Monarchists support citizenship changes but raise some concerns

A Senate inquiry into the government’s proposed changes to Australia’s citizenship requirements has attracted about 13,000 submissions.

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The overwhelming majority advises against the changes. But a submission by Philip Benwell, the national chair of the Australian Monarchist League, said it agreed with the “proposed strengthening of the bar” for citizenship approval.

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“The issue of multiculturalism, which is important, is being put above the Australian identity,” he said.

“It’s important that when people come here, they become Australians, assimilate into the Australian community, and not form individual communities.”

Mr Benwell said the League was not convinced all potential citizens were doing everything they can to fully integrate.

The League’s members have backed the government’s push for applicants to prove their integration, whether it’s joining clubs or enrolling their kids in school.

But Mr Benwell was more cautious about other measures, including the English proficiency test.

“We believe the proficiency test should be stronger. Of course, not to University level, that’s a bit absurd,” he said.

He also raised concerns about the immigration minister being given powers to overrule tribunal decisions he disagrees with.

“Something needs to be done to strengthen the requirements for citizenship without being overruled by another body,” he said.

“But on the other hand, too much power being placed in the hands of one person is never a good thing. Peter Dutton may be a very competent minister, but in a few years time we may have a totally incompetent minister.”

Dick Smith calls citizenship debate a “non-issue”

Entrepreneur Dick Smith said he was sceptical of all the measures, in the shadow of his million-dollar campaign encouraging Australia to slash its annual migration intake by more than half.

“I think this is a complete non-issue,” he said.

“I don’t agree on making the English test harder. I think modern Australia’s made from immigration and many of those immigrants came here, coudn’t speak English at all.

“Trying these different small changes are because our politicians are not game to say that we have to have a population policy.”

Mr Smith’s campaign is pushing to bring down Australia’s annual migration intake to 70,000.

But in a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the migration program “remains at a ceiling of 190,000 places”.

It added that Australia’s citizenship program is demand driven and without caps.

“There is nothing in the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill currently before parliament that will change this,” the statement read.

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Mexico earthquake: Rescuers race to save trapped girl after family of 11 killed at baptism

Rescuers are racing against time to save a trapped 12-year-old girl as they labour for a second night amid the rubble of a school that collapsed after a powerful earthquake rocked Mexico.

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At least 237 people were killed by the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck about 150km southeast of Mexico City on Tuesday afternoon, 32 years after a 1985 quake killed thousands.

It comes as news emerges of the deaths of 11 family members, including a two-month-old girl who was being christened, when a baptism turned to tragedy after the roof caved in at a church.

The only survivors were the girl’s father, the priest and the priest’s assistant, the Archdiocese of Puebla said.

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0:00 Dramatic moment as side of building collapses during Mexico quake Share Dramatic moment as side of building collapses during Mexico quake

At least four minors were among the dead.

“It was a scene of horror, sadness with most of the people inside the church dying,” priest’s assistant Lorenzo Sanchez told The Associated Press.

Sanchez said those who survived moved to the edges of the church when the swaying started while those who died didn’t have time to do so.

“One of the things they taught us is to stick to the firm walls of our church, which is old and its structure a bit deteriorated,” he said.

Authorities search the building rubble for survivors as the death toll rises to 230.AFP

 

When the ground stopped shaking, people called for help using loudspeakers and residents of nearby communities quickly arrived in Atzala with shovels, pickaxes and chains to haul away rubble.

They dug for hours through the crumbling remains of the Santiago Apostol church but found the 11 relatives had died.

Covered in dust and exhausted, the rescuers laid the bodies out on the same street where a party was meant to be held after the baptism.

Family members of the dead travelled overnight from other states to attend Wednesday’s wake in Puebla.

Each coffin had a name attached: Florencio, Fidela, Aurelia, Manuela, Maria de Jesus, Carmen, Samuel, Azucena, Feliciana, Susana and Elideth – the girl who was to be baptised.

0:00 Mexico City: Two children rescued from rubble of a collapsed school Share Mexico City: Two children rescued from rubble of a collapsed school

Search for school survivors continue

Rescuers are working frantically to dig a young girl out from under the rubble of a partially collapsed school amid devastation.

