Another delay in verdict of Greste case

Australian journalist Peter Greste says he and two colleagues will not be truly free until a Egyptian court exonerates the trio of terrorism-related charges.

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Mr Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, were dealt another hiccup on Sunday when the verdict in their retrial was adjourned to August 29.

It was the latest set back in a prolonged case that has attracted the criticism of press freedom advocates worldwide.

Mr Greste said although they are all physically out of prison, until the whole mess was over they couldn’t get on with their lives.

“I guess the main message for us is even though the three of us are physically out of prison, until this whole mess is over, until we are fully exonerated of all of the charges, none of us are really truly free,” he told AAP.

Mr Greste and his colleagues were jailed last year for spreading false news and supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood during their coverage of the turmoil following the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

An appeals court ordered a retrial and, after more than 400 days in jail, the three journalists were released.

Mr Greste was deported and his colleagues were freed on bail.

Mr Greste couldn’t return to Egypt without violating his deportation order and is being tried in absentia.

The verdict in their retrial was due last Thursday but the hearing was adjourned, with no reason given.

On Sunday Mr Greste had been very hopeful he would finally see a verdict.

However it seemed one of the judges was sick and the replacement judge wasn’t there, he said.

While Mr Greste is home in Australia, Mr Mohamed and Mr Fahmy go to court not knowing if they will see their family again.

“Every time they go they have to hug and kiss their families not knowing if they are going to see them again and that is tough,” he said.

Fahmy criticised the delay.

“Verdict postponed until August 29th The audacity & continuous disrespect to our rights is unprecedented!” he tweeted minutes after the judge postponed the verdict.

Resilient miners sober about future

Even the most enthusiastic chief executives are likely to give a sober assessment of the mining industry at this year’s Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie.

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Weak commodity prices have hurt company share prices and led to mass job cuts over the past 12 months, but the pain may not be over yet.

A report from Newport Consulting recently showed almost 80 per cent of mining leaders are reducing capital expenditure and thousands more mining jobs could be shed this year.

In the face of the doom and gloom, companies such as Newmont Mining, Australia’s largest gold producer, believe they can ride out the volatility through better productivity and efficiency.

Newmont’s Asia Pacific Senior Vice President Tom Palmer, a speaker at Diggers, has said his company has “a few plans” up its sleeve if the gold price falls again.

Mr Palmer’s optimistic outlook is mirrored by home grown iron ore miners such as Atlas Iron and mid-tier producer Fortescue Metals Group, which have both had to make deep cuts and changes to cope with weak prices.

“Fortescue is completely safeguarded by the fact that its operating costs in the very long term have become so competitive,” Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest said last week.

Other executives with a glass half full approach will welcome the results of a new report which shows the value of Western Australia’s top 100 companies has almost trebled in the past 15 years.

Consulting firm Deloitte released the report to coincide with the start of the annual Diggers and Dealers gathering.

It shows the biggest WA listed companies have grown almost four-fold in a decade and a half to be worth $132 billion.

“Despite some of the challenges faced in the WA economy over the past 15 years, market capitalisation growth of our top companies as demonstrated by the Deloitte WA Index has been phenomenal,” Deloitte Clients and Markets Partner Tim Richards said.

“This outstanding growth aside, FY15 has still been a challenging year.”

Deloitte’s WA index lost more than 11 per cent over the past year, driven by an overall slowdown in WA’s mining sector and weaker commodity prices.

To kick of proceedings at Diggers, former White House adviser Gene Sperling will join the likes of Newmont’s Tom Palmer and Rio Tinto’s Director of Australasia exploration Ian Ledlie.

Untested NZ chase netball World Cup

Strengths and weaknesses are clearer, but the Silver Ferns are still an unknown quality under pressure, coach Waimarama Taumaunu believes.

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The 12-strong squad leave for Sydney and the netball World Cup on Monday, looking to wrest the title off Australia for the first time since 2003.

