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Zimbabwe could seize companies

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Zimbabwe could seize companies)

President Robert Mugabe’s government says the bill is part of its drive to empower the country’s poor majority and eliminate traces of the colonial past.

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Legislators of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) kicked off debate on the bill, saying it was designed to enrich a few powerful individuals and win votes for the ruling ZANU-PF party in parliamentary and presidential elections due next March.

At the UN General Assembly in New York, US President George W. Bush denounced Mr Mugabe’s government as “tyrannical” and demanded freedom for the Zimbabwean people.

But African nations, closing ranks behind Mr Mugabe, insist on his presence at an EU-Africa summit in Portugal in December, Zimbabwe’s information minister said in response to the British prime minister’s refusal to attend if Mr Mugabe was there.

Repression blamed for exodus

Critics accuse the Zimbabwean government of causing the economic crisis by seizing white-owned farms and handing them to inexperienced black farmers, leading to soaring inflation and unemployment and crippling shortages that have forced hundreds of thousands to seek work and food abroad.

Mr Mugabe has denied charges of economic mismanagement and blames the crisis on Western sabotage.

The European Union has imposed targeted sanctions on members of his leadership group it accuses of rights abuses and election fraud.

A survey released in Johannesburg today showed political repression was an even bigger cause of Zimbabwean flight to South Africa than the economy.

Between two and three million Zimbabweans are estimated to have fled to South Africa.

“The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions to flee their homeland…The United Nations must insist on change in Harare and…on the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Bush told the UN General Assembly.

Foreign conspiracy theory

The MDC’s Edwin Mushoriwa, leading parliament’s debate on the bill, told lawmakers: “What we are seeing is an attempt obviously to use this as a campaign tool to woo voters for the elections and to give money to a few people.”

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana and ZANU-PF legislators defended the bill and accused its opponents of trying to perpetuate economic imbalances brought about by colonialism.

“If we do not dismantle the structure of colonialism that we inherited, then we have not given back all the country’s resources to its rightful owners, our people,” he said.

Mr Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has accused some foreign-owned firms of working with his Western opponents to topple his government by raising prices without reason.

He has threatened to seize foreign businesses.

Mr Mangwana tried to allay business fears by saying the government would work with industries to set timetables for foreign-owned firms to transfer majority ownership to locals.

“We are not going to indigenise in a day,” he said.

Fears for the economy

Mining and business officials said the law could accelerate the decline of an economy that has shrunk by at least 30 per cent since 1999.

“Zimbabwe is now seen as a high-risk destination because of uncertainty over security of tenure and lack of confidence in the rule of law,” Chamber of Mines leader Jack Murewa said.

Information Minister Sikhanhyiso Ndlovu told journalists Mr Mugabe had solid African backing to attend the December summit.

“If any pressure is put on Portugal not to invite President Mugabe, SADC will also not attend and the AU will not attend,” he said, referring to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last week he would not attend the summit if Mr Mugabe did because Mr Mugabe’s presence would divert attention from important agenda items.

The EU-Africa summit did not take place in 2003 after Britain and other EU states refused to attend if Mr Mugabe did.

Somalians on the brink of starvation flee

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Somalians on the brink of starvation flee)

More than 170,000 people have fled fighting in Somalia's capital in the past two weeks, as up to a million people face starvation.

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The humanitarian crisis already facing the country is worsening, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.

With near-daily clashes between Ethiopia-Somali forces and Islamist rebels, the UNHCR said it was doling out its last stocks from Mogadishu to the displaced, but warned of tough conditions as host areas struggle with the influx.

Some 90,000 people have fled to Afgooye, 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu, which has already taken in some 150,000 displaced people since the beginning of the year.

In the Afgooye area, “people can no longer find space for shelter around the town itself,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.

“Many families are simply living under trees.

Although several NGOs are trucking water to the sites, it's not enough to meet demand,” he added.

