Jan
15
  • Nats MP doesn’t regret dole comments

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    A federal government MP is standing by his accusation that dole recipients are trying to “screw the system”.

    南宁桑拿

    Ken O’Dowd reportedly told a community forum in his central Queensland electorate of Flynn this week: “You won’t get anyone on the dole coming to these sort of meetings, because they don’t care about the community, they care about themselves and how they can screw the system”.

    The MP’s remarks were made shortly before the announcement of a government review of welfare payments.

    Mr O’Dowd also told the forum about a recent conversation he had with billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart, in which she voiced her concerns about the welfare system.

    She told him that 60 per cent of Australians were on some sort of welfare payment, questioning whether they were all that “badly off”.

    Mr O’Dowd was not taking a backward step on Thursday as his remarks received wider coverage than a local newspaper.

    But he insisted his accusation was aimed at long-term unemployed people receiving the disability support pension who “deliberately try to be on the dole”.

    “People who are fit and able to work, they are the people who are trying to screw the system,” he said.

    Mr O’Dowd said he knew first-hand of people who preferred to be on the dole and who made unfair dismissal claims when they were sacked from jobs.

    “These are the sort of people they’ve got to crack down on.”

    The MP said welfare recipients in his electorate could take on jobs now done by seasonal workers and backpackers.

    Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews said Mr O’Dowd’s comments did not reflect the government’s position.

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Jan
15
  • Warne to act as Aust’s T20 spin coach

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    Shane Warne’s appointment as spin consultant in the build-up to Australia’s World Twenty20 campaign is a bonus for 20-year-old leggie James Muirhead.

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    Cricket Australia announced on Thursday Warne would provide specialist coaching to the squad’s spinners in South Africa.

    The Australia T20 squad will assemble in South Africa on March 3 for a three-match series against the home side starting on March 9.

    Warne will join the squad in South Africa for the T20 series but won’t continue on with the Aussies to Bangladesh for the World T20.

    Australia’s first game in the tournament is against Pakistan in Mirpur on March 23.

    “We believe our national teams can really benefit from more specific skill-based coaching as and when it is needed,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said.

    “This will mean that from time to time we will enlist the support of experts in their craft to work with our players.”

    Lehmann said spin bowling would be crucial to eighth-ranked Australia’s success in the tournament.

    “There’s no better person than Shane to help guide the spinners we select in that squad,” Lehmann said.

    “He was a gifted cricketer and remains passionate about spin bowling and seeing our players be the best that they can be.”

    Warne, 44, said he was thrilled with his new role.

    “I’m excited to be working with Australia’s spinners in South Africa,” he said.

    “I’m looking forward to helping them with some intense bowling preparation ahead of the World Twenty 20, where we’ll specifically work on tactics and mindset.”

    Muirhead has been named alongside spin-bowling allrounder Glenn Maxwell in Australia’s squad for their three-game T20 series against England starting on January 29 in Hobart.

    Despite the modest figures of 1-41 off seven overs in three BBL games for Melbourne Stars this summer, selectors have seen enough in the youngster’s loop and raw spin to suggest a future at international level.

    Muirhead says he has learnt a lot already in his five-game BBL career.

    “Definitely last year I was trying to get a wicket with every ball,” Muirhead told reporters this week.

    “But I’ve had a couple of sessions with Shane Warne and it’s all bowling to a plan (now).

    “It could be a three-over plan, or a three-ball plan.

    “Setting the batsman up for the delivery that you want to take the wicket with … so you really have a plan against each batsman and trying to execute that is my game.”

    Australia T20 skipper George Bailey said Warne, who has captained teams in the BBL and the Indian Premier League, will boost the side on many levels.

    “I’m thrilled to have him on board as a spin coach, but he brings so much more to the table,” Bailey said.

    “He’d be one of the leading thinkers on T20 in the world, tactically.”

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Jan
15
  • Companies look to end password era

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    The world’s most common online password was revealed this week to be “123456,” but tech boffins are working hard to ensure the password’s days are numbered.

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    At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, several companies presented their visions of a future where people will use their bodies to verify their identities.

    So-called biometric technology broke into the mainstream in late 2013, when Apple put a fingerprint scanner on its newest iPhone, but CES took things a step further.

    New York company EyeLock, for example, showed off a computer mouse-sized iris scanner that plugs into the USB port of a computer.

    Pick the scanner up, put it the correct distance from your eye, and it will perform a scan to verify your identity and unlock the device.

    Because no two irises are the same, the company says the scanner will allow a false entry once every 1.5 million attempts. Scanning both irises extends that to once every 2.25 trillion attempts.

    Apple’s fingerprint scanner, by contrast, allows a false positive once in every 50,000 attempts, EyeLock says.

    Head of EyeLock marketing, Anthony Antolino, says the company is working towards a smaller model that could be embedded within computer cameras, smartphones and tablets.

    Meanwhile, Toronto-based company Bionym showed off a bracelet that uses a wearer’s heartbeat signature to verify their identity.

    Unlike fingerprint and iris recognition, the system doesn’t require the user to re-authenticate every time they wish to prove their identity.

    As long as the wearer keeps the wristband on, it provides constant authentication which is transmitted to devices via Bluetooth.

    While the heartbeat technology is in its early stages, Japanese firm Fujitsu has been working on a system of vein-recognition for several years.

    In Las Vegas the company showed off a payment system called PulseWallet that identifies a person by scanning the unique pattern of veins in their hand using near-infrared light.

    It then matches the pattern against an encrypted database of pre-registered users.

    According to Fujitsu, it will provide one false positive for every 1,250,000 attempts, portending a wallet-less future where in-store purchases are verified via palm scan.

    Biometric technology can’t come soon enough if research into the world’s most popular passwords, released this week by password management company SplashData, is to be believed.

    It found “123456” was most common.

    “Password”, usually number one, was second.

    Others in the top 10 included “abc123,” “111111,” and “qwerty” – the first six letters across the top row of a standard keyboard.

    Andrew Clouston, the Australian founder of the MOGOplus app, which provides access to a user’s varied login credentials via a single portal, says people baulk at the number of passwords they’re required to remember.

    Many end up using the same credentials across all of their accounts, he says.

    And though Clouston makes a living helping people manage their passwords, he predicts the writing is on the wall.

    “The heartbeat, vein and eye scanner tech from CES, coupled with what we’re already seeing with the iPhone fingerprint sensor, shows that the humble password’s days are numbered.”

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Sep
18
  • Faulkner rushed into Tassie Shield side

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    Allrounder James Faulkner has been released from Test duties and been rushed into Tasmania’s side to play South Australia in a Sheffield Shield match starting Friday.

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    Faulkner was named Australia’s 12th man for the first Test against England at the Gabba, but national selectors released him to the Tigers in a bid to retain form.

    The left-armer will bolster a Tasmanian bowling attack under pressure to perform against the Redbacks in the Adelaide Oval encounter.

    Tigers coach Dan Marsh has put heat on his bowlers following last week’s loss to Victoria.

    “We simply didn’t take enough wickets against Victoria,” Marsh said.

    “With the return of some very good bowlers though, I’m confident we can take the 20 wickets we need against the Redbacks.”

    The Tigers’ batting stocks have also been strengthened by the return of in-form Ed Cowan, who made 51 and 42 for a Cricket Australia Invitational XI against England last week.

    SA’s batting line-up also is stronger for the return of Callum Ferguson, who also featured in the Invitational XI last week.

    Fast bowler Kane Richardson has been named for his first Shield game of the summer after overcoming injury troubles.

    “There will be two players who will be very unlucky to miss out tomorrow and, as a coach, that is what you want – tough decisions on selection,” SA coach Darren Berry said.

    SA: Johan Botha (capt), Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Travis Head, Phil Hughes, Michael Klinger, Trent Lawford, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Kelvin Smith, Adam Zampa (12th man to be named, one to be omitted)

    Tasmania: Tim Paine (capt), Xavier Doherty, Luke Butterworth, Mark Cosgrove, Ed Cowan, Alex Doolan, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Andrew Fekete, Ben Hilfenhaus, Sam Rainbird, Clive Rose, Jordan Silk (12th man to be named, one to be omitted)

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Sep
18
  • Concerns over NT alcohol control plans

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    (Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

    To many observers, it’s the Northern Territory’s biggest social and health problem: excessive alcohol consumption.

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    The most recent measure proposed by the N-T government to tackle it is Alcohol Protection Orders, designed to block supplies to problem drinkers.