They were able to communicate with the girl, identified only as Frida Sofia, who responded there were two other students nearby but could not tell if they were alive, according to broadcaster Televisa.

The dramatic rescue attempt was aired live on Wednesday after crews at the school in southern Mexico City reported finding the girl, seeing her move her hand and threading a hose through debris to get her water.

The girl’s full name was not made public but her family waited in anguish nearby, knowing the bodies of 21 school children and four adults were already recovered from the Enrique Rebsamen School.

0:00 Mexico earthquake: Twenty-one children dead in school collapse as toll hits nearly 250 Share Mexico earthquake: Twenty-one children dead in school collapse as toll hits nearly 250

They and other parents clung to hope after rescue teams reported a teacher and two students had sent text messages from within the rubble.

About 14 hours after the effort began, rescue workers in hard hats made an urgent plea on camera for beams and chains to support parts of the school ruins that were collapsing.

“We have a lot of hope that some will still be rescued,” volunteer David Porras said.

“But we’re slow, like turtles.”

0:00 The moment a dog is rescued after Mexico City earthquake Share The moment a dog is rescued after Mexico City earthquake

Rescuers periodically demanded “total silence” bystanders to better hear calls for help.

As rescue efforts continued at the school, emergency crews, volunteers and bystanders toiled elsewhere using dogs, cameras and heat-seeking equipment to detect survivors.

Hundreds of neighbours and emergency workers spent the night pulling rubble from the ruins of the school with their bare hands under the glare of floodlights. Three survivors were found at around midnight as volunteer rescue teams known as “moles” crawled deep under the rubble.

Rescue teams work at the Rbsamen school in Mexico City (Getty Images)Getty Images

By Wednesday morning, the workers said a teacher and two students had sent text messages from within the rubble. Parents clung to hope that their children were alive.

“They keep pulling kids out, but we know nothing of my daughter,” said 32-year-old Adriana D‘Fargo, her eyes red, who had been waiting for hours for news of her seven-year-old.

Overnight, volunteers with bullhorns shouted the names of rescued kids so that tense family members could be reunited with them.

“The priority continues to be rescuing people from collapsed buildings and taking care of the injured,” said President Enrique Pena Nieto. “Every minute counts.”

The earthquake toppled dozens of buildings, tore gas mains and sparked fires across the city and other towns in central Mexico. Falling rubble and billboards crushed cars.

Even wealthier parts of the capital, including the Condesa and Roma neighbourhoods, were badly damaged as older buildings buckled.

RT @ElGuardiaCholo: #Mexico City #earthquake #CiudaddeMexico #temblor #AlertaSismica #SimulacroCDMX #sismodel85 pic南京夜生活,/5j7qtKS8b8

— • V ä ł Å ñ g ł ę • (@0vangle0) 19 September 2017Another building exploded after the earthquake in Mexico Citypic南京夜生活,/GjYBKFfHp5

— Jemisha Johnson (@jemisha_johnson) 19 September 2017

Parts of colonial-era churches crumbled in the adjacent state of Puebla, where the US Geological Survey put the quake’s epicentre about 158km southwest of the capital.

Around the same time that the earth shook, Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano, visible from the capital on a clear day, had a small eruption. On its slopes, a church in Atzitzihuacan collapsed during Mass, killing 15 people, Puebla governor Jose Antonio Gali said.

US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.” Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke at length on Wednesday, according to the White House.

God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 19 September 2017

Residents of Mexico City, home to about 20 million people, slept in the streets while authorities and volunteers distributed food and water at tented collection centres.

Other volunteers, soldiers and firefighters formed human chains and dug with hammers and picks to find dust-covered survivors and bodies in the remains of apartment buildings, schools and a factory.

With power out in much of the city overnight, the work was carried out with flashlights and generators.

0:00 Devastating scenes during Mexican earthquake Share Devastating scenes during Mexican earthquake

The Australian newspaper launches Chinese language website

The website will include translations of national, regional and international news and analysis, selected by the newspaper’s editors.

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The website will sit outside of the Australian’s paywall, and it’s expected that about ten stories will sit on the site. 

“There’s a big demand for Australian based content, translated into Chinese,” The Australian’s CEO Nicholas Gray told SBS World News.

“It’s not a plan at this stage to deliver a separate service, it’s purely a translation of Australian content which is relevant to a Chinese reading audience.

“It’s the largest language other than English, spoken and read in Australian homes.

“And it’s the language in which there’s the most content overlap.”

Hello! Pleased to launch Chinese language version of The Australian. Enjoy!

你好!高兴地推出中文版的澳大利亚人。请享用!南京桑拿,南京SPA,/[email protected]

— Nicholas Gray (@NicholasGray) September 20, 2017

More than 2.5 per cent of Australian residents speak Chinese at home.

Senior journalism lecturer Dr Saba Bebawi from the University of Technology Sydney sees the move as a targeted approach.

“They would have strategic reasons as to why they would invest in producing in different languages and targeting different groups,” Dr Bebawi said.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it fits with what commercial media does.”

“I think the online platform is interesting because it’s not targeting only Chinese in Australia, but aiming to reach them outside Australia.”

But Dr Bebawi does have one criticism.

“What The Australian is doing is targeting these audiences with what interests them, be it business, international students, real estate, buyers.

“So they are including them, in that sense.

“But [it is] not including their voices.”

 

Multicultural cast brings Carole King musical to life

The new musical to hit Australia focuses on the early period of Carole King’s life when she wrote hit songs for groups, including The Shirelles and The Drifters.

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It is the first time Marcus Corowa has played a role that is not specifically for an Indigenous character.

“Sometimes as an Aboriginal person and a South Sea Islander person we kind of get pigeonholed in just telling our own story, but there’s more to us than that,” he said.

Corowa is one of 24 cast members in one of the most diverse ensembles to take the stage in Australia for the Carole King musical.

Akina Edmunds had considered being Maori something of a curse in musical theatre. Now she understands it as a blessing.

“Being part of a cast that has people from Tonga [and] Samoa, and being Maori, it’s really heartening to know that I still have a home here,” she said.

“I think it was more over time where I went that actually it’s kinda good that I don’t look like everyone else or sound like everyone else.

“It means I’ll miss out on a few but the special ones that I’ve found myself a part of are really amazing productions.”

King was reluctant to see the show when it opened on Broadway three years ago, but is now a fan and the legendary singer-songwriter personally approved the Australian actress who plays her.

The Shirelles and The Drifters had big hits with songs written by King and her first husband, Gerry Collins.

“They gave work to people who at that point in pop history were often relegated to R&B stations, they weren’t as much in the mainstream,” musical writer Douglas McGrath said. 

The show’s writer said the mix of ethnicities in the Australian version reflects the couple’s groundbreaking work.

“Carole and Gerry were two Jewish middle-class kids who had no prejudice about anything. They wanted the best people to sing and perform their songs,” McGrath said.

The cast is hoping more directors and casting agents follow the show’s lead on diversity.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opens in Sydney on Saturday.

 

Wozniacki keeps title defence alive, Strycova downs Konta

The former world number one trailed 3-0 in the decider before securing victory after toiling for more than two hours.

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Pulling off an upset seemed on Rogers’ mind as the American fended off three break points in the 10th game to clinch the first set.

Wozniacki wrestled back momentum in the second, converting two break points before firing back-to-back aces to force a decider.

Rogers raced to a 3-0 lead in the third set before Wozniacki staged a brilliant comeback, claiming six of the last seven games to advance to the next round.

“I knew she has powerful strokes and a big serve. it definitely was not easy,” Wozniacki said in a courtside interview. “I’m just happy to win this one.”

Earlier, Barbora Strycova registered her first win over a top 10 player this year when the Czech edged out Britain’s Johanna Konta 7-5 7-6(5).

Fourth seeded Konta dominated the early proceedings in her first meeting with Strycova and raced to a 3-0 lead before the Czech broke her back and went on to claim the first set.

Konta’s dominant backhand put her 5-4 ahead but the British number one could not serve out the second set, allowing Strycova to force a tiebreak and eventually seal the match.

“I’m very happy, because this match meant a lot to me,” Strycova said.

“I don’t have any words to say because I’m very emotional and very happy that I won against Johanna,” said the 31-year-old who meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-final.

Ninth seed Caroline Garcia beat local favourite Kurumi Nara 6-1 6-3 to set up a quarter-final clash with world number one Garbine Muguruza.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Australia restrict India to 252 in ODI

A strong recovery by the Australian bowlers has restricted India to 252 in the second one-day international in Kolkata.

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Grappling with oppressive conditions, the visitors wrested control from the home side who at one stage looked in a position to set a target in excess of 300, after winning the toss and deciding to bat.

Australia will chase 253 for a victory under lights to level the series at one-all, with India all out after Yuzvendra Chahal was run out off the final ball.

Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile was again the pick of the Aussie attack, picking up three wickets for the second-straight match.

The 29-year-old again snared the wicket of Virat Kohli who played superbly until he chopped one on to the stumps on 92.

India were cruising at 1-121 until Ajinkya Rahane (55) was run out by Hilton Cartwright after hesitating when turning for a second run.

He and Kohli combined for a 102-run partnership.

MS Dhoni couldn’t repeat his heroics from the first match of the five-game series, caught by Steve Smith at cover for five off the bowling of Richardson.

Hardik Pandya couldn’t get hold of the bowling as he did in Chennai, holing out to Kane Richardson (3-55) for 20 in the final over.

As rain started falling in the 48th over, Pandya was caught off a Richardson full toss which was deemed to be a no-ball.

As Pandya walked off the bails were whipped off at the non-striker’s end.

Despite repeated Australian appeals for a run out, Pandya survived after the umpires ruled the ball was dead.

Steve Smith’s tough tour in the field continued after the 15-minute delay when he spilled a chance from Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the outfield.

Ashton Agar (1-54) bowled nine overs before coming off the ground with cramp, while Richardson and Matthew Wade both showed signs of heat stress with the sun beating down in the first half of the innings.

Wade recovered to take a superb catch to dismiss Kuldeep Yadav in the penultimate over, with Pat Cummins (1-34) getting a deserved reward from an impressive 10-over spell.

South Korea urges North to abandon nukes

Adopting a less confrontational stance than key allies, South Korea’s president urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and seek dialogue to prevent conflict breaking out on the divided peninsula.

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President Moon Jae-in voiced support for stronger sanctions in response to the North’s recent weapons tests, but his tone was in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s dark warning at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that North Korea would be “totally destroyed” if it attacked.

Another US ally, Japan, said Wednesday that pressure, not dialogue, was needed.

Moon cautioned that North Korean nuclear issues need to be “managed stably” to prevent a spike in tensions and military clashes – a prospect that has overshadowed this year’s gathering of world leaders.

Pyongyang conducted its most powerful underground atomic test explosion and fired missiles over Japan twice in the past three weeks.

The standoff over North Korea’s weapons development has intensified as its autocratic leader Kim Jong Un has accelerated his nation’s development of a nuclear-tipped missile that could soon strike the continental United States.

Yet it is still South Korea, and its capital Seoul close to the heavily militarised frontier with the North, that faces the greatest immediate risk in a conflict.

“(North Korea) must immediately cease making reckless choices that could lead to its own isolation and downfall and choose the path of dialogue,” Moon said.

“We do not desire the collapse of North Korea. We will not seek unification by absorption or artificial means, if North Korea makes a decision even now to stand on the right side of history, we are ready to assist North Korea together with the international community.”

Kuldeep hat-trick sets up India’s win against Australia

Chasing India’s total of 252 all out, the touring side appeared comfortably placed at 138-4 before they suffered a collapse and were bundled out for 202 in the 44th over.

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The 22-year-old Kuldeep had not enjoyed success in his first seven overs and gave away 39 runs. But he dismissed Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins in his eighth over to turn the match in India’s favour.

He is only the third Indian to take a hat-trick in one day internationals after Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma.

Kuldeep’s triple strike snuffed out Australia’s hopes of squaring the series as the visitors were reduced to 148-8 in the 33rd over. The left-arm spinner finished with figures of 3-54 in his quota of 10 overs.

Australia captain Steve Smith and Travis Head propped up their team’s chase with a 76-run stand for the third wicket after India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar had dismissed openers Hilton Cartwright and David Warner cheaply.

Head was out for 39 to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal while Smith fell for 59, caught in the deep when trying to pull all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

Kumar dismissed Kane Richardson for a nought with the first delivery of his second spell to complete India’s win and finish with miserly figures of three for nine runs from 6.1 overs. Marcus Stoinis was left stranded on 62 not out at the other end.

Earlier, India’s innings was built on captain Virat Kohli’s sublime 92 and opener Ajinkya Rahane’s 55. The duo added 102 for the second wicket after Kohli had won the toss and opted to bat.

India looked set for a total in excess of 300 when they reached 186-3 in the 36th over but they lost their way after suffering a mini collapse, losing Kedar Jadhav (24), Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (five) in quick succession.

Pace duo Nathan Coulter-Nile and Richardson both picked up three wickets each for Australia, who must now win the third ODI at Indore on Sunday to stay alive in the series.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Keith Weir)

AFL final not a battle of coaches: Pyke

Adelaide coach Don Pyke isn’t buying it.

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Pyke reckons Friday night’s AFL preliminary final won’t hinge on his coaching box battle with Geelong counterpart Chris Scott.

While Scott has been hailed for his tactical genius in the Cats’ semi-final win against Sydney, Pyke believes the impact of coaches can be overblown.

And so is dubbing the preliminary final as a battle of the coaches.

“I don’t really think it’s about myself or him,” Pyke said ahead of the Adelaide Oval fixture.

“It’s about the teams and the players. They are the ones that do it.

“So I don’t really buy into that side of it.

“We prepare our teams. We understand the strengths of our teams. And we understand how we want to play.

“Both teams have got to this point playing some really good, strong footy. There’s no reason to go away from that.”

Pyke predicted Scott would tinker with Geelong’s tactics that delivered their semi-final triumph.

“I will expect some changes, some subtle tweaks, which is really what they did well last week against Sydney, to their credit,” he said.

“But we will prepare to play the way we want to play.”

Adelaide and Geelong met twice in the home-and-away season, for one win each.

The Cats prevailed in Geelong in round 11; the Crows won a round 18 rematch in Adelaide to snap a five-game losing streak to the Cats.

“We have learnt out of both of them,” Pyke said.

“And it’s not just the Geelong games we have learnt out of, we have learnt out of other games later in the year.

“I’m sure they will come with a clear plan in terms of how to beat us.

“And we will come with a clear plan of what we think is going to get it done against Geelong.

“That is the joy of this time of year, there’s a great opportunity that presents to win a prelim final.”

Giants’ AFL backs must be smart: Corr

Greater Western Sydney back Aidan Corr would relish the chance to spend time on old teammate and new Richmond scoring threat Jacob Townsend in their AFL preliminary final clash.

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Townsend has been a revelation in his new forward role at the Tigers, kicking 13 goals in their last three games.

Deployed as an inside midfielder and tagger by the Giants, Townsend kicked just four goals in 28 games over four seasons with GWS.

He played just four matches for the Tigers in his first season there in 2016 and had to wait till round 22 for his first senior appearance this year.

Played up forward, the 23-year-old promptly kicked bags of six and five goals in successive weeks against Fremantle and St Kilda respectively.

He booted two more in the qualifying final win over Geelong, for a tally of 13 goals from just 21 kicks over the three games.

“(At GWS) he was definitely a midfield hard nut,” Corr said.

“He kicked a few goals in the NEAFL, but I don’t think he kicked a bag of five or six, like he has been doing.

“He’s a great fellow, he was a good mate of mine when he was here, so I’m happy to see him go so well, but hopefully this weekend we can take him down.

“Hopefully I’ll get my hands on Jacob, that would be fun.”

The Giants back line will face a very different challenge against Richmon’d’s mosquito fleet after curbing West Coast’s taller attack last week.

“West Coast had the three key talls and we had three key tall backs,” Corr said.

“They (Richmond) have got pretty much just Jack (Riewoldt as a tall forward).

“Jacob Townsend is a bit of a marking target and Josh Caddy; they are medium-sized.

“You’ve just got to do your research early. You’ve got to make more decisions if you play on a small player.

“If the ball is coming in high, you can’t fly every time, so we’ve just got to make smart decisions.”