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16 February
Comments Off on Woodside’s quarterly revenue almost halves

Woodside’s quarterly revenue almost halves

Weak oil prices have hit Woodside Petroleum’s third quarter revenue as the energy giant weighs up a takeover bid for Oil Search.

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The company’s revenue for the three months to September 30 was $US1.086 billion ($A1.49 billion), down 44.6 per cent on the $US1.959 billion ($A2.68 billion) for the prior corresponding period.

“Sales revenue for the quarter was lower reflecting lower realised prices across the portfolio,” Woodside said.

Woodside also declined to address speculation about a potential increased offer for takeover target Oil Search, but said it will “continue to maintain a disciplined approach to business development opportunities”.

The company last month announced an $11.6 billion all-scrip bid for Papua New Guinea-focused Oil Search.

Woodside said sales revenue relative to the previous quarter was 20.9 per cent higher because of higher LNG and condensate sales volumes and higher oil sales volumes but this was partially offset by lower realised oil prices.

Woodside has revised its full-year production target range to 88 to 93mmboe from 86 to 94mmboe due to a strong performances at Pluto and Vincent and delays with its Canadian pipeline gas.

Production volumes increased 0.4 per cent to 25.3 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), largely due to the Balnaves oil asset coming on line for Woodside in April 2015, while sales volumes decreased 1.6 per cent.

In August Woodside approved the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of its Greater Enfield Development in the Canarvon Basin off Northern Western Australia and it is targeting a final investment decision for the project in the second half of 2016.

The company said contracts have been awarded for subsea hardware, shipyard support and geotechnical and geophysical surveys as part of the FEED phase.

The company’s decision to enter the FEED phase came as the oil and gas industry experienced large discounts on the rates for rig and vessels following a slump in the oil price.

Woodside added that it had sold four North West Shelf cargoes to its LNG trading customers in the quarter and marketing activities for its key Browse development continue.

Woodside shares were seven cents, or 0.23 per cent, higher at $30.93 at 1058 AEDT.

16 February
Comments Off on Sydney Symphony Orchestra embarks on China, South Korea tour

Sydney Symphony Orchestra embarks on China, South Korea tour

For many, classical music never gets old.

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This month, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will showcase their talent to a new audience.

“There is something exciting about going to certain places in China and knowing that you are performing a Beethoven Symphony for the very first time,” said chief conductor David Robertson.

Ninety musicians will soon travel to China and South Korea.

It will be the fourth time since 2009 that the orchestra has played in China. They last played in South Korea in 2011. This visit will be their second there.

“It’s always been so successful that they always say when can you come back next,” added Mr Robertson.

Concert master Sun Yi began his career in China. He said he has seen a difference in the genre since he last lived there.

“So it is quite exciting to see the change,” he added. 

Yin Nan is a journalist with the China Youth Daily.

She said the growing appetite for classical musical in China is finding appeal with a younger crowd.

“Our audience, especially the youth, not only enjoy the ancient famous work, but also the contemporary sophisticated music. Last year when the SSO came to China, their concert tickets sold out,” she said.

The tour will see musical equipment packed into 60 freight boxes, weighing 4.5 tonnes. 

But it is not just about music: cellist Rebecca Proietto says there’s a lot to learn from the countries they will visit.

“It’s great to develop cross cultural exchanges and that sort of thing. I guess music is the universal language,” she said.

Chief conductor David Robertson says there is something powerful about sharing music through a cultural exchange. 

“The soft diplomacy aspect is really important but you can’t necessarily draw a direct line so that when the orchestra goes say to China or to Korea, they kind of bring with them the kind of Australian spirit,” he added.

The tour kicks off in Beijing on October 26.

16 February
Comments Off on Law to give murder victim’s family justice

Law to give murder victim’s family justice

The family of murdered Adelaide school teacher Anthea Bradshaw-Hall has waited 20 years for justice.

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Thanks to new legislation tabled in parliament on Thursday, they may soon get it.

The bill will allow police to investigate and prosecute the murder of an Australian carried out overseas and for which there has been no trial in the country where the crime has been committed.

It extends retrospective prosecutions to before 2002 which was the starting year for the original legislation that followed the Bali bombings.

It means police can investigate the person suspected of murdering Ms Bradshaw-Hall while she was visiting in Brunei two decades ago.

The suspect still lives overseas.

In a rare move, Attorney-General George Brandis and independent senator Nick Xenophon co-drafted the bill, which is expected to clear parliament before Christmas.

It also has the backing of cabinet minister Christopher Pyne, whose electorate of Sturt is home of the Bradshaw-Hall family.

“I would not describe today as a happy day, it’s not a celebratory day,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

“It’s an important day, an emotional day for the Bradshaws because it is going to allow some closure.”

Senator Xenophon said the bill was a tribute to the love Ms Bradshaw’s family had for her and congratulated them on highlighting an anomaly in the law.

“Her memory has been honoured by this campaign,” he told reporters.

If a person accused of a murder or manslaughter still lived overseas, Australia would need an extradition treaty with that country to return the suspect for prosecution.

The Australian courts could also not impose a penalty higher than the one the crime carried in the country it was committed.

“Obviously Australia doesn’t have the death penalty, so we wouldn’t go to the death penalty but everything below that would be available,” Mr Pyne said.

A person could also not be tried twice, ruling out the possibility of double jeopardy.

Ms Bradshaw’s brother Craig thanked the politicians for taking his constant texts and phone calls over the past few years.

19 June
Comments Off on Dozens of IS hostages rescued from ‘imminent execution’ by US and Iraqi forces

Dozens of IS hostages rescued from ‘imminent execution’ by US and Iraqi forces

Sixty-nine hostages were rescued in the action, which targeted an Islamic State prison around 7 kilometers north of the town of Hawija, according to the security council of the Kurdistan region, whose counterterrorism forces took part.

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Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said at a news briefing the operation did not mark a change in US tactics in the war on Islamic State militants, who pose the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“I would not suggest that this is something that is now going to happen on a regular basis, but I do think it is symbolic of the kinds of efforts that we are taking on behalf of our partners,” he told reporters.

It was the most significant raid against Islamic State since May, when American special operations forces killed one of its senior leaders, Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia, in a raid in Syria.

The US rescue mission unfolded amid mounting concerns in Washington over increasing Russian intervention in the Middle East.

The hostages rescued in the raid were all Arabs, including local residents and Islamic State fighters held as suspected spies, a US official said on Thursday.

The official told Reuters that around 20 of the hostages were members of Iraqi security forces.

“Some of the remainder were Daesh (Islamic State) … fighters that Daesh thought were spies,” the official said. “The rest of them were citizens of the local town”.

More than 20 Islamic State militants were killed and six detained, the security council said.

Islamic State called the operation “unsuccessful” but acknowledged casualties among its fighters.

In a statement distributed online on Thursday by supporters, it said US gunships had shelled areas around the prison to prevent the arrival of reinforcements, then clashed with militants for two hours.

The statement confirmed US claims that some guards had been killed and others detained in the operation.

“Dozens” of US troops were involved in the mission, a US defense official said, declining to be more specific about the number.

“It was a deliberately planned operation, but it was also done with the knowledge that imminent action was needed to save the lives of these people,” the US defense official said.

The US serviceman was shot during the mission and taken to the Kurdistan regional capital Erbil, where he died, the US defense official said. He was the first American serviceman killed in ground combat in Iraq since the United States withdrew its forces in 2011.

US Army Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for US-led coalition in Iraq, said the possibility that Americans were among the hostages was not a consideration in carrying out the operation.

Some of the rescued people said Islamic State militants had told them they would be executed after morning prayers, Warren said.

The US forces were acting as advisors then were sucked into the battle when Kurdish fighters came under heavy fire, he explained.

“They were pinned down and they were beginning to take casualties, so the Americans in the heat of battle made a decision,” he said.

Cook said he was not aware at this point that there were any Americans among those who were rescued. “My understanding is there was no indication there were specifically Americans present here.

“The understanding was that there were a number of hostages, although we were not sure exactly who was among that group, but that they had been held there for some time and again the information we had received … was that those hostages did fear for their lives, that there was the threat of a mass execution perhaps within hours.”

He said the mission had been requested by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Sources in the Hawija area said they heard blasts and gunfire overnight and that Islamic State militants had withdrawn from view after the raid, apparently relocating their bases.

Five US helicopters launched from Erbil were involved in the mission, and the United States was providing helicopter lift, intelligence support, air strike support, and advisory support to the peshmerga, the US defense official said.

Air strikes were launched before and after the mission to block approaches to the prison and destroy it afterward, the US defense official said.

Hawija is a stronghold of Islamic State militants who have captured several dozen Kurdish peshmerga fighters in battle.

Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has been for more than a year the target of daily air strikes in Iraq and Syria by a US-led coalition.

The United States’ former Cold War foe Russia has been conducting airstrikes in Syria against opponents of its closest regional ally Bashar al-Assad, as Iraq questions American resolve to fight militants on its soil.

Russia has also joined a Baghdad-based intelligence cell along with Iran, Iraq and Syria that has provided information on Islamic State targets.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi faces intense pressure from the ruling coalition and powerful Shi’ite militias to request Russian air strikes on Islamic State, which controls a third of the major OPEC oil producer.

(Additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and David Alexander in Washington and Stephen Kalin in Baghdad; Editing by Michael Georgy, Toni Reinhold)

19 June
Comments Off on European master paintings come to Australia

European master paintings come to Australia

Some of the world’s most significant old master paintings are on display at the Art Gallery of NSW – with many works appearing in Australia for the first time.

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From Titian’s Venus rising from the Sea or a classic by Boticelli, Michael Clarke the director of the Scottish National Gallery said in a busy world the collection encouraged us to simply stand still.

“Where as so much flits across in the world of social media, film, TV, in front our eyes in a matter of instants, these are things you can stand infront of for 15 to 20 minutes and really analyse and think about,” he said.

The exhibition brings together more than 70 of the paintings and drawings from a collection held by the National Galleries of Scotland.

With the exception of two paintings, it’s the first time most of these works have been exhibited in Australia.

The work covers a period of 400 years from the Renaissance to Impressionism and the biggest names in Western art from Rembrandt to Monet to some of the greats of Scottish art, which has a special section dedicated to it.

The room replicates the Scottish National Gallery’s interior where octagonal rooms and sumptuous red fabric line the walls.

Ms Clarke said it was a tradition replicated in many European countries.

“For centuries it’s been a traditional colour for displaying old master paintings,” he said.

“From the Piazza De Pitti in Florence or somewhere like that. It’s a colour that works very well for old masters.”

As for what the old European masters offer contemporary Australia Michael Brand, the director of the Art Gallery of NSW, said some things never get old.

“Every few years someone says painting is dead,” he said.

“Painting is an extrordinary artfrom, it’s magical, and this exhibition – the cool brushstrokes of Boticelli, to Titian right through Monet – [has] just superb examples of great painting.”

The exhibition opens on Saturday and runs until February, 2016. Tours are available in Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese well a special lecture in Spanish. 

19 June
Comments Off on Stocco manhunt area widened

Stocco manhunt area widened

Detectives have confirmed a vehicle that rammed a police car in northern Victoria on Thursday afternoon was that of father and son fugitives Gino and Mark Stocco.

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It was the same Toyota LandCruiser that Gino, 58, and Mark, 35, had stolen in the NSW town of Holbrook on Sunday or Monday, police say, although its number plates had been switched.

