German sailor’s infection puts heat on Rio organisers

His case has been taken up by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), which said it would now be escalated to Rio 2016 Games organisers and the international sailing federation.


The Brazilian metropolis will host the summer Games, the first South American city to do so, but it is struggling with polluted waters on which the athletes will compete.

Heil, who won third spot along with Thomas Ploessel in the 49er class, was told by the Berlin hospital treating him daily that he had been infected by multi-resistant germs, the German sailing team said.

“I have never in my life had infections on the legs. Never!” Heil said on the sailing team’s Olympic blog.

“I assume I picked that up at the test regatta. The cause should be the Marina da Gloria where their is a constant flow of waste water from the city’s hospitals.”

The organising committee for Rio 2016 did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Heil’s case, but spokesman Mario Andrada insisted at a news conference on Thursday that the sailing will not be moved.

The pressure is mounting, however.

Buzios, a beach resort and popular watersports destination a few hours out of Rio, is campaigning to replace Guanabara Bay for next year’s Olympic sailing and has organised a press visit this weekend to show it has the infrastructure and water quality necessary to host the event.

“We contacted Erik Heil and the German sailing federation and are taking this case seriously,” DOSB CEO Michael Vesper said in an email to Reuters,

“The (German) sailing federation will inform Rio 2016 organisers and the international sailing federation.

“I already raised the issue of water quality during last week’s chef de mission (team chiefs) meeting in Rio and the mayor of the city said it was their responsibility as this was not an Olympic problem but a problem of the city of Rio that needs to be tackled and solved,” Vesper said.

Biologists last year said rivers leading into the bay contained a superbacteria resistant to antibiotics that cure urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.

“We will try to arrive relatively late to Rio in the future so that any illness appears towards the end of the regatta or even when we are back home,” Heil said in his blog.

“We are also considering with Thomas to sail out of the marina with plastic covers and then wear our normal neopren shoes further out on the water,” Heil said.

When Rio bid to host the Games, the city trumpeted the clean up and said it would cut the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80 percent.

However, it has since admitted it is unlikely to meet that target saying earlier this year the amount of sewage treated before reaching the bay had risen from 17 to 49 percent.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer in Rio de Janeiro, editing by Ed Osmond)

Van Gaal determined to break Swansea jinx

Swansea went on to complete the Premier League double over United and the Dutchman is determined to take revenge at the Liberty Stadium.


“My first match was against Swansea and we lost, now I have my 50th and I hope we can show we have improved,” Van Gaal told reporters on Friday.

“I don’t want to lose again. It’s the only club we could not beat or gain one point against, I hope we can improve and that we can show that we are better than last year.

“It will be difficult but we are better prepared than this time last year.”

Towering Belgian Marouane Fellaini is available to play his first Premier League game of the season after serving a suspension but Adnan Januzaj will miss out due to injury.

Van Gaal could be tempted to start Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera who made a lively contribution and scored a goal in the 4-0 Champions League qualifying win at Club Bruges on Wednesday.

“I had a theoretical scheme in my head that he could play at No. 10 and he did it well against Bruges,” Van Gaal said.

United have taken seven points from their first three league games of the season and lie joint third in the table despite only scoring two goals.

Captain Wayne Rooney, however, bagged a hat-trick in Bruges to open his account for the campaign.

“It will be a difficult game, it’s another year and another prospect,” Swansea manager Garry Monk said. “United have added quality to their squad with world-class players.

“It’s becoming more difficult to compete with these kind of squads. We’re up against one of the title contenders, it will be difficult but we’re looking forward to it.”

Swansea are sixth with five points including a draw at champions Chelsea.

(Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Schippers shifts up a gear to take 200m gold

The 23-year-old European champion clocked 21.


63 seconds to beat Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson by three-hundredths of a second and add gold to the silver medal she won in the 100m behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on Monday.

Only Americans Florence Griffith-Joyner, the world record holder, and Marion Jones, who was later banned for doping, have run faster.

“I can’t believe it,” Schippers, who only switched her focus to the sprints full time this year, told reporters.

“What a race! What a tournament for me! I think they’ll be going crazy in the Netherlands at the moment.”

Twice Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown took bronze (21.97) in a race which featured two of the five fastest 200 metres of all time and six of the seven fastest of 2015.

Aries Merritt’s achievement in winning bronze in the 110 metres hurdles was perhaps the most impressive of the night, however, given the Olympic champion will undergo a kidney transplant on Tuesday.

The world record holder finished third behind Russian Sergey Shubenkov and the delighted 30-year-old explained why his sister was not cheