Monthly archives: August, 2019

I want to play in Ashes finale: Anderson

England star James Anderson is desperate to send Australia a message by playing in the fifth Test at The Oval starting on Wednesday.

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Even though the match is a dead-rubber and Anderson seems in need of a rest, the strike bowler feels he has unfinished business in this series and a point to prove ahead of the return Ashes in the summer.

Anderson took 10 wickets in a match-winning performance in the first Test at Trent Bridge.

But since then he’s struggled to back that effort up and in the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street he was particularly toothless.

Despite being the undisputed leader of the England attack, Anderson has the worst bowling average in the side, going at 31.11 with 17 wickets.

There are calls for Anderson to be wrapped in cotton wool with so much more Ashes cricket still to come, but Anderson has spoken out pleading to be retained for The Oval.

“I desperately want to play in the fifth Test, not only to finish what we started but also to try to rediscover the form that I admit has not been as I would have liked in the last couple of matches,” Anderson wrote in the Daily Mail.

“I know it is pretty impossible to perform at 100 per cent in every match, but I’m my own harshest critic and, by the standards I set myself, I did not bowl as well as I can at Old Trafford or the Riverside.

“That makes me want to play this week to try to find out what has been missing and work out how I can get it back.

“Physically, there is nothing to suggest I need a rest. I am nowhere near the state of exhaustion that hit me when I was left out of the side in the last World Cup in India and Sri Lanka, when, at the end of a winter which included our brilliant but draining 2010-11 Ashes tour, I more or less hit the wall.”

Meanwhile, Australian great Adam Gilchrist has called for Ryan Harris to be played for an unprecedented fourth-straight Test match.

Gilchrist said that unless Harris had a genuine niggle, he should play, regardless of the fact the series is over.

As Australia’s great success story for the series, along with opener Chris Rogers, Harris deserves a chance to finish strong and lay a marker for the coming series, according to Gilchrist.

“While mindful of the opportunity to rest guys who may be injured and therefore miss future matches, I think Ryan himself deep down would dearly like to play at The Oval,” Gilchrist wrote on EspnCricinfo.

“When you’ve missed as much cricket as he has through injury, and don’t know how much you have left, you want to take every opportunity to go out and play.

“Australia have a chance to show some of the resolve they demonstrated for most of the two Test matches at Old Trafford and Chester-le-Street, and try to get the kind of result that would lead to a more positive mindset when they start the return series back home.

“I’ve always felt that if they’re all fit, you pick your best XI, and under those terms Ryan is just about the first man who should be chosen.”


Nuns no longer on the run

The number of Catholic nuns in Australia has hit a hundred-year low, but of those choosing to enter religious life, a growing number are from multi-ethnic backgrounds.

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Rhiannon Elston has the details.

 

Vietnamese-born Sister Clare Dang had never met a nun before she decided to become one.

 

For Lucy Vo, an early experience boarding with nuns at a convent lead her to aspire to become one.

 

Both women belong to the Missionary Sisters of Mary Queen, a convent with Vietnamese origins in western Sydney.

 

Aged 34 and 33 respectively, they are among the few choosing to enter a life of religious devotion in modern Australia.

 

Although the two women had not met before entering the convent, they have similar backgrounds.

 

Both were born in Vietnam, and moved with their families to Hong Kong before boarding a boat to Australia.

 

It’s an experience both women say drew them closer to their faith.

 

“Many of the boat people do think they owe God something.” // “I think that journey, just fleeing Vietnam and the hardships that my family has faced, it certainly has strengthened our faith.”

 

It was trauma that led Cambodian-born sister Hun Do to discover the Catholic faith.

 

Now living as a Josephite Sister, she sees her journey fleeing her home country as a key part of her decision to join them.

 

Fleeing the Pol Pot regime, she says she didn’t know much about Christianity in the refugee camp in Thailand

 

“In the camp I worked with a Jesuit priest, and I remember at the time when I heard people call him ‘father’, I didn’t know what it was about.”

 

The number of Catholic nuns in Australia peaked in the 1960s, and has been in decline ever since.

 

There are fewer than 6,000 left in Australia, and with an average age of 74, the church is at risk of losing one of its most devout populations.

 

Around the world, the Catholic Church is experiencing a clear shift in demographic, moving away from its traditional European roots to a more multicultural following.

 

The Church’s new Pope Francis the First, a break from the centuries-old line of European-born pontiffs. brings another sign the Catholic Church is changing.

 

In Australia, more than 22 per cent of the Catholic population were born overseas.

 

Sister Ailsa Mackinnon has been with the Sisters of Mercy for more than 50 years and says the future of the Church lies in recognising diversity.

 

She says Australian Catholics are once again recognising that the Church is, as its name suggests, universal.

 

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“Certainly the church has tried to accommodate the waves of migrants who have come to Australia. It’s only been since the second World War, and the stopping of the White Australia policy and the waves of migration since, that we’ve come to realise this.”

 


The US debt disaster and the failure of bipartisanship

Speaking prior to the second Presidential Debate between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson described their proposal as “common sense solutions to this country’s problems.

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Bowles, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, and Simpson, a former Republican Senator, were co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

The committee, created by President Obama in February, 2010, was instructed to find a bipartisan solution to the fiscal crisis.

In December last year, the commission took a vote on its own proposal to be presented to Congress but found itself in the bizarre situation of voting down its own plan.

While Simpson and Bowles voted for the plan, committee member Paul Ryan, now Mitt Romney’s candidate for Vice President, was among seven dissenting votes that scuppered the plan that has now returned as an election talking point.

“If we can’t get the people in Washington, in the administration and Congress on both sides of the aisle, to put aside this partisan politics then we face the most predictable economic crisis in history and also the most avoidable economic crisis in history,” said Bowles.

“There is no question that the fiscal path the country is on is unsustainable. This is a cancer that will destroy this country from within.”

Bowles outlined what he and Simpson considered the five biggest fiscal challenges the United States faces:

Healthcare

“We spend twice as much on healthcare as any other developed nation in the world,” Bowles said. “That might be alright if our outcomes were twice as good but they are not. We are somewhere between 25th and 50th in outcome measures in infant mortality, life expectancy, preventable death. Healthcare is the biggest problem we face. What are these guys [Obama and Romney] going to do about it?

Defence

“We spend more on national defence than the next 17 largest countries – combined,” Bowles said. “That includes both Russia and China. I don’t think that America can afford to be the world’s policeman. When [former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral Mullen was asked what the biggest national security danger was he didn’t say ‘terrorists’. He said deficit. America has a treaty with Taiwan that will protect Taiwan if it is invaded by the Chinese. There’s just one problem with that. We have to borrow money from China to do it.”

Tax Code

“We have the most inefficient, ineffective, globally anti-competitive tax code any man could dream of,” said Bowles. “The one we have today simply doesn’t make sense. How can our nominal rates be so relatively high but get us so little money? We only get 1.3 trillion in total income taxes. The reason is we have $1.1 billion in back door spending in the tax code – deductions and credits. We recommend that we broaden the base and simplify the code and wipe out all of this [deductions and credits].”

Social Security

“Over the next decade Social Security is $900 billion cash negative,” Bowles said. “If we don’t do something about it Social Security will go broke in 2031. When Roosevelt created Social Security, average life expectancy was 63. You got Social Security at 65. He was a really smart guy! Now life expectancy is 78 and you get Social Security at 62. We have a math problem.”

Interest On The Debt

“We spend about $230billion a year on interest now,” said Bowles. “That’s more than we spend on [the Departments of] Education, Energy, Interior, Justice, Homeland Security and State combined. And do nothing? Kick the can down the road? Think about that.”

Both Bowles and Simpson, advocates of political bipartisanship, were critical of how their plan failed to be introduced to Congress.

Simpson, an almost 20-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, used a carefully crafted description to explain his experience in government.

“I want to tell you about this word ‘politics’,” he said. “It comes from the Greek. ‘Poli’ meaning ‘many’ and ‘Tics’ meaning ‘Blood sucking insects’.

“I’m a Republican and Ernest is a Democrat,” he added. “But we are Americans first. Not a Republican first. Not a Democrat first. Americans first.”


All Blacks to get bigger bonus for retaining World Cup

The agreement also includes a significant increase in funding for both the men’s and women’s sevens programmes as the country chases Olympic gold at the Rio Games in 2016.

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Rugby will make Olympic return at Rio with the abbreviated version of the game. Both the New Zealand men’s and women’s teams won their respective world titles in Moscow in late June.

The payment pool for the men’s All Blacks Sevens team has increased from NZ$1.6m to NZ$3.5m, allowing the side to offer players full-time contracts to specialise in the game.

Most of the All Blacks sevens players supplement their income with provincial contracts. The new agreement allows for the women’s sevens team to be granted retainers and tournament fees when selected.

The new agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Players Association also reduced the salary cap for provincial teams as part of the effort to drive down costs in the semi-professional third tier competition.

The provinces have struggled to make ends meet in recent years with the Otago union having to be bailed out by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) last year.

Other teams have also needed funding help from the national body with NZRU chief Steve Tew stating several times that unions needed to get their books in order if the game was to survive.

The maximum retainer has been lowered to NZ$55,000 from NZ$60,000. The salary cap will go down from NZ$1.35 million this year to NZ$1.025 million in 2015.

Last week, an independent review of the 14 provincial unions indicated a turnaround in their financial performance with a small overall surplus of NZ$500,000 across all of the teams as they cut their costs.

Costs had dropped from NZ$85 million in 2007 to NZ$66 million last year, the Deloitte ‘State of The Unions’ report showed. ($1 = 1.2540 New Zealand dollars)

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)


Terror plotters set to appeal convictions

An appeal hearing for five men convicted of conspiring to commit an act of terrorism has started under tight security at the NSW Supreme Court.

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About a dozen police officers and the dog squad were at the court and the media were kept behind black and yellow tape for the hearing, which was adjourned after less than an hour.

Mohamed Ali Elomar, Khaled Cheikho, his nephew Moustafa Cheikho, Abdul Rakib Hasan and Mohammed Omar Jamal were jailed for maximum terms of between 23 and 28 years in 2010.

The men, who were found guilty of conspiring to commit an act or acts in preparation for a terrorist act between July 2004 and November 2005, are appealing their convictions.

The plot included stockpiling firearms, ammunition, chemicals and laboratory equipment.

The men also had recipes for making explosives, as well as other instructional material including the “Sniper Handbook”.

During Monday’s brief hearing, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst said there was no summary of the trial available and they were in effect “starting from scratch”.

In order for the appeal hearing to run smoothly, he asked that a summary and additional material be provided.

The matter was adjourned until Tuesday.

It is understood the men will be appealing their convictions on a number of grounds, some of which will be shared.

Khaled Cheiko’s barrister, Gregory James QC, said the verdict regarding his client was unsatisfactory and the combination of events raised at the trial “do not amount to a circumstantial case”.

In sentencing the five men in 2010, Justice Anthony Whealy said they had a “vast quantity of extremist or fundamentalist material” including images glorifying the 9/11 hijackers and images of “heroes of the jihadist movement”.

He also said the evidence did not establish that any firm conclusion had been reached by the conspirators about the nature of the action or its target.