After a couple of warm-up matches against Australia under-21, they begin their campaign with low-key pool matches against Barbados on Friday and Trinidad and Tobago the next day, before meeting defending champions Australia next Sunday.

It will be the first time New Zealand’s new-look shooting circle has faced any sort of opposition, with walkover victories against Fiji and South Africa last week offering minimal chance to test combinations under defensive pressure.

Taumaunu says that first game against the Diamonds, while not hugely vital in terms of the overall result, presents something of a step into the unknown.

The Silver Ferns have been working hard to bed in an up-tempo, fear-free game plan aimed at getting the most out of an athletic, unpredictable shooting circle.

Against less-ranked teams – Fiji are seventh in the world, and South Africa sixth – the Silver Ferns have looked impressive.

But whether they can replicate that form against top-line teams like England, Australia or Jamaica remains to be seen.

“I think they are going to be up to it, but we won’t know until it actually hits,” Taumaunu admits.

The emphasis building towards the World Cup has centred on getting the ball, and not being afraid of making mistakes. To be successful, it requires an effective, hard-working defence generating a consistent supply of turnover ball.

“For us to be able to do that in tough games, we’ve got to be practising it in games where it’s easier,” Taumaunu said.

“We need to not be afraid of taking risks, and work hard in building understanding, so that when we’re putting the ball into space and into the air, it’s being well-read and shooters are taking it with some comfort.”

Bailey Mes has cemented herself as New Zealand’s No.1 goal shoot in recent outings, with spectacular elevation, quick hands and feet, and impressive rebounding skills.

But her accuracy can fluctuate, and the Silver Ferns will be relying on a strong through-court defensive effort to supply enough turnover ball for that not to matter.

To some degree, Taumaunu says, that means it’s not really relevant who the opposition is.

“We are very focused on ourselves, putting out our best performance, meeting our own targets and doing that as the competition ratchets up.”

Tropfest winner in Aussie film collective

The US winner of Tropfest, Spencer Susser, is part of the same film collective as Australian filmmaking brothers Joel and Nash Edgerton, Blue-Tongue Films.

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In fact, it was seeing the short film festival’s infamous pineapple trophy, won by Nash Edgerton in 1997, around the production office that inspired Susser to enter the competition.

“My friend Nash Edgerton had won several years ago. So he had been talking about it forever. All I knew was Nash was part of Tropfest and there was a pineapple, because I’d always seen this trophy sitting around the office,” Susser told AAP at Tropfest in Sydney on Sunday night.

Susser created stop-frame animation, Shiny, along with Daniel Cloud-Campos who appeared at the event via FaceTime on Susser’s iPhone.

The pair created the film using an overhead camera with real clothing that they animated to move like people.

“It’s basically all of my wardrobe, all of Cloud’s wardrobe and all of everyone else’s wardrobe that we knew,” Susser said.

The film’s message is about how people are obsessed with material things and how this can get in the way of everything else.

The LA duo’s quirky film was chosen from a group of 16 finalists by a panel of judges including Hollywood heavyweight Mel Gibson, The Mentalist actor Simon Baker, actress Rebecca Gibney and The Dressmaker director Jocelyn Moorhouse.

Gibson awarded the first prize to Susser, which included $10,000 in cash and a round trip to LA, on stage.

The Oscar-winner who has been in Sydney directing World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge remained relatively quiet all night. He didn’t engage with media and only spoke briefly while awarding the trophy to Susser.

“There has to be one winner and it’s sad, but it’s great for Spencer Susser and Shiny,” Gibson told the crowd at Centennial Park.

The 16 finalists were diverse in genre, ranging from animation, to comedy, to documentary and even mockumentary. But for all their diversity of style, the directors and actors were nearly all male.

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Simon Baker was the first to point out this shortcoming as he awarded the $3000 prize (donated by Nicole Kidman) for best female actress to Natalie Bassingthwaighte who starred in short film Would I Lie.

“Women were pretty grossly under-represented in the acting department tonight,” Baker said from the stage in Sydney’s Centennial Park.

