Souths players ‘absolutely’ standing by club doctor despite allegations


State of Origin hopeful Campbell Graham declared on Tuesday that players were behind McDonald.

“All they are are allegations,” Graham said. “There has been nothing that has come out proven.”

Sam Burgess.Credit:Getty

When asked how Tom Burgess was coping with the allegations surrounding his brother, Graham said he was doing “great”.

“As far as the squad was concerned we were all pretty locked in on the game,” he said about Sunday’s elimination final. “There was a real key focus on what we needed to do and that was to win and that’s the mindset we’ve got.”

But it was ultimately coach Wayne Bennett and senior players who made sure the side were focused amid the outside noise, Graham said.

“Wayne is always really good at getting you into a good mindset for a game he’s getting us focused on Saturday night,” he said. “Last week was the same as any other week, we knew what we had to do and we went out and did it.”

South Sydney doctor Andrew McDonald.

South Sydney doctor Andrew McDonald.Credit:Getty

Cameron Murray said that “no outside influences” affected the club last week ahead of their 46-20 win against the Knights on Sunday night.

Murray said that Adam Reynolds above all carried the team through the club’s troublesome week.

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“It’s been big,” he said. “Reyno [Reynolds] stepped up along with Cody Walker and Damien Cook – I think they really stepped up for the majority of this year in what were some pretty big shoes to fill, seeing a lot of our leadership boys leave last year.”

South Sydney come up against the Eels in a do-or-die clash on Saturday.

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I absolutely respect Tigers, have no issue with Lynch


Brisbane’s colourful veteran Mitch Robinson says he has absolute respect for Richmond and nothing negative to say about the Tigers’ gun key forward Tom Lynch, whom Robinson lashed on social media last month.

Robinson, who had called Lynch “a wanker” on his twitch live stream and criticised the Tiger forward for crossing from the Suns to a good team “to get success”, told The Age that his comments had been blown out of proportion and he was not concerned about how those words would be received by Lynch and the Tigers in next week’s qualifying final.

“Not really. I haven’t thought about it since I made the comments,” Robinson said, when asked if he thought his comments would fire up Lynch. “I honestly made it on the stream when I was playing a video game. I wasn’t really thinking about too much going there with the small community that I have.

Mitch Robinson during the Lions’ win over Carlton on Saturday.Credit:Getty Images

“So I haven’t actually thought about. I was cheering on Collingwood last night (against Port Adelaide) so it would have been pretty cool to win minor premiers, but regardless, we’re playing Richmond this next week. I don’t think they’re going to be thinking about it too much – a bit water off a duck’s back, I’m pretty sure.”



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Mick Mulvaney on Woodward claims: ‘I have absolutely no regrets’ on how Trump handled Soleimani


Former Trump administration chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Monday pushed back against the veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s claims in the new book “Rage” that he was against the commander in chief’s strike against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

During an interview on FOX Business’ “Varney & Co” Mulvaney said that although he did not read the entire book yet, he did read the excerpt, and the “most proud part” of his service as chief of staff was the “days surrounding and after” the Soleimani attack.

“Did we consider a bunch of different alternatives before the president took action on Soleimani? Absolutely, that’s exactly what you want the president of the United States to do,” Mulvaney told Stuart Varney.

MEADOWS ADMITS ‘I WOULD NOT HAVE RECOMMENDED’ WOODWARD TO BE GIVEN ACCESS TO TRUMP FOR INTERVIEWS

“The information flow… was as good as I have ever seen. The debates were as intense as I have ever seen. The decision-making was as decisive as I have ever seen and the outcome was as good as we could possibly expect,” Mulvaney added. “I’m not sure what his source is. I usually don’t talk about the private conversations I have with the president but I have absolutely no regrets about how the president handled that situation.”

Earlier Wednesday the Washington Post published audio from the interviews ahead of the release of Woodward’s book, “Rage.” In all, Trump spoke with Woodward 18 times between December of last year and July of this year.

Trump received criticism for describing coronavirus as “deadly stuff” in early February while he was publicly comparing it to seasonal flu. The following month, he admitted to Woodward that he “always wanted to play it down … because I don’t want to create a panic.”

In January, Trump ordered a game-changing U.S. military attack that killed Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, among other military officials at Baghdad International Airport.

Soleimani is the military mastermind whom Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had deemed equally as dangerous as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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Fox News’  Charles Creitz and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 



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‘Absolutely no’ US trade deal if UK breaks Brexit pact – POLITICO


U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

US House speaker says Good Friday Agreement will be ‘proudly defended’ in Congress.

There’s “absolutely no chance” a U.K. trade deal will pass the U.S. Congress if London breaks its Brexit pact with the EU over the Irish border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Wednesday.

“The Good Friday Agreement is the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and an inspiration for the whole world,” Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“The U.K. must respect the Northern Ireland Protocol as signed with the EU to ensure the free flow of goods across the border. If the U.K. violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress.”

To emphasize her point, she added: ”The Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be proudly defended in the United States Congress.”

Pelosi’s statement comes after the U.K. government presented a bill to row back on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the EU, thereby breaching international law.

The proposed legislation would allow the U.K. to unilaterally define which goods traveling from the island of Great Britain to Northern Ireland should be subject to tariffs. The Withdrawal Agreement, however, said that would be a decision for the Joint Committee, made up of representatives from the U.K. and EU.

Brussels officials reacted with anger to what one described as “carpet bombing” by London and warned the move could mark the end of any serious attempts at negotiating an orderly British exit from the world’s largest trading bloc.

The official response from Brussels was more restrained, with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying she was “very concerned” about London’s plans and warning the move “undermines trust.”





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Clive Palmer’s legal action against WA will ‘absolutely’ be quashed by new law, Premier says


The WA Government is confident its extraordinary legislation to terminate Clive Palmer’s multi-billion dollar legal challenge will defeat any federal court action the mining magnate attempts.

Western Australia’s Parliament passed unprecedented legislation overnight aimed at blocking a damages claim — relating to a long-running dispute over an iron ore project in the Pilbara region of WA — the damages for which the WA Government estimates as up to $30 billion.

“We’ve done the right thing, I am absolutely confident that I can rest easy in the knowledge I’ve done everything I can to protect the people of this state from the most rapacious, largest, most extraordinary financial claim every submitted against the state government in the history of Australia,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.

While the WA Government this week urgently tried to pass the bill, which was rushed to WA Governor Kim Beazley in the middle of the night to be signed off, Mr Palmer was fighting back with his own legal actions.

Mr Palmer denied the WA Government had won and flagged a High Court challenge to the new law because it was “unconstitutional” and made WA an “outlaw state” and a “banana republic”.

“The Premier Mark McGowan and the Attorney General are the first law officers that have ever given themselves indemnity from prosecution under legislation.”

The Queensland businessman believes the legislation is invalid and has launched Federal Court proceedings against it.

Further legal action expected

Mr McGowan said he was “not at all” concerned the Federal Court action would blow the legislation out of the water.

“The advice we have … is that the bill we passed last night defeats that,” Mr McGowan said.

“The bill is already through, it’s the law of the state. It’s the law of the land. It defeats any Federal Court action.”

Clive Palmer is expected to continue his fight against the WA Government in the courts.(AAP: Dan Peled)

Mr McGowan said while the state was “very confident in its position”, it was prepared for Mr Palmer to continue to fight the state through litigation.

“That’s what he does,” Mr McGowan said.

“We knew this was going to happen when we started this process … but we had to do this to protect the people of this state. What were my choices?”

Mr Palmer had previously said he would challenge the Government’s move in the High Court.

Clive Palmer’s application ‘unprofessional’

Former WA premier Colin Barnett told ABC Radio Perth his government in 2012 rejected Clive Palmer’s application to develop the Balmoral South iron ore mine in the Pilbara on a host of grounds including environmental, safety and asbestos issues.

“He just simply presented the department [with] boxes full of documents, it was not a professional or competent way to proceed with a major project,” Mr Barnett said.

“We’ve never had this sort of behaviour in some 80-odd agreement acts in the last 50 or 60 years in Western Australia, so [a] very unusual situation.”

Colin Barnett
Colin Barnett said his government rejected Clive Palmer’s iron ore application because it was inadequate.(ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)

In 2014, Mr Palmer put forward another set of proposals to pursue the issue and was given approval subject to 46 detailed conditions.

It was then “up to Clive to pursue it if he wanted to get the project off the ground,” Mr Barnett said.

Premier Mark McGowan told Parliament on Thursday the entire saga could have been avoided if Mr Barnett’s Government had followed legal advice to appeal against an arbitral award which found in favour of Mr Palmer in 2014 in relation to the case.

But Mr Barnett told the ABC it was “totally inappropriate” for the McGowan Government to table legal advice given to a former government or premier.

“The advice given to me was that we do not appeal,” he said.

$30b claim has ‘no credibility’

He said the estimate of $30 billion Mr Palmer was aiming to get from the state was “wildly exaggerated” and “had no credibility”.

“If you look at it, what loss has Clive Palmer suffered? None,” Mr Barnett said.

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‘What loss has Palmer suffered? None.’ Colin Barnett on his role in the stoush between Clive Palmer and WA Government
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“I suspect and I think everyone probably suspects … he wants to get this project approved so he can sell it.

“There’s never been a dispute like this in Western Australia because it’s always been dealing with credible companies that actually want to develop a project not sell the right to a project.”

Mr Barnett said he was concerned about the emergency legislation that passed through Parliament overnight.

“I haven’t opposed it and the Liberal Party hasn’t opposed it either, but it does have some extreme and draconian clauses in it and I think getting into litigation with Clive Palmer will be incredibly frustrating,” he said.



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Boris Johnson vows to ban ‘absolutely abhorrent’ gay ‘conversion therapy’ | Politics News



Boris Johnson has vowed to ban “absolutely abhorrent” practices aimed at changing someone’s sexual orientation.

The prime minister promised the government would conduct a study into so-called “gay conversion” therapies before bringing forward plans to prohibit it.

It is two years since the government, then led by former prime minister Theresa May, promised to bring forward proposals – as part of its LGBT action plan – to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK.

That action plan built on the results of a national LGBT survey of more than 108,000 people, which found 2% of respondents had undergone conversion or reparative therapy in an attempt to “cure” them, and a further 5% had been offered it.

Speaking on a visit to a Kent school on Monday, Mr Johnson described gay conversion therapy as “absolutely abhorrent” and said it “has no place in a civilised society, has no place in this country”.

“What we are going to do is a study right now on, you know, where is this actually happening, how prevalent is it, and we will then bring forward plans to ban it,” he added.

:: Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

The prime minister also reiterated the government would publish its response to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act over the summer.

It was reported last month that, as part of the government’s response, Mr Johnson was set to ditch plans developed under Mrs May’s government to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis.



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Biden: Police funding should ‘absolutely’ be redirected towards other programs


FILE – In this June 30, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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UPDATED 11:19 AM PT — Thursday, July 9, 2020

Joe Biden said police are over-militarized and have “now become the enemy.” During an interview with progressive activist Ady Barkan Wednesday, the former vice president appeared to change his stance on police funding.

Biden said he would support allocating department funds to other programs. This comes just three weeks after he proposed more funding to police in an op-ed in which he called for an additional $300 million for police to introduce “more diverse officers, a national use of force standard and more body cams.”

The presumptive 2020 Democrat presidential nominee then said a surplus of certain equipment for police has led to them become the enemy in communities.

Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign denied the candidate changed his position on the matter by reiterating he does not support defunding the police. However, they stressed Biden does “think conditions should be placed upon them” and that certain departments should take significant reforms.

RELATED: AG Barr: Work to be done to address distrust between African American community & law enforcement





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AFL world savage Adelaide Crows after ‘absolutely unacceptable’ Gold Coast Suns thrashing


The Adelaide Crows’ nightmare season has gone to a new low in a terrible 12.10 (82) to 4.5 (29) loss to the Gold Coast Suns.

