Skies clear for Gallipoli dawn service

Queenslander George Johnson has made his first trip to Gallipoli and also “probably the last” but he hopes young people will keep visiting to pay their respects to the fallen.

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The 63-year-old, from Bluff in central Queensland, was impressed with Monday’s dawn service at North Beach which went off without a hitch amidst boosted Turkish security measures.

He was one of an estimated 1200 or more Australians and New Zealanders who attended, many sleeping out overnight in front of the main stage above the Aegean Sea.

“I came to show my respect for what was done and why we’re still here,” Mr Johnson told AAP after the service.

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“I just hope the younger people keep coming back and keep it all happening. Without them it won’t happen will it?”

Mr Johnson said he was not at all deterred by security concerns following a spate of terror attacks in Turkey this year and was grateful to Turkish paramedics who tended to his “crook leg” overnight.

Australian Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan, who gave an address at the service, praised the Turkish government for doing an “outstanding job” making sure Australians and New Zealanders could commemorate Anzac Day in a safe way.

“It’s gone without incident which is very relieving for everyone.”

This year security was tightened with airport-style screening taking place, while armed Turkish police and soldiers stand guard at checkpoints into the Gallipoli sites.

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A sudden thunderstorm on Sunday night had attendees rushing for the cover of the security tent but that passed and the service went ahead under largely clear skies.

In his speech Mr Tehan said that more than 11,000 Australians and New Zealanders died in the eight-month-long ordeal that was the Gallipoli campaign.

But he highlighted the successful evacuation of more than 93,000 allied troops from the peninsula in December 1915.

“It was the task of moving a city the size of Rockhampton or Bunbury or Palmerston North from this peninsula without the enemy engaging.

“The countless lives that were saved, the untold tragedy that was avoided, has meant that Anzac didn’t end as a story that we remember bitterly,” Mr Tehan said.

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee told the gathering that New Zealanders came to Gallipoli to remember the sacrifices made and the “terrible toll” of the campaign.

“But most of all we come because the actions of the Anzacs have become for New Zealand our coming of age as a nation.”

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Mr Brownlee said the Anzacs’ “resilience and humanity in the face of hardship remain fundamental to New Zealanders’ sense of nationhood to this day”.

“Today we are proud to stand yet again alongside our Australian cousins, with whom we share the enduring Anzac bond.”

Also at the service a Turkish army officer read out a 1934 message from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey and a key military leader at Gallipoli, urging Australian and New Zealand mothers who lost sons there to “wipe away your tears”.

Ataturk said their sons were “now lying in the soil of a friendly country” and were at peace.

“After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.”

Manly heap more woe on Knights in NRL

Manly coach Trent Barrett expects Daly Cherry-Evans to be better for the run after the Queensland and Australian playmaker returned to spark the Sea Eagles to a 26-10 victory over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.

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Returning earlier than anticipated from a high-ankle sprain, Cherry-Evans was below his best but did enough to steer the Sea Eagles home against the inexperienced Knights.

On a day when both teams lost key players to potentially serious injuries – Jarrod Mullen (hamstring) and Peter Mata’utia (knee) for Newcastle and Brett Stewart (hamstring) and Tom Trbojevic (ankle) for Manly – Barrett was relieved to see Cherry-Evans finish the game intact.

“He got through unscathed, which was good,” said Barrett, who also hopes to welcome back hooker Matt Parcell from a hamstring injury against North Queensland at Brookvale on Saturday.

“He blew a few cobwebs out, but it’s certainly good to have Cherry back.

“We’ve just got to keep improving.”

Cherry-Evans created a try for Tom Trbojevic in the 60th minute to give Manly a 20-6 lead, capping a 15-minute period in which the Sea Eagles dominated possession and field position.

In a bizarre turnaround Newcastle scored from the restart, Tyler Randell crashing over to make in 20-10 after Jamie Lyon sloppily batted back a short Dane Gagai kick-off.

But any slight hopes of a comeback were put to bed when lock Jake Trbojevic scored a converted try in the 78th minute.

Ten minutes earlier Trbojevic had to watch as his brother was helped from the field. He in turn had replaced Stewart at fullback after the former NSW and Australian custodian limped off in the 45th minute.

Barrett said Trbojevic was of more immediate concern than Stewart, though he did not expect either player would be available to back up against the Cowboys on Saturday night.

Mullen had collapsed to the ground after bursting into the clear in the 67th minute, and Knights coach Nathan Brown did not expect him or Mata’utia to be available for selection any time soon.

Mata’utia, who returned to Newcastle from the Dragons last week, lasted just 26 minutes of his homecoming game after sustaining damage to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Brown said Mata’utia could miss six to eight weeks and Mullen even longer.

Knights prop Sam Mataora was reported in the 65th minute for a possible crusher tackle.

Manly had taken a 10-6 lead to the break when prop Brenton Lawrence crashed over to score in the final seconds of the first half.

Replays showed the ball rolled loose as Newcastle defenders tried to halt Lawrence’s progress but review official Ashley Klein could not find enough evidence to overturn referee Gavin Badger’s on-field ruling of a try.

The Knights had no such luck earlier in the half when wingers Nathan Ross and Aku Uate were both denied tries by the bunker.

Negative gearing windbacks could deliver $5.3bn a year

Charis Palmer, The Conversation

Tax reform to target Australia’s distorting capital gains tax and negative gearing regimes could net the government A$5.

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3 billion in tax revenue per year, according to a new report from the Grattan Institute.

The report recommends reducing the capital gains tax discount for individuals and trusts to 25%, and phasing in limits to negative gearing over 10 years.

“The case for reform is extremely strong and we do not think that this is likely to lead to a material crash in the housing market,” said the report’s author John Daley.

Daley and report co-author Danielle Wood have modelled the impact of their recommendation on house prices, rents and the rate of new housing development, estimating house prices would be 2% lower than otherwise.

Under their suggested tax changes people would no longer be able to write off losses from passive investments like housing against unrelated wage income.

“The only developed country we have found that lets you deduct the costs of interest and allows you to deduct it from your labour income apart from us is New Zealand,” Daley said.

Curtin Law School Associate Professor Helen Hodgson said the proposals were well balanced, based on sound evidence, and would improve the efficiency and fairness of the tax system.

She said the challenge was to claw back concessions without creating further distortions. “In that respect the Grattan Institute recommendations go further than those proposed by the Australian Labor Party.

“The ALP proposals allow existing negatively geared properties to remain deductible. This would have a lock in effect similar to the pre-CGT exemption from capital gains tax. Borrowers would be reluctant to sell their property and reinvest in other, potentially more productive, forms of investment.

The Labor Party proposal would reduce the capital gains tax discount to 25% and restrict negative gearing to new properties only.

Daley said this approach was likely to create a new distortion in the housing market.

“Essentially those new houses will be higher priced than the older houses and so you’ll get a distortion as investors disproportionately show up to the auctions for new housing and owner-occupiers disproportionately show up to the auctions for old housing. I’m not sure why we’d want to encourage that.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued Labor’s proposal would deliver “massive shocks” to the residential housing market, removing all investors. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has said it would drive down the value of established properties, and push up the cost of rental accommodation.

But Daley said given new housing supply was significantly restricted by planning rules rather than inadequate returns, it was unlikely there would be any material impact on supply or rents.

“As Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev, who sits on a loan book of $400 billion has said, what keeps him awake at night is interest rates and unemployment rates, not negative gearing.”

Data from the Australia Tax Office shows negative gearing is more popular among taxpayers on higher incomes, and the Grattan Institute argues it largely benefits the wealthy.

Reforming the system would result in more funds instead flowing into equities, businesses and bank deposits.

