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The move has raised hopes of progress after years of stalemate.
Mr Rowhani used his first news conference since his weekend inauguration to say he would not surrender Iran’s rights but he wanted to allay Western concerns.
Western countries and Israel say they believe Iran is trying to achieve nuclear-weapons capability.
But Iran says it needs atomic power for energy and medical needs.
The last high-level talks in April between Iran and world powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – failed to break the deadlock.
But Hassan Rowhani is seen in the West as a relatively moderate leader, and his victory over conservative rivals in June has raised hopes of a breakthrough in negotiations.
Now, he is indicating a desire to change the tone of negotiations.
“I, as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, announce that the Islamic Republic has the serious determination for solving this issue, the nuclear issue, while maintaining the rights of the Iranian people. And at the same time, we take into consideration that the worries of the other side have to be eliminated.”
President Rowhani says Iran will not abandon its nuclear program, which he says it would uphold on the basis of international law.
But the sanctions imposed on Iran since 2006, after it refused United Nations demands to suspend its enrichment program, are hurting its economy.
Mr Rowhani has criticised the embargoes, which have had a deepening impact since Europe and the United States recently cut oil imports, the country’s main source of income.
He says international calls for tougher sanctions show a lack of understanding.
“Unfortunately, in the US, there is a pressure group which is a war-seeking group, and it is opposed to constructive dialogue, and it seeks to protect the interest of a foreign country, and it takes orders from it in the US.”
Both the United States and Israel have, in the past, refused to rule out military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability.
And Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the Iranian leader’s latest signals on resolving the dispute, calling for increased pressure on Iran instead.
“Iran’s president said that pressures do not work. Not true. The only thing that has worked in the last two decades is pressure. And the only thing that will work now is increased pressure. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again, because that’s important to understand. You relent on the pressure, they will go all the way. You should sustain the pressure.”
But an Australian-based analyst of Iranian politics says Mr Rowhani should get credit for shifting the debate from the hardline rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
Dr Shahram Akbarzadeh a professor of Middle East and Central Asian politics at the University of Melbourne, sees encouraging signs.
He says the signals the new president is sending out signify a real willingness for a rapprochement with the West.
“That’s quite a novel approach to negotiations, because, in the past, Iran has gone to negotiation tables to state its position and has not moved an inch. So, he is prepared to look for common ground in negotiations, and he is hoping that that will generate some goodwill at international fora and, ideally, remove the sanctions on Iran. That’s a big ask, and that has raised a lot of expectations in the population who voted for him.”
Voters have just five weeks to decide which party will be best to govern the nation for the next three years.
Kicking off the campaign, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the economy will be a key issue.
Sonja Heydeman reports.
Mr Rudd says slogans won’t solve problems and he says the Australian people will now decide who’s best to navigate the big issues.
“So this election will be about who the Australian people best judge to get the balance right, by keeping our economy strong while at the same time protecting jobs, ensuring we have fair wages and fair conditions, continuing to invest in health and education and above all ensuring there’s a fair go for all. Managing the big economic transition that lies ahead will be difficult but it is definitely do-able. Charting a course through the choppy economic waters that lie ahead will require a steady hand and a clear cut plan for the future.”
Mr Rudd says his economic strategy is clear.
“By responsibly returning the budget to surplus over the economic cycle. Supported by moderate budget savings which don’t hit jobs, health or education. That’s our economic plan for the future. Mr Abbott’s plan by contrast is a 70 billion dollar slash and burn austerity drive which will cut jobs and cut deeply into basic services in health and education.”
As the fight begins to secure crucial votes, Mr Rudd says
it’s time for positivity to return to politics.
“One thing I know for certain is that the old politics of the past just won’t work for the future. Wall to wall negativity doesn’t create a single job, negative personal politics doesn’t build a single school. The old politics of division doesn’t build a single hospital. Clinging to the past is not going to help build a national broadband network of the future.”
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Tony Abbott is promising real change as he heads toward the poll.
