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Last week’s rankings in brackets plus their win-loss record. 1 BRISBANE (2) 6-1

They are hard to resist when Darren Lockyer, Karmichael Hunt and Justin Hodges start working their magic together in attack. Every other team knows those players must be stopped, but it’s a lot easier said than done. 2 BULLDOGS (3) 6-1

It’s fitting that Michael Ennis has a surname that rhymes with menace, because that is what he is to the opposition once he opens his bag of tricks. The Raiders prepared to deal with him, but still couldn’t reduce his influence. 3 ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA (4) 5-2

Keeping the Roosters to zero put them back on top when it comes to least points conceded in the NRL this season. They have given up just 77 points in seven games – an average of just 11 per game. 4 GOLD COAST (1) 5-2

They went in without forward leader Luke Bailey and dynamic five-eighth Mat Rogers against the Panthers and it contributed significantly to their loss. Player ins and outs are critical in such an even competition. 5 WARRIORS (6) 3-1-3

They should have beaten the Storm in Melbourne. The Warriors finished the stronger and it was there for them to win in extra time, but Stacey Jones hooked a field goal attempt from in front and it hit the post. 6 NEWCASTLE (5) 4-3

Their loss to the Tigers, after leading by 14 points well into the second half, could come back to haunt them. There were extenuating circumstances due to injuries on the day, but you’ve got to finish games like that off. 7 WESTS TIGERS (10) 4-3

They were in big trouble against the Knights until Benji Marshall extracted a blinding last 20 minutes from himself to turn the game around. He can’t do that all the time, but it’s nice to know that he can do it. 8 PENRITH (12) 3-4

The introduction of Luke Walsh at halfback not only served them well in that key spot – it helped some other pieces fall into place, too. Their win at home over the Titans was solid – and something they can build on. 9 SOUTH SYDNEY (11) 4-3

They didn’t have a lot to spare in their six-point win over the Sharks, but at least it was an improvement on their previous form at night – three losses from three games and a total of just 28 points scored. 10 MELBOURNE (9) 3-1-3

Began well enough against the Warriors, but were going up and down in the one spot by the time normal time ended and were lucky to escape the extra 10 minutes with a share of the points. They’ve still got problems to solve. 11 NORTH QUEENSLAND (13) 3-4

They finished off their win over the Sea Eagles with two spectacular tries that were vintage Cowboys efforts. They are heading in the right direction, but still have a way to go before they find their best form. 12 MANLY (7) 2-5

They tried hard against the Cowboys and got down the opposition’s end often enough to win the game, but came up short. It was a game that cried out for Brett Stewart’s involvement – had he played, they probably would have won. 13 CANBERRA (8) 2-5

Flew out of the boxes to lead 12-0 against the Bulldogs, but were overhauled before halftime. They have only won one out of three home games this season and need to start turning that around against Penrith this weekend. 14 SYDNEY ROOSTERS (14) 2-5

Have not scored a point in their last three halves of football. Imagine if they came up with zero against the Sharks this weekend they would fair dinkum have to call it quits and become spectators like the rest of us. 15 PARRAMATTA (15) 2-5

They were willing against the Broncos, but they wasted opportunities and you’re never going to get away with that against top opposition. They are just going to have to keep working hard and hope to get a result that way. 16 CRONULLA (16) 1-5

They came up with easily their biggest total of the season against the Rabbitohs, but at the same time they allowed the Rabbitohs to come up with their biggest total since round one. They just can’t find a way to win.

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CRONULLA coach Ricky Stuart played an extraordinary role before last night’s NRL judiciary hearing, re-enacting the suspect tackle made by Paul Gallen and claiming his repeat offender was “playing on eggshells and broken glass”. And the coach’s starring role worked.
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Gallen was found not guilty by the panel, leaving him free to play for the Sharks in Saturday’s match against the Roosters.

Earlier, the judiciary also cleared Bulldog Michael Ennis, ruling that his alleged chicken-wing tackle on Canberra fullback Josh Dugan was tender enough to escape a one-match ban.

The dual “not guilty” findings were both achieved by counsel Geoff Bellew, who created enough doubt in the minds of the judiciary panel of Mal Cochrane, Sean Garlick and Mark Coyne to hand down the surprise findings.

Gallen claimed he didn’t hit Wing with his shoulder or arm, instead saying he hit Wing with his chest. Wing was concussed and missed a large portion of the game. “It was the pec [pectoral muscle] that hit him,” Gallen said.

The Sharks lock claimed the tackle was “a good tackle” and denied that his upper arm or shoulder hit Wing on the jaw.