Judge, and director of documentary Gayby Baby, Maya Newell called for next year’s festival to have more diversity as she pointed out that only one of the 16 filmmaking finalists was a woman.

But while the festival drew thousands on Sunday night with early estimates at about 90,000, its future still hangs in the balance.

Bailed out this year by CGU Insurance after its initial cancellation back in December, the festival’s future is uncertain.

The festival’s founder and director John Polson is confident, though, that he can work out a solution to make sure the festival is sustainable.

“We’re working with a big adviser which we’ll be announcing in the next week or two, they’re going to come in and help us rebuild the way the company works,” he told AAP.

Polson also said he’s stepping in to take on more of a hands-on approach to the business.

“This is my baby, this is what I started and it’s incredibly important to me,” he said.

But on Sunday night, the only thing threatening the festival was the weather. Halfway through the screening, Sydney experienced a brief electrical storm, but it coincided perfectly with the festival’s interval.

And as the rain stopped just in time for the second half it seemed for once, luck was on Tropfest’s side.

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Active fan privileges should stay: FFA

FFA chief executive David Gallop does not believe active supporter groups should have their privileges rescinded over the indiscretions of a minority.

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Melbourne Victory are now heading down the same disciplinary path as Western Sydney after being served a show-cause notice on Monday for bringing the game into disrepute.

Their alleged crime is the same as the one that earned the Wanderers a suspended three-point deduction and $50,000 fine last week – troublesome fans who let off flares and commit other unsociable acts during matches.

Seven flares were ripped inside and outside AAMI Park before and during Saturday night’s Melbourne derby, sparking further outrage at a time when the game needs it least.

The weekend before at Etihad Stadium, fans seated in the Wanderers’ away bay lit around 25 flares and set off detonators at their match with Victory.

It’s a pattern with no clear-cut solution, and one that prompted Victoria Police to threaten revoking the coveted privileges reserved for active supporter groups, such as sitting together behind the goals and waving giant flags.

But while FFA maintained their zero-tolerance approach to troublemaking fans on Monday, Gallop was adamant the spectacle should not be ruined for the vast majority who don’t condone the behaviour.

“Not necessarily, no,” Gallop said on Monday.

“We work to manage the plans that fan groups have almost every week.

“There are different levels of planning.

“For big games, the planning starts some weeks out with authorities, police and venue security, and what is going to be authorised and what isn’t is worked out.

“We’re not suggesting changes to that.”

Gallop said it would be a “great shame” if Victoria Police made good on last week’s threat to shut games down if trouble persists, suggesting it would undo the governing body’s painstaking work to address the complex issues surrounding fan relations and football’s reputation in Australia.

“The police have got the power to do that clearly,” he said.

“It would be a catastrophic result.

“All the processes we’re putting in place, including these improvements to the fan banning process, are about making sure we’re never in that situation.”

For Victory’s part, chief executive Ian Robson was unforgiving of those whose stupidity left the club scrambling to submit a response they hope will persuade FFA not to impose the same punishment dished out to the Wanderers.

“We cannot say strongly enough how disappointed we are to find ourselves in this situation,” Robson said.

“Our resolve (to eliminate flares) only gets hardened as a consequence of the very disappointing circumstances of Saturday night.

“We refuse to allow the reckless behaviour of a small minority define what this club stands for.”

While Victory’s transgressions were deemed less severe than Western Sydney’s, Robson intimating the fact that Victory fans were ‘on notice’ leading into the match made their actions just as bad.

“These acts of these individuals show they do not care for the club, and they do not care for the code or this league,” he added.

Gallop was encouraged by Robson’s condemnation.

“We’ll look carefully at what they say in their submission, encouraged by what Ian Robson said today and the seriousness with which they’re taking the issue,” Gallop said.

“But it’s appropriate they get an opportunity to state their position before we make a decision.”

On Monday the FFA Board discussed the implementation of a flare management system, which is set to involve education programs, prevention and sanctions.

