Connections in battle to bring Cup-winning jockey to Sydney

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Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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The race is on in earnest for connections of Melbourne Cup hero Protectionist and Cox Plate champion Adelaide to lure Ryan Moore to Sydney, with both flagging the prospect of bringing the world’s best jockey to The Championships.

Having flown out of the country bound for Japan with the Melbourne Cup in tow on Wednesday, Moore has already indicated to the Protectionist camp he would be keen to stick with Kris Lees’ stable acquisition in the autumn.

It means another whistlestop Australian tour could be on the agenda for the 31-year-old, where there is a possibility of a mouth-watering clash between Protectionist and Adelaide, putting Moore in a bind.

They could potentially meet at weight-for-age level in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000 metres or the $2.25 million BMW over 2400 metres a fortnight earlier.

Quizzed on whether Moore had hinted he was open to partnering Protectionist in Sydney, Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell said: “Absolutely. He really gave the horse a rap and said we should seriously be considering [Royal] Ascot too.

“Obviously we’ve brought Joao Moreira in a couple of times to ride our horses and we use Brenton Avdulla, Craig Williams, Nash Rawiller and Hughie Bowman. If the opportunity came, for sure [we would be interested in bringing him to Australia].”

But it would not be without a fight as Adelaide’s Coolmore owners helped Moore snag his first major in Australia 10 days before his Melbourne Cup triumph.

Tom Magnier, the owner of Coolmore Australia stud, said they would only be too glad to entice Moore to Sydney for the first time.

“He has ridden Adelaide in his last couple of starts and knows him well,” he said. “And if he was available we would love to have him come down and ride him again.

“With a jockey like Ryan it is just a matter of whether he is available for the big meetings down here.”

Luring Moore to Australia would be a huge coup for Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club, which plan to beef up the international presence in The Championships in 2015.

Gordon Lord Byron and Hana’s Goal – the only two visiting international horses to this year’s autumn carnival – both returned home group 1 winners.

Ed Dunlop, the trainer of three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, has issued a come-and-get-me-plea for the Sydney Cup, which has had its prize money purse swelled to $1.6 million for the 150th running next year.

While Protectionist’s Cup-winning trainer Andreas Wohler and the Australian Bloodstock crew of Murrell and Jamie Lovett basked in the glow of Tuesday’s win, Moore quietly slipped out of the country on Wednesday.

Murrell revealed Protectionist was not even the syndicator’s top chance of winning the Cup a few months back, with Lees’ Singing considered a brighter prospect than the eventual winner.

Australian Bloodstock also had Terrubi, a lightly-raced import with David Payne, on the cups trail before electing to concentrate on next year with the five-year-old.

“To be really honest I thought our best chance of the three would be Singing and we thought he would be winning the Caulfield Cup,” Murrell said.

“Andreas was of the opinion he was a better horse than Protectionist, but unfortunately he hurt himself. Terrubi opened up second or third favourite [for the Melbourne Cup] after his group 2 win and David is really enthusiastic about how he is looking. He needs to put on a little bit more weight, but he’s a real proper horse.

“The vets have said Singing could come back and there will be nothing wrong with him – and there’s an 80 per cent chance he will. When the injury happened he was about a five per cent chance of racing again, but it is a lot better spot than what it was.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital

Delisted Blue ‘on the radar’: Eagles

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West Coast has confirmed its interest in signing delisted Carlton midfielder Kane Lucas.
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The 23-year old West Australian played 42 games for the Blues after being picked up at number 12 in the 2009 national draft from East Fremantle.

He played 17 games in 2013 but managed just seven this season before being dropped from the squad.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson said there was interest in bringing him back to WA to continue his AFL career.

“Yeah, he’s on the radar. We’re working through that at the moment,” Simpson said before taking the club’s first-to-fourth year players through their first pre-season session on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to meet him and have a chat and see how he is and how he stands, but he’s on the radar.”

West Coast played no part in the AFL’s trade period this season, choosing to head into this year’s draft to bolster its squad.

Blayne Wilson, Ash Smith and Jacob Brennan have been delisted, while Darren Glass and Dean Cox have retired. Cox has joined the club as a full-time ruck coach, while Glass is a member of Adelaide’s new look coaching panel.

Alex Waterman has been added to the squad under the father-son rule, being the son of former Eagles defender Chris Waterman, while ruckman/forward Callum Sinclair has been elevated from the rookie list.

“We’ll look for the (best available),” Simpson said, referring to the draft being held in the Gold Coast later this month. “We’re going through all that now; I think it’s pretty clear we decided to go to the draft this year and we think the draft bats pretty deep.

“We’ll have a look what’s available.”

Simpson added he was very happy with the first impressions his squad’s youngest members gave him on Wednesday morning.

The Eagles coach said there is mounting pressure on the players to return in top shape because of the longer breaks they are getting from the club during seasons.

But his first impressions were the group had stuck to their individual programs, which concentrated heavily on adding size and strength.

Dom Sheed and Murray Newman were noticeably bigger than the last time they were seen on a football field.

Sheed played 10 games in his debut season of 2014, while Newman spent a large chunk of last season in jail.

Simpson said Newman would start this season on a level playing field to the rest of his teammates after additional training at the club with former professional baseballer Corey Adamson since the team broke up at the end of last season.

“I’m not going to single any one out, but this group in particular we want to put a bit of size on and strength over the break and then work on conditioning when we got back, so we’ve seen a bit of size on some players,” Simpson said.

“We have to be careful with that too; it’s not all about bulking up. But it’s a part of our program.

“First day in it feels as though there is some improvement there.

“There is always a balance isn’t there? But like I said, if it is going to continue like this then they are going to do a lot of work on their own and monitor their development.

“What is difficult to do, is the kids who don’t know what to improve and develop, they have to find a way.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital

Cherry-Evans keen for Manly’s new direction

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Right direction: Daly Cherry-Evans takes on the line during the Test against England. Right direction: Daly Cherry-Evans takes on the line during the Test against England.
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Right direction: Daly Cherry-Evans takes on the line during the Test against England.

Right direction: Daly Cherry-Evans takes on the line during the Test against England.

Australian five-eighth Daly Cherry-Evans has backed the ownership changes at Manly and expressed his desire to continuing playing at the club alongside star halves partner Kieran Foran.

In a significant boost to the Sea Eagles’ hopes of retaining Cherry-Evans after he comes off contract at the end of next season, the Kangaroos and Queensland playmaker says he supports the Penn family’s takeover of the club and believes the divisions at Manly will now end.

“I think the club needed to take a direction in just the one way, not a couple of different ways which they have had with the different circumstances of ownership, so it is all for the best,” Cherry-Evans told Fairfax Media ahead of Sunday’s Four Nations match against Samoa.

“What they have now is one leader and that obviously is going to pull the club in one direction and I have no doubt that is the right direction.”

Since increasing their stake in the club to 90 per cent after buying out the Quantum Group’s shareholding last month, Rick and Scott Penn have indicated that one of their first priorities will be retaining the services of Cherry-Evans and Foran on deals tying them to the club until the end of the 2019 season.

However, both are in demand from rival clubs, and Warriors co-owner Eric Watson made no secret of the Auckland-based club’s desire to bring Foran home when he inadvertenly tweeted about signing the New Zealand five-eighth last weekend.

Watson later told told Fairfax Media: “I apologise. [I] meant Bodene Thompson but I was talking about Foran as I was tweeting – shouldn’t multi-task. Absolute genuine mistake, sorry”.

Cherry-Evans said he was relieved to learn that Watson’s tweet was a mistake and hoped he and Foran could both extend their careers at Manly beyond 2015.

“My heart just sank a little bit if that was true. That would be really disappointing if we lost Kieran,” Cherry-Evans said. “I love playing beside him so I can only hope that we can find some common ground and we can stay at Manly.

“Having said that we both are very professional in what we do and we both have families that we need to look after, so it will be an interesting couple of months but I can only hope we all get what is best for us.”

After overcoming a hip injury to take his place against England last Sunday, Cherry-Evans turned in his best performance in a Kangaroos jersey and produced the winning try for fullback Greg Inglis to keep alive Australia’s hopes of making the Four Nations final.

Cherry-Evans, whose preparation had also been disrupted by the birth of his second daughter last week, said some pre-match advice from Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith had encouraged him to take on more of a playmaking role rather than play second fiddle to Cooper Cronk.

“He made a point just in the warm-up of saying, ‘I would like to see the Daly Cherry-Evans of Manly today. Just play your own game and do what you do best’,” Cherry-Evans said.

“That was a reassuring thing to hear from your captain, and apart from that I felt a lot more comfortable around the people in this squad and I think it showed. I think we played good football, but having said that, we will have to improve this week.”

