A man on trial for murder says he cut another man’s throat because he feared his co-accused who had already bashed and repeatedly stabbed the victim would do the same to him.
Luke James Hutchings told the jury he believed the victim was already dead when he slashed his throat.
Hutchings, 30, was giving evidence on Thursday in the South Australian Supreme Court.
He and Michael Joseph Lindsay, 29, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Andrew Negre, 37, whose dumped body was found in an Adelaide reserve on April 8, 2011 about a week after he died.
The court has heard that after drinking at a hotel, Mr Negre was part of a group that went back to Lindsay’s house.
Hutchings told the jury it all went wrong after Mr Negre offered to pay Lindsay $200 for sex.
Hutchings said he went to another room after seeing Lindsay repeatedly punch Mr Negre and bang his head on the floor.
When he returned, he saw Lindsay grab a knife and repeatedly stab Mr Negre whose trousers were no longer on him.
“I just stood there like everyone else,” he said.
Hutchings said Lindsay then looked up at him while holding the knife.
“I took the knife out of his hand … I cut across Andrew Negre’s throat,” he said.
Asked why, Hutchings replied: “I thought maybe he might want to do it again and come after me”.
He said he was scared of Lindsay and was the only person in the house not related to him.
“I was frightened and thought I had better do something or he could retaliate.”
When Hutchings slit his throat, Mr Negre had not been moving and appeared to be dead.
Hutchings said he helped clean up the scene and move the body into a wheelie bin after Lindsay told him “to get rid of this mess”.
Under cross-examination, Hutchings denied underplaying his own role.
He also denied egging on Lindsay and holding the victim’s legs, so Lindsay could go through his pockets.
The trial is continuing.
WINSTON-SALEM, United States, Aug 22 AFP – France’s Gael Monfils won an error-filled match over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (8-10) 6-4 6-4 on Thursday to edge into the semi-finals of the ATP Winston-Salem Open.
The 15th seeded Monfils will Friday face off for a place in the final when he takes on Ukranian tenth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-6 (7-2) 6-3.
Monfils and seventh seeded Verdasco seemed to play their third match as if neither wanted to win in the closing stages.
The Frenchman, who is back this week after an ankle injury which forced him to miss the two Masters 1000 events this month, could not take advantage of many of the mistakes by Verdasco, whose unforced error count totalled well over 60 in the contest which lasted just under two and a quarter hours.
He hadn’t played since reaching the Umag claycourt final in July.
“I lost two weeks of training because I sprained my ankle,” Monfils said.
“This week means a lot to me. I was playing well before the ankle and had done well on clay in Europe. I was doing well when I got hurt.
“It’s good to be winning matches to finally get set for the US Open,” added Monfils, who has returned to the top 50 in the world after falling as low as 108th on February 2.
Monfils improved to 3-0 over Verdasco in the match-up between the pair of former top 10 players in the final tune-up event before the US Open, which begins Monday.
Verdasco failed to impress in his first hardcourt quarter-final of the season. Of his five previous 2013 quarter-finals, two came on grass and three on clay.
The Spaniard, who suffered a neck injury earlier in the year, produced 11 aces but had a dozen double-faults in a patchy performance in draining and humid conditions. At times it looked as both were struggling for energy.
Monfils won the second set and came from 3-1 down in the third to finally advance as his seventh ace set up a match point. He clinched it when Verdasco hit a forehand long over the baseline.
Dolgopolov dealt Lu his ninth career quarter-final defeat without a win as he advanced into the last four in one hour, 38 minutes. The Ukranian owns the series 3-0 including a win here last year.
In other quarter-finals, American sixth seed Sam Querrey faced Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis while Austria’s Jurgen Melzer, seeded ninth, took on Russian Dmitry Tursunov.
He felt sheepish about it later but halfback Aaron Smith says his roar came from the heart as the All Blacks scrum bulldozed the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup hopes in Wellington.
A series of powerful New Zealand scrums early in the second half on Saturday swung momentum away from Australia, whose 27-16 loss saw them fall short in an 11th successive Bledisloe Cup series.
The scrum battle was starkly different from the first Test a week earlier, won 47-29 by New Zealand when both front rows were coming to grips with new engagement laws.
Smith was penalised more than once in Sydney for not putting the ball in straight and the Wallabies more than held their own.
He appreciated South African referee Jaco Peyper giving both teams more leeway in Wellington and it told as the All Blacks snared two tight-heads and won two penalties after halftime.
Smith let out a throaty cry following one of the penalties, which resulted in struggling Wallabies tighthead Ben Alexander being replaced.
“I don’t like to be like that but you’ve got to let them know sometimes,” he said.
“Our forwards all talking and the Aussie scrum dead quiet – it’s a good feeling.
“There’s not a better feeling than seeing our pack walk all over theirs.”
Australian scrum deficiencies were exposed in their series-deciding third Test loss to the British and Irish Lions last month.
Coach Ewen McKenzie, a former prop, vented frustration with Peyper’s rulings, which differed from those of compatriot referee Craig Joubert in Sydney.
“To be honest, I don’t understand what’s going on.
