Dragons serve Golden Googars with their first taste of defeat

DEFENDING Barwon-Darling Water Cup premiers Walgett toppled the previously undefeated Brewarrina 28-26 in the senior match-of-the-round last weekend while Enngonia surged up the table with two weekend wins in a critical round of rugby league.

The Dragons prevailed in a two-point thriller against the Golden Googars at Geoff New Ovals, Brewarrina on Sunday.

Perennial leading pointscorer Willie Wright was at his best again, the five-eighth scoring a try and booting four decisive goals in the Dragons’ victory.

He was well supported by hard-working lock Richard Dennis in a solid team performance.

Brewarrina had a host of good performers including play makers Charlie McHughes, Duane Gordon, Jack Simpson and Edward Simpson in what is a versatile all-round side.

The Googars boast five players that have scored five tries or more during 2014, and the points were shared around again in a match that boasted 10 individual try-scorers.

Sunday’s result means the minor premiership comes down to this weekend’s final round.

Walgett hosts Collarenebri on Saturday while Brewarrina travels to Bourke to play the Warriors on Sunday.

However top spot and a home major semi-final may not be the best omen for either Brewarrina or Walgett when the two sides clash again in the major semi-final in a fortnight’s time as both have scored away wins against each other during the regular season.

The power plays of the weekend came from the Enngonia who moved rapidly up the ladder with a pair of victories against Goodooga (30-0 on forfeit) and Collarenebri (46-38).

With confirmation the Outlaws and Bourke both received one point for an abandoned round six game, it meant Enngonia picked up five competition points in the last week.

Now on 10 points, Enngonia will collect two points for the round 10 bye.

Victory against Goodooga on Sunday in a deferred match from round two could hand the Outlaws third place on the ladder and a home minor semi-final.

Enngonia made the massive trek to Collarenebri on Sunday (July 20) and did enough to hold out a tired Bulldogs outfit in a high-scoring match.

The Bulldogs were backing up from a 30-4 loss to Bourke on Saturday at Collarenebri.

The Outlaws were also meant to double up but had fresh legs after Goodooga forfeited Saturday’s clash scheduled for Enngonia Sportsground.

On Sunday, Enngonia’s Reuben Barker (three tries and two goals) and Jeremy Edwards (two tries and two goals) had big says in the outcome against the Bulldogs while another youngster in Lochlan Peters (two tries) shone for Collarenebri.

The Outlaws also benefitted from second-rower Samual Shillingsworth’s bustling surges forward.

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Asbestos report sparks action in Donnybrook

A report highlighting 120 WA schools containing asbestos has sparked action to ensure the safety of schools and students at Donnybrook District High School.A REPORT highlighting 120 WA schools containing asbestos has sparked action to ensure the safety of schools and students at Donnybrook District High School.

The 2013 Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Audit highlighted 35 of those schools as having asbestos back in 2010. The report was released recently under freedom of information.

“The Barnett Government has failed to keep up with maintenance at our schools and some of these health risks have been known since 2010,” Labor spokesman for the South West Mick Murray said.

Donnybrook District High School was listed in the report as being at the highest risk level. However, this referred to one particular site and not the whole school.

Donnybrook District High School Principal Peter Fitzgerald said as he understood the issue, and he had not been advised to the contrary, the asbestos was in a situation where it was stable and not a risk. It was also in one area of the school and not throughout.

“Where there is risk, we act to the extent that we are enabled to act. I am not enabled to act to remove asbestos. That is managed through other agencies who act on behalf of the department,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“The professionals who do the assessment have deemed it to be safe. The requirement is for us to do nothing; at some future time they may remove it, that’s not a school decision, that’s a decision of the department’s agents.

“My understanding is that it is not a risk in its current state to the health or to the integrity and safety of everyone here.”

Mr Fitzgerald met on Thursday July 24 with a representative of the BMW, an arm of the Department of Treasury and Finance, who are responsible for managing all government buildings.

“He inspected a section of screening at Bentley Street which has attracted a high risk rating and is recommending that action be taken to remove the asbestos product in the screens and that these be replaced with a colourbond type product,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Once this is approved, and I expect this will happen quickly, then he will put in place a plan to remove the asbestos product.

“This process is done in accordance with industry protocols which involve appropriate notifications, the employment of licensed specialists and adherence to laws relating to disposal. The work itself will happen at a time outside school hours, probably over a weekend.”

Education Minister Peter Collier assured parents statewide following the release of the report that the state government was taking every precaution with children’s health in managing asbestos in schools.

Mr Collier said the Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances had advised that exposure to asbestos cement material in WA public schools represented very little risk to health.

“Environmental health experts advise that undisturbed asbestos poses an extremely low risk to health, and where it is located in areas that are unlikely to be disturbed, there is no urgent need to remove it,” Mr Collier said.

“That said, the state government has an ongoing program of asbestos removal in schools where it presents a possible risk, and last financial year we spent approximately $2million on associated repairs and maintenance.”

Further, he said all asbestos roofing on Western Australian schools had long since been removed and replaced.

Mr Collier said the thorough Building Condition Assessment reports carried out at every school provided a clear picture of where asbestos was located, and identified those spots where there could be a greater chance of the material being disturbed.

“Out of nearly 800 schools, there were only 14 schools where inspectors found one or two spots in the school where the risk rating was 1, meaning the asbestos is probably weathered and has a higher chance of being disturbed and exposed,” he said.

“Let me stress, this does not mean the whole school is at high risk.

“In those cases, the Department of Education acts quickly and assesses the best way to minimise any hazard.

“That may involve removing the asbestos altogether, which is done under controlled conditions and when no students or staff are present, or it may involve other work such as cutting off a tree branch that is brushing up against an asbestos panel, or sealing and enclosing the asbestos.

“Schools are in regular contact with the department if they have any health and safety concerns about their facilities, and experts can be dispatched quickly to assess the issue and fix it if necessary.”

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NSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir opens new school gym

Bashir house students Mikayla Lilli, Katelin Koprivec and Alexia Mihalopoulos meet Dame Marie Bashir at the opening. Picture: GREG TOTMANNSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir was humbled to be invited to open the new buildings at St Mary Star of the Sea College in her role as patron of house Bashir at the school.

At an opening ceremony on Thursday morning, Dame Marie told the crowd of students and special guests how touched she was to take part in the celebrations.

She later told the Mercury she felt “humble” that many of the young women, including Bashir house captain Alexia Mihalopoulos, considered her a role model.

“I feel very humble about that,” she said.

“It’s an absolutely indescribable honour because it’s about young people, which are the joy of my life, and it’s about education, which as Nelson Mandela said is the most powerful weapon of all.

“Of course educated young women in Australia, for centuries virtually, have helped build the nation.

“They’ve gone into every field and we see them now going into things like aeronautical engineering, extraordinary things because of their courage and the encouragement of a good society.”

Dame Marie said she was pleased to see the continued work of The Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who founded the college.

Bishop Peter Ingham was on hand to bless the $11 million facilities, which include a new gymnasium, sports science area, cafeteria and learning spaces.

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Chief Minister Katy Gallagher turns to Kate Carnell on 2014 budget advice

Public service news: full coverageFederal budget 2014: full coverage

As much as $150 million was ripped out of the bottom line of the ACT budget with the federal budget cuts on Tuesday, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said, giving the states and territories no choice but to consider an increase in the GST.

The cuts had created a “massive black hole” in the ACT budget, which would no longer be able to be signed off on Tuesday, she said. Revenue streams across the board would have to be downgraded, and spending priorities would have to be reconsidered.

Ms Gallagher said between 6500 and 8000 jobs would be ripped from the federal public service in Canberra, 3 per cent of the workforce, with flow-on impacts throughout the economy. Two thousand jobs would go from Canberra in the next 12 months, half the nationwide cuts.

“Our neighbours, our friends, people our kids go to school with, their job was taken last night,” she said, describing the budget as a “pretty nasty targeting of Canberra”.

It would force the states to look at a higher or broader GST. “We’ve had it forced upon us now. There’s no way of avoiding it because we can’t take responsibility for the black hole created by the Commonwealth if there is no revenue stream,” she said, while acknowledging the “disproportionate impacts” of increasing the GST or broadening the base.

Treasurer Andrew Barr said lower employment meant lower payroll tax. Slowing population growth meant less demand for housing, hitting rates revenue, stamp duty and land tax. Land sales were a large part of the Government income and would be hit by lower demand. More people out of work meant more people eligible for ACT government concessions and pressure on other services.

The ACT government would do what it could to buffer the impact, with no job cuts in the ACT public service, and more spending on capital works to create economic activity and jobs, but it was unlikely to be able to plug the gap, he said.

