Monthly Archives: April 2019

Pressure mounts on UK PM over Brexit

Boris Johnson says Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan means disaster for Britain.Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy means disaster for Britain, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson says, as critics at home and officials in Brussels step up their opposition to her plans to leave the European Union.
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With under two months before Britain and the EU want to agree a deal to end over 40 years of union, May is struggling to sell what she calls her business-friendly Brexit to her own party and across a divided country.

Johnson, who some in the governing Conservative Party favour as a potential successor to May, resigned in July in protest at the prime minister’s so-called Chequers plan.

“In adopting the Chequers proposals, we have gone into battle with the white flag fluttering over our leading tank. If we continue on this basis we will throw away most of the advantages of Brexit,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday.

“People can see Chequers means disaster.”

May’s plan, which is designed to protect cross-border trade with the EU, will mean Britain loses control over its direction, preventing it from becoming more competitive and doing major trade deals with other countries, he said.

“We will remain in the EU taxi; but this time locked in the boot, with absolutely no say on the destination.”

On Sunday, May sought to allay fears she would cave in to Brussels’ demands in negotiations, saying she would not allow compromises to her Brexit strategy that went against the national interest.

But the Times newspaper reported 20 of May’s Conservative lawmakers were now backing the grassroots ‘StandUp4Brexit’ campaign committing to opposing the Chequers plan.

May, who has pledged to give lawmakers approval of the final deal with Brussels, has a working majority of 13 members in parliament. If she loses the vote Britain could leave the EU without a deal and possibly force an early election.

Conservative lawmaker and former government minister Nick Boles, who has launched a campaign for a “Better Brexit”, said on Monday he didn’t think May had enough support for her proposals.

Asked during an interview on BBC Radio what the chances of getting her proposals through parliament, he said: “Very, very small, as close to zero as anything in politics.”

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told a German newspaper on Sunday that he strongly opposed Britain’s proposal.

“If we let the British pick the raisins out of our rules, that would have serious consequences. Then all sorts of other third countries could insist that we offer them the same benefits. That would be the end of the single market and the European project,” he said.

Annapolis service for McCain before burial

People have watched as the casket of John McCain is driven to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.The body of John McCain has arrived at the US Naval Academy, where the Vietnam War hero, Arizona senator and presidential candidate will be buried in a cemetery on the grounds of the school where he graduated six decades ago.
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Crowds gathered along the route to Annapolis travelled by the motorcade bearing McCain’s body on Sunday. At one point along the route, a large American flag hung suspended between two cranes on a bridge.

Family and friends, along with the academy’s class of 1958 and the current Brigade of Midshipmen, plan to commemorate McCain, who died on August 25 at age 81, at the Naval Academy chapel.

McCain will be buried next to his classmate and friend, Admiral Chuck Larson, a former commander of US Pacific Command who died in 2014, according to the McCain family.

Among those paying tribute to McCain at Sunday’s private service will be his sons Jack and Don, retired Army General David Petraeus and Senator Lindsey Graham, a long-time political ally and friend. President Donald Trump will not attend.

McCain, an often imposing presence for decades in US defence and foreign policy, was eulogised by former US presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as his daughter Meghan McCain on Saturday at a Washington ceremony.

Without naming Trump, McCain’s daughter, Bush and Obama all rebuked the current president, who feuded with the late senator and mocked his military service.

During both the Washington ceremony and the Annapolis burial, Trump was at his private golf course in Virginia.

Graham, speaking on CNN on Sunday, said of McCain’s burial: “I’m going to try to focus on the fact that I’m going to admit to what I’ve lost. I cannot think of anything I’ve done in politics of consequence, any cause I’ve engaged in, that John was not there, that I was not his wingman.”

Joseph Lieberman, a former US senator, said on CNN, “I say goodbye and my heart will be heavy. I’ll shed a tear and yet I’ll thank God that I knew a man like John McCain so well.”

Labor plan to rein in soaring gas prices

Labor plans to introduce export controls that would be activated when gas prices get too high, to drive down prices for n manufacturers, if it wins the federal election.
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The so-called permanent gas export control trigger could include putting third-party gas supplies back into the domestic market to drive down costs, under the policy.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the cap on gas prices – which would trigger the export controls – would be based on a benchmark set by the n Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Labor will introduce a permanent gas export control trigger, that can be pulled when gas prices are too high, not just when a gas shortfall is forecast,” Mr Shorten said in a statement on Monday.

“Labor is acting because we’re focused on protecting local jobs and making energy more affordable.”

Domestic needs will also be taken into consideration under a National Interest Test to apply to all new LNG export facilities or significant expansions of existing facilities.

