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Marcia makes landfall at Shoalwater Bay

Posted by admin on 30/03/2019
Posted in 苏州半永久 

Category five Cyclone Marcia is currently crossing the coast near Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

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Shoalwater Bay is about 100km north of the central Queensland town of Yeppoon, which is likely to take a direct hit.

Marcia made landfall as category five storm – the strongest rating.

Sustained winds near the centre are clocking 205km/h with wind gusts of up to 285km/h.

“Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia, category 5, is currently moving onto the Capricorn coast near Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon,” the bureau said in its latest advice, issued at 8.03am (AEST).

“It is expected to continue moving in a southerly direction over land close to the coast during today.”

It said the cyclone was estimated to be 105km east of St Lawrence and 85km north northwest of Yeppoon, and was moving south at 20km/h.

Communities from Sarina to Double Island Point, extending inland to Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom, Mundubbera, and Murgon remain under a cyclone warning.

Gales are being experienced in some locations between Sarina and Double Island Point.

The next advice will be issued at 9am (AEST).

Katrina McDonald and her family are waiting out the cyclone at their home outside Yeppoon.

“The wind is starting to really pick up. The creek that runs through our property is roaring,” she told The Courier-Mail.

“Conditions are really deteriorating.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned lives could be lost unless people took the threat seriously.

“Families’ lives are at risk,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said she suspected the state would need federal assistance, and she’d be speaking to the prime minister about that.

“We need to make sure the federal government is on standby, ready to assist,” she said.

She said dams in the southeast corner were no threat to Brisbane or other southeast communities.

Wivenhoe dam is only at 77 per cent of capacity.

All 12 southeast Queensland dams combined were sitting at a combined capacity of 81 per cent.

“There’s enough capacity in all of our dams in the southeast,” she said.

The weather bureau has issued minor flood warnings for two rivers and a creek in the Sunshine Coast region.

Minor flood warnings are current for the Maroochy River, which flows into the sea at Maroochydore, and the Mooloolah River, which meets the sea at Mooloolaba.

A minor flood warning also applies for Coochin Creek, in the southern Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Meares eyes world title record at weekend

Posted by admin on 30/03/2019
Posted in 苏州半永久 

Australian sprint queen Anna Meares is targeting a record-breaking 11th world title at the weekend after claiming bronze and silver on the opening two days of the track world championships.

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On the verge of making history, Meares had to settle for silver in her pet event, the 500m time trial, despite a blistering ride in Paris on Thursday night (Friday morning AEDT) after claiming bronze in the team sprint on the opening day of competition.

The 31-year-old was in the gold medal position in the time trial with one rider remaining but Russia’s Anastasia Voynova secured late victory with a time of 33.149 seconds.

Meares, the world record holder, had earlier posted a mark of 33.425 which took the silver ahead of defending champion Miriam Welte of Germany (33.699).

“I was quietly convinced that Anastasia was going to win it,” said Meares, who also the claimed silver in 2014.

“I know how strong she has been all season and the improvement she has made from last season to this season has been quite phenomenal.”

Meares has 10 world titles to date and needs just one more rainbow jersey to become the most successful female track cyclist in history.

She’s hoping the elusive 11th will come in either the individual sprint or the keirin at the weekend.

“I’m not going to be here and say I don’t win to win because that’s just not honest and not real,” she said.

“(But) I’m not in it to add to the tally board so to speak. I’m in it to win races … and I’m not thinking about the tally board.

“If it happens it happens. If not I’ve won 10 world titles and they can never be taken from me.”

Meares’ time on Thursday was up there with her best, meaning she’s on track as she builds towards her Olympic sprint title defence in Rio in August 2016.

“There’s only probably two or three runs faster ever in my career – in the Olympic year in 2012 and at altitude in Aguascalientes (where she set the world record),” the Queensland-born rider said.

“So I’m really pleased with how consistent I’m showing and the gains, even though they’re minimal, are coming.”

Lukaku nets Everton treble while Celtic, Inter draw

Posted by admin on 30/03/2019
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Lukaku looked like the dynamic target man Everton fans have been hoping to see all season and could have scored five in a rampant display in the first leg of their last-32 clash in Switzerland.

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His perfect treble of right-footed, left-footed and headed goals were among the highlights of a superb end-to-end encounter, that was perhaps only pipped for sheer entertainment by the game at Celtic Park where five of the six goals came in a dramatic opening 45 minutes.

Inter let slip a two-goal lead and then a 3-2 advantage as Celtic levelled in the third minute of stoppage time in a duel between two former European champions.

Napoli were among the other first-leg winners, beating Trabzonspor 4-0 away, and were considerably happier than Serie A rivals AS Roma whose status among the favourites looked questionable after a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Feyenoord.

While Gervinho opened the scoring for Roma with a deft flick from close range, Colin Kazım Richards netted a simple chance to level the scores with a potentially precious away goal.

Liverpool, one of the eight teams to have dropped into the Europa League from the Champions League, needed a late penalty from Mario Balotelli to take a 1-0 first-leg advantage against Turkish side Besiktas.

But typically with Balotelli, the finale was not without controversy as the Italian striker wrestled the ball off designated penalty taker and captain for the night Jordan Henderson, before firing home.

QUITE UNIQUE

It was Lukaku, who proved the star of the night, however, becoming only the fourth Everton player to score a European hat-trick.

“I’ve always said Rom is quite unique because you don’t get many players with that pace and power,” Everton boss Roberto Martinez said on the club website.

“He is a great target in our build-up play, but then in the same manner when the game was stretched tonight, his penetration, his desire to get on the end of things and then three clinical finishes was huge for us.”

Young Boys grabbed an early opener with a superb curled effort from Guillaume Hoarau whose delight was swiftly crushed as Everton netted four times before Hoarau horribly fluffed a penalty in the second half.

Not even the sending-off of Everton defender John Stones, which brought about that penalty, could upset the visitors’ rhythm as Martinez’s side continued to prove a much more fearsome prospect in Europe than in the Premier League.

Celtic famously became the first British team to be crowned European champions when they beat Inter in 1967 but the Scottish champions looked to be heading to a fifth straight defeat against Italian opposition when Xherdan Shaqiri and Rodrigo Palacio put Inter 2-0 up after 13 minutes.

Two goals in two minutes from Stuart Armstrong and an own goal from Hugo Campagnaro levelled before Palacio’s second put Inter back in front with a fifth goal before halftime.

That’s how it stayed until the clock ticked past 90 minutes and Celtic’s on-loan striker John Guidetti fired into the roof of the net chasing down Liam Henderson’s pass to leave the tie all square heading into next week’s second leg.

Sevilla stayed on course to retain their title with a 1-0 home win over Borussia Moenchengladbach while Tottenham Hotspur drew 1-1 at home to Fiorentina.

Elsewhere, Zenit St Petersburg were 1-0 winners at former European champions PSV Eindhoven, Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg won 2-0 at home to Portuguese team Sporting and Torino drew 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao.

Villarreal beat Salzburg 2-1 and Ajax Amsterdam beat Legia Warsaw 1-0.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

I’m no racist, whites welcome, says Zuma

Posted by admin on 30/03/2019
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South African President Jacob Zuma says he is not a racist and has assured white people they should not fear being “chased” out of Nelson Mandela’s “Rainbow Nation”.

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The president also said that a new law preventing foreign ownership of land in South Africa applied only to agricultural properties and not to private residences.

Zuma was reacting to concerns by some white South Africans after he told a rally of his ruling African National Congress that all South Africa’s troubles began when the first whites landed more than 300 years ago.

“South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white,” he told parliament on Thursday, quoting the ANC’s Freedom Charter, which was adopted during the fight to end the white racist system of apartheid.

Breaking away from his written speech in response to debate on his State of the Nation Address last week, he said: “We are a rainbow nation. Nobody will chase you away. There should be no fear.”