“It’s all very well for the Commonwealth to fix their bottom line. All they have done last night is pass the problem to states and territory and to each individual household,” he said.

Mr Barr is looking to significant borrowings to fund an ambitious capital works program to stimulate the Canberra economy, with everything from a new hospital to a new swimming pool, stadium and convention centre on the table as well as the Capital Metro rail project.

But former chief minister Kate Carnell, now chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, warned the government to “a be a bit careful” on borrowings, with limited options for raising money to repair a territory budget deep in the red other than higher land taxes and rates, which could discourage business and make the city uncompetitive. “Absolutely it’s good to have some infrastructure projects but, in the ACT,  you need to keep the debt low because there’s not a lot of ways of getting it back under control,” she said.

Ms Gallagher has sought a meeting with Ms Carnell, looking for ideas on how she weathered the recession sparked by John Howard’s unprecedented job and service cuts in Canberra in 1996, especially her incentive program for businesses to employ young people.

Ms Carnell said the answer was to mobilise the private sector. Commonwealth outsourcing meant big opportunities for local business, well placed to pick up the work.

“What happened last time was we had three consecutive quarters of negative growth, but within two years the ACT’s growth was among the fastest in Australia. Things turned around moderately quickly and, to some extent, that was because a lot of the outsourcing the government did was picked up by local businesses,” she said.

Ms Gallagher will also ask Prime Minister Tony Abbott for support, arguing that when other jurisdictions lose major sectors of their economy, they access federal rescue and support packages.

“If they’re going to wipe out 6500 jobs over the next four years … any other community would be given support as they transition. And why aren’t we?” she asked. “The city can’t just absorb those cuts in the public sector.”

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Public service budget winners and losers: where the axe will fall

Treasurer Joe Hockey. Federal budget 2014: Full coverageInteractive: Where will your tax dollars go?More than 70 agencies scrapped, consolidated

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s budget will try to reduce the government’s civilian workforce by 7336 full-time-equivalent jobs over the coming year, a staffing cut unmatched since the Howard government’s first term. This be partly offset by the recruitment of an extra 2744 full-time military personnel.

However, the cuts won’t affect all portfolios or agencies equally. Use the graphic below to explore the winners and losers. (Keep in mind these are only the cuts to take place in 2014-15.)

The breakdown is only available for the coming financial year, and the other 9000-plus public service job cuts forecast for coming years are not included.

Other winners and losersWINNERS

1. Medical research

Gets a $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund

2. Small to medium businesses

1.5 per cent company tax cut and no parental leave levy

3. Construction firms

With $11 billion in infrastructure spending

4. School chaplains

$245 million over five years

5. Defence

Spending to rise to 2 per cent of GDP within a decade

6. Mothers

Paid Parental Leave Scheme to pay new mothers up to $50,000

7. Ballerinas

$1 million for ballet students’ boarding accommodationLOSERS

1. The sick

$7 fee increase for GP visits and cuts to hospital funding

2. University students

Face higher, deregulated fees

3. Foreign aid

Reduction in foreign aid budget of $7.9 billion over five years

4. High income earners

Deficit tax rise of 2 percentage points for people earning more than $180,000 a year

5. Public servants

16,500 job losses

6. Video gamers

Abolishing the Australian Interactive Games Fund, saving $10 million

7. Pensioners

Pension age rises to 70 from 2035 and concessions cut

8. Families

Cuts to Family Tax Benefit Part B

9. Young unemployed

Under 30s face a six-month wait for a reduced dole

10. Motorists

More expensive petrol with a fuel levy

11. Indigenous people

A $500 million cut to indigenous programs over five years

12. Local councils

Cuts of nearly $1 billion over four years

13. ABC and SBS

Cuts of $43.5 million and Australia Network abandoned

14. Politicians, senior public servants

One-year pay freeze, gold pass travel for ex-MPs wound back then abolished

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Solange and Jay-Z spotted shopping together while rumours continue