“The current regime pushes people into property, it encourages them into much higher leverage than they would have otherwise, and that increases the volatility of the housing market and the vulnerability of the financial system,” Daley said.

 

US presses China in North Korea sanctions drive

Addressing the UN Security Council for the first time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for a global campaign of pressure to force Pyongyang to change course and put a halt to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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“Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences,” he warned.

Tillerson put the onus on China to use its “unique” leverage to influence its communist ally, but Beijing pushed back, arguing that it was unrealistic to expect one country to solve the conflict.

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“China is not a focal point of the problem on the peninsula and the key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the council.

The Security Council meeting followed weeks of warnings from the US administration that it is running out of patience with Pyongyang. President Donald Trump has warned of the risk of a “major, major conflict”.

“The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real, and it is likely only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the US mainland,” Tillerson said.

“All options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table,” he said.

“Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary.”

Watch: Rex Tillerson addresses the UN Security Council

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Russia and China made clear that a military response would be disastrous and appealed for a return to talks and de-escalation.

China’s Wang warned “the use of force does not solve differences and will only lead to bigger disasters”.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the council the military option was “completely unacceptable” and warned a miscalculation could have “frightening consequences”. 

A decade of sanctions

The meeting of the top UN body laid bare major differences among key powers over the way to address the North Korea crisis.

North Korea is seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five atomic tests, two of them last year.

Over the past 11 years, the Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions on Pyongyang – two adopted last year – to significantly ramp up pressure and deny Kim Jong-Un’s regime the hard currency revenue needed for his military programs.

But UN sanctions experts have repeatedly told the council the measures have had little impact because they have been poorly implemented.

Watch: South Korea criticises North’s ‘vicious cycle’ 0:00 Share

Tillerson called on all countries to downgrade or sever diplomatic relations with North Korea and impose targeted sanctions on entities and individuals supporting its missile and nuclear program.

The United States is ready to impose sanctions on third countries where companies or individuals are found to have helped North Korea’s military programs, he said.

Washington has repeatedly called for stronger UN sanctions, but wants China, North Korea’s main trading partner and ally, to harden its approach.

In his remarks, Tillerson said China accounts for 90 percent of North Korea’s trade and “has economic leverage over Pyongyang that is unique”, suggesting sanctions from Beijing would have a strong impact.

Beijing has rejected calls for economic pressure on Pyongyang, fearing it could destabilise North Korea, and both China and Russia argued at the UN that sanctions alone were not the answer.

Call for talks

The Chinese foreign minister pushed Beijing’s proposal for reviving talks based on a freeze of North Korea’s military programs.

He said the long-standing proposal, which involves Pyongyang freezing military programs in exchange for a halt to US-South Korean annual military drills, was “reasonable and practical”. 

“Now is the time to seriously consider talks,” said Wang.

The United States has rejected the Chinese plan and insists that North Korea first take concrete steps to show that it is ready to abandon its military programs.

Watch: China urges restraint in North Korea rhetoric

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At the end of the meeting, Tillerson again took the floor and bluntly re-asserted Washington’s stance. 

“We will not negotiate our way back to the negotiating table. We will not reward their bad behavior with talks,” he said.

The United States, Russia and China took part in six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization from 2003 to 2009, along with Japan, South Korea and Pyongyang.

The meeting of the top UN body comes just days after South Korea received the first deliveries of equipment for a new missile defense system from the United States that China fiercely opposes.

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Hibberd prepares for emotional AFL day

The emotional AFL matches just keep coming for Melbourne defender Michael Hibberd.

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On Monday night, the former Essendon man returned to action after 18 months out of the game in the Anzac Day eve defeat by Richmond.

And on Sunday, the former banned Bomber will face off against the players he’s shared so much with during his period out of the game at Etihad Stadium.

It has been a big fortnight for the 27-year-old who said he is embracing the different emotions.

“It was a big build-up emotionally to the game (against Richmond) after 18 months out,” he said.

“It was a relief to be able to play and perform quite well.