After being forced from the field in the first half of the Kangaroos 30-12 opening round loss to New Zealand due a hip injury, Cherry-Evans underwent intensive physiotherapy to play against England, but insisted he would be fully fit to play Samoa at WIN Stadium on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t have played against England if I wasn’t 100 per cent fit, but the worst part about going off injured is that you feel as if you have let your teammates down, and I certainly felt that way the week before, especially after giving away a few poor [sixth] tackle options.

“With that being said and done, I was eager to get out there and try and prove myself against England, and early on I was lucky to have the services of the [Kangaroos] physios around the clock and I can’t thank Tony Ayoub and Steve Sartori enough for the work they did.

“It was a very, very busy week and I managed to get back to Sydney for the birth of my second child, and that really put everything into perspective pretty quickly.

“I am so appreciative of where I am in rugby league and where I am at home. It was a great week, and whilst it was busy I enjoyed every moment of it and I am looking forward to playing Samoa.”

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Brighton doctor Mervyn Jacobson found guilty of manipulating the stock market

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Price fixing: Mervyn Jacobson at the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2008. Photo: Jason South
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Price fixing: Mervyn Jacobson at the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2008. Photo: Jason South

Price fixing: Mervyn Jacobson at the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2008. Photo: Jason South

A doctor who claimed to have a $100 million fortune has been found guilty of manipulating the stock market for financial gain.

Mervyn Jacobson, 72, of Brighton, had denied claims he was a “fraudster” and pleaded not guilty to 35 charges of conspiracy to manipulate the market and fund transactions to create an artificial share price between May and November 2006.

But a Supreme Court jury found him guilty of all charges on Wednesday, after an eight-week trial. Jacobson put his hands over his eyes and to his brow when the first guilty verdict was announced, and he later covered his face with his hands as he sat in the dock.

Crown prosecutor Jeremy Rapke, QC, described the case during the trial as one of price-fixing.

Jacobson had been involved in research and other activities involving human genetic material before Genetic Technologies invented a method to obtain valuable information located within what is called the non-coding DNA of all species.

Shares in Genetic Technologies were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and Jacobson controlled more than 40 per cent of the company’s shares, totalling more than 150 million shares.

The Crown case alleged Jacobson’s daughter, Tamara, and her second husband, Geoffrey Newing, from Toorak, acted illegally and were heavily involved with Jacobson in manipulating the price of Genetic Technologies shares on the ASX.

Mr Rapke said much of Jacobson’s wealth was tied up in the company and his financial stability was dependent on the company’s success and its share price.

So when the share price began to fall and the doctor started receiving margin calls on a $11.4 million loan with Opes Prime, Mr Rapke said Jacobson gave more than $1.55 million to his daughter.

The prosecutor said Tamara, her husband and two stock brokers then used the money to buy Genetic Technologies shares on the ASX to maintain the price at an artificially high level.

Jacobson admitted giving Tamara large sums of money but claimed the cash was a gift.

He told the jury Tamara had been a day trader buying and selling shares in his company when he became aware she was being investigated by authorities.

“It was all crazy, with hindsight,” the doctor said.

When it was put to Jacobson that he had known his daughter had been manipulating his company’s share price during 2006 because it was at his request, he replied:

“That is false … what you are saying is very offensive and false.”

“She’d been doing a lot of things that make no sense to me, but I was not involved and I was not consulted and I was not aware of it.”

Mr Rapke told the jury if the evidence pointed to Jacobson being a fraudster, then “no amount of charitable work, no amount of involvement in the arts, can erase or alter the effect of that evidence”.

But defence barrister Joshua Wilson, QC, claimed his client was a person of good character who had no need to set up a scheme to prop up the share price of his company.

He said the conspiracy theory involving Jacobson could have come straight from a Hollywood movie.

“His personal wealth was in the vicinity of $100 million … is there a burning need for a man of such substance to engage in the criminality that our friends (the Crown) contend, given that he had assets all over the world?” Mr Wilson said.

Justice Stephen Kaye extended Jacobson’s bail so psychological and medical tests could be arranged within the next fortnight, before a pre-sentence hearing on November 19.

He is required to report to police twice a week while on bail and has had his passport seized.

Justice Kaye thanked the jurors for the close scrutiny they had applied to the evidence over such a long and complex trial.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital

IN FULL: Noel Pearson’s eulogy for Gough Whitlam

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Noel Pearson delivering his eulogy for former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on Wednesday.Paul Keating said the reward for public life is public progress.
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For one born estranged from the nation’s citizenship, into a humble family of a marginal people striving in the teeth of poverty and discrimination, today it is assuredly no longer the case.