    But critics say it’s misguided, and they’re calling for postponement of the legislation to introduce the orders.

    Andrea Nierfoff has the details.

    (Click on audio tab above to hear full item)

    Attempts by successive Northern Territory governments to tackle alcohol abuse have included a Banned Drinkers Register, limiting sales of alcohol to one unit per person and the introduction of I-D cards.

    Now, it’s proposing introduction of Alcohol Protection Orders.

    Under these orders, particular people could be banned from possessing or consuming alcohol, and could notenter places licensed to sell it.

    Police would be allowed to stop and search someone they think may possibly be subject to an Alcohol Protection Order, as well as seize any containers they believe likely to contain alcohol.

    Dr Jonathon Hunyor, from the Aboriginal Peak Organisations group, says these new police powers would be excessive.

    “The powers that are given to police are really broad and are not adequately defined. Police are given the power under this law to criminalise someone’s alcoholism. Police can put someone on an APO if they’re charged with pretty much any type of offending, including something as simple as loitering. Police can also search people without a warrant. We don’t give police that power to deal with people who are accused of drug trafficking for example, so why should we give it to the police to deal with a problem like drinking in the Territory?”

    The Melbourne-based Human Rights Law Centre is also critical of the proposals.

    Spokesman Ben Schokman says the new scheme is unlikely to succeed.

    And he worries it will lead to further discrimination against the Territory’s large Indigenous population.

    “One of the concerns that always emerges from powers that are quite broadly drafted and where there is large discretion that is given to police to enforce them is that it ends up being particular communities that are disproportionately affected. We know from a range of evidence that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are overly targeted by police. We know that the tough law and order policies are measures that have been tried to be introduced previously, they haven’t worked so we’re repeating mistakes that have been made previously. At the end of the day they’re measures that are being introduced that simply aren’t going to be effective.”

    But not everyone believes the new orders are too harsh.

    Vice President of the Northern Territory branch of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Robert Parker, says the legislation may be necessary to deal with an entrenched cycle of alcohol abuse.

    “The police have most of the contact with problem drinkers. It’s easy to criticise. It’s a very difficult job for them. I’m not opposed to them having reasonably wide powers to deal with the situation. The current legislation does, to a degree, deal with significant problem drinkers. Locking people up for a period may seem a bit draconian but for people who are physically and mentally addicted to alcohol, it gives them actually a period where they are forced to get off the substance. Although obviously there are concerns about the legal and ethical implications about locking people up for a substance abuse issue.”

    However, Jonathon Hunyor from Aboriginal Peak Organisations says trying to impose laws onto a health problem is doomed to fail.

    He says the Territory government ignored the advice of health experts in developing these laws.

    Dr Hunyor says Indigenous people acknowledge that excessive alcohol consumption is a big problem in their community.

    But he says the proposed legislation should be postponed, while the Territory government consults more with Indigenous people on the best way to tackle the issue.

    “The experts are saying that it’s supply reduction that’s a big problem…but that’s not what the government’s chosen to do, they aren’t engaging with the rivers of grog that pour into our community everyday. There’s no evidence that this tough-sounding policy is actually going to work. It’s a very heavy-handed way of dealing with a difficult social problem. We want the government to start working with Aboriginal people to come up with real solutions to these problems, we want them to base their approaches on what the evidence shows and what the experts tell us.”

     

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Sep
18
  • Indon president’s letter received: Abbott

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    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has received a letter from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono seeking an explanation about Australia’s phone tapping activity in 2009.

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    Mr Abbott has made a statement to parliament about the correspondence which follows claims Australian spies targeted Mr Yudhoyono mobile phone and those of his wife and some of his closest confidants.

    “This morning I received the letter,” he said.

    “I want to assure the house that the government will respond swiftly, fully and courteously to the president’s letter.

    “As always, my intention is to do everything I reasonably can to strengthen the relationship which is so important to both our countries.”

    Mr Abbott said he wanted Australia to remain Indonesia’s trusted partner.

    Mr Yudhoyono had told Australia late on Wednesday that the letter would be forthcoming.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor continued to support the government in its efforts to improve relations with Indonesia in a timely way.

    “The seriousness of this matter, or the sense of offence that our Indonesian friends are feeling, means that we must redouble our efforts to return to positive and constructive dialogue between our governments,” Mr Shorten told parliament.

