Monthly Archives: July 2019

Burgess gives Roosters a taste excitement

The next English star to hit NRL shores will arrive with a reputation for the brilliant and the baffling.

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Wigan’s Joe Burgess will link up with heavyweights Sydney Roosters at the end of the current Super League season, becoming the latest in a recent rush of overseas stars clamouring to join the world’s premier rugby league competition.

The English imports to enjoy success in the NRL recently have predominantly been of the bruising variety – think Canterbury enforcer James Graham, Wests Tigers hardman Gareth Ellis and South Sydney’s Burgess boys, who are no relation.

The 20-year-old Wigan winger is a tantalising mix of size and speed, and he scored a scintillating try to send Saturday night’s World Club Series clash with Brisbane into extra time.

In a brilliant 80-metre sequence, Burgess gave champion centre Justin Hodges a right-arm fend and sped away before exchanging passes with teammate George Williams to romp past Broncos fullback Jordan Kahu and score.

He was also guilty of making crucial errors, including two turnovers on his own tryline which left coach Shaun Wane far from impressed.

“He just needs to be better at that stuff (turnovers). That’s just not acceptable to me,” Wane said.

“He’s a good player but he needs to be smarter.

“When he lost the ball in contact today he was showing to me he wanted to fight and play the ball quickly and there were hands in and he just needed to calm down a bit.

“He was trying a bit too hard sometimes.”

Wane, meanwhile, insists the move to the Roosters is not weighing on Burgess’s mind as he navigates the current Super League season.

“He’s not an immature kid.

“He’s quite grown up,” Wane said. “I don’t think that’s the case (that he’s getting ahead of himself).

“I don’t think his mind is on Roosters, I definitely don’t think that.

“If he was doing that he’d be going to Workington, playing for the reserves.”

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Not all berries being checked

Not all imported frozen berries are being checked by Australian authorities despite concerns of a broader hepatitis A outbreak.

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Only berries linked to the processor at the centre of the controversy, Patties Foods, are subject to inspection and testing.

A second processor in NSW has been ordered to hold back its imports from distribution.

The revelation about checks came on Monday after the head of the agriculture department appeared to contradict Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s promises of more rigorous testing of imported frozen berries.

Mr Abbott last week said there would now be 100 per cent screening of “these sorts of imports” in response to concerns.

That did not align with what department secretary Paul Grimes told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday.

“We have not made changes on surveillance rates for berries broadly at this stage,” he said.

Mr Abbott clarified later there would be greater surveillance only of the “relevant” frozen berries – those linked to Patties.

“There is no inconsistency with what has been said,” he told parliament.

Eighteen people have so far been diagnosed with hepatitis A linked to imported frozen berries, a week after a nationwide recall was issued for a range of products.

The department first heard about contamination concerns on February 13, after which it alerted the industry, importers and the Chinese government on various protocols.

China has launched an investigation into Australia’s contamination concerns, but it may be delayed because of New Year celebrations, department officials told the hearing.

The department is also preventing suspect mixed berries and raspberries from two factories from being sold in supermarkets, under holding orders that expire on June 1.

One importer in NSW who sourced suspect raspberries from the same Chinese factory as Patties was alerted last Thursday and ordered to hold them.

There are no plans to increase staffing to deal with imported frozen berries.

The division responsible for inspecting food risks shed 280 full-time jobs last year following a department restructure.

“The sorts of actions the department will be taking now are not on staffing, they are actually about what powers are available to it under (law),” deputy secretary Rona Mellor said.

Only a small number – five per cent – of all non-suspect imported berries are being tested.

“Isn’t this ringing alarm bells?” Greens senator Rachel Siewert asked.

Officials said there was no evidence of other contaminated berries coming into the country, and the two factories under scrutiny had temporarily halted production.

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Terror rising, PM outlines tougher laws

Dual citizens involved in terrorism and “hate preachers” such as Hizb ut-Tahrir are in the sights of federal government plans to toughen up national security.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned the threat from terrorism at home and abroad, amid the rise of groups such as Islamic State, is now much greater and becoming harder to combat.

In his first national security statement, delivered at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Canberra, Mr Abbott said the nation must also confront a growing threat from home-grown extremism.

“By any measure the threat to Australia has worsened,” he said on Monday.

The number of Australians fighting with terror groups such as IS, as well as known sympathisers and supporters of extremism, had dramatically increased, as had the potential threat from home-grown terrorism.

The number of high priority investigations had risen to 400 – double what it was 12 months ago.

“Even if the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq stopped today, there is now an Australian cohort of hardened jihadists who are intent on radicalising and influencing others,” Mr Abbott said.

Under proposed changes, the Citizenship Act will be amended to strengthen the power of authorities to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals.

But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government couldn’t forcibly repatriate anyone if their birth country wouldn’t take them back.

“In that case we’re not able to send them back and they would have to remain in Australia,” he told ABC TV.

“We need to look at the ways in which we can reduce the threat level of that person to our society.”

While there are already limited powers that allow citizenship to be revoked, there have been just 16 cases since 1949.

Australian nationals would also risk losing privileges – including restricting travel, denying access to consular services and access to welfare – if they were found to be involved in terrorism.

Immigration department boss Michael Pezzullo said the government was looking to expand the grounds upon which revocation of citizenship could occur.

The department will also conduct a review that will include recommendations on strengthening the legal and policy framework around visas and citizenship.

Mr Abbott again singled out the Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir, saying terrorism advocacy laws would be strengthened to target “hate preachers”.

“Organisations and individuals blatantly spreading discord and division – such as Hizb ut-Tahrir – should not do so with impunity,” he said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar said his organisation had operated in Australia for over two decades without contravening a single law.

“Tony Abbott says he will take action against `hate preachers’, naming my organisation, Hizb ut-Tahrir. But we have already been scrutinised for 15 years,” he wrote in a comment piece published on Monday by The Guardian.

“Every investigation has produced nothing untoward, nothing prosecutable.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the proposed measures deserved careful consideration, but liberties of citizens should only be reduced when existing arrangements proved inadequate.

But Australian National University terrorism expert Clarke Jones says the proposals are unlikely to make Australia more secure.

“New measures may even go the other way and exasperate the underlying causes of violent extremism,” he said.

Mr Abbott also said the national terror alert system would be upgraded and a national counter-terrorism co-ordinator would be appointed.

New programs would also be introduced to counter terrorist “propaganda” and the ability of IS to churn out up to 100,000 social media messages a day.

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West Indies say sleeping giant Gayle ready to fire

Gayle managed a scratchy 36 from 65 balls in the opening loss to Ireland and scored four in Saturday’s big win over Pakistan.

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Though the win over Pakistan was a relieving return to form for the under-pressure islanders, Gayle’s second World Cup failure overshadowed it, with board president Dave Cameron re-tweeting a post from a Twitter user suggesting the 35-year-old should quit.

“Gayle goes… Can’t buy a run. Let’s give him a retirement package … Can’t fail repeatedly and still front up based on reputation,” read the post, re-tweeted by Cameron during play.

Cameron later tweeted an apology but it did little to dismiss the impression that tensions still exist between players and administrators months after a contracts dispute scuppered a lucrative tour of India.

Given the hard-hitting Gayle has not scored a one-day century in 19 innings, his last coming in mid-2013, the tweet may have had some currency among West Indies fans.

On the eve of West Indies’ third World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Canberra, Holder said he was “fully confident” the opener was primed to turn things around.

“Chris is awake. I can assure you he’s awake. He was awake from the beginning of the tournament,” Holder told reporters at Manuka Oval.

“Every time I see Chris Gayle, I expect to see one Chris Gayle, and that’s a positive Chris Gayle.

“Although he hasn’t been getting runs, we still have a lot of confidence in him. I just hope that he can come tomorrow and just get us in and just take it as deep as possible for us.”

West Indies’ top order has failed in both their World Cup matches, but the team has still posted 300-run scores due to rescue efforts by the middle order.

West Indies have won their last seven matches against Zimbabwe and should be too strong for the Africans at Manuka Oval if their batsmen and bowlers gel.

“I think we still have room for improvement,” fast bowler Holder said.

“If we can get a few more contributions going deeper into the innings in terms of the top order, I think we can get close to 350 plus, and I think that is not beyond us because of our firepower in the middle and the end.”

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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La Liga will be decided on final day, predicts Ancelotti

Real took full advantage of Barca’s 1-0 defeat at home to Malaga on Saturday and their 2-0 success at Elche lifted them to 60 points with 14 games left, with Barca on 56, three ahead of third-placed champions Atletico Madrid.

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La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo struck again for Real after Wednesday’s effort at Schalke 04 in the Champions League, suggesting the Portugal captain’s brief goal drought is over, and Ancelotti’s side have gone three straight games without conceding a goal.

Ronaldo has 29 goals in Spain’s top flight, three ahead of great rival Lionel Messi of Barca, who drew a blank on Saturday after hitting top form since the turn of the year.

“This means that the team is defending well and neither today nor on Wednesday did we allow the opponent many chances,” Ancelotti told a news conference.

“It was a key game because of what happened (on Saturday) and so we could put some distance between ourselves and Barca,” added the Italian.

“With this attitude we will win a lot of games. We have an advantage but this league will be decided on the final day.”

Ancelotti, who is looking to improve on Real’s third-placed finish in La Liga last term, said he had been surprised by Barca’s stumble against seventh-placed Malaga, which ended the Catalan giants’ 11-match winning streak in all competitions.

Real’s Spain playmaker Isco, who has been on fine form in recent weeks, sounded a note of caution.

Real have two tough La Liga games at home to Villarreal and away at Athletic Bilbao before they take a 2-0 lead over Schalke into the Champions League last 16, second leg at the Bernabeu on March 10. The La Liga ‘Clasico’ at Barca is on March 22.

“There are a lot of matches left,” Isco told reporters. “Malaga did us a favour and we couldn’t let this chance slip.”

(Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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