This because of the equalities of opportunities afforded by the Whitlam program.

Raised next to the wood heap of the nation’s democracy, bequeathed no allegiance to any political party, I speak to this old man’s legacy with no partisan brief.

Rather, my signal honour today on behalf of more people than I could ever know, is to express our immense gratitude for the public service of this old man.

I once took him on a tour to my village and we spoke about the history of the mission and my youth under the Government of his nemesis, Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

My home was an Aboriginal reserve under a succession of Queensland laws commencing in 1897.

These laws were notoriously discriminatory and the bureaucratic apparatus controlling the reserves maintained vigil over the smallest details concerning its charges.

Superintendents held vast powers and a cold and capricious beaucracy presided over this system for too long in the 20th century.

In June 1975, the Whitlam Government enacted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Queensland Discrimatory Laws Act.

The law put to purpose the power conferred upon the Commonwealth Parliament by the 1967 referendum, finally outlawing the discrimination my father and his father lived under since my grandfather was removed to the mission as a boy and to which I was subject the first 10 years of my life.

Powers regulating residency on reserves without a permit, the power of reserve managers to enter private premises without the consent of the householder, legal representation and appeal from court decisions, the power of reserve managers to arbitrarily direct people to work, and the terms and conditions of employment, were now required to treat Aboriginal Queenslanders on the same footing as other Australians.

We were at last free from those discriminations that humiliated and degraded our people.

The companion to this enactment, which would form the architecture of indigenous human rights akin to the Civil Rights Act 1965 in the United States, was the Racial Discrimination Act.

It was in Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen that its importance became clear.

In 1976 a Wik man from Aurukun on the western Cape York Peninsula, John Koowarta, sought to purchase the Archer Bend pastoral lease from its white owner.

The Queensland Government refused the sale. The High Court’s decision in Koowarta versus Bjelke-Petersen upheld the Racial Discrimination Act as a valid exercise of the external affairs powers of the Commonwealth.

However, in an act of spite, the Queensland Government converted the lease into the Acher Bend National Park.

Old man Koowarta died a broken man, the winner of a landmark High Court precedent but the victim of an appalling discrimination.

The Racial Discrimination Act was again crucial in 1982 when a group of Murray Islanders led by Eddie Mabo claimed title under the common law to their traditional homelands in the Torres Strait.

In 1985 Bjelke-Petersen sought to kill the Murray Islanders’ case by enacting a retrospective extinguishment of any such title.

There was no political or media uproar against Bjelke-Petersen’s law. There was no public condemnation of the state’s manuover. There was no redress anywhere in the democratic forums or procedures of the state or the nation.

If there were no Racial Discrimination Act that would have been the end of it. Land rights would have been dead, there would never have been a Mabo case in 1992, there would have been no Native Title Act under Prime Minister Keating in 1993.

Without this old man the land and human rights of our people would never have seen the light of day.

There would never have been Mabo and its importance to the history of Australia would have been lost without the Whitlam program.

Only those who have known discrimination truly know its evil.

Only those who have never experienced prejudice can discount the importance of the Racial Discrimination Act.

This old man was one of those rare people who never suffered discrimination but understood the importance of protection from its malice.

On this day we will recall the repossession of the Gurindji of Wave Hill, when the Prime Minister said, “Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands this piece of earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever.”

It was this old man’s initiative with the Woodward Royal Commission that led to Prime Minister Fraser’s enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Northern Territory Act, legislation that would see more than half of the territory restored to its traditional owners.

Of course recalling the Whitlam Government’s legacy has been, for the past four decades since the dismissal, a fraught and partisan business.

Assessments of those three highly charged years and their aftermath divide between the nostalgia and fierce pride of the faithful, and the equally vociferous opinion that the Whitlam years represented the nadir of national government in Australia. Let me venture a perspective.

The Whitlam government is the textbook case of reform trumping management.

In less than three years an astonishing reform agenda leapt off the policy platform and into legislation and the machinery and programs of government.

The country would change forever. The modern cosmopolitan Australia finally emerged like a technicolour butterfly from its long dormant chrysalis.

And 38 years later we are like John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin’s Jewish insurgents ranting against the despotic rule of Rome, defiantly demanding “and what did the Romans ever do for us anyway?”

Apart from Medibank and the Trade Practices Act, cutting tariff protections and no-fault divorce in the Family Law Act, the Australia Council, the Federal Court, the Order of Australia, federal legal aid, the Racial Discrimination Act, needs-based schools funding, the recognition of China, the abolition of conscription, the law reform commission, student financial assistance, the Heritage Commission, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, Aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the territories.