    “We know that our relationship can recover, it can thrive, it can prosper, it must.

    “Now is the time for temperate language and carefully calibrated discussions with our Indonesian colleagues.”

    Hundreds of riot police are on standby near the Australian embassy in Jakarta in preparation for protests over the phone-tapping claims.

    Demonstrators in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta have already burnt an Australian flag in protest over the alleged tapping as anti-Australian sentiment continues to escalate.

    The warning came in the wake of Indonesia on Wednesday cutting defence ties and co-operation on efforts aimed at combating people smuggling.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor continued to support the government in its efforts to improve relations with Indonesia in a timely way.

    “The seriousness of this matter, or the sense of offence that our Indonesian friends are feeling, means that we must redouble our efforts to return to positive and construction dialogue between our governments,” Mr Shorten told parliament.

    “We know that our relationship can recover, it can thrive, it can prosper, it must.

    “Now is the time for temperate language and carefully calibrated discussions with our Indonesian colleagues.”

    Hundreds of riot police are on standby near the Australian embassy in Jakarta in preparation for protests over the phone tapping claims.

    Demonstrators in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta have already burnt an Australian flag in protest over the alleged tapping as anti-Australian sentiment continues to escalate.

    Indonesia on Wednesday cut defence ties and co-operation on efforts aimed at combating people smuggling.

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Sep
18
  • Fifita reunited with family at RLWC

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    Rising Kangaroos prop Andrew Fifita will run out at Wembley Stadium on Saturday feeling a weight has been lifted off his back after reuniting with his young family at the World Cup.

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    Fifita admitted to struggling badly with homesickness throughout the tournament but he felt instant relief when his newly-wed wife Nikkita and infant son Latu Jay arrived in London this week.

    The 24-year-old Cronulla forward celebrated his son’s first birthday on Wednesday, with his family to watch on from the stands in Saturday’s semi-final against Fiji.

    “It’s like a big weight off my back. It was the best thing ever to see my family,” Fifita told AAP.

    “My wife and I were only husband and wife for a day before I came over here and them coming here has been the best thing for me mentally.

    “It was killing me mentally that I didn’t have any family here, just my brothers in the team.”

    Fifita kept in regular contact with his family over the internet but he felt like he was making up for lost time when he could hold his son in his arms again.

    “The baby’s grown up so much since I left him at home, even in four or five weeks,” Fifita said.

    “He’s walking now and he’s so big … it feels like I’ve missed out on so much.

    “But now being able to go back to see them in the apartment every day, it feels like I’m at home.”

    Fifita says his stable home life and becoming a father are behind his incredible achievements with club, state and country in 2013.

    The NSW forward has played in all of Australia’s four matches at the World Cup and his impact off the bench continues to be crucial in the Kangaroos’ bid for glory.

    Fifita expects the lift gained from his family’s arrival will help him make an even greater mark on the field against Fiji.

    “I play a lot better when I’m happier so, hopefully, I can go out there and do my job knowing that my family are there,” he said.

    “It’s a privilege every single time I run out on the field and play in front of them because they know they are the only thing I play for.

    “Without them, I don’t think I would have got this far ever.”

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Sep
18
  • Scott’s World Cup hopes crash with quintuple-bogey

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    In red-hot form and coming into the revamped tournament on the back of two wins in the last two weeks, Scott had been heavily backed to take individual honours and guide Australia to victory in the team component.

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    The U.S. Masters champion started steadily enough, grafting through breezy conditions to be one-under at the turn.

    Things came dramatically unstuck for the U.S. Masters champion at 12, however, when he sprayed two tee-shots into a tangle of bushes on the right of the fairway.

    Unable to find his first ball, Scott returned to the tee and put his third drive into light rough before over-cooking his approach and seeing his shot roll over the green.

    Needing to get up-and-down for eight, Scott missed his putt from about 12 feet to post his worst single-hole score in a U.S. PGA Tour-sanctioned event since his 10 at the WGC tournament at Doral Golf Resort in 2007.

    “Just a couple of lazy swings today on… 12, and, you know, paid the price,” Scott said greenside. “Just away with the fairies on that hole.”

