Greg Norman fuelling Leishman’s FedEx tilt

Marc Leishman says a text message exchange with idol Greg Norman is one of the driving forces behind his quest to break Australia’s hoodoo at the US PGA Tour’s rich FedEx Cup playoffs.

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The obvious incentive for Leishman to win the FedEx Cup is its $US10 million bonus cheque, but a rare correspondence with golfing great Norman has given the Victorian native a spring in his step at this week’s Tour Championship finale.

With Australian perennial FedEx contenders Jason Day and Adam Scott unable to claim the series during its 10-year history, Leishman has a hot chance as one the top five seeds in the Atlanta decider, courtesy of his wire-to-wire win at last week’s BMW Championship.

The 33-year-old Leishman is guaranteed the FedEx title with a victory in the 30-man event at East Lake Golf Club.

Leishman says he was chuffed with encouragement from World Golf Hall of Fame member Norman.

“Yeah, (Norman) has been a massive influence. I’ve always idolised him; he was such a successful bloke on and off the golf course. An inspiration, really,” Leishman told AAP.

Leishman said he first received a text from 62-year-old Norman on Saturday night, urging him to convert his five-shot lead in the final round of the BMW Championship.

“Then he sent a text to congratulate me on Sunday night,” said Leishman.

“Getting a text from Greg Norman is a pretty cool feeling … it had been a few years (since the last).

“I had a cardboard cut-out of Greg in my bedroom growing up.”

Looking to ice a breakout season that includes a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and seven top-10 results, Leishman says he’ll draw on a previous win at a 30-man event.

Leishman won the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge, whose field has since grown, in South Africa by a whopping six shots over big gun Henrik Stenson.

“Winning the Nedbank by six is good to have in the memory bank. Hopefully I can make this number two,” Leishman said.

MARC LEISHMAN AT THE FEDEX CUP

FedEx standing: Fourth

Tour Championship results: Tied 28th (2009; only appearance)

How he can win the FedEx Cup: In the top five seeds, Leishman wins the FedEx Cup with a Tour Championship victory.

He also has a solid chance of winning with a second-place finish and can finish as low as a tie for third and still have a chance.

Rohingya asylum seeker claims he was pressured to accept cash from Australia to leave Manus

A Rohingya Muslim, who spoke to SBS World News from Port Moresby on condition of anonymity, says he felt pressured to sign a deal with Australia to return to Myanmar from Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island in exchange for US$25,000.

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Efforts to clear the centre have been ramping up after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that it was illegal and must close.

“They [the Australian government] said: ‘Think about it, if you go back you can try another country’,” the 32-year-old said.

“I said I have to think about it, and I came back in my home and they sent somebody to me to apply some pressure, you know. They said ‘think about it, Manus is no good.’

“Signing the papers was my only option so I signed them,” he said.

“What choice do I have? The government offered me US$25,000 [to go back] or I sit in the transit centre at Manus Island.”

His comments come after The Guardian reported that Australia had offered a man that amount if he returned to Myanmar.

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The Myanmar military has been violent against Rohingyas since the 1970s with many escaping to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Only a few have travelled as far as Manus Island.

The military ramped up its campaign of violence in August, forcing more than 400,000 to flee in the past few weeks.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she was “concerned” about the plight of Rohingyas. Her comments have since being widely criticised by human rights organisations for not cracking down enough on the military.

James Gomez, human rights organisation Amnesty’s regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said her speech “demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine state.” 

0:00 Aung San Suu Kyi addresses nation over Rohingya crisis Share Aung San Suu Kyi addresses nation over Rohingya crisis

The Rohingya man said he arrived at Manus Island in 2013 after being kept at Christmas Island for 11-12 days.

He said he he lost his teeth when he was bashed by security on Manus Island in February 2014, and believes that ultimately PNG and Myanmar are both unsafe places for him to live.

“I have two choices, stay here in PNG or go back, so I would rather go back and die in my country.”

The Australian Council for International Development has called on the government to stop offering financial incentives to Rohingya asylum seekers at the Manus Island offshore processing centre to return to Myanmar and bring Rohingya refugees to Australia.

Marc Purcell, the CEO of the council, said in a press release on Tuesday, “We urge the Australian Government to look at an increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake, with specific consideration to vulnerable people who have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar.”

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the matter was for the Government of Papua New Guinea.

SBS World News has contacted the PNG government for comment.

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‘This is about race-baiting’: Ethnic groups condemn citizenship bill

The Australian government says its crackdown on citizenship requirements will improve security but his has shaken up some communities.

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Some ethnic communities say they feel unfairly targeted by the changes that will affect tens of thousands across the country.

That includes permanent resident Sara Balsamini, a business analyst who migrated from Italy in 2010.

“I moved to Australia initially with a working holiday visa,” she told SBS World News.

“It was supposed to be an experience, and then I just fell in love with the country and then I decided to try and stay. I was only two weeks away from completing my application.

“I had already collected all my documents, officially translated them, found a witness for my identity declaration. I was ready to apply.”

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Ms Balsamini said she had already integrated successfully in the community, but now with the proposed changes to the citizenship laws, feels unfairly targeted.

“It’s devastating, it puts a lot of uncertainty on my life and it was shocking for me that the government was trying to make these changes retrospectively for people that had already qualified, and already paid for a non-refundable fee, and already planned their life accordingly,” Ms Balsamini said.

A question of security?

A Senate inquiry saw more than 13,000 submissions made, both for and against the government’s citizenship bill.

The Coalition believes tighter citizenship laws will bolster national security. But according to the CEO of the Australian Arab Council, Randa Kattan, there is an embedded air of discrimination.

“I’m not sure how it will improve security. It looks like it’s only the brown countries that are being targeted. So in my opinion this is about race-baiting,” Ms Kattan said.

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“It is of great concern because we need to kind of scrutinise, we need to look at this very carefully; what messages is it sending, what messages is it sending to the people who are already contributing to this country, to society; what message is it sending to the general community about the people who are applying to become citizens of this country.”

Australian values

Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told SBS World News the government believes its measures are non-discriminatory, and are in Australia’s best interests.

“Across the board they’ll apply to everybody equally,” he said.

“We’re looking for people that want to come here and integrate, adopt Australian values, and become great members of the Australian community regardless of where they’re from.

“The government’s measures are designed to stop those people who don’t want to come here and integrate and become Australian citizens with those values that you would expect.”

Joseph Caputo, Director of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council Australia, warned Australia’s storied multicultural legacy is at stake.

“It is under threat, and I think that history is a good guide for the future,” Mr Caputo said.

“I think the good sense of Australians, the fair go, you know giving the fair go to everyone, should prevail, and the fact that we’ve done so in the past that everyone that has reached our shores have been given a fair go.

“That’s what made Australia [what it is] today, and we should not threaten it with proposed laws that will make it very very difficult for many many, many new arrivals.”

Community concerns

Stricter language requirements and a revised waiting period of four years instead of one, has the Chinese community most concerned.

“They’re dismayed at the proposed changes, and everybody is worried,” explained President of the ACT Chinese Australian Associations, Chin Wong.

“The Chinese community, like other multicultural communities, a lot of us feel that we’ve been targeted because English is not our first language.

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“We have people that have been here for nearly ten years, but with the changes of rules they know that they have to wait for another four years because they have to start all over again. Australia might lose a lot of those well-educated and well-young professionals.”

But changes to the waiting period would in fact mirror other western countries. In the United States, permanent residents wait five years before they can apply for citizenship.

In Canada, permanent residents must have lived in the country for four out of the previous six years, to be eligible.

It takes five years in France, eight in Germany, while in the United Kingdom it takes six years – with one year as a permanent resident, before citizenship is possible.

Senate committee chair, Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald, concedes a retrospective rule needs to be included so the new laws do not apply to people previously eligible to apply. But he believes the bill will add value to the term “citizen”.

“There should be some transitional power in the minister to allow individual cases where that was appropriate,” Senator Macdonald said.

“Anyone who wants to be a citizen and who is genuine will be able to get there. It might take them a little bit longer, but they will get there and they won’t have any problem.

“I think Australia will be better for it, having a citizenship that really means something and that counts.”

Chair of the Australian-Indian Youth Dialogue, Karan Anand, believes such a response is not good enough.

“I think a degree of empathy is really important in understanding those circumstances, and patience is quite a broad term to be using in this frame,” Mr Anand told SBS World News.

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“I think part of the rhetoric needs to be that ‘we welcome you and we want you to be in the Australian community’, contributing productively as well. And that needs to be part of the messaging that goes out with this legislation.

“We want to make sure that they feel welcomed regardless of what happens with our citizenship laws going forward.”

The bill is unlikely to stand in its current form due to insufficient cross-bench support. But what the final outcome will be, remains far from certain.

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Ten ‘safe from Americanisation’ under CBS

Australia’s Ten Network could become a program testing ground for its new US owner, CBS, but the “Americanisation” of Australian TV is not going to happen, an industry analyst says.

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Creditors of the financially stricken Ten approved the takeover bid by CBS on Tuesday, snubbing a rival offer from local bidders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon.

Once the sale is completed in coming weeks – assuming legal and regulatory approval and no further challenge from the Murdoch-Gordon camp – the Ten Network should retain its current identity, including flagship shows such as Masterchef, Fusion Strategy managing director Steve Allen says.

While it is “almost certain” that CBS will test new programming and formats in the local market, Mr Allen said Australian audiences need not fear the creeping Americanisation of Australian free-to-air television.

“Whatever happens, CBS can’t Americanise the Ten Network, its just not possible,” Mr Allen said.

The move into the Australian free-to-air market aligns with CBS’s global push to roll out its “All Access” digital subscription, video-on-demand and live-streaming service.

CBS said it had spotted “considerable broadcasting opportunities” in Australian multi-platform distribution and growth when it launched its surprise bid in August.

Mr Allen said audiences won’t be swamped by US shows, because while media ownership laws in Australia are changing there has been no shift in the quotas for locally produced Australian content.

“Historically, Ten used to struggle on that front but has since led the charge into reality TV and is comfortably ahead on both points and quota,” Mr Allen said.

Moreover, CBS knows its US content gets “half the ratings of five years ago” and is “quite aware” it is now local programming that attracts viewers and dominates the Australian free-to-air market.

“For two to three seasons now, there has been no real breakout hit among imported programming,” Mr Allen said.

Ten’s second largest creditor, 21st Century Fox, is the source of top-rating programming such as Masterchef, through its part-ownership of the merged production house EndemolShine – itself owed $12.4 million by Ten – and the creator of Ten’s ratings winners including Survivor, Offspring, and SharkTank.

Mr Allen said Fox is highly unlikely to renegotiate its content deals with other Australian free-to-air channels now because the Ten deals still have time to run and any approaches from rival networks would have been made already if there was any interest.

Myanmar ‘concerned’ over Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh: Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s de facto leader Suu Kyi says she condemns “all human rights violations” after Western powers threatened to take action if her government didn’t move to stop the military’s persecution of one of its ethnic minority groups, the Rohingya Muslims.

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The military has been persecuting Rohingyas since the 1970s and in August this intensified, forcing more than 400,000 to flee to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan over the past few weeks.

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In a televised speech addressing the UN, she said, “We feel deeply for the suffering of all the people who have been caught up in the conflict” in the country’s Rakhine state.”

“We are concerned to hear the number of Muslims fleeing areas to Bangladesh,” she said.

“We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence.”

“Hate and fear are the main scourges of our world. It is only by removing all the sources of hate and fear that we shall be able to remove conflict from our country and our world.”

0:00 Myanmar leader Suu Kyi condemns all human rights abuses Share Myanmar leader Suu Kyi condemns all human rights abuses

Suu Kyi assured her country was taking steps to end the violence, saying the military had been directed to adhere strictly to its code of conduct as well as refrain from harming innocent civilians.

“We are committed to achieve peace sustainability and development,” she said.

“We want to find out what the real problems are. There have been allegations and counter allegations, and we have to make sure that these allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.”

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Suu Kyi it was difficult for her young government – nearly 18 months old – to overcome the conflict.

“Eighteen months is a very short time in which to expect us to meet and overcome all the challenges we are expected to do,” she said.

She appealed to the international community to help her government find “a sustainable solution that would lead to peace stability and development for all communities within that state [of Rakhine].

“We have been trying to build peace out of internal strife.

“We would like to invite you [the international community] to take part in this peace process, to join us to find lasting solutions to the problems that have plagued our country for years.”

She cited that the government had indeed made progress and were taking up recommendations put forward by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, a report launched in 2016 led by former UN secretary-general Dr Kofi Annan.

“We are determine to implement the recommendations that will bring speedy improvement to the situation.

“The government is working to restore the situation to normalcy.”

MORE NEWS’Study the peaceful areas’

Suu Kyi claimed certain areas were peaceful and probed the international community to ask why.

“Study the peaceful areas, how have they managed to keep the peace?” she said.

“We would like to know more about those who have integrated…why they have not fled, why they have chosen to remain in their villages even though everything around them is in a state of turmoil.”

However, she said her country was “prepared” to take back refugees, who would be subject to a verification process “at any time”.

It was not immediately clear how many of the more than 400,000 refugees would be considered for reentry.

