On ‘Brexit Day’ Britain will leave the EU – but not any EU institutions

‘Brexit Day’ on March 29, 2019 will see Britain leave the European Union in name only, under an EU plan leaked to the media hours after the so-called ‘divorce deal’ was done.
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Instead, two ‘transition’ years will follow Brexit, during which the UK stays subject to the entire body of EU law, set by Brussels, but no longer having any say in those laws.

The UK will stay in the Customs Union and the Single Market for that time, and would have to abide by their rules such as the free movement of labour.

The document implies the UK government has already agreed to these conditions – and European Council president Donald Tusk also gave that impression.

“As you know, the UK has asked for a transition of about two years, while remaining part of the Single Market and Customs Union,” Tusk said. “And we will be ready to discuss this, but naturally, we have our conditions.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her ministers have previously insisted that Britain would leave both institutions on Brexit day.

In a statement to parliament in October, May said: “As we leave the European Union in March 2019 we will leave full membership of the Customs Union and full membership of the Single Market.”

She could argue the UK will no longer have ‘full membership’ because it cannot set the rules, but that explanation would likely not be well received.

In a sobering speech shortly after the divorce deal was announced, Tusk said he was satisfied with progress on the divorce deal but “the most difficult challenge is still ahead”.

“We all know that breaking up is hard, but breaking up and building a new relationship is much harder,” Tusk said. “Since the Brexit referendum, a year and a half has passed.

“So much time has been devoted to the easier part of the task. And now, to negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for our future relationship, we have de facto less than a year.”

The document, circulated to European leaders on Friday, is the EU’s draft of guidelines for the second phase of negotiations.

Tusk said the EU was ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy.

Whitehall insiders said they would not be taking a celebratory holiday now that the first stage of Brexit is done, but would be hard at work nailing down the transition arrangements.

UK-based businesses, including big corporations in the City of London, have made it clear to May that there must be clarity on the transition by March 2018, a year ahead of Brexit day.

Otherwise they will not be able to plan for the year ahead, and could activate contingency plans to move operations and staff to the continent.

Reaction to the divorce deal struck in the early hours of Friday morning was mixed, with hardcore eurosceptics calling it a betrayal of Brexit.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the “very bad deal” was a humiliating capitulation, and the UK had met every one of the EU’s demands.

“We collapsed at every level,” he said, saying it would be at least six years after the Brexit vote before the UK was able to make a trade deal with any other part of the world.

“We look like mugs,” he said. “We wasted months and months and in the end we agreed to all the things the Commission insisted upon.”

When asked for an example of where the EU had given ground, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was not “at this stage insisting the UK should repay the removal costs” for EU agencies leaving London.

Under the deal, Britain will pay a financial settlement for outstanding debts and obligations, calculated and paid over time – and estimated in the media at about between ??35 billion ($62 billion) and ??40 billion.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called the agreement “the breakthrough we needed” allowing the two sides to begin discussions on crucial future trade and customs arrangements.

May, who may have saved her job by getting the deal done, said it had required “give and take from both sides”.

The Democratic Unionist Party, who scuppered a draft deal on Monday because they were concerned it would divide Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, have cautiously accepted the new version, saying there was “more work to be done”.

Their leader, Arlene Foster, said they had run out of time to go through the details of the agreement, and May had decided to go to Brussels anyway in the national interest.

DUP support in Westminster is vital for May’s minority government.

The agreement, which is provisional and could change next year, also guarantees the continuation of current rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK to continue to live, work and study there, including family reunification rights for spouses, parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren.

And it guarantees there will be “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, while also maintaining the “constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom”.

The UK will “maintain full alignment” with the rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union, unless it can come up with some other arrangement that guaranteed no immigration posts or customs checks on the geographical border.

In a public letter from the EU Commission to the European Council – the leaders of the nations forming the union – the Commission expressed its scepticism.

“(The UK’s) intention seems hard to reconcile with (its) communicated decision to leave the internal market and the Customs Union,” the letter said.

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England’s focus on sledging could cost Ashes, warn retired stars

England must forget about the sledging and redirect their energies to playing cricket if they’re to save the Ashes.
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That’s the opinion of several retired Australian Test cricketers who believe the chatter out on the field this summer has been no different to what’s gone before in more than a century of cricket between the great foes.

There have been no official complaints made to the International Cricket Council, despite much discussion so far this series focusing on whether or not the sledging has become too personal.

The visitors believe Australia took things too far in the opening Test at the Gabba, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow one of the primary targets.

Then in Adelaide there appeared to be plenty of discussion between Australian captain Steve Smith and the English bowlers.

At one stage umpire Aleem Dar stood between Smith, at the non-striker’s end, and Jimmy Anderson when one of their discussions became particularly robust.

“It’s been round for 100 years,” former Australian quick Craig McDermott said. “You don’t want to get personal, that’s for sure, but there’s always words said and that’s part and parcel of it at the end of the day.

