Hundreds flee Lebanon

Written by admin on 05/02/2019 Categories: 苏州皮肤管理中心

The evacuees began their 75 kilometre trip from Beirut to Cyprus with the sound of fighting ringing in their ears.


Two explosions from an Israeli air strike echoed over the city as families clustered at the assembly point.

“It’s very bad, very sad, I can’t believe what’s happening,” said a tearful Lubna Jaber, an Australian who had come to visit relatives in Lebanon , as she waited in downtown Beirut with about 350 compatriots hoping to board a ferry to Turkey.

Three ships docked in the port of Larnaca, Cyprus, overnight, a US- chartered cruise liner carrying 1,044 people, mostly Americans, a United Nations ship with an unknown number aboard and a French ship with 320 on board.

When unloaded from the vessels, the tired-looking evacuees were whisked past reporters to be taken to a large building for processing.

The conflict has so far seen nearly 300 people killed in Lebanon and nearly 30 in Israel.

Australians set to go

As many as 500 Australians will be able to leave Lebanon later today on British and Greek warships, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

Mr Downer says the government has chartered six ships to evacuate 6,000 Australians from the conflict, but told reporters that Israeli curfews were delaying its rescue operation.

Hundreds of Australians were left stranded on the dock at Beirut port yesterday, after Israel refused to extend a curfew and guarantee a Greek navy ship safe passage. Some Australians made it on board in time, but about 200 others could not be processed.

Mr Downer says charter ships will begin arriving in Beirut on Friday, “If all of those ships are able to get into Beirut, and that is a very big qualification, if they are, we will have enough capacity to take out around 6,000 people,” he said.

More than 7,000 Australians are registered with the embassy in Lebanon. The government estimates that 25,000 Australian citizens are living in Lebanon, although the vast majority have dual nationality and did not plan to leave.

Mr Downer believes that already 400 or 500 Australians have already managed to escape Lebanon, but there are still more waiting to escape. Family back in Australia say the government isn’t doing enough to get their loved ones home. It’s an accusation the prime minister denies.

“The main message I want to convey to distressed relatives in Australia, and indeed through them to their loved ones in Lebanon, is that we are concerned, we have not abandoned them, and any suggestion we have is unfair and I reject it totally, completely, but we are doing our best,” John Howard told Arabic radio.

Concerns have also been raised about whether evacuees might have to meet costs involved in their evacuation. “Cost is not an issue as far as I’m concerned, and cost has never been an issue as far as (Foreign Minister Alexander) Downer is concerned,” Mr Howard said.

He also urged evacuees to travel light, after some people were unable to board a helicopter taking them to a British warship because of excess luggage. “I’m told, for example, that 40 people declined an offer to go out on a helicopter because they had their luggage and the British helicopter people understandably said ‘we can’t take the luggage as well’,” Mr Howard said.

One Melbourne man who escaped, Lebanon Victor Kheir said he was among about 100 Australians aboard the HMS Gloucester. He said the Australians were being given two nights accommodation in Cyprus, but would have to sort out their own flights home or to other destinations. “Or the Greek Islands – like me!”

Marines to the rescue

Meanwhile, about 40 United States Marines have landed on a beach in Beirut to help with the evacuation of US citizens caught up in the conflict. Attached to the troop carrier USS Nashville, they came ashore dawn.

It has been nearly 23 years since US Marines were in Lebanon; they left in 1983 after Hezbollah blew up a barracks in Beirut killing 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel and three Army soldiers.

“I’m excited to go in and bring out the American citizens,” said Navy hospital corpsman Tanya Callaghan who was part of the mission. Her operation is only part of a massive land, sea and air operation to bring out thousands of Americans and caught in the fighting. A US official says that by Wednesday the United States will have the capacity to evacuate up to 6,000 Americans.

“Over the next couple of days you are going to be seeing a very large influx, maybe five, maybe six, maybe seven (thousand), I think we just have to wait and see.” said US Ambassador Ronald Schlicher.

Those Americans already out of the country are expected to be quickly returned to their homeland, among them eight-year-old Ali Makki, from Michigan. He said he had been frightened by Israeli bombs.

“The thing I was scared the most about was when they shot the bombs on our building,” he said.