Mr Abbott says the coalition is ready to lead but has warned that he will not do a deal to lead a minority government if the election results in another hung parliament.
He says the decision on who’ll govern the country will now move away from the faceless men and to the will of the Australian people.
“And the choice couldn’t be clearer. The choice is between the positive plans of the Coalition and more of the same under the Australian Labor party and Mr Rudd. I am determined, my team is determined to build a better with specific improvements that we will deliver. We will build a stronger economy, so that everyone can get ahead , we will scrap the carbon tax, we will get the budget back under control, we will build the infrastructure of the future and we will stop the boats.”
Mr Abbott is asking voters who they feel is more genuine, the people who stopped the boats in the past or the person who started them up again.
He says his party and its policies will be open to proper scrutiny.
“They will know exactly how it will be funded because what I want to do is to re-establish the bonds of trust that should exist between a government and a people … between a prime minister and citizens and sadly those bonds of trust have been repeatedly broken by the current government.”
The Australian Greens are asking the Australian people to look past the two main parties on election day.
Greens Leader Christine Milne says this is the time to choose between compassion or cruelty.
“Rather than the growing gap between the rich and the poor .. the cowardice in standing up to the old vested interests and seeing the future compromised as the old parties push out more coal mining, more fast track coalseam gas. This is the election where people can choose to protect the Tarkine rainforest and vote for the Greens or not. They can choose to protect the Leadbeater possum, they can choose to look after the Great Barrier Reef.”
Ms Milne says while she support vigorous debate all parties should be able to have a voice.
“How ridiculous would it be in a debate to have only Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd trying to out-do each other on how cruel they can be to refugees. One upmanship in terms of how many people we are prepared to send to Manus Island, how many people they’re prepared to send to Nauru. Why they both think it’s okay to resettle people in those countries why they both think that breaking international law is okay.”
Asylum seeker advocates say the election can’t come soon enough and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre spokeswoman Pamela Carr says she’s relieved.
Ms Carr says Australia is currently on a knife edge.
“This country is a country of migration. We are many who have come together and have lived in harmony. What the politicians are doing is destroying the social fabric of our nation and it is a shocking thing. We would hope that after this election that we can start to repair the trust and the cohesion of this country.”
The Australian Electoral Commission says it’s well prepared to handle the 14.5 million people who’ll turn out to vote on September 7th.
More than seven thousand polling places will be set up and more than 500 mobile polling teams will be sent to rural and remote Australia to manage the numbers.
Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn has told the ABC people need to promptly enrol to vote, with the rolls closing on the 12th of August.
“We think that it’s important to for them to get on the roll. One of the best things we’ve done most recently is to allow people to get on the roll through an application. they can go on their mobile phone or a tablet and they can not only update their address through that facility but also to enrol for the first time because it allows the person to digitally render their signature which is then transmitted to the AEC.”
The September 7 election means the planned referendum on the constitutional status of local governments will not go ahead.
Lance Franklin and his camp continue to raise Hawthorn hopes that the dual Coleman Medallist will end his AFL career as a one-club player.
But the Hawks will have to continue to wait until the end of the season to learn whether Franklin will turn down a `Godfather’ offer from Greater Western Sydney.
“I want to stay at Hawthorn – I love the footy club, they’ve been a great football club for me for nearly nine years,” Franklin said on Wednesday.
“As I said at the start of the season, I will make my decision at the end of the season.
“My management is in talks with the football club at the moment and that’s where it stays.
“There are a few things we’ll weigh up at the end of the season and that’s between me and my management and the football club.”
Franklin said in February that he wanted to stay put, but speculation then intensified that the Giants would prise him away from the Hawks’ nest.
His manager Liam Pickering said last month that he was “very confident” Franklin would not head to the Giants.
On Wednesday, Pickering repeated his optimism about Franklin staying.
“I would have thought if you’re a betting man, you’d still be pretty confident he’s staying at Hawthorn,” Pickering said.
GWS declined to comment about Wednesday’s development.