“I used to be able to work it out but now I don’t know what’s a penalty and what isn’t.
“It’s a completely different beast now.”
My view on resuscitating people changed when my brother, Trevor, suffered a cardiac arrest in the first quarter of an AFL match.
Once the paramedics arrived, it took a long time to descend from the high stadium seats Trevor had been so pleased about obtaining for the match between St Kilda and Geelong. His heart had stopped for more than 40 minutes and we were all completely behind his medical team in their fight to “bring him back”. It was traumatic watching him lying in ICU with tubes all over the place, machines bleeping and nurses constantly monitoring everything, but all we could think was, “Please save him!”
Even after he started breathing, we still had no idea whether we would ever see the Trevor we knew again, nor did the doctors. Being told that he had a “severe hypoxic brain injury” meant nothing to us. We just wanted to know basic stuff like whether he would be able to walk, talk, speak and understand us.
I feel awful saying this now, but at the time we may have been told the full extent of what could happen to him if he pulled through. But none of us could recall it – we just wanted him to live, and this would come back to haunt us.
Trevor spent three-and-a-half months in hospital. Part of the recovery process of brain damage is major mood swings that include frustration and aggression. I could never get used to seeing him restrained in his bed, but after being subjected to a headlock and then an attempt to smash my head into a wall, I accepted that it was necessary for everyone’s safety.
Trevor was moved to a rehabilitation centre and we thought everything would begin to improve. He could walk, eat his own meals, was starting to dress himself and look after his own grooming. But his brain injury had left Trevor with aphasia. He had trouble getting the words he wanted to say out in the right order. By constantly showing him photos of his life and then introducing words to match them, Trevor began to figure out ways to communicate with us.
But suddenly everything started to go downhill medically. Trevor’s bowel shut down and he went from 103kgs to 73kgs in a couple of months. He was slowly dying before our eyes. We had to pay a carer to sit with him and assist with his meals to ensure he received the nutrition he needed.
The rehabilitation centre insisted that Trevor be moved elsewhere as they didn’t feel he could improve any further. Trevor moved into an aged care facility because nowhere else could provide the level of support and care he now required. Trevor was once a “chick magnet” with plenty of friends and a busy social life – now he lives in an aged care facility at the young age of 55.
There is simply no funding to support people like Trevor, and Victoria’s Department of Human Services now has a policy where those under 50 years of age get priority of access to services and they jump over Trevor in the queue. He is effectively denied any chance of getting the support he needs to live in the community and he was just past his 51st birthday when he had his cardiac arrest.
WATCH: Should all patients be resuscitated?
My attitude about resuscitation has changed completely after seeing what has happened to Trevor since he was “brought back”. At the time we desperately wanted Trevor to live – at any cost. Even though he appears happy enough in himself, I now look back and wonder whether the right thing was done for him. I love Trevor with all my heart but I just know he wouldn’t really want to live like this.
Having seen Trevor’s outcome, I have told my husband that if he ever comes home and finds me having a heart attack, I want him to go back out again and come home in a few hours. I would not want to live like Trevor, and I would not want my husband to give up his life to visit me every week if the same thing happened to me.
Some people are very lucky and come back after “dying” with little or no damage, and they are able to continue on with their lives. Perhaps if Trevor had received the intensive rehabilitation therapies he needed early on, he may well have been further along the road to recovery. Was it right to prolong Trevor’s life if this is all it is going to be with what the Victorian state system offers? If I had a choice now, the answer would be a definite, “NO”.
Wendy Veitch is a guest on tonight’s episode of Insight on SBS ONE at 8.30pm. The program explores how medical science is pushing the boundaries of death, with doctors now to able to resuscitate some patients even an hour after they have ‘died’. Speaking to people who have ‘come back from the dead’ and doctors with conflicting viewpoints, Insight asks whether we should be reviving people just because we can.
Dressed in a fire-truck red leather suit, he blended urban comedy and impressions, with observational humour and stories from his childhood – punctuated by two particular four-lettered words a total of 401 times.
But he closed with this:
“I think maybe, like, 30 years ago there was a woman that wanted to sing… and this place was, like, segregated and she couldn’t sing here,” he said.
“And here we are, like, not even 50 years later. A 22-year-old black male on stage is getting paid to hold his d***. God bless America.”
The man was Eddie Murphy; and after a career that’s brought him dizzying highs and humiliating lows both on-screen and off, he’s joining the likes of Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope as the host of next year’s Academy Awards.
While his live stand-up shows “Delirious” and “Raw” remain the stuff of legend, in recent years he’s shed almost any trace of his edgy roots, trading “Beverly Hills Cop” for “Daddy Day Care”.
As a result, many (including yours truly) are eagerly anticipating which Eddie Murphy will actually show up to host Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.
And if he fails to make any references to cookouts, bigfoots or beating children with shoes, I’ma shoot Jimmy Walker in the lips.
The news wasn’t nearly as good for Wesley Snipes this week, who has failed to overturn his conviction on tax charges.