It also ratified the promised new fan-banning procedure, which allows fans accused of bad behaviour to view evidence used against them and appeal to an independent body before they are banned from stadiums.

Former Israeli PM Olmert insists on innocence as jail term begins

Olmert is the first former head of government in Israel to go to prison.

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During his premiership from 2006 to 2009, he was internationally credited with working towards a peace accord with the Palestinians, until graft scandals forced him to step down.

“As prime minister I was charged with the highest responsibility of safeguarding Israel’s citizens. Today I am the one to be locked behind bars,” he said in a video released to media before he pulled up at Maasiyahu prison in central Israel in a motorcade protected by bodyguards assigned to former leaders.

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“At this time, it is important for me to say once more, as I did in court and outside it, that I completely deny the bribery charges I was accused of,” Olmert said in the video.

Olmert was assigned to a small wing of the prison, where he will be segregated for security reasons from the general population along with co-defendants in the real estate scandal.

He will wear a prison uniform, have two cellmates and spend his first day in jail busy with assessment sessions with a social worker, criminologist – to assess, officials say, whether he is suicidal.

Olmert was found guilty in 2014 of two bribery charges: accepting 500,000 shekels (AUS$180,000) from developers of a Jerusalem real estate project widely regarded as one of the city’s worst eyesores and 60,000 shekels (AUS$21,000) in a separate land deal.

He was sentenced to six years in jail, but the term was cut by the Supreme Court in December to 18 months after it overturned his conviction on the first bribery charge.

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Last month, a lower court tagged a month on to that sentence for obstruction of justice.

A separate eight-month prison term is pending since Olmert’s conviction last May in another case related to cash payments he was alleged to have received from an American businessman.

Olmert, 70, is the most prominent of several Israeli politicians to be jailed in recent years.

They include former president Moshe Katsav, convicted of rape, and present Interior Minister Aryieh Deri, once imprisoned for corruption.

A lawyer by profession, Olmert began his political career in the 1970s as a lawmaker who targeted organized crime.

As Israel’s leader, Olmert waged war against militants in Lebanon in 2006 and the Gaza Strip in 2008.

He claimed significant progress in talks with the Palestinians, offering an Israeli withdrawal from much of the occupied West Bank, though no agreement was reached.

Dating site Tinder for one-night stands

Online dating services are now hip with young adults, but not always for dating.

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Credit mobile dating apps such as Tinder, which incorporate fun elements and are dead simple to use. Swipe right on a profile picture to approve and swipe left to reject. No awkward messages to each other unless both say yes.

But instead of just looking for long-term love, some people are turning to these services for one-night stands and even advice from locals when travelling. Others just want to look at sexy – and not-so-sexy – pics when they’re bored.

“It’s turned into a game,” said Tim Smith, a 21-year-old student from Hampstead, Maryland.

When he’s bored, he turns to Tinder to start swiping on women in the app, even when he doesn’t feel like talking to anyone.

Young adults, ages 18 to 24, traditionally haven’t been big online daters. They haven’t had much of a need, as they are typically surrounded by other young, single people, whether at work or school, said Aaron Smith, associate research director with the Pew Research Centre.

Tinder and rivals such as Hinge are changing the dynamics, and young adults are using online dating in greater numbers than any other age group these days.

In 2013, only 10 per cent in that age group used online dating. That rose to 27 per cent in the latest Pew study. By comparison, only 15 per cent of US adults overall have used dating sites or apps, just a slight increase from 11 per cent in 2013.

Alfred Mohi, 24, said he has used Tinder for flings with people he doesn’t want to see again, and for the emotional high of matching and talking with women he deems attractive.

But he said he wouldn’t use Tinder to find a significant other because he believes it’s harder to trust people you meet on the app.

Others describe Tinder as convenient and fun, and possibly a route to a relationship – but there are obstacles.

“A lot of guys will message just terrible things, right off the bat,” said Maddie Forshee, a 21-year-old-student in Michigan. She said she’s been sent naked photos – “It’s like, I don’t want to see that.”