    WHIRLWIND TOUR

    Scott hit back with a birdie on the next hole, but fell away again with a bogey on the par-five 15th and finished with a four-over 75 to be joint 46th in the field of 60, nine strokes behind joint leaders Kevin Streelman of the United States and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn.

    Playing his third tournament in three weeks following wins at the Australian PGA Championship in the Gold Coast and the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne on Sunday, Scott has also had a whirlwind of media appearances and sponsor events in his first trip Down Under since his Augusta triumph.

    “Could be (fatigue), but, you know, it was a little disappointing to do that but stuff can happen and that’s why when you play good tracks like this you need to be switched on at all times and I paid the price today… Other than that is was fairly solid,” he added.

    There was some cheer for local fans as a grieving Jason Day battled to a three-under 68 to sit two shots behind Bjorn and Streelman.

    The world number 18 is mourning the loss of eight relatives who were killed when Typhoon Haiyan pounded the Philippines earlier this month, and his five-birdie round left Australia six strokes behind the leading United States and Denmark in the team component of the tournament.

    Sixty players are competing for individual honours while 26 two-player teams are going for the team prize according to their aggregate scores.

    (Editing by John O’Brien)

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Aug
17
  • Serco/G4S wear blame for UK scandal

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    (Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

    Multinational Serco and G4S have apologised for overcharging the British government by tens of millions of dollars, including for services involving dead people.

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    They face other allegations over other contracts.

    The British investigations are unrelated to their outsourcing operations in Australia but a member of the British Public Accounts Committee says people should be concerned.

    Stefan Armbruster prepared this report.

    (Click on audio tab above to hear full item)

    “Well, it’s a judgement that was flawed. It was just a flawed judgement, I don’t think we did correctly tell the difference between right and wrong. We got it wrong.”

    That’s Ashley Almanza, the new CEO of one of the world’s largest private sector employers, explaining to a British parliamentary committee what went wrong.

    G4S is under a criminal fraud investigation for overcharging the UK government on an offender tagging contract.

    Also caught up in the scandal is Serco.

    Its new CEO is Alastair Lyons.

    “It was never right that we should bill, where we weren’t doing work, in respect to that bill, it was wrong, it was ethically wrong, and for us it is one of the signs that we need to have an attitudinal change within our business.”

    Serco is under seven British government investigations, including by the Serious Fraud Office, for its handling of government contracts.

    Both the of these huge, multinational, British-based companies are currently barred from bidding for further work there and both have significant interests in Australia, including running mainland and offshore immigration detention centres.

    Chair Margaret Hodge of the powerful Public Accounts Committee set the tone.

    “Can I just start by saying this is not a session to pass a verdict on whether it is a good or a bad thing for the government to contract public services, what we are about is starting to ensure there’s a proper accountability for the taxpayers pound.”

    In a pre-emptive strike, G4S offered the government an apology the day before the hearing and offered to repay the equivalent of AU$41 million of an AU$87 million deal to monitor tagged offenders.

    That’s been rejected by the Ministry of Justice, which is waiting on the outcome of the fraud investigation.

    In some cases, the government was being charged for monitoring offenders who were dead.

    “If you hadn’t of been caught charging for these people who were out of jail, or dead, or whatever, you would have kept on charging until the year 3000. Why on earth, for both of you really, couldn’t this have been detected.”

    G4S’s previous CEO resigned in May, due in part to the scandal.

    New boss Ashley Almanza admits fault.

    “I think the first thing I would say is I apologise to the Secretary of State, and I apologise to the committee and the taxpayers on behalf of our company. We didn’t have the systems in place, too much was left to a small number of individuals and we didn’t have the appropriate checks and balances in place and that is changing now as we speak.”

    G4S, Serco and other companies are deeply entwined with the British government’s outsourcing of public services.

    The goal: to deliver more efficient services, at a lower cost to the taxpayer, all the while making a profit for shareholders.

    Public Accounts Committee member Austin Mitchell spoke to SBS after the hearing.

    “I’m not an enthusiastic friend of these big companies having so many government contracts, because what we are doing is replacing a state monopoly for the services, with an oligopoly, they’re to big to displace once they’re incumbent, and they’re too big also to be effectively controlled from the centre.”

    Internal control is just one faction in an ongoing debate about how far these companies should penetrate the pubic sector and their duty of care.