Oliver Stone, meanwhile, is reportedly due to travel to Iran, where his son, Sean, has begun laying the groundwork for a new documentary.
And the makers of the new James Bond film have been forced to change one of their stunts, after India’s minister for railways hit the roof.
That last crack makes a lot more sense if you watch the video.
Follow Manny Tsigas on Twitter @mantsig
The ruthless All Blacks are promising no respite for the Wallabies when they seek to lock up the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th consecutive year in Wellington on Saturday.
Unbeaten in New Zealand since 2009, the All Blacks are raging favourites to retain trans-Tasman bragging rights with a 15th straight win over the Wallabies on home soil.
But the humble world champions are refusing to count their chickens despite piling on six tries in Saturday night’s 47-29 romp in the opening Bledsloe Cup game in Sydney.
Skipper Richie McCaw says with the margins so fine at the top there can be no room for complacency.
“There’s very, very little between these teams and if you don’t get the prep right and you don’t turn up and put the performances out there, you come second,” he said.
“So if you start thinking that you’re better than you are, you’ll tip up.
“I think that’s the greatest challenge in sport – to back up performance after performance.
“It’s easy when you have a bad one or come second to get that motivation. It’s being able to make sure you do that when you have had a win.
“That’s the way we look at it.”
McCaw had no trouble playing 72 minutes in his first Test back after a nine-month sabbatical and will be looking to go the distance in the return clash at Westpac Stadium.
Coach Steve Hansen said Steven Luatua would continue to deputise for injured flanker Liam Messam, while man-of-the-match Aaron Cruden will look to make the five-eighth position, which injured star Dan Carter once had a mortgage on, his own for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.
In a Carter-esque display, Cruden notched 22 points at ANZ Stadium from a try, four conversions and three penalties, all while controlling the slick All Blacks backline with precision and guile.
Hansen, though, warned the Wallabies that his side would be looking to be even more clinical on Saturday.
“We did a number of things pretty effectively but there’s a lot of stuff we have to get better at,” he said.
“We weren’t overly happy with our set piece and the connection from our set piece to our backs at times wasn’t great either.
“We’ll work hard and see if we can create some more opportunities next week.”
Hansen said it would be foolish to start celebrating.
“It’s one thing to be a winning team, but you’ve got to be humble and keep your feet on the floor because you want to win again next week,” he said.
“The Bledisloe Cup, you have to win twice. So we haven’t done anything yet.
“We’ve only done a small part of the job and until we win two, we don’t own it.”
With Khan’s arrival U.
S. sports franchise owners now control six of the 20 clubs in the world’s richest football league, reflecting an explosion in interest in the game in the United States and a growing trend among owners to seek global networks.
Investors like the Glazer family at Manchester United, Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke and Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry at Liverpool have been drawn by the Premier League’s ability to generate vast sums of TV cash and support from fans all over the world.
“The Premier League obviously has a huge global audience,” says the moustachioed Khan, who was born in Pakistan and already owns Florida’s Jacksonville Jaguars in American football.
“It’s got a great media deal, it’s got great leadership at the top and most importantly a very, very passionate fan base and it’s an excellent business platform,” he told Reuters.
As a new season kicks off this weekend, television deals at home and abroad have allowed the English top flight to put the dark hooligan days of the 1980s behind it.
The league’s 20 clubs will share annual TV revenues of around 1.7 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) thanks to new broadcast deals starting this month.
Underlining the growing interest in the United States, NBC has bought the rights there for the next three years, paying an estimated $250 million to unseat Fox. There are now an estimated 24 million Americans playing football compared to 100,000 in 1967.
“Soccer is on the rise big time,” Khan said, commenting on the game’s growing U.S. profile. “I think Fulham can get its fair share of fans and we want to help them do that, playing friendlies in Jacksonville next year,” he added.
To try to build his NFL team’s international profile, Khan is bringing the Jaguars to London’s Wembley Stadium to play a game in each of the next four seasons.
The U.S. influx comes at a turning point for English football as a business.
After a decade in which rich Russian and Arab owners have poured hundreds of millions of pounds into winning the Premier League title at Chelsea and Manchester City, the European game’s governing body UEFA is striving to force clubs to run tighter and more sustainable budgets.
Stan Kroenke’s Arsenal, starved of success but reliably in the upper reaches of the league, have created one model admired by the game’s financial planners, generating operating profits of 20 million or more annually.
Champions Manchester United have seen around 100 million pounds in annual EBITDA profit in each of the past three years, allowing them to service the debts – controversial with many of the club’s fans – that the Glazers took out when they bought the club for 790 million pounds in 2005.
At Fulham, whose stadium on the banks of the Thames sees crowds of a third to at most half of those at the bigger clubs, the sums are much tighter and dominated by the threat of relegation out of the top flight.
Fulham’s revenues for 2011-12 were 79 million pounds – a quarter of what Manchester United generated in the same season.
“The key challenge for me is that it’s got to be sustainable for the long haul,” said Khan.
“The investments we have to make – obviously in the squad but more importantly in the stadium – are something that will generate the revenue so we will get into a virtuous circle.”