Traders stayed away from the volatile Bakara market, where forces have been searching for weapons.

Government troops patrolled strategic positions in the city, but insurgents have stayed out of sight.

President calls on residents

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed urged Mogadishu residents to join the fight against rebels or risk getting caught in the ensuing crossfire.

“People in neighbourhoods must also fight the Shabab and chase them away.

“Otherwise they are the ones who suffer in crackdowns,” he said, referring to the radical armed wing of the main Somali Islamist movement.

Dozens of people, mainly civilians, have been killed and at least 170,000 displaced in some of the worst fighting since April, when Ethiopian troops swept aside the Islamists who had briefly governed much of the country, including Mogadishu.

Witnesses said Ethiopian forces indiscriminately shot civilians in a bid to clamp down on insurgents.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” said Mr Yusuf, but the UN special envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said such impunity was “unacceptable”.

Mr Ould-Abdallah raised the prospect of retribution for alleged war crimes that have long been ignored.

“People perpetuating crimes and violence are not being challenged before the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“I think the time has come to see what international justice can do to help Somalis,” he said in Nairobi, where he became the first top UN envoy to make such a call for trials before the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.

The recent clashes have worsened the humanitarian crisis that has dogged the nation for 16 years, with areas just outside the city struggling to cope with the latest influx of displaced people.

One million faced with starvation

The Shabelle region – Somalia's breadbasket – has suffered its worst crop in 13 years, putting the lives of nearly a million on the edge of starvation.

Aid workers have also said that the few who remained in the worst-affected areas of Mogadishu are beyond the reach of the relief net and face dire conditions.

Dampening peace prospects, Mr Yusuf said future peace talks, if any, would exclude Islamists, some of whose elements have been accused of terrorism.

“I will hold dialogue and consultations and reach peace deals with any group that will denounce violence.”

In Mogadishu, government forces yanked two more radio stations off the air, a day after shutting Radio Shabelle, one of the largest broadcasters in the capital.

The government said stations that “exaggerate the (security) situation” will be shut.

Mr Ould-Abdallah condemned the closure, saying: “This is the kind of thing that should be avoided.”

The International Federation of Journalists said the move was “appalling” and demanded the channels be reopened “immediately and unconditionally.”

Bloody clan bickering and power struggles that intensified after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre have scuppered many bids to stabilise Somalia.

Trade dominates Day Two talks

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Trade dominates Day Two talks)

Prime Minister John Howard says the leaders, who represent major trading nations such as the United States, Japan, China and Russia, will issue a statement later in the day on trade talks now under way in Geneva.

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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is expected to pledge to ensure that the moribund Doha round of global trade talks enter their final phase this year.

Free trade talks

Asia-Pacific foreign and trade ministers meeting in Sydney have already agreed to accelerate global free trade talks.

US President George W Bush has called at APEC for more flexibility in world trade talks, saying the Doha round of talks in Geneva was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

APEC's 21-member economies account for half of global trade and nearly 60 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

‘Close to deal’

Trade negotiators may be edging closer to a deal on the most divisive issues in the Doha talks, WTO director-general Pascal Lamy says.

"There is a strong sense that it's make-or-break moment.

“It may take a few weeks, but my sense is that there is a lot of focus and energy," Mr Lamy told CNBC in a taped interview.

Urgent negotiations

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who is attending APEC, says she also sees a sense of urgency and motivation among negotiators.

The Doha Round, named after the Qatari capital where negotiations were launched in November 2001, was first meant to wrap up by the end of 2004.

The talks have struggled to overcome many countries' resistance to open their farm and manufacturing sectors to more competition.

‘Aspirational’ climate goals

The APEC leaders agreed yesterday to a "long-term aspirational goal" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but no binding targets.

They also said all nations, developing and developed, should contribute according to their own capacities and circumstances to reducing greenhouse gases.

Green groups say the "Sydney Declaration" was a failure without binding targets to cut greenhouse emissions.

