Monthly archives: March, 2019

United in fighting a common enemy

But last week’s “AUSMIN” (a thankfully shorter way to say Australian-United States Ministerial Consultations) in San Francisco passed with little fanfare in both the US and Australia even though several intriguing issues were highlighted in it.

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Of note, what wasn’t said. New Zealand, it appears, officially no longer exists and its only current contribution to the treaty is upholding the ANZUS acronym. New Zealand has not left the alliance but its membership effectively ended in 1987 when the Kiwi government invoked its Nuclear Free Act. The New Zealand government was not invited to clink 60th birthday Champagne glasses.

The alliance, though, is the anchor of Australia’s relationship with the US (although it could be equally argued it’s actually Australia’s importation of American television) and so Clinton joined US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, and Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith on Friday at San Francisco’s Presidio, where the original treaty was signed in 1951.

The Asia-Pacific region is of growing global importance, not least because of China’s growing influence and the ever-tenuous relationship between North and South Korea. On Friday Clinton and Rudd, however, both chose to highlight Burma as an area of “shared interest”, a coordinated and critical reminder to the Burmese government that its internal actions remain a focus of Western nations. This at a time when other issues might have taken up more space.

Issues, for example, like Australia and the US’s relationship with China. Even as Australia’s economy is increasingly tied to China, the announcement that ANZUS could now be triggered by a cyber attack on either country was a big flag waved toward Beijing without ever mentioning the “C word”.

It’s worth noting that ANZUS has been invoked only once in its 60-year history – by Prime Minister John Howard immediately after the 9/11 attacks on the US. If the US is under attack by terrorists, Howard suggested, so too is Australia. This latest agreement provides another path for this that need not be caused by planes or bombs.

“We know that Australian businesses have already been the subject of cyber attacks,” Rudd said in San Francisco. “And if it’s a big enough economy, it would have reverberations throughout the world. Like terrorism, it’s a battleground that is fought unconventionally, often without a known enemy.”

Rudd is not wrong and adding cyber attacks to ANZUS formally recognises the direction from which governments now see threats. In the 21st century, they no longer manifest themselves as a “red menace”, invading hordes from the North. Now it’s low-rent high-impact terrorist attacks like 9/11 or a nerd-driven Internet attacks capable of bringing down global economies.

This list of cyber attacks believed to have originated in China demonstrates just how serious – and effective – the issue really is.


Arsenal fans call on club to halt Wenger contract talks

Many of the grievances come from Wenger’s recruitment policy, with young French forward Yaya Sanogo the only addition of the close season despite the board’s assurances the club had money to spend and could compete financially with the elite.

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Fans called for investment throughout the disappointing 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa in their Premier League opener on Saturday, with the Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) saying contract talks for the manager must be put on hold.

“In recent weeks (chief executive) Ivan Gazidis has spoken of the club’s intent to offer Arsene Wenger a new contract. The AST believes this is inappropriate,” the group of more than 800 members, who own a handful of shares in the club, said in a statement on Sunday.

“There remain important questions about the way player identification, recruitment and remuneration processes are managed at Arsenal.

“The failings we highlighted in Arsene Wenger holding too much power have only been amplified in recent weeks. These must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Wenger, who has won three league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal, told reporters after Saturday’s defeat that he and his team ‘work 24 hours a day’ to try and identify new recruits and that they analyse ‘every single player in the world’.

Arsenal were heavily linked with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain before he moved to Napoli, Brazil midfielder Luis Gustavo, who went to VfL Wolfsburg, while Liverpool have so far rejected all advances for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez.

All this while, Premier League rivals Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, who all have board members assisting on deals, have invested heavily ahead of the new campaign with the transfer window set to close on September 2.

IMPROVEMENT NEEDED

“The fact that there is money available for squad strengthening is not disputed. The AST’s independent analysis suggests that the amount is somewhere between 70 million pounds to 100 million pounds,” the AST said.

“For several transfer windows now, Arsenal have not used all the resources available to strengthen the team.

“A decision on whether to offer an extension to the manager’s contract which ends in May 2014 should only be taken following the closing of the transfer window and assessment of the team’s performance in the weeks ahead.

“Considerable improvement must be shown for us to be convinced this should happen.”

The AST called upon Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, known as ‘Silent Stan’ for his reticent approach, to appoint an independent expert to conduct a review of all football functions at Arsenal.

However, Arsenal honorary vice president Nina Bracewell-Smith voiced her lack of faith in Kroenke on Sunday when she expressed regret at selling her shares to the American, who owns more than 66 percent of the club.

Kroenke, who also owns American teams in the NHL, NFL and NBA, bought Bracewell-Smith’s shares equating to almost 16 percent in 2011 during a tussle for control of the club with Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov.

Through his Red and White Securities, Usmanov and UK fund manager Farhad Moshriri own almost 30 percent of shares after buying up those of former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, who recruited Wenger in 1996 and assisted on many transfers before departing in 2007.

“Bring David Dein and give Usmanov representation on the board if we are to have success going forward. #AFC,” Bracewell-Smith said on her Twitter account.

Wenger’s plans to recruit are hampered by the busy start to the season with Arsenal away to Turkish side Fenerbahce in the first leg of their Champions League playoff round on Wednesday.

They then face a Premier League London derby at Fulham on Saturday before hosting Fenerbahce in the second leg on August 27 in a bid to once again reach the lucrative group stages.