THE PRICE OF FAILURE
The Financial Fair Play regime being implemented by UEFA is second nature to Americans where mechanisms like salary caps and a luxury tax levy are in place to regulate spending by sports franchises.
At Fulham, former owner Mohamed Al Fayed pumped some 200 million pounds into the club after taking it over in 1997, loans he converted into shares earlier this year before selling up.
Fulham and fellow U.S.-owned clubs Sunderland and Aston Villa are among a group of teams whose initial ambition is to garner enough points to avoid finishing in the bottom three of the Premier League and losing their place in the elite.
American sports franchises do not have to deal with that system of promotion and relegation with the big swings in income that it can bring.
Khan, who paid an estimated $770 million to buy the Jaguars less than two years ago, says that the annual threat of demotion makes it cheaper to buy a Premier League club than to acquire an equivalent NFL franchise.
“The risk of relegation prices teams less than they would be in a closed league,” he said.
“I think it’s a simple matter of economics.”
(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Patrick Graham)
Mwanza airport, bound for Kigoma.
Mwanza is Tanzania’s second largest city after Dar es Salaam…. with an airport terminal like 1950s Broken Hill.
It’s like everything in this part of the world – utilised to the maximum, showing its wear and tear, but achieving its purpose – although the absence of a luggage carousel created a near riot as bags were shoved through a slot on the wall to a crowd of impatient and jostling travellers.
But amazingly it all worked. I’m in the jump seat next to our pilot, Augustine, in his single engine Cessna “grand caravan”, hoping this vantage point will prove good for filming. All the while I was thinking “gee, my Dad would love this!”, being the aircraft enthusiast he is. It really is something else seeing the landscape from the air, from the grassy plains to the rolling hills and jagged mountains giving way to the sculpted shore of Lake Victoria – the human eye does a much better job of it than any camera through the perspex windows can.
Kigoma airport appears scanter still, if that’s possible. We don’t even enter the building, ushered instead to a waiting car that takes us to the local refugee management headquarters where we go through the necessary protocols. “We were expecting you last night so that we could start early today”. “Yes, we missed our plane, so have to make the most of what time we have. Our charter flight leaves at 3.15 pm, so we must be swift.” “But the camp is two hours away.” Oh boy, nobody had told us that. It’s already 10.30, the formalities haven’t concluded yet; by the time we hit the road and arrive at the camp I’ll have barely half an hour of filming before we have to return.
Twenty minutes more and we were finally on our way. Our driver has made this journey more times than he has said “jambo!”, knows every rut and pothole on the road, and doesn’t hold back. Who knew Toyotas had such pace?! We arrive at the Mtabila refugee camp an hour and a half later, just after 12.30, flying through the gates and down a dusty track, past mud huts and kids playing, past a UN truck unloading food supplies – all potentially fantastic vision except for the fact another round of formalities has to be completed before I am allowed to film anything. I had hoped for at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted shooting so that I could get scene setting vision for my story, but the camp administrators have arranged four refugees for interviews.
The Mtabila camp, home to some 38,000 Burundian refugees, is scheduled to close at the end of December, as the Tanzanian government winds back its role as the region’s safe haven. For the past 40 years Tanzania has given shelter and safety to citizens of neighbouring countries fleeing violence, and believes that improvements in regional stability mean it can say it has done its duty. Tanzania is well into a program of systematically winding back the camps, working with the United Nations to relocate or repatriate most citizens, and offer Tanzanian citizenship to others. After 26 years of operation, Mtabila is the next to go.
(A shipment of donated goods is a big event in the camp. This load appears to contain guitars. musical instruments are prized, with many making their own from whatever’s at hand.)
As I set up for the interviews I manage to film a couple short sequences of Perth police officer Don Emanuel Smith, who’s over by a UN truck getting to know some of the camp’s children. Don is the Officer in Charge of the West Metropolitan Crime Prevention and Cultural Diversity Office, based in Mirrabooka, home to Australia’s largest concentration of Africans. Years of working in remote Aboriginal communities have given him a genuine ability to identify with people of all backgrounds, and a special affinity with children. His ability to laugh and joke and win their confidence transcends any challenges of language and culture and soon he’s surrounded by a gaggle of children and adults alike.
I wish I was filming closer, picking up the colour and sounds and emotion of the moment, but my patient interviewees await. It is not an easy thing to share your life story with a total stranger who has a camera trained you, and I deeply appreciate the efforts of the camp staff in finding people willing and able to speak. It would have been unforgivably inconsiderate to not give them my full respect and attention, no matter how tempting the filming opportunities over their shoulder.
(Don Emanuel Smith, 2011 West Australian police officer of the year.)
I begin recording and it comes tumbling out – the stories of bloodshed and persecution, the struggle to flee, the gratitude for Tanzania’s generous gift of a safe haven, the uncertainty of their future after the camp’s closure, and their desperate fear, fuelled by deep trauma, of being returned to a home they no longer regard as safe, despite the assurances of authorities. One man tells how he is the only survivor of his entire family, having witnessed the killings of his parents, his siblings, his wife and his children. Another has just the vestige of a nose, having been shot in the face. Here’s one with relatives in Australia, but his efforts to join them there have been unsuccessful, leaving him isolated, disconnected, despondent.
