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16
Feb
2019

Hungarian police use tear gas, water cannon on migrants

Serbia’s foreign ministry has protested at Hungary firing tear gas and water cannon into its territory, and says Hungary has now closed the main border crossing for 30 days.

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Croatia has opened a route for the migrants – but they face a new risk, from tens of thousands of landmines left over from the Balkans war.

 

There were chaotic scenes as tensions boiled over at the Serbia-Hungary border.

 

Desperate to continue their journey to northern Europe, migrants stood in the afternoon heat facing Hungarian riot police, hoping Hungary would open the border.

 

Some began kicking at the gates – that’s when police finally responded.

 

Tear gas was sprayed into the crowd, panicking men, women and children.

 

Many stayed to plead and protest until water cannons were used against them.

 

Some threw rocks and sticks at the Hungarian police.

 

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs says this is why they must guard their borders.

 

“These people are not peaceful, they are not simply wanting to go through Hungary. They carry a danger and that danger is very clear and present as of today. ” Asked by a reporter if he thought tHese people were not refugees, he responded, “Do you believe that armed refugees would be attacking a police line and trying to come and enter our country? I don’t believe so.”

 

The actions of Hungarian authorites have sparked outrage.

 

Serbian government spokesman Aleksandar Vulin says they violate international law.

 

“I fully condemn and protest because this is in violation of all international rules. Nobody has the right to throw tear gas in our territory and use water cannons or anything like that.”

 

He says the anger and frustration from migrants is understandable and called on Hungary to open its borders, and allow people to pass through.

 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says the dramatic scenes should have never occurred. “I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated. It’s not acceptable.”

 

Serbia is sending more police to its border in an attempt to keep migrants away from the fence and prevent further conflict.

 

In response to the standoff, neighbouring Croatia has opened up a new route to allow migrants passage to northern Europe.

 

Croatian authorities are providing buses to migrants, because of landmines in some areas following the war in the Balkans.

 

The Assistant Director of the Croatian Mine Action Centre, Miljenko VahtariÄ (mil-YEN-ko vah-ter-ITCH), says although the landmines are well-marked, they want to prevent migrants from accidently being caught in the areas.

 

“There is, according to our estimation, still some 40,000 landmines in the ground. In the whole of Croatia there is 500 square kilometres of suspected hazardous area, and all this area is mark by more than 12,000 warning signs.”

 

Meanwhile the European Parliament has met to discuss the crisis.

 

This week they’ll vote on an emergency scheme to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other member states.

 

Former prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, says he expects another flow of refugees to Europe if more help is not provided in the Middle East.

 

He’s appealed for more funding to help refugee camps in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where resources and conditions are dwindling.

 

“My appeal to the European Commission is that they fund immediately, on an urgent basis with the possibilities inside the budget, the United Nations and that they give the money that is necessary in the coming days so that we can in any way improve the conditions of these refugees.”

 

First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans told European leaders protecting borders is part of the solution.

 

“Please explain to your constituents and to your people back home that our proposals are not just about a distribution key to express solidarity with those states who are really suffering today, they are also about the European Union being able to really better guard its external borders, the European Union being able to offer more support to those states who bear the brunt of this crisis.”

 

The leader the French National Party, Marine Le Pen, agrees.

 

She says some of the ‘open door’ policies have had a negative effect.

 

“You have made Europe a magnet and you have done nothing stop this, and it will submerge us. You assume the responsibilities of your history. This idiocy must stop immediately with a firm and clear policy like in Australia so that the flow is stopped and this chaos stops.”

 

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Germany has decided on its next step in dealing with the migration crisis.

 

“The German cabinet decided we would participate in the next step of the European Union’s Naval Force mission. That means fighting human trafficker gangs. We need to get more information about where the gangs plan the routes they send people on. That’s why we agreed to continue our participation in this European mission.”