Best internet memes of the argumentSolange attacks Jay-Z in hotel liftWith reps for Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solange yet to comment, the speculation – and memes – continue.The three are going about their lives like nothing happened. For the most part.Solange has deleted all Instagram pictures of her sister, except for one, while Beyonce posted a prayer asking for help in navigating relationships that were a bad influence.But just days after Solange’s bust-up with Jay-Z, the singing sisters travelled to Costa Rica together for Kelly Rowland’s wedding. Jay and Bey were spotted putting on a united front at a basketball game together on Monday night, while TMZ is reporting that Solange and Jay-Z were spotted jewellery-shopping together in New York.”Our sources connected with the store say Jay and Solange were in Mr Flawless, where they were looking for women’s jewellery for around 20 minutes,” the site reports.”We’re told the pair showed no signs of strife, and looked at gems with Mr. Flawless himself. They looked, but tried nothing on. They left the store without buying anything.” The bizarre outburst last week remains a mystery, but that doesn’t stop the speculation or plethora of ”sources” from revealing what ”really happened” between Solange and Jay-Z.US magazine reports that Solange had a tantrum after Beyonce and Jay-Z tried to take her home following her alleged spat with designer Rachel Roy.New York Daily News, on the other hand, says the fight was sparked by a combination of factors. Their ”sources” say Solange was sullen after Jay-Z snapped at her for allowing her friends to get into the after party by dropping his name. ”Our source said Jay-Z soon got wind of it and snapped at Solange, saying ‘don’t use my name’,” Daily News writes.What started out as a small tiff then turned ugly in the lift when Jay decided to go to Rihanna’s after-party alone.Daily News reports a ”second source” as saying Solange ”seemed drunk and irritated … She said, ‘Why can’t you go home?’ and to Beyonce ‘Why does your husband need to go to the club right now?’.”When Jay-Z allegedly shot back, ”You’re one to talk,” the mother of one apparently became incensed. Meanwhile, the Mail Online says tension between the siblings-in-law had been simmering for some time because Jay-Z had failed to fulfil a promise to help promote Solange’s music career. Their source said: ”Solange’s album is coming out soon but there is no buzz about it, which is a bad sign within the industry.”Solange wants a major career like her sister and she’s tired of living in her shadow. She’s jealous. Jay-Z promised he would help take her to the next level but he never found the time to keep his word.”Adding to the motley mix of theories is RadarOnline, which has suggested that beneath the perfect facade of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s relationship, lies a history of fighting and infidelity.They report that Jay-Z publicly lost his cool with Beyonce back in 2013, right before her Super Bowl performance. Perhaps ”screaming fights” are standard within the family, Radar suggests and Solange simply overreacted.Understatements aside, Radar is happy to report that despite explosive exchanges not being unusual, Jay and Bey are loved up. ”By all accounts, the couple are happy together despite the drama: As Radar reported, they were even recently spotted dropping $6000 on gold-plated sex toys during a couple’s trip to Brooklyn sex shop Babeland,” the site says.While the cause may not be clear, the weapon used in the fight is. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed the ‘killer’ stilettos that Solange was wearing when she kicked Jay-Z. They report Solange was wearing a four-inch pair of Stuart Weitzman Nudist sandals in gold. You can pick up a pair yourself for just under $600.Fairfax Media

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Soa Palelei booked for UFC New Zealand

Soa Palelei, the powerful wrestler and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt has been booked for his next fight as the UFC debuts in New Zealand. Perth MMA fighter Soa Palelei isn’t resting on his laurels following his win over Ruan Potts at UFC Fight Night: Brown v Silva on Sunday.

The UFC heavyweight is on an 11-fight win-streak, with his last three wins all occuring by knockout at the highest level of competition, the UFC.

Just three days after his last knockout, the powerful wrestler and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt has been booked for his next fight as the UFC debuts in New Zealand, taking on highly-rated wrestler Jared Rosholt.

Palelei’s wrestling has been on display in his return to the UFC, with 90 per cent takedown accuracy and three consecutive knockouts from the mount.

However he will have a much harder time taking Rosholt down, with the former Oklahoma State University wrestler finishing fourth, third and second in three years in his National Collegiate Athletics Association wrestling division, the highest level of amateur wrestling.

The UFC is full of former NCAA stars, including current heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, both who use their wrestling as an offensive and defensive weapon.

Rosholt (10-1) has had two consecutive decision victories in the UFC while Palelei (21-3) has never let any of his fights go to the judges’ scorecard.

The main event will see kiwi fighter James Te Huna drop to middleweight to take on former middleweight top contender Nate Marquardt, with fellow Australians Rob Whittaker, Richie Vaculik, Vic Grujic and Perth’s own Chris Indich also on the card.

Indich must win against Grujic to hang on to his UFC dream following a disappointing first-up loss to Richard Walsh.