“That’s what they said last time when they got flogged 5-0 out here. We didn’t cry poor when we got beaten in England did we? I think they need to just concentrate on playing cricket.

“It wasn’t a very quiet field when you played against blokes like Ian Botham and people like that. There was always plenty said in that particular era, and the West Indies were the same.”

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland played down the perceived sledging during the Adelaide Test as “banter” and CA feel the umpires are doing their job in managing the players.

“We do recognise that international cricket is a high-stakes, competitive environment and on-field banter is as old as the game itself,” a CA spokesperson said.

“All players are reminded regularly that they have a responsibility to manage their on-field emotions, even in the most pressured situations. Our players understand the consequences if they overstep the mark at any time.”

When England beat Australia in the Old Dart in 2015 their players were only too quick to remind the visitors that their Ashes campaign was falling into a state of disrepair.

“If the English are going to complain about it, they probably should look internal to see who their main culprits are as well,” retired all-rounder Shane Watson said. “When things are flying for them, they’re always very happy to continue to dish it out.

“It’s part of the game and part of an Ashes series, it’s high stakes out in the middle, not just the players, but the support staff around, the administrators, the fans, everything, there’s a lot on the line.

“I’ve loved seeing Steve Smith stand up to a few of those senior guys in particular, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, because he’s a leader of the team and he’s got to make sure he stands strong for himself and for his team around him.

“The players know where the line is, they’re going to push the line of course because it’s high stakes and people are trying to put their stake in the ground as well. I’d be extremely surprised if it boiled over.”

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UN warns racism on the rise in Australia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Senator Zed Seselja during a visit to the Crace Early Learning Centre in Canberra on Wednesday 8 February 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe United Nations has issued a scathing report on racism in Australia, warning discrimination is “on the rise”, including in the political sphere and in the media.
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But the assessment and its recommendations have drawn a fierce response from the Turnbull government’s Multicultural Affairs Minister, Zed Seselja, who lashed out at its “bizarre criticism”.

The periodic review documented 16 areas of concern including the welfare and status of Indigenous Australians, asylum seekers and migrant workers.

The UN committee proposed a range of radical changes to combat racism, including beefing up section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and effectively censoring aspects of the media and public commentary.

It suggested racist incidents were often “treated with impunity” and said section 18C should be better policed by “law enforcement officials”. UN officials were concerned too few racial discrimination complaints made it to court because the costs and the burden of proof were too high.

Free speech advocates consider section 18C – which makes it unlawful (but not criminal) to offend, insult or humiliate someone on the basis of race – a blight on free expression. The Turnbull government earlier this year tried to water down the section’s wording but was blocked by the Senate.

In its report released overnight in Geneva, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declared “expressions of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, including in the public sphere and political debates as well as in the media, are on the rise” in Australia.

The report’s conclusions are based largely on submissions and testimony from non-government organisations, communities and Australian governments.

Hate speech and violence particularly affected Arabs and Muslims, asylum seekers and refugees, Africans, South Asians and Indigenous people, the committee noted.

It recommended ditching the anti-terrorism and national security clauses of the Multicultural Australia statement – announced by the Turnbull government in March – which it warned could lead to racial profiling of Muslims and Arabs by police.

Senator Seselja said the Turnbull government “completely rejects this bizarre criticism” and that a successful multicultural Australia “is only possible, if at the same time, our borders are secure and our nation is safe”.

The UN committee also turned on politicians, saying Australia needed to combat xenophobia in political discourse by ensuring public officials “not only refrain from such speech but also formally reject and condemn hate speech”.

Furthermore, the media should “put an end to racist hate speech” in print and online, and adopt a “code of good conduct” with provisions banning racism.

Alina??? Leikin???, lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the UN report was a clear call to arms for the government to “act both urgently and effectively” in tackling racism.

Of particular resonance were concerns about Aboriginal land rights and the failure of the Closing the Gap strategy to improve the welfare of Indigenous Australians.

The UN said a “paradigm shift” was necessary in how governments deal with Indigenous people, calling on the state to “demonstrate the necessary political will to ensure that aspirational plans and programs become a reality”.

Several of the concerns raised in this year’s evaluation were already flagged in the UN’s previous report on Australia in 2010. However, the document released overnight was significantly more critical than the one seven years ago.

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Gary Harley’s racing review

THE Irish eyes of talented jockey Declan McDonogh were smiling on Saturday when he landed a double on his first-ever visit to Newcastle Racecourse.
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The 37-year-old Irishman had four mounts on Saturday and he was first past the post on Puppet Master in the 900-metre Three-Year-Old Maiden Plate and California Turbo in the 1400m Maiden Handicap.

WINNER: Jockey Adam Hyeronimus (centre) rides Magic Choir to victory in race three at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: AAP

His other two mounts were unplaced.

