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”.

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    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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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.

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    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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Jul
17
  • ‘I just witnessed an abduction in Thailand’

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    It’s 1am dead of night deep in the jungle at Pak Chong Military Camp in remote Thailand.

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    A rude awakening from gunfire nearby the bunker I’m staying in.

     

    Then in a cloud of shouting and gunfire… an abduction. But it’s not what it looks like.

     

    Shaun Filer and his colleagues are security and military experts working across the globe to prevent kidnap and ransom situations. It’s just one part of intense hostile environment training they’ve designed to equip journalists, aid workers, and those travelling to high-risk destinations with the skills to stay alive.

     

    “Nothing can prepare you for that situation,” says Filer. “We try to make it somewhat intense just to make some of the decision points, take away some of the learnings from the course so people are focusing on what are they supposed to do next, what should they be communicating, how should they be acting.”

     

    There were up to 35,000 kidnappings for ransom globally in 2012. That’s not counting the estimated 70 per cent of kidnappings that go unreported.

     

    So far in 2013… 92 journalists and media crew have been killed on the frontline and 96 aid workers have lost their lives while working to save others

     

    That makes hostile environment training even more important to survival. And if participants expect to sit in a cosy conference room and discuss tactics – they should think again.

     

    “I am trembling with fear,” says one participant in the program. “I was genuinely scared and it was not nice having a bag over my head and being kidnapped is full on.”

     

    Kidnappings are never fun and Filer’s training program is designed to help keep people alive – not to make them feel safe.

     

    “We have 20 people from literally all corners of the globe here attending, this course, and they’ll be going through a series of challenging exercises and when I say challenge I mean quite challenging exercises from out here in the jungle into urban terrain,” says Ken one of the trainers. “We keep them out for seven days and we do test them quite rigorously.”

     

    There’s no exact formula for working out if you will be kidnapped but Filer says usually there is a financial motive.

     

    “Kidnappings can happen anywhere but there are trouble spots or hotspots and you see trends,” says Filer. “There’s a lot of places where it is a business and people make money.”

     

    “It’s all about money…”

     

    More than 90% of kidnappings are resolved with a payment.

     

    In the past 3 years, G8 countries paid $70 million US dollars in ransoms – an average of $2.5 million per victim.

     

    Australia paid around $5 million dollars in ransoms. Much of which ends up in the hands of terrorist groups.

     

    Australian journalist Nigel Brennan was kidnapped in Somalia and held captive for 462 days. Since his escape he’s been working with Shaun, Ken and veteran Foreign Correspondent Peter Cave on designing these courses so they’re as ‘real-life’ as possible.

     

    “I fell to the ground and was kicked and punched and dragged through the mosque and out into a courtyard and believed within the next 60 seconds I was about to take a bullet to the head,” Brennan told ABC’s 7:30 report in 2008. “It was like an out of body experience watching myself being dragged to my death.”

     

    Most of the participants here are experiencing this training for the first time. Many could be deployed to warzones or high-risk situations at any time.

     

    The need for the training is real, and as Cave says, sometimes you don’t know what will happen.

     

    “Probably the scariest personal incident was in the 1987 coup in Fuji when along with the BBC correspondent Red Harrison I was arrested by the army, I was taken to the basement of a hotel,” says Peter Cave. “I was put up against a wall. The soldiers basically discussed whether they were going to shoot us or not, and I can remember standing up against that wall thinking if they start shooting, will I have enough strength to throw myself against the cinder block wall beside me and possibly burst through it and runaway. It was that desperate.”

     

    Over the seven day program participants are subjects to hardcore training, from weapons, to dealing with dead bodies on the job, getting out of civil unrest and riots, a 101 in identifying explosives and landmines, evasive driving techniques to get you through militia roadblocks or checkpoints, and how to cross-risky borders safely.

     

    Participants are also given comprehensive first aid and medical training.

     

    “The way we’ve perceived safety and security when you travelling into international locations or really remote locations is, is kind of a game of one per cents,” says Filler. “If you make good decisions that’s one per cent more safe, if you make bad decisions that’s one per cent less safe.”

     

    “The reason I do this is to help people…. to make people safer, and to probably avoid making some of the mistakes that we have.”

    The Feed airs weeknights at 19:30 on SBS 2. You can also follow The Feed on Twitter at @TheFeedSBS2, or ‘LIKE’ SBS 2 on Facebook to stay in the loop.

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Jul
17
  • I’m fighting Choc for fitness: Mosley

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    Shane Mosley has laughed of suggestions Anthony Mundine could be in for a big pay day should he win their fight next Wednesday, saying he’s only taking on the Australian champ to stay fit.

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    A loss to Mosley would be another nail in Mundine’s career, while the fast-talking 38-year-old hopes a win could elevate his standing on the world stage – and further his chance of landing a dream fight with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

    But Mosley, who will bank $1 million for next Wednesday’s fight, thinks that is unlikely.

    In fact, while he expects to knock Mundine out, he doesn’t think many people will take much notice.

    “This fight has just got to keep me in shape, keep me going, keep me fighting,” Mosley said.

    “I’m not sure if it’s going to help me with any of the other fights.

    “They’re not going to say ‘oh, ok, you beat Anthony Mundine so now you can fight for the world title or you could fight (Manny) Pacquiao’.

    “I don’t know if it’s going to trigger people like that.

    “They don’t really see Anthony as a superstar in America.

    “It’s going to keep me busy, no doubt. And I think it will be a hard fight.

    “But I don’t know about making a difference or an impact in America.”

    When asked if Mundine had already attempted to set up a bout with Mayweather, Mosley confirmed that he had.

    And the result?

    “Nothing,” he said.

    “It is what it is. I’m telling the truth.”

    The pair had been due to fight last month, before Mosley fled the country when money which he’d been promised wasn’t delivered on time.

    Mundine and manager Khoder Nasser flew to meet with Mosley’s representatives in the United States to smooth things over, which is what triggered the veteran’s quick change of mind.

    But even with the financial side of the fight sorted, Mosley revealed he’d still attempted to push it back another month in order to find another fight in the US.

    “(My management) were already looking for other fights,” he said.

    “(Mexico’s rising lightweight fighter) Carlos Molina for the world title or some other fights.

    “I was (pushing for) December 20th or something. I was trying to wait for some of the other fights to happen.

    “But they wanted to do it November, and I was like ‘alright, I’m in shape, let’s go.'”

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Jul
17
  • Rally over deaths of 3 Aboriginal children

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    Protesters have rallied outside NSW parliament to demand justice over the unsolved murders of three Aboriginal children in northern NSW 23 years ago.

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    Around 100 people marched from Hyde Park to parliament house on Thursday, stopping traffic as they called on Attorney-General Greg Smith to reopen the cases and for a judicial inquiry.

    Colleen Walker, 16, Clinton Speedy, 16, and four-year-old Evelyn Greenup disappeared from the Bowraville community over a five-month period in 1990.

    In 1991, local man Jay Hart was charged with the murder of Clinton and Evelyn, but was acquitted of murdering Clinton in 1994.

    Soon afterwards prosecutors also dropped the charges relating to Evelyn.

    After an inquest into her death in 2004, Mr Hart was once more charged with Evelyn’s murder and again acquitted.

    The families of the victims continued to push for a retrial, prompting Mr Smith to agree to review the case in 2011.

    But in February this year he announced his decision not to consider new charges.

    Ronella Jerome, Clinton Speedy’s aunt, said on Thursday that the initial police investigation was mismanaged, highlighted by a subsequent coroner’s inquest.

    “Police failed our children, the legal system failed our children … we deserve our day in court and we will never give up,” she told reporters.

    Clinton’s nephew, Elijah Duroux, said the case was part of an Australia-wide pattern where Aboriginal deaths were not subjected to the same rigorous legal investigation.

    “I guarantee if it were three white kids on the North Shore or some other posh place around Sydney, justice would have been served on a silver platter,” the 15-year-old told reporters.

    Greens MP David Shoebridge has a motion before parliament calling for the families to be heard by a parliamentary committee.

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Jul
17
  • Spies like us: How you can become like the NSA

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    In the 1985 comedy classic Spies Like Us, loose cannons Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase are given all the weapons and technology given top secret spies.

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    They embark on a hair-brained spy mission to Russia with hilarious consequences.

     

    But times have changed and spying is not all about cool watches and James Bond gadgets anymore.

     

    And if you thought that NSA-style cyber-snooping, data-logging, phone-hacking and camera-stalking technology can’t get into the hands of loose cannons – think again.

     

    The global mass surveillance industry is worth about 14 billion dollars. Not bad for an industry that has sprung up in the past few decades.

     

    Watchdog group Privacy International spent the last four years trudging around trade shows and private conventions from Dubai to Prague, compiling an index of exactly what’s on offer from these covert firms if you know where to look.