UFC Fight Night: Te Huna v Marquardt will take place at Vector Arena in Auckland on June 28. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Carlton’s Mitch Robinson accepts one-week ban

The tribunal was not required to convene this week after the last player charged, Carlton’s Mitch Robinson, accepted a one-match ban for striking.

Robinson was the only player punished by the panel after the review of Monday night’s match between the Blues and St Kilda, with Robinson’s teammates Marc Murphy and Simon White spared possible rough-conduct charges.

The combative Blues player will miss the club’s next match, in round 10 at home to Adelaide, as punishment for striking the Saints’ Jack Newnes as the pair scuffled.

Robinson’s suspension was unusual, and arguably harsh, because it related to a blow he delivered while he was unsighted, because he had his guernsey pulled over his head by Newnes. He nevertheless accepted the grading of reckless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

The resulting two-match ban was cut to one and 68.75 carry-over points thanks to Robinson’s guilty plea.

Match review panel member Joel Bowden defended the grading applied to Robinson’s strike.

“Normally, behind the play, if you have inflicted a strike on someone it would be intentional, but in this case we see Mitch has his jumper pulled over his head. He still does lash out with a fist and collects Newnes quite forcefully,” he told the AFL website.

Bowden also said that while Robinson was helped by having been unsighted, due to the guernsey over his head, he insisted “that doesn’t make it OK”.

“You’re not allowed to swing a fist at someone you know is, most likely, in front of you considering you’re holding their jumper,” Bowden said.

MATCH REVIEW PANEL – RD 08 PENALTIES ACCEPTEDRoughead (Haw) rough conduct to McGlynn (Syd). One match and 64.06 carry-over points.Duffield (Fre) rough conduct to Wingard (PA). Reprimand and 70.31 carry-over points.Maguire (BL) tripping Daniher (Ess). One match and 30.31 carry-over points.Chapman (Ess) striking Zorko (BL). One match and 45.31 carry-over points.Jones (WB) rough conduct to Terlich (Melb). Two matches and 43.75 carry-over points.LeCras (WC) rough conduct to Hoskin-Elliott (GWS). One match and 26.56 carry-over points.Robinson (Carl) striking Newnes (StK). One match and 68.75 carry-over points.

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Socceroos World Cup squad: new faces

In: Mark Milligan made the cut. Photo: Anthony JohnsonSocceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has named two uncapped players in his extended 30-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by including 21-year-old defender Bailey Wright and German-based winger Ben Halloran in the preliminary team that will travel to Brazil.

The duo are among a rejuvenated Australia squad that has an unprecedented blend of youth, experience and domestic based players with 11 currently playing in the A-League.

“The majority of them have strong seasons this year and I guess for a lot of them, hopefully, they have similar fire in their belly to myself in wanting to prove themselves,” Postecoglou told a news conference in Sydney.

“I had some specific criteria – form, fitness and an eye for the future – and I think this squad reflects that.”

Wright, who plays centre back for English League One club Preston North End has been included at the expense of injured defender Trent Sainsbury who was ruled out due to ongoing problems with his knee.

Fortuna Dusseldorf winger Ben Halloran has had a strong finish to the Bundesliga II season with a goal for every third game he features in.

Potential Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has been declared fit to play in Brazil despite suffering a groin injury on the final day of the English Premier League while playing for Crystal Palace.

Josh Kennedy, the scorer of the vital goal that sealed Australia’s passage to Brazil has been selected for the first time under Ange Postecoglou and will have to prove himself during the 10 day camp in Gosford beginning Thursday, May 15.

Australia will play South Africa in a friendly in Sydney on May 26 before departing for Brazil two days later. The final 23-man squad will be announced on June 2.

Preliminary World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti.

Defenders: Josh Brillante, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, Curtis Good, Ryan McGowan, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Luke WIlkshire, Bailey Wright.

Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic, Mark Bresciano, Ben Halloran, James Holland, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Adam Sarota, James Troisi, Dario Vidosic

Forwards: Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Matthew Leckie, Adam Taggart.

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Batfleck begins: First glimpse of Ben Affleck as Batman

Director Zack Snyder posted a sneak peek of Ben Affleck as Batman. If you look closely you can just make out Ben Affleck’s chiselled jawline in the first glimpse of the Hollywood A-list actor-director as he steps into the bat suit.

‘‘Batfleck’’ appears in a photo posted by director Zack Snyder on Twitter in an early image from the Batman-Superman film which will be released in May 2016.