Tinder owner Match Group says half of Tinder users are ages 18 to 24, while 85 per cent are 18 to 34.

Pew’s survey shows that some older adults are also more interested in online dating. Usage among 55 to 64 doubled to 12 per cent. Pew’s Aaron Smith said they probably feel more comfortable with the idea of finding a partner on the internet as they hear about successful matches from friends and relatives.

* Pew conducted the survey June 10 to July 12, 2015, with 2001 US adults; it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

China urges US, North Korea talks

China’s foreign ministry has urged the US and North Korea to sit down with each other face-to-face and resolve their problems, as tension continues to climb on the Korean peninsula after the North’s latest rocket test.

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While China was angered by the launch, it has also expressed concern at plans by Washington and South Korea to deploy an advanced US missile defence system, saying it would impact upon China’s own security.

“The focus of the nuclear issue on the peninsula is between the United States and North Korea,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing on Monday.

“We urge the United States and North Korea to sit down and have communications and negotiations, to explore ways to resolve each other’s reasonable concerns and finally reach the goal we all want reached.”

North Korea launched a long-range rocket on February 7 carrying what it called a satellite, drawing renewed international condemnation just weeks after it carried out a nuclear bomb test.

It said the launch was for peaceful purposes, but Seoul and Washington have said it violated United Nations Security Council resolutions because it used ballistic missile technology.

North Korea’s nuclear bomb test last month was also banned by a UN resolution.

China, while frustrated by North Korea and having signed up for numerous previous rounds of United Nations sanctions on its isolated neighbour, has said it does not believe sanctions are the way to resolve the problem and has urged a return to talks.

Numerous efforts to restart multilateral talks have failed since negotiations collapsed following the last round in 2008.

Chinese popular opinion has become increasingly fed up with North Korea, a country once a close diplomatic ally.

In an editorial on Monday, the official English-language China Daily called for new UN sanctions to “truly bite”.

“The threat of a nuclear-armed DPRK is more real than ever,” it said, using the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Hong repeated that North Korea would have to “pay a price” for its behaviour.

Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has praised scientists involved in the country’s recent rocket launch and ordered them to press ahead with more launches, The Associated Press reported.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday gave a banquet in honour of scientists, officials and others who it said contributed to the February 7 rocket launch. Kim and his top deputies were present.

In a speech, Kim said the launch gave confidence and courage to his people and dealt a “telling blow to the enemies seeking to block the advance of our country”, KCNA said, in an apparent reference to Seoul and Washington.

Heavy AFL workload suits Goldstein

North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein is happy to continue last year’s hefty AFL workload, saying his body is up for the challenge.

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Goldstein was the Kangaroos’ sole ruckman for most of the season, breaking a 23-year league record for the most hitouts in a year.

He was rewarded with his first All-Australian selection and club best-and-fairest award.

It was clearly the 25-year-old’s best season and he has no qualms about trying to repeat the effort.

“I don’t see why I can’t play whatever role the coaches want,” he said.

“If that’s me playing on my own, like I did last year, then that’s fine.

“If they want to add another ruckman in, I will just have to adjust my game.

“I’m not worried about my body at all.”

Goldstein also said on Monday that he wants to improve his game further, especially around the ground.

“I made a lot of mistakes through the year,” he said.

“Obviously my ruck work was quite good, but … having an impact around the ground is the key that I need to keep working on.

“I don’t anyone in the AFL has ever played the perfect season.”

The No.1 goal at North this season is achieving premiership perfection after making the last two preliminary finals.

They want to start by winning the opening round, which has eluded them in Brad Scott’s seven seasons as coach.

Last year, Adelaide mauled them by 77 points and it immediately raised questions about North’s credentials.

“We should almost skip round one and go to round two – that would be better for us,” Goldstein said.

“It’s definitely been a focus.

“We’ve played more intraclub games than we’ve ever played.”