Franklin becomes a restricted free agent once this season ends and ensured his future would become one of the biggest AFL stories of the year when he postponed a decision.
The Giants are said to have an offer ready that is worth close to $10 million.
Hawthorn revealed last month they had made a revised offer that would be the biggest player contract in the club’s history, but still short of the Giants offer.
Franklin and Hawthorn have enjoyed strong seasons, but the two-time Coleman Medallist admitted the contract negotiations were playing on his mind.
“You can’t say it hasn’t been a distraction – it has been a little bit,” he said.
“But it is what it is.
“At the end of the day, I’ve made my decision to leave my contract until the end of the season and that’s the way it stands.
“For everyone, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
“But I’m sitting comfortably with it at the moment and I’m just looking forward to the end of the season and playing finals football – hopefully we can win it (the premiership).”
Franklin was asked how he felt when president Andrew Newbold indicated the revised offer would be the biggest player contract the club had proposed.
“It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable,” Franklin said.
“There’s not much I can do with that – the president has come out and said what he’s said and the club has too.
“They’ve put the offer to my management and myself and at the end of the day, it comes back to me and my decision.”
Last week hundreds of people were killed after Egypt’s military-backed interim government sent forces in to disperse protest camps of Morsi supporters in Cairo.
Military forces used live ammunition, bulldozers, tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the two camps that had been in place for six weeks.
An Egyptian woman is seen standing between a military bulldozer and a wounded youth as government forces move in on protesters. (Getty)
The clashes come after the country’s first democratically elected and Islamist leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in what many have labelled a military coup.
A supporter of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party launches a water container into a fire. Several fires erupted during the violence, destroying makeshift campsites and in some cases, killing people inside. (Getty)
Women wearing masks to prevent exposure to tear gas collect rocks to throw during the clashes. (Getty)
A man is seen through the shoulders of security forces as they close in on crowds of demonstrators. (Getty)
One demonstrator shoots fireworks into approaching military forces. (Getty)
Another pro-Morsi protester gestures amid the remains of part of a pro-Morsi camp site. (Getty)
The interim-government’s decision to use force has been condemned by leaders around the world, with US Secretary of State John Kerry describing the events as deplorable.
The United Nations, the European Union, Britain, France, Iran, Qatar and Turkey have also denounced the move.
The number of people killed in the violence is disputed by both sides of the conflict. Egypt’s health ministry says 278 people have so far been killed. Pro-morsi groups say the figure is much higher.
Three journalists have also been killed in the clashes.
A man kneels among the bodies of dead pro-Morsi protesters on the floor of Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adaweya Medical Centre. (Getty)
A girl cries after identifying the body of a dead family member inside the Rabaa al-Adaweya Medical Centre. (Getty)
One man sits handcuffed on the ground as security forces fire tear gas into the giant camp of protestors at Cairo’s Al-Nahda square. (Getty)
Egyptian security forces stand amid the charred remains of the protest camp site near the city’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. (Getty)
A military vehicle sits in Al-Nahda square flanked by smoke and fire after entering the protest camp site. (Getty)
In response to the violence, a month-long state of emergency has now been declared with curfews imposed in Cairo and 13 other provinces.
Beachgoers came forward Thursday with a plausible explanation for why a dead shark turned up in a New York subway train two days before.
The fishy-smelling three-foot (one-meter) critter caused an Internet stir after it was discovered — and duly photographed by commuters — on a Queens-bound N train.
“I have no idea how it got there or how long it had been there,” one rider, Isvett Verde, told local TV station WABC after tweeting her snapshot of what she called “that poor strap-hanging dead shark.”
One wag went so far as to pose the shark with a cigarette, a can of Red Bull energy drink and a yellow MetroCard transit pass.
On Thursday, Gothamis南宁夜生活,m said it got an email from a New Yorker who received text-messaged photos at work earlier Tuesday of his young daughter at Coney Island beach — holding what appeared to be the same shark.