 

 

16
Feb
2019

Mueller and Goetze strike as Bayern see off Olympiakos

Bayern controlled possession for long spells in an entertaining Group F encounter with Robert Lewandowski a constant threat before Mueller beat Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto with what looked like an intended cross from out on the right flank after 52 minutes.

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Olympiakos battled manfully in front of their frenzied supporters with Nigerian striker Ideye Brown going close on a couple of occasions.

But Marco Silva’s side could not find an equaliser and it was Bayern who struck again with two goals in quick succession in the closing stages from Goetze and a Mueller penalty as the hosts ran out of steam.

The win means Pep Guardiola’s Bayern maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a sixth win in all competitions.

“We kept the ball, we created chances and we did not leave much room for Olympiakos to hurt us,” Guardiola said.

“I’m delighted for Mueller, he has the quality to score goals like that but I’m pleased with the whole team today.”

Olympiakos coach Silva was not convinced that Bayern were worthy winners.

“Without doubt the result was unfair on us,” he said. “The match was evenly balanced in the first half and we were also unlucky in the way the first goal was scored.”

It was the hosts who had the first clear sight of goal in the 20th minute with Felipe Pardo’s deflected cross finding Brown all alone in the area.

Yet the Nigerian’s downward header from close range lacked power and was comfortably saved by Manuel Neuer.

Bayern came close to opening the scoring six minutes later when Lewandowski’s goal-bound header was cleared off the line by Ideye and the striker was denied again on 35 minutes when Roberto showed great reflexes to parry away his first-time shot.

Olympiakos were by no means overwhelmed but Bayern continued to boss the rhythm of the match after halftime and the Germans finally broke the deadlock when Mueller’s cross beat Roberto’s despairing dive and arrowed into the top corner.

The Greek side spurned a great chance to level the scores with seven minutes remaining when Leandro Salino fired into the side netting with only Neuer to beat.

Despite further late pressure from the hosts, Bayern doubled their lead when substitute Goetze sprinted past two Olympiakos defenders and beat Roberto from an acute angle in the 89th minute.

Mueller then stroked home from the spot in the second minute of stoppage time to put the seal on the three points after another substitute, Kingsley Coman, had been fouled in the box by Arthur Masuaku.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

16
Feb
2019

Chelsea forget domestic woes to see off Maccabi

Despite Eden Hazard blazing an early penalty high over the bar, Chelsea scored twice in the first half with Willian finding the net with a 30-metre free kick after 15 minutes and Oscar scoring from their second penalty with the last kick of the opening 45 minutes.

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Diego Costa, who replaced Willian after the Brazilian was injured after 20 minutes, brilliantly volleyed in Chelsea’s third after 58 minutes with Cesc Fabregas finishing off a breakaway for the fourth after 78.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had not seen his team win since Aug. 23 with two successive league defeats in their last two matches but he told reporters afterwards: “I forgot what it was like to win, so it’s a good feeling.

“The penalty we missed was a big test for us. When you start a game you have to win and after five minutes you miss a penalty, it is an extra negative episode and our reaction was very good. I am very happy with the performance.”

Maccabi, back in the competition proper for the first time in over a decade after coming through the qualifiers, went close through skipper Eran Zahavi and Nosakhare Igiebor, but Chelsea, 17th in the Premier League with one win from five matches, were never seriously troubled and could have scored seven or eight.

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Their manager Slavisa Jokanovic, a former Chelsea midfielder, conceded: “Welcome to the Champions League, it is not the Israeli Premier League.

“They dominated us, but we will learn.”

Mourinho made six changes to the side beaten 3-1 at Everton on Saturday with captain John Terry among those on the bench, although Fabregas, who has lacked his usual creative inspiration, retained his place and had a hand in the third as well as scoring for the first time since April.

The lack of confidence and poor form that has blighted Chelsea’s start to the campaign was apparent when Hazard blazed his penalty over the bar.

German referee Felix Zwayer showed leniency to Maccabi’s Serbian keeper Predrag Rajkovic though, only giving him a yellow card for bringing down Willian — and the goalie did not have to move as Hazard fired high and wide.

Willian avenged that foul in the 15th minute when his 30-metre free kick bounced once and flew past the slow-moving Rajkovic to give Chelsea a deserved lead.

Chelsea dominated but had to wait until the last kick of stoppage time before doubling the lead when Oscar scored from the spot after former Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim scythed down substitute Costa.

Costa volleyed Chelsea’s third on the turn just before the hour mark and Fabregas tapped in a fourth as Chelsea won their opening home Champions League match of the season under Mourinho for the first time, at the fourth attempt.

(Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Martyn Herman)

16
Feb
2019

Palu set to miss Wallabies RWC opener

The likelihood of the Wallabies using star flankers David Pocock and Michael Hooper in tandem – aka Pooper – from the outset of the Rugby World Cup has only increased with Wycliff Palu battling a hamstring injury.

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Coach Michael Cheika is expected to finally unveil his first-choice side on Monday when he must name his team to play their World Cup opener against Fiji at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium next Wednesday.

He’s kept it carefully under wraps while chopping and changing his side throughout the five-Test lead up campaign.

But he has confirmed 56-Test veteran No.8 Palu is probably out of contention as he has a hamstring problem following the intense two-week camp in the US.

“Cliffy has a bit of a hamstring, but he ran today (Tuesday),” Cheika said following a welcome ceremony for the team in Bath, the Wallabies’ base for the next 10 days.

“I don’t think he’ll be right for the first game but he should be OK for the second game.”

Cheika refused to say which way he was leaning over his all-important halves combination with Will Genia and Nick Phipps battling it out for the starting halfback role and Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper for the five-eighth berth.

However it seems likely he has always been intending to start Pocock at No.8 with Hooper at openside flanker after that exciting combination excelled in the win over the All Blacks in Sydney last month.

“They were successful on that night (in Sydney) … and we’ve got a good idea of what we want,” Cheika said.

“After the (Rugby) Championships we sat down and worked out what we wanted our team to be.

“We’re still putting some things together but we still have a fair few days before we play the first fixture.”

Skipper Stephen Moore believes the two-week stint in the US was the perfect way to prepare despite the temperatures being a lot higher than what greeted them in the UK when they arrived on Monday.

“We were a bit removed from it in the US, all the talk there was the NFL and the College football which they are all fanatical about over there,” Moore said.

“We flew under the radar which was good … but it was pretty hot over there and decks was quite hard but we got some really good work done over there at Notre Dame University where we were based.”

Success in the Rugby Championship saw the Wallabies climb to No.2 in the world rankings and Moore admits the team are under pressure to not only get out of a pool that contains England and Wales but to at least reach a first final in 12 years.

“We certainly feel the sense of occasion now we are here,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of expectation internally about what we want to achieve and also from the support we get at home.

“Being in Bath we are a little bit removed because London is going to be the centre of attention and that is quite nice.”

16
Feb
2019

Hopman Cup part of Hewitt’s swansong

Retiring great Lleyton Hewitt will be aiming to land a belated Hopman Cup crown this summer in his eighth and final attempt – but he may need to defeat an Australian to do it.

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For the first time in the Hopman Cup’s 28-year history, Australia will feature two separate teams.

Hewitt, who will retire after next year’s Australian Open, and Casey Dellacqua will be part of the Australia ‘Gold’ team.

The make up of an Australia ‘Green’ team will be unveiled next month.

Fans will be hoping tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios will be lured to the January 3-9 mixed-teams event as part of the Green outfit.

Kyrgios was scheduled to play at last January’s Hopman Cup, but pulled out because of a back injury.

The Australian Green and Gold teams will be placed in separate pools – meaning they will only meet each other if they both reach the final.

World No.3 and dual grand slam winner Andy Murray will team with Heather Watson for Great Britain.

The teams to represent Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA, and France will be named next month.

The closest Hewitt has come to tasting Hopman Cup success was when he reached the final with Alicia Molik in 2003, with the US pairing of James Blake and Serena Williams prevailing 3-0.

Australia’s only title at the mixed-teams event came in 1999 when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic beat Sweden in the final.

Hewitt said the Hopman Cup would play a perfect role in his tennis swansong this summer.

“For my last Australian Open I think it’s great preparation,” Hewitt said.

“I’m guaranteed the three matches, but hopefully four if we can make the final.

“I’ve always loved playing the Hopman Cup. I love playing for my country. I’ve got a lot of great memories.”

The Hopman Cup announcement comes just two days before the start of the Davis Cup semi-final between Australia and Britain in Glasgow.

Hewitt and Murray are expected to play key roles in the tie for their respective nations.

Murray said his upcoming appearance in Perth would give him the ideal preparation for the Australian Open.

“The thing I like most about it from a preparation standpoint is that the conditions are extremely hot there,” Murray said.

“And you’re guaranteed to play three singles, three mixed matches, so you get time on court.”

Defending champions Poland (Jerzy Janowicz and Agnieszka Radwanska) won’t return next January.

16
Feb
2019

Widdop expects to be fit for England RL

Gareth Widdop will be fit for England’s Test series against New Zealand and expects his St George Illawarra teammate Mike Cooper to join him in the squad.

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Widdop defied a thigh injury to play for the Dragons in their elimination play-off fixture against Canterbury Bulldogs at the weekend, although he could not prevent them going down to an extra-time 11-10 defeat.

The five-eighth, who has started the last four matches for England in the No.6 shirt, now has six weeks to recover from the injury before the opening autumn international against France at Leigh on October 24.

England coach Steve McNamara spoke with Widdop after Saturday’s game and told Press Association the player will be “fine” for the forthcoming internationals.

Widdop, who missed his first match of the season the week before, spoke to 杭州桑拿,dragons杭州桑拿会所,杭州桑拿网, of his determination to defy the thigh injury in a bid to help his club through the play-offs.

“I did everything to get myself right,” he said. “It was good enough to get through the game.”

The former Melbourne player is now setting his sights on facing the Kiwis in a three-match series starting on November 1 and says prop forward Cooper, who joined the Sydney club from Warrington two years ago, deserves to be called up alongside him.

“I think he’ll certainly be there,” Widdop said. “He’s started every game this year. He’s been outstanding and worked hard for it, I’m sure he’ll be there.”

Cooper was included in McNamara’s squad for last year’s Four Nations Series but did not get to make his Test debut.

McNamara, who will name his squad on October 11 – the day after the Super League grand final, says he is not concerned that South Sydney prop George Burgess will go into the opening Test against New Zealand without having played for two months.

Souths’ elimination from the play-offs means that Burgess will have to complete a two-match suspension, imposed for throwing a water bottle at an opponent, when England play France.

16
Feb
2019

Former mining boss faces jail

The former boss of Kimberley Diamonds, Alexandre Alexander, is facing jail and a hefty fine for allegedly misleading the stock market.

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He is accused of authorising false and misleading statements about Kimberley’s earnings forecasts to the Australian Securities Exchange between October 2013 and March 2014.

Commonwealth prosecutors allege Kimberley failed to disclose that its forecasts were based on assumptions it would obtain a 30 per cent price rise for its rare yellow diamonds.

In a statement to investors in May 2014, Kimberley said it had failed to secure higher prices during talks with a subsidiary of the famous US jeweller Tiffany & Co.

As a result, Kimberley slashed its earnings forecast for the final quarter of the 2014 financial year from $7.5 million to $1.5 million.

The price of Kimberley’s shares plunged 41.5 per cent.

Mr Alexander was arrested on Wednesday following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Australian Federal Police officers arrested him at Sydney Airport as he returned from an overseas trip.

He faced Central Local Court via video link charged with four offences under the Corporations Act.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years jail or a $34,000 fine.

Mr Alexander was granted bail and ordered to reappear at Sydney’s Downing Centre on November 10.