Apart from all of this, what did this Roman ever do for us?

And the Prime Minister with that classical Roman mien, one who would have been as naturally garbed in a toga as a safari suit, stands imperiously with twinkling eyes and that slight self-mocking smile playing around his mouth, in turn infuriating his enemies and delighting his followers.

There is no need for nostalgia and yearning for what might have been.

The achievements of this old man are present in the institutions we today take for granted and played no small part in the progress of modern Australia.

There is no need to regret three years was too short. Was any more time needed? The breadth and depth of the reforms secured in that short and tumultuous period were unprecedented, and will likely never again be repeated.

The devil-may-care attitude to management as opposed to reform is unlikely to be seen again by governments whose priorities are to retain power rather than reform.

The Whitlam program as laid out in the 1972 election platform consisted three objectives: to promote equality, to involve the people of Australia in the decision-making processes of our land, and to liberate the talents and uplift the horizons of the Australian people.

This program is as fresh as it was when first conceived. It scarcely could be better articulated today.

Who would not say the vitality of our democracy is a proper mission of government and should not be renewed and invigorated.

Who can say that liberating the talents and uplifting the horizons of Australians is not a worthy charter for national leadership?

It remains to mention the idea of promoting equality. My chances in this nation were a result of the Whitlam program. My grandparents and parents could never have imagined the doors that opened to me which were closed to them.

I share this consciousness with millions of my fellow Australians whose experiences speak in some way or another to the great power of distributed opportunity.

I don’t know why someone with this old man’s upper middle class background could carry such a burning conviction that the barriers of class and race of the Australia of his upbringing and maturation should be torn down and replaced with the unapologetic principle of equality.

I can scarcely point to any white Australian political leader of his vintage and of generations following of whom it could be said without a shadow of doubt, he harboured not a bone of racial, ethnic or gender prejudice in his body.

This was more than urbane liberalism disguising human equivocation and private failings; it was a modernity that was so before its time as to be utterly anachronistic.

For people like me who had no chance if left to the means of our families we could not be more indebted to this old man’s foresight and moral vision for universal opportunity.

Only those born bereft truly know the power of opportunity. Only those accustomed to its consolations can deprecate a public life dedicated to its furtherance and renewal. This old man never wanted opportunity himself but he possessed the keenest conviction in its importance.

For it behoves the good society through its government to ensure everyone has chance and opportunity.

This is where the policy convictions of Prime Minister Whitlam were so germane to the uplift of many millions of Australians.

We salute this old man for his great love and dedication to his country and to the Australian people.

When he breathed he truly was Australia’s greatest white elder and friend without peer of the original Australians.

Noel Pearson is an Aboriginal Australian lawyer, land rights activist and founder of the Cape York Institute. This is the full text of the speech he gave at Gough Whitlam’s memorial.

Noel Pearson praises Gough Whitlam at memorial service in Sydney Town Hall

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Indigenous leader Noel Pearson delivers the eulogy at Gough Whitlam’s memorial service at Sydney Town Hall.Noel Pearson’s eulogy for Gough Whitlam in full
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INDIGENOUS leader Noel Pearson’s electrifying eulogy at Gough Whitlam’s memorial service has been widely acclaimed on social media as one of the best political speeches of our time.

The chairman of the Cape York Group paid tribute to ‘‘this old man’’ Whitlam, praising his foresight and moral vision in striving for universal opportunity in Australia..

The 20-minute address at Sydney’s Town Hall delved into Mr Pearson’s own background of being born into poverty and discrimination.

He labelled Whitlam ‘‘Australia’s greatest white elder’’ and emphasised the former leader’s enduring legacy on indigenous affairs, highlighting the Racial Discrimination Act and progress on land rights.

‘‘Only those born bereft truly know the power of opportunity,’’ Mr Pearson said.

‘‘We salute this old man for his great love and dedication to his country and to the Australian people.

‘‘When he breathed he truly was Australia’s greatest white elder and friend without peer to the original Australians.’’

Mr Pearson said Mr Whitlam was ‘‘one of those rare people who never suffered discrimination but understood the importance of protection from its malice’’.

‘‘He harboured not a bone of ethnic or gender prejudice in his body.’’

He said Mr Whitlam changed Australia forever.

‘‘The cosmopolitan Australia finally emerged like a technicolour butterfly from its long dormant chrysalis.