Canadians fly out in style

The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on a trip in Europe, has ordered his official plane to be diverted to Cyprus on Wednesday to pick up Canadians who have been evacuated from Lebanon.

France was evacuating its citizens by sea to Cyprus, while Germany sent at least 500 of its citizens to Syria in a convoy of buses. Poland and Sweden also took moves to evacuate their citizens.

Six British ships, including two aircraft carriers, stood ready to receive Britons from Lebanon. Some 5,000 Britons are to leave.

The Thai foreign ministry says all 100 Thai workers in Lebanon have either left the country or moved to areas they believe are safe. So far, 29 Thais have evacuated to the Syrian capital Damascus where they are waiting to fly home. Another 30 have left Beirut for areas in Lebanon they believe are safe, the ministry said.

Thailand has no plans to evacuate the 25,000 Thais working in Israel.

Philippines plea

Meanwhile, the Philippine president Gloria Arroyo has appealed to Israel and Hezbollah to avoid harming some 30,000 Filipinos stranded in Lebanon, and urged the international community to help evacuate her citizens.

Filipino officials have conceded that they are unable to evacuate thousands of their citizens on their own, and have appealed to the United States, European countries and Gulf states to find space for Filipinos on planes and ships evacuating people from Beirut.

So far around 200 Filipinos are holed up in a Roman Catholic Church in the Christian part of Beirut waiting to be taken across the border into Syria, but many others are being told to sit tight.

The government also released just under three million US dollars to help the evacuation process and said it would try to help any of the 25,000 Filipinos in Israel who wanted to be taken out of the country.

Meanwhile Manila radio and television stations have heard emotional appeals from Filipinos stuck in the conflict zone. “I am very afraid. I have not slept since the bombings began,” said domestic worker Virgie Valencia, adding that she and other Filipina maids were holed up in a Beirut condominium in fear of their lives.

“I will not come back anymore,” she said. “I did not wait for my employers, it might take them a long time to decide to evacuate.”

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No limits for pole vault star Lavillenie

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Newly-crowned pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie says he’s a risk-taker whose limits knew no bounds.


The 27-year-old Frenchman last month cleared 6.16 metres in Donetsk to break by one centimetre Ukraine legend Sergei Bubka’s 21-year-old world record.

“It was a strange feeling, because it’s not a big difference between jumping 6.16m and 6.01,” said Lavillenie, speaking on the sidelines of the World Indoor Athletics Championships which he is sitting out through injury.

“In the pole vault you always know what you’re going to do.

“When I saw the bar staying on stands and that it was not going to fall, something crazy happened in my head. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had!”

Lavillenie said he did not regret immediately attempting a vault at 6.21m after his new record in Donetsk. He injured his foot in the landing, hence his absence from the world indoor pole vault, won on Saturday by Greek Konstadinos Filippidis (5.80m).

“My goal wasn’t to break the record again, it was just to try a vault and see how my body would react,” he said.

“I felt confident and I thought I had a good opportunity to see if my body was able to go to that level.

“It’s just the feeling of the moment, the feeling during competition. I have to know and have to see how it’s going to be in the future.

“I always want more,” he said. “I have no regrets about that.”

Lavillenie credited his improvement to changes both technical and physical.

“I’ve tried to be more powerful on the runway,” he said. “I’ve also switched to a longer, stiffer pole with a grip 7cm higher up.

“For the 6.16m jump, I used a pole I’d never used before. I knew if I was able to bend the pole, I could go high because the pole was very strong.”

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Paris Hilton unveils beach club in Manila

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Hotel heiress Paris Hilton is ready to launch her own real estate empire.


The great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, who bought his first hotel in Texas in 1919, has unveiled her first property project.

The Paris Beach Club has been officially opened in the Philippines, three years after the idea was first discussed.

The bean-shaped, three-story club fronts a man-made beach within the Azure condominium community in Paranaque City.

Although Hilton has put her name to many different businesses over the years, including her own perfume range and a sunglasses line, this is her first foray into the world of luxury beach clubs.

“I’m so excited to see the first of our many projects together,” she said of her collaboration with Century Properties Group, during a press conference at the grand unveiling.

Although fans are more accustomed to seeing the 33-year-old lounging around at a luxurious beach club than running one, Hilton assures critics that this venture has been a long time coming.