Tight security

The leaders met behind a tight security cordon at the Sydney Opera House, after police say they feared violent street protests against the Iraq war and global warming.

But yesterday's anti-APEC protest march was peaceful, with only a few arrests.

The final day of the conference will proceed without President Bush, who flew out of Australia late on Saturday.

Mr Bush returned home early to prepare for a major report on the progress of the Iraq war.

Uncapped pair named by Black Caps

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Uncapped pair named by Black Caps)

Uncapped pair Ish Sodhi and Corey Anderson have been included in the New Zealand Test squad to tour Bangladesh next month.

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Legspinner Sodhi and allrounder Anderson replace injured pair Martin Guptill and Tim Southee from the squad who lost both Tests heavily away to England in May.

Batsman Guptill broke a finger while playing in the Caribbean Twenty20 competition last month while Southee is still recovering from ankle surgery in July.

Southee may yet join the tour for the three one-day internationals and Twenty20 match against Bangladesh which follows Tests in Chittagong starting on October 9 and in Dhaka on October 21.

The tour begins with a three-day warmup match in Chittagong on October 4.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) also revealed details of a short tour of Sri Lanka from November 10-21, which features three ODIs and two T20s.

Coach Mike Hesson says Sodhi, 20, and Anderson, 22, have been rewarded for their impressive form on the current NZ A tour of India.

“Corey gives the squad options as he can bat in the top six and provide useful seam bowling,” Hesson said.

“And having two specialist spinners (along with Bruce Martin) in the squad gives us the option to utilise wickets that are likely to turn.”

Left-hander Anderson became the youngest player to be awarded a NZC contract at age 16, six years ago.

He made his international debut in the Twenty20 series in South Africa late last year and played three limited overs matches against England in June.

A lively century this week for NZ A against India A was timely, Hesson said.

Born in Ludhiani, India, Sodhi showed promise at last year’s under-19 World Cup and enjoyed a consistent domestic campaign last summer with Northern Districts. He has taken 22 wickets in 11 first class games.

NZC’s new general manager national selection, Bruce Edgar, was satisfied with the squad, who will need to improve on their efforts in England.

“The key was to take a consistent approach to selection and provide continuity for the players,” Edgar said.

The Test group leave for a pre-tour camp in Sri Lanka on September 22.

The limited overs squad will be named next week.

New Zealand test squad:

Brendon McCullum (c), Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Tom Latham, BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Bruce Martin, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Mark Gillespie, Ish Sodhi.

Abbott imagines first morning as PM

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Abbott imagines first morning as PM)

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is daring to imagine his first morning as prime minister.

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Mr Abbott told Melbourne radio station 3AW that victory was far from assured but that he still knows what his schedule will look like if he wins.

“If we win the election, I will probably go for an early morning bike ride with the guys I’ve been riding with for years for an hour or so,” Mr Abbott said on Friday.

“Then it will be basically into the office.”

Mr Abbott said that he wouldn’t hold daily media conferences as prime minister unless they were necessary and says he hopes to take politics off the front pages.

“It should be on the front page when significant things are happening but I don’t think we should be obsessive about politics,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said, if elected, he would take advice from his staff, his cabinet and perhaps former coalition prime minister John Howard, whose morning exercise regime he would hope to emulate.

But he added that he isn’t taking anything for granted just yet.

“It’s like being in a grand final, five minutes to go, only a goal or two in it, anything could happen,” he said.

Mr Abbott did admit that his side was probably a goal or two in front.

“I think we are but we’ve got all these spectators running interference, you might say, these minor parties and independents trying to invade the pitch and muck up the way the game concludes,” he said.

Mr Abbott wouldn’t say whether he had prayed for victory on Saturday.

“He has his own plans,” he laughed.

“There are some things which we might have to leave shrouded in mystery.”