Decals had been added to the vehicle in an additional attempt to disguise it.

Police also have a new confirmed sighting of the pair entering a supermarket in Bairnsdale about 10.30am on Wednesday.

The latest developments come as police said they have widened the search zone for Australia’s most wanted men.

“It’s believed the men remain in the northeastern corner of Victoria and the police presence in areas surrounding Yea, St James, Wangaratta and Bairnsdale will be increased,” Victoria Police said in a statement late on Friday.

The public are urged to report any sighting but to not approach the men, who are armed and dangerous.

They are carrying a high-powered rifle and fired at police in country NSW while evading arrest.

The LandCruiser had Victorian number plates (ZUE632) when in Bairnsdale and these same plates were on the vehicle when it rammed a police car at St James on Thursday.

They are also known to be carrying the number plates NSW BV70WP, Vic YHS085 and SA 415AZL.

The manhunt has focused this week on the rural town of Yea about 100 kilometres north of Melbourne.

A chef at a cafe on Yea’s main road told AAP he was not taking any chances.

“I’m not really worried, but at night I do make sure the doors are locked,” Tony Zhao told AAP.

The father-of-two said he doubted the pair would approach the town centre but there were concerns.

“I am worried that they might threaten a local or grab a local person and use them as a hostage against police,” Mr Zhou said.

STOCCOS ON THE RUN

Oct 16 – Shoot at police in Wagga Wagga

Oct 18 or 19 – Steal a Toyota LandCruiser with NSW plates from Holbrook

Oct 19 – Refuel at a petrol station in Euroa

Oct 20 or 21 – Steal three sets of number plates from an address in Tumbarumba

Oct 21 – Seen entering a supermarket in Bairnsdale

Oct 22 – Ram a police car near St James

19 June
Comments Off on Wallabies delay naming team to play Argentina

Wallabies delay naming team to play Argentina

The Wallabies were due to name their team on Friday morning but held back the announcement until the afternoon so they could conduct a full-contact training session.

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Number eight David Pocock, fullback Israel Folau and prop Scott Sio have skipped almost all of this week’s practice runs but coach Michael Cheika said they would have to complete a full session to be considered for selection.

“We’ll run them out today and see how we go,” Cheika told a news conference.

“It’s a World Cup semi-final so it’s not like we’re keeping anyone for next week.”

Pocock, who is suffering from a calf problem, and Folau, hampered by an ankle injury, both missed last weekend’s quarter-final win over Scotland.

But Cheika said he remains optimistic both will play.

“Nothing’s changed. Like I’ve said before, they’re on the improve,” he said.

“The goal will be for them to play to get out on the paddock today and have a bit of a run around, finish the full session and see how they go.”

Sio is more doubtful. The loosehead prop, who has played a big role in improving Australia’s scrum, started against the Scots but left the field early with a badly swollen elbow.

“He ran a little bit the other day. It all depends on how much the swelling comes down in his elbow,” Cheika said.

“Obviously it’s important for him for scrummaging in particular so that will be the main issue there.”

James Slipper is the most likely replacement for Sio if he is not passed fit.

Ben McCalman, who started at the back of the scrum last week, would keep his place if Pocock was ruled out with Kurtley Beale likely to continue at fullback if Folau is not fit.

(Reporting by Julian Linden. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

19 June
Comments Off on Police search homes in mum-daughter murder

Police search homes in mum-daughter murder

NSW Police have searched homes in the ACT and South Australia as their investigation into the muders of Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter Khandalyce ramps up.

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Speaking to the media on Friday, NSW homicide squad boss Detective Superintendent Mark Willing said Strike Force Malaya had been formed to co-ordinate the multi-jurisdictional investigation.

“We’ve searched a number of homes in the ACT and South Australia of people we suspect are connected with Karlie and Khandalyce and those searches have been very productive,” he said.

“We’re speaking to people we suspect have actual knowledge of what occured to this young mum and her little girl.”

A police spokeswoman told the media the homes that were searched were not related to possible suspects were are currently serving unrelated sentences for violent crimes in NSW prisons.

The remains of the 20-year-old single mum and her little girl Khandalyce, were found five years and 1200km apart.

Karlie’s body was discovered in the Belanglo State Forest, south of Sydney, in 2010 while her daughter’s bones were found in a discarded suitcase beside a highway near Wynarka, in South Australia’s southeast, in July.

The police spokeswoman said the car Karlie was driivng at the time has since been re-registered from the Northern Territory to NSW plates.

She said the last registered owner of the car had been discounted as a suspect but had given police a new lead in the investigation.

Detective Superintendent Willing said police had been overwhelmed by support from the community and the media, and he asked that the support continue.

“There is every indication that friends or associates – people Karlie may have met or been in contact with while travelling between 2006 and 2010 – hold the key to their deaths,” he said.

“This is now a multi-jurisdictional investigation, which spans at least two states and two territories over a time period of up to 10 years.

“Our focus is gathering evidence and building a solid case. 

“We want to charge those responsible and ensure a conviction for what can only be described as the brutal murder of a young mum and her little girl.”

Karlie was 20 when she was last seen driving near Coober Pedy with then two-year-old Khandalyce in November 2008.

“(We are) appealing for people from across the country who may have seen this young mum and this little girl at any time in the last 10 years so we can piece together their moments,” Detective Superintendent Willing told the Seven Network.

Landlords and operators of hotels, motels, caravan and cabin parks are being urged to check their records for any sign of Karlie.

Meanwhile family say the pair will be laid to rest in Alice Springs thanks to funds raised by the public and the help of the local government.

An online campaign, which kicked off on Wednesday, raised nearly $4000 in two days.

On Thursday afternoon, $1060 short of the $5000 target, the campaign ended after an offer of help.

“With your help this campaign was brought to people’s attention and we have now been offered some assistance from local government with costs,” a post from someone who appeared to be family of the deceased said.

19 May
Comments Off on Police says Swedish school killer was driven by ‘racist motives’

Police says Swedish school killer was driven by ‘racist motives’

Sweden was shocked by Thursday’s attack in which the assailant walked through a school stabbing students and staff in Trollhattan, an industrial town of about 50,000 inhabitants in western Sweden that has a large proportion of immigrants.

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Police shot the suspect, a local man in his early 20s, who died of his injuries at a hospital. He had no criminal record.

“We are convinced that the assailant was driven by racist motives when he carried out the act,” police chief Niclas Hallgren told Swedish public service radio. 

“We have reached this conclusion based on what we found when we searched his apartment and his behaviour during the act, and also on the basis of how he selected his victims.”

Sweden in ‘shock’

King Carl XVI Gustav said Sweden was “in shock” following the attack, and that the royal family had received the news with “great dismay and sadness”.

Local media showed what it said was a picture of the assailant carrying a sword and dressed in a black trench coat and helmet, posing for pictures with students shortly before the attack.

“We thought it was a joke, a Halloween prank or something, but it wasn’t,” one witness student told TV4.

The victims have been named by Swedish daily Expressen as 17-year-old student Ahmed Hassan and 20-year-old teaching assistant Lavin Eskandar.

Ahmed Hassan reportedly came to Sweden from Somalia three years ago with his family.

“I ran to the school, but I couldn’t find Ahmed anywhwere. The police told me to go to the hospital and I was so scared,” Ahmed’s mother Kiin Mohamed Ali told Expressen.

MÖRDAD I SKOLAN. Ahmed blev offer för svärdmannen – mamman berättar om sorgen. 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/cYlcw981uI pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/DEcMgNX9qo

— Expressen (@Expressen) October 22, 2015

Lavin Eskandar’s brother, Leith Eskandar, said his brother was trying to protect the children.

“All I know is that he protected others and not himself, and that he tried to protect the kids. He was the only one who managed to stop the attacker,” he told Expressen.

“FÖRSÖKTE SKYDDA BARNEN” . Elevassistenten Lavin, 20, offrade sig för eleverna 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/qlSbpv2TFc pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/eDDLw0f2Mv

— Expressen (@Expressen) October 22, 2015

The attacker has been named by Swedish media as Anton Lundin Pettersson, a 21-year-old man who according to reports was “quiet and withdrawn.” Police have yet to confirm the identity of the suspected killer.

Anton, 21, misstänks för skolmorden 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/KOKkzubIOT pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/WhlKwVcge8

— Aftonbladet (@Aftonbladet) October 22, 2015

Local media said the suspect’s social media accounts showed extreme right-wing tendencies.

Police would not give any details of his motive but said possible far-right sympathies were being looked into, as part of a broader investigation that was being assisted by Sweden’s security service.

The Kronan school is in Trollhattan, an industrial town of about 50,000 inhabitants in western Sweden that has a large proportion of immigrants and has been plagued by high unemployment after the demise of car company Saab which was headquartered there.

“This is a black day for Sweden”

Attacks in schools are rare in Sweden, with the last similar attack taking place near Gothenburg in 1961.

“This is a black day for Sweden,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.

Police arrived minutes after the attack, following trails of blood smeared across the school corridors to find the assailant.

Police said they had responded to an emergency call saying a masked man with a sword was on the premises and that a person had been attacked at a cafeteria.

They shot the suspect, in his early 20s, who died later of his injuries at a hospital. He had no criminal record.

Photos by a local news agency showed several ambulances and police cars on the scene as the emergency services dealt with distraught adults and teenagers. A police cordon was marked out with white tape.

The lower grades of the school were criticized this year by Sweden’s education watchdog for failing to address problems in providing a safe and calm environment for students and staff, saying teachers struggled to conduct teaching in some classes.

19 May
Comments Off on Karlie Jade died in NSW: police

Karlie Jade died in NSW: police

Karlie Pearce-Stevenson was likely violently murdered in or around Belanglo State Forest, with detectives hopeful of making an arrest after turning up more evidence in house searches in South Australia and ACT.

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Investigators believe they’ve spoken to people with “actual knowledge” of what happened to Karlie and her daughter Khandalyce Kiara Pearce and believe multiple people may have been involved.

Police are almost certain the young Alice Springs mum, was killed in NSW and put her time of death around December 2008, nearly two years before her remains were found.

But where and when Khandalyce died and how her remains came to be found near a suitcase alongside a South Australian highway 1200km away and five years later is still a mystery.

“We are currently pursuing a very strong line of inquiry but we are keeping an open mind,” NSW Police Homicide Squad Commander Mick Willing said.

“We’ve looked at and are now speaking to people who we suspect have actual knowledge of what occurred to this young mum and her little girl.”

Violent offenders in prison in NSW who were known to be in areas at the same time as Karlie and Khandalyce are among those questioned.

Police conducted a number of “very productive” searches of homes in South Australia and the ACT on Wednesday and Thursday.

The “fast-paced” and “complex” investigation is moving quickly and investigators are hopeful of a swift arrest.

“Our focus at the moment is on gathering evidence and building a strong case. We want to charge those responsible and ensure a conviction for what can only be described as a brutal, horrific murder of a young mum and her little girl,” Det Supt Willing said.

SA Police Detective Superintendent Des Bray said police were still wary that more murders may have been committed.

“The people who commit these crimes are such evil, horrible people, you have to have that in the back of your mind. But we don’t have any proof,” he said in Adelaide.

As well as family and friends, detectives have also ruled out a more recent owner of Karlie’s 1996 red or maroon VL Commodore station wagon.

It’s believed that person has provided police with information leading them to another potential suspect.

Karlie was 20 when she was last seen near Coober Pedy in South Australia with her then two-year-old daughter Khandalyce in November 2008.

Her body was found by trail bike riders in the notorious Belanglo State Forest in 2010.

“We still believe that friends and associates, people Karlie may have met or been in contact with while travelling between 2006 and 2010 hold the key to their deaths,” Det Supt Willing said.

In 2011, Karlie’s family and friends set up a Facebook page trying to find the young mum, begging her to contact her ill mother Colleen Povey before it was “too late”.

“Whatever has happened let it slide Call now and bloody hurry up! Please i am begging u xxx,” Gemma n Benny Gillie posted in December 2011.

Ms Povey died aged 44 in February 2012, still believing her daughter and granddaughter were safe and well interstate.

Meanwhile police have refused to comment on reports that a convicted child sex offender had been questioned over the murders.

A key suspect in the killings was in custody for child sex offences, Fairfax Media reported.

“NSW Police cannot provide any further information on the case at this stage,” a spokeswoman said.

19 May
Comments Off on Redbacks sting Vics to reach one-day final

Redbacks sting Vics to reach one-day final

South Australia’s team of no-names are just one win from an unlikely one-day cup triumph after another disciplined performance proved enough to see off Victoria by 56 runs in the elimination final at Drummoyne Oval.

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The Redbacks will now face one more massive hurdle in the shape of in-form NSW in Sunday’s final, as they seek to end their five-year tournament drought.

Once again South Australia bowled a disciplined line and length to turn the screws on Victoria, who capitulated under the pressure, losing their final eight wickets for just 60 runs.

The Bushrangers were eventually bowled out for 194 from 46.4 overs, well short of South Australia’s 7-250.

The SA spinners played an important role with Adam Zampa (2-61) collecting the key wicket of top-scorer Rob Quiney, as well as captain Matthew Wade, while Tom Andrews dismissed Marcus Stoinis.

Quiney (71) and Stoinis (56) were the only players to get going for the Bushrangers, with the pair sharing a partnership of 113 for the second wicket.

But it was Redbacks batsman Alex Ross who played the innings of the match, hitting a career-best 97 not out to help his side rally after they slipped to 4-62.

“Winning the toss and batting first was pretty important, and we were pretty confident defending 250,” said Ross.

“They started slowly but with wickets in hand a side like Victoria can chase anything, so it was good that we kept taking wickets.

“We are just happy to play as a team, and get over the line as the underdog.

“We are really excited to be in the final, and anything can happen in a final, cliché or not.”

Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for Victoria coach David Saker, with his side containing ten players that boast international experience.

“It is very disappointing given the talent we have in the room and we shouldn’t be losing 9-75,” he said.

“We got a decent start, but we chewed up some balls, and it put some pressure on the back end. That (performance) is not good.”

19 May
Comments Off on Kiwis shut down Aussie Test hopefuls

Kiwis shut down Aussie Test hopefuls

The look of Australia’s Test batting order is no clearer after three leading contenders failed to make a mark with the Prime Minister’s XI in Friday’s 102-run loss to New Zealand.

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After setting a target of 307, the Black Caps – led by dangerman Trent Boult – made light work of Usman Khawaja, Cameron Bancroft and Joe Burns with the pink ball in Canberra, dismissing the trio for a combined total of six runs.

Adam Voges, however, brought up a respectable 55 as he, too, looks to fill one of the holes left by several retirements ahead of the three-Test series against the Kiwis starting in Brisbane on November 5.

An overly-enthusiastic Khawaja went for a duck after being caught off a swinging ball from Boult, while Bancroft was bowled on one by stand-in skipper Tim Southee.

Boult reduced the hosts to 3-13 after claiming Burns on five.

The left-arm quick ended with 3-27, having managed to find some movement on the normally slow, flat pitch with the bright ball under lights.