Midfielder Daniel Wells, who only managed two senior games last year because of injury, has been a standout during the pre-season.

“He’s looking unbelievable, he’s almost like having a new draftee this year,” he said.

Half of the world will be short-sighted by 2050: new research

Their study has found half the world’s population will be short-sighted by 2050.

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It says the rapid increase of myopia is because people are spending less time outdoors and more time on electronic devices.

Danny Kho can read an eye chart pretty easily, until he removes his glasses.

Without them Danny can’t see more than 20 centimetres ahead, because he’s short-sighted.

The 26 year-old was diagnosed with myopia when he was eight years old.

He says he simply couldn’t see clearly.

“I noticed I had some trouble seeing the words on the board clearly so that was when my parents first took me to see an optometrist and that’s when I was told I was short-sighted. And I was given my first pair of glasses and it really made a difference for me being able to see what was on the board clearly.”

Danny is Chinese – the condition can be genetic – and traditionally Asian people have been affected more.

But increasingly environmental influences are being attributed as causing the condition.

Danny says he didn’t spend much time outdoors as a child.

“My family – my dad and my sister – they’re both short-sighted. But also when I was a lot younger I have to admit I did spend a lot of time doing things up close so I was playing a lot of video games reading a lot of books so I did spend hours and hours doing things up close indoors.”

CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Professor Kovin Naidoo, is one of the researchers involved in a new study.

He says five billion people will be myopic by 2050 – that’s half the world’s population.

“If we don’t do anything it’s probably going to be one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. I mean how many conditions do we have in the world, health conditions that affect that many people in the population?”

The number with vision loss from high myopia is expected to increase seven-fold from 2000 to 2050, with myopia to become a leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide.

Professor Naidoo says this is a major concern, as one in ten people will be at risk of blindness.

“So the problem of that condition is that it will increase visual impairment and blindness. It will increase the risk of individuals getting glaucoma and one study showed that by 14.4 times; the risk of cataract by 3 times; it will led to a condition called myopic macular degeneration which can lead to visual impairment and blindness.”

Researchers looked at 145 studies worldwide, including United Nations Development Program population data.

Professor Naidoo says the condition will reach epidemic proportions if nothing is done.

“Beside the impact to the individual the cost to society of managing or running an eye health system is going to increase dramatically if we don’t do something to change this trend.”

To help prevent the condition specialists say there’s quite a simple solution – children should be encouraged to spend at least two hours outside each day.

Their eyes should be checked regularly and electronic device use reduced.

As for a cure, there isn’t one.

Glasses and contacts with specialised lenses, some drugs and laser treatments can assist.

 

Major parties target changes to negative gearing

While the industry argues any cuts will hit middle-income earners, economists say reform is long overdue.

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Christopher Koren has been representing property investors for more than 30 years and knows well what motivates his clients.

The buyers’ advocate is a staunch defender of negative gearing.

“Negative gearing is one of the few opportunities that the average Australian has to actually get involved in some sort of saving.”

But the practice of using money spent on property investments to reduce paying tax is being considered by politicians.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has hinted at limiting the amount of deductions investors can claim, while Labor has unveiled plans to abolish negative gearing on existing homes.

John Daley is the chief executive of the policy analysis centre, the Grattan Institute.

“This is a long overdue step. Negative gearing is a tax policy that doesn’t have a lot going for it. It costs the budget a lot of money. It’s very unfair. It winds up as a tax policy primarily benefiting those who have already got a lot of resources.”

Christopher Koren doesn’t see it as a tax dodge for the rich.

“The super-wealthy are not interested in buying little two-bedroom apartments. It’s generally the average Joe Australian who says, ‘If I don’t do something about saving money I am going to be on the pension.’ “

Industry experts also say there may be an unintended consequence of any government delay in introducing changes to negative gearing, now that they’ve flagged possible changes.

They say there could be a sharp rise in property prices as investors rush into the housing market before the tax concessions are taken away.