    G4S employs over 600,000 people in 115 countries.

    In South Africa, the government last month found G4S had “lost effective control” of the second largest privatised prison in the world, amid claims inmates were being subdued with involuntarily injections and electric shocks.

    G4S denies those claims.

    G4S also bungled the London Olympics security contract, forcing the British government to bring in the army.

    Opposition Labour MP Austin Mitchell says Australians should be concerned by what has happened in Britain.

    “A lot of things that have been made worse under this government were started by the Labour government, that goes for privatisation and outsourcing like this, it goes for reducing the functions of the state. The Labour government did a lot of good but because spending was so high, it tried to economise in this fashion, and therefore it opened the door for the conservative government which believes in reducing the power of the state as an ideology, it opened the door for the conservative government to do it on a much bigger scale.”

    The outsourcers say many of the contracts are high risk.

    That’s why they come with big rewards, and every now and then things do go wrong.

    In Australia, G4S and Serco earn hundreds of millions of dollars from contracts, not just for immigration detention, but the Tax Office, operating trains like the Indian-Pacific and Ghan and much more.

    But both companies have been involved in scandals here too.

    The hearing in Britain was unrelated to those operations.

    SERCO’s Alister Lyons told the committee Britain can now trust his company to do the right thing in future.

    “We do an awful lot of other things beside the issues that have arisen this year, which sadden me, which shock me, which I’m very sorry about, but they’ve happened and I need to make sure they don’t happen again and it’s those actions which we are now taking, which is the main reason why I think the taxpayer can have confidence that you can deal with Serco, confident that Serco will deliver value for money, and confident that we will be transparent with our dealings with government.”

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Aug
17
  • Toughest-ever doping tests in Sochi: IOC

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    The Winter Games in the Russian city of Sochi will see the “toughest ever” anti-doping tests, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach says, despite scepticism over the host country’s testing capability.

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    Bach, elected head of the IOC in September, said on Thursday the number of pre-competition tests at Sochi next year would increase 57 per cent compared with the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

    “We can clearly say that both as regards to quantity as well as quality, this will be the toughest anti-doping program we have ever had in the Olympic Games”, Bach told journalists during a visit to South Korea.

    “The tests will be even more target-oriented … there will be more tests pre-competition … where most of the anti-doping violations are happening,” he said.

    Bach arrived on Wednesday to inspect preparations for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

    He told the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg last week that athletes would undergo 1269 pre-competition tests – over 400 more than at the Vancouver Games.

    However, the global anti-doping agency this month provisionally suspended the accreditation of Moscow’s sports drug-testing laboratory because of questions over the quality of its procedures.

    Russia’s sports minister has promised necessary measures would be taken at the lab, which has until December 1 to improve the reliability of its results.

    Global leaders passed a new world anti-doping code at the conference in Johannesburg, under which offenders could face up to four-year bans from competitive sport.

    The code has been backed by powerful sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, world football’s governing body FIFA and governments.

    The revised world anti-doping code follows a two-year re-evaluation, during which the discovery of extensive doping by champion cyclist Lance Armstrong highlighted the challenges of ensuring clean competition.

    Bach hailed South Korea’s preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

    “We’re satisfied with progress made by the organising committee. This progress makes us very, very confident about the success of the Winter Games in 2018,” he said.

    The eastern resort town of Pyeongchang will become the first Asian country to host the Winter Olympics after Japan.

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Aug
17
  • Under-strength Blues take on Qld in Shield

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    NSW will need to consolidate their spot near the top of the Sheffield Shield ladder minus six Test stars against Queensland this weekend.

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    A heavily under-strength Blues squad, missing six players to the Test team facing England in the Ashes opener, will take on a Queensland side they humiliated just a week ago.

    But former Test bowler Trent Copeland says the experienced players they’ll be without, including the likes of Test captain Michael Clarke and vice-captain Brad Haddin, is almost matched by that which they’re bringing in.

    Fellow Test batsman Steve Smith played a crucial role in the 150-run win, scoring 69 and 36 in last week’s one-sided match.

    But Copeland points to the experience of veteran duo Ben Rohrer and Peter Nevill, who will captain the side, as reason for optimism.

    “I think we’ve got the depth,” Copeland told News Corp Australia.

    “We’re not really losing anything in terms of debutants or anything like that.