0:00 Boris Johnson condemns human rights abuses inflicted on Rohingya people Share Boris Johnson condemns human rights abuses inflicted on Rohingya people

‘Burying their heads in the sand’

Human rights organisation Amnesty International said Suu Kyi’s message did not come down hard enough on her country’s military.

James Gomez, Amnesty’s regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said her speech “demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine state.”

While he said it was positive to hear Aung San Suu Kyi condemn human rights violations, she did not criticise her army enough.

“The military’s campaign of violence and human rights violations in Rakhine State must end immediately,” Mr Gomez said.

“Myanmar has repeatedly said it will not co-operate with the UN-mandated Fact Finding Mission established earlier this year.

“If Myanmar has nothing to hide, it should allow UN investigators into the country, including Rakhine State.”

MORE NEWSAustralia ‘needs to show compassion’

The Australian Council for International Development has called to bring Rohingya refugees to Australia.

Marc Purcell, the CEO of the council, said in a press release, “We urge the Australian Government to look at an increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake, with specific consideration to vulnerable people who have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar.”

Mr Purcell pressed the government to stop offering financial incentives to Rohingya asylum seekers at the Manus Island offshore processing centre to return to Myanmar.

According to a report by Guardian Australia on Tuesday, the Australian government has promised asylum seekers thousands of dollars if they return to Myanmar from the Manus Island detention centre, with one man claiming the Australian Border Force offered him $25,000. 

“We need to show compassion, halt this process and give them the right to settle here.”

However he lauded the $15 million the government allocated for humanitarian assistance to support displaced people who are fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh as “very welcome and much needed”.

0:00 UN expects at least 400,000 Rohingya could flee Myanmar Share UN expects at least 400,000 Rohingya could flee Myanmar

Western powers warn Suu Kyi on Rohingya ahead of crucial speech

Hours before Suu Kyi’s national address, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called a meeting on the crisis on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Johnson, at the meeting attended by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Myanmar’s deputy foreign minister, warned that the violence in Rakhine state was “a stain on the country’s reputation” so soon after its transition to democratic rule.

“For this reason, Burma should not be surprised to find itself under international scrutiny and on the Security Council’s agenda,” Johnson said, using the former British colony’s earlier name.

“As I have repeatedly said, no one wants to see a return to military rule, so it is vital that Aung San Suu Kyi and the civilian government make clear these abuses must stop,” he said in a statement.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop attended the meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations in New York.

“The message is very clear that the violence must stop,” she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“There are so many lives at risk here that the international community must act.

“There is a considerable level of expectation as to what Aung San Suu Kyi will say.”

0:00 Australia will play its part to end the violence: Bishop Share Australia will play its part to end the violence: Bishop

Haley called Monday’s meeting “productive” but voiced alarm at the lack of progress on the ground.

“The United States continues to urge the Burmese government to end military operations, grant humanitarian access, and commit to aiding the safe return of civilians back to their homes,” she said.

Other countries represented at the meeting were Bangladesh, the chief destination of fleeing refugees, as well as Australia, Canada, Denmark Indonesia, Sweden and Turkey, according to Britain.

0:00 Australia’s Rohingya communities call for assistance Share Australia’s Rohingya communities call for assistance

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking earlier to the BBC ahead of the week’s meetings, also said that Suu Kyi had “a last chance” to change course in her address Tuesday.

Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, called the British-led meeting “a first step, but it can’t be the last.”

With world leaders visiting for the UN General Assembly this week, Charbonneau urged work on a Security Council resolution that would impose targeted sanctions, including an arms embargo on the commanders leading the campaign against the Rohingya.

Western officials and human rights groups have been especially disheartened as they had campaigned for years for the freedom of Suu Kyi, who spent the larger part of two decades under house arrest by a military junta until her release in 2010.

Suu Kyi’s electoral triumph two years ago had been hailed as a victory for democracy. But the civilian leader, who has a complicated relationship with Myanmar’s army, has been nearly silent after troops drove more than 410,000 Rohingya out of the country.

The United Nations has said that the campaign, which witnesses say has included the burning of villages and rape, amounts to ethnic cleansing.

Rohingya, who are predominantly Muslim, are reviled by many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

 

3D ‘muscle’ lifts 1000 times own weight

An artificial muscle that lifts 1,000 times its own weight could pave the way for lifelike robots that make Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator look puny.

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Scientists used a 3D printing technique to create the rubber-like synthetic muscle that expands and contracts like its biological counterpart.

