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Top 10 Prince Philip gaffesFACTBOX: Knights and Dames in Australia

Tony Abbott’s decision to honour the Duke of Edinburgh has sparked mockery on social media and condemnation from some fellow politicians.

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Prince Philip was announced as one of two men honoured as Australia’s next knights today, almost a year after Mr Abbott reintroduced the honours.

The news sent “Philip” trending on social media, ahead of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s comments that the decision was outdated.

Mr Shorten told Fairfax Radio that he originally thought the news was a hoax.

He said he didn’t understand the government’s priorities in nominating Prince Philip, when they could have “picked someone who is Australian in character and activity”.

“It’s a time warp where we’re giving knighthoods to English royalty,” Mr Shorten said.

“On Australia Day, we’re talking about Australia, Australian identity, the Government’s managed to find a British royal to give a medal to, a knighthood to.”

Liberal leader Colin Barnett said he was also surprised at the news.

“I admit to being surprised,” Mr Barnett said.

“The Australian honours are generally for Australian citizens, however I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Meanwhile Northern Territory chief minister and Country Liberal Party leader Adam Giles was more scathing.

“It makes us a bit of a joke. It’s Australia Day, we’re not a bunch of tossers,” he said.

The prime minister dismissed that form of public opinion, standing “absolutely” by his decision.

“Social media is kind of like electronic graffiti. In the media, you make a big mistake to pay too much attention to social media,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

The monarchy has played an important part in Australia’s life since 1788, he said.

“Prince Philip has been a great servant of Australia, he’s been a great servant of all the countries of the Commonwealth.”

“He’s the patron of hundreds of organisations. He’s the inspiration and wellspring of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.”

Mr Abbott has been facing calls from within coalition ranks to lift his game, following a chaotic end to 2014 and an uncertain start to the new year.

He told reporters his government probably needed to be more consultative and collegial, but it seems he didn’t consult his colleagues about awarding a knighthood to a British royal on Australia Day.

“He didn’t really knight a prince, did he?” queried Labor MP Terri Butler, echoing the sentiment on social media.

Queensland Liberal Ewen Jones agreed with knights and dames for governors-general but no one else, especially British royals.

However Tasmanian MP Andrew Nikolic and West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith were supportive.

“No one can deny the warmth Australians feel towards the Queen, and by extension her partner in her life long service, Prince Philip,” Senator Smith told AAP.

Mr Abbott announced the new honour last March as a special recognition of those of pre-eminent achievement and merit.

The Hawke government had ended knighthoods in 1986.

The first were conferred on retiring governor-general Quentin Bryce, her successor and former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove, and retiring NSW governor Marie Bashir.

Prince Charles was make a Knight of the Order of Australia in 1981.

Champion Wawrinka and Nishikori advance

Posted by admin on 05/30/2019
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One is amazed to be a grand slam winner, the other is unsure he’s even worthy of a top-five world ranking.

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Either way, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori are fast looming as huge Australian Open title threats.

The pair lined up a quarter-final showdown at Melbourne Park with Wawrinka overcoming Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, while the Japanese fifth seed ousted another Spaniard David Ferrer.

Defending champion Wawrinka, ranked fourth, said he wasn’t thinking about winning another title just yet.

“I’m not focused to win a major, I’m taking match after match,” he said.

“It’s amazing I already did one.”

The fourth-seeded Swiss saved four set points in the fourth set to triumph 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8).

Wawrinka was 5-0 down in the fourth-set tiebreaker and then 6-2.

But after reeling off five straight points, Wawrinka converted at his second match point to move through after a tick over three hours.

It was his 11th straight at Melbourne Park, including last year’s four-set success over Rafael Nadal to take the title.

“I’m happy to get through,” Wawrinka said after clubbing 70 winners on Margaret Court Arena.

“It’s always great to play here, especially after what happened last year.”

Nishikori did it more comfortably against the Spanish veteran who has twice made the semi-finals in Melbourne, winning 6-3 6-3 6-3.

The Japanese No.1 has hit the big time on the back of a break-out 2014 when he became the first man from an Asian country to reach a grand slam final, losing the US Open title match to Marin Cilic.

He tightened a little in the final game but got home on his third match point in just over two hours.

It continued Nishikori’s recent dominance over the world No.10, having won their last five successive meetings.

“I’m always ready to play five sets against him so I was surprised to win in three,” Nishikori said.

“I’ve had three good matches here and have been hitting well so I’m happy.”

Nishikori and Wawrinka played an epic five-set quarter-final match at last year’s US Open, which he said gave him confidence he could go the distance and compete with the world’s best.

Despite his surge up the rankings, Nishikori said he didn’t feel he belonged just yet.

“I need some time to stay in this ranking for a couple of months and I will be more comfortable.”

Joining the pair in the quarter finals is big serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

The eighth seed outlasted Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 in over three hours and will play the winner of the Novak Djokovic-Giles Muller match in the other men’s quarter final.

Had everything followed the script, the host-nation would have been playing their semi-final at Sydney’s 84,000-seater Olympic Stadium on Monday, which also happens to be Australia’s National Day.