“You’re not sure how the game changes every year. It gets quicker and harder. So to come back and not feel too out of place was good.”

Hibberd was the only player to sign for another club during the doping ban handed down to Essendon’s class of 2012, and he’s keen for a fresh start under Melbourne senior coach Simon Goodwin – a former Bombers assistant.

He trained alongside his banned teammates during the hiatus year and remains close with many.

“I’ve been through a lot with all those guys. It will be an emotional night,” he said.

Hibberd won’t have the chance to kick to Jesse Hogan, who has been granted leave by the club following the death of his father.

But Jordan Lewis returns after a three-week ban for striking Patrick Cripps.

Between them, the Bombers and Demons have made nine changes for the match.

Melbourne talls Jake Spencer (shoulder) and Tim Smith (ribs) have joined Max Gawn (hamstring) on the sidelines, with Cameron Pedersen and Jake Watts likely to shoulder the ruck load.

Along with Lewis and Pedersen, the Demons recalled Tomas Bugg, Oscar McDonald and Mitch Hannan.

Billy Stretch and James Harmes were dropped.

The Bombers axed veteran Brent Stanton after his quiet performance in Anzac Day win over Collingwood.

Ruckman Tom Bellchambers will play his first senior game this season and the Bombers have also recalled Ben Howlett, Martin Gleeson and Conor McKenna.

James Kelly, Aaron Francis and Matthew Leuenberger were also omitted as Essendon deal with their five-day turnaround.

Tiger defence faces ultimate Crows test

Adelaide coach Don Pyke and his Richmond counterpart Damien Hardwick agree.

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Sunday’s clash between their unbeaten AFL clubs hinges mostly on one thing: Richmond’s defence.

Can the Tigers, boasting the stingiest defence in the league, contain the Crows, the competition’s highest scorers?

“Defensively we have to be on our game,” Hardwick said.

“That is where it will be won or lost. And they’re probably thinking the same thing.”

Pyke is, noting how the Tigers defend differently than other AFL outfits.

“We have got to be ready to adapt … depending on what gets presented,” Pyke said.

“They have got a very strong defensive mechanism in place.”

Many expect the fixture to provide a genuine measure as to Richmond’s improvement: are they the real deal?

“It’s a big game. You only have to look at the way Adelaide are playing,” Hardwick said.

“They are incredibly impressive … it’s going to be a significant task.

“But our boys are up for it, they’re excited about playing a really high quality side. We give ourselves every chance.”

But Hardwick finds it hard to pinpoint any weakness in the Crows.

“You have got to have the ability to win the ball inside, because they’re very good at it,” he said.

“But you also have to spread that to an outside game, which they’re also very good at.

“We have to make sure we get enough numbers around the contest. But then defensively have a good balance around the contest as well.

“If you allow them to play with speed, they’re going to hurt you. So we have to slow them down as much as we can.

“In theory, it seems like a relatively simple concept.”

North Korea test-fires ballistic missile

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile from an area north of Pyongyang Saturday, a news agency report said, but it failed seconds after it was launched.

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The test comes with tensions high on the Korean peninsula, with this the latest in a series of missile launches by the North and warnings from US President Donald Trump’s administration that it was running out of patience.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do [South Pyeongan Province] early this morning,” Yonhap reported, quoting a statement issued by South Korea’s military.

“It is estimated to have failed.”

In Washington, a US defense official confirmed to AFP that North Korea had test fired some kind of missile.

The report added that the missile “apparently exploded seconds after liftoff”.

Seoul was analysing the type and flight distance of the projectile.

President Donald Trump on Friday assailed North Korea’s latest launch as a show of disrespect toward its ally China.

“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” Trump wrote on Twitter a few hours after the failed launch.

North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017

The North has been ratcheting up tensions for months with a series of missile launches, including a volley of rockets in early March which saw three fall provocatively close to Japan. 