Heated by a small electric current, the material was capable of expanding to nine times its normal size.

In tests it demonstrated enormous strength, having a strain density – the amount of energy stored in each gram of a stretched elastic body – 15 times greater than natural muscle.

The device, described as a “soft actuator”, was able to lift 1,000 times its own weight, said the researchers whose work is reported in the journal Nature Communications.

Professor Hod Lipson, from the Creative Machines laboratory at Columbia University in New York, said: “We’ve been making great strides toward making robot minds, but robot bodies are still primitive.

“This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways. We’ve overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots.”

Artificial muscles may not only suit killer robots but also sensitive surgical devices and a host of other applications where gripping and manipulation is important.

Co-author Dr Aslan Miriyev, also from the Creative Machines lab, said: “Our soft functional material may serve as robust soft muscle, possibly revolutionising the way that soft robotic solutions are engineered today.

“It can push, pull, bend, twist, and lift weight. It’s the closest artificial material equivalent we have to a natural muscle.”

The long-term aim is to accelerate the artificial muscle’s response time and link it to an artificially intelligent (AI) control system, said the researchers, who were part-funded by the Israeli defence ministry.

Woolworths distances itself from same-sex marriage comments made by former managing director

Disgruntled customers took to social media claiming they would no longer shop at Woolworths following Mr Corbett’s interview with the ABC’s 7.

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30 with Leigh Sales.

The Australian businessman was explaining why he opposes same-sex marriage, but drifted into dividing territory when he brought up slavery and race.

“It’s not discriminatory in any way,” Mr Corbett said.

Former managing director of Woolworths Roger Corbett said he opposes same-sex marriage during an ABC interview.ABC

“It’s a statement that [marriage] is between men and women. A man and a man, and a woman and a woman, can have a similar relationship, but it’s different.”

“A black man and a white man are equal, but they’re clearly different. A black man will never be a white man and vice versa.”

Customers were quick to jump on social media and express their anger.

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“I love woolies. Except, maybe not for much longer. Your former managing director, Roger Corbett, has said some pretty offensive comments on the 730 report,’ one Facebook user wrote.

“You have lost a longtime customer thanks to Roger Corbetts comments on the 730 report tonight,” another customer wrote.

Former managing director of Woolworths Roger Corbett said he opposes same-sex marriage during an ABC interview.ABC

Many of those posting comments were mistaken believing Mr Corbett was still the managing director of the supermarket chain, while others were not aware Woolworths was already in support of marriage equality.

“Thanks Woolworths, but no thanks! You’re managing director, Roger Corbett is an advocate for the no campaign! I’ll take my business somewhere else!” another disgruntled customer wrote.

“I have a choice as to where I shop – and I will choose a brand who is inclusive,” another wrote.

However, Woolworths’ social media was responding to many comments solidifying the supermarket’s support for same-sex marriage.

“Mr Corbett is a former employee and his views do not represent Woolworths. We believe marriage equality is not just a social but also a workplace issue,” Woolworths’ social media responded.

“For that reason, we pledged our support for marriage equality in August.

pic南京桑拿按摩論壇,/itbL3D38bw

— Woolworths (@woolworths) September 19, 2017

“We’re proud to embrace diversity and want to be a community where all our people are free to be themselves without fear of prejudice or discrimination. Diversity means recognising and respecting our differences, including religious and political beliefs.”

Some customers defended Woolworths claiming it was a long time since Mr Corbett had been in charge, while others said everyone has a right to their own belief.

“He was CEO 10 years ago. Your rants are doing the cause a massive disservice by evidencing how uninformed you on about the topic,’ one Facebook user wrote.

One social media user reminded angry customers, “They [Woolworths] have already said they support equality”.

Mr Corbett said during the interview he was respectful of the union between gay people, but opposed same-sex marriage on the statement it was between a man and a woman.

SBS World News has contacted Woolworths for comment.

Tuivasa-Sheck is Warriors’ player of year

Skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named the Warriors’ player of the year, just the fifth back in the NRL club’s 23 seasons to receive the award.

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The 24-year-old fullback has held off fellow finalists Simon Mannering, a record five-time winner, and halfback Shaun Johnson.

Tuivasa-Sheck was handed the captaincy at the start of the year, having come back from a knee injury that wrecked his 2016 debut season with the club.

While he wasn’t able to lead the Warriors to their first finals appearance in six years – the club finished 13th – he appeared in all but one of their 24 matches.