James Neesham also had success, getting three wickets for just 23 runs in New Zealand’s first tour match.

Khawaja and Bancroft’s opening partnership of one paled in comparison to the 196-run stand of Kiwi openers Tom Latham (131) and Martin Guptill (94) – the second biggest by a visiting side in the history of the traditional Manuka Oval fixture.

Ryan Carters top-scored for the PM’s XI with 74.

Khawaja, Bancroft, Burns and Voges will get another chance to press their claims on Saturday and Sunday in a two-day red ball Cricket Australia XI match with the Black Caps, featuring fellow hopefuls Shaun and Mitchell Marsh.

Peter Siddle, also looking to shore up his Test claims, didn’t have as much success with the pink ball as Boult earlier in the day, the veteran paceman ending the first innings with 1-54.

Jason Behrendorff got 3-56, while Ashton Agar (1-52), David Hussey (1-40) and Mark Steketee (1-79) also got on the board.

The Kiwis were without skipper Brendon McCullum, rested after recently returning from London where he gave evidence at the perjury trial of former teammate Chris Cairns.

BJ Watling, Kane Williamson and Matt Henry also sat out the day-nighter, but are expected to play a role in the CA XI clash.

Latham said the win was a nice way to start the tour and hoped to continue the momentum into the next two days.

He praised both Boult and Southee for their efforts in tearing down the PM’s XI top order.

“We’ve certainly got a lot of confidence in them,” he said.

“I think the way they’ve been bowling the last couple of years has been outstanding and they certainly set the tone at the top of the innings for us.”

Voges, whose half-century impressed retired wicketkeeper turned commentator Brad Haddin, relished the chance to look at the Kiwi attack having not faced them before.

“I get another opportunity over the next couple of days, so everytime I go out there I’ve just got to try and make as many runs as I possibly can,” he said.

“It was nice to get a few tonight but it would’ve been nice to get a lot more.”

19 May
Comments Off on Burger relishing one last battle with McCaw

Burger relishing one last battle with McCaw

With New Zealand captain McCaw expected to retire after the tournament, the South African hopes to seize the chance to secure future bragging rights over a player he said has won more test matches than he has played.

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The sense of respect and admiration in that comment is that Burger has represented South Africa 84 times while McCaw will win his 147th cap on Sunday and will be seeking his 130th victory.

To compare his record, Burger said, would be like a golfer comparing himself to Tiger Woods. “It’s pretty tough”, the 32-year-old dynamic ball carrier said.

The pair are friends — Burger will try and chat on the field, although he admits “that’s pretty difficult to do with Richie”. But they will share a beer whatever the outcome and reminisce about “days gone by”

“We have become good mates, played against each other since 2003, and there have been a fair few contests and unfortunately I have been on the losing side of most of them. Let’s  hope I get some bragging rights tomorrow as it will be the last time we play against each other,” said Burger, who has lost 10 and won five of his tests against the All Blacks.

“Obviously on the field we are equals. We play a bit of a different style. We both have a massive work rate so we find each other at the bottom of the rucks, tackling or carrying the ball a hell of a lot.”

Carrying the ball is something Burger has done more than any other player in this tournament — a total of 80, which is 20 more than the next player (Michael Leitch of Japan).

Burger’s tigerish play is just one element the Springboks will need if they are to upset the world champions who clicked into ominous form with their quarter-final drubbing of France.

For Burger, the key to containing a potent All Blacks backline starts with stopping Julian Savea, the leading try-scorer in the tournament with eight.

“I hope he never runs at me — it would be mildly terrifying to say the least,” he joked.

“The big thing about them is their attack is phenomenal. They back their execution and skillset so they put you under more pressure than any other team in the world.

“When we’ve beaten them (only twice in the last 12 meetings) it starts with defence, not letting them have any tempo on the ball, trying to slow them down but then we create a lot of opportunities.”

(Editing by Mitch Phillips)