Stuart then acted out the tackle with Gallen in the middle of the room and passionately defended his player.

Stuart spoke about Gallen “playing on eggshells and broken glass” because of his bad record and noted that, while the tackle looked poor, his player made no reaction to suggest he may be “stuffed”.

Afterwards, Gallen said he was satisfied with the result – but when asked about Stuart’s unprecedented demonstration, said: “I don’t know if it helped me, the character thing wasn’t the best”.

Earlier in the day, at a NSW State of Origin squad gathering, Gallen had admitted he might have to tone down his aggressive style after the Sharks threatened to fine him over his latest brush with the judiciary.

“It shocked me a little bit,” Gallen said when asked about the prospect of being fined by his club. “If I have to tone things down in order not to get fined, maybe that has to happen.”

Gallen will now have the chance to press for an Australian Test jersey, with selectors to name the team on Sunday for the Anzac Test on Friday week.

Meanwhile, Ennis will now take part in this Sunday’s clash against Wests Tigers, installing the Bulldogs as favourites – and setting up a head-to-head clash with Blues State of Origin rival Robbie Farah.

Ennis argued that he had been trying to remove the “forceful” pressure applied on his throat by the ball carrier, that he had tackled Dugan without significant force and that the arm had never been extended beyond his back.

“I am very grateful for the hearing … my representation was really good and I am very pleased with the result,” Ennis said. “This is another week, there are a few to go yet and it is important to get the preparation right and important to get back to training”.

When asked about the importance of clearing his name of being associated with the chicken-wing slur, Ennis replied: “I would rather scrub the chicken wing [talk]. I will talk about the tackle.”

Ennis said he had tackled Dugan to shift him onto his back, but also to remove Dugan’s hand, which was against his throat.

“I moved his arm to get it out of my throat,” Ennis told the judiciary. “The degree of force applied was not a great deal.”

Ennis told the judiciary he had never used wrestling techniques and nor did the Bulldogs coaching staff teach any wrestling techniques.

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore, who was at the hearing, said after the decision was handed down that he was happy with the result. “I didn’t think there was too much in it,” he said.

Moore said the Bulldogs team had spent the past few days in recovery because the next match was on Sunday.

“Because of that, we haven’t had to move players around, so it hasn’t had any impact on our preparation for the Wests Tigers match,” Moore said.

with Glenn Jackson

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WHEN he was 10 years old, James McManus’s family decided to swap the drizzle of Scotland’s highlands for the stifling heat of Katherine in the Northern Territory. "It’s a bit out in the sticks, but I loved it," McManus says.
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He went from balancing a round ball on his boot to learning how to pass a Steeden. "I’d never heard of rugby league," he says. "I didn’t understand any of it. When I came to Australia, I played a couple of games and I spent most of it offside, telling people to kick me the ball."

Today McManus has firmly established himself in the Newcastle side and yesterday was sized up for his suits and uniform as a member of the 40-man Blues Origin squad. The 23-year-old is a strong chance to make the final cut and run out for NSW on the wing this June.

"First and foremost, I want to play well for my club," he says. "It really means a lot to me this year. We’re looking to do big things at Newcastle and we don’t want to be sitting there watching TV in September. I want to play well for my club and anything comes off the back of that is just a bonus."

Knights teammate and fellow Blues squad member Kurt Gidley thinks McManus is a fair chance for an Origin jersey.

"Since his debut, he hasn’t a missed a game playing first grade, which is a great achievement," Gidley says. "His rise to where he is today, it’s a credit to the hard work he’s put in. He’s one of the most dedicated trainers. He stays behind, as most blokes do, to do extras. But Jimmy has been like that from the start."

Today, only a slight tinge of his Scottish accent can be heard in McManus’s voice. His accent was so thick when he touched down in Katherine that, aside from his family, people really didn’t know what he was trying to say. "No one could understand a word I saying," McManus remembers. "A lot of the time, I couldn’t understand a word that they were saying as well. With time, two years, I lost the accent."

After spending three years in Katherine, surviving a flood that tore through the town, he went to Palmerston High School in Darwin, studied the game of rugby league on television and was chosen by the Northern Territory Institute of Sport on their rugby league program.

"It took me a lot of watching," McManus says. "A lot of following it on TV. A lot of schoolyard stuff and finally after that I put my hand up to play the game."

At an Australian schoolboys championship, he was spied by Knights recruiter Warren Smiles. "He’s studied the game hard," Smiles says. "He knew what he wanted and he knew he wanted to play NRL. He was very intense and mature. He’s always worked hard to do everything right."