If Labor wins power, its cuts wouldn’t apply to property purchased until July next year.

After that, says Christopher Koren, any artificially-inflated housing bubble could burst.

“What will happen afterwards is the market may just drop dead on the spot because everyone says, well it’s now too hard.”

Other analysts argue property tax changes are needed aimed at buyers other than investors.

Professor Jamie Alcock, from Sydney University, says generous tax concessions enjoyed by homeowner-occupiers should be looked at as well.

“We are one of the very few countries in the world that has infinite tenure, strong property rights and tax-free status of owner-occupiers. So that’s where most people invest the majoirty of their wealth and that’s creating a distortion which we see with higher demand and consequently higher prices.”

Professor Alcock is calling for a tax re-think as part of much wider reform, but he acknowledges it takes brave politicians indeed to tinker with the great Australian home ownership dream.

 

Top Qld cop stood down over man’s death

North Queensland’s top cop has been stood down pending an investigation into the early-morning death of a man in the driveway of Cairns police station.

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Assistant Commissioner Paul Taylor – in charge of policing in Cairns, Townsville and Mount Isa – ran over the 37-year-old father-of-two in a car park driveway as he arrived for work about 4.20am on Monday.

Longreach butcher Ryan Savage, who was visiting Cairns to celebrate a buck’s party, was trapped under Mr Taylor’s car and could not be saved.

Mr Savage was the owner of the only butcher’s shop, BF Savage and Co Butchery, in Longreach.

A senior Longreach officer has spoken with his family and will keep in contact during the investigation into his death.

Police have told AAP the inquiry will look at whether the man was lying unconscious or dead in the down ramp to the car park when hit.

Officers from the ethical standards command were flying from Brisbane to undertake the investigation with assistance from Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission.

Respected and well-liked, Mr Taylor was promoted to one of the Queensland Police Service’s most senior roles, assistant commissioner, in September last year.

He had acted as the northern region assistant commissioner for two years, prior to being permanently appointed to the role, after previously being Cairns chief superintendent.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said Mr Taylor had been stood down from his role to ensure the public had confidence in the investigation’s independence.

He said he had called Mr Taylor to check on his welfare and told reporters he was holding up as well as could be expected.

“This is a tragedy on so many levels. A male person, 37 years of age, has lost his life,” he said in Brisbane.

“It’s our job to investigate that and to quite independently ensure a rigorous investigation is undertaken.”

Mr Stewart warned the investigation would take some time.

Turkey denies soldiers entered Syria

Syria’s government had said Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen who entered Syria on Saturday with 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an operation to supply insurgents fighting Damascus.

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“It is not true … There is no thought of Turkish soldiers entering Syria,” Yilmaz told a Turkish parliamentary commission when asked about the allegation by the Syrian foreign ministry, made in a letter to the UN Security Council.

Turkey’s army shelled Kurdish YPG militia targets in northern Syria over the weekend, after the group seized an air base north of Aleppo, further complicating the conflict on NATO-member Turkey’s southern border.

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Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist organisation and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a 31-year-old insurgency for autonomy in southeast Turkey.

Washington, which does not see the YPG as terrorists, backs the group in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutolgu has demanded that the YPG withdraw from areas it has captured from Syrian rebels.

US President Barack Obama urged Russia on Sunday to stop bombing “moderate” rebels in Syria in support of its ally President Bashar al-Assad, a campaign seen in the West as a major obstacle to efforts to end the war.

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Yilmaz also denied reports that Saudi Arabian aircraft had arrived at Turkey’s Incirlik air base for the fight against IS militants, but said a decision had been reached for Saudi to send four F-16 jets.

A Turkish soldier was killed on Sunday evening after Turkey’s security forces clashed with a group at the Syrian border that was trying to enter Turkey illegally, the armed forces said in a statement.

The Turkish military, which regularly detains people crossing back and forth across the Syrian border, said in its statement on Monday the clash occurred in the Yayladagi area of Hatay province at 7.15pm local time.