Kimberley Diamonds, which was one of the world’s largest producers of precious yellow diamonds, shuttered its Ellendale Diamond Mine in north Western Australia in July.

The company’s subsidiary Kimberley Diamond Company was placed into administration, resulting in dozens of job losses.

The company has previously said the Ellendale project is the world’s leading source of rare yellow diamonds and makes up around 50 per cent of the world’s supply.

Diamonds were first discovered at the Ellendale Diamond Field in the west Kimberley 38 years ago.

Shares in Kimberley Diamonds closed 1.9 cents, or 23.75 per cent, lower at 6.1 cents.

The company late on Wednesday issued a brief statement, saying it had been informed by Mr Alexander that he denies the allegations and will fight all charges.

16
Feb
2019

Spanish clubs make impressive Champions League start

Real, the record 10-times winners and 2014 champions, crushed 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 at the Bernabeu, Atletico won 2-0 at Galatasaray and Europa League holders Sevilla thumped Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-0 at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

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Champions Barcelona and Valencia, back in the continent’s elite club competition after a two-year absence, can make it five wins out of five for La Liga sides when they play at AS Roma and host Zenit St Petersburg respectively later on Wednesday.

The success of Spanish clubs marked a sharp contrast with their rivals from the English Premier League, with Manchester United and Manchester City both surrendering their lead in 2-1 defeats at PSV Eindhoven and at home to Juventus.

Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to reach 80 Champions League goals when he netted a Group A hat-trick against Shakhtar, who had midfielder Taras Stepanenko sent off five minutes into the second half.

Portugal captain Ronaldo, who hit five past Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday, moved three clear of Barca forward Lionel Messi on the all-time scoring chart.

Afterwards, the 30-year-old hit back at critics who had suggested he might be past it after he failed to score in Real’s opening two La Liga games of the campaign.

“Before I was bad and now I am good because I score eight goals,” Ronaldo told Spanish television.

Antoine Griezmann struck twice for Atletico, the 2014 runners-up, as Diego Simeone’s side made light of what can be a intimidating trip to Galatasaray’s stadium in Istanbul.

The France forward said the Group C victory would help the team put Saturday’s 2-1 La Liga defeat at home to Barca behind them.

“We knew the importance of starting the group phase with a win,” he told reporters.

Sevilla coach Unai Emery said his side’s Group D performance against Gladbach, when they missed one penalty but scored from two others, would help boost confidence as the Andalusians try to get their stuttering La Liga campaign going following a defeat and two draws in their opening three matches.

“Today we found the identity we are looking for this season,” Emery told a news conference. “It gives us confidence to help turn around our results in La Liga.”

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

16
Feb
2019

Five cities vying to host 2024 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday named Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome as the final candidates for the 2024 summer Olympic Games.

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IOC president Thomas Bach said there were five outstanding cities in the race for the Games which will be decided in two years.

“What we see are five really highly qualified candidate cities,” Bach told reporters. He added that the contest for 2024 would be “strong and fascinating”.

The announcement of the five cities was made in Switzerland hours after the midnight Tuesday (local time) deadline for bids.

Toronto and the Azerbaijan capital of Baku had considered entering but finally decided against, leaving Los Angeles and Paris as the two early frontrunners.

Toronto’s mayor announced only on Tuesday the Canadian city would not bid because of the financial uncertainties. Bach said Baku could return and try for the 2028 Games.

The contest will be the first to be run under the IOC’s Agenda 2020 reforms aimed at making bid contests less expensive and bureaucratic.

The IOC wants to make Olympic Games more sustainable through the use of existing venues. But it also imposes new conditions with hosts having to guarantee there will be no sexual discrimination.

“The whole procedure is much more transparent from the very beginning of the invitation phase,” Bach said of the new bid rules.

“What we wanted to achieve there in Olympic Agenda 2020 is more diversity and more creativity in the competition,” he added.

With some potential cities, notably Boston in the United States, put off by the costs, the IOC will contribute $US1.7 billion ($A2.38 billion) to staging the event.