She confesses that the finished product beats her other career highs, which have included reality TV show Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend and acting roles in the Razzie award winning movie House of Wax.

“I’ve been dreaming about this for the past three years. When I first walked in, I was just so blown away. It exceeded all my expectations. Just being here is one of the proudest and happiest moments in my life.”

The Paris Beach Club is situated in decadent Azure Urban Resort Residences in Paranaque, Manila.

The heiress found time to share her top tips for success, and was adamant that you don’t need a privileged upbringing to triumph in business.

“Believe in yourself. Don’t listen to what others say. Work hard. Be a good person,” she said.

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Bond in a coma after open heart surgery

Written by admin on 13/10/2019 Categories: 苏州皮肤管理中心

Alan Bond’s family is fearing for the worst as the former high-flying businessman lies in an induced coma after open heart surgery.


His ex-wife Eileen, who is flying from London to Perth to be with the 77-year-old, says he is fighting for his life.

“We’re praying and hoping that he pulls through this,” she told AAP.

“It’s not looking good at the moment.”

It’s understood the tycoon became ill in London last week and decided to return home for the surgery.

In a statement, Mr Bond’s children John, Craig and Jody said he remained in a critical condition in intensive care in Perth.

“On Tuesday, he underwent open heart surgery to replace a heart valve, which was previously replaced almost 20 years ago,” they said.

“He also required repairs to two other valves in his heart.

“We are told his prognosis is at best uncertain. He is in an induced coma and is receiving the best of care.”

Mr Bond is best known for being the first non-American to win the once coveted America’s Cup sailing trophy, and as the biggest fraudster in Australian history.

One of Australia’s richest men during the 1980s, Bond’s fall from grace began in 1992 when he declared bankruptcy.

He was jailed in 1997 for a $1.2 billion fraud involving his takeover of Bell Resources and was stripped of his status as Officer of the Order of Australia, which he had received 13 years earlier.

Mr Bond served three years behind bars before he was released in 2000 after a successful High Court appeal.

In 2008, BRW magazine named him among the 200 wealthiest people in Australia with an estimated wealth of $265 million.

As a 17-year-old, Mr Bond married Eileen in 1955 and they had four children together – John, Craig, Susanne and Jody – before divorcing in 1992.

Susanne was found dead aged 41 in her upmarket Peppermint Grove home in July 2000.

Mr Bond married theatre producer Diana Bliss in 1995. She died in 2012.

Ms Bliss stood by her husband during his jail sentence, making regular trips to prison to visit him.

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Indigenous boxer overcomes disability in ring

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Brad Hardman was just 15 when the car he was in wrapped itself around a telegraph pole, killing one and leaving another with a severe brain injury.


He lost his left leg in the accident and in the years following, he battled depression and alcohol problems.

But a chance encounter with legendary boxing trainer Johnny Lewis at a charity event four years ago turned his life around.

Now 34, he’s a changed man.  Hardman is bringing up two daughters (aged 6 and 10) alone after his estranged wife died of cancer last January. 

He’s also helping other young Indigenous boxers get ahead in the sport.

Hardman says his life experiences make them listen.

“I’ve been in the same boat as you guys” he tells them. “I’m saying if I can get up and change my way of life, hopefully you can do too.”

Hardman also showed great promise as a golfer. He won the Australian Amputee title on the Gold Coast and it was through golf that he crossed paths with Lewis. The trainer has immense respect Hardman’s newfound love of boxing and the work he’s doing with young athletes.

“If I can get up and change my way of life, hopefully you can do too.”

“He’s inspirational to them,” Lewis says. “They love him they respect him and they’re doing great things for him and Brad deserves a lot of credit.”

Both men feel Australia’s sporting public is missing out because so many talented Indigenous sportsmen and women go unrecognised.

“I remember when I was younger fighting in amateur fights there was young Kurri fighters out there at the same shows that had the most talent you’ve ever seen but then you don’t hear from them ever again,” Hardman says.

The father-of-two has fought four able-bodied men in the ring and he hopes his example may help inspire a new generation of Indigenous talent.


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Clark set to miss Cats’ clash with Bombers

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Mitch Clark is set to miss Geelong’s crunch clash with Essendon on Saturday night due to a calf injury.


Off-season recruits Clark and Rhys Stanley (corked quad) were injured in the Cats’ 56-point loss to West Coast last Sunday.

Both remain in doubt for the weekend’s Etihad Stadium encounter, but coach Chris Scott was more pessimistic about the former Melbourne forward.

“We haven’t made the call just yet,” Scott said of Clark on Wednesday.

“At the moment we’re probably working towards a recovery or rehab program that gets him going in a week or two, but he’s unlikely for this week.

“It’s not serious.

“But they can’t definitively tell us it’s only going to be a one-weeker.”

Stanley’s omission would leave the club’s rucks stocks threadbare, with Hamish McIntosh, Dawson Simpson and Nathan Vardy all sidelined due to injury.

Scott noted Josh Walker could be recalled and support Mark Blicavs in the ruck, while rookie Michael Luxford is a chance of debuting.

The 20-year-old excelled at basketball in his junior sporting career and was part of the Australian under-17 world championship team that won a silver medal in 2012.

Luxford was signed as a ‘Category B’ rookie by Geelong the following year, the same path beaten by former steeplechaser Blicavs.

“He’s an interesting case study. If it weren’t for Mark Blicavs we’d be talking about how remarkable it is,” Scott said.

“But you can’t keep talking about these unique situations when you keep rolling them out.

“Mick didn’t play much football at all … he decided to give footy a chance before he pursued basketball overseas.

“He came in with a very similar attitude to that of Mark Blicavs, which was if it was to work he needed to learn as much as he could about the game and fully immerse himself in the AFL and Geelong culture, which he’s done.”

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Joining the South Sudan fight ‘not acceptable’ community figure says

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The South Sudanese Community Association has said it is regretful that South Sudanese Australians had chosen to engage in the conflict in South Sudan.


SBS has revealed up to 30 South Sudanese Australians have travelled back to their homeland to join the conflict.


They have taken up with both of the warring parties, with some loyal to the government forces controlled by President Salva Kiir and others siding with opposition leader Riek Machar.

The Australian government and opposition are yet to respond to SBS requests for comment on the issue.

The chairman of the South Sudanese Community Association, Kot Monoah said choosing to participate in a foreign war is an individual choice and not a community choice.

“Choosing to fight a war for, or against, the government is not acceptable.”

But he said ultimately, an individual must account for his actions. 

“They must not fight wars overseas and choosing to do so comes with accountabilities,” Mr Kot said.

“Choosing to fight a war for, or against, the government is not acceptable.”

Mr Kot said he encouraged all South Sudanese Australians to take the opportunities available to them in Australia and to be better citizens here.

“We migrated to Australia some years ago looking for better lives and a place save (sic) and free of wars,” he said. “We must live the dreams that make us migrate in the very first place.”

Mr Kot also urged South Sudanese Australians involved in “hate comments based on ethnic basis” to stop.

“It is regretful that many do not understand that they will one day account for their cyber role in fuelling conflict in South Sudan,” he said.

International law Professor, Ben Saul, said it was potentially lawful for a dual Australian-South Sudanese citizen to fight for national armed forces.

But he said any Australian citizens involved in fighting for a non-state armed group, could face heavy penalties under Australia’s Foreign Incursion and Recruitment offences.

Read the statement from the South Sudanese Coummunity Association here.

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‘Vic MP crafted $25,000 side deal’

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A union boss-turned-Victorian MP allegedly orchestrated a $25,000 per year “side deal” with a cleaning company to keep its staff on Workchoices-era wages.


Former Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem asked for the annual sum in a 2010 meeting with Cleanevent officials, the trade union royal commission heard on Wednesday.

When discussing extending the 2006 enterprise bargaining agreement, Mr Melhem allegedly asked for a service fee, John-Paul Blandthorn, a former organiser at the Australian Workers Union and now adviser to Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, told the commission.

“I could read the expression on their face that this wasn’t something they would normally want to engage in,” Mr Blandthorn said of Cleanevent officials Michael Robinson and Steven Webber.

Mr Blandthorn said the company told the union they were struggling to compete with “black market labour” and couldn’t afford higher penalty rates.

“Mr Melhem sort of stated to the company that … they get a good service out of the AWU and its delegates… and that they should look to pay some sort of service fee to the AWU for that type of work. But I can’t recall what number was said,” Mr Blandthorn said on Wednesday.

The original amount proposed was $10,000 but Mr Melhem allegedly told Mr Blandthorn to increase it to $25,000.

He said he didn’t personally tell the national union office about the arrangement because it wasn’t his position.

“I was always under the instruction of Mr Melhem,” Mr Blandthorn said.

The deal allegedly cost workers $2 million a year in unpaid penalty rates, while the company paid $25,000 a year to the AWU.

Mr Melhem on Monday denied saying the $25,000 was necessary to secure the extension of the EBA.

His statement to the hearing said it was a service fee for the branch to provide industrial representation for a pool of casual employees who weren’t union members.

Mr Blandthorn controlled negotiations with the company, he said.

A letter signed by Cleanevent HR manager Mr Robinson in October 2010 says the company agreed to pay ’employees union fees’ up to $25,000 with an agreement AWU wouldn’t commence any enterprise bargaining.

Mr Andrews, who employs Mr Blandthorn in his office and gave Mr Melhem the position of government whip, has refused to comment on the case while it is before the royal commission.

Opposition spokesman John Pesutto said Mr Andrews should stand down both men down after they gave conflicting evidence.

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FIFA dominates headlines as Portugal advance in New Zealand

Written by admin on 08/09/2019 Categories: 苏州皮肤管理中心

The tournament has been touched by the controversy and political machinations at FIFA’s headquarters in Switzerland, with President Sepp Blatter’s shock resignation late on Tuesday again seizing the world headlines.


Last week’s arrests of a total of 14 FIFA officials and corporate executives on charges of running a criminal enterprise involving more than $150 million in bribes had been a distraction but interest in the tournament was picking up, local organising committee chief executive Dave Beeche told Reuters.

“I guess there is more people talking about football full stop,” Beeche said. “We just have to focus on what we have to do and that’s deliver a great tournament and the football is speaking for itself on the pitch.”

Portugal winger Ivo ensured his side made the round of 16 with two goals in their 4-0 demolition of Qatar in Hamilton.

The result gave the Gulf side a reality check on the hopes of their current under-20 squad blossoming into potential world beaters in seven years’ time.

Qatar have openly said they feel the current under-20 side will provide the bulk of their squad when they host the 2022 World Cup, though their Spanish coach Felix Sanchez said they still needed time to develop.

“Experience won the match,” he told a media conference at Waikato Stadium. “We still have room for progression. Hopefully this experience will better the players.”

Qatar must now beat Senegal, who drew 1-1 with Colombia, to have any hopes of advancing to the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams in the tournament.

In Dunedin, Erick Cabaco’s added-time dismissal for a second bookable offence cost Uruguay the opportunity of seizing control of Group D with Mexico’s Kevin Gutierrez converting the free kick to give his side a 2-1 win.

Had Gutierrez not curled the ball past the outstretched hand of Gaston Guruceaga at Otago Regional Stadium, the central Americans would have almost certainly been out of contention for the knockout phases.

Gutierrez’s goal followed Hirving Lozano’s 71st minute strike, though Uruguay’s Mathias Suarez had equalised with seven minutes remaining in normal time.

Mexico have three points after two games, the same as every other team in the group following Serbia’s 2-0 victory over Mali in the late game in Dunedin.

Serbia lead the group on goal difference.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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Indonesia excluded from 2018 World Cup qualifiers

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Indonesia was formally notified over the weekend that it had been suspended by football’s world governing body FIFA and the AFC confirmed on Wednesday the bans would include the World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.


Indonesia had been drawn in Group F for the next round of matches, which doubles as qualifiers for both tournaments, but has been excluded from the competition.

They were scheduled to play Taiwan on June 11 and Iraq five days later but the AFC said those matches had been cancelled.

Asia’s regional governing body said the ban on Indonesian national and club teams would also extend to a range of other tournaments.

FIFA did allow Indonesia’s national team to continue playing at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore because the tournament has already started but all other penalties stand.

Indonesia was banned after the country’s Sports and Youth Ministry cancelled of the domestic football season because of a row over which teams are eligible to compete in the Indonesian Super League (ISL).

The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), sanctioned by the ministry, wanted Persebaya Surabaya and Arema Indonesia teams blocked from playing but PSSI resisted.

The Indonesian government has accepted responsibility for the ban but said it will continue to work to overhaul the competition.

FIFA takes a dim view of government interference in football affairs and the AFC said the bans would extend from the playing pitch to develop programmes.

“As long as the PSSI is suspended, Indonesian football will also not be able benefit from any AFC and FIFA development programmes,” the AFC said in a statement.

“PSSI officials are not allowed to participate in any AFC or FIFA training courses, seminars or workshops.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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‘Shocking’ debt deepens Racing Qld crisis

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Dead greyhounds aren’t the only skeletons in Racing Queensland’s closet.


The state government says the body is responsible for failing to stop the disappearances and killing of thousands of dogs and turning a blind eye to the practice of live baiting.

But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed Racing Queensland’s crisis is deeper – it’s also grappling with “shocking” amounts of debt.

KPMG administrator Ian Hall found the body’s losses will likely top $11 million this financial year and its draft budget shows it’s anticipating a loss of $21 million in 2015/16.

“This is shocking news and it has been uncovered within just a day of Mr Hall taking the reigns of this organisation,” Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Wednesday.

The premier said the debt revelations justify the government’s decision to sack all four boards overseeing racing in the state, including the harness and thoroughbred racing boards.

“I stand by my government’s decision to provide the CEO of Racing Queensland (Darren Condon) with a show cause notice and giving him five days to respond,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I stand by my government’s decision to abolish the boards of all racing codes in Queensland.

“I am determined that this important industry will go forward with a clean slate.”

Ms Palaszczuk has also announced former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge John Muir had been appointed as chair of the new all codes board set up to oversee greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing.

But Brisbane Turf Club Director Peter Bredhauer has warned the government to put politics aside during the restructuring process.

“If it doesn’t (appoint Labor associates) it’ll be the first time it hasn’t,” said Mr Bredhauer, who recognised the Liberal National Party was guilty of the same thing.

“I don’t know why it is but the political landscape in Queensland, every time we have a change of government, for some reason the racing industry has to suffer and they have to have a complete change of direction.”

The state government has insisted appointments made during the overhaul won’t be political.

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Myles will remain captain: Titans coach

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Gold Coast coach Neil Henry says Nate Myles will remain Titans captain despite not ruling out that the forward played a role in Daly Cherry-Evans’ stunning backflip.


Henry admitted he may never know whether Manly-bound Myles had a hand in convincing Cherry-Evans to renege on a four year Titans deal and remain at Brookvale Oval.

But he seemed more dirty on the fact that Myles signed with Manly and Aidan Sezer linked with Canberra from next year due to salary cap constraints created by the Cherry-Evans deal.

“I don’t know if he had an influence or not,” Henry said of Myles talking to Cherry-Evans.

“But it certainly did impact on our offer to Nate and Aidan Sezer that Cherry-Evans was coming so there were ramifications.”

Asked if Myles would remain captain for the rest of the year despite suspicions surrounding his Test forward, Henry said: “I think at the moment Nate is committed to the club and his performances have been good of late – he will remain in that position.”

Regardless, Myles and Sezer won’t be talked into staying with the Titans.

“We are not about to try and get people to renege on a deal,” Titans boss Graham Annesley said.

“That would be double standards on our part.”

Henry admitted he had no contingency plan in place for Cherry-Evans’ backflip despite enduring months of speculation.

“It would have been pointless. It was purely hypothetical – now we will have to look at the market,” he said.

Among the halfbacks off contract this year are Trent Hodkinson (Bulldogs), Chris Sandow (Eels) and Robert Lui (Cowboys) although Henry may also enquire about Sydney Roosters pivot James Maloney.

“There are a number of halfbacks who haven’t signed a contract – and high profile ones as well,” Henry said.

“We will have to see. It does free up a bit of money in the cap.”

But Henry reckons they already have their next captain in their midst, citing young gun Kane Elgey, budding NSW Origin forward Ryan James and veteran Luke Douglas as candidates.

“We have people to step up in that leadership role,” he said.

Asked if the backflip would put other players off signing with the Titans, Henry said: “I think it (the backflip) says something about when you sign a deal and shake a hand you think a deal is done and it is not.”

Annesley was not impressed with Cherry-Evans’ managers Chris and Gavin Orr who had reportedly assured the Titans throughout the saga that their star client was still heading to the tourist strip.

And he certainly wasn’t happy that the club had learned of the decision via the media.

Annesley said the only silver lining to the drama was the NRL abolishing the controversial round 13 contract rule.

“No club will have to deal with this sort of saga (again),” he said.

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WWII vets return to ‘futile’ Borneo battlefield

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Next week is the 70th anniversary of the Borneo campaign in which hundreds of diggers died but some historians say was unnecessary.


Some of the last veterans of this largely forgotten World War II campaign gathered in Brisbane for a commemoration before travelling to Borneo.

Serving as a telegraphiston on the landing ship HMAS “Westralia,” Patrick Curtis was one of more than 70,000 Australians involved in Operation Oboe in June 1945.

About 600 died as part of the largest ever seaborne landing by Australian forces.

“Yes, it’s going to be upsetting, [it] even upsets me now thinking about it,” said 90-year-old Patrick Curtis, wiping away tears.

“They were prepared to lay their lives down for their country.” 

His wife of almost 50 years, Jan, said he rarely talked about the war. Patrick helped soldiers board landing craft and then watched on from the deck.

“As they went along the beach, we could see them, and then they were strafed, a few times,” he said.

“You could see the soldiers being killed, with the Japanese planes coming in and strafing them, and knocking them over. That was a sad point.”

The landings at Tarakan, Labaun and Balikpapan are considered near textbook military operations but are eclipsed in history by the Kokoda campaign in Papua New Guinea.

“This was not an operation that was at the tip of the spear in terms of defeating Japan, this was an operation that was very controversial even at the time,” said historian Dr Peter Dean, from Australian National University. Dr Dean is the author of “1944 – 45: Victory in the Pacific,” due for release later this year.

“Tactically, while an outstanding operation, they were operationally really not that important and strategically quite questionable as well,” he said.

In June 1945, the Japanese Imperial forces were on the retreat. The Allies fought them back through Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, leaving Borneo sidelined.

“Yes, it’s going to be upsetting, [it] even upsets me now thinking about it.” 

“The main reason for them going ahead was our alliance, our coalition and ensuring Australia’s place at the peace table, when those peace negotiations came up with Japan,” Dr Dean said. 

It was less than two months before the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima that ended the war in the Pacific.

“By this stage of the war the fighting is fairly gritty business,” said Dr Karl James, senior historian at the Australian War Memorial.

“A lot of it is being conducted at close quarters. Yes, you have naval gun support, air strikes, flamethrowers but a lot of work is done with bayonets. It’s a very gritty business.”

The Australian 7th and 9th Division, some veterans of fighting the Germans and Italians in North African, were the main force.

Among the casualties, war hero and Victoria Cross recipient lieutenant Tom “Diver” Derrick. 

“The death of Derrick was a huge blow to the Australians fighting on Tarakan,” Dr James said.

“This is a decorated soldier, he served at Tobruk and El Alamein, was awarded the Victoria Cross in New Guinea and, for many, his death highlighted the futility of the campaign. 

“In the early 1940s he was possible Australia’s best known soldier in the war.”

The Australian forces were serving under the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the South West Pacific, US General Douglas MacArthur.

“He played a very duplicitous hand. He told the Australian government [Operation Oboe] was being demand by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and US High Command, and he was also telling US High Command the Australian government wanted this to go ahead,” Dr Dean said.

“So while there were concerns by both the US and Australian governments, it was really MacArthur who drove this ahead.”

General MacArthur’s interest in Borneo was likened to a vanity project.

“It’s a little bit of a sideshow, the operations in Borneo, and they really only came about because of MacArthur’s personal desire to liberate parts of Netherlands East Indies,” Dr James said.

For battle-scarred veterans like Patrick Curtis, those debates were no longer a concern.

By returning to Borneo for the anniversary, he just wanted to remember those lost 70 years ago on a faraway shore.

“About Borneo, I don’t think there’s anything outstanding to remember it by,” he said.

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