Fog causes 100-car pile up on UK road

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Fog causes 100-car pile up on UK road)

No one is believed to have died in the crash on the new Sheppey crossing bridge in Kent.

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It started around 7.15am local time and continued for 10 minutes as cars and lorries crashed into each other in visibility that was down to 20 metres.

There were reports of some motorists driving “like idiots” in the conditions before the crash that completely closed the A249 that goes over the bridge.

The scene was full of buckled cars, lorries and even a car transporter as people waited at the side of the road to receive help from the emergency services.

It was reported that people were trapped and a fleet of 30 ambulances and response vehicles went to the scene, with some casualties receiving treatment at the roadside.

Witness Martin Stammers, 45, from Minster, told Kent Online:

“It’s horrific. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

“All you could hear was cars crashing. We got out of our car and it was eerily quiet, with visibility down to just 20 yards.”

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “There are no fatalities but ambulance crews are dealing with a large number of walking wounded casualties.

Firefighters have used hydraulic cutting equipment to release five people from their vehicles.

Kent Police said there were collisions at the top of the bridge and at the foot of the approach to it.

A lorry driver who saw the start of the accident used his truck to block the entrance to the bridge and stop more cars piling into the crash, a witness said.

A driver involved in the crash, Chris Buckingham, told Sky News:

“There was somebody, from what I’ve been told by the police there at the scene, who actually witnessed the first part of the accident, a lorry driver.

“He was going the other way and what he managed to do, which has probably saved lives, is he’s gone down to the end of the carriageway, gone across the roundabout and actually blocked off the road so no more cars could actually enter the dual carriageway before the emergency services got there.

“Whoever that guy is I’d like to shake his hand because he’s probably saved lives today.”

Tokyo’s bid a high-stakes gamble for Japan PM, Abenomics

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Tokyo’s bid a high-stakes gamble for Japan PM, Abenomics)

The right to host the games, to be decided on Saturday in Argentina, would likely boost Abe’s popularity, and could potentially spur his signature pro-growth policies for the world’s third-biggest economy.

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A successful Tokyo bid would boost confidence – a key ingredient of Abe’s economic success so far – and bring real gains in terms of construction and tourism. Failure could dent Japan’s stock markets in the near term, analysts say, causing complications for Abe.

The premier made the Tokyo bid personal on Thursday, breaking away early from a Group of 20 summit in Russia – a highly unusual move for a Japanese leader – to make a last-ditch plea to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires to choose Tokyo over rivals Madrid and Istanbul.

Tokyo had been seen as a safe choice ahead of Istanbul, which was rocked by violent anti-government protests this year and doping bans on dozens of its athletes, while Madrid was plagued with high unemployment, deep recession and the resulting social unrest.

But in recent weeks, Japan has returned to the global headlines with a series of damaging disclosures about the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant 230 km (140 miles) from Tokyo. The plant’s operator has been forced to reverse denials and admit that hundreds of tonnes of radioactive water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean each day, and radiation levels have spiked.

Abe’s government said this week it will spend almost half a billion dollars to try to fix the water crisis. Critics said the government’s sudden embrace of the issue was aimed largely at winning the Olympic bid.

“The world is watching to see if we can carry out the decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, including addressing the contaminated water issues,” Abe told cabinet ministers on Tuesday as they decided on the emergency measures.

Online betting site Paddy Power rates Tokyo the strong favourite ahead of Saturday’s IOC decision at odds of 8-to-15, versus 2-to-1 against Madrid and 9-to-2 against Istanbul. But many commentators and people close to the selection process say the Spanish bid is gathering pace fast.

People close to Abe are privately expressing confidence in Tokyo’s bid, despite the growing global concerns over Fukushima, where conditions appear to be worsening two and a half years after the nuclear plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami.

STOCK FILLIP

A Tokyo win could push up the Nikkei stock average by more than 10 percent in the short term to around 15,600, near this year’s high, said Eiji Kinouchi at Daiwa Securities.

