence in the market,” he said.

However, higher prices made it much harder for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder, particularly if income growth lagged behind house price growth.

“Homeowners will be pretty pleased where Canberra prices have gone,” Dr Wilson said.

“If you’re not coming into the market with something to trade, as a first home buyer, it’s very, very tough.”

Allhomes data scientist Nicola Powell said low interest rates had stimulated the market and encouraged buyers of their second or third property to upsize.

“It is more affordable to have a larger mortgage and upsize,” she said.

“We’ve seen the market perform extremely well in 2016 and this year as well, even though there is a lot of speculation around interest rates.”

Dr Powell agreed first home buyers would struggle. Although borrowing money was cheaper, she said the initial deposit was the real challenge for this sector of the market.

Canberra is ‘s third-most expensive city to buy a house, behind Sydney’s median house price of $1,151,565 and Melbourne’s $843,674.

Canberra unit prices, on the other hand, have fallen amid continued construction of apartment complexes.

Dr Powell said unit prices had fallen “quite substantially, but once building construction starts to ease we’ll see a steadying of unit prices”.

“We are starting to see a levelling of that construction,” she said.

Dr Wilson said Canberra was “reaching the bottom of the price cycle”, however supply and demand would always be a long-term problem.

He said increasing rental yields for apartments were attracting more buyers, particularly investors.

Canberra provides investors with the highest gross yields for apartments at 5.7 per cent – a year-on-year increase of 3.7 per cent, according to the report.

The nation’s capital has also recorded the biggest jump in median asking rent among the capital cities, with house prices rising 7.5 per cent to $500 a week and unit prices rising 8.2 per cent to $428 a week over a 12-month period.

Canberra is the third-most expensive city to rent a house or unit, behind Sydney ($550 and $530) and Darwin ($550 and $430), but still ahead of Melbourne ($420 and $395).

Dr Powell said rising rents would make it harder for tenants to save for a property amid the increasing cost of living.

“However there is a silver lining in terms of looking at different types of property,” she said.

“We’ve seen unit prices fall and that does offer a great opportunity for first home buyers trying to access the market.”

Dr Wilson said there was “a clear undersupply of rental properties” in the ACT, with net migration creating short-term demand for leased homes.

“I expect to see investment activity on the rise,” he said.

Brisbane house prices fall: Largest quarterly drop since 2011 as buyers start the year in “snooze mode”

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Limiting number of investment properties ‘stupid’Brisbane knock-down job turned into a designer homePort Douglas mansion hits the market
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Brisbane house prices have fallen this year, recording the largest quarterly drop since September 2011.

Despite a heady start to the year for Brisbane’s high end with record-breaking multi million-dollar sales, the same cannot be said for the rest of Brisbane, with the latest data from Domain’s State of the Market Report recording a fall of 1.4 per cent for houses.

Annual growth is still positive, at 3.4 per cent, but this is the slowest growth rate recorded in Brisbane since 2013.

Unit prices fell 3.8 per cent, the biggest drop since 2000.

It comes as ANZ and the Property Council released an industry sentiment report showing Queensland had one of the lowest rates of property industry confidence in the country.

But the news isn’t as bad as it seems; Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said this is typical for Brisbane property, which tends to take a few months to gain momentum every year.

“We know Brisbane’s gone backwards,” said Dr Wilson. “It’s not such a big surprise to be honest, Brisbane always starts the year in snooze mode and it builds strength through the year,” he said.

At Brisbane’s high end, any hitches in the market have gone unnoticed ??? four of the top five suburbs for growth in the past 12 months have a six-month median above $1 million.

St Lucia had the most growth, up a whopping 31 per cent, to a median of $1,267,000. Ascot is also firing, with 29 per cent growth to a six-month median of $1,540,000.

West End was one of the top performers, with the median growing 11 per cent. But SPACE Property West End principal Angus Commins said the past few weeks have been tough for sellers in the inner city suburb.

“It’s a volatile market,” he said. “In the last four to eight weeks, we’ve certainly seen compression in price.”

“I would have thought about 10 per cent.”

Mr Commins said anecdotally, the market had been weaker than usual. “We got to a point to where we were pushing a million for that product and now that’s come down to about $850,000, $900,000,” he said.

Property Council executive director Chris Mountford said the council’s report showed there was some apprehension in the industry. The general metric showed Queensland’s confidence in the industry rose just four points to 127 (100 is neutral), in comparison to NSW, ACT, and Victoria, which reported scores in the mid-to-low 140s.