     

    And it’s not just data capturing vehicles, biometric cameras and mobile phone trackers – it’s a lot scarier than that.

     

    Surveillance corporations are selling some of the most powerful, invasive, and dangerous technologies. And it’s all perfectly legal.

     

    Systems that are keeping pace with the capabilities of the NSA and the UK’s GCHQ.

     

    About 338 companies across 36 countries are offering a total of 97 different technologies. And their selling them to whoever has the cash.

     

    One Dubai-based firm called Advanced Middle East Systems taps information from fibre-optic cables carrying internet traffic.

     

    Their products can record billions of real time calls, text, billing data, emails, conversations, webmail, chat and social data.

     

    Attaching probes to internet cables the company says that “no co-operation with the providers is required,”

     

    The index even lists three Australia-based companies:

     

    Geonautics who do covert technical surveillance systems, FFT Secure link which monitors fibre optic cables, and Harris Technologies, whose not so subtle brochure shows off their range of concealed cameras.

     

    Some say this kind of tech, while not illegal, is moving faster than the law.

     

    The UK is leading a clampdown on tech that may be used by criminals to conduct espionage.

     

    So what if these systems fall into the wrong hands?

     

    Well, in all likelihood, it already has.

     

    According to Privacy International, some of the firms on the list maintain relationships with the repressive regimes they sell to. Servicing their systems and providing 24/7 tech support for dictators and their cronies.

     

    They don’t specify which firms work with which regimes and there’s no suggestion that any Australian firms are doing it.

     

    Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi was known to use off-the-shelf surveillance equipment to clamp down on opposition.

     

    We live in a time where even our own government has excused cyber privacy breaches by saying that everyone does it.

     

    It’s not just so-called oppressive regimes. It’s the goodies, the baddies and everyone in between. Anyone who knows where to look and has the cash to pay for it can become their own NSA.

     

    The Feed airs weeknights at 19:30 on SBS 2. You can also follow The Feed on Twitter at @TheFeedSBS2, or ‘LIKE’ SBS 2 on Facebook to stay in the loop.

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Jul
17
  • Cheika backs his Waratahs leader

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    NSW coach Michael Cheika is backing berated skipper Dave Dennis to lead the Waratahs to the 2014 Super Rugby title.

    南宁桑拿

    Dennis was one of eight so-called Waratahs `booze brothers’ reprimanded for breaking curfew before Australia’s Test win over Ireland in Dublin last week and Cheika said the NSW captain would no doubt feel disappointed.

    Cheika, though, has no plans to pull out the big stick or deliver any pep talks when Dennis and his chastened teammates return next month from the five-Test spring tour.

    Instead, he will reward his Wallabies tourists with five weeks off before moving on with the business of trying to end NSW’s 17-year wait for Super glory.

    “Dave Dennis is an excellent captain here. An excellent player, an excellent man,” Cheika said on Wednesday.

    “The punishment is relative to the coach. Every coach has his ways.

    “(Wallabies coach) Ewen (McKenzie) has decided to make a punishment. That’s fair enough. That’s what he decides. The players have to wear that because they’re in that environment.

    “But for me Dave Dennis is an example of wanting to give for your team, a well respected captain and I expect when he comes back here he’s going to be an even better captain for the experiences that he’s had.”

    Far from concerned by the distraction in Europe, Cheika is convinced the Waratahs have the artillery and maturity to seize the title in his second year at the helm.

    “We don’t need to keep saying it over and over again – we want to win,” he said.

    “We’re preparing to have that type of finish.”

    Even in the absence of his Test stars and with the likes of marquee recruit Kurtley Beale still to resume contact work following shoulder surgery, Cheika is adamant the Waratahs are well ahead of where they were in their pre-season preparation last year.

    “Obviously because we know how I operate, at the team’s training we’re at a much higher level of intensity earlier,” he said.

    The former European Cup-winning coach said he was excited by the prospect of Beale and superstar convert Israel Folau linking up in the Waratahs backline in 2014.

    “It’s going to be great to see those guys playing together,” Cheika said.

    “Kurtley’s charting well and he’s doing a lot of good work. He’s come back into the football side of things a lot earlier actually than we thought he would.

    “So, all going well, come December he’ll be fully integrated into the skills work and by January he’ll be into the contact side of the game.”

    And by February 1, Beale will be on deck for the Waratahs’ first pre-season trial against the Melbourne Rebels in Albury-Wodonga.

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