Bach said the IOC was also giving $US1.5 billion ($A2.1 billion) to Rio de Janeiro to host the Games next year.

16
Feb
2019

IOC unveils five candidates for 2024 Summer Games

“The IOC welcomes five outstanding cities to this strong competition,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a conference call.

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Bach added that Azerbaijan’s Baku, which hosted the inaugural European Games in June, had also considered running and held talks with the IOC before deciding to wait for a possible 2028 bid.

After a disappointing campaign for the 2022 Winter Games, where just two candidates — Kazakhstan’s Almaty and eventual winner Beijing — stayed in the race after four others pulled out due to financial concerns or a lack of public support, the IOC is keen to restore the image of the Olympics as a lucrative prospect.

It adopted a series of reforms under the banner ‘Agenda 2020’ which were aimed at making it easier to bid for, and cheaper to host, the Olympics.

In a bidding race predicted to be the most hotly contested for at least a decade, Los Angeles, the United States’ second choice after Boston pulled out amid fears over cost overruns, is hoping to stage the Games for a third time after 1932 and 1984.

Paris, which had a failed bid for the 2012 Olympics, is eager to host a centennial Summer Games after the city staged the event for a second and last time in 1924. It is being seen as an early frontrunner along with Los Angeles.

Rome, the 1960 hosts, had briefly campaigned for the 2020 Olympics before the government pulled the plug over budget concerns, while Budapest is seeking to join Russia as the only Eastern European countries to land the Summer Games.

Hamburg, which will hold a referendum in November on whether the city actually wants the Games, is proposing an inner-city Olympics with venues within walking distance for athletes after it beat out Berlin in Germany’s bid race.

The German port has never hosted the Games before.

“What is important for the IOC is that we want to send athletes to cities where they are welcome, where the population is clearly supporting the Olympic Games and is welcoming the athletes,” Bach said when asked if all cities should hold a referendum.

“How the candidate cities are showing this culture of welcome … is up to them.”

Bach also ruled out suggestions that an informal rotation of continents may influence the vote in two years’ time, with the United States not having staged a Summer Games since 1996 while Europe held the 2012 Olympics in London.

“I do not think this plays a major role,” Bach said. “We have now three Olympic Games in a row in Asia (Pyeongchang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022). So this shows that this informal rotation which we always saw in the past is losing importance.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

16
Feb
2019

No more NRL excuses for Nth Qld: Thurston

What NRL finals conspiracy?

North Queensland are determined not to fall victim to their playoff jinx again ahead of Saturday night’s knockout semi-final clash with Cronulla in Townsville.

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Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston said they only had themselves to blame for their unlucky recent finals run and hoped to turn the tide against the Sharks in their must-win semi.

“Hopefully, we don’t put ourselves in that situation again,” said Thurston.

“We only have ourselves to blame in that area in the past.

“We know destiny is in our own hands.”

North Queensland have made the finals for the fifth straight year.

But they have had an ill-fated recent on-field run which began when Manly scored off a Kieran Foran knock-on in their 22-12 2012 semi-finals loss.

In 2013, Cronulla scored a seventh-tackle try to down North Queensland 20-18 in the finals’ first weekend.

And last year, the Cowboys looked to have sealed a match-winning try before a contentious knock-on was called in their 31-30 semi-final loss to the Sydney Roosters.

In their 20th season, it has been made glaringly obvious that North Queensland have only qualified for one grand final – back in 2005.

But Thurston appeared to embrace the underdog tag this year, saying Cronulla were the team to beat.

“I can’t see why they would (be daunted by travelling to Townsville),” he said.

“They have beaten us twice this year; they have beaten top-eight teams throughout the season.

“They are probably the form team of the competition.

“Why would they fear coming up here?”

Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott hoped to not get preoccupied by yet another questionable finals exit last year.

“We have put the blame squarely on our shoulders,” he said.

“If we do get into those tight contests, we won’t let one bad call wreck our focus.”

Meanwhile, Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner can’t wait for North Queensland to show their true colours on Saturday night.