But, he said, he would never stop talking about history because South Africa’s children should know the country’s past to ensure that mistakes were not repeated.

Zuma’s off the cuff remarks won enthusiastic applause from the audience.

It was a redemption of sorts for the president, who has been under fire over the past week since security forces were called into parliament to evict lawmakers who disrupted his annual address by accusing him of corruption.

He said the government was committed to freedom of speech and pledged that the cutting of mobile phone signals in parliament ahead of his address – a move which infuriated reporters and opposition lawmakers – would never happen again.

Addressing the uproar in parliament for the first time, he called for all parties to preserve the dignity of the national assembly.

Radical lawmakers of the Economic Freedom Fighters, who led the disruption last Thursday, remained silent and seated throughout his speech.

But their leader, Julius Malema, has pledged to confront Zuma again over alleged corruption when he returns to parliament for presidential question time on March 11.

This week while being interviewed on the Sky News program Jones + Richo, the Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen got the tax rate for the lowest tax bracket wrong.

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It was Bowen himself admitted, not a great moment for him.

The gaffe (if we must call it that) began when Jones switched from a discussion on superannuation to suddenly asking about the levels of taxation. Bowen clearly had forgotten the threshold and hedged by talking about the low income tax offset, at which point Jones said the threshold was $18,200. Bowen then suggested that the lowest tax rate was 15%, when it is 17% (15% is the rate at which superannuation is taxed).

Not surprisingly, his answer was jumped on by sections of the media. You can pretty much guarantee that next week Joe Hockey will get a Dorothy Dixer asking him something about income tax rates and why is it important to be aware of the different rates.

Of course, given Joe Hockey has repeatedly described the petrol excise as a progressive tax and also tried to argue that the top tax payer pay nearly 50% of their income in tax, he might be best to let this through to the keeper.

Indeed, so too should the media.

Bowen’s failure to remember the tax rates, similar to Julie Bishop when shadow treasurer failing to remember the cash rate, says very little about his ability as a Treasurer.

I write on taxation quite regularly and I always have to look up the rates and thresholds just to be sure. Even now, when the issue is foremost in my mind, I have to admit I can’t remember all the rates.

If it actually does matter that the Treasurer is able to answer such questions then we really should start each Treasurer’s debate during election campaigns with a trivia contest.

Just the thought of such a thing reveals how pointless it would be.

Getting figures wrong is damaging if you are doing so in the process of arguing your policy – it’s fatal if they are wrong in your policy. But getting them wrong in a random quiz? Join the queue.

The ability to remember figures is actually a tough one – I was recently in an interview on ABC radio talking about interest rates and I had a blank on what level the cash rate fell to during the GFC. A trivial matter perhaps, but the type of thing that can look like a gaffe were I a politician. 

This belief that such things are important derives, as most things with Treasurers do, from Paul Keating. He was a man who was able to pull figures seemingly at will from the recesses of his brain. He was able to convince the media – and therefore us that he was the man whom we could trust at the wheel of the economy.

Peter Costello effectively tried to clone himself into a Liberal version of Keating and he also was able to persuade voters he had the details at his fingertips – and that this was important.  

As a result ministers generally are schooled on bits of economic trivia, and they also will carry around with them little cards with figures on them to brush up just prior to speaking or going on air.

It’s all a show, really.

The last thing we should want is Hockey and Bowen or Abbott and Shorten being asked at each press conference a bit of trivia in the hope of catching them out – because that’s really what it is all about, right?

Jones wasn’t asking Bowen the question to make any policy point, but just out of hope – as occurred – Bowen would get a number wrong.

The sad truth is that when journalists ask simplistic questions about the economy and tax system such as “what is the interest rate” it generally betrays they have a simplistic understanding of the economy or tax system.

Take Jones’ question about the tax free threshold.

Yes, it is $18,200 – it was increased from $6,000 as part of the compensation from the carbon tax. But that doesn’t mean once you earn over that amount you will be paying tax.