    “We’re bringing in experienced players.”

    The unusual nature of the back-to-back Shield matches against identical opposition could work in the Blues’ favour, with Queensland still smarting from the heavy loss.

    The Blues are sitting in second spot in the Shield ladder, with one outright win and gaining first-innings points in their other two matches.

    Copeland, who enjoyed match figures of 7-99 at Alan Border Field, said they viewed this as another opportunity to grab an outright victory against a Bulls team missing key fast bowler Ryan Harris.

    “It’s a rare opportunity two weeks in a row to play the same opposition,” he said.

    “I think we’ve got some good performances on the board last week. Hopefully we can back that up.”

    Squad: Peter Nevill (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Trent Copeland, Moises Henriques, Scott Henry, Nic Maddinson, Steve O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu.

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Aug
17
  • Advancements made in treatment for heart disease

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    The federal government recently agreed to subsidise Coralan to make it available to more people.

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    The medication is one of many developments in treatment for heart disease, which is incurable and accounts for more than 30 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

    David Algie said his life changed dramatically after suffering a major heart attack.

    “It’s a slow process and every time you get a twitch in your chest you think ‘oh my god’ and it’s really worrying,” he said.

    The 65-year-old has a realistic view of the road ahead and so does his doctor, Andrew Sindone.

    “More than half of the people in Australia will die of cardiovascular disease,” Dr Sindone said.

    But despite the statistics he said the medical community was making progress in the area of treatment for heart disease.

    “We are making some gains but there still is a lot of room to move,” he said.

    Transplant technology

    Fiona Coots had the first successful heart transplant in Australia 29 years ago and continues to beat the odds.

    “To be still here so healthy is really amazing,” Ms Coots said.

    Organ-donation rates have increased dramatically over the past few years but there simply are isn’t enough to meet a growing demand.

    For every 1000 people in this country, only one is a potential donor and only 30 per cent of that one per cent will become a successful donor.

    But new technology looks set to change these odds.

    Cardiologist Peter Macdonald has created a way to reduce that damage once the heart is removed from the donor by keeping it working while waiting to be transplanted.

    “The heart just isn’t able to withstand the insults that occur during the withdrawal of life support and just isn’t usable, Dr MacDonald said.

    “We think this technology will allow us to utilise hearts from donors that we currently don’t consider suitable for heart transplant.”

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Aug
17
  • Scott slumps, Day fine in World Cup golf

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    A horror hole has severely jeopardised Adam Scott’s winning streak but fellow Australian Jason Day is within two shots of the World Cup lead.

    南宁桑拿

    Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and American Kevin Streelman lead the tournament at Royal Melbourne after each shot five-under-par opening rounds of 66 on Thursday.

    Their nations also lead the team event, after their respective partners, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and American Matt Kuchar, each shot even par to make team totals of five under.

    World No.2 Scott, coming off wins in the Australian PGA and Masters, shot a four-over 75, including a quintuple-bogey when he used three balls off the tee on the par 4 12th.

    Day, dealing with the grief of losing eight relatives in Typhoon Haiyan, shot 68 despite dealing with tougher, windier conditions playing in the second-last group.

    The pair’s one-over total leaves them six shots adrift as they try to win the World Cup for Australia.

    Day said he wouldn’t speak with Scott before Friday’s second round, as he sensed his teammate wouldn’t be in the mood.

    “He looks tired, he looks exhausted after the last two weeks,” he said.

    Day was delighted with his own game, coming off a five-week break in which his practice has consisted of hitting balls into a net in his garage or chipping them into his young son’s toy collection in their basement.

    US Masters champion Scott admitted his mind wandered on the 12th.

    His initial tee shot went way right and he lost the ball.

    His second went deep into a grove of trees and he was unable to play that either.

    His third attempt off the tee counted as his fifth shot and he needed four more to complete the horror hole.

    “I was just away with the fairies on that hole,” Scott said.

    He said mental fatigue might have kicked in and a lapse in his game had been inevitable at some point.

    “You just can’t play good all the time,” Scott said.

    But he still holds hope of a comeback victory, saying with Royal Melbourne’s greens fast and getting faster it might not take spectacular scoring to rein in the leaders.

    “If I can plug away at it I’ll maybe claw my way back into it,” Scott said.

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