Before he lived in the heat of the Top End, before league, he lived in Fochabers – a village in the district of Moray. "It was a pretty obscure little place but it was good." His childhood memories of Scotland? The "blankets of snow" in the wintertime, "drizzle and soccer".

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A COALITION of Jewish and Arab human rights groups have criticised as inadequate an Israel Defence Forces investigation into its activities during the battle in Gaza in January.
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The IDF's internal investigation found that no Palestinian civilians were harmed intentionally by its soldiers during the 23-day invasion that killed more than 1300 Palestinians and wounded more than 4000.

Israel's Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, hailed the report as proof once again “that the IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world”. Mr Barak said: “The IDF is not afraid to investigate itself and in that, proves that its operations are ethical.”

When civilians were killed by IDF fire, the report found that the deaths were regrettable, but had resulted from operational mistakes that were “bound to happen during intensive fighting”.

But a coalition of Israeli human rights groups, which includes B'Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights, Yesh Din, The Public Committee Against Torture and Rabbis for Human Rights, described the IDF report as problematic and said the only way to truly investigate alleged war crimes was through an independent external inquiry.

“Military investigation results published today refer to tens of innocent Palestinian civilians killed by 'rare mishaps' in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead,” the groups said in a joint statement.

“However, data collected by Israeli human rights organisations shows that many civilians were killed in Gaza not due to 'mishaps' but as a direct result of the military's chosen policy implemented throughout the fighting.

“If the military claims that there were no major deficiencies in its conduct in Gaza, it is not clear why Israel refuses to co-operate with the UN investigation team, led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone, which requests an investigation of alleged violations of international law by both Israel and Hamas.”

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza also called on Israel to co-operate with the UN investigation team.

The IDF inquiry was conducted by five senior officers who were not involved in Operation Cast Lead and focused on reports of civilians who been targeted intentionally, and also attacks on civilian infrastructure, UN facilities and the use of white phosphorous.

The chemical is used to create a smoke screen but can cause serious burns and death.

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A HIGH-LEVEL US Senate report published yesterday directly implicates senior members of the Bush administration in the extensive use of harsh interrogation methods against al-Qaeda suspects and other prisoners around the world.
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The 232-page report, the most detailed investigation yet into torture by US military and intelligence personnel, undercuts the claim of Paul Wolfowitz, a former deputy defence secretary, that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was the work of “a few bad apples”.

The report adds to the debate in the US since President Barack Obama, who regards the techniques as torture, opened the way for possible prosecution of members of Bush's government.

Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate armed services committee, which ordered the inquiry, said: “The paper trail on abuse leads to top civilian leaders, and our report connects the dots.”

The report says the paper trail goes from Donald Rumsfeld, who was defence secretary at the time, to Guantanamo and to Afghanistan and Iraq. “The abuse of detainees in US custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own,” the report says. “The fact is that senior officials in the US government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorised their use against detainees.”

Pressure to adopt more aggressive interrogation came from the uppermost reaches of the Bush administration, the report says. Mr Rumsfeld authorised the use of 15 interrogation techniques. A handwritten note from him, attached to a memo of December 2002, says: “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”

The report condemns the techniques adopted: “Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.” It says the methods were lifted from a military program called Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (Sere).

The report says Sere instructors trained CIA and other military personnel early in 2002 in the use of harsher interrogation techniques but warned that information obtained that way might be unreliable.

The internal debate suggests the definition of what was “acceptable” was flexible.

The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said yesterday that the former vice-president Dick Cheney, who claimed valuable information was obtained through harsher interrogation techniques, should not be viewed as a “reliable source” on torture.

Guardian News & Media

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AUSTRALIA and New Zealand were engaging in “nasty accusations” against Fiji and were “acting with a heavy hand” in trying to force elections, the US representative for American Samoa, alleged during a committee hearing with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
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The accusations were made by Eni Faleomavae, a non-voting member of Congress who represents the Pacific territory of American Samoa.

The accusations came as the Pacific Islands Forum was poised to suspend Fiji on May 1, the deadline forum leaders gave Fiji to set a date for elections.

“Having just returned from Fiji for discussions with the interim prime minister of Fiji and with other community leaders of Fiji, I submit that the situation in Fiji is more complex than it appears,” Mr Faleomavae said.

“For too too long … we've permitted Australia and New Zealand to take the lead even when Canberra and Auckland operate with such a heavy hand that they are counterproductive to our shared goals,” he said.