The low income tax offset offers a $445 refund up till you earn $37,000. This means that the effective tax free threshold is actually $20,542 (a figure so forgettable, you’ll forget it the moment you stop reading this sentence).

Yet even that isn’t the final answer. The point at which you start paying more tax to the government than you receive from them in welfare payments varies greatly depending on your circumstance.

The “real net tax free threshold” is the point at which your tax liability exceeds the amount of  government cash benefits you receive. The 2013-14 budget papers showed that for a person earning the average wage, the real net tax free threshold was $23,359, but for a sole parent earning 67% of the average wage, the threshold was $60,818.

It’s quite complicated once you start looking into it.

Should Bowen have known the answer? Yes, I guess. It’s not that hard to remember $18,200 (even though I know I’d probably get one of the thresholds wrong were I to be quizzed in an interview).

I even know some journalists who actually think it is the Treasurer’s job to know such things off hand. Mostly this position is justified by their believing Treasurer must be like Keating. And they have a point – part of the job is acting in the show – the must appear like they know what they’re doing.

But, personally I’d prefer their policies to display that. 

Greg Jericho is an economics and politics blogger and writes for The Guardian and The Drum.

Man in Chelsea incident wants punishment

Posted by admin on 01/03/2019
Posted in 苏州半永久 

A black French man pushed off a Paris metro train and racially abused by Chelsea supporters on Thursday made an official complaint to police and demanded that the fans be punished.

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“These people, these English supporters, must be found, punished and locked up,” the victim of the widely condemned assault told Le Parisien newspaper.

The man, who has not been officially identified but was named as 33-year-old Souleymane S by Le Parisien, had been unaware of the row caused by Tuesday night’s incident until found by the newspaper.

He went to a police station on Thursday to make his complaint.

French and British police have already launched a hunt for the self-proclaimed racist fans after the episode in a central Paris metro station before Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw against Paris Saint-Germain.

Amateur video footage showed Chelsea fans repeatedly pushing Souleymane S. back off the train as he tried to board and then chanting: “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it!”

“I didn’t know I was being filmed. The fact that it’s being talked about has given me the courage to go and file a complaint with the police,” Souleymane S, said.

The man recounted: “I wanted to get into the carriage but a group of English fans were blocking me and pushing me off.

“They were saying to me things in English but I didn’t really understand the meaning of their words.

“I realised they were targeting me because of the colour of my skin. You know I live with racism, I wasn’t totally surprised at what happened even if this was the first time it’d happened in the metro.

“I returned home without saying anything about it to anyone, not my wife, nor my children. What can I tell my kids? That papa was shoved in the metro because he’s black? That wouldn’t help things at all.”

The man was born in Paris to Mauritanian parents.

The newspaper reported that Souleymane S. lives north of Paris and works near the Richelieu-Drouot metro station where Tuesday’s incident took place.

It was at the station that Le Parisien say they came across him on Wednesday.

According to the paper, he was unaware of the furore the story had stirred up.

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into “deliberate racial violence on public transport”. London police said they would assist the French investigation.

In a statement, Chelsea called the incident “abhorrent”. The club has called on its fans to help identify the supporters involved in the abuse.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron called the incident “extremely disturbing”.

Activist groups have already called on football’s leadership to do more to combat racism in the game.

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand called the incident “disgraceful behaviour” but questioned whether the football powers want to do more.

“Does football want to change this? Do the people in the game that hold the power really want to put the hard yards in to eradicate racism?” Ferdinand said in a Twitter comment.

Aussie fellas seek Oscar gold

Posted by admin on 01/03/2019
Posted in 苏州半永久 

They are two Aussie guys who, if you bumped into at the local supermarket or sat next to at a pub, you’d presume were just average fellas.

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Tim Crosbie and David Lee are not average fellas.

They are members of Hollywood’s most exclusive class of 2015, joining Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Keaton, Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore and Bradley Cooper as Oscar nominees for Monday’s (AEDT) 87th Annual Academy Awards.