“We have been going for many years but we have only had four home finals,” Tonner said.

“These are rare. We need to show Australia we can go all the way.

“They can expect colour, noise – this is what the season is all about.”

Scott admitted he was concerned Cronulla were the only team to have beaten North Queensland twice this year.

“It is disappointing that they have beaten us twice – it’s a bit of a worry, too,” he said.

“Now we have lost to Brisbane (16-12 qualifying final last weekend), we have to do it the hard way – it’s probably a blessing in disguise.”

16
Feb
2019

‘Dons deny making AFL offer to Worsfold

Essendon deny they have offered AFL premiership coach John Worsfold a five-year deal.

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Former St Kilda great Nathan Burke on Wednesday was the latest commentator to speculate that the Bombers have put an offer to Worsfold, who is currently the interim coaching director at Adelaide.

Essendon sent a delegation to Adelaide earlier this month to meet with Worsfold as the club searches for a new senior coach.

The rampant speculation about a five-year offer prompted the Bombers to emphatically deny they had put anything to any candidate.

Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell said in a club statement that they had met with a number of high-quality candidates and that is ongoing.

But he added the club had not reached a decision.

“We said from the outset that in order to respect the confidentiality and integrity of the selection process we wouldn’t provide a running commentary,” Campbell said.

“But the (coaching) sub-committee felt it was necessary to provide an update in light of ongoing media speculation which is incorrect and misinformed.

“There has been no offer tabled, informally or formally, to any candidate for the senior coaching position at the club.”

Worsfold coached West Coast to their last AFL premiership in 2006 and left the club at the end of the 2013 season.

As recently as late last month, Worsfold said he was not interested in a return to senior coaching.

But he then revealed his view had softened, immediately ramping up speculation he would take over next season at Essendon or Adelaide.

Also on Wednesday, Campbell said Essendon were roughly midway through their selection process.

Essendon expect to name their new coach in October.

The club and James Hird parted ways last month, with assistant Matthew Egan taking over for the last three rounds of the season.

16
Feb
2019

Hockey puts multinationals on notice

Joe Hockey has put multinationals trying to avoid their fair share of tax in Australia on notice.

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In what could prove to be one of his last acts as treasurer, Mr Hockey introduced to parliament a package of draft laws that target tax avoidance by big international companies.

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Tax commissioner Chris Jordan hopes to claw in “hundreds of millions of dollars at least” under the new rules that strengthen his enforcement powers and impose stronger penalties for those who flout the law.

But there is no specific revenue estimate because while the ATO can gauge the billions of dollars that targeted companies earn in sales in Australia, it does not have much information at this stage on their cost structure and what actual profit they make.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh criticised what he called an “empty tax plan”.

“Joe Hockey’s handling of multinational tax shows exactly why he’s likely to be dumped as treasurer,” Dr Leigh told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

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“After over two years of bluster, Mr Hockey’s best effort is a policy so vague that the Treasury couldn’t even cost it.”

But Mr Hockey said he was not prepared to make the same mistake as former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan, who put a number on his mining tax, spent the lot, and then found it raised no revenue.

“I have always been conservative with the numbers,” the treasurer told reporters.

Despite Australia having some of the toughest tax laws in the world, some multinationals continued to avoid paying tax on Australian profits, he said.

“This undermines the public faith in the tax system that leaves families and small businesses to unfairly carry the taxation burden,” Mr Hockey earlier told parliament.

Mr Hockey said he had been working with the UK government and the OECD to bring in the new laws from January 1, 2016, that include country-by-country reporting to give authorities a greater visibility into international structures.

The measures will apply to more than 1000 large multinationals operating in Australia with annual global revenue of $1 billion or more.

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“These companies represent the highest risk to Australia’s tax base,” Mr Hockey said.

Aware of the crackdown, a number of multinationals already had come forward to identify profits previously unseen by the ATO.

They were prepared to restructure their business to pay a fair share of taxes, Mr Hockey said.