The brilliant Pupper Master, the hot $1.60 favourite, wasn’t far outside the 900m track record when he treated racegoers to a display of sheer speed. With McDonogh sporting the colours of 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, Puppet Master quickly put a gap on his rivals, and he straightened up with a big lead and full of running.

Puppet Master won by one-and-three-quarterslengths in 51.34, or 0.17 outside Rebel Miss’s track record.

The colt sped over the last 600m in a breathtaking 32.07.

He is trained for a large syndicate of owners by She Will Reign’s Warwick Farm trainer, Gary Portelli.

Purchased at a “ready to run” sale in Melbourne, the three-year-old has had five starts, for a win and three placings. McDonogh had a smile from ear to ear when greeted by connections on dismounting.

“Wow, he is quick,” he said. “Very fast.

“I wasn’t going to give up the rails but I had no worries there. He left them standing.”

McDonogh’s other winner California Turbo is from the power Snowden stable and he was very impressive.

The three-year-old was on debut after a recent Randwick barrier trial win and he settled at the tail of the field.

The leader, Starvino, kicked away inthe home straight and looked to have the race won. But California Turbo unwound a powerful sprint to gather in Starvino and race away to win by a widening 1.8 lengths.

“The trainer told me to have the horse where he is comfortable in the small field,” O’Donoghsaid.

“They got along up front, so I rode him patient and he attacked the line.”

McDonogh started his riding career at 17 and he has since ridden 960 winners.

“Unfortunately my visa only allows me to stay until the end of January,” he said.

“I love it here in Australia and the tracks are so much better than at home.”

Champion trainer Chris Waller produced a highly promising filly in the 1200mMaiden Plate.

Seahampton, a three-year-old daughter of Golden Slipper winner Sebring, is not only a magnificent looking individual but is also richly talented.

After firming from $4 to $2.80 in her second race start, Seahampton settled near the tail and was held up near the top of the straight.

Jockey Grant Buckley managed to find a gap and Seahampton stormed home to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

The Kris Less-trained Heat Haze was the only Newcastle-trained galloper to win at the meeting.

Meanwhile, AAP reports: Todd Howlett will target another Highway Handicap with Magic Choir after he made a successful metropolitan debut in the concept for country horses at Rosehill.

The four-year-old ($18) notched the third win of his six-race career after finishing strongly to beat Gitan ($7) by half a length on Saturday, with Forever Newyork ($18) a neck away third.

After recording his third Highway Handicap victory, Howlett said Magic Choir could expect to make another road trip from Muswellbrook over summer.

“We picked this out early in his prep and we’ll come back for another Highway,” he said.

“He’s racing well. He’s doing a nice job.”

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Katy Gallagher High Court ruling not a test for Labor: Mark Dreyfus

Bill Shorten and Mark Dreyfus press conference on citizenship. Pic Nick Moir 6 dec 2017Labor won’t consider a High Court ruling on Katy Gallagher’s eligibility as a precedent for MPs under a cloud over dual citizenship claims, despite Malcolm Turnbull’s view that other opposition MPs should resign if the ACT senator is disqualified.
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The High Court said on Friday evening Senator Gallagher’s case would go before the Court of Disputed Returns for the first time on January 19, asking for evidence and submissions in the case, and that of Labor lower house MP David Feeney, to be received before December 21.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said on Sunday that even if Senator Gallagher was found to be ineligible to sit in Parliament, the opposition could seek further rulings to determine the cases of lower house MPs Susan Lamb, Justine Keay and Josh Wilson.

The Labor members were all dual British citizens on the day they nominated for the 2016 federal election, but believe they are not ineligible because they had taken all reasonable steps to renounce overseas citizenship.

Mr Turnbull said last week the fate of Ms Keay and Mr Wilson should be determined by Senator Gallagher’s case, “because the facts are essentially the same”.

“If Katy Gallagher is successful then they will rest easy. If she is unsuccessful then they will have to resign,” the Prime Minister said.

But Mr Dreyfus disputed the stance on ABC’s Insiders, arguing Labor wouldn’t view the Gallagher ruling as a precedent.

“Not really,” he said. “Each case has to be determined on the particular circumstances of the candidate or member concerned.”

“We think that Katy Gallagher took the reasonable steps that the High Court has spoken of in repeated decisions.

“She, like the rest of us in Labor, care about the constitutional legitimacy of the Australian Parliament. We want this cleared up, we want this mess to end.

“As you heard Katy say in the Senate, she believes that she’s got a clear case that she was eligible to stand for Parliament but she wants it cleared up.”

He said the government’s refusal to refer a group of its own MPs, as well as the Labor members facing questions, means the citizenship chaos would continue through the summer months.

“We say there is no case against the people who have been identified on the Labor side. Mr Feeney is in a different category … he’s dealt with his Irish citizenship but he can’t find the papers for his British citizenship,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“But the other three, we say say they took reasonable steps and there’s a disagreement on the law between the government and the opposition.”

In heated debate in the final sitting week of Parliament, a Labor motion to refer Ms Lamb, Ms Keay, Mr Wilson, Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie and Liberals Nola Marino, Jason Falinski, Alex Hawke, Julia Banks failed.

Last week Senator Gallagher stepped aside from her Labor frontbench roles after documents provided to the Senate showed she was “at the date of her nomination for the 2016 election, a British citizen by descent” and that her moves to renounce in April 2016 were only finalised a month after the July election by the UK Home Office.

Constitutional expert George Williams said Senator Gallagher could survive the challenge, but the question of what constituted reasonable steps needed to be decided by the High Court.

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Major runs Belmont home

Major runs Belmont home DELIVERY: University paceman Jackson Thompson in action on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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DEFENCE: Stockton-Raymond Terrace batsman Leigh Osmond. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HAUL: University celebrate one of Michael Radnidge’s 10 wickets for the match. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebook NDCA – University v Stockton-Raymond TerracePictures by Max Mason-HubersA career-best 176 not out from Jesse Major almost single-handedly delivered Belmont valuable first-innings points on Saturday and kept the club’s semi-final aspirations alive for 2017-2018.

Major, who belted 26 boundaries and two sixes, featured in back-to-back century partnerships as the hosts chased down Waratah-Mayfield’s 7-293 with six wicketsin hand and 10.2overs to spare at Miller Field.

It was Major’s fifth ton in the Newcastle District Cricket Association first grade competition since making his debut for Charlestown almost a decade ago, but after stints at City, University and now Belmont this was by far the top performance.

“It was a super knock,” Belmont skipper Mark Littlewood said.

“It was probably one of the better ones I’ve seen for a number of years.

“He’s been threatening to do something like this for a while now. He’s looked good all season without going on with it. For us it was really importantthat he kicked on after gettingto 100 and outside a close stumping on about 130 it was pretty much chanceless.”

The 25-year-old right-handed batsman found himself out in the middlefirst over of the innings after the dismissal of opener Sam Logan (0) and then remained there for the next 72.

Major and opener Toby Gray (37) put on 118 for the second wicket before combining with Littlewood (47) for a 125-run stand.

This combated the unbeaten 165 made by opponent Jonty Durrheim, adding 40 to his own overnight tally and 58 to the team’s total during the eight overs faced by the visitorsearlier on day two.

The result puts Belmont seventh on the ladder but within striking distance of the top four and14 points clear of ninth-placed Waratah.

Elsewhere in round eightand Toronto’s first win of the season brought Newcastle City’s undefeated run to an end with the Kookaburrasdismissing the Sabres (120) 35 runs short, including a collapse of 6-21.

Hamwicks all-rounder Sam Webber took 7-65as Charlestown (223) finished 33 shy of the Pumas despite the efforts ofBayley McGill (97 not out), Merewether ended up 34 ahead against Wallsend (210), Wests cruised past Cardiff-Boolaroo’s 145 but couldn’t get maximum points while 99 to Stockton-Raymond Terrace’s Nick Foster staved off an outright loss toUniversity.

LADDER: Merewether 50, Wests 46, City 41, Charlestown 36, Hamwicks36, Wallsend 33, Belmont 31, University 30, Waratah19, Toronto 15, Stockton13, Cardiff 8.

BLASTERS: Newcastle advance to Regional Bash final at SCG

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Watch as wildlife rescuers save a wombat from its mother’s pouch

The baby wombat freed from her dead mother’s pouch in Harcourt North.WILDLIFE rescuers were able to free a baby wombat from the pouch of its deadmother after she was struck by a car in central Victoria on Saturday morning.
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And they say injured wombats in the region are becoming increasingly common due to expanding development in the southern parts of Victoria, pushing them further north and beyond their natural habitat.

A passing motorist spotted the dead wombat on the road in Harcourt North, near Bendigo, and managed to move it to the roadside when he noticed a baby in the pouch.

Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service attended and were able to free the baby and take her back to the shelter where she is being nursed back to full health.

She weighed 2.3 kilograms and was covered in about 200 bush ticks.

Jo Lyall, of the WRES, said they had found a number of injured wombats near Bendigo in recent years –in Big Hill, Ravenswood, Eppalock and Spring Gully.

She said it was a concern for the native animals.

“We don’t want to see wombats in Bendigo, it’s just not the right place for them,” Ms Lyall said.

Click the below video to see the baby wombat being freed from the pouch:

“But due to overpopulation, they are being pushed further and further. The ground is far too hard for them in this part of the state.

“We also worry that they will be considered a novelty by some people who won’t do the right thing.”

She said it was fortunate that a passing motorist had stopped to help the wombat, and she wished to thank him.

The wombat, to be known as Hattie, will be nursed back to about 25 kilograms and released back into the wild.