An expert panel, a Domestic Gas Review Board, will be established to oversee the National Interest Test and the permanent gas export control trigger.

As well, the n Competition and Consumer Commission would be given new powers to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour.

Manufacturing executive director Ben Eade said competitive gas prices were crucial to supporting industry jobs.

“The measures announced today would strengthen existing gas export controls and put rigour around what constitutes a fair price for domestic gas,” he said in a statement.

“That’s very important to securing the next generation of manufacturing jobs and investment in .”

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused Labor of playing catch up on gas industry regulation.

“It’s a complete rip off. We’ve already done that. We already put the big stick in place,” Mr Morrison told 3AW radio.

“I was the one who gave the ACCC the very powers Bill Shorten is now saying he wants.”

Barrett feels for shattered Manly winger

Brisbane star Corey Oates (L) has run rampant against Manly winger Brad Parker in the NRL.Even Trent Barrett felt sorry for Brad Parker after the Manly winger was terrorised by Corey Oates in Brisbane’s 48-16 NRL win at Suncorp Stadium.
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Barrett already had enough to worry about as he sweated on his future at the Sea Eagles.

The eight-tries-to-three thumping by the Broncos loomed as Barrett’s last game as Manly coach after spectacularly falling out with club management.

The Sea Eagles finished the season second-last with just seven wins.

And there seemed to be more pressing concerns in the Manly dressing room after it emerged fullback Tom Trbojevic suffered a suspected eye socket fracture in the first half against the Broncos.

But Barrett could still feel for Parker after the Sea Eagles flyer was humbled by Oates’ club record-equalling four try display.

Parker was distraught in the dressing room after Oates ran around him time and again to become only the seventh Bronco in the club’s 30-year history to nab four.

“His enthusiasm and effort is never an issue. He just had one of those days the poor bugger,” Barrett said of Parker.

“And everything went right for Corey. He (Parker) is shattered in there.”

Oates had a field day as Parker made a whopping five errors.

“Hopefully he doesn’t have another one of them but he wasn’t on his own,” Barrett said of Parker’s shocker.

Barrett hoped his fate as coach was decided sooner rather than later despite his assistant John Cartwright being tipped to take over the reins.

“It’s been one of those years. (But) I think the club and the fans need it (coaching future) resolved quickly,” Barrett said.

“I certainly do, and the players do. We will be working towards that.”

In keeping with Manly’s nightmare year, Trbojevic lasted just 30 minutes before being escorted off with a suspected eye socket fracture after copping an accidental knee from Brisbane’s Joe Ofahengaue.

He will undergo scans to determine the full extent of his facial injury.

Trbojevic initially appeared to suffer concussion after Ofahengaue’s accidental knee which was not penalised despite protests from some Sea Eagles.

He took no further part in the game but was later spotted on the sidelines with a black eye and facial swelling.

Magpie Goldsack wants AFL finals return

Tyson Goldsack wants to be part of Collingwood’s battle with West Coast in the AFL finals.Tyson Goldsack believes he’s done enough to play his part in Collingwood’s AFL premiership tilt this month as he guns for a second flag with the Magpies.
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Goldsack hasn’t played since last season after an ACL tear in March.

But after a fast-tracked recovery, the 31-year-old has now featured twice in the VFL in an effort to convince senior coach Nathan Buckley of his worth.

He was an unspectacular contributor in Collingwood’s elimination final loss to Essendon on Sunday at North Port Oval.

Goldsack hopes the combination of his fitness and his pedigree proven over 12 seasons will see him take on West Coast on Saturday.

“I have done all I can in the time we had, and we always knew it would be a tight turn around … hopefully I am on that plane to Perth,” he said after the match.

“If I can be just a piece of the puzzle in going over there and dismantling West Coast, then I’d take it with two hands.

“That’s the whole reason I was aggressive with the comeback and wanted to be back for finals.

“(My timing) was way out last week and we felt I’d want to improve a lot from last week to this week to give myself any sort of chance and it was an improvement. Still areas to sharpen up but I am taking some good steps.”

As well as overcoming the major knee injury, Goldsack said he’d also put his late-season back woes behind him.

Collingwood’s defensive unavailabilities leave the door open for the unlikely return.

The Magpies back six has seen many players shuffle through over the back half of the season after a spate of injuries.

First-choice backmen Darcy Moore and Jeremy Howe are also close to a return.

Jack Madgen and Adam Oxley, who have played in late season matches, also played in the 34-point loss to the Bombers.

Callum Brown was Collingwood’s best, but it remains to be seen whether the son of premiership captain Gavin Brown works his way into senior selection discussions.

Goldsack is one of just three Magpies left at the club from their 2010 premiership triumph, a club that also includes skipper Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom.