Archive for: ‘October 2019’

‘A crime against humanity’: Ban Ki-moon

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

The use of chemical weapons in Syria would constitute a “crime against humanity,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, warning of “serious consequences” if their use was proven.

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“Any use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anybody, under any circumstances, would violate international law,” Ban said in impromptu remarks at a scheduled event in the South Korean capital Seoul

   

“Such a crime against humanity should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator,” he added.

   

A UN inspection team is already on the ground in Syria and Ban urged the Syrian authorities to cooperate with an immediate investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus which the opposition says killed hundreds.

   

“This is a grave challenge to the entire international community – and to our common humanity, especially considering it occurred when the United Nations expert mission is in the country,” Ban said.

   

“I can think of no good reason why any party — either government or opposition forces — would decline this opportunity to get to the truth of the matter. “

   

Footage distributed by activists showing unconscious children, people foaming around the mouth and doctors apparently giving them oxygen to help them breathe has triggered revulsion around the world.

   

Ban said the report of the attack was “very alarming and shocking” and underlined the need for all sides in the Syrian conflict to lay down their arms and begin a dialogue

Tiger looking for great golf season

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Tiger Woods, who is finding a 15th major title the most difficult of his career to win, says he will not need a major triumph for this to be a great season.

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Woods, who has won five US PGA titles this season, will try to end a five-year major win drought starting Thursday at the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

The world number one has not had a major win since taking his 14th crown at the 2008 US Open.

Asked if his 15th had become the toughest to win, Woods replied: “It kind of seems that way.

“I’ve had my opportunities on the back nine of probably half of those Sundays for the last five years and just haven’t won it. But the key is to keep giving myself chances and eventually I will start getting them.”

Woods once judged a great season by whether or not it contained a major title, but his standards appear to have softened.

“It has been a great year for me so far, winning five times,” Woods said. “I think winning one major championship automatically means you had a great year.”

After settling for a share of sixth at the British Open three weeks ago as he struggled to read the speed of the greens, Woods has devoted most of his first two practice rounds at Oak Hill to chipping and putting.

“There are quite a few subtleties,” Woods said. “These little ridges and waves in the greens, a little bit of grain here and there. They are tough.”

Woods said a child was nearly injured Tuesday when he went to sign some autographs.

“She was just on the ground crying. People get so aggressive for autographs. You try and sign but sometimes the adults start running over the little kids up front.”

Analysis: Abbott’s ‘new way’ message now ‘choose change’

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Increasingly confident of victory, but with his fingers tightly crossed against any last minute hitches, Tony Abbott projected a cautious and touch humble persona at his campaign launch.

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The opposition leader kept his immediate promises modest, but was much bolder when he was talking about a decade on.

In the short term, there is a carrot for self funded retirees – increasing the eligibility thresholds for the Commonwealth Seniors Heath Card.

These people are a core constituency for the Coalition. But the message coming back is that some have been unsettled by the argument over the lack of franking on the levy to help finance the Abbott paid parental leave scheme. Labor is capitalising on one of the few advantages the campaign has thrown up for it, targeting retirees in tough advertising.

The loan scheme for apprentices announced by the opposition leader, is pitched at the “Abbott Battlers”, especially in western Sydney, where Labor is struggling and Kevin Rudd found the going difficult during his visit late last week.

The launch, with warm ups from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop and Nationals leader Warren Truss, reflected all the focus group messages. Kevin Rudd is a “fake”. The election is all about “trust” – the trust deficit is apparently much bigger even than the fiscal deficit.

The Coalition has neatly turned Rudd’s “new way” back on him, using it to its own advantage. Rudd doesn’t talk about a “new way” so much these days – but Abbott cuts through with the logic that the only real “new way” is to get a new government. “Choose change and there are few problems that cannot be improved,” he promised.

AAP/Dan Peled

 

Talking about the long-term Abbott didn’t hold back. He declared that within a decade, the budget surplus would be 1% of GDP, defence spending 2% of GDP, the private health insurance insurance rebate would be restored (that is, the means test scrapped), and each year government would be a smaller percentage of the economy.

Would these ambitions be achievable? Who knows. Presumably if they became dodgy they could be reined back or scrapped later. But anyway, a Coalition government might not be around as long as that. The Labor government, if it is defeated, will have only lasted for six years.

Abbott’s emphasis is on keeping promises in the first term as well as convincing people he would hit the ground running. The first day was looking a bit frenetic as he listed what would be started: he’d be instructing the public service to prepare the carbon tax repeal legislation and giving directions for “operation sovereign borders”. Then there is an agenda for the first hundred days.

Abbott is unhesitating about his plans but deperate to avoid sounding as though he has any feeling of entitlement, and anxious to reassure. “Give my team a chance,” he appeals. He promises: “I won’t let you down.”

The tone of the launch was traditional and low-key. Without razzmatazz. When Abbott finished speaking, there was no exuberant, arms aloft rallying gesture – rather a modest half wave to the crowd.

The out-of-the-box surprise was having daughters Frances and Bridget introduce him with folksy, anecdotal contributions, designed to make Dad look human and fallible but strong and reliable (and of course woman-friendly).

AAP/Alan Porritt

“For us, he’s not just the guy on TV, he’s the man, along with our Mum, who has helped us become the women we are today, Frances said. She told a story about her “netball dad”, who was a ferocious barracker from the sidelines. The tale had a message of course. For a man who has never put on a netball skirt, Dad was always giving us netball advice – it was only a few years later when I realised that the advice he gave was more about life than just the sport. He said, you must give it everything you’ve got, play as a team, watch out for each other, look ahead, stay focused, enjoy yourself, always get back up and don’t forget to shake hands.

Bridget rammed home the positives: Dad treated everyone with respect, was a listener, a learner, not judgmental, he didn’t think he was smarter than you were. “That’s the type of Dad he is for us and if elected, I know that’s the type of prime minister he will be for Australia.”

Abbott has been lucky in this campaign. Kevin Rudd, lauded and returned to the leadership for his campaigning skills, has not proved to be the great campaigner his supporters had hoped.

Things again went awry this weekend, when he switched attention to foreign affairs and the crisis in Syria. It was perfectly reasonable to call the Saturday meeting of senior ministers to receive a briefing on the Syrian events – Australia is about to assume the chair at the United Nations Security Council. But when this was reported (wrongly) as Rudd suspending his campaign to deal with the Syrian issue, and then he fulfilled an engagement to film the ABC’s Kitchen Cabinet, his critics were able to have a field day. Rudd should’ve been clearer about what he was doing.

Appearing on ABC television today, Rudd was heavily on the defensive. His admission that the Labor government had not had a mandate for the carbon tax was another golden moment for the opposition.

In Labor circles, some are talking about how Paul Keating managed to turn around the 1993 campaign and grab victory in the “unwinnable election”.

Rudd said, when he went into this election, that he was the underdog, although to many observers he appeared to have a much better prospect of victory than Keating did at the beginning of the 1993 campaign. But most things that have happened since appear to have diminished his chances of doing a Keating.

Abbott still has to get through the row that will erupt when the Coalition finally produces its total costings in the last week of the campaign. That will be an opportunity for Labor, but unless something changes dramatically, it is likely to come too late.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Cochlear looking for success in Nucleus 6

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Hearing implant maker Cochlear says its “game-changing” Nucleus 6 device will be the big driver behind its 2014 financial results.

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The company says rollout of the device, which it describes as the most advanced cochlear implant sound processor ever released, is underway in Europe after its sale in the region was recently approved.

Regulatory approvals in other jurisdictions, including the key United States market, are expected during the year.