He scored 10 tries and ran for 200 metres or more in 13 matches. His total of 4172 metres gained – an average of 181.4 metres a game – was the third best in the NRL regular season.

He led the competition in kicks defused, bombs defused and kick returns.

“It’s really emotional because I have to thank the medical team for always supporting me, turning up each day so I could come back and play a full season – when I was just watching the boys, it was hard,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.

“It’s good to be back out there on the field.

“I’m a proud Auckland boy so, to be asked to captain this team, I was grateful.”

Mannering, 31, took out the people’s choice award after a season in which he went past Stacey Jones’ club record of 261 matches, finishing on 280.

The workaholic second-rower’s 986 tackles – an average of 44.8 – was the second highest in the competition.

Prop Bunty Afoa, who made 17 appearances in his first full NRL campaign, was named rookie of the year.

Multicultural groups concerned over proposed citizenship laws

The Prime Minister has long called Australia the most successful multicultural country in the world.

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But his citizenship crackdown has some communities in a continued state of shock.

The changes affect tens of thousands of people, in communities across the country.

That includes permanent resident Sara Balsamini, a business analyst who migrated from Italy in 2010.

“I moved to Australia initially with a working holiday visa. It was supposed to be an experience, and then I just fell in love with the country and then I decided to try and stay. I was only two weeks away from completing my application; I had already collected all my documents, officially translated them, found a witness for my identity declaration. I was ready to apply.”

Ms Balsamini says she had already integrated successfully in the community, but now with the proposed changes to the citizenship laws, feels unfairly targeted.

“It’s devastating, it puts a lot of uncertainty on my life and it was shocking for me that the government was trying to make these changes retrospectively for people that had already qualified, and already paid for a non-refundable fee, and already planned their life accordingly.”

A Senate inquiry saw more than 13-thousand submissions made, both for and against the government’s citizenship bill.

But there are fears Australia’s reputation for multicultural inclusiveness could be severely damaged.

The Coalition believes tighter citizenship laws will bolster national security.

But according to the chief executive of the Australian Arab Council, Randa Kattan, there is an underlying current of discrimination.

“I’m not sure how it will improve security. It looks like it’s only the brown countries that are being targeted. So in my opinion this is about race-baiting. It is of great concern because we need to kind of scrutinise, we need to look at this very carefully; what messages is it sending, what messages is it sending to the people who are already contributing to this country, to society; what message is it sending to the general community about the people who are applying to become citizens of this country.”

Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says the government believes its measures are non-discriminatory, and are in Australia’s best interests.

“Across the board they’ll apply to everybody equally. We’re looking for people that want to come here and integrate, adopt Australian values, and become great members of the Australian community regardless of where they’re from, and the government’s measures are designed to stop those people who don’t want to come here and integrate and become Australian citizens with those values that you would expect.”

Joseph Caputo, Director of Australia’s Federation of Ethnic Communities Council, warns the country’s reputed multicultural legacy is at stake.

“It is under threat, and I think that history is a good guide for the future. I think the good sense of Australians, the fair go, you know giving the fair go to everyone, should prevail, and the fact that we’ve done so in the past that everyone that has reached our shores have been given a fair go. That’s what made Australia (what it is) today, and we should not threaten it with proposed laws that will make it very very difficult for many many, many new arrivals.”

Stricter language requirements, and a revised waiting period of four years instead of one, has the Chinese community most concerned.

President of the A-C-T Chinese Australian Association, Chin Wong, explains.

“They’re dismayed at the proposed changes, and everybody is worried. The Chinese community, like other multicultural communities, a lot of us feel that we’ve been targeted because English is not our first language. We have people that have been here for nearly ten years, but with the changes of rules they know that they have to wait for another four years because they have to start all over again. Australia might lose a lot of those well-educated and well-young professionals.”

But changes to the waiting period would in fact mirror other western countries.

In the United States, permanent residents wait five years before they can apply for citizenship.

In Canada, permanent residents must have lived in the country for four out of the previous six years, to be eligible.

It takes five years in France, eight in Germany.

And in the United Kingdom, it takes six years, with one as a permanent resident, before citizenship is possible.

Senate committee chair, Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald, concedes a retrospective rule needs to be included so the new laws do not apply to people previously eligible to apply.

But he says the bill will add value to the term “citizen”.

“There should be some transitional power in the minister to allow individual cases where that was appropriate. Anyone who wants to be a citizen and who is genuine, will be able to get there. It might take them a little bit longer, but they will get there and they won’t have any problem. And I think Australia will be better for it, having a citizenship that really means something and that counts.”