It is the story of refugees the world over – the heart wrenching decision to flee, the search for safety, the insecurity that even as you eke out a temporary existence in a camp someone could track you down, the desire to return home quashed by a mountainous dread of the potential consequences, and the exhausting, often disappointing process of trying to find a land that will take you in and give you opportunity. The air here is imbued with doubt. Those refugees without other options who do not agree to voluntarily return home face repatriation under Tanzania’s Immigration Act. To say emotions are taut is an understatement.
(The scars run deeper than those you see on his face.)
As I’m recording I feel I’m already letting these people down. Only a fraction of what they share with me will make it to your TV screen, such are the time constraints of news services. More will make it onto radio, and hopefully, online. But even news is driven by demand and is acutely attuned to the turn-off factor. I wonder whether our global society has become desensitised to the plight of people in such desperate need?
In Australia for instance it appears to me that there’s an element of active resentment of refugees, of outright opposition to those seeking asylum, and none too subtle racism against new arrivals trying to rebuild their lives in a strange land. I so desperately want to gather up all the naysayers and bring them here for a month in the hope they may begin to truly understand what it’s all about … I know it could be argued that I have some degree of opportunity to do just that through my reportage, but the fact is that no-one else’s interpretation, no matter how skilled the reporter or incisive the footage, can match actually being there and experiencing it for yourself.
(Scenes from the Mtabila Camp, not far from the Burundi border.)
Despite looking each of them in the eyes whilst shaking their hands and wishing them the most heartfelt ‘good luck”, I suspect they’ve heard it all before. It’s moments such as this I detest being a slave to the clock, but I’m being urged onwards, to be taken to see a choir perform. I’ve already visited Burundians who’ve made it to Perth and filmed their choir , as part of a narrative of the Burundian refugee journey. By now I’m literally filming while I’m walking. No time even to set the tripod on the ground, as I’m being shepherded towards the waiting vehicle. I get a quick picture of some children waving in the distance, and a shot of women awaiting under a large shelter to fill out resettlement application forms, but it’s too quick, filmed from too far, too shaky. I know my hopes of spending time with some of them in their houses, building a rapport and and bringing a greater insight into these suspended lives is a dream dashed.
(Youngsters getting water. In the background are the women wanting to apply for resettlement.)
Back in the car and we’re hurtling along a treacherous track, some places with half metre washouts, in order to get to the camp church. Too fast and too bumpy for filming out the window, though I try. Even a few seconds of clear footage is valuable now. When we arrive at the church, a cluster of kids greets us, and I figure if I’m going to do a quick wrap in front of the camera, this is the only chance I’ll get. But I hit trouble. Acutely aware of the clock ticking I just can’t get it right, my mind blanks and the words just won’t come. On the third attempt I’m almost there when I stumble. “dinghindignnnnrrrgh!!” Head in hands I vent my frustration, prompting a terrified plume of kids to scatter behind me, scared to bits by this crazy woman! I realise what’s happening and entreat them to return, promising I won’t do it again. It lightens the tension and the next take, though hurried, is useable.
I swing around the camera to set up to film the choir – but they’re not there. They are still fetching their instruments. But wait, these three men are choristers – one of them is the choir leader who turns out to be the man I’d earlier interviewed with the gunshot wound to the face – and they offer to sing. What a song it is. Their voices are instruments in themselves, requiring no accompaniment. This is my chance to film some of the faces in the crowd, and capture a glimpse of the spirit that sustains these men, women and children – people just like us – facing situations most of us simply cannot comprehend. I get the signal that it’s time to go, but there’s one thing I need and don’t have.
I turn to Don; “get your guitar, quick”. Don’s an accomplished songwriter and has lugged his beloved Maton all the way from Australia to share his songs with the camp. There’s no time for a proper performance, but at the very least I want to see him using the universal language of music to cement the bond he’s been forging here. It takes a few moments for him to find the key but soon magic happens, a melodic bridge has spanned from Perth to Mtabila. As they finish up, Don turns to the children and breaks into a rock’n’roll riff. Squeals of delight! Kids jump up and down and dance on the spot, a spontaneous burst of joy amidst a surreal situation in this limbo land.
(Don has a Maton, these boys have a made-one.)
(The three choristers are joined by a little girl outside the Mtabila church.)
But the fun can’t last. We have a plane to catch and barely an hour and a half to make the return journey. There’s no way we want to miss another flight, not after our tanzanite adventure, and it’s a case of pedal to the metal. Not even bothering now to slow for speed humps and bridges, our driver is determined to get us back in time. About 40 kilometres from Kigoma I think I can hear an unusual sound, something scraping, certainly different to what we’ve been hearing. I mention it to the driver but he assures me all is fine.