The Suns have traditionally been the AFL’s whipping boys but the club’s fortunes have been turned around in their hub clashes, claiming big wins over the West Coast Eagles and now the Adelaide Crows.

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The result cements the Crows to the bottom of the ladder with a terrible 50.8 percentage and losing their three games so far this season convincingly.

Having made big changes with a list clean out in the off-season, and sacking coach Don Pyke for Matthew Nicks, the Crows moves have not yet paid off with back-to-back thrashings in the two games since the competition emerged from suspension.

While there has been plenty of talk about the culture of the club and former star Andrew McLeod being outspoken in his criticism, the latest performance was a new low for the club.

The Crows took until the final quarter to pass its previous low score of 24, was held goalless in the first quarter for the first time in the Suns’ history, and the first time since 2017 for the Crows, as well as its second lowest halftime score and lowest three-quarter time score.

It was also the Suns’ first ever win over the Crows.

Speaking on Fox Footy, Jon Ralph torched the Crows’ performance.

“They didn’t give a yelp. That was an absolutely unacceptable performance,” Ralph said.
“Look at some of the horrific stats here as well: First scoreless quarter since 2017, second lowest halftime score.
“Look there’s real pressure on Matthew Nicks to get better performances. Quite clearly he’s there for the long haul. That was an abject failure on every count.”

Former Brisbane great and three-time premiership winner Alastair Lynch also savaged the side during the game.

“It’s actually a bit embarrassing, after the week that they’ve had and been smacked in the press, they’re not giving a yelp,” the Fox Footy boundary rider said.

“There’s no voice. There was a bit of a cook between midfielders in the first quarter, but it’s just silent.”

Cameron Mooney added: “We said about Adelaide that they needed to stand up and fight for their footy club, a lot of their players needed to stand up, their older players – and we haven’t seen anything, It’s been all Gold Coast.”

Former Melbourne skipper Garry Lyon also called it “the demise of a once proud and really successful footy club”.

While the AFL was all praise for the Suns’ performance, social media continued to savage the hapless Crows.

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks admitted he wasn’t sure where to begin the analysis.

“Good question … we’re in a world of hurt at this point – nowhere near the level,” he said. “We’ve got some conversations coming up about why that is.”

The Crows were hammered last week by Port Adelaide in their biggest Showdown defeat and arrived on the Gold Coast with plenty to prove against a side who had just snapped a 19-game losing streak.

“We expected a response and we weren’t able to deliver,” Nicks said. “We’ve got some things to answer. As a midfield, we’ve got work to do.

“There are too many areas at the moment to be angry with one and not the other.”

Nicks was keen to begin the post mortem examination immediately.

“We’ll be in there as soon as … straight into it as a full group,” he said. “We’ll open it up; hopefully, I don’t do too much of the talking … hopefully, I see some vulnerability there.

“We’ll turn it around but, at this point in time, it’s just not acceptable what’s being put out.”

with AAP



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Kakadu and Uluru national parks reopen after coronavirus to ‘absolutely blessed’ visitors


Northern Territory tourists are once again allowed to tread in two of Australia’s most spectacular ancient landscapes, with the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu national parks now back open for business.

Although visitors returned in more of a trickle than a flood, leaving some tour operators disappointed, those who did make it into the parks said they felt “blessed” to be there.

In Kakadu, Melbourne travellers Simon Homann and Sue Atkins were among those thrilled to visit the park, with the pair landing an exemption to be allowed to travel to the NT from Victoria, which Mr Homann said was so he could purchase a truck and drive back to his home state.

“I feel absolutely blessed. It’s something that words just can’t describe what a beautiful, beautiful place it is,” Mr Homann said.

“And it looks like COVID is a distant memory now.”

He and his partner were out on the internationally famous Yellow Water boat cruise, which, at sunrise yesterday, took just a handful of tourists to witness Kakadu at its most wild and spectacular.

Simon Homann takes in the sights on the Yellow Water Cruise in Kakadu.(ABC News: Matt Garrick)

Tour guide and Murrambul man Dennis Miller said it felt great to see the tourists returning, after a lock-in of nearly three months, where he and other residents had had the park to themselves.

“I’d like to see the company and other tourism groups earning more money,” Mr Miller said.

The sun rising over Yellow Water in Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu’s serene wetlands are home to the popular Yellow Water Cruise.(ABC News: Matt Garrick)

For the first weekend of reopening, tourism numbers in Kakadu remained low, with two of the park’s biggest hotels, the Mecure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge, reporting tourist room bookings in single digits.

Cooinda’s general manager, Benjamin Brown, said at the same time last year, Cooinda “would have had close to a thousand people on site”.

As of Friday, however, Mr Brown said Cooinda had only four.

Tourism businesses across Kakadu have told the ABC they have not been given a firm timeline from Parks Australia about when the next stage of the park’s reopening will be, which could include much-loved sites like Jim Jim Falls and Maguk.

Mirarr traditional owner Simon Mudjandi stands smiling.
Simon Mudjandi, a Mirarr traditional owner, says there’s still plenty on offer in spite of site closures.(ABC News: Matt Garrick)

Mirarr traditional owner Simon Mudjandi says even though camping through the park is not allowed, visitors can still experience the wonders of Kakadu.

“They’re allowed to come and enjoy the scenery, they can come and look at the rock art paintings, and see the sunset at Ubirr,” Mr Mudjandi said.

Territorians experience Uluru ‘in their own time’

A photo of Uluru taken from about 1 kilometre away with a purple sky.
Some Territorians are now experiencing Uluru for the first time.(ABC News: Dylan Anderson)

On Friday morning, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park opened its gates for the first time in three months.

Rangers were anticipating as many as 100 people visiting the park on it’s first day — a far cry from the hordes normally seen this time of year.

Just hours after sunrise, a dozen or so cars had already gone through the entry gate.

For many Territorians, it is a chance to enjoy the park while they have it all to themselves.

And some locals are experiencing it for the first time.

“I’m from Darwin, originally Perth, and haven’t got down to Alice Springs or Uluru the whole time,” Shai Glaizner said.

“It’s really nice just to be able to come and experience it, just in your own time.”

Tourist Shai Glaizner smiles at the camera wearing a blue soccer top.
Visitors like Shai Glaizner said it felt like they had the park all to themselves.(ABC News: Mitchell Abram)

Pauline and Bob Hardman, who left their home in the UK months ago to visit family in Darwin, visited Uluru after having decided to stay in the NT during the pandemic.

“We don’t want to go. It’s lovely. The weather is good. No corona. So why would we want to go?” Mr Hardman said.

The Hardmans said they decided to hire a mobile home while parks in the NT were opening back up.

“We wouldn’t see anything like this in England. To be able to drive for four days and see 50 cars, it’s like, ‘wow’,” Mr Hardman said.

A male and female tourist sit in front of a caravan wearing sunglasses and hats with fly protectors.
English tourists Pauline and Bob Hardman got stuck in Australia before travelling to Uluru.(ABC News: Mitchell Abram)

Locals get first look at Uluru

It’s not just the visitors excited to be back.

Park manager Dianne Scopel said rangers had been “a little bit lonely” without tourists.

“It’s just so wonderful to be able to open our gates again,” she said.

“It’s nice to see visitors coming through again, and for Territorians to get the first opportunity.”

Uluru Park Manager Dianne Scopel smiles at hte camera wearing a black park ranger vest.
Ms Scopel said the park was working to ensure the safety of visitors and surrounding communities.(ABC News: Mitchell Abram)

The sunset and sunrise viewing areas and walking tracks in the national park are open to visitors, but the cafe and cultural centre remain closed.

Staff have also posted notices around the park, reminding people to observe social distancing.

Even though Territory businesses and tourism operators are slowly welcoming back visitors, Aboriginal groups have voiced concern about the risk of the second wave of coronavirus with the NT’s borders set to reopen on July 17.

Ms Scopel said the park was taking a measured approach to reopening to protect the nearby community of Mutitjulu.

“We’re very much about protecting what we have here, and so a measured approach is really important to us for safety — for visitors, for staff, and most importantly our community members,” she said.



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