Adelaide visual effects wizard Crosbie is in the hunt for the first Academy Award of his career, while Lee, a sound mixer and surfer from the NSW mid-north coast town of Scotts Head, is an experienced Oscar campaigner.

He won a gold statuette in 2000 for his work on The Matrix and is nominated this year for his sound mixing on Angelina Jolie’s Australian-shot World War II drama, Unbroken.

“It’s an amazing thrill,” Crosbie, nominated as part of the visual effects team for X-Men: Days of Future Past, told AAP.

Australians have been spoiled by A-List Oscar nominees, with Cate Blanchett and Catherine Martin picking up three wins last year and Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe and Jacki Weaver among the annual roll call of acting winners or nominees the past 15 years.

Crosbie and Lee are blue collar guys who don’t call Hollywood home.

They’re not paparazzi targets or red carpet stars, but are key to dazzling popcorn munching audiences who pack cinemas around the world to watch their films.

Lee is known in the industry for his skill in recording dialogue in scenes.

“My work is everything that’s in front of the camera,” Lee, whose resume includes Avatar, Mao’s Last Dancer and all three Matrix films, explained.

“I record it if there’s one person talking or 10 people talking and sometimes locations are very difficult if they are near airports or freeways.

“You record the dialogue, but sometimes it’s not usable because of those technical problems and they have to replace it.

“The aim is to not replace it.”

Australia may not have a Kidman, Jackman or Watts in the Oscar race this year, but Crosbie and Lee’s nods are another major vote of confidence in Australia’s reputation for skilled crews.

Crosbie and his 160-person team at Adelaide’s Rising Sun Pictures, which also worked on last year’s visual effects winner Gravity, were responsible for the extraordinary Pentagon kitchen scene in the X-Men film involving the supersonic mutant Quicksilver.

“It might be a cliche to say ‘It’s an honour to be nominated’, but it really, truly is for our team in Adelaide,” Crosbie said.

The Academy Awards, held at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, begins midday Monday (AEDT).

Ferguson the key to Roosters NRL hopes

Posted by admin on 01/03/2019
Posted in 苏州半永久 

By their own admission the Sydney Roosters missed a big chance for back-to-back NRL titles in 2014.

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This season the opportunity they’ve given previously-troubled Blake Ferguson to return to rugby league could make or break their premiership chances.

The Roosters’ 2014 campaign ended in a convincing 32-22 preliminary final defeat by eventual premiers South Sydney, after the tricolours won a second successive minor premiership.

Coach Trent Robinson believes it was fatigue that buried the Roosters’ chances.

They stumbled against Penrith and North Queensland in the finals before falling to a Rabbitohs outfit who they couldn’t match for power.

The exits of skipper Anthony Minichiello (retired) and Sonny Bill Williams (rugby) leave a considerable void at the Roosters, after a season Robinson describes as a “lost opportunity”.

However that void is one that Ferguson’s undoubted talent could go a long way to filling.

The former Cronulla and Canberra centre enjoyed a breakthrough performance in his State of Origin debut in 2013, starring in NSW’s 14-6 Game I win, before going off the rails.

Now, 22 months later, he returns from his self-inflicted exile, and shapes as the key figure in the Roosters’ 2015 premiership tilt.

Robinson is reluctant to single out Ferguson in a side that, on paper, again looks to be the one to beat in 2014.

With further improvement likely from newly installed co-captains Mitchell Pearce and Jake Friend; established youngsters Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Daniel Tupou and Aidan Guerra and up and coming rookies Dylan Napa, Jackson Hastings and Kane Evans – it all adds up to a talent-laden side.

“There are some big losses but we have a group we feel has developed well,” Robinson said.

“Some guys moving into that mid to late 20 (age) group that now understand their footy a bit more.

“We have some youth coming through as well that debuted last year.”

Despite the loss of the highly influential Minichiello and Williams, Robinson believes the club has developed a culture that will continue to thrive.

“Over the past couple of years, we have set up this club, we know where we are at, but we need to re-establish that,” he said.