Even though I don’t want to cause any undue delays, I am sure I can hear something. After a few kilometres the driver pulls up and Don jumps out and does a quick inspection, but can’t spot anything untoward. Obviously I was worried about nothing. We’re back up to speed , pushing on the Kigoma when 5 minutes later flt flt flt ping flt rattle rattle rattle. This time I’m definitely not imagining things – it sounds like a handful of gravel has been tossed into the wheel well. We pull over and the driver says he can’t see a flat tyre – but then eagle eyed Don points to the rear driver’s side tyre which has all but stripped its outer casing and has flaps of rubber hanging off it with exposed canvas. Not flat, true, but not far from it.
Don takes charge. “Tyre change! where’s the jack?” as he pulls open the rear door. Within 30 second he’s loosening the wheel nuts to release the damaged tyre. The driver is crouched behind him watching. As soon as the nuts are slack Don’s manoeuvring the jack on the sloping ground. This is my chance to grab to brace and undo the nuts holding the spare. By the time the car is elevated, I’m ready to go. “You get that off and I’ll put this on”, as I heft this huge 4WD wheel off its mount and carry it around the corner of the vehicle. Amazing what you can do when you have to. It was the Aussie tyre changing dream team; both of us knew exactly what needed to be done and it happened like clockwork. Bung wheel stowed, nuts tightened, jack lowered and we were done. Tyre change in under 5 minutes.
(Thought I was filthy after the tanzanite mine yesterday? My clothes were even worse after this effort! Check the tyre tread – or lack of it.)
Pedal to the metal once more. We made it to the airport at 3.13 for our 3.15 flight! Augustine the pilot played dodgem with storm clouds to get us safely to Mwanza. A salad roll on the flight from Mwanza to Dar was the first food to pass our lips all day, but I can honestly say i don’t think any of us noticed. Thinking back to my first blog when Gwenda of Adelaide requested more food photos, well Gwenda, the culinary opportunities have been a bit thin on the ground! But we’re due to fly to Zanzibar tomorrow for a story on the spice trade – I promise I’ll do my best to post you some mouthwatering pics of that!!
PHOTO GALLERY: The Faces of Mtabila
(Karen Ashford travelled to Tanzania at the invitation of the Tanzanian government)
The focus of the same sex marriage debate has shifted to the Liberal Party with a senior member changing his stance on the issue.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell, who had previously opposed same sex marriage, says he’s changed his mind.
Same sex marriage campaigners have welcomed the development, saying they hope the comments will put pressure on the federal Liberals.
Biwa Kwan reports.
An attempt to legalise same sex marriage failed in federal parliament last year.
During the debate, Coalition members were denied a conscience vote on the issue, although Labor politicians were given one.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he’s changed his mind about gay marriage and is now in favour of it.
Mr O’Farrell says it’s probably time to accept that it’s really an issue of fairness.
He says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott should allow his party a conscience vote on the issue if it comes before federal parliament again.
“Governments shouldn’t deny to one section of the community recognition of the commitment and loving relationships they extend to to others. It would be best if it were legislated at a federal level. That’s why we have the Marriage Act 1961 that sets the rules around marriages in the states and territories. Of course given the widespread views on this issue- that if it was to be discussed and debated federally, there should be a conscience vote.”
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says while he remains opposed to gay marriage, he agrees it should be an issue for a conscience vote.
“I think it’s a conscience issue for most parliaments. I don’t happen to support gay marriage, but I readily acknowledge that increasingly more Australians are. So we’re probably changing our view as a nation on that. I don’t think most Australians are at that point yet, but they will probably get there. But if it’s an issue that comes before Parliament it is a conscience vote issue.”
Rodney Croome, from the group, Australian Marriage Equality, has welcomed Mr O’Farrell’s changed stance.
Mr Croome says he hopes it’s a sign of a broader change in views in support of same sex marriage among conservative politicians.
“What’s really important about Barry O’Farrell’s announcement is that he is supporting marriage equality for conservative reasons. He’s sending the message that this is no longer a left-right issue. This is about equality. This is about family values. It’s about individual freedoms. All things which conservatives can support. And the fact that Barry O’Farrell is right behind this reform I think will encourage other people on the right of Australian politics to do the same.”
Mr Croome says the key reason why New Zealand has successfully legislated same sex marriage when the Australian government failed in its attempt last year is due to the support from the conservative politicians.
“The key reason why marriage equality passed in New Zealand and hasn’t passed yet in Australia is because the conservative party in New Zealand had a conscience vote and that allowed conservatives to vote for marriage equality based no conservative principles like individual freedom, like family values. In Australia, Liberal and National Party MPs don’t have that freedom. And at the very least we’re saying to Tony Abbott, allow that conscience vote so that this reform has a fighting chance.”
A parliamentary inquiry in New South Wales is examining a proposed same sex marriage law.
Mr O’Farrell says he would consider legislating same sex marriage laws in the state if the inquiry finds it possible under the constitution.
But says he would prefer the federal parliament to change the Marriage Act.
Anne Twomey is a professor in constitutional law at the University of Sydney,
She says complex issues would be raised by any move by New South Wales to legalise same sex marriages.