‘‘Was any more time needed.

‘‘The breadth and depth of reforms secured in that short and tumultuous period were unprecedented and will likely never again be repeated.’’

He referenced a line from British comedy troup Monty Python’s film Life of Brian, asking ‘‘What did the Romans ever do for us anyway?’’ before recounting a bullet-point list of the former prime minister’s achievements.

‘‘Medibank, Trade Practices Act, no-fault divorce, the Family Law Act, the Racial Discrimination Act…’’

A burst of applause from the audience followed each utterance, while pundits heaped praise on his oration on Twitter.

‘‘I am absolutely blown away by Noel Pearson. Such power of words. A fitting tribute to Whitlam one of Australia’s finest orators,’’ said Network Ten political reporter Paul Bongiorno.

‘‘A lump in throat moment delivered by NoelPearson’’ wrote Jenny Muir.

‘‘Watch. Listen. Cry at your desk,’’ wrote SBS’s Stephanie Anderson as she shared a video of the tribute.

Throughout his speech, #NoelPearson trended on Twitter Australia-wide.

AAP

Gough Whitlam praised at memorial service in Sydney Town Hall

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TRIBUTE: Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody perform indigenous land rights anthem From Little Things, Big Things Grow at Gough Whitlam’s memorial service in Sydney.GOUGH Whitlam has been warmly remembered as a visionary leader in a celebration of the life of a giant of Australian politics.
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Mr Whitlam was farewelled in a two-hour memorial service in Sydney’s Town Hall before prime ministers past and present, his family and admirers.

His former political speechwriter and confidant Graham Freudenberg, indigenous leader Noel Pearson, his eldest child Tony Whitlam and actor Cate Blanchett all provided touching tributes.

The speeches focused on Mr Whitlam’s enduring legacy, his many reforms and his legendary wit.

‘‘Optimism, enthusiasm, confidence against fear, prejudice, conformity – that is his enduring message to the men and women of Australia – never more than now,’’ Mr Freudenberg said to applause. ‘‘You would go to the barricades with such a man.’’

Former Whitlam press secretary and ABC personality Kerry O’Brien, MC of the event, told the high-powered audience that Whitlam himself chose the venue for his send-off.

But his first choice was a funeral pyre in the Senate.

‘‘He rather liked the idea of taking the upper house with him,’’ Mr O’Brien quipped in reference to Mr Whitlam’s problems in the Senate that contributed to his political demise.

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson said Mr Whitlam transformed the lives of indigenous Australians.

He referred to Mr Whitlam affectionately as ‘‘the old man’’ as he spoke of his plethora of reforms.

‘‘Apart from all this, what did the Romans ever do for us,’’ he quipped in reference to Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody performed indigenous land rights anthem From Little Things, Big Things Grow.

Mr Whitlam’s son Tony joked his father would have loved to have spoken at his own service.

‘‘But the rules of the game necessarily disqualify him,’’ he said.

‘‘That is just as well because I gather the Town Hall is booked tomorrow.’’

Labor stalwart and his closest friend in his final days, John Faulkner, said Mr Whitlam wasn’t without his faults.

He recounted Mr Whitlam’s famous wit when he set off a metal detector at an airport and blamed his ‘‘aura’’.

Blanchett said she was only three when Mr Whitlam rose to power but his death had caused her great sorrow.

‘‘The loss I felt came down to something very deep and very simple,’’ she said.

‘‘I am the beneficiary of free tertiary education.’’

Blanchett also paid tribute to Mr Whitlam’s women’s rights reforms, introduction of free health care and arts policies.

‘‘I was but three when he passed by but I shall be grateful until the day I die,’’ she said in a nod to late prime minister Robert Menzies’s famous tribute to the Queen.

The service was screened outside Town Hall, Melbourne’s Federation Square and in his old electorate, the southwestern Sydney suburb of Cabramatta.

Flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge are flying at half-mast.

Mr Whitlam died on October 21 at the age of 98 and was cremated in a private funeral last week.

There was confusion before the service with organisers accused by mourners of botching the ceremony as they were turned away at the door.

‘‘I think it was a poor decision to have it here,’’ Arthur Crutchfield, 75, told AAP, unaware the venue was his hero’s choice.

‘‘You could have filled up the Sydney Cricket Ground, ANZ Stadium.’’