“I totally disagree with the nasty accusations that the leaders of New Zealand and Australia have made against Fiji … it makes no sense … for the leaders of New Zealand and Australia to demand early elections for the sake of having elections in Fiji when there are fundamental deficiencies in Fiji's electoral process which gave rise to three military takeovers and even a civilian-related takeover within the past 20 years. These people are having to live with three separate constitutions.”

Mrs Clinton neither supported his criticism nor rejected it. “With respect to Fiji, I would welcome your advice about Fiji, because our coverage of what's going on … from Australia, New Zealand in particular, does paint a picture of turmoil and chaos and anti-democratic behaviours by the ruling parties,” Mrs Clinton said. But she added: “What we want is to restore democracy …. and if you have advice as to how we can pursue that, I would welcome it.”

Meanwhile, Toke Talagi, the chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum and Premier of Niue, described Fiji as a “lost cause” in an interview with the Herald. He added: “In my mind Fiji is a lost cause that we must continue to engage but there are limits to what we can do.”

Mr Talagi said the suspension of Fiji from the forum would go ahead. “The leaders have resolved in Papua New Guinea that if on May 1 Fiji does not name a date this year for an election then it will be suspended,” he said.

“The only variation to this that I have sought from leaders is whether given the recent events if we need to act earlier. The answer to this is to wait until the deadline.”

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AMID growing international anger over the plight of Sri Lankan civilians caught up in fighting as government troops close in on the Tamil Tigers, the President has ruled out any pardon for the rebel leader.
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Sri Lankan troops yesterday encountered “dwindling but constant resistance” as they advanced into the small area in the country's north-east still controlled by the rebels.

“They are now in a stretch of only eight kilometres along the coastline,” the army spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, told the Herald in Colombo. The military was confident the Tamil Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and commanders were trapped.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have fought for 25 years for a separate Tamil homeland. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said they could “not hold out for much longer” and promised to punish Prabhakaran.

“[He] has spurned the possibility of pardon by us,” his office said. “He must now face the consequences of his acts.”

Brigadier Nanayakkara said more than 103,000 civilians have moved from rebel territory since Monday but there are concerns tens of thousands could still be in the combat zone.

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said a growing number of civilians with blast injuries and gunshot wounds were arriving at a hospital near the zone. The 450-bed hospital now had more than 1700 patients, the group said.

In a sign of the growing international concern about the conflict, the United Nations Security Council called on the Tamil Tigers to surrender.

Sri Lanka's influential neighbour, India, demanded an end to the suffering of Tamil civilians. “We are very unhappy at the continued killing of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka,” said the Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee. “These killings must stop. The Sri Lankan Government has a responsibility to protect its own citizens.”

Mr Mukherjee also demanded that the Tamil Tigers stop the “barbaric” attempt to hold civilians hostage. “There is no military solution to this ongoing humanitarian crisis, and all concerned should recognise this fact,” he said.

In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to more than 60 million Tamils, there is deep concern about the treatment of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Tamil Nadu was paralysed yesterday by a general strike, called by the Chief Minister, Dr Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, to press the Indian Government to insist on an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, also criticised Colombo's handling of the crisis.

“I think that the Sri Lankan Government knows that the entire world is very disappointed that in its efforts to end what it sees as 25 years of conflict, it is causing such untold suffering,” she said.

Emboldened by a recent string of military triumphs, the Government has refused to stop fighting.

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Paul “Fatty” Vautin has a problem.
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The Footy Show host has attracted the ire of Mohammed Tariq, a victim of overcharging by the law firm Keddies, which the Herald has written a string of stories about. Vautin advertises for Keddies on radio 2GB, and Tariq is demanding that he desist.

Tariq suffered head injuries in a car accident in 2007 and Keddies later charged him $60 for sending him a welcome letter and $49 for reading a thank-you card he sent them.

On Wednesday Tariq emailed Vautin to outline his grievance. “Mr Paul Fatty Vatin,” Tariq wrote at 10.20am. “I believe that you are supporting Keddies lawyers to promote their business that means more Mentally ill peoples will be their victims and all will suffer,” it says.

By 1.30pm the gloves had come off in a second email. “Hi Fatty … Shame, shame Fatty … The minute I hear you promoting Kedies on 2GB, See the sign post with your Picture I get agitated, it aggrevates my medical condition … I am sick and tired of hearing your voice, seing your picture.”

When The Diary contacted Vautin late yesterday afternoon, he said he'd never seen the emails sent to The Footy Show, had never read the Herald's stories about Keddies and that he had no intention of ending his relationship with the firm because “the blokes who own it I've got a lot of respect for, they're good people”.