It had apparently washed up on the sun-kissed beach, where it quickly became a prop for souvenir snaps.
“My neighbor, who took the photo, texted me to say how ‘boss’ my daughter was by holding the shark while the boys in the group were afraid to even get close,” said the man, identified only as Domenick.
“Our neighbor and my kids took some pictures with it and then a guy took the shark with him,” he told the blog.
The neighbor, Alicia Vicino, told Gothamis南宁夜生活,m that she was convinced it was the same shark — not least because she knew the Queens-bound N train begins its journey at Coney Island.
“We were cracking up when we saw it on the news. We said, ‘That’s our shark!’,” Vicino said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the New York subway system, said it threw the shark away in the garbage after the train reached its final destination of Astoria, home of New York’s seafood-loving Greek community.
By Stuart Ross, University of Melbourne
Every two years, the Productivity Commission releases a report on the level of Indigenous disadvantage in Australia.
These reports make for fairly bleak reading: most indicators show no change, and in some areas the “gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes continues to grow. Indigenous imprisonment is one such area.
From 2000 to 2010, the Indigenous imprisonment rate increased by 52%, while non-Indigenous rates have hardly changed.
This will come as no surprise to anyone involved with Australian justice systems. Indigenous over-representation at all stages of the justice process first made headlines during the Deaths in Custody Royal Commission in the early 1990s and has been flagged as a serious problem in report after report in the decades since then.
The most recent contribution to this depressing debate is Unfinished Business: Koori Women and the Justice System, released by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission on Monday. The report shows Koori women are the fastest-growing group in the Victorian prison population and are imprisoned at a higher rate than non-Koori women and Koori men.
According to the report, this over-representation in arrest, conviction and imprisonment is driven by family violence and sexual abuse, inter-generational trauma, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and, tragically, high rates of re-imprisonment.
The authors call for the development of effective diversionary options for Koori women, arguing that the existing suite of programs available to offenders are neither culturally or gender appropriate. Importantly, the report doesn’t stop with a “more should be done” set of recommendations, but argues specifically for a residential community-based service model (the “hub”) linked to a range of case management and treatment services (the “spokes”).
But if the past two decades have taught us anything about this problem it’s that recommending solutions in the form of more and better programs doesn’t necessarily change anything. In the last year alone there have been reports addressing this issue by the Senate, the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Australian National Council on Drugs, the Law Council of Australia and a variety of academic and non-government organisations.
Juvenile Indigenous offenders have been the focus of a great deal of attention. Flickr/publik16
So why is the problem of indigenous imprisonment so intractable?
The pessimistic view is that as a country we have elected, in the last two decades, to go down a route of “penal expansionism” – imprisoning people at ever higher rates on the basis that this is justified by the improved security for the community – and that Indigenous Australians are particularly disadvantaged by this strategy.
In effect, the system-wide changes associated with the “politics of insecurity” (zero-tolerance policing, longer sentences, more restrictive bail and parole policies, targeting of repeat offenders) overwhelm any marginal changes to justice processes designed to limit their impact on Indigenous offenders. Criminology expert Chris Cunneen refers to this approach as “governing through crime” and argues that it has meant that the goal of reducing Indigenous imprisonment has become increasingly insignificant.
On a more positive note, there has been an increase in the range of diversionary programs for Indigenous people or specifically for Indigenous women. The Australian Institute of Criminology identified a range of programs available to Indigenous women offenders across Australia, and there is even larger number of programs for Indigenous male offenders.
Juvenile Indigenous offenders have been the focus of a great deal of attention and there is some evidence that diversion efforts are having an effect – Indigenous juvenile detention rates were stable from 2000 to 2006, increased in 2007 and 2008 and then declined again in 2009.
However such programs are typically relatively small scale and often suffer from inconsistent funding. A key problem is that there are few proven intervention models for Indigenous offenders and scant evaluation evidence about what forms of intervention are effective.