Watch: US scolds UN on North Korea  0:00 Share

At the time, Pyongyang said it was a drill for an attack on US bases in Japan.

The surge in tensions has rattled China, especially with Trump’s repeated insistence that the US would take on North Korea alone if Beijing fails to curb Pyongyang’s provocative behaviour.

At UN Security Council on Friday, Washington pushed for tougher sanctions to confront the North Korean threat, piling pressure on China to rein in its ally while warning it was keeping military options “on the table”.

Addressing the UN Security Council for the first time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for a global campaign of pressure to force Pyongyang to change course and put a halt to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences,” he warned.

Tillerson put the onus on China to use its “unique” leverage to influence its communist ally, but Beijing pushed back, arguing that it was unrealistic to expect one country to solve the conflict.

Watch: South Korea criticises North’s ‘vicious cycle’

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China’s patience with Pyongyang has clearly worn extremely thin and – despite their historically close relations – Kim Jong-Un has yet to visit Beijing, more than five years after inheriting power from his father.

But China is reluctant to squeeze the unpredictable North too hard and risk triggering a confrontation or a regime collapse that could send a massive outflow of refugees into its territory – and see US troops on its border in a unified Korea.

Since taking power in 2011, Kim has stepped up a push to upgrade the North’s weapons, and said in a New Year’s address hat Pyongyang was in the “final stages” of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile. 

Analysts are divided over how close Pyongyang is to realising its full nuclear ambitions, but all agree it has made enormous strides under Kim’s leadership.

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Apology for Labor MP Anne Aly over ‘fake’ Anzac Day claims

Australia’s first female Muslim MP, Anne Aly, has received an apology over allegations she refused to lay a wreath at an Anzac Day service in Perth.

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The unsubstantiated claim was circulated by Kim Vuga, from the ‘Love Australia or Leave Party’, alleging the Labor MP would not present the wreath at the Wanneroo service.

Dr Aly’s Facebook page was then inundated with a series of posts demanding she explain the alleged indiscretion.

The Labor MP explained she had in fact attended the Ballajura service, where she laid a wreath and made a speech. She denounced the claims as false.

Dr Aly told SBS News she was insulted by the allegation she refused to lay a wreath given she had a strong relationship with the RSL and a high regard for serving and ex-service men and women.

“I also thought it was absolutely disgusting that people would use Anzac Day to further their political and social agenda,” she said.

Listen: Anne Aly responds to claims she refused to lay a wreath at Anzac Day service

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It was “obvious” why she was attacked, the MP said.

“I have a staff member who’s worked with different members for about 20 years, and she said in 20 years I’ve never heard anyone – anyone – questioned about whether or not they attended an Anzac Day ceremony or whether or not they laid a wreath,” Dr Aly said.

“I think anyone with any kind of insight can see that (religion) was one of the big things.”

Ms Vuga apologised to Dr Aly on Friday afternoon, acknowledging the claims caused the MP a “great deal of stress and negative feedback from the public”.

“I should have confirmed and checked the facts personally with Anne Aly given my post was posted late that day after the Anzac commemorations,” Ms Vuga said in a Facebook post.

“I take full responsibility in posting Gary’s post to my Facebook page and sincerely apologise to Anne for any stress caused and time taken away from her busy schedule.”

Kim Vuga’s Facebook post apologising to MP Anne Aly.Facebook

Earlier, Dr Aly said she would receive any apology graciously.

“I have no reason to doubt that it would be sincere, and I hope that it doesn’t happen again,” Dr Aly said.

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From one radical environment to another (2016)

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US teen prom shooter killed by police

An 18-year-old man has opened fire with a high-powered rifle outside a high school prom in northern Wisconsin, wounding two students before a police officer who was in the parking lot fatally shot him.

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Investigators did not say on Sunday whether they believe the two students were specifically targeted or discuss a possible motive for the shooting.

But a school administrator said it appeared that the gunman – identified by police as Jakob E Wagner – intended to go into the dance on Saturday night and start shooting randomly.

The two prom-goers who were wounded were shot as the exited the building, according to Eric Roller, the chief of police in Antigo, a community of about 8000 people roughly 150 miles north of Milwaukee.

“Officers were in the parking lot patrolling the activities and heard the shots and an officer immediately fired upon the shooter, stopping the threat,” Roller said.

He said the gunman was then taken into custody but Wagner died at a hospital.

In a statement, the Unified School District of Antigo said Wagner approached the school with a high-powered rifle and a large ammunition clip.

The district said the “quick actions” taken by police and district staff to secure the building “prevented what might have otherwise been a disaster of unimaginable proportions.”

Interim district administrator Donald B. Childs told The Associated Press on Sunday that it appears Wagner intended to go into the building and shoot at people at the dance.

“We have no reason to believe at this point it was targeting anybody specifically,” Childs said, adding that the shooting outside the entrance happened “from some distance.”

Blair could be banned for up to five weeks

Brisbane could be without Adam Blair for up to five NRL matches, after the Broncos forward was put on report for a late and high tackle on Adam Reynolds.

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Such a ban would rule Blair out of the New Zealand side for the Anzac Test in Newcastle on May 6.

Blair hit Reynolds in the second half of the Broncos’ 30-8 NRL win on Friday at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.

Reynolds returned to the match but there are fears he has suffered a broken jaw for the second time this season, although the full extent of his injury might not be known until Tuesday.

Blair took the early guilty plea on a grade one careless high tackle for his hit on Jake Granville in last year’s grand final, meaning any charge will carry 50 per cent loading.

He could face a grade one reckless high tackle charge, which carries a base penalty of 300 points.

The 50 per cent loading and 59 demerit points on that could tip the suspension to five weeks, with each 100 points earning a week’s suspension. A grade two reckless high tackle would also ban Blair for five matches.

Souths coach Michael Maguire wasn’t impressed with the tackle.

“At at the end of the day, if he’s got a fractured jaw then he’s obviously caught him pretty high in the head – simple as that,” he said.

Reynolds could also be in judiciary trouble after touching referee Jared Maxwell.

ADAM BLAIR POSSIBLE MATCH REVIEW CHARGE

* A grade one careless high tackle carries 75 demerit points. Add 50 per cent loading and 59 demerit points to that and Blair will serve a week’s suspension.

* A grade two careless charge, which carries a base charge of 125 points, would ban Blair for two weeks.

* A grade three careless high tackle charge, with a base of 175 points, would out Blair for three matches.

* A grade four charge earns 225 base points

* A grade five careless high tackle carries a 275 point penalty

* A grade one reckless high tackle charge earns 300 demerit points, tipping him to over 500 points with loading and carry over points. A grade two reckless high tackle would also ban Blair for five matches

* A grade one intentional high tackle earns 550 demerit points, 275 points loading to push the possible suspension to seven matches.

Troops mark Anzac Day at Camp Taji

They fly up the Persian Gulf, past uncertain friends and semi-hostile nations seen out either window of the RAAF Hercules C130, through Iraq’s barren seas of sand to a base just north of Baghdad, where the history of ANZAC rings loud.

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Some 300 Australians and 100 New Zealanders have come together for their biggest shared mission since Gallipoli, 101 years ago, joined by a will to do their part ridding the world of the Islamic State.

Among those on this mission to train Iraqis to better skill themselves in fighting the enemy known as Daesh are Australians with direct connections back to ANZAC Cove and the Western Front.

There is Leigh Trevan, 29, from Brisbane, whose great-grandfather Harold Trevan was awarded the Military Cross and Frances Croix de Guerre for his actions in 1917.

A machine gunner, Second Lieutenant Trevan displayed “conspicuous bravery and coolness” by leaving his stricken gun pit, fixing a bayonet and charging solo.

His citation notes he “accounted for a large number of Germans” while being shot twice.

“No, he was not the reason I signed up,” says Ms Trevan, whose grandfather also served in WWII.

“It was never spoken of in my family. All I know is my grandfather had nightmares.

“I joined for the challenge, physically and mentally.”

In the blistering heat of central Iraq, in the fortified Camp Taji compound where IEDs go off outside the walls, and ballistic vests and loaded weapons are mandatory beyond the accommodation area, Ms Trevan and the other Australians are getting that challenge.

Corporal Kenneth Horton’s Scottish great-grandfather James Taylor served in the Boer War and then came to live in Australia, where he went on to fight in Gallipoli.

Between battling the Turkish army, Second Lieutenant Taylor played the bagpipes, and was called upon to pipe too many laments for Australians who fell at Gallipoli.

Corporal Horton, 35, from Mittagong in NSW, tasked to play the pipes at the ANZAC Dawn Service in Camp Taji, says his great-grandfather put his pipes under his bed and “never played them again after the war”.

His father played the pipes with 7RAR, and his uncle plays too, treasuring and putting new life into the old ivory and wooden pipes that stayed under the bed for years.

“It’s the way we tell our history and culture,” says Corporal Horton.

The Iraqi and Afghanistan missions are currently Australia’s most war-like, though this time, following a tradition that goes back to Lawrence of Arabia, the mission is not a combat role.

They seek to help the indigenous Iraqi army to better battle and survive the threat of Daesh, who fight with a kind of formless savagery their great-grandfathers would probably find hard to imagine.

Obama leaves UK with Brexit warning

President Barack Obama has flown out of Britain after warning that it could take a decade for the UK to negotiate a new trade agreement with the United States if it leaves the European Union.

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In a BBC interview, Obama said “it could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we were able to actually get something done”.

The US and the 28-nation European bloc of which Britain is a member are attempting to seal a trade deal, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

Obama said that “the UK would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU”.

“Our preference would be to work with this large bloc of countries,” he added.

Obama flew to Germany after a three-day UK visit during which he angered supporters of an EU exit by making it clear the United States wants Britain to stay in.

He said Friday that Britain would go to the “back of the queue” for a trade deal if it votes to leave in a June 23 referendum.

That drew scorn from backers of a UK exit, or Brexit, who accused the president of meddling.

Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, said that “Barack Obama is not a pro-British president”.

But Obama told the BBC that he hoped British voters would listen to the friendly opinion of “the president of the United States, who loves the British people and cares deeply about this relationship”.

And he said the close relationship between Britain and the US would endure, whatever happened.

“The bond between our two countries is unbreakable,” Obama said.

‘Lest we forget the battles of France’

A century ago the first Australian soldiers arrived in the fields of France, encountering an idyllic landscape on which would be fought battles unprecedented in history.

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In coming months Australia would mark the first major battles of the Western Front involving Australians, at Fromelles and Pozieres, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove says.

But before that first Anzac Day, the first of almost 300,000 soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force began arriving in France.

Some were veterans of Gallipoli and others were new recruits eager to play their part, perhaps blissfully unaware of what was to come.

Sir Peter said that was a landscape of picturesque villages, bountiful crops and verdant fields, estaminets and the rhythm of country life, which was all to change.

“The battles fought across these lands were of a scale unprecedented in the human experience: mighty artillery barrages tore men apart, and sent some insane; machineguns cut great swathes through the ranks of soldiers running toward their almost inevitable deaths,” he says in his address to the Anzac Day dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux.

Sir Peter said the locals knew all too well the pain and price of that war, the familiar black dresses of grieving widows and the mantelpiece photos of men gazing into living rooms to which they would never return.

“Almost 100 years have now passed and on this lovingly tended land, these fallen friends and allies rest in peace together,” he said.

Sir Peter said people came to such a special place on such a special day to remember them and to share admiration and respect, just as in the coming months many would mark a century since battles at places like Fromelles and Pozieres.

“Let us never forget each other and what truly binds us,” he said.