He knows who Tariq is now. Last night the one-man protest movement was marched from Channel Nine's Willoughby site, wearing a sandwich board with Vautin's photograph on it that said, in part, “Shame, Shame, Shame. Fatty Shame”.


His campaign anthem was “Umshini wami, umshini wami”- translated as “bring my machine-gun”- and he has a chequered history, including being charged and later acquitted of rape in 2005. But Jacob Zuma is nothing but popular in South Africa. The leader of the African National Congress, who has the support of Nelson Mandela, becomes the new president today.LINE OF WORK

Still in remand on drug charges, Richard Buttrose has secured the services of a little-known barrister, Martin Luitingh, following the mysterious termination of the services of solicitor Brett Galloway last month.

In February the 36-year-old nephew of Ita Buttrose was arrested near his Paddington pad, where police allegedly found a backpack containing $50,000 and 63.1 grams of cocaine.

His mother, Elizabeth Buttrose, posted $300,000 bail, only for Richard to be rearrested the following day after police found $1.3 million in cash and almost eight kilograms of coke at an apartment they claim he owns in Darling Point. This time bail was refused, and in the Downing Local Court yesterday the first bail application was withdrawn. Working in partnership on the case with Des Fagan, SC, Luitingh does not have the same reputation for big criminal cases. He describes his line of work as “predominantly concerned with infrastructure law … transport, insurance law and commercial law.” No date has been set for the trial but the matter returns to the Downing Centre on June 18. For Buttrose, that is another eight, long weeks away.LIVE AT THE LODGE

It's enough to make you think of the words “horse” and “bolted”. Yesterday private security operatives were seen tinkering with security equipment at the gatehouse of the PM's residence. It came soon after the revelation that bikie infiltrators, mysteriously equipped with entry documents, were allowed access to the Lodge. But whether the live-cam tinkering has anything to do with that intrusion or Kevin Rudd's secret ambitions for a “Live at the Lodge” show, we cannot say. We can report that the camera appears to have been upgraded, probably to enable even more extensive monitoring of the comings and goings there. Again Rudd's spokeswoman declined to comment on prime ministerial security arrangements.LIFE IN THE OLD HOUSE

Meanwhile on the other side of the grassy hill in Canberra, the Museum of Australian Democracy is set to open at Old Parliament House on May 9 with a debate featuring ABC journalist Steve Cannane, news presenter Tracey Spicer, Australian of the Year nominee Jeffrey Robertson and social pages fixture Bianca Dye. The topic, “Does 'work/life balance' exist for Australians today?” was selected, democratically, via an online poll.

It has been noted that the venue is apt. Old Parliament House is remembered as a place were politicians were forced to confront the public – and journalists – far more than they are in their new palace. As one member of the press gallery put it last night, “There was far less shit, spin, cover-up and crap.”

GOT A TIP?Contact [email protected]南京夜網.au or 92823585.


* South African election results to be announced

* Macquarie Airports first-quarter results for Sydney Airport to be announced

* His Holiness Sakya Trizin, second to the Dalai Lama, arrives in Sydney

* NSW Waratahs' final training session, at Moore Park, before departing for South Africa for the Super 14 rugby tournamentSTAY IN TOUCH …WITH BOOK ADAPTATIONS

ACTRESS Angelina Jolie may soon be wielding a scalpel with reports that the film studio Fox 2000 is in the process of snatching the screen rights to author Patricia Cornwell's best-selling series on Dr Kay Scarpetta. According to the film publication Variety, the studio plans to cast Jolie in the central role of the opera-loving coroner.

Cornwell has written 16 novels with Scarpetta as the heroine. Producers are doubtless hoping for a blockbuster franchise in the vein of the Bourne Identity films, which saw the character of Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, become an action hero without being necessarily tied to the plots set out in Robert Ludlum's book series.

The final deal was secured only after Jolie agreed to the series and, along with studio representatives, met with the author to find common ground on the feature adaptation. Jolie has just finished filming on Salt, directed by Phillip Noyce.WITH RADICAL BOOKS

LIKE Che Guevera T-shirts on backpackers, Latin American revolutionary writing is back in vogue. This week the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, publicly handed President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano's seminal tome on the foreign exploitation of Latin America, Open Veins Of Latin America: Five Centuries Of The Pillage Of A Continent. The book subsequently became an overnight hit and by Monday had skyrocketed to second place on Amazon南京夜網's best-seller list.

By yesterday, Scribe Publications had bought the Australian and New Zealand rights to the book, in which the Uruguayan author and journalist examines the impact of foreign intervention in Latin America in the past five centuries. It will be released here in June.WITH WORLD WAR I DIGGERS

THE stories of endurance and bravery of nearly 300,000 Australians who fought in the trenches of France and Belgium are to be given new life in a $10 million Anzac Trail to be created on what was the Western Front.

The plan to integrate and develop as many as seven key WWI sites in a commemorative project was unveiled by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Alan Griffin, in France yesterday, reports our European trenches correspondent, Paola Totaro.

Visiting Pozieres, Mr Griffin said the plan to create an interpretive trail for the thousands of Australians – tourists and families of soldiers – who travel to the area was part of discussions with both the French and Belgian governments.

“The Anzac Trail will foster a deeper appreciation of what Australians achieved and endured in the main theatre of conflict of the First World War” he said.

The Australian Government will spend the money over the next four years with local French and Belgian authorities also likely to contribute.

Mr Griffin, who has been in Britain and France this week, will deliver the commemorative address at the Anzac Day dawn service tomorrow at the Australian War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

Earlier this week, French tourism operators voiced concerns about reduced numbers of visiting Australian and New Zealanders.

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NELSON MAMETSE has been waiting in autumn cold since the early hours of the morning to cast his vote for Jacob Zuma.
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“He is man who does not give up, he sees everything through,” says the security guard who believes the ruling ANC party has a god-given right to govern.

“It was the party that delivered us from apartheid. We would not be standing here, if it was not for the ANC, Nelson Mandela and Zuma,” he assures me.

I encounter Mametse at the front of an 800-metre queue winding its way through the shanties and shacks of Johannesburg's most deprived and violent suburb. It was here in “Alex” that Zimbabweans, who generally work for less pay, were hacked to death last year.

In the early morning there is no sign of the “xenophobic violence” that shocked the rainbow nation but drew scant comment from the then president, Thabo Mbeki. Small groups cluster around makeshift fires chatting excitedly about today and the next president.

It soon becomes apparent not all queuing so patiently share Memetse's enthusiasm for Zuma and the ANC. A young women peering from under a red cap says she is angry about the lack of housing and endless broken promises. Asked how she will vote, she declines to say. “This is a secret ballot, my vote will remain a secret,” she smiles, declining to give her name.

But voting intentions of the woman in the cap are obvious. She says South Africa needs a new government, that 15 years has been long enough for the ANC to deliver its promises. “We are tired of waiting,” she says.

People in Alex tell me they have been impressed by Zuma who visited the township promising a better deal, but also asking for patience. Feelings towards Mbeki are mostly negative. “He never came here. He did not understand us,” an unemployed man volunteers.

Voting began 7am and was due to end at 9pm. Some 25 million people are expected to vote and the result is expected in 48 hours.

Tamba Msibi, an observer from Swaziland, told the Herald there had been few irregularities. “These people have been very patient, very orderly. They have their IDs checked, their fingernails painted and they vote. Some have had difficulty filling out the papers for the first time.”

In Alex, the ANC is highly organised with cadres turning out the vote. But on the other side of town in Western, a predominantly “Coloured” area, people queuing are not so sure about the ANC's right to rule. Jane Miya, an unemployed mother of three, says the party has inflicted a form of reverse apartheid on her community.

“This was supposed to be a rainbow nation, but it's blacks only when it comes to jobs. The Coloured people are being left out. They say it is affirmative action, but it's discrimination. Twenty per cent of people cannot find work.”

Miya says she is voting for COPE. Outside the church hall, a young men in hip sneakers and jackets tell me they are voting for the Democratic Alliance. “Helen Zille, she is one. She is who I am voting for. No more corruption,” one of them says.

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CARBON nanotubes are as light as plastic and stronger than steel, unique properties which quickly earned them a reputation as the wonder materials of the nanotechnology revolution.
Nanjing Night Net

Discovered 20 years ago and made from atom-thick sheets of graphite rolled into miniscule tubes, they are being developed for products ranging from energy-efficient batteries to stronger sports equipment and bullet proof vests.

But they are now also at the centre of safety fears about nano-sized materials. Research published last year suggests some nanotubes could be as deadly as asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities.

A British team found that long, thin, multi-walled carbon nanotubes had the same effects as asbestos fibres when injected into the abdominal cavity of mice. This is the established method of seeing whether materials have the potential to cause mesothelioma – a cancer of the lung lining that can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure.

Short and curly nanotubes did not behave like asbestos, researchers led by Professor Kenneth Donaldson of the University of Edinburgh reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. And questions remain, such as whether long nanotubes can become airborne, reach the lungs and work their way out to the sensitive outer lining, said the professor. “But if they do get there in sufficient quantity, there is a chance that some people will develop cancer.”

The study has galvanised calls for more research on the safety of nanotechnology and better regulation of this new science.

Assistant secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Geoff Fary, said regulations that take into account the unique properties of nano-sized materials were urgently needed to protect the health and safety of workers and consumers. “With animal tests showing some nano-materials share the same characteristics and reactions as asbestos fibres, governments and business must not repeat the painful lessons of the past and allow another tragedy to occur.”

Little was known about the use of nano-materials in Australia and a registry of all companies and organisations manufacturing, importing and supplying products containing them should be established, he said.

Issues of concern in workplaces included skin exposure and inhalation of droplets of nano-material. “Until we know more … we should regulate as if it is dangerous to human health. It is the only safe option.”

Britain's Royal Society recommended in 2004 that products containing nano-ingredients face rigorous safety testing and be labelled before sale. No country has yet introduced nano-specific regulations, but last month the European Parliament recommended stringent new rules for safety assessment and labelling of nano-ingredients in food although it will not become law until national governments agree to the directive.

Scientists say much more money needs to be spent on safety research. Not enough is known, for example, about how to detect and trace nanoparticles in the body, said Dr Maxine McCall of CSIRO. “Right now we don't have sufficient information to have sensible regulation,” she told a recent forum on the issue in Canberra.

An OECD project has been established to develop safety tests for 14 priority nanoparticles but will take several years to complete. And the issue is complicated by the fact that the many thousands of different nanoparticles can have different possible toxicities, depending on their size, shape and how they are bound to other materials.

Last October a NSW parliamentary inquiry recommended that nano-versions of existing chemicals be assessed as new chemicals and nanoparticles in the workplace and in foods, sunscreens and cosmetics be labelled, but said regulations would be most effective if applied nationally.

A review for the Federal Government concluded last year there was no need for major changes to existing regulatory frameworks to cover new nano-materials.

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THE global recession has taken its toll on Kevin Rudd's bold vision for the nation's future with the release yesterday of nine low-cost and modest ideas that will be formally adopted from last year's 2020 summit.
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The Government also appears to be going lukewarm on a pre-election promise to hold a referendum on the introduction of four-year, fixed terms for the federal Parliament.

The idea was recommended at the summit but did not make the final cut. The report promised only to consider the recommendation as part of “ongoing reform to our constitution”.

The 2020 report was delayed for four months because of the economy. Its most expensive commitment is $50.7 million over four years to help fund the research and development of a bionic eye.

A dedicated children's TV channel, to be screened by ABC3, made the cut. It will cost $25 million to $30 million a year, with funding to be contained in next month's federal budget.

The commercial-free digital channel is scheduled to be on air by the end of this year.

Detail and cost was scant on most of the initiatives, including a “Deployable Civilian Capability”. This would involve a small army of civilian experts and specialists that could assist the armed forces with international disaster relief, stabilisation and post-conflict reconstruction.

Another approved initiative is “golden gurus”, in which skilled, mature-aged people would act as vocational and community mentors.

In his foreword to the report, Mr Rudd acknowledges that ambitions had to be scaled back in the aftermath of the summit.

“None of us who gathered at Parliament House for the summit could have foreseen the severity of the global economic downturn that was even then beginning to develop,” he said.

“As a result of the crisis … the world of today looks very different from that of April 2008.”

One of the strongest recommendations from the summit was that Australia become a republic. This was given short shrift.

“The Government is committed to ongoing reform of our constitution, where appropriate, and will draw on the input of the summit in thinking about future possible proposals for future change,” the report says.

The same answer was given to the recommendation for fixed four-year terms.

The Government did commit $15 million for the Prime Ministers' Australia-Asia Endeavour Awards, a series of scholarships to deepen cultural understanding between Australian and Asian students.

There will be a feasibility study into an Indigenous Cultural Education and Knowledge Centre – a program to connect business with schools – and a Vocational Education Broadband Network, a single network linking tertiary training centres.

The last idea is called “Skills For The Carbon Challenge”, which will help to train workers for sustainable industry in the future.