In the last two years, Justice Reinvestment has been promoted as a solution for Indigenous over-representation in prison. Justice Reinvestment is the idea that funding currently directed into custodial services is reinvested into education, programs and services that address the underlying causes of crime, and that this investment is justified by the savings derived from lower crime and imprisonment rates.
The United States is widely regarded as the exemplar of penal expansionism. But in August, attorney-general Eric Holder called for a fundamental change in approach, arguing that “we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation”, and citing Justice Reinvestment as the vehicle for reform.
The social and institutional problems the US faces as a result of its decades-long commitment to penal expansionism are no less significant than the ones that Australia faces. If they can change, so can we.
Stuart Ross was a former supervisor of Simone Gristwood, a co-author of Unfinished Business.
Sam Burgess is not a grubby player, insists teammate Roy Asotasi, after the South Sydney star accepted a two-match NRL ban for an alleged “squirrel grip”.
England international Burgess on Tuesday opted to take the early guilty plea on a contrary conduct charge stemming from an incident which left Melbourne centre Will Chambers writhing around the AAMI Stadium turf on Friday night.
There was widespread speculation that Burgess had squeezed Chambers’ testicles while making a tackle after video footage of the incident appeared on social media over the weekend.
Burgess’ loading from four previous judiciary matters means he will miss two blockbuster home games for the second-placed Rabbitohs – against third-placed Manly on Friday night and fifth-placed Canterbury the following weekend.
If Burgess had contested the charge and lost, he would still have missed two matches.
After seeing vision of the tackle, Rabbitohs veteran Asotasi admitted on Tuesday he thought Burgess may have had a case to answer but he was quick to defend his teammate.
“A lot of people out there are saying that Sam’s a grub,” Asotasi said on Tuesday.
“It’s not what Sammy is as a person. He goes out and plays hard and sometimes things happen.”
Asotasi was unaware of the incident until he saw footage after training on Monday.
“I knew something had happened at the time but didn’t really pay attention to it. But then I saw it and thought `He could be in a bit of trouble here’,” he said.
The loss of the 24-year-old is a big blow for the Rabbitohs, who’ve lost three of their last four matches to slip off the top of the ladder.
However they are expected to get star fullback Greg Inglis back from injury this week for his first match since the third State of Origin game.
The Miami Heat will open their title defence against the Chicago Bulls on October 29 in the expected return of Derrick Rose, with an all-Los Angeles match-up later that night in the Lakers’ first game without Dwight Howard and the Clippers’ first with Doc Rivers.
The NBA’s 2013-14 schedule, released on Tuesday, also features a potential LeBron James-Kobe Bryant duel on Christmas in Los Angeles, right after scoring stars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant match up across the country in New York.
Howard’s first visit to the Lakers since leaving for Houston as a free agent doesn’t come until February 19, giving Bryant plenty of time to get back to full strength from his torn Achilles’ tendon near the end of last season.
The Indiana Pacers host the Orlando Magic in the opening game of the season, about the time the Heat are holding another championship ring ceremony. Then Miami will try to give Rose a rough welcome back in what’s likely to be his first NBA game since tearing his knee in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs.
Most teams open on October 30. Two nights later, the Heat will serve as the opponent for the new-look Brooklyn Nets’ first home game since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston.
That duo, which helped lead the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship, will make its emotional return to Boston on January 26. Rivers will coach his first game back there on December 11 – one night after the Celtics see Garnett and Pierce for the first time in Brooklyn. Rivers will then renew acquaintances with his two star players on December 12 at Barclays Center.
Other highlights of the schedule, which was released during an NBA TV special program:
-The Heat will host the Spurs on January 26 in their first meeting since they edged San Antonio in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The teams also meet in Texas on March 6.
-The marquee Christmas Day schedule features five games: Chicago at Brooklyn, Oklahoma City at New York, Miami at the Lakers, Houston at San Antonio, and the Clippers at Golden State.
– No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett could make his NBA debut at home when Cleveland hosts Brooklyn on Oct. 30.
-The Nets have a three-game road trip in three different countries from January 11-20. They open at Toronto, travel to London to face the Atlanta Hawks on January 16 in the O2 Arena, and then return to New York to visit the rival Knicks in a Dr. Martin Luther King Day matinee.
-San Antonio and Minnesota play December 4 in Mexico City.
The regular season ends April 16. The All-Star game is Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
The 29-year-old Woodland, who earlier this month won the Reno-Tahoe Open for his first PGA Tour title, was four under par for the round and 13-under for the tournament, the opening event in the FedExCup playoffs.
Little known Kevin Chappell also used a blistering hot spell to leap up the leaderboard, making seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch to reach 10 under par with two holes to play in his round.
Moving Day lived up to its name in Saturday’s third round after Matt Kuchar claimed a two-shot lead in completing a second round 65 in an early morning return along with 39 other players after play was suspended on Friday due to failing light.
Bogeys at the third and seventh holes dropped Kuchar to nine under par, four shots off the pace.
Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion who had been tied for second with Woodland at the halfway mark, bogeyed the sixth and eighth to fall into a tie for fourth on eight-under with fellow American Rickie Fowler.
Fowler had used an eagle at the par-five sixth to move into a temporary share of the lead at 10-under but double-bogeyed the ninth after an errant tee shot.
World number one Tiger Woods also moved in the wrong direction. The FedExCup points leader began the round at six under par and birdied the first to reach seven-under, but three bogeys in a five-hole stretch left him five-under through 12.
Tied for sixth at seven under par, six behind Woodland, were a group of seven including U.S. Open winner Justin Rose (through 12 holes) and fellow Englishman David Lynn (12), former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (11), Australian Aaron Baddeley (15) and Spain’s Sergio Garcia (11).
They were joined by Americans Jim Furyk (13) and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth (15).
Players teed off in threesomes off both nines for the third round at the scenic course waterside course with views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry)
For those readers who enjoy blood sports, Newt Gingrich’s emphatic victory in the South Carolina Republican Primary should be welcomed.
Gingrich not only won the support of Republicans in South Carolina, he won with over 40 per cent of the vote. Huge. Mitt Romney, the supposed sure thing, limped across the line humiliated in collecting only 27 per cent of the vote.
This shows South Carolina’s Republicans don’t care for several things. They don’t care about Gingrich’s infidelities, they don’t care about ethics violations that saw him flung from the Senate, they don’t care about his connections to lobby groups and profiteering from companies that played a role in the economic collapse.
They also don’t care much about Romney.
News last week that Rick Santorum had actually won Iowa – and not Romney – was also a major blow to Romney’s ambition. The supposed favourite is now not universally liked – even by Republicans.
The race is now genuinely wide open and will provoke brutal blood letting before the party decides which candidate it considers – in its wisdom – the best to beat President Obama.
So what are the candidates to do? Certainly not discuss their plans for a potential Presidency or flag solutions to fix the economy. Beside general rhetoric about small government, low taxes, and moral values, the candidates have taken a similar path – beat the other guys over the head. Viciously and angrily.
Here’s Mitt Romney’s latest attack ad on Newt Gingrich. Theme: “After being sanctioned for ethics violations and resigning in disgrace, Newt Gingrich cashed in as a D.C. insider.”
Here’s an attack on Newt Gingrich from Ron Paul supporters. Theme: Gingrich is dangerous and must not win Florida.
Here’s Newt Gingrich attacking Romney for apparently being pro-abortion. Theme: Romney can’t be trusted.
Romney gets it from Rick Santorum too. Theme: If you vote for Mitt, you’re a sheep endorsing what the “establishment” wants. Oh, and by the way, did you know Romney’s for abortion (he’s not)?
Here’s another ad attacking Newt Gingrich funded by Mitt Romney supporters, a so-called “Political Action Group” called Restore Our Future.
It’s important to note that these guys are all supposed to be on the same team. The battle against President Obama has yet to begin. If any candidate is still alive by then.