AAP

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte jets in with Malaysian Airlines for two days of work

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will jet in to Canberra on Thursday morning for two days of meetings with Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and cabinet ministers and to meet Australian police, army and foreign affairs officials involved in the search for the remains of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
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The Netherlands has led the joint investigation into the tragedy while Australia, Belgium and the Ukraine have also contributed to the investigation.

Mr Abbott and Mr Rutte met in Holland in August to discuss the tragedy and the pair have worked closely together. On Wednesday Mr Abbott said he was looking forward to the meeting.

“I’ve become quite a good friend of Mark Rutte over the last few moths. Obviously we have worked very closely together in responding effectively to the MH17 atrocity and the number one item in our discussions is the progress of the investigation, the progress of identification and repatriation and our shared determination to ensure this atrocity is full investigated and if the perpetrators can reasonably be identified, they are brought to swift and exemplary justice,” he said.

And Mr Abbott said there was a “nice symbolism” about Mr Rutte’s decision to fly with Malaysian Airlines “given that Malaysia Airlines has a very good record and the two incidents involving Malaysia Airlines this year certainly shouldn’t be taken as a reflection on the professionalism or the safety of that particular airline”.

A total of 298 people were killed when MH17 was shot down by Russian-backed rebels in July, including 196 Dutch nationals, 43 Malaysians and 38 Australians.

More than 100 days after the tragedy, hope is fading that investigators will find any more remains from the crash.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital

Republicans sweep to control of Congress, training their guns on Obama

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Mitch McConnell: will finally lead a Republican majority in the Senate. Photo: New York TimesWashington: The Republican Party has won control of the United States Senate, giving the GOP full control of Congress for the first time since 2006, further dividing American government as both parties turn to the 2016 presidential race.
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Predicted Republican gains were confirmed seconds after the polls closed at 7pm eastern time, when Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell’s victory was projected, and by midnight nearly every close race in the nation had fallen to Republicans.

Senator McConnell told cheering supporters that the race was never about himself, nor even his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, but about the Obama administration.

“It was about a government that people no longer trust to carry out its most basic duties. To keep them safe, to protect the border, to provide dignified and quality care for our veterans,” he said.

“It can’t be trusted to do the basic things because it’s too busy focusing on things it shouldn’t be focused on at all,” he said, a clear attack on the President’s healthcare reforms.

Senator McConnell will become the Republican majority leader in the Senate when the new Congress sits in January.

His victory speech reflected a Republican campaign in which candidates for Congress, and for the 36 states which also went to the polls, focused on the unpopular President rather than on their local opponents.

Republicans picked up Senate seats in South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, West Virginia, Iowa and Colorado.

The party needed six seats to win control of the upper chamber, and by midnight on the east coast it had taken seven.

The Republican Party also won at least 10 seats in the House of Representatives, giving the GOP its largest House majority since 1946.

In the states, Democrat Tom Wolf easily captured the governor’s mansion in Pennsylvania, where defeated incumbent Republican Tom Corbett alienated the public by paying for business tax cuts by slashing education funding. However, the Republicans won a big race in Florida, where incumbent Rick Scott prevailed against Democrat Charlie Crist, who previously served two terms as governor of the state as a Republican before switching parties.

The biggest win of the night went to Scott Walker of Wisconsin, the Republican incumbent and darling of the party’s right wing for his successful attack on public sector unions. Republicans also held on to governors’ seats in Georgia and Michigan.

Counting continued late into the night in Kansas and Maryland, where the parties long dominant in both states saw their power base tremble. In Kansas, Republican incumbent Sam Brownback divided his party with massive tax cuts that created huge budget deficits, and faced a stiff challenge from Democrat Paul Davis. In perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, Democrat Anthony Brown fell to Republican Larry Hogan in the Maryland gubernatorial race, an office the Democratic Party has held for 41 of the past 45 years.

Speaking early in the day, US President Barack Obama distanced himself from the impending loss, referring to the Democratic Party’s tough electoral map rather than his own low approval rating.

“This is possibly the worst possible group of states for Democrats since Dwight Eisenhower,” he told a Connecticut radio station. “There are a lot of states that are being contested where they just tend to tilt Republican. And Democrats are competitive, but they tend to tilt that way.”

Due to results in the previous two elections, the Democratic Party found itself defending 21 seats compared with the Republicans Party’s 15, many of them in Republican strongholds.

Despite the wave of Republican victories there was little sense last night that the elections would see the political gridlock that has gripped the nation since Democrats lost the House in 2010 relieved.

Both parties’ base supporters still disagree on fundamental issues, including the basic role and size of government in America.