* Civilian volunteers

* Indigenous knowledge centre

* Mentoring in the workplace

* $50 million for bionic eye

* Cultural scholarships

* ABC children's channel

* Business, school round table

* Promoting sustainability

* A post-secondary high speed broadband network

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THE estimated cost of the controversial CBD Metro has increased to $5.3 billion, the Herald has confirmed, a rise of more than 30 per cent since it was announced last October.
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Senior government and metro sources confirmed the figure to the Herald. Government sources said $500 million had recently been added to cover the risk of cost blowouts as well as construction and contract risks.

The Premier, Nathan Rees, was accused of policy on the run and drawing up the project “on the back on an envelope” when he announced the metro on October 25. He was not able to put a cost on the proposed line from Central Station to Rozelle at the press conference at which it was announced.

After the press conference, the Government told journalists it would cost $4 billion. That figure was subsequently inflated to $4.8 billion until last week. The much longer north-west metro that Mr Rees dumped, and the Opposition says it would reinstate, was costed at $12 billion.

The latest budget blowout comes as the Government begins only now to properly test the project's viability.

Last week the Herald revealed that a Sydney Metro Authority plan to terminate 26 trains an hour at Central Station, thereby bolstering passenger numbers on the metro, was withdrawn from Infrastructure Australia.

The federal infrastructure advisers said the proposal was physically impossible because the CityRail network could not turn that many trains around.

The Herald confirmed yesterday that no updated or replacement plan had been submitted to Infrastructure Australia.

The costs of the project have always been rubbery. In an email released to the NSW upper house after a call for papers, the NSW Treasury adviser on the state's infrastructure needs, David Thorp, revealed the Government was still in the dark about how the cost figure was established.

Alec Brown, a spokesman for the Metro Authority, said a range of cost estimates for the capital works were determined “through to” $5.3 billion.

“This range allows for different levels of contingency, escalation, risk and scope changes,” he said.

The cost raised eyebrows within the industry from the day it was announced. Bob Carr's promised second rail line from Redfern, through the CBD and under the harbour to Chatswood was last costed at $5.5 billion.

The CBD Metro not only has one more station than promised in that project which never saw the light of day, but also has one extra harbour crossing, travelling under both Darling Harbour and White Bay.

Geotechnical drilling has confirmed that expensive tube pressurisation will be required because the tunnel will have to be bored through mud above the level of sandstone.

Drilling began in Pyrmont yesterday on the project. Geotechnical surveys will be used to determine the tunnelling challenges which lie ahead.

The Opposition transport spokeswoman, Gladys Berejiklian, said yesterday it was clear the project had not been properly costed.

“If they haven't properly costed the project it means they haven't done the basic feasibility studies you would expect should occur before a project of this scale is even announced,” she said. “They have opted for the headline rather than putting the interests of the community first.”

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LIKE so many children in Dubbo, cousins Alyssa Ferguson, 12, and Kaitlyn Rose, 11, were having fun riding their bikes on the street about 11am on Sunday.
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Then they heard a baby cry. They rode towards the sound to a spot under a window of a nearby flat, where they found an abandoned newborn, who has since been named Sunday April.

Yesterday, as the baby was being cared for at Dubbo Base Hospital, police appealed for the mother to come forward.

Inspector Matt Goodwin of the Orana Local Area Command said the search had been extended to health and welfare agencies in a bid to identify the mother.

“It really is a concern for her safety and the ongoing welfare of the child,” he said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Sunday was a full-term baby, very healthy and feeding well. “The nurses said she was a bit cold [when she was found] but she was very healthy.” Police said doctors described Sunday as being of white or European appearance, and that she was born between 6am and 9am.

Alyssa's mother, Kerrianne Howarth, recounted what happened after her daughter and niece made their discovery. “They ran back as fast as they could, they just flew in the door and said 'there is a baby over there',” Ms Howarth said.

She and her eldest daughter “ran over there, and picked her up and put the blanket around her tighter, and brought her inside and rang triple-0”.

“She wasn't distressed when I found her. The hospital later told me that she did have a bit of hypothermia. Her body temp was low because the cement over there would have been really cold.

“I think the [biggest] shock was that she was a newborn,” Ms Howarth said. “On the way to hospital I nearly started crying. I just couldn't believe it. The little baby was gorgeous.”

Ms Howarth's eldest daughter, Alex, had heard the cries earlier that morning. “I heard the baby crying first. My nephew and

I were having breakfast and

I heard a baby crying and thought, 'Oh someone is obviously not attending to their baby',” Alex said.

Mrs Howarth said: “It wasn't until the kids got on their bikes that we discovered where the cries had come from. So she was over there for two hours before anyone noticed her.”

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