Should results not go his way and the transfer window close without the signings demanded by the fans, Wenger could face as much heat from the home crowd as he normally gets from arch-rivals Spurs when the two clash at the Emirates on September 1.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O’Brien)


Segeyaro stars as Penrith down Brisbane

Jinking James Segeyaro scored his first NRL hat-trick as Penrith recorded a 28-12 win over Brisbane in Friday night’s clash at Centrebet Stadium.

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In a pulsating match between two of the seven sides locked in a battle for the last two finals spots on offer, Segeyaro’s guile proved the difference as he scored from dummy-half twice before adding the sealer in the 72nd minute.

Having danced over the line with far too much ease in the 27th minute, the 22-year-old substitute repeated the dose in the 46th minute when Broncos Dunamis Lui and Lama Tasi bought his dummy like it was solid gold.

Penrith then showed brilliant resistance to defend their 18-12 lead for almost half an hour, before a high shot from Ben Hannant on Panthers skipper Kevin Kingston resulted in a decisive penalty.

Panthers halfback Luke Walsh slotted the goal and two minutes later the match was over when Segeyaro sold more candy to the opposition and trotted past Andrew McCullough and Josh Hoffman.

Walsh kicked the conversion and added another penalty goal in the 77th minute, as the Panthers grabbed ninth spot on the table in front of 8,817 fans.

Penrith face a tough ask to scrape into the finals in coach Ivan Cleary’s second season in charge, with away games against Canterbury and Manly to come.

Brisbane, who suffered their first loss since July 12, could be as low as 13th by Sunday depending on other results in round 24.

Broncos centre Jack Reed was knocked senseless in a collision with Panthers winger David Simmons, while Corey Oates scored a first-half double for the visitors.

The Broncos gave away two penalties in the opening four minutes, and Penrith’s Ryan Simpkins started the scoring following a knock-on from Jordan Kahu.

Kahu fumbled a bomb from Walsh in windy conditions, with the hosts taking a 6-0 lead when Walsh added the extras.

The Broncos levelled the scores in the 19th minute, when Matt Gillett produced the decisive break and a creative one-handed pass to put 18-year-old Oates over in the corner.

Segeyaro sauntered to his first try, but Gillett and Oates combined once again to lock the game up 12-12 at halftime.

Tasi was put on report early in the second stanza for a high hit on Segeyaro, as the Panthers once again pounced when the visitors gave away two penalties in the space of five minutes.


Schalke, Hamburg draw six-goal thriller

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hit a brace for Schalke, the first after only 80 seconds, while Adam Szalai scored on his debut as the Royal Blues twice came from behind against Hamburg.

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Forward Shinji Okazaki scored on his league debut for Mainz 05 against his previous club VfB Stuttgart to give his new side a 3-2 win.

Overall, the weekend’s nine games produced 37 goals with only Augsburg, VfL Wolfsburg and promoted Eintracht Braunschweig failing to score.

Huntelaar got Schalke off to a flying start when he raced through the Hamburg defence and planted a right-foot shot past Rene Adler after less than two minutes at the Veltins-Arena.

Fellow Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart quickly equalised with a 12th minute penalty, Maximilian Beister headed the visitors in front and the drama continued as Huntelaar headed Schalke level with the last touch of the first half.

There was no let up after the break as Hamburg went back in front with a Lasse Sobiech header, only for Szalai to complete the scoring when he snapped up a rebound following a mistake by Hamburg goalkeeper Adler in the 72nd minute.

Minutes earlier, Adler had been Hamburg’s hero with a brilliant point-blank save to keep out a Szalai header.

Joel Matip had two good chances to win the game for Schalke, who are hoping to better last season’s fourth-placed finish.

In the earlier game, Nicolai Mueller opening the scoring in the 14th minute only for Vedad Ibisevic to equalise two minutes later.

There was a suspicion of offside when Okazaki put Mainz back in front in the 65th minute before Mueller slipped between two defenders and poked his shot past Sven Ulreich in the 78th.

Japan forward Okazaki, one of four Mainz debutants, left Stuttgart six weeks ago to join Mainz as a replacement for Szalai, their leading scorer last season.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Clare Fallon/Rex Gowar)


Burqa law introduced in WA parliament

A new law that would require Muslim women to remove a burqa or niqab to prove their identity to West Australian police has been introduced to the state’s parliament.

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The legislation was drafted in specific response to public outcry about the case of burqa-wearing mother-of-seven Carnita Matthews, who had a conviction of knowingly making a false statement quashed.

Ms Matthews was originally given a six-month jail sentence after being found guilty of falsely accusing a senior constable of forcibly trying to remove her burqa when she was pulled over while driving in Woodbine in Sydney’s southwest in June 2010.

She was later acquitted on appeal after the prosecution could not prove she was the woman who signed the statement while wearing the garment.

As part of WA’s Criminal Investigation (Identifying People) Amendment Bill, the law will require “a person to remove headwear or do other things to facilitate the officer being able to confirm a person’s identity”.

Officers will also get explicit powers to detain a person while they comply.

It will apply to an item of clothing, hat, helmet, mask, sunglasses or “any other thing worn by a person that totally or partially covers the person’s head”.

The WA parliament will be told the law was in direct response to the NSW case.

“Having regard to that case, the government has taken action to ensure that similar injustices do not occur in Western Australia,” Attorney-General Michael Mischin said.

“The amendments provide a explicit power … where the subject person refuses to remove an obstruction that is preventing the officer from being able to identify the person’s face.”