Father’s shock at abuse at top school

A former teacher at Knox Grammar broke down as he laid the blame for his son’s ill health and early death squarely on the school he once respected.

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John Rentoul, whose son David died aged 44 after a series of illnesses, told a national inquiry into how the Sydney school handled sex abuse allegations that he only found out in 2009 that his son had been abused by a teacher.

Dr Rentoul only found out about the abuse when David, who was at the school in the late 1970s, was giving evidence against his abuser Barrie Stewart.

“I was shocked and outraged when David told us of the abuse,” said Dr Rentoul, who taught at the school from 1969 to 1980.

He became emotional as he told how his son revealed he felt terribly ashamed and guilty because Stewart was a family friend and this led him to hide the abuse for 30 years.

“I absolutely believe that the extreme stress, guilt and shame David suffered as a result of the abuse directly lead to his health issues and also resulted in his marital problems.”

He said his son’s immune system was compromised by prolonged and sustained periods of post traumatic stress and he could not fight a lung infection which led to organ failure.

Dr Rentoul said the family had welcomed Stewart as an excellent teacher and arranged for him to give David piano lessons.

“My wife and I believe there should be some accountability for our son’s prolonged suffering and unnecessary death,” he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

He said they believed the commission should ensure that “institutions such as Knox be held accountable for failing to protect its students against sexual predators.”

Dr Rentoul also said “private schools are more susceptible to instances of sexual abuse because of more opportunities for the development of close relationships between teachers and students during extra-curricular activities, and because of the prevalence of boarding establishments”.

Another witness who used the pseudonym ARY said students could not talk about the abuse because if they did they were seen as weak and considered as everyone’s “bitch”.

He said that during his time at the school he observed systemic bullying by teachers and by students of other students. He blamed the culture at the school on the headmaster for 30 years Ian Paterson.

“Paterson and his rule dragged the school through a dark age that it should never had had, particularly as a Christian institution,” he said.

The hearing continues before Justice Jennifer Coate.

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Matic reaction to ‘criminal’ challenge was justified – Mourinho

Matic received a straight red card in the 70th minute after he reacted aggressively to a heavy tackle from Ashley Barnes while the Burnley forward went unpunished for the challenge which caught the Serbian midfielder high on his leg.

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“Football is about emotions and clearly Nemanja Matic had a reason to lose his emotions,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“What are the consequences of his push? Nothing. The consequence for Matic from the tackle? It could be the end of his career. A criminal tackle.”

Mourinho accused Sky Sports of partiality, referring to when the broadcaster played a series of clips of controversial incidents involving Chelsea forward Diego Costa alongside the caption ‘Costa Crimes’.

“If you call Diego Costa’s actions against Liverpool (when he received a three-game ban for a stamp on Emre Can) a crime, the minimum you have to say is this (Barnes’ challenge) is a criminal tackle.

“As an institution Sky did not apologise to Chelsea, to Costa, or to me.

“Diego Costa has a three-match ban. Matic will probably get three. You tell me how many games you think they deserve?”

Mourinho highlighted four incidents which he believed shaped the outcome of the match against Burnley.

The Portuguese manager believes Barnes should have been dismissed for a knee on Branislav Ivanovic in the 31st minute and said Chelsea should have been awarded penalties in the 34th and 44th minutes.

The last incident was the Barnes challenge on Matic and Mourinho questioned the performance of referee Martin Atkinson.

“The best players in the world make mistakes. This gentleman (Martin Atkinson) is one of the top referees in European football, he can also make mistakes.

“He clearly made four important mistakes yesterday. He is like the lawyer who is consistent because he lost 15 of 15 cases. You don’t want that lawyer.”

(Reporting by Tom Hayward, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Indonesian protesters collect coins to send to Abbott

(Transcript from World News Radio)

Indonesian activists have launched a campaign to send money to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

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It follows comments he made last week linking clemency pleas for two Australians on death row to past Australian aid to Indonesia.