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But after losing to South Korea in the group stage, Australia’s path was diverted and now they are playing their semi-final in Newcastle, a stadium with about a quarter of the capacity, against UAE, who upset Japan in the quarter-finals.

The Socceroos will go into Tuesday’s match as heavy favourites but Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has been at pains to play down local expectations the result was a foregone conclusion.

“I haven’t seen a major tournament where the tournament goes to script,” Postecoglou said.

“We haven’t looked past our next opponent. If people were assuming we were preparing to meet a certain team in the final, they have missed the point of what we have been doing.

“We didn’t want to be the ones who missed out on a semi-final because we were thinking so far ahead.”

Most people expected Japan to beat UAE and join Australia in the semis but Postecoglou said he had been keeping a close eye on UAE in case they met each other.

The teams played a friendly last year which ended in a scoreless draw and Postecoglou is acutely aware of their ability, especially with star midfielder Omar Abdulrahman.

“We have got a great respect for them and we have been tracking them since the World Cup,” he said.

“We had a feeling they could be an opponent, as even though we did not get them in the group, we thought they would be one of the teams we would get in the knockout rounds.

“We know them really well and we have analysed them well and we know it will be a tough challenge for us.”

Australia will be boosted by the return of key defender Matthew Spiranovic, who missed the quarter-final win over China due to suspension.

Spiranovic is likely to be rushed back into the starting lineup in one of several changes the Australians hope will give them the edge over UAE.

“Everyone has pulled up really well from the quarter-final game. Everyone is available and in good condition which means they have played enough games, but not too many in the most part,” said Postecoglou.

“We will make some changes, but they will be designed around putting out a team who we think can be successful.”

(Writing by Julian Linden in Sydney; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

US cops threatened by tracking app

Posted by admin on 05/30/2019
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Sheriffs in the US are pressuring Google to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby.

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They say one of the technology industry’s most popular mobile apps could put officers’ lives in danger.

Waze, which Google purchased for $US966 million ($A1.23 billion) in 2013, is a combination of GPS navigation and social networking.

Fifty million users in 200 countries turn to the free service for real-time traffic guidance and warnings about nearby congestion, car accidents, speed traps or traffic cameras, construction zones, stalled vehicles or unsafe weather conditions.

To Sergio Kopelev, a reserve deputy sheriff in California, Waze is also a stalking app for law enforcement.

There are no known connections between any attack on police and Waze, but Kopelev and others are concerned it’s only a matter of time. They are seeking support among law enforcement trade groups to pressure Google.

Brown and Kopelev raised concerns during the meeting of the National Sheriffs Association winter conference in Washington.

They pointed to the Instagram account of the man accused of fatally shooting two New York Police Department officers last month.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley posted a screenshot from Waze along with messages threatening police. Investigators do not believe he used Waze to ambush the officers, in part because police say Brinsley tossed his mobile phone far from where he shot the officers.

The emerging policy debate places Google again at the centre of a global debate about public safety, consumer rights and privacy.

A Waze spokeswoman, Julie Mossler, said the company works with the New York Police Department and others around the world.

“These relationships keep citizens safe, promote faster emergency response and help alleviate traffic congestion,” Mossler said.

Google declined to comment.

Indigenous community marks ‘Survival Day’

Posted by admin on 05/30/2019
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For far north Queensland indigenous elder June Noble, January 26 is a day to reflect on the hardships her people have been through.

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It’s also a time to share her culture with the younger generation to ensure it survives into the future.

“Australia Day means looking back from the hardships people went through to where we are,” the 55-year-old told AAP from the indigenous community of Yarrabah, south of Cairns, on Monday.

“It shows that we have survived a long period of hardship, sadness, loneliness.

“We have survived no matter what has been thrown at the people.”

Ms Noble joined other Yarrabah residents for Survival Day events in the 4000-strong community which sits in a picturesque bay dotted with palm trees.

Bands played throughout the day, fishers were dotted along the beach hopeful of a bite, kids built sandcastles and others prepared BBQs or took part in horse races.

Ms Noble, who has been weaving since she was a child herself, helped kids prepare and weave flax and grass at a weaving workshop, while other children painted the indigenous flag nearby.

Like so many Australians, Danton Noble reckons January 26 is a day for family and friends to come together.

“It’s about getting together with the people for Survival Day,” the 30-year-old told AAP as he helped his son break sticks to stoke a fire for a BBQ.

With high temperatures scorching much of the state, many Queenslanders in other parts of the state fired up the barbie, swam at the beach or went to one of the many Australia Day events.

South Bank in Brisbane came alive with music and art installations, while a flag-raising ceremony was held at the army barracks in Townsville.

It featured a 21-gun salute and an air force fly-over.

With less than a week until Queenslanders head to the polls, Premier Campbell Newman and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk both spent part of the day in their Brisbane electorates.

Meanwhile, Australia Day citizenship ceremonies were held across the state.

More than 100 Queenslanders have been recognised in the honours list for their contribution to the nation.