Mr Obama has called for a meeting at the White House on Friday afternoon with the current congressional leadership of both parties.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital

Woolies, CBA not enough to pull market higher

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Woolworths and the Commonwealth Bank fared well but weren’t enough to push the ASX along. Woolworths and the Commonwealth Bank fared well but weren’t enough to push the ASX along.
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Woolworths and the Commonwealth Bank fared well but weren’t enough to push the ASX along.

Woolworths and the Commonwealth Bank fared well but weren’t enough to push the ASX along.

A rebound in Woolworths shares and a bumper profit result from the Commonwealth Bank combined to nearly push the local stockmarket into the black but in the end were not enough to offset a bigger fall in the resources sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 fell just 2 points to 5519. The broader All Ordinaries slipped 5.4 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 5492.8.

After nearly hitting correction territory in October, the ASX has almost pulled back all the losses. However, the run is looking a little stretched, BBY private client advisor Henry Jennings said.

“Locally, I think our economy is still stuck in a rut. We’re seeing no help from the RBA, not that I think they’re going to help at all. The Aussie dollar is not doing us any favours either and we still have quite a softish economy with the exception of the banks,” Mr Jennings said.

The index was weighed down by miners and energy players, after the price of oil slumped around 2 per cent on Tuesday to hit a four-year low.

Santos shares dropped 2.2 per cent to $14.13, Origin Energy shed 1.3 per cent to $14.13 and Oil Search dipped 2.1 per cent to $8.50. Shares in resources engineering firm WorleyParsons hit their lowest point since 2009, finishing the day at down 5.2 per cent to $12.70.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto shares lost 0.3 per cent to $60.16, while iron ore miner Fortescue Metals fell 2.1 per cent to $3.31.

BHP Billiton confirmed that it will begin to export US oil condensate products from the Gulf of Mexico. BHP’s move to export oil condensate is based on legal precedent set by reports that two US energy company’s were granted permission to do the same from Texas. Currently, the US has banned crude oil exports, but oil condensate products appear to be a loophole for exports. BHP shares dropped 0.6 per cent to $33.82.

Woolworths failed to impress investors earlier in the week with first quarter sales as shares slumped 7.5 per cent over Monday and Tuesday, however Wednesday saw a strong rebound for the supermarket, with shares jumping 2.5 per cent to $34.13.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia boosted first quarter earnings by close to 10 per cent to $2.3 billion, helped by lower impaired loans and a growing customer base. Shares in Australia’s largest bank rose 1 per cent to $81.56.

The quarterly update from Commonwealth Bank marks the end of bank reporting season, which saw Westpac Banking Corp and Australian and New Zealand Banking Group lift profits, while National Australia Bank’s earnings slipped slightly.

On Wednesday, Westpac added 0.3 per cent to $34.59, ANZ rose 0.4 per cent to $33.79 and NAB fell 0.6 per cent to $34.42.

Ten shares finished flat following reports that pay television provider Foxtel is once again considering a move for the troubled free-to-air network. It is believed that Goldman Sachs is advising a consortium of Foxtel and an interested US-based party.

After a mixed few months where the company has effectively been for sale then taken off the market, SAI Global has promoted the head of its information services division, Peter Mullins, to take the reigns as chief executive. SAI shares lifted 1.5 per cent to $4.12.

CSR reported a 48 per cent surge in its half-year profits to $68.4 million with the buildings product group crediting residential construction and better performances in its aluminium division for the rise. CSR shares jumped 2.9 per cent to $3.60.

Transfield Services chairman Diane Smith-Gander told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting that earnings were off to a positive start and were well ahead of the previous corresponding period. Transfield upgraded its profit guidance, now expecting pre-tax earnings of between $260 million and $280 million for the 2015 financial year. Transfield shares finished Wednesday 2.2 per cent higher at $1.90.

Westfield’s demerged entity Scentre Group announced sales were up 4.2 per cent in the September quarter and 3.7 per cent in the year to date. The business, which formed earlier this year, also reaffirmed its forecast funds. Scentre shares rose 1.4 per cent to $3.62.

Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media announced the brand name of its streaming service to be launch in February – Stan. The joint-venture has secured first-run rights to Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. Fairfax shares gained 0.6 per cent to 81¢, while Nine shares added 1.5 per cent to $2.10.

The Australian Shareholders Association announced it will vote to spill the Cabcharge board if the company gets a fourth strike against its remuneration report at its AGM later this month. Cabcharge shares fell 0.8 per cent to $4.79.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital