William Burns: Biden nominates veteran diplomat as CIA director

William Burns, who served for three decades as a diplomat, was key in reaching the Iran nuclear deal.

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2021 All-Star Mile: Country trainer Neil Dyer nominates ex-Chris Waller galloper Kaonic for $5 million feature

Neil Dyer will need to give foreman, son James, a hefty raise should the Kyneton horsemen get ex-Chris Waller gelding Kaonic into the All-Star Mile.

An ex-Sydney horse, who raced in Brisbane most recently, bought by a Kyneton trainer for Northern Territory clients, hoping to win the Darwin Cup, has entered the All-Star Mile sweepstakes.

Neil Dyer acquired Kaonic, formerly with Chris Waller, last month but already the tree change, being trained exclusively “out of the paddock”, has worked wonders for the seasoned galloper.

Kaonic was not for sale when the Dyers, Neil and son James, 20, first inquired but their persistence paid off eventually with the gelding being sold for a “bargain” undisclosed amount.

An executive of a Top End construction and development company is in the ownership of Kaonic.

“He‘s 50 per cent owned in the NT and several other stable clients down here are in him,” Dyer said.

“You never know, it could be looked at as a Northern Territory nomination for the race and the Northern Territory might jump on, that‘d be good.

“It (All-Star Mile) would be a good option and hopefully we can use the Northern Territory contacts to get some votes to try and get in.”

Kaonic looked to have above average ability early on, winning five of his first 12 races, including the 2018 Listed Melbourne Cup Plate at Flemington.

But Waller and connections were made to wait two years — and 16 starts — to taste success again.

After the breakthrough win last August, Kaonic had three more starts for the juggernaut operation.

“I‘m not saying we can improve him off Chris Waller’s training,” Dyer said.

“I‘m just hoping the way we train him at home might rekindle his interests.

“He‘s a beautiful honest horse, like a pet dog, a lovely style of a horse.

“You can understand why he‘s been a classy racehorse at one stage of his life … whether or not we can race him to that height of ability again … remains to be seen.”

Kaonic will spend another four weeks training “in a holiday resort” before Dyer ramps up the preparation towards the All-Star Mile, should the public vote, which starts on January 22, justify.

“His characteristics in the paddock is like he‘s in a holiday resort,” Dyer said.

“It‘s about a five acre paddock and when you come to get him of a morning he comes up to you to get the head collar on, so I think he’s happy to go out and do a bit of work.

“He lives in the paddock, instead of being in a stable or a covered yard, he lives there night and day but still gets fed like a racehorse … the only difference is the house.

“It‘s good for their mind, if they cop it all right, and he is.”



King Of Hastings will progress to the Gold Coast after his gutsy Randwick victory.

Trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman will decide between the $1 million Magic Millions Snippets (1200m) or MM Cup (1400m) at Gold Coast on Saturday.

The four year-old gelding, a winner of $475,050 in career prize money, was elevated to fourth in the $2m MM Guineas last year following Alligator Blood’s disqualification.

The barrier draws for the $2m MM Classic and Guineas will be held on Tuesday morning on the Surfers Paradise foreshore.


Melbourne Storm legend Billy Slater will be hoping for another nice result at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale.

Slater has a home-bred Redoute’s Choice colt, Lot 402, going under the hammer on Wednesday as part of the Arrowfield Stud draft.

The NRL legend sold Wandjina colt, Inner Spirit, out of Slater Thoroughbreds’ broodmare Inishowen, for $180,000 to Ciaron Maher at the 2019 Gold Coast yearling sale.

Inner Spirit ran third on debut at Kilmore last October as a three-year-old.


Apprentice jockeys Thomas Stockdale and Matthew Cartwright both received sanctions for whip breaches at Flemington on Saturday.

Stockdale was suspended for 10 meetings starting midnight January 16 after pleaded guilty to striking runner-up Huntly Castle 10 times (five more than permitted) before the last 100m.

He was also fined $500 for the Race 8 indiscretion.

Apprentice Matthew Cartwright was hit with a $300 breach after striking Hunamosa nine times with the whip before the last 100m in Race 4.


Jockeys Damian Lane and Jordan Childs could offer no excuses for the respective flops of White Hibiscus ($1.55 fav) and Mosh Music (easing $4.40 elect).

Lane reported White Hibiscus was disappointing 150m into Race 3, not suited by having to settle at the rear of the field.

Lane shifted out on the Danny O’Brien-trained ex-Kiwi mare at the 600m but her run was short-lived.

Mosh Music got every chance in Race 6, according to Childs, who reported the mare would be better suited next start up in distance.


Kilmore starts the racing week in Victoria on Tuesday with an eight-event card.

Yarra Valley on Wednesday acts as the curtain-raiser for the twilight meeting at Caulfield, while Ararat and Pakenham (night) share the spoils on Thursday.

Geelong and The Valley (night) round out the working week ahead of a busy Saturday, with racing at Flemington, Camperdown and Woolamai (picnic).

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Joe Biden Nominates 3 Ex-Obama Administration Officials for DOD Jobs

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday announced he has nominated three former senior Obama administration officials for top positions at the Pentagon, prompting praise from the foreign policy establishment.

“Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced his nomination of Dr. Kathleen Hicks as the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Dr. Colin Kahl as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy,” the Biden transition team said in a statement.

Biden said in a statement:

Dr. Kath Hicks and Dr. Colin Kahl have the broad experience and crisis-tested judgment necessary to help tackle the litany of challenges we face today, and all those we may confront tomorrow. They will be trusted partners to me, the vice president-elect, and Secretary-designate [Lloyd] Austin — as well as our dedicated civilian and military team — as we work to restore responsible American leadership on the world stage.

The transition team statement listed as challenges facing the armed forces:

  • Keeping our country safe and secure
  • Playing a key role in executing the logistics associated with COVID-19 vaccine distribution
  • Restoring our alliances
  • Supporting and equipping our service members and caring for them and their families
  • Addressing the accelerating security threat posed by the climate crisis
  • Modernizing our armed forces and preparing for the conflicts of the future and winning the strategic competition for the 21st century

Hicks is currently the senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She previously served during the Obama-Biden administration as deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces and principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy. If confirmed, she would be the first female deputy secretary of defense.

Kahl is currently a co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, a Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a professor of political science at Stanford University. He previously served as deputy assistant to Obama and national security adviser to Biden from 2014-2017. He also served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East from 2009-2011.

Biden also announced his nomination of Kelly Magsamen, another former Obama administration official, as incoming chief of staff at the Department of Defense.

The transition team sent out a list of tweets from other former Obama appointees and foreign policy establishment figures praising Biden’s picks, including:

Ambassador Wendy Sherman: Fabulous team for DoD. @kath_hicks @ColinKahl @kellymagsamen are extraordinary professionals, public servants and simply good people. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

John McLaughlin, Former Deputy Director of the CIA: Three terrific picks for the Pentagon. Worked with two, Hicks and Magsamen, know the third by reputation. All dedicated, smart, and govt savvy. Good compliment to SecDef nominee Austin and great teammates for Tony Blinken at State and Jake Sullivan at WH. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Ben Rhodes, Former Deputy National Security Advisor: This is an incredibly smart and experienced core team to redirect policy and clean up whatever messes are being made at the Pentagon. Congratulations to ⁦@ColinKahl⁩ ⁦@kath_hicks⁩ and ⁦@kellymagsamen⁩ [Tweet, 12/30/20]

John J. Hamre, President of CSIS: I couldn’t be more proud to have Dr. Kathleen Hicks be nominated to become Deputy Secretary of Defense. I held that job and know what it takes to succeed. Dr. Hicks is a superb choice for this important job. She has the discipline, intellect, and organizational skill to make the Department work effectively for the Secretary. I have worked with Dr. Hicks now for seven years directly, and for an additional seven years indirectly. She has a strong moral compass and a keen commitment to the success of the Department and the well-being of its military and civilian personnel. I am very pleased that President-elect Biden has selected her. [Statement, 12/30/20]

Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution: I could not be more thrilled at this news! @kath_hicks is wise, principled, dedicated to public service & our nation’s security, a true expert on national defense, a skilled manager & builder of diverse talent, and a damn fine human being. And I am even more delighted that she and Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin will have @ColinKahl and @kellymagsamen helping them lead the Department of Defense! Stellar, stellar people. We are so fortunate. [Tweet, Tweet, 12/30/20]

Joe Cirincione, Former President of the Ploughshares Fund: Excellent picks for two tough jobs. ⁦@ColinKahl⁩ is one of the smartest, most principled people you’ll ever meet. Hicks will break new ground in this top spot. ⁦@kellymagsamen⁩ is slated for a key position as well. Great choices. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Jon Wolfsthal, Senior Advisor to Global Zero: Kathleen Hicks is, simply, an incredible public servant, informed, capable, thoughtful, committed and a deep expert on all aspects of defense and security policy. Hope this is true. @kath_hicks [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Meanwhile, conservative media journalists, such as Chuck Ross, pointed out that the top Pentagon policy pick, Kahl, had pushed the Russia collusion hoax, tweeting in 2017 that “Steele’s Trump-Russia Dossier holds up pretty well.”

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Retired Magpie nominates for AFL draft

Collingwood premiership player Tyson Goldsack is on the verge of making a shock AFL comeback, more than a year after retiring.

The 33-year-old has nominated for next week’s AFL national and rookie drafts.

Goldsack’s last AFL game was Collingwood’s 2018 grand final loss to West Coast when he made a swift comeback from a knee reconstruction to appear in the finals series.

He entered the 2019 season with plans to retire at year’s end and then move to South Australia, but the utility was unable to add to his 165 career games.

Goldsack planned to play with Port Adelaide in the SANFL this year, but the club’s reserves team withdrew from the competition due to COVID-19 factors.

According to The Advertiser, the Power are considering putting Goldsack on their rookie list for 2021 as they seek to atone for their heartbreaking preliminary final loss to Richmond this year.

Goldsack was a cult hero during his time at Collingwood, kicking the opening goal of the Magpies’ 2010 grand final replay victory after missing the drawn match with St Kilda a week earlier.

Meanwhile, former No.1 pick Paddy McCartin, who sat out the 2020 season as he dealt with complications of multiple concussions suffered during his time at the Saints, has also nominated for the draft.

Sydney, where McCartin’s younger brother Tom plays, are considering picking up the key forward.

The quirkiest nomination goes to former Gold Coast and Carlton tall Daniel Gorringe, who played the last of his 26 AFL games in 2016.

In recent times, the 28-year-old is best known for appearing on reality TV show Big Brother.

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AFL trade news, rumours, whispers 2020: Brad Crouch St Kilda, gun free agent nominates Saints

Gun free agent Brad Crouch wants to be a Saint.

Sources have indicated to foxfooty.com.au that Crouch, who’s played 95 games for Adelaide, has nominated St Kilda as his preferred footy destination for 2021 and beyond.

It’s understood the Saints have offered Crouch a long-term deal that includes triggers to extend the contract to as long as five seasons.

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As a restricted free agent, Adelaide has the right to match the Saints’ offer on Crouch, which would lead to a trade between the two clubs.

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Braydon Preuss nominates club of choice

Melbourne ruckman Braydon Preuss has nominated GWS Giants as his club of choice, according to AFL Media’s Callum Twomey.

The Giants will be the 25-year-old’s third club, after moving to the Dees from North Melbourne at the end of 2018.

According to the report, Preuss has now informed Melbourne of his intentions to be traded despite having two years still left on his contract.

He played just three times this year, with the Demons preferring either Max Gawn or Luke Jackson at different stages throughout the season.

Preuss has played 18 games in three seasons, including 10 at Melbourne in the last two years.

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O’Toole nominates campaign fundraiser as chair of Conservative Fund

The Conservative Party’s fundraising arm has a new chair for the first time in two decades.

Leader Erin O’Toole says he is nominating his longtime campaign fundraiser James Dodds to be chair of the Conservative Fund, replacing former senator Irving Gerstein, who is retiring.

The nomination must be approved by the party’s national council.

Dodds is a vice-president at the TD Bank Group in Toronto and has aided O’Toole in both his bids to be the Conservative leader.

O’Toole became the new leader Aug. 23 and is now putting his stamp on the party.

On Wednesday, he named his House of Commons team, including Manitoba MP Candice Bergen as deputy leader, and is to announce his new shadow cabinet next week.

Controversial spending under previous chair

Concerns about some spending decisions and the secrecy surrounding them have caused unrest within the Conservative Party and contributed to the departure of former leader Andrew Scheer.

Many within the party were outraged when they discovered that the Fund had been paying up to $18,000 a year to help cover the cost of private school tuition for four of Scheer’s five children.

The controversy also cost party executive director Dustin Van Vugt his job.

Van Vugt always said the payments had been properly approved but many directors on the Conservative Fund were unaware of them.

Conservatives were also surprised to discover the opposition leader’s office had spent $925,000 in 2019, instead of the $201,000 originally budgeted for it by the Fund. Some were critical of the power of the Fund’s board to unilaterally make budget changes without much consultation or input from the party’s national council.

Second chair since PC-Canadian Alliance merger

Dodds is the first new chair of the fund officially since 2003, when the Conservative Party was formed by the merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance.

Gerstein made his name as the president of the Peoples jewlery chain. He had chaired the fundraising arm of the PC party for four years prior to the merger, and was named chair of the new Conservative Fund at its inception.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper was named a director of the Fund in 2016 but stepped down earlier this year.

Dodds was the national fundraising chair for O’Toole’s leadership campaign in 2017 and worked on the campaign this year.

He and O’Toole also worked together at least once before politics — both served on a committee for the True Patriot Love Foundation, a charity that supports the military and veterans.

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