Japanese shares saw a 1-month fillip after Nagano won the rights to the 1998 winter Olympics, while shares in Athens and London rallied for 1-3 months after they were chosen to host their summer Games.

A Tokyo Olympics stock index of 79 companies that would benefit from a local Games, compiled by Okasan Securities, has gained 47 percent this year, outpacing the broader market’s 35 percent gain.

Tourism shares on that index, such as Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land Co and Tokyo Dome Corp, have outperformed other Olympic shares, said Takashi Kusaki, Okasan’s deputy general manager, suggesting there may be a pullback after the decision. But he said success for Tokyo could spur more gains for developers, such as construction firms Taisei Corp, Obayashi Corp and Shimizu Corp.

That’s because a win could mean a noticeable bump for the economy as it gears up for the Games. The Tokyo bid committee reckons hosting the Olympics would boost the economy – from construction and higher prices – by 3 trillion yen ($30.14 billion) over the coming seven years.

That amounts to just 0.3 percentage point of Japan’s GDP growth a year, but Nomura equity strategist Masaaki Yamaguchi said there would be a multiplier effect, such as aiding the government’s “Cool Japan” initiative to promote “anime” cartoons and other aspects of Japanese pop culture.

SALES TAX

The link between stocks, confidence and Abenomics means the Olympic decision could even affect one of Abe’s most pressing policy decisions: whether to go ahead with a planned doubling of the national sales tax, Japan’s biggest attempt in years to get its runaway public debt under control.

Abe is to decide early next month whether to proceed with the first step of the tax hike in April.

Some people close to the premier say that winning the Olympic hosting rights would boost confidence, share prices and the broader economy enough to offset much of the economic dent from the tax hike, making it more likely he will approve the increase.

“In his heart of hearts, Abe probably wants to delay the tax hike,” said a person close to him. “But if we get the Olympics and there’s only minimal economic turmoil from (any U.S.) air strike on Syria, he’ll probably have to swallow the tax hike.”

Winning the bid could boost Abe’s support ratings, which are high by Japanese standards at 56 percent, according to the latest Kyodo News survey, but are down from a June high of 68 percent. That could embolden him to press on with economic structural reforms needed to elevate Japan’s growth longer-term.

On the other hand, if Tokyo loses on Saturday, Abe’s popularity and potentially even his political aims could suffer.

“The ladder would be pulled out from under the market and the Nikkei could drop 500 points on Monday,” said Daiwa’s Kinouchi.

($1 = 99.5350 Japanese yen)

(Additional reporting by Ossian Shine and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

Abbott seizes momentum in final week

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Abbott seizes momentum in final week)

As former treasurer Peter Costello said last week, when the momentum’s with you the momentum’s with you – and all the momentum was with Tony Abbott in the final week of the 2013 election campaign.

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As the Rudd campaign ran out of puff, the opposition leader looked confident and energised, and barely put a foot wrong – with the exception of the internet filtering bungle.

As the polls increasingly pointed towards a thumping coalition win, the man once mocked as Tony “people skills” Abbott looked more and more prime ministerial.

He tried to play down the polls, repeatedly saying he doesn’t believe them and Labor could still “sneak” back into power.

But as the final week wore on, these protestations rang more and more hollow.

Mr Abbott’s popularity has clearly been on the rise.

He was mobbed during a campaign appearance at Sydney Markets on Wednesday, with one man even getting on bended knee and kissing the opposition leader on the forehead.

He mixed easily with workers at the Austral Bricks factory near Launceston, and at a leather factory in outer Brisbane.

Blue-collar Penrice Soda workers in Port Adelaide, one of the safest of Labor seats, even gave the Liberal blueblood a warm reception.

As did shoppers in former treasurer Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley, where he provocatively conducted a mall walk on the second last day of campaigning.