But the Chair of the Australian-Indian Youth Dialogue, Karan Anand, says such a response is not good enough.

“I think a degree of empathy is really important in understanding those circumstances, and patience is quite a broad term to be using in this frame. I think part of the rhetoric needs to be that ‘we welcome you and we want you to be in the Australian community’, contributing productively as well. And that needs to be part of the messaging that goes out with this legislation. We want to make sure that they feel welcomed regardless of what happens with our citizenship laws going forward.”

The bill is unlikely to stand in its current form because of insufficient cross-bench support.

But what its final outcome will be remains far from certain.

 

 

Bulldogs sack NRL coach Des Hasler

Departing Canterbury captain James Graham says Des Hasler’s sacking at the NRL club is the wrong move, the forward crediting his mentor for taking him to his footballing limits.

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Hasler’s six-year tenure at Canterbury was ended on Tuesday night, Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib ending months of speculation when he informed the coach of the club’s decision.

It comes just months after the Bulldogs had announced a two-year contract extension for the dual-premiership winning coach.

A press release at the time claimed Hasler had “put pen to paper”, with recently departed chief executive Raelene Castle confirming the negotiations for an extension had been finalised.

But on Tuesday night the club claimed that was never binding, making it easier for the board to step in and prevent Hasler staying on into the 2018 season.

Graham, who has been offloaded to St George Illawarra next season by the club to make salary cap space to allow for the arrival of Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran, said the decision came as a shock.

“Speculation around Des Hasler’s future has been very public for two years,” Graham said on Fox Sports’ NRL 360.

“I thought it was put to bed in March or April with that two-year extension, but it seemed to perpetuate and we’ve found ourselves here now.”

Hasler’s 2017 season marked the first time he had missed the finals since his rookie year as a head coach, while he took Canterbury to grand finals in 2012 and 2014.

With fresh cattle at his disposal in 2018, Graham believed the coach deserved the opportunity to go around again.

“He should have been given the chance to have that roster overhauled, which it has now,” Graham said.

“I thought he should’ve been given the reins still.

“I regard Des so highly and will be personally indebted to him for bettering me as a man and a footballer.

“He took me to my footballing limits and took a lot of those boys to their footballing limits.”

It’s understood Dib had completed a two-day review of the team’s football department last week, which included speaking to just three senior players.

It’s also believed he has kept incoming half Foran abreast of the situation, given his close links to Hasler while at Manly.

It’s not thought that Foran has a get-out clause in his contract if Hasler isn’t at the club.

Hasler’s departure could also open the door for sacked South Sydney coach Michael Maguire to return to the NRL through the Bulldogs, while Dean Pay, Jim Dymock and Todd Payten are considered other options.

“The club will now begin its search for a new head coach and will provide further information once that process has been completed,” Dib said.

The decision could also pave the way for Hasler to coach the NSW State of Origin team next year, having worked with the Blues as an assistant before landing the top job at Manly in 2004.

‘I’m not a homophobe’: Woman fired for opposing same-sex marriage defends her stance

A woman who was fired from her job as a children’s party entertainer after she voiced her opposition to same-sex marriage online has spoken out.

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Madeline, who only wanted to be known by her first name over fears of retribution, refuted her former employer’s claim she was a “homophobe”.

“I am the oldest of eight kids, I have helped in Sunday schools and church camps and kids camps,” she told Sky News.

“I’m a nanny at the moment, I’ve always worked with children, children are just what I know.

“To be called a homophobe and to say I’m a risk for the children I work with and the families of the children that I work with, I highly disagree.”

Madeline’s former employer, children’s party planner Madlin Sims, revealed she sacked her after she publicly declared her support on Facebook.

The nanny used a filter on her Facebook profile photo that read: “It’s OK to vote no.”

The nanny appeared on The Bolt Report on Sky News to defend her stance.Sky News

“Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech,” Ms Sims wrote on Facebook.

“Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. As a business owner I can’t have somebody who publicly represents my business posting hate speech online.”

Post by Sims Madlin.

Madeline, who is now employed as a nanny, said people were entitled to their opinions.

“This is a democracy and we were given the options and asked as Australians to vote yes or no,” she said.

“It is my opinion to vote ‘no’ and I don’t think that my job should be taken away from me just because I have opinion that someone disagrees with. I don’t think I should have been fired.

“I was told by my [current] boss today, you are entitled to your own opinion. I’m very glad I have this support at this job now.”

0:00 Brother of party planner who fired contractor after revealing ‘no’ same-sex marriage vote Share Brother of party planner who fired contractor after revealing ‘no’ same-sex marriage vote

Since the story made national headlines, Ms Sims’ brother, Aaron, has revealed how his sister is being harassed for her beliefs.

“It went viral across Australia then as a result we received personal threats on personal numbers they [people who don’t believe in same-sex marriage] found our home phone numbers and were harassing us,” he told SBS World News.

“There was countless things they said about my sister and her child. It was very, very uncomfortable to be a part of.

“We had shut off all aspects of our business until this cooled down a bit. But it still wouldn’t stop, they still found ways and contact us to tell us how despicable we were because of things that allegedly happened.

“Given the fact they made some of our staff members who are gay uncomfortable we just had to really realistically not contract her any further.”

In Sydney, the Chinese community has been the target of all sides of the campaign through pamphlets written in Mandarin.

A few weeks ago, Chinese Australians were being encouraged to vote “no” but Asian Australian Alliance’s Erin Chew supports the ‘yes’ campaign.

“As a Chinese community we should understand what racial discrimination and being racially vilified actually means, so why is it that we want to do this onto other minority groups,” he said.

N Korean crisis needs grand bargain: Rudd

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd fears there’s about a 25 per cent chance of the United States launching a military strike against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missile program.

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The North Korean nuclear threat is among the hot-button issues world leaders are grappling with in New York for a United Nations international summit this week.

Mr Rudd outlined three possible scenarios.

He thinks it’s unlikely the US would accept the reality of North Korea having intercontinental ballistic missiles, with nuclear warheads, capable of threatening US territory and the mainland.

A US military strike had about a 25 per cent possibility, Mr Rudd said.

“Certainly enough to cause me concern,” he told ABC TV.

The final option was new diplomacy and a grand bargain that went to the bottom line of Chinese concerns.

“What they don’t want is to see a reunited Korea, a US ally on the Chinese border,” he said.

Mr Rudd said the solution lies with China, the United States, North Korea and South Korea alone.

“What you need is an arrangement that first of all gives us breathing space,” he said.

“The Chinese proposal, a freeze for freeze, they say, a freeze on US military exercises with the South, in exchange for a freeze for North Korean missile and nuclear testing.”

He said in the long term a grand bargain needed to look at US diplomatic recognition of the North, a peace treaty replacing this temporary armistice since 1953 and external security guarantees for the regime in Pyongyang.

On the other side of the ledger, it needed to address the cessation of the nuclear program and abolition of the existing arsenal, Mr Rudd said.

Pyongyang launched North Korea’s longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile on Saturday which flew over Japan landing in the northern Pacific Ocean after travelling 3700km.

International pressure mounts on Myanmar after Suu Kyi’s speech

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has cut Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi some slack over the mounting humanitarian crisis that the United Nations has dubbed a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

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More than 412,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from the Buddhist-majority country in the past month and are living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh.

Ms Suu Kyi broke her silence on the crisis on Tuesday with a televised address in the capital Naypyitaw while world leaders including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop lined up on the sidelines of a UN summit in New York urging her to put an end to the military violence against Rohingya.

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The Nobel Peace Prize winner said Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny.

“There have been allegations and counter-allegations, and we have to listen to all of them,” she said.

“We have to make sure these allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action. We want to find out why this exodus is happening.”

Mr Rudd said he interpreted Ms Suu Kyi’s speech with a degree of subtlety compared to others.

“The code language is the military have run amok,” Mr Rudd told ABC TV, adding that every word she utters is monitored by the military, looking for a pretext to resume military rule.

“The bottom line is this, moral authority is one thing, he who controls the barrel of the gun in Myanmar is another.”

Australia has pledged a further $15 million in humanitarian support, particularly to Bangladesh which is hosting those who are fleeing.

“The message is very clear that the violence must stop,” Ms Bishop told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Amnesty International argued Ms Suu Kyi had “buried her head in the sand” over the horrors in Rakhine state.

Amnesty spokesman Michael Hayworth urged Australia to resettle more Rohingya refugees.

“The recent record of Australia resettling Rohingyas has been nothing short of shameful, with only 37 resettled since 2013,” he said.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong acknowledged there would be some disappointment over what Ms Ms Suu Kyi did and didn’t say.

Senator Wong praised her for recognising the importance of upholding human rights and for having an openness to international observers.

“The international community has rightly responded and is rightly putting pressure on Myanmar,” she told Sky News.

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