WRES rescued a wombat weighing 194 grams and were able to released it back into the wild several weeks ago.

They are known to be very territorial and can cause injury with their powerful scratch, so Ms Lyall said they could only be handled by skilled professionals.

“Even when they are in our enclosure, I would stay away from them,” she said.

“For your average person who thinks they can go up and pat them –don’t do it.”

If you spot an injured native animal, contact WRES on 0427 301 401.

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Lendlease’s Barangaroo set to export water

It’s official, the Barangaroo precinct has its own ecosystem.
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Lendlease has completed one of the major pieces of infrastructure at its $6 billion Barangaroo site with the opening of its recycled water plant.

The plant has a projected production of more than 200 million litres annually and will make the precinct one of the most sustainable in the country.

According to Lendlease, the plant is a critical and final piece of Barangaroo’s infrastructure network to make the precinct water positive, meaning Barangaroo will be capable of producing more water than it consumes and will become a net exporter of recycled water.

The NSW minister for energy and utilities Don Harwin, who was at the opening on Friday, said Barangaroo a was an ”example to the rest of the world of what partnerships between government and the private sector can achieve”.

“Lendlease has set a new precedent for water conservation in an urban area creating a positive and lasting legacy for both Barangaroo and the wider central business district,” Mr Harwin said.

“This is a critical step to fulfil our ambition to make Barangaroo one of the world’s most sustainable urban regeneration precincts.”

When completed, Barangaroo will be home to three nearly fully occupied office towers, a new retail area on the central site and close to 1000 apartments.

Currently about 25,000 workers and visitors arrive in the area daily from the new link to Wynyard station and the regenerated pedestrian strip along George Street.

The integrated energy company, Origin, is the latest tenant to Barangaroo, having signed an agreement to lease 7,850sqm in the building, for a 10-year period with a further two five year options.

Origin will consolidate its two Sydney offices, currently located at Australia Square and Bond Street, into its new home at Barangaroo by mid-2018.

Mr Harwin said there were now 20 private recycling schemes licensed under the Water Industry Competition Act.

Lendlease Property Australia chief executive Kylie Rampa said integrating the plant with Barangaroo’s low carbon, waste management and renewable energy strategy was the culmination of ”seven years’ work”.

”The opening of the Barangaroo South Recycled Water Plant represents a final piece of the puzzle towards us becoming Australia’s first water positive precinct,” Ms Rampa said.

”Barangaroo’s other infrastructure network also includes the district cooling plant, which uses Sydney Harbour water to cool all the precinct buildings, 188,500 litres of water across the area, 6,000 sqm of roof-top solar panels and a private power network.

Aside from its office and residential towers, Lendlease has also built a timber property using cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (glulam).

Known as International House Sydney, it will be the new home of Accenture and will help Barangaroo to become the country’s first large scale carbon neutral community.

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Declan quick to double up

THE Irish eyes of talented jockey Declan McDonogh were smiling on Saturday when he landed a double on his first-ever visit to Newcastle Racecourse.
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The 37-year-old Irishman had four mounts on Saturday and he was first past the post on Puppet Master in the 900-metre Three-Year-Old Maiden Plate and California Turbo in the 1400m Maiden Handicap.

WINNER: Jockey Adam Hyeronimus (centre) rides Magic Choir to victory in race three at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: AAP

His other two mounts were unplaced.

The brilliant Pupper Master, the hot $1.60 favourite, wasn’t far outside the 900m track record when he treated racegoers to a display of sheer speed. With McDonogh sporting the colours of 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, Puppet Master quickly put a gap on his rivals, and he straightened up with a big lead and full of running.

Puppet Master won by one-and-three-quarterslengths in 51.34, or 0.17 outside Rebel Miss’s track record.

The colt sped over the last 600m in a breathtaking 32.07.

He is trained for a large syndicate of owners by She Will Reign’s Warwick Farm trainer, Gary Portelli.

Purchased at a “ready to run” sale in Melbourne, the three-year-old has had five starts, for a win and three placings. McDonogh had a smile from ear to ear when greeted by connections on dismounting.

“Wow, he is quick,” he said. “Very fast.

“I wasn’t going to give up the rails but I had no worries there. He left them standing.”

McDonogh’s other winner California Turbo is from the power Snowden stable and he was very impressive.

The three-year-old was on debut after a recent Randwick barrier trial win and he settled at the tail of the field.

The leader, Starvino, kicked away inthe home straight and looked to have the race won. But California Turbo unwound a powerful sprint to gather in Starvino and race away to win by a widening 1.8 lengths.

“The trainer told me to have the horse where he is comfortable in the small field,” O’Donoghsaid.

“They got along up front, so I rode him patient and he attacked the line.”

McDonogh started his riding career at 17 and he has since ridden 960 winners.

“Unfortunately my visa only allows me to stay until the end of January,” he said.

“I love it here in Australia and the tracks are so much better than at home.”

Champion trainer Chris Waller produced a highly promising filly in the 1200mMaiden Plate.

Seahampton, a three-year-old daughter of Golden Slipper winner Sebring, is not only a magnificent looking individual but is also richly talented.

After firming from $4 to $2.80 in her second race start, Seahampton settled near the tail and was held up near the top of the straight.

Jockey Grant Buckley managed to find a gap and Seahampton stormed home to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

The Kris Less-trained Heat Haze was the only Newcastle-trained galloper to win at the meeting.

Meanwhile, AAP reports: Todd Howlett will target another Highway Handicap with Magic Choir after he made a successful metropolitan debut in the concept for country horses at Rosehill.

The four-year-old ($18) notched the third win of his six-race career after finishing strongly to beat Gitan ($7) by half a length on Saturday, with Forever Newyork ($18) a neck away third.

After recording his third Highway Handicap victory, Howlett said Magic Choir could expect to make another road trip from Muswellbrook over summer.

“We picked this out early in his prep and we’ll come back for another Highway,” he said.

“He’s racing well. He’s doing a nice job.”

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LeBron schools rookie Ben

LeBron James had his 58th NBA triple-double and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers 105-98.
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Despite shooting just 39.1 per cent from the field, James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to help the Cavaliers bounce back from a loss in Indiana that ended their 13-game winning streak.

Former Newcastle Hunters junior Simmons –who ended the game with 14 points, six rebounds and 10 assists –scored with a breakaway dunk to give Philadelphia a 96-91 lead, but the Cavaliers ended the game on a 14-2 run.

James converted a three-point play and Kyle Korver hit a three-pointer, giving Cleveland the lead.

Dwyane Wade added two baskets and Jae Crowder’s three-pointer put the Cavaliers ahead 104-98.

CLASH OF THE TITANS: Cleveland superstar LeBron James and Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons during Sunday’s showdown. Picture: AAP

James had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in the fourth quarter in his third triple-double of the season.

Covington and J.J. Redick scored 19 points each for Philadelphia.

Both starting centres missed the game.

Joel Embiid sat out for Philadelphia because he hasn’t been cleared to play on back-to-back nights and Kevin Love didn’t play because of a sore left hip.

Elsewhere, Jordan Clarkson scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away late to defeat the fatigued and short-handed Charlotte Hornets 110-99 on Saturday night.

Lou Williams hit a go-ahead three-pointer with a little over a second remaining in the game to give the Los Angeles Clippers a 113-112 victory over the Washington Wizards.

After Williams’s basket, to take his tally to 35 points, there was a video review of Bradley Beal’s potential winning baseline jumper.

The referees decided to replay the last 1.1secs but Marcin Gortat’s jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson each scored 20 points and Miami beat the Brooklyn Nets 101-89 in the Heat’s first game in Mexico in franchise history – played in front of 19,777 fans at raucous Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 26 points on nine-for-nine shooting and the Atlanta Hawks overcame Nikola Vucevic’s triple-double to beat the Orlando Magic 117-110.

Vucevic had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jonathan Simmons added a career-high 29 points for the Magic.

Kris Dunn made two free throws with 2.9 secs left to give the Chicago Bulls a 104-102 victory over the New York Knicks.

Kristaps Porzingis, who had 23 points for the Knicks, missed a three-pointer at the buzzer for victory.

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Yet another generation of Gandhis in Indian politics

When Rahul Gandhi, 47, was appointed vice-president of India’s Congress Party four years ago – under his mother, Sonia Gandhi – he told reporters that “power is poison”.
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For a politician, it was a strange remark.

From Monday, Gandhi will be taking big draughts of that poison when he takes over from his mother as president of the party that was once an unbeatable election juggernaut in India.

It will be the start of one of the biggest political challenges in recent history for one of India’s most perplexing politicians.

Gandhi was a na??f who reluctantly entered politics 13 years ago on his mother’s wishes. He has taken many years to get to grips with his role. At crucial moments, when his leadership was needed, he was out of the country on some jaunt.

Over the years, he has battledwidespread mockery over his bumbling amateurishness and lack of political nous, earning him the derogatory moniker “Puppu”, a nickname for a small boy.

On occasions when he has tried to be aggressive, it has brought to mind British politician Denis Healey’s famous remark that being attacked by his rival, Geoffrey Howe, was like “being savaged by a dead sheep”.

On Monday, however, Gandhi takes over the reins as the latest member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to lead the 132-year-old Congress Party, which has been in opposition since 2014 when Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power.

Gandhi’s election, uncontested, as president is a formality because he has been the de facto leader for the past four years as his mother gradually withdrew, letting him take charge.

His anointment has been praised by veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who said: “Rahul Gandhi will be successful and his leadership will bring the Congress back to power.”

But whether Gandhi has it in him to lead the Congress Party to victory in an election is an open question. Almost everything is stacked against him. The party organisation is feeble: in her 19 years as president, Mrs Gandhi let it become moribund in virtually every state. Rahul Gandhi has spoken of the urgent need to rebuild it but has done little.

The party simply does not have grassroots workers and leaders who can canvass support, campaign for candidates, and get the votes in.

Gandhi’s other disadvantage is that the notion of dynasty no longer holds sway over the Indian public as it once did – his father, Rajiv Gandhi, his grand-mother, Indira Gandhi, and his great grandfather, Jawarharlal Nehru were all prime ministers.

The glamour and charisma attached to the name made the Gandhis India’s answer to the Kennedys. But young Indians tend to be less deferential now and more inclined to have a modern outlook. Dynastic inheritance of a political party sits uncomfortably with this outlook.

“The India of 2017, with its large pool of young voters deciding electoral outcomes, is increasingly questioning the politics of entitlement,” wrote political commentator Neerja Chowdhury in the Indian Express on November 22.

Gandhi’s other difficulty is that he has to take on one of the strongest prime ministers India has seen. Modi enjoys a rarely seen dominance over the political landscape. He has made his contempt for the young, still wet-behind-the-ears Gandhi obvious.

However, in the past few months Gandhi has lifted his game. Some of his barbs – including a series of sarcastic and catchy slogans – have landed. He has got under the skin of some of Modi’s ministers who normally treat him like the village idiot.

Moreover, he has led an unusually aggressive campaign in the past few weeks in the lion’s den – Modi’s home state of Gujarat where polling is to take place in phases up to 14 December. Political commentators were surprised at the energy and spirit which Gandhi brought to the task.

“He has shown at least that he can put up a decent fight, that he is not daunted by taking on Modi in a state where the Congress is extremely weak,” said Seema Mustafa, editor of the online newspaper, The Citizen.

But the scale of the task ahead of him is daunting. In the 2014 election, the party under his de facto leadership suffered its worst ever outcome: just 44 seats in Parliament. This was followed by a string of defeats in other state elections. The Congress Party, which has dominated the life of the nation since the days when it led the movement for independence, now rules in just six of India’s 29 states.

For the Congress, being so diminished is an existential crisis. Gandhi needs a vision and, so far, no vision has emerged.

He attacks Modi but fails to offer an alternative, nor even to offer solutions to questions of how he will create jobs or reduce poverty. Capitalising on Modi’s mistakes is useful (and Gandhi has succeeded in tapping into rising unrest over the lack of jobs and the economic slowdown) but this can only take him so far.

If he manages to narrow the gap between his party and the BJP in Gujarat (no one gives him any chance of winning), it will be a big feather in his cap.

But more than that, he needs to come up with fresh ideas that can inspire his party and the electorate. In the 13 years since he joined politics and stood for election as an MP, Gandhi has failed to make his mark.

He cannot afford to take another 13.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Foreign boats set to fish in Australian waters, expert claims

FV Margiris giant fishing trawler that will operate in Tasmanian waters1939803.jpg South Australian Senator Anne Ruston poses for a photo in a florist store in Adelaide, Friday 25 September 2015. AFR news Picture By David Mariuz
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The federal government is stripping marine protections from remote waters off the Australian coast because it plans to change the law to allow foreign fishing boats with low-paid crews to fish there, a leading fisheries expert claims.

The suggestion, backed by conservationists, has been rejected by the government as “unsubstantiated scaremongering”.

However the Australian Fisheries Management Authority says some waters are being under-fished and they are in talks with several operators about allowing foreign boats to operate in Australia’s fishing zone under existing laws.

The Turnbull government has proposed changes to the 3.3 million square kilometres of Australia’s protected offshore regions, allowing commercial fishing in a host of sensitive marine areas.

Dr Quentin Hanich, head of fisheries governance research at the University of Wollongong’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, said many of the proposed changes were in distant waters far from port and “it had never been profitable for the fishers to go there”.

“But if you allow cheap distant-water vessels to come in … those vessels won’t come into port. That combined with subsidised fuel, a $1000 annual wage and a whole bunch of problems with the way they treat their crews means they have incredibly low costs and can fish those remote areas,” he said.

“Not only does that undermine the protection of those conservation values, it will return incredibly little benefit to Australia.”

Dr Hanich, who advises international organisations and governments on fisheries governance and marine conservation, said such a scenario would require law changes allowing cheap foreign boats.

He believed the government’s proposed weakening of protected marine areas was based on “hypothetical future changes in Australian regulations on foreign vessels [that] may enable industry to reduce business costs and fish in these previously economically marginal zones”.

Dr Hanich questioned the economic need to relax marine protections, saying official estimates showed that under current laws, it would result in a mere $4 million gain to the Australian fishing industry.