Mr Abbott hit a host of Labor marginals in week five of the campaign. Hindmarsh in Adelaide, Lyons in Tasmania, Reid, Kingsford Smith and Lindsay in Sydney.

In Brisbane, where Kevin Rudd was supposed to sweep all before him, the opposition leader stopped in at Petrie in the outer north, and in neighbouring Lilley.

The headline in that city’s only metro paper on Thursday summed up just how far ahead the coalition is.

“RUDD FREE ZONE” blared the Murdoch-owned Courier-Mail, predicting the prime minister would lose even his own seat of Griffith on Saturday.

Rudd had all the momentum in 2007, when John Howard became only the second sitting prime minister to lose his seat at an election.

The tide is with Mr Abbott this time – and Rudd could well suffer the same indignity he visited upon Howard six years ago.

It would be sweet revenge, delivered by Mr Abbott on behalf of his former boss and mentor.

Rudd sizzles sausage as campaign nears end

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Rudd sizzles sausage as campaign nears end)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken his turn at the barbie to sizzle a few sausages and the opposition at the same time.

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He’s visited the North Entrance Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney’s Central Coast for breakfast with about 50 Labor supporters and the local candidate for Dobell, Emma McBride.

Labor is on the backfoot, but Mr Rudd hasn’t given up on Saturday’s election.

Mr Rudd indicated he would go down fighting, saying that there were still many people who had not made up their minds about which way to vote.

“We’ve got about three points to make up,” he said.

“And what I know about Australians is that there’s a whole bunch of people who don’t sort out which way they’re going to vote until the day itself.

“So what I’d say to each and every one of you is to encourage you to get out there and to fight and to fight and to fight right through until 6pm on polling day.

“There’s a lot of people out there … worried about what the future means for them if Mr Abbott was to become prime minister.”

Mr Rudd touched upon his commitment to schools and education and was applauded from the party faithful who were wearing blue T-shirts promoting Ms McBride and which carried the slogan – “part of Kevin Rudd’s team”.

Mr Rudd also posed for photographs with some Labor supporters, including 72-year-old retiree Janice Day, who was scared Mr Abbott would increase the GST.

“He’s going to put it up. You can bet your bottom dollar on it,” she said.

Mr Rudd also posed for a photograph with 19-year-old Daniel Turner, who asked the prime minister about the School Kids Bonus and the Education Tax Refund.

Dobell is held by Craig Thomson, who was dumped from the Labor Party amid allegations he misused union funds.

Factbox: The Senate

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Factbox: The Senate)

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, or the federal Parliament, is made up of two houses – the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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Both are directly elected by the people of Australia.

The functions of the Senate are to represent the states equally, and to review the proposals and decisions of the House of Representatives and the executive government.

Equal representation of the states is designed to protect the less-populated states, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, against possible domination by the more populous states of Victoria and New South Wales.

Today there are twelve Senators from each of the six states, and, since 1975, two from the Northern Territory and two from the Australian Capital Territory, making a total of 76 Senators.

While issues of importance to particular states still arise, the increasing importance of national issues and the growth of national political parties means the principle role of the Senate is to review and revise laws.

Senators are elected by a system of proportional representation.

Proportional representation aims to ensure that political parties gain representation in proportion to their share of the vote.

The House of Representatives and the Senate have different electoral mechanisms for registering electors’ preferences.

Both systems of voting are preferential, in that electors indicate an order of preference among the available candidates.

Preferential voting avoids so-called ‘first-past-the-post’ systems still in use in many major countries, where the candidate with more votes than any other candidate is elected.

Preferential voting for the House of Representatives is designed to secure the election of one candidate with a majority of votes.

The proportional representation voting used in the Senate is designed to secure the election of several candidates in each state, each of whom obtains a number of votes equal to or exceeding a required quota, or proportion, of votes.

Analysis – Cooper’s credibility depends on frontline defence

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Analysis – Cooper’s credibility depends on frontline defence)

The New Zealand-born playmaker is running out of time – he either proves he can defend in the frontline at test level, or he settles for life as a very good Super Rugby player who for want of an effective front-on tackling technique never quite made it at international level.

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It’s a career-defining moment for Cooper – his first start as Wallabies flyhalf in almost a year.

Some would say Cooper is lucky to even be in the side, his international career only revived thanks to the appointment of his mentor at the Reds, Ewen McKenzie, to the coaching job.

There’s some truth in that. McKenzie has been an unabashed admirer of Cooper’s attacking capabilities and, at the Reds at least, has been prepared to overlook his turnstile tackling by allowing him to switch to fullback in defence.

Will McKenzie, as national coach, make that same concession against the Springboks on Saturday? McKenzie won’t say.

“You’ll see on the night,” he told journalists this week.

Cooper has been equally tight-lipped.

“You can’t give all your secrets away,” he said. “You have to keep something for the game.”

The mystery of where Cooper defends is a big talking point leading into the match and even has the Springboks stumped.

They’re expecting James O’Connor to come off his wing to defend for Cooper.

It’s an understandable line of thought given the selection of the Wallabies’ most potent attacking weapon Israel Folau at full-back.

McKenzie is unlikely to burden Folau with any instruction other than ‘get the ball in your hands and run’. And, besides, Folau doesn’t need a job-sharing arrangement against a team likely to keep him busy enough with high balls.

In fact, the only possibility that hasn’t been explored in depth is the most obvious one: Cooper actually defending his channel like every other international flyhalf.

It ought to be the obvious solution. But then again, we are talking about Cooper, who has rarely been a clear-cut fit for many things on and off the pitch.

The timing of Cooper’s re-introduction is a double-edged sword. He comes into a side under immense pressure to win after three straight losses. A fourth could well tip supporters over the edge, leaving Cooper once again exposed to his harshest critics.

While a loss could kill off his career once and for all, it could also be his last chance to bury the perception that he can’t tackle to save his life.

Against these psychological pressures stands Cooper’s record against the Springboks – 7-2 in nine tests, including five wins from his last five.

Unlike the All Blacks, Cooper can truly claim to have the Boks’ number. So in that sense, provided he can handle the pressure of a must-win test match, the timing couldn’t be better.

CONTROVERSIAL AGENT

Speaking of timing, it’s always worth noting when Cooper’s manager Khoder Nasser surfaces.

The controversial player agent, who also represents former All Black Sonny Bill Williams, rarely speaks in public these days.

Yet, Nasser was out there this week pushing a story about Cooper knocking back a A$1.8 million ($1.64 million) deal to play in Europe so he could prove himself again as a Wallaby.

“Quade definitely wanted to prove a few things in Australia. He knocked back a great offer in France,” Nasser told Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper.

Nasser went on to talk about how Cooper had become tougher because of his foray into the fight game earlier this year.

“Boxing makes you look at yourself. You have to be real because it’s only you making the call on how hard you train and being honest about your weaknesses,” Nasser said.

“And you’ve got to have balls to stick your head in any ring,” he said in closing.

It was a curious interview. Nasser only talks to journalists when it suits him to do so.

The perception Cooper can’t tackle is bad for Nasser’s business, though, as it lowers his client’s market value, whether it be in Australia or France. It’s in Cooper’s best financial interests to tackle in the frontline.

Perhaps that’s why Nasser has surfaced, to send out a message to the marketplace: ‘My client can tackle. Wait and see’. ($1 = 1.0957 Australian dollars)

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Dogs tightlipped over Barba

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Dogs tightlipped over Barba)

Not even the prospect of having Ben Barba fit in time for an NRL title tilt could excite coach Des Hasler after Canterbury spectacularly fell at the final hurdle ahead of the playoffs.

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The usually softly spoken Hasler could not hide his frustration over Thursday night’s 16-11 loss to lowly Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium – but went back to his low key ways when asked about Barba’s head space.

The stage was set for the Bulldogs to cruise into next week’s sudden death finals clash when they lined up against a Brisbane side keen to draw the curtain on their worst season in club history.

Especially after Barba was dramatically cleared from a long term ankle injury – albeit just days after an NRL probe was launched into the club’s early season suspension of the Dally M Medallist.

However, a butterfingered Bulldogs were their own worst enemies as Brisbane claimed a rare victory despite next year’s prized recruit Barba inspiring a Krisnan Inu try that locked up the scores 10-10 in the 56th minute.

Hasler said he wasn’t even confident of victory when halfback Trent Hodkinson appeared to break Brisbane’s spirit with a 72nd minute field goal that made it 11-10 to the visitors.

“Not really mate. It wasn’t a good performance,” Hasler complained.

“I thought we tackled fantastic. But that doesn’t matter.

“We can be a real force in the semi-finals, we just have to do a simple thing like hang onto the ball.”

Asked how his side would get their minds back on the job next week, Hasler said: “Well it’s sudden death from here on in.”

But it remains to be seen where Barba’s head is at next week.

The dynamic fullback started on the bench and was understandably rusty after weeks battling injury.

However, it was debatable whether it was his time away from football or the old wounds reopened by the NRL probe that was the cause.

The woman at the centre of the NRL integrity unit investigation – Barba’s partner Ainslie Currie – appeared on the matchwinner’s mind on Thursday with the initials “AC” clearly seen written on his wristband.

Currie had approached the club earlier this year with concerns over the star fullback’s welfare.

Allegations have since emerged Currie had been the victim of physical abuse when she went to the Bulldogs.

Asked how important it was to get Barba back playing after the latest off-field distraction, Hasler said: “It was more him getting that match fitness, getting his timing back.

“He had some nice touches for someone who has been out for five weeks.”

Asked if Barba’s head was right, Hasler simply nodded before the Bulldogs media man ended the press conference with an abrupt “thank you”.

Syria on G20 menu: Putin

February 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Syria on G20 menu: Putin)

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the G20 will discuss the Syria crisis over dinner as it seeks to overcome bitter divisions over a US-led push for military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

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With pressure mounting on the G20 group of nations to make concrete progress towards ending the conflict at their summit in St Petersburg, the United Nations announced that its special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was on his way to attend the meet to push for peace talks.

US President Barack Obama arrived in St Petersburg from Sweden after clearing the first hurdle in his race to win domestic congressional backing for punitive strikes over the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

In a bid to smooth over the tensions, the two leaders put on a show of smiles for the cameras as they shook hands just before the summit got under way.

Putin opened the summit by revealing that the Syria crisis – which has threatened to overshadow all other items at the meeting – would be formally discussed over dinner.

“Some participants have asked me to give the time and possibility to discuss other… very acute topics of international politics, in particular the situation around Syria,” Putin told the opening plenary session of the meeting on the shores of the Gulf of Finland at a former Imperial palace outside St Petersburg.

“I suggest we do this during dinner so that we … in the first part can discuss the (economic) problems we had gathered here for and are key for the G20,” he added.

An Obama aide said he would argue his case for military action against Syria and explore what type of “political and diplomatic support they may express for our efforts to hold Syrian regime accountable”.

But Syria’s allies remained unmoved by Obama’s push, with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling allegations of an August 21 chemical weapons attack by the regime a “pretext” to launch strikes against the country, and pledging to support Damascus “until the end”.

On the eve of the summit, Putin bluntly warned the West that any military action without UN Security Council approval would be an “aggression” and once again demanded watertight proof of chemical weapons use.

According to US intelligence, more than 1,400 people living in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus were killed in the strike, which involved the use of the sarin nerve gas.

Beyond convincing Russia, Obama has a tough sell ahead elsewhere, with China – another veto-wielding Security Council member state – having already expressed its “grave concerns” over unilateral military strikes.