Costume designer Michael Wilkinson, who is Australian and worked on Man of Steel and American Hustle (the latter for which he was nominated for an Oscar), also posted a close-up of the suit in the image. The sinewy outline of the costume is evident, but thankfully there’s no return to the ‘‘bat nipples’’ which marred George Clooney’s time as Batman.

While fans may dispute whether Affleck is the right person to take on the brooding superhero, the evidence here from this sneak peak is that he will feature in a dark, moody production as he becomes the fifth actor to play Batman since its big-screen revival in 1989.

The photo is the first image to emerge from the Batman-Superman film which will be released in May 2016. The as-yet untitled film co-stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jeremy Irons as Batman’s faithful butler Alfred.

Fans reacted with outrage last August when the 41-year-old star of Good Will Hunting and Argo was cast as Batman, claiming he would not be able to carry off the deep, tormented, nature of the character. However, this early glimpse shows Snyder is ramping up the gloom for this particular Batman outing. At the very least, it will give chance for fans to debate the new-look costume and batmobile.

Previous incarnations of Batman, since it was revived in 1989 with a Tim Burton-Joel Schumacher production, have been played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale.

I shot this with my @Leica_Camera M Monochrom. #Batman#Batmobile#Gothamhttp://t.co/WPHKLxgBLMpic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/p5DEf6fLzJ — ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) May 13, 2014  This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.


Missing flight MH370: No one knows what happened to plane, says Malaysian PM Najib Razak

Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak says nobody knows what happened on board MH370 or precisely where the plane is more than two months after it disappeared.

Revealing that a Malaysian police investigation has not uncovered the cause of the plane diverting thousands of kilometres from its flight path, Mr Najib admitted that his country “didn’t get everything right” in the first few days after the disappearance but said there are important lessons for the global aviation industry.

Police in Kuala Lumpur have not released any significant findings from their criminal investigation.

“The disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight on March 8 has been one of the most extraordinary events ever to befall Malaysia – and one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries,” Mr Najib said.

Mr Najib said one of the most astonishing things about the tragedy is the revelation that an airliner the size of a Boeing 777 could vanish, almost without trace.

“In an age of smartphones and mobile internet, real-time tracking of commercial airplanes is long overdue,” he said.

Mr Najib, writing in the Wall Street Journal, urged the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which has been meeting in Montreal, to act on a Malaysian recommendation to implement real-time tracking of aircraft.

He said the communication systems on aircraft such as transponders and the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting Systems (ACARS) should be changed so they cannot be disabled mid-air.

Mr Najib said the systems on board the missing plane “were disabled. MH370 went dark.”

He said that policy makers need to reconsider the capabilities of airliners’ black box recording devices.

“At the moment, the location pingers – which are activated if a plane crashes – last for only 30 days. This should be increased to at least 90 days, as the European Union has proposed,” he said.

Mr Najib said it was “wholly inadequate” that today’s black boxes only record the last two hours of cockpit conversations, meaning the important minutes and hours after the plane vanished will not be available.

“Given that a standard i-phone can record 24 hours of audio, surely the black box should have sufficient memory to record cockpit conversations for the full duration of any flight,” he said.

Mr Najib also said that airliners’ emergency locator transmitters – which emit a distress signal when the plane is in trouble – could be improved.

“Currently they don’t work very well under water and their mandated battery life is just 24 hours.”

Mr Najib said the aviation industry failed to implement changes after Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and the changes need to be made to help reassure the travelling public and reduce the chances of such a drawn-out disaster reoccurring.

He said experts have identified that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, discounting dozens of other theories and reported sightings.

“Yet, despite the efforts of the world’s brightest minds and best militaries, the search area remains huge,” he said.

“Finding the plane will be neither quick nor easy.”

Mr Najib said without physical evidence or a clear explanation for what happened, people’s attentions turned to the authorities – and Malaysia has borne the brunt of the criticism.

But he said in the passage of time he believes Malaysia will be credited for doing its best under near-impossible circumstances that involved overcoming diplomatic and military sensitivities to bring together 26 countries to conduct one of the world’s largest peacetime operations.

“But we didn’t get everything right. In the first few days after the plane disappeared we were so focused on trying to find the plane we did not prioritize our communications,” he said.

“Also, it took air-traffic controllers four hours to launch the search-and-rescue operation.”

But Mr Najib said the plane vanished at a moment between the air-traffic controls of Malaysia and Vietnam, causing maximum confusion.

“Nevertheless, the response time should and will be investigated,” he said.