Out of Brisbane’s weakest spots for growth, Sandgate was the worst performer, with prices falling just under 15 per cent. Inner city favourite Balmoral was close behind, falling 7.5 per cent.

Dr Wilson identified Stafford Heights as a stand out suburb with poor growth because it was out of character: “Given [the median is] a bit softer, Stafford Heights represents pretty good value for buyers.”

LJ Hooker Stafford agent Dean Hamilton was surprised the suburb recorded negative growth in the past six months.

“There’s never more than two pages of listings in Stafford Park, stock doesn’t sit around,” he said. “So I don’t think it has anything to do with the suburb, and I think we’ll have pretty big increase in the next six months.”

Despite the across-the-board drop in Brisbane prices, Dr Wilson was confident the market would continue to grow long term. “The positives outweigh the negatives,” he said. “Unless you’re talking about units.”

Dr Wilson said despite a uncharacteristically large 3.8 per cent drop this quarter, units in Brisbane were continuing their downward slide and said he expected prices would potentially flatten out after 12 months.

Brisbane rents bucked their set trend of stagnating, rising slightly this quarter for both houses and units. An upward trend in migration was leading the rental market to growth, but Dr Wilson said the vacancy rate was still less than ideal for investors.

Turnbull shifts tone on the home front

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In India last week, Malcolm Turnbull expounded ‘s outwardism, a multi-decade success story of rising living standards built on openness and inclusiveness.
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“Remember, there is half a million ns of Indian background and it’s the largest single part of our migration program nowadays, so the -India connection is very, very strong,” he said. “It’s built not just on meetings between prime ministers but on thousands, if not millions, of connections between ns and Indians.”

It was a proud national boast.

A week later and Turnbull is in , where the mechanisms governing such movements are described from the other end – an end where the words feel harsher, and the arithmetic a degree more exclusive.

“We are putting n values at the heart of citizenship processes and requirements,” he said, announcing aggressive new citizenship testing, just 24 hours after unveiling the most significant crimping of the skilled temporary visa category undertaken in years.

“Membership of the n family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better .”

The politics are all too obvious. The changes will be popular with many ns. Indeed, that much Turnbull is banking on.

While the tonal shift was not missed in Delhi, this was the domestic Turnbull – the one trailing in the polls and harried on a daily basis by a right-wing insurgency that threatens to widen at the first hint of the old moderate Malcolm returning.

It is no coincidence that simultaneously several countries are pursuing more restrictive rules on entry and citizenship amid growing concerns over terrorism, and jobs. Think Britain, the US, , New Zealand and many parts of Europe.

Turnbull’s switch cannot be divorced from this global-political context: a rising anxiety over race, religion and economic dislocation. Xenophobia is the new black – or is it white?

Fortunately, ‘s changes remain largely rhetorical, and tougher citizenship requirements will still be eminently navigable for those genuinely wanting to settle and contribute.

ns should not be reluctant to reinforce fundamental values such as the absolute non-acceptance of violence against women and children – including female genital mutilation – and the rights of women to equal access to jobs, property, legal redress, etc.

But it would be a pity if in doing so, other core n values were trashed: those going to tolerance, multiculturalism, and freedom from persecution.

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State of the NationThursday, April 20, 2017

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TOP SHOT: This awesome pic was captured by @daruquthniriza near Esperance, Western .State of the nation►Adelaide, SA:Horticultural growergroups in the north of Adelaide have come out in opposition to a local council’s proposal to lift rate chargesfor primary producers.
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► Esperacne, WA:The state government has come under pressure to reveal its plan to prevent sharkattacks after fisheries minister Dave Kelly concededdrum lines would no longer be dropped to catch dangerous sharks following fatalities.

The fresh political row erupted after 17-year-old Mandurahgirl Laeticia Brouwer was killed in an attack near Esperance on Monday.

► Queensland:Nationals Deputy Leader and Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash has outlined further plans to bolster the potential for decentralising government agencies and also pushing commercial businesses out into country centres.

In an address to the National Press Club in Canberra today, Senator Nash also revealed a new mental health initiative that’s a direct result of the recently convened Regional Ministerial Taskforce chaired by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

► Tasmania:The scrapping of Safe Schools in Tasmania could come at the expense of some of the state’s most vulnerable students,according to opposition parties.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff announced thisweek thatthe government would not fund Safe Schools once federal funding for the program ranout this year.

► Morpeth, NSW:The assault on Berrsheba, a legendary battle in the First World War, was immortalised by Ron Marshall in his paintingThe Charge.The painting will be on display at Morpeth Gallery until April 23, to commemorate the 100thanniversary of the battle.

The assault on Beersheba began at dawn.It was the first time the n Light Horse was used as pure cavalry, and it became history’s lastgreat charge.

► Cessnock NSW:Mystery surrounds a man who was stabbedbut refused to provide any details of the incident to police.

Theman from Hunterview, in Singleton,presented to Cessnock Hospital at 10.15amSaturdaywith a 10 centremetre laceration to his torso.

Eye on the weatherWhat does it look like in your neck of the woods today?

World news:► Jakarta:Anies Baswedan is poised to become the next governor of Jakarta in October after one of the most bitter and polarising elections in the history of Indonesia’s nascent democracy.

Two hours after voting closed Mr Anies had an unassailable lead over the incumbent, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who is ethnically Chinese and Christian, following a peaceful polling day.

The election has been portrayed as a test of Indonesia’s much vaunted pluralism and an ominous presage of the role sectarian politics could play in the 2019 national election.

►Beijing:Interpol has issued a red notice to arrest a flamboyant Chinese billionaire who has been taunting the Chinese Communist Party online and hurling accusations of corruption while living a luxurious life in exile in the United States.

Guo Wengui, aka Miles Kwok, is a Forbes rich-lister who shot to international prominence last month when it was revealed the 50-year-old was a member of US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Faces of FOR 18years, Darryl Sheridan has been teaching kindergarten children about the many and varied animals that are part of his mobile animal farm.

It was explaining the characteristics that identified his rainbow lorikeet,Polly, as a parrot to one inquisitive child that inspired his first published children’s book.

What was it about Polly that differentiated her from, say, one of the cows? Or from Lamington, the sheep?

What’s trendy?►TWITTER:

Three state premiers have been called on by @theprojecttv and @Clean_Up to #BanTheBag. https://t苏州夜场招聘/8wB0NbmggG

— Moments (@MomentsAU) April 19, 2017On this day …1862The first pasteurization test is completed by FrenchmenLouis Pasteurand Claude Bernard.

1902Marie & Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive element radium chloride

1920Balfour Declarationrecognized, makes Palestine a British Mandate

1968English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech.

1974’The Troubles’, the Northern Ireland conflict between republican and loyalist paramilitaries, British security forces, and civil rights groups, claims its 1000th victim

1980Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria sees hundreds of Berber political activists arrested

1999Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School, Colorado

2010The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico and an environmental diaster

Speak English, respect our values: PM’s citizenship crackdown

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull takes a selfie with new n citizens Lydia Banda-Mukuka and Chilandu Kalobi Chilaika after the citizenship ceremony on Day in Canberra on Tuesday 26 January 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesWould-be ns will face tough new hurdles – including a new English language and “n values” test – and have to wait several more years before being eligible for citizenship, under a major shake-up of the migration program.
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Migrants could be asked whether they support female genital mutilation and forced marriages, or whether it’s acceptable to strike a spouse at home, under proposed values-based citizenship test questions to be put to the public for feedback.

Applicants will also have to demonstrate they have attempted to integrate into n society, providing evidence of a job, the enrolment of their children in school, and even membership of community organisations.

Under the current system, migrants enter on a range of visas. They can then become permanent residents but have to wait a further year before applying for citizenship. The one-year wait will rise to four years under the redesigned scheme.

The new measures are the second tranche of changes to ‘s immigration system in less than a week. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced the 457 foreign worker visa program would be axed and replaced by an “ns first” approach to skilled migration.

The two-step push underscores the Turnbull government’s shift to the right on immigration and border protection, which has been driven in part by Mr Dutton and other leading conservatives. They will probably be welcomed by the conservative base of the Coalition and nationalist parties such as One Nation, but some sections of ‘s migrant communities could feel targeted.

The changes are due to take effect from Thursday, but they will have to pass both houses of Parliament, opening a fresh political fight with the Labor opposition and crossbenchers.

Mr Turnbull said the citizenship changes, to be announced on Thursday, would put “n values at the heart of citizenship processes and requirements”.

“Membership of the n family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better . We must ensure that our citizenship program is conducted in our national interest,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Any conduct that is inconsistent with n values will be considered as part of this process. Criminal activity including family violence or involvement in organised crime is thoroughly inconsistent with n values.”

Mr Dutton said ns “shouldn’t be embarrassed to say we want great people to call home”.

“We want people who abide by our laws and our values and we should expect nothing less,” he said.

A third tranche of changes is expected and could include the creation of a “provisional visa” class which would tighten access to social security payments, as Fairfax Media revealed in November.

At present, citizenship applicants sit a 20-question test and must correctly answer at least 75 per cent. The quiz asks factual multiple-choice questions about Anzac Day, ‘s system of government and the colours of the Aboriginal flag.

The new quiz will not dump these questions, but “values-based” questions will be added to assess would-be citizens’ understanding of and commitment to “n values”.

If a person fails three times, they will have to wait two years before trying again.

A stand-alone English language test examining reading, writing and listening skills will also be introduced.

A permanent resident has most of the same rights as an n citizen, though they must have a valid visa with authority to travel if they wish to return to . They also can’t vote in elections, unless they were enrolled to vote as a British subject before 1984.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Wednesday said the 457 changes were “already unravelling”, pointing to an analysis by the ALP that showed just 8.6 per cent of people currently on foreign worker visas were working in jobs that would be excluded under the new visa system. Mr Dutton disputed that claim.

About 7 million permanent migrants have settled in since 1945. In 2014-15, 190,000 places were available for permanent migrants in ‘s immigration program.

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Anies Baswedan poised to be next governor of Jakarta after bitter contest

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JAKARTA, INDONESIA- APRIL 19: Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama (L), with his wife Veronica (R), and son Nicholas (C) arrive to cast their ballot the second round at a polling station in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 19, 2017.?? Photo Jefri Tarigan. Photo: Jefri TariganJakarta: Anies Baswedan is poised to become the next governor of Jakarta in October after one of the most bitter and polarising elections in the history of Indonesia’s nascent democracy.
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Two hours after voting closed Mr Anies had an unassailable lead over the incumbent, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who is ethnically Chinese and Christian, following a peaceful polling day.

The election has been portrayed as a test of Indonesia’s much vaunted pluralism and an ominous presage of the role sectarian politics could play in the 2019 national election.

Mr Anies’ victory is also a fillip for former army strongman Prabowo Subianto, whose Gerindra party endorsed Mr Anies and his multimillionaire running mate, Sandiaga Uno.

Mr Prabowo, who was defeated by Joko Widodo in the 2014 elections, has signalled he intends to re-stand for president in 2019.

On the eve of the election, Mr Anies compared the gubernatorial election to the Battle of Badr in 624 CE, considered a turning point in the Prophet Muhammad’s struggle to establish Islam and defeat his pagan opponents.

“Tonight’s meeting, heading towards the Badr war tomorrow, at the time the Prophet said that help from God will arrive if our intention to go to the war is to fight for the poor, to defend the oppressed,” he was quoted saying in the media.

President Joko Widodo, who is an ally of Ahok but said he would remain impartial during the elections, urged Jakartans to willingly accept whomever was voted leader.

“Political differences between us should not divide our unity because we must remember we are all brothers and sisters,” he said while casting his ballot in Central Jakarta.

Mr Anies and Mr Sandiaga embraced after learning of the early count results, a sample of final results from polling stations, which are generally a reliable prediction of election outcomes.

“We are committed to safeguard diversity and to fight for unity at the same time.”

Mr Sandiaga said: “We are all friends. Jakarta is united. We will forget the months that have passed, we will look at Jakarta for the next five years.”

A remarkably upbeat and philosophical Ahok congratulated his opponents but said they would wait for the formal result.

He said he hoped Mr Anies and Mr Sandiaga would complete the programs he had started.

“We will forget all the problems we had during the campaign. Jakarta is the home for everybody.”

Ahok said God gave power and took power away.

Eight months ago Ahok’s victory in the gubernatorial elections seemed assured.

His brash, take-no-prisoners approach in City Hall made him some enemies including among those who were evicted or opposed the Jakarta Bay reclamation.

However he was widely admired for his tough stance on corruption and can-do attitude to flood mitigation, overhauling a stodgy bureaucracy and addressing Jakarta’s traffic woes and polls found the majority were satisfied with his performance as governor.

But Ahok’s destiny was forever changed last September when he told voters they had been deceived by opponents who used a scripture from the Koran – Al-Maidah – to argue Muslims should not be led by a non-Muslim.

The ill-advised comments were seized on by Ahok’s opponents, including the radical Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Ahok was put on trial for blasphemy amid mass rallies calling for his incarceration that threatened the political stability of the capital.

Mr Anies, a former university rector and education minister who had a reputation as a moderate Muslim, has been accused of running a dog-whistle campaign by controversially reaching out to hardline groups like the FPI.

Religion was omnipresent during the election campaign.

Politics even infiltrated schools: Dilla Rosa, a 43-year-old Muslim housewife, told Fairfax Media she was disturbed when her Grade 5 son came home and said his religion teacher had told students they had to elect Muslim leaders.

“Politics was taught there – for elementary students it is not appropriate. The school wasn’t even in Jakarta,” said Ms Dilla, who voted for Ahok because he had “clear programs and real results”.

Telling children how Muslims should vote “put pressure on them” if their families had different beliefs. “It was upsetting.”

At 4am on voting day, Fairfax Media went to Al Azhar, a mosque in South Jakarta.

This was where organisers behind Tasmaya Al-Maidah – an app that urged Muslims from outside Jakarta to uphold Islam by “guarding” polling booths – had held a press conference on Monday.

The police had banned the mass mobilisation but Tasmaya Al-Maidah committee member Gimy said they were powerless to prevent them. But the police conducted “sweeping” raids of buses on Jakarta’s borders, and the 500 expected to assemble at Al Azhar were no-where in sight. About 30 people listened to a moderate sermon, during which the Imam prayed for a peaceful election.

Indonesia’s police chief Tito Karnavian said the election had run smoothly with no major incidents. Isolated complaints by Ahok supporters of intimidation at polling booths were “misunderstandings”, he said, that had been exaggerated by the media.

On Thursday, the embattled Ahok must meet his next Waterloo, when prosecutors make their sentence demand for his alleged blasphemy.

He faces being jailed for a maximum five years. However the sting will have been taken out of the court case and its attendant protests, which at times threatened political stability, following Wednesday’s election loss.

With Karuni Rompies and Amilia Rosa

Follow Jewel Topsfield on Facebook

Robert Dillon: Seven Days in League

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ThursdayTHE NRL has announced a crackdown on slappingbut Broncos coach Wayne Bennett reckons it’s not enough.
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Benny also wants head-patting outlawed.

“It shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” he declares. “I think it is disrespectful.

“That’s not what it is about to me. I don’t want them [Broncos] doing it — I told them that.”

It’s a fair point. I mean, in this era of concussion and litigation, how long before a player suffers career-ending brain traumafrom a pat on the melon?

It’s also evidence that the great coach is getting soft in his old age.

It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that Brisbane enforcer Gordy Tallis went ballistic and punched holes in Penrith’s Ben Ross, after which Bennett observed: “That’s football, no one condones it [fisticuffs] but that’s what makes the game what it is.

“They’re tough menandbig men,andit’s going to happen from time to time …it’s no more than an isolated incidentandthat’s how it should be treated.”

Meanwhile, Laurie Daley announces asquad of 52 Blues contendersand there is not a singleNewcastle player in it.

What an outrage. What about, or, or umm … or.

Yeah well, bloody typical. Newcastle treated as second-class citizens. Again.

Queensland, conversely, will pick and stick as usual. Knights flyer Dane Gagai will be on their right wing, and no doubt he will score at least one hat-trick in the series.

Bugger it. Seven Days ischeering for the Banana Benders this year. Go you Toads.

FridayI note with interest a newspaper investigation into the war of words during last week’s grand final re-match between the Storm andSharks.

Apparently in a half-time flare-up, Melbourne’s Will Chambers calledPaul Gallen a drug cheat, and the Cronulla skipper responded by labelling the Storm salary-cap rorters.

All of which raises the question of who deserves the high moral ground?

Call me a mercenary, but I could live with copping a free speedboat or thousands of dollars paid in a brown-paper bag. Not so sure I’d be that keen on injecting a product labelled “for equine use only”.

But each to their own.

In the Friday night clash between the Knights and the Roosters, a high-tempo contest entertains a bumper crowd of21,412.

All except the long-suffering journalists and photographers wrestling with the McDonald Jones Stadium wifi, which is officially the worst on the planet.

If not for my trusty homing pigeon, there would be no match report in Saturday’s Newcastle Herald.

SaturdayNewcastle Jets lose their last game of the season to join their rugby league counterparts, the Knights, in the competition cellar.

In what seems a classic case of “anything you can do, we can do worse”, our two footballing flagships now have three wooden spoons apiece.

While Jets fans are suicidal, graphic artist/photographer extraordinaire Grant Sproule sees a tourism opportunity.

Coffs Harbour has the Big Banana. Goulburn has the Big Merino. Ballina has the Big Prawn.

Why can’t Newcastle have the Big Spoon, proudly on display at McDonald Jones Stadium?

Good thinking, Sprouley.

You’re such a stirrer.

SundayMemo Newcastle Knights. When the Sharks visit in round 26, lay on the VIP treatment for their nearest and dearest.

I suggest transporting wives, girlfriends and kids of the Cronulla players to the game in stretch limos, then entertaining them in the plushest corporate box.

Don’t spare the Dom Perignon and lobster. Maybe a bouncy castle and face painting for the kids.

Whatever you do, don’t repeat the silly mistakePenrith make before their 28-2 belting from the Sharkies at Pepper Stadium.

“I couldn’t believe ourwivesandpartners got general admission tickets,”Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen fumes. “Ourwivesandpartners sat on the hill. They are supposed to get seats …that was extra motivation for us, too.

“I thought that was pretty ordinary.”

Given that the Sharkies hammeredthe Knights 62-0 in their last visit to McDonald Jones Stadium, it might be wise to roll out the red carpet.

MondayKnights chairman Brian McGuigan confirms the NRL is deep in negotiations to sell Newcastle’s NRL franchise to the Wests Group.

In keeping with the looming change in ownership, Seven Days suggests a fresh start with a new team nickname might be appropriate.

The Newcastle Maggots has a nice ring to it. Well, at least compared to the Ipswich Knights.

Elsewhere, Jack Bird’s dad and Sharks coach Shane Flanagan appearto have contrasting viewson why he signed with the Broncos.

“Everyone is giving him shit about it, saying he is money-hungry … but it’s not about the money,’’ Mick Bird says.

Coach Flanagan begs to differ: “In the end, it’s probably about money.”

The bottom line for the Knights, unfortunately, is that Bird brushed them, as did his namesake Greg a few months ago.

As they say, Birds of a feather …

TuesdayNewcastle coach Nathan Brown confirms the club’s interest in signing Warriorsplaymaker Kieran Foran.

I suppose there’s no harm in asking …but if I had a dollar for every player linked to the Knights in recent times, I’d be docked competition points for breaching the salary cap.

TOURIST ATTRACTION: Why can’t Newcastle cash in on our status as multi-code wooden spooners? Digital carve-up: Grant Sproule

WednesdayOff-contract Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods discusses his options on his weekly radio segment, just as he did last night on his weekly Foxtel segment.

He’s about the only player in whom the Knights haven’t expressed interest. Watch this space, perhaps?

Government hints Powerhouse may stay

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The state government has given its strongest indication yet that the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo could remain open in some form, a move that has concerned some of those backing its relocation to Parramatta.
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Minister for the Arts Don Harwin announced on Tuesday a new period of consultation and preparation of a final business case for the planned move of the museum which the government said “could include keeping some Powerhouse presence at the current site in Ultimo”.

The announcement drew criticism from advocates of moving the museum to western Sydney.

Labor leader Luke Foley described the announcement as a “stab in the back” for people in Parramatta.

Mr Foley cited a promise made by former premier Mike Baird that the museum would be “entirely located” in Parramatta.

“Now that he’s gone, [Premier Gladys] Berejiklian and Mr Harwin are prepared to trash that promise,” he said.

But campaigners against the controversial move welcomed the suggestion.

“There are strong arguments for Parramatta to have a museum of its own,” said Grace Cochrane from the Powerhouse Museum Alliance. “But the Powerhouse has been there for over 100 years and it’s so significant to Ultimo. It’s [a place] people come [to] from around the world”.

Head of the Western Sydney Business Chamber, David Borger, said: “It’s disappointing that the entire museum is not moving to Parramatta”.

Speculation has been rife since Gladys Berejiklian took over the Premiership that the state government could reverse its contentious plan to move the museum, which critics note could cost more than $1 billion.

But soon after being sworn in as Premier, Ms Berejiklian affirmed the government’s plans, asking whether critics of the plan felt that western Sydney “did not deserve world class a cultural institution”.

But a plan to sell the museum’s current site at Ultimo has also drawn criticism from architects.

Any sale would reap up to $200 million for the state government, according to estimates cited in a parliamentary inquiry.

Mr Harwin said a final business case for the move would be released later this year and expand on options for the Parramatta move, with additional public consultation also to open “soon”.

“The NSW government is committed to building a truly iconic museum in Western Sydney,” Mr Harwin said.

Parramatta Council said it welcomed the government’s announcement of further consultation, but said it would also launch an online campaign to highlight the depth of community support for the museum’s relocation, to be entitled We Want the Powerhouse Museum.

The state government was criticised for the degree of secrecy on the project at a recent parliamentary inquiry into the sale at which the state government did not produce the preliminary business case for the project.

The Museum’s current director Dolla Merrillees told parliament in February that the campaign against the move had made it difficult to attract sponsors for the new facility, rebadged as the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Three measures by which China’s students are ahead of Finland’s

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n students are twice as likely to say they expect to go to university as students in Finland, nearly 35 per cent more likely to say they want to be one of the best in their class, and three times as likely to have a paid job while they’re at school, a global study into student wellbeing has found.
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They are also placed far higher than the OECD average in these areas, according to a new report released worldwide on Wednesday night, which is based on the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.

The findings suggest n students are more motivated to do well during and after high school than students in countries such as Finland, which has long been viewed as having the optimal education system.

The report also provides a different view of n students after recent concerns about ‘s declining academic results in international and national assessments.

The 2015 PISA results showed that n students are doing worse in reading, maths and science in real terms and in comparison to other countries, and are now just above the OECD average.

The 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) report found that has seen little improvement in these areas since 1995, and last year’s NAPLAN results also found that literacy and numeracy results have flatlined.

However, the latest PISA report, which focuses on student wellbeing, has found that more than 54 per cent of n students expect to undertake a university degree, compared with an OECD average of 44 per cent, and more than 74 per cent say they aim to be one of the best students in their class, compared to an OECD average of 59 per cent.

Nearly 35 per cent of n students work while they are at school, compared with an OECD average of about 23 per cent.

Peter Goss, school education program director at the Grattan Institute, attributed ‘s strong performance in these areas to the school system and the nature of available jobs.

“One glimpse might be that the year 12 and HSC systems strongly reward high performance,” Dr Goss said.

“The returns for students doing higher education are high in compared to other countries because our economy has a higher-level service sector with fewer lower-skilled manufacturing jobs.

“And that may focus their minds in school.”

The focus on broader wellbeing in may also play a part in students performing better than average in non-test measures.

“Different cultures value different things,” Dr Goss said.

“There are some countries where academic performance is paramount and some countries where a broader education is seen as most important, and working may play a part in this.”

Sue Thomson, the director of educational monitoring and research at the n Council for Education Research, said she was surprised by the findings and that it was good to see that students have high levels of motivation.

However, now needs to focus on the 30 per cent of n students who only intend to complete high school, far higher than the OECD average of 18 per cent of students, she said.

The extremely low popularity of vocational education is also cause for concern, Dr Thomson said, with 3 per cent of n students aiming to do a VET course compared with an average of 15 per cent of students in OECD countries.

“The jobs that students who only have year 12 can do are disappearing and kids who are most at risk are those without plans for when they finish school,” she said.

“I think VET hasn’t been organised very well in the last few years and we need to promote it as a good alternative past finishing school.”

The importance of doing well in school and going on to university could also be leading to greater anxiety among n teenagers, with 68 per cent saying they feel very anxious about tests even if they are well prepared, compared with an average of 55.5 per cent of students across OECD countries and 49 per cent of Finnish students.

Nearly 47 per cent of n students say they get very tense when they study, far higher than the average of 37 per cent and 18 per cent of students in Finland.

Girls were far more likely to experience anxiety, with nearly 74 per cent saying they worry about getting poor grades, compared with 57 per cent of boys.

“It’s clearly an issue,” Dr Thomson said. “Some groups are much more anxious than others and it could be a matter of tapping into this to see what we could be doing.”

The report is based on responses from students aged between 15 and 16 and school principals across the 35 OECD countries and an additional 37 countries.

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