“We do think that how we go with Nucleus 6 will be important in terms of how fiscal 2014 will look, both in terms of various regulatory approvals and our ability to execute on these launches,” Cochlear chief executive Dr Chris Roberts told reporters on Tuesday.

“And then it’s how well we get traction on these truly game-changing features in this product.”

The Nucleus 6 system has five times the processing power of the Nucleus 5 and can automatically process sounds according to the sound environment of the patient, such as speech, noise, music, quiet or wind.

Dr Roberts said it was the most advanced cochlear implant sound processor ever released in terms of hearing performance and usability.

Cochlear on Tuesday posted a net profit of $132.6 million for the 2012/13 financial year, up from $56.8 million in the previous year.

Its 2011/12 result was pulled back by $101.3 million in after-tax expenses linked to a recall of the CI500 series implant in September 2011.

The latest result was in line with guidance provided in June, when the company flagged weakness in its key market in the United States.

Cochlear subsequently lost nearly a fifth of its market value as investors dumped shares.

Dr Roberts on Tuesday said a record number of patients globally had received a Cochlear implant over 2012/13 and the company had focused on bringing new products to market, especially Nucleus 6.

But over the year, sales in the Americas had fallen four per cent to $284.4 million.

Sales of sound processor upgrades to existing cochlear implant recipients in the Americas were down $17.0 million ahead of the release of the Nucleus 6.

Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa dropped one per cent to $283.0 million and sound processor upgrade sales were also down ahead of the release of the Nucleus 6.

But the Asia Pacific region was the standout performer, with sales jumping 20 per cent to $147.6 million on the back of a large tender sale to China.

Shares in Cochlear were 41 cents higher at $59.56 at 1316 AEST on Tuesday.

Defiant Marshall wanted to please Blues

09/10/2019 Posted by admin

Benji Marshall wants to add to his rugby league legacy, but admits his desire to appease his new employers motivated his appearance in an Auckland Blues jersey.

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Wests Tigers star Marshall was unapologetic on Tuesday after appearing in a video message donned in a Blues jumper to announce his impending code switch.

With four games left in the NRL season – including a possible 200th game in the black, white and gold – and with Marshall still harbouring hopes of playing for New Zealand in the rugby league World Cup, the announcement hit a raw nerve in league circles.

Twice asked if he regretted the way his new deal was conveyed, Marshall switched the onus to his future bosses.

“What’s been done has been done,” Marshall said.

“At the end of the day that’s where my job’s going to lie next year, they wanted to put that out and release that.

“That’s over as far as I’m concerned.”

The announcement, described by coach Michael Potter as being in “bad taste” threatened to further damage a legacy already tarnished by a messy contractual dispute which hastened his departure from the Tigers.

Despite rumours of a rift with Potter, Marshall was adamant he would retain his place in the Tigers side long enough to play his 200th top grade game against South Sydney in round 25.

“I am confident. I’ve been having a good chat about it and if that’s the way it goes that I don’t see it, then 200 games is just a stat,” Marshall said.

“I don’t play the game for rugby league stats, I play the game to do my best for my teammates and because I love playing the game with the boys.”

According to Marshall, his relationship with Potter won’t affect his chances of reaching the milestone, despite the coach claiming on Sydney radio on Monday that his five-eighth knew better for his video message to be deemed an act of naivety.

Marshall somehow denied Potter had been critical of his actions.

“He actually didn’t rip me out, he called me last night to tell me it was quite the opposite,” Marshall said of what transpired with Potter.

“The relationship between myself and the coach is great, we get along great, no dramas there.”

While the Tigers remain his immediate focus now that his future has been sorted out, Marshall admits he would be keen to bow out of the game at the World Cup at the end of the year.

He is yet to speak with either the New Zealand Rugby League or the Blues about his desire to play in the tournament.

“It’s something that I’ve always done proudly throughout my career is represent New Zealand,” Marshall said.

“One of my proudest moments of my life was being captain in New Zealand.”