“There’s no resting on what we have done. We need to get our fundamentals right.

“We have built a culture here that we are proud of.”

“We know who we are and we know our style of footy.”

Fullback is key for the Roosters, with Tuivasa-Sheck set to get first shot at filling Minichiello’s No.1 jersey.

Ferguson, who could shift to fullback if Tuivasa-Sheck struggles, will start the season at right centre, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall shuffled to the wing.

Friend will miss up to the first 10 weeks of the season, with recruit Matt McIlwrick set to share the hooking duties with Hastings early on before the Queenslander’s return.

SYDNEY ROOSTERS

Premierships: 13 – 1911, 1912, 1913, 1923, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1945, 1974, 1975, 2002, 2013

Finishes over the past three seasons: 2014 – preliminary final, 2013 – Premiers, 2012 – 13th

Coach: Trent Robinson

Captains: Mitchell Pearce and Jake Friend

Gains: Blake Ferguson, Martin Kennedy (Broncos), Willie Manu (St Helens RLFC), Matt McIlwrick (Raiders), Abraham Papalii (Warriors), Lagi Setu (Raiders)

Losses: Remi Casty (Catalan Dragons), Saulala Houma (Sharks), Heath L’Estrange (Dragons), Anthony Minichiello (retired), Frank-Paul Nu’uausala (Raiders), Sonny Bill Williams (NZ rugby union)

Strength: A balanced, battle-hardened team, that still has youth on its side. The likes of Mitchell Pearce, Jake Friend, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Aidan Guerra and Michael Jennings should be at the peak of their powers, with youngsters like Dylan Napa and Jackson Hastings coming through.

Weakness: Fullback. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is largely untested at the back as he steps into the huge shoes of Anthony Minichiello.

Money man: Blake Ferguson. If he can return to his block-busting best of two years ago, and it may take some time, the Roosters will be right in the premiership mix.

One to watch: Jake Friend. Will start the season late due to a shoulder injury, but that could prove to be a bonus in the back end of the season for one of the game’s premier No.9s.

Best team: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Michael Jennings, Blake Ferguson, Daniel Tupou, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Aubusson, Aidan Guerra. Interchange: Dylan Napa, Isaac Liu, Kane Evans, Jackson Hastings.

Predicted finish: 1st

Betting: $6

Stone embraces Knights second chance

Posted by admin on 01/03/2019
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Second chances with the same team don’t come around too often in the ruthless world of coaching in professional sport.

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That’s why Rick Stone is counting his blessings this NRL season as he takes the helm of the Newcastle Knights for the first time since stepping back to make room for Wayne Bennett’s arrival in 2012.

With Bennett back in Brisbane, Stone has now stepped out of the supercoach’s shadow and has two years to turn the Knights – underachievers last year – into an NRL premiership threat.

The pre-season has been more about evolution for Newcastle, with a largely settled playing squad and a coach who knows the place inside out.

But Stone is putting his own stamp on the team with a somewhat different approach.

“I’m first to admit I don’t want to be a clone of Wayne,” Stone said.

“I think every coach needs to coach in their own style.

“One of the main things I’ve tried to do is make sure we create a comfortable, non-confrontational environment in which the players can learn.

“We’re trying to be a little bit more open so they feel like they can speak up a little bit more.

“There’s been a few changes within the club, in the structure and the administration side of things since I was in the job last time.

“Everything’s in a good position as far as I’m concerned.”

As he loosens some of the tactical shackles of the Bennett days, Stone is equally pleased with his own work in the player market, despite the loss of Willie Mason.

Tariq Sims is the marquee signing, and although he won’t play until round six due to a five-week carryover suspension, he will add some much-needed steel to the back row.

Then there’s Jack Stockwell and Carlos Tuimavave, who will add depth to the pack and give Stone the options he needs to fulfill his plans for a return to finals football.

From his perspective, the Knights have never been better placed to make it happen.

“We believe we can make the eight, we’re confident we can do that,” he said.