“We don’t know whether the state law would be inoperative because it conflicts with the Commonwealth Marriage Act. And that would depend very much on how the High Court interpreted the Commonwealth Act and whether it was intended to cover the entire field of all kinds of marriage or whether it was just confined to marriage between members of the opposite sex. So that’s one problem. And the second problem is how the New South Wales legislation would fit in with existing regimes in relation to same sex relationships. So at the moment you’ve got de facto legislation at the Commonwealth level that deals with, for example, property issues when relationships break down. So how would New South Wales legislation fit in with that?”
The New South Wales Council of Churches says Mr O’Farrell’s support of same sex marriage is wrong,
It’s urging the federal Opposition leader to stand firm on his refusal to support a change to the Marriage Act.
Tony Abbott says he has not changed his personal views on marriage as being between a man and a woman.
He has hinted at the possibility of a new Coalition approach to same-sex marriage – but only after the September election.
“I know that there are many people who don’t have my view. But my view is the same as John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Kim Beazley and that is the orthodox definition of a marriage as between a man and a woman should continue. Our position, my position, going into the next election, is that what our policy is … will be a matter for the post-election party room.”
Nearly nine months after trudging off Twickenham in defeat, rested All Blacks great Richie McCaw returns to Test rugby against Australia in Sydney on Saturday night.
McCaw will lead a hardened New Zealand side in the opening Bledisloe Cup clash which will expose whether his 32-year-old frame is short of a gallop.
A proven performer in the past with little rugby under his belt, McCaw faces his biggest cobweb-brushing exercise both physically and mentally, having reclaimed the captaincy from Kieran Read.
He stored the boots away after his 116th Test, the heavy loss to England in London on December 1, to pursue other interests at home and overseas.
His return to training two months ago was followed by an 80-minute club game, two late bench appearances for the Crusaders and 40 minutes against Canterbury in an All Blacks squad hitout last Friday.
McCaw will be the second-oldest player to wear No.7 in an All Blacks Test behind 33-year-old Bob Stuart, against France in 1954.
And linking with Read, 27, and flanker Liam Messam, 29, provides New Zealand with its oldest loose forward trio of the professional era. It’s the most grizzled since 30-year-olds Zinzan Brooke, Michael Jones and Mike Brewer faced Australia in 1995.
The front row has also done the hard yards. Prop Tony Woodcock will start his 99th Test and 34-year-old hooker Andrew Hore his 77th, with the lively Crusaders trio of prop Owen Franks and locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano rounding out the tight five.
Manawatu teammates Aaron Smith and Aaron Cruden are the halves while inside centre Ma’a Nonu was cleared of an ankle injury and will start his 80th Test.
It is the 70th cap for long-time midfield partner Conrad Smith, playing inside the back three of fullback Israel Dagg and wingerss Julian Savea and Ben Smith.
Cruden replaces the injured Dan Carter in one of six starting changes from the slightly experimental side who beat France 24-9 in the third Test at New Plymouth on June 22.
There are just three differences from what was regarded as the first choice All Blacks XV who crushed the French 30-0 at Christchurch a week earlier.
They see McCaw, Woodcock and Hore replace Sam Cane, the injured Wyatt Crockett and Dane Coles respectively.
Coles was released to play NPC rugby this week, meaning Test centurion Keven Mealamu is the reserve hooker.
Uncapped Crusaders back Ryan Crotty is the reserve outside back cover.
Crotty, 24, was called into the wider training squad on Sunday to replace the injured Francis Saili.
He was promoted onto the Test bench ahead of fullback specialist Charles Piutau due to his midfield prowess, with Carter’s injury robbing New Zealand of inside centre injury coverage.
All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty
Italy has agreed to take in 102 migrants rescued from a leaking dinghy after Malta refused to admit them despite EU pressure, the Maltese government says.
The migrants, including a five-month-old baby and four pregnant women, were rescued from their badly damaged inflatable boat on Monday by the Liberian-flagged Salamis oil tanker 80 kilometres off the Libyan coast.
In a statement released overnight on Wednesday, Malta said the Salamis, which had been moored off the Mediterranean island nation in international waters, was heading for Syracuse in Sicily.
“This development came as the Italian authorities accepted to welcome the migrants who are aboard the MV Salamis. It followed diplomatic contacts between the Italian, Maltese and Greek governments,” the government said.
It said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat personally thanked Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
“Malta’s position during this crisis was always strong, consistent and legitimate. Through this position, Malta sent a strong message,” Muscat was quoted as saying in the statement on Wednesday.
Muscat has sparked controversy with his hardline approach to boat migrants. In July he said the government was considering expelling them, insisting he had to “get the message across that Malta is not a pushover”.
The country refused to allow the 102 migrants aboard the Salamis to land despite a call from the European Commission to do so “as soon as possible” to save lives.
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said it was Malta’s “humanitarian duty” and sending the ship back “would be contrary to international law”.
The Maltese government claimed that a patrolling Italian navy ship had ordered the Salamis to take the migrants to the nearest available port, in this case in Libya, but said the captain refused to obey the order.
Muscat said in a tweet on Tuesday that the country meets its international obligations, but “cannot be expected to intervene in place of irresponsible boat owners who defy rules for their commercial needs”.