There are no foreign boats operating in the Australian fishing zone. Foreign boats can be deemed Australian, and allowed to fish in Australian waters, when there are no domestic boats of that type available – such as large distant-water boats that can deep-freeze fish and stay at sea for long periods. Such boats must operate under Australian standards.

AFMA confirmed it has been in “discussions with a number of operators this year about deeming boats to be Australian across several fisheries”.

At a Senate estimates hearing in October, AFMA chief executive James Findlay said there was “significant underfishing … going on in a number of quota-managed fisheries.”

“We’re only taking about half of the quota that we’ve scientifically demonstrated is sustainable. Understandably, quota holders are looking to explore opportunities to harvest that quota … they’re looking at opportunities on the global market to bring in cheap capacity,” he said.

Mr Findlay said the moves were not linked to the wind-back of marine protections.

However Pew Charitable Trusts oceans director Michelle Grady insisted the “ambition of the tuna industry to see very deep water remote areas fished” was driving the marine park changes.

This could lead to increased bycatch of threatened species, depleted fish stocks and the loss of large conservation areas, she said.

Water Resources Minister Anne Ruston said such claims had “no substance”.

“Of course it is not the intention, nor has it ever been the intention, of the government to allow foreign fishing vessels to fish in Australian waters as a result of changes to marine park zoning,” she said.

Tuna Australia chief executive David Ellis described as “absurd” the claim that the Australian fishing industry required foreign vessels to access fishing areas, and said Australia was “recognised worldwide as a leader in sustainable fishery management”.

Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said cheap foreign labour “results in a race to the bottom rather than decent wages for all”, and unions would fight any such move in the fishing industry.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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AGL Liddell closure a game-changer requiring NSW Government action: green groups

AGL Liddell closure a game-changer requiring NSW Government action: green groups Announce: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and campaigning former MP John Alexander during questions over the AGL decision on Saturday.
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Ageing: Liddell power station near Muswellbrook.

Calls: Nature Conservation Council chief executive Kate Smolski said the AGL decision was a good start.

Future: Liddell power station outside Muswellbrook which will close in 2022.

Calls: There are calls for NSW to shift to 100 per cent renewable power by 2030.

TweetFacebookAGL’s decision to close Liddell power station at Muswellbrook should be backed by a NSW Government commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, said one of the state’s peak environmental groups.

AGL’s commitment to close Liddell by 2022, despite intense political pressure from the Turnbull Government was a game-changer that requires a NSW Government response, and further commitments from AGL to shift from coal by 2030, said Nature Conservation Council chief executive Kate Smolski.

The AGL decision in the face of political pressure shows that clean energy is now the cheapest way for Australia to generate power, said Ms Smolski said.

“It’s time to get on with building wind and solar farms to bring down bills and create jobs in regional NSW.

“The important thing now is for a plan for the Hunter Valley to ensure that no worker or community is left behind in the transition to clean energy.”

AGL on Saturday said an independent analysis had found keeping the nearly 50-year-old Liddell power station open for five yearspast the planned 2022 closing date would cost almost $1 billion.

It found splitting the plant from surrounding infrastructure and trying to sell it was also not feasible.

The company said it planned to generate 1600 megawatts from renewables, 500 MW from a new gas power plant, 250 MW from a gas plant for Newcastle and another 250 MW from a battery on the Liddell site.

AGL is also exploring a pumped hydro project in the Hunter region of NSW.

The company said it did not believe its plan would adversely affect power prices. Its analysis showed it could produce power at $83 a megawatt-hour compared with $106 if Liddell was refurbished to extend its life.

The plan would also reduce the company’s carbon footprint by more than 17 per cent, in line with its commitment to reduce emissions and help meet the Paris agreement targets.

“This plan demonstrates that old power plants can be replaced with a mix of new, cleaner technology while improving reliability and affordability,” AGL chair Graeme Hunter said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government would seek expert advice on AGL’s plan, after imploring the company in September to keep the station open. AGL responded with a publicity campaign to demonstrate that Liddell failed to produce the dispatchable –readily available –energy required during peak periods in summer and winter, after a Liddell failure in February last year forced Tomago Aluminium to shut down operations for crucial hours.

Grattan Institute energy expert Tony Wood said the AGL decision fitted the recommendations of the Energy Security Board and Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s energy review. Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott also praised the proposal as innovative, secure and environmentally sound.

Ms Smolski said despite the Liddell decision AGL remained Australia’s biggest climate polluter.

“Committing to replace Liddell with mostly clean energy is an important start yet the company urgently needs a plan to transition out of coal entirely by 2030,” she said.

The Nature Conservation Council has calledon the Berejiklian government to setenforceable targets to source 100 per centof the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

The government also needed to develop a plan for aquick and orderly phase-out of coal-fired power stations that is fair to power-station workers and createincentives for the development of storage technologies, including batteries and pumped hydro, Ms Smolski said.

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