“One thing that’s really important is we’ve learned from the past.

“Defensively we were down in most stats last year.

“That’s been a big focus of ours – not anywhere in particular, but right across the board.

“The proof will be when we start playing.”

Key to Newcastle’s fortunes will be the resolution of a handful of distractions that loom in the not-too-distant future – particularly on the back of a season coloured by ownership dramas and the shattering injury to Alex McKinnon.

First there’s the Mata’utia brothers, who have until June 30 to decide if they wish to move to the Canterbury in 2016 or reneg and stay put at the Knights.

Then there’s Dane Gagai, who has already spoken with Bennett about following him to the Broncos next year.

On both fronts, Stone is bullish.

“Obviously Dane’s a quality player and we want to keep him in Newcastle,” he said.

“Admittedly Wayne’s brought him down here and helped him establish his career as an NRL player.

“We’re going to make him a substantial offer.”

“He’s having a little bit of a management disagreement at the moment he’s got to sort out, but once he’s done that, hopefully before the season starts, we’ll have an idea of where Dane’s going to be.”

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Premierships: 2 – 1997, 2001

Finishes over the past three seasons: 2014 – 12th, 2013 – preliminary finalists, 2012 – 12th

Coach: Rick Stone

Captain: Kurt Gidley

Gains: Tariq Sims (Cowboys), Jack Stockwell (Dragons), Carlos Tuimavave (Warriors)

Losses: Darius Boyd (Broncos), Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds Rhinos), Michael Dobson (Salford), Matt Hilder (retired), Josh Mantellato (Hull KR), Willie Mason (Sea Eagles), Matt Minto (Qld Cup), Chance Peni (Tigers), Timana Tahu (retired), Travis Waddell (Broncos), Brayden Wiliame (Sea Eagles)

Strength: The Knights have a blistering backline featuring some of the most exciting players in the NRL.

Weakness: The loss of Willie Mason leaves the pack looking a little light on muscle. Kade Snowden will need to step up and show consistency.

Money Man: Tyrone Roberts looked sensational in the Indigenous All Stars match and appears ready to take his game to a new level in 2015.

One to watch: All eyes will be on Sione Mata’utia to see if he can back up his dramatic rise in 2014 which led to him becoming Australia’s youngest-ever Test player.

Best team: Kurt Gidley, Akuila Uate, Sione Mata’utia, Dane Gagai, James McManus, Ben Roberts Jarrod Mullen, Kade Snowden, Adam Clydsdale, Korbin Sims, Beau Scott, Robbie Rochow, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Chris Houston, David Fa’alogo, Jack Stockwell, Joey Leilua.

Predicted finish: 13th

Betting: $41

US presses EU, Greece to find debt deal

Posted by admin on 01/03/2019
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The United States has pressed the European Union and Greece to reach agreement on a financial lifeline for the embattled country, whose EU bailout expires at month’s end.

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Speaking on the eve of a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels to consider Athens’s demand for a six-month extension of the EU loan program, a senior US Treasury official said the Obama administration was closely monitoring developments in the situation.

“The message to Germany is broadly parallel to the one to Greece and others in Europe … it’s important for the euro and the global economy to reach agreement,” said the official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity.

“The Europeans have the capacity to handle these challenges,” the official said.

“It will require vigorous engagement from both sides” as well as “a constructive and pragmatic way forward.”

Germany earlier on Thursday rejected a take-it or leave-it request by Athens for a six-month extension to its EU loan program, but both sides indicated later that there was still hope for a solution.

The new Greek government, elected on an anti-austerity platform, wants to restructure its bailout agreements and debt in a way that allows the government more room to spend and stimulate its economy after years of recession.

But lenders insist the country needs to adhere to promised reforms and do not want to extend more money without such commitments.

“If the talks break down I think Greece will feel economic effects immediately,” the US Treasury official said, adding there also would be an increase in uncertainty in the 19-nation eurozone, whose economy is already “soft” and facing disinflationary pressure, as well as in the global economy