The Salamis was heading to Malta with a consignment of oil.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa have braved the seas in dangerously ill-equipped vessels operated by traffickers to get to Italy and other parts of the European Union in recent years, many paying with their lives.
Malta had a record 880 arrivals in July with some 1200 in total having landed on the island so far this year.
On Wednesday, Maltese police said 86 immigrants had been rescued overnight after their dinghy started taking in water, and brought to Malta.
The migrants consisted of 65 men, 17 women and four children who were dehydrated but did not need urgent medical attention, the police said.
Argentina led for much of the encounter after tries from flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamon and centre Marcelo Bosch, but indiscipline in the final 10 minutes allowed South Africa to edge ahead and hold on for victory.
“We’ve got mixed feelings … We took a step forward with regard to last weekend since we radically changed our image and attitude,” Leguizamon told reporters.
“But we lacked something to have won the match … We needed to be a bit more disciplined with regard to the penalties.”
Bosch said: “We’re left with a bit of a sour taste, feeling we could have won it, but I think the team today still can feel successful for what they gave on the pitch.”
Wing Bjorn Basson scored the visitors’ only try, with Steyn kicking the rest of their points to take them to the top of the four-nation tournament’s standings on points difference from title holders New Zealand.
The Springboks and All Blacks have nine points after two rounds, with Argentina on a single point and Australia yet to break their duck after two defeats against New Zealand.
“I’m not at all surprised by what the Pumas did, they played very well, with a lot of passion playing typical Argentine rugby,” South Africa’s coach Heyneke Meyer said.
It was South Africa’s first away victory in the southern hemisphere’s elite competition since beating New Zealand in Hamilton in 2009.
South Africa, who were held to a 16-16 draw by Argentina in the same fixture in Mendoza last year, had expected a response from the Pumas after their abject display seven days ago.
But while the home side showed more physicality and passion, South Africa were nowhere near as slick as they made numerous handling errors.
Leguizamon barged his way over for the opening try inside four minutes as the Pumas made all the early running.
Steyn and Pumas captain Felipe Contepomi traded penalties after that, before the Springboks hit back to level the score at 10-10, Basson crossing the line unopposed after the visitors spread the ball wide.
Argentina continued to impress with their enterprise and had their second try three minutes before halftime when good play from wing Gonzalo Camacho got them close to the Springbok line and outside centre Bosch crashed over, with Contepomi adding his second conversion.
Steyn added a second penalty, but the Springboks still trailed 17-13 at halftime.
The match threatened to boil over in the second period as first Springbok flanker Francois Louw accused an opponent of eye-gouging, before lock Eben Etzebeth claimed he was bitten.
There was no immediate visual evidence of either incident.
Steyn closed the gap to a point with another penalty five minutes after halftime and his team edged ahead with eight minutes to play after the Pumas were penalised for collapsing a maul.
The Springboks managed to play the remainder of the match in the Argentina half and were rewarded with another penalty when the Pumas again collapsed a maul for Steyn to convert his fifth penalty.
(Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; Additional reporting by Rex Gowar)
And that’s because there are just too many factors, often unpreidcatble factors, influencing currency moves.
Interest rates, global politics, economic growth and carry-trades are just some of the variables.
The recent slide in the Australian dollar has been attributed to the escalating political uncertainty in Greece.
But last week’s better than expected local unemployment numbers prevented the Australian dollar’s slide to below parity.
Today though, for the first time since December 20th, the Australian dollar fell to below parity with the US dollar, as Greece fails to form a government, and speculation increases of a Greece split from the Euro.
So is anyone game enough to predict where the Australian dollar is going now?
NAB this afternoon, revised its forecasts, and is now expecting the Aussie to hit US$0.97 by the end of the year because of the turmoil in Europe.
But, at the same time, Reserve Bank deputy governor, Philip Lowe said at a lunchen, that he thinks it is highly likely for the exchange rate to remain high for some years to come.
Much of that will depend on a recovery in economy growth, and a soft landing in China, which demands the bulk of Australia’s commodities, thus keeping the local currency strong.
To a smaller degree, interest rates also have an impact on the Australian dollar, because higher rates attract more foreign investors to our currency because they’ll get a higher return on their investment.
The market however, is now pricing in a 70 per cent chance of another interest rate cut in June.
Economists at NAB today, have added another interest rate cut to their predictions. They’re now penciling in two rate cuts, one in August, with a follow up in September.
On the upside, lower interest rates should help the housing sector.
Today, the number of new owner occupied housing loans rose for the first time in three months, up 0.3 per cent in March.
First home buyer activity fell though, from a 23- month high of 20.9 per cent to 16.4 per cent.
According to Commsec, there’s also been a fall in how much money Australians are prepared to borrow for a home loan at $284,500, down 4.7 per cent on a year ago.
And with the major banks failing to pass on any Reserve Bank interest rate cut in full, it should be no surprise that there’s been a shift in consumer attitudes towards fixed rate loans, which now account for 14.5 per cent of all loans in March, a four year high.