Mr Najib said none of this could have altered MH370’s fate.

“Instead of heading to Beijing, the plane made a sharp turn across Peninsula Malaysia, traveled north up the Straits of Malacca, made a u-turn over the coast of Sumatra and ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” he said.

“Little wonder the words commonly used to describe MH370 include ‘bizarre’ and ‘unprecedented’.”

Mr Najib said the lack of definite proof – such as wreckage from the plane – has made the disappearance more difficult to bear for the families of those on board.

“I pledge that Malaysia will keep searching for the plane as long as it takes,” he said.

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ANZ customers left in the lurch as goMoney app goes down

ANZ customers were unable to access their funds using the bank’s smartphone apps because of “technical issues” on Wednesday morning.

On the iOS and Android ANZ goMoney apps, which have more than 1 million users, some customers received a message saying “service has been interrupted” when they attempted to submit their PIN. Others were told that, on their first login attempt, it was the “Incorrect passcode. Last try.”

The bank confirmed the outage via social media, where irate customers were venting their frustrations.

“Morning, we’re aware that some customers are currently experiencing issues with our goMoney app,” the bank wrote on its Facebook page. “Our tech team is looking into this and we’ll update as soon as we know more … Very sorry for any inconvenience.”

It gave no indication of when the app would be available again.

ANZ said earlier this month that its goMoney app has 1.1 million active users, and has handled $78 billion in transactions since it launched in August 2010.

The bank’s social media team was diligently responding to individual Facebook posts and tweets, and said customers could still access their funds via internet and mobile banking.

However, when one Facebook user had difficulties logging on via internet banking, ANZ suggested they use a browser other than Google Chrome.

The website Aussie Outages, which tracks social media reports, detected hundreds of reports this morning from about 5am.

It follows a recent outage at the Commonwealth Bank, when a system outage – including EFTPOS, telephone and internet banking, and apps such as Kaching – meant customers across the country could not access their funds.

Update 5pm: The bank has advised the apps are working again.

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Distressed sales at low level

There is further evidence that the commercial property sector is on an upwards trajectory as the number of distressed properties advertised for sale across national newspapers are at the lowest level for many years.

The LandMark White Forced Sales Monitor says only 43 distressed properties were advertised in the March quarter this year, the lowest number of the series so far. The corresponding quarter last year had 62 distressed sale advertisements.

The series has covered ads run in metropolitan newspapers since its inception in 2011.

The fall in the amount of receivers appointed to sell land, offices and shops, is due to the relaxing of strict guidelines from banks and financiers, higher demand for the space from residential developers and a rise in the use of empty shops by internet groups, looking to expand out of the garage or spare room in to bricks and mortar.

Already, companies are scouring suburbs to open shops with lockers as a collection point for goods bought over the internet.

Australia Post is looking to convert older post offices that in the past few surveys were listed by receivers as forced sales.

Since the beginning of last year, the total number of properties advertised in the national press has fallen. However, this has been outpaced by the fall in the number of distressed listings which has resulted in the distressed ratio steadily falling from 22 per cent to 14 per cent in the past 12 months.

The majority of the listings remain outside major metropolitan areas and are primarily zoned industrial. But that is changing as this land is now being snapped up by housing developers.

The survey says that in Victoria, the distressed ratio fell slightly from 12 per cent in the December quarter 2013 to 11 per cent in the March quarter 2014. In the year-to-date, Victoria averaged an annual distressed ratio of 10 per cent compared to the previous year’s average of 17 per cent.

In NSW, the distressed ratio rose from 10 per cent in last year’s December quarter to 13 per cent in the March quarter this year. Overall, the year-to-date distressed ratio was 14 per cent compared to the previous year’s average of 20 per cent

Robert Wilson, the managing director of LMW, said nationally, the total number of commercial properties/development sites being advertised in the national press continued to fall, the year to date total down 21 per cent compared to the previous year.

Distressed sales are more likely to be advertised in the national press than general listings as receivers and mortgagees seek to maximise exposure to relevant markets. However, receiver sales have fallen as only 19 per cent of listings were distressed assets in the year to date compared to 28 per cent in the previous year.

Research manager at LMW Max Gran said although one in five commercial properties advertised in the national press was receiver sales, trends show that this number was falling.

”Our view is that their effect on the market is diminishing and will continue to do so in the absence of any economic shocks or a major increase in the cost of borrowing,” Mr Gran said.

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