Santilla Chingaipe reports.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

“Let’s not forget that a few years ago when Indonesia was struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia sent a billion dollars worth of assistance.”

That was Tony Abbott linking the fate of convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to Australia’s relief aid to Indonesia following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Mr Abbott later denied he was suggesting that Indonesia should show its gratitude for Australia’s generosity for granting clemency to the men.

But his comments have sparked an angry response in Indonesia, with activitists launching a social media campaign to collect coins to – as Twitter users put it – ‘pay back Australia’.

The campaign is using the hashtag #KoinUntukAustralia, or Coins for Australia.

The Twitter campaign then spread onto the streets of Jakarta – where passers-by were asked to donate coins to pay back Australia’s tsunami aid.

Coins were thrown onto photos of the Australian Prime Minister laid out on the ground by protest organisers.

One of the organisers, Ryan, explained why they were demonstrating.

“(Through translation) What I want to focus is on the collection of coins. I don’t want to make a comment on the executions, but I only hope our next generation will be better with government policy.”

Protester Hendro Prasetyo says linking capital punishment and aid is unfair.

“(through translations) Humanitarian relief for the Aceh tsunami is totally different from executions. The executions are (going to happen) because Australians who came to Indonesia were involved in drug trafficking, there is a justice mechanism for that and the result is the death penalty. So you can differentiate between humanitarian relief and executions and the death penalty must go on,”

Another protester, Andi Maya, expressed her outrage at Tony Abbott’s comments.

“(through translation) With regards to Abbott’s comment, I actually feel offended as an Indonesian. I feel it is absurd that he is bringing up humanitarian aid. His bringing up this issue does not justify stopping the executions which are a result of narcotics-related offences, from taking place. “

Associate Professor Greg Fealy is an Indonesia expert at Canberra’s Australia National University.

Dr Fealy says he’s not surprised by the protests over Tony Abbott’s comments.

“Well Indonesia has a very nationalistic mood at the moment and a lot of politicians are speaking in very strongly nationalistic terms. There’s a lot of talk of Indonesia’s sovereignty and dignity and so Tony Abbott’s remarks really hit a nerve. That would have always hit a nerve, I mena that would have always hit a nerve, but particularly so at the moment. Because Indonesians believe that there country is now a rising economic power and that remarks that they interpret as seeking to threaten or intimidate them will not be tolerated and it’s not entirely surprising that there’s been a response like this.”

The protests in Jakarta were organised by a group calling itself the Coalition of pro-Indonesians.

Associate Professor Greg Fealy says although he’s not familiar with the group, such protests are not uncommon.

“If there is a particular hot topic in Indonesia, the groups will very quickly spring up and seek to mobilise people on that issue. It could be with all sorts of things, not just foreign relations or aid. So this is not unusual in Indonesia and for them to hold a protest at the central round about in Jakarta is pretty common. Most days, there’s some kind of protest there.”

Dr Fealy believes it’s unlikely the protests will spread.

“Unless there are further comments by the prime minister, further inflammatory comments, I think this would likely disappear before too long. The fact that (Foreign Minister) Julie Bishop contacted the Indonesian vice president and had quite an accommodating response from him. But a lot depends on the issue is fed by any Australian political leaders. I fthey are more careful with what they say, I’s be surprised if this issue takes off.”

Indonesia resumed executions for drug trafficking in 2013 after a five-year gap.

 

 

 

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Russian sports ministry to investigate Yakimkina death

Alina Yakimkina, 21, died during a Russia Cup biathlon race in Tyumen on Saturday in what Mutko described as a “huge tragedy”.

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Yakimkina, competing for the Republic of Udmurtiya, suddenly fell to the ground 700 metres from the finish of the individual race.

According to the autopsy, acute heart failure was the cause of death.

“I want to offer my condolences to Alina’s relatives and loved ones. This is a huge tragedy and the investigation will be carried out mainly by the Ministry for Sport,” Mutko told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.

Biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and shooting, has been hard-hit by doping scandals in recent years but Mutko dismissed allegations that Yakimkina could have been taking performance enhancing drugs.

“I have already read such accusations and points of view. Everyone is trying to guess what happened.

“You have to understand that there is absolutely no point using performance enhancing drugs in these kind of events. This was not a selection event for the Russian national team, but just an ordinary leg of the Russian Cup.

“The most important thing is to wait for the final reports concerning the cause of death, which will be carried out by experts, who will try to explain why this happened. We will make sure this happens,” said Mutko. 

According to the Russian sports minister, more attention needs to be paid to the health of competitors in sport.

“On the whole, this system has been working well over the last few years. At every event, a medical team is on stand-by, while the sports men and women undergo serious examinations if they want to compete.

“However, medical examinations of sports men and women in Russia’s regions should be carried out regularly.

“We are now trying to find out how this process worked in Udmurtiya, while we will also be paying more attention to the regions of our country concerning the question,” Mutko added.

(Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Sukumaran, Chan face likely move this week

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are likely to be moved from their Bali jail cells this week, with builders under orders to speed up construction of more isolation cells on the execution island.

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Bali’s chief prosecutor Momock Bambang Samiarso says he’s waiting on the green light from Nusakambangan, the central Java jail island, before transferring the Australians.

That’s “very likely” to happen this week, he says.

“What we want is the sooner the better,” he told reporters on Monday.

“If they (Nusakambangan) can be fast, we’ll be fast too.”

The transfer of the Bali Nine pair was postponed last week after it was found there wasn’t enough isolation cells for more than five prisoners.

On Monday, building materials began arriving, and a jail official who did not want to be named said they were under orders to work fast and have the renovations completed within days.

Head of corrections at Central Java Law and Human Rights office, Yuspahruddin, said a partition would be built to separate the death row inmates from other prisoners.

“It’s not that there’s no room,” he said.

“The room is available.

“But because it’s isolation, they must not have any contact with other prisoners.”

The arrival of Sukhoi fighter jets in Bali on Sunday had also fuelled speculation the jail transfer was imminent.

Ngurah Rai Airport airforce commander Sugiharto Prapto said the jets were in Bali as part of an unrelated year-long exercise.

They would be in Bali for seven days and, if called on, could provide security for Chan and Sukumaran’s move.

“If they use a charter plane, we’re ready to secure it so that the operation can be implemented safely and smoothly,” he said.

Meanwhile, advisers to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo say he should get the executions of drug offenders over and done with, as pressure builds from overseas.

Australia has been making strong representations for clemency to Indonesia on behalf of Chan and Sukumaran, sentenced to death for the 2005 heroin smuggling plot.

But Brazil has taken the strongest stance so far, delaying the acceptance of the credentials of Indonesia’s new ambassador, who has now been recalled to Jakarta.

Brazilian drug smuggler Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira was executed last month.

Pleas for a Brazilian man set for execution this month, Rodrigo Gularte, have gone unheeded, despite evidence he has a severe mental illness.

An adviser on corruption to Mr Joko, international law lecturer Hikmahanto Juwana, says Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff view Indonesia as “easily pressured”.

He argues Indonesia should push ahead with the executions before any further “foreign intervention” blocks Mr Joko from “exercising his right to sovereignty”.

“Rather than make the situation worse … I think the government should expedite the death penalty,” he said.

Prof Hikmahanto said he hadn’t advised Mr Joko on the executions, but another adviser, Hasyim Muzadi, had also expressed the view they should be expedited.

Tensions between Canberra and Jakarta boiled over last week after Mr Abbott linked Chan and Sukumaran’s fate to Australia’s donation of $1 billion in aid following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Jakarta perceived the comments as threats and warned that “no one responds well to threats”.

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GST burden killing small business

EDS: NOT TO BE USED BEFORE 0001 AEDT ON FEBRUARY 24, 2015

By Belinda Merhab

SYDNEY, Feb 24 AAP – Politicians and central bankers scratching their heads wondering why businesses aren’t investing ought to speak to Sydney hairdresser Penny Martin.

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After running her own salon for several years, the burden of GST paperwork became so stressful, costly and time-consuming she decided to call it quits.

Ms Martin decided to work from home instead, letting five employees go and turning down clients to keep her annual revenue below $75,000 – all to avoid GST paperwork.

She supplements her income by teaching.

“I have purposely scaled down my business for that very reason, because it’s all just too much,” Ms Martin told AAP.

“I do not want to cop the GST, I’d rather earn less, go away and do a couple of days teaching a week and say no to customers and not bother, it’s just not worth it.

“I had five people that I employed, people doing work experience from schools, people in juvenile justice used to come and do work experience with me, all that commitment, all the charity events, all those things, gone.

“There’s no incentive to try and get on in this country.”

Ms Martin’s story paints a bleak picture at a time when Australia’s jobless rate is rising to decade highs and the economy is struggling to grow.

Sluggish business investment was a key reason the Reserve Bank recently scaled back its forecasts for Australia’s economic growth, and in turn, cut interest rates to a record low.

RBA officials have repeatedly blamed a lack of business confidence and risk-taking as the major barrier to the economy’s ability to compensate for dwindling mining investment.

They say it’s up to the politicians to work out how to rouse those spirits.

Perhaps they should give Penny Martin a call.

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Govt jobs scheme being ‘rorted’

Private employment agencies are reportedly ripping off a taxpayer-funded program designed to find jobs for unemployed people.

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But the federal government is confident it has cracked down on the problem and improvements will be made in a matter of months.

An ABC TV investigation has found widespread rorting of the billion dollar Job Services Australia scheme, through which the government pays agencies to find and keep job seekers in work.

Some agencies are forging job seekers’ signatures to claim thousands of dollars in fees from the government, while others are manipulating records or lodging inflated claims for fees.

One man was left homeless because he had to pay back money to the government after a doctored document falsely claimed he had worked, a whistleblower told the Four Corners program on Monday.

Loopholes were also exposed in a government wage subsidy scheme that pays employers to take on the unemployed.

The government says it is overhauling the scheme under changes to come into effect in July.

The new system will include better performance monitoring, reporting and quality assurances, Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker said.

Agencies will undergo more rigorous quality standards to be eligible to deliver services.

“The coalition’s new employment services system will undo Labor’s mistakes and restore greater integrity to the system,” he said in a statement.

The peak body representing non-profit employment organisations, Jobs Australia, said there were legitimate concerns about some factors that underpin the Job Services Australia scheme.

However, its achievements also deserved to be acknowledged.

It said the scheme assists about 800,000 job seekers at any point in time, and that more than a quarter of job seekers find a job and exit JSA within three months.

This was despite the fact that the system was “incredibly complex, with a confusing payment model and thousands of pages of rules that must be interpreted and applied by individual staff”.

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HSBC apologises as CEO mired in scandal

HSBC executives have offered a fresh mea culpa as its chief executive found himself personally mired in the scandal surrounding allegations that the bank helped wealthy clients dodge taxes.

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Europe’s biggest bank by market value said past practices at its Swiss private bank were “unacceptable” as it reported that 2014 net income fell 16 per cent to $US13.7 billion ($A17.46 billion). Meanwhile, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver had an account at the same unit.

Gulliver said he opened the account through a Panamanian company to protect his own privacy because other executives at HSBC’s Hong Kong offices were able to see what their colleagues were earning.

The account “enabled me him to have confidentiality within my own firm,” he said.

While Gulliver insisted that he had paid all tax due on the money in the account – reportedly more than STG5 million ($A9.82 million) – the Guardian’s story offered fresh embarrassment for a business reeling from allegations that forced it to publicly apologise last week.

HSBC acknowledged Monday that 2014 profits “disappointed” and said the figures included the costs of paying settlements to cover past failings. These include $US550 million ($A701 million) the bank set aside last year to cover penalties for manipulating foreign currency markets.

But Gulliver and Chairman Douglas Flint, on their first conference call since the tax avoidance scandal broke, said they should be given credit for the work they’ve done in addressing past wrongs. Flint, though, admitted in a statement the bank needed to demonstrate its “value to society”.

“The recent disclosures around unacceptable historical practices and behaviour within the Swiss private bank remind us of how much there still is to do and how far society’s expectations have changed in terms of banks’ responsibilities,” Flint said in a written statement.

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Pakistan chief selector Moin criticised for casino visit

“I have spoken to Moin and we have sought an explanation from him.

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It is inappropriate he should be at a casino at a time when our team is not doing well,” PCB chief Shaharyar Khan told the media in Lahore.

Reports in Pakistan have said that Moin, a former test captain, had visited a casino on the night of the match against West Indies in which Pakistan were hammered by 150 runs — their worst ever defeat in a World Cup.

There was no suggestion that Moin would be asked to return.

“Right now we have not thought about it nor taken any decision to call him back. We will make a judgement after all the facts are known,” Khan said.

Moin, who was removed as the team manager before the World Cup, was sent with the team for the World Cup — a surprise move as in the past the PCB never allowed its chief selector to accompany the team on foreign tours.

The Pakistan board and team has come under fire after losing its first two matches to fierce rivals India and West Indies and also losing a one-day series in New Zealand.

The defeats have increased calls for the PCB board and management to be changed.

Even before the tournament began the management had fined some players for violating curfews, including senior squad members Shahid Afridi and Ahmed Shehzad.

Khan said that the board was also disappointed with the team’s showing so far but that the players themselves were hurt knowing they had let the people down.

“The players have promised a turnaround in remaining matches and they can still qualify for the knockout stage,” he said.

“Right now we are fully supporting the team. And the media should also support them by not overly criticising them.

“Any inquiry would be held after the team returns home to find out what went wrong.”

Pakistan face Zimbabwe this weekend.

(Editing by Martyn Herman)

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Simeone can be the Alex Ferguson of Spain, Tiago says

Simeone, who took over at the end of 2011, has a deal with the Spanish champions until June 2017, while Ferguson became the most successful British manager in history when he was in charge at Manchester United between 1986 and 2012.

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Under the inspirational Simeone, Atletico have won the Europa League, the King’s Cup and their first La Liga title in 18 years, while Ferguson’s haul of silverware included 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.

“We all know what Simeone means for the club and we want him to stay as long as possible,” Tiago told a news conference ahead of Atletico’s Champions League last 16, first leg at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

“We have seen what has been published in the media (about a contract extension) and we are very pleased,” added the Portuguese.

“The talk is of five years but we would like it to be 10. But it’s an issue for the boss and the club and we can’t let it distract us. This is a very important part of the season.”

Some of Atletico’s wealthier rivals will be monitoring Simeone’s contract talks and perhaps considering making a bid to lure the 44-year-old away from the Calderon.

A former Atletico and Argentina midfielder, Simeone has transformed the club from also-rans into Spanish champions ahead of vastly richer Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona and genuine contenders in Europe.

They pipped Real and Barca to the domestic league title last term and reached the final of Europe’s elite club competition, where they lost to Real in extra time having coming within seconds of an historic victory.

Tiago said he and his team mates were ready to take on Leverkusen and had put this month’s surprise La Liga reverse at Celta Vigo behind them.

“We have had time to prepare for this important phase of the competition,” Tiago said.

“All the players are on top form and the squad is strong and prepared. Results are what count in football and hopefully we can show with results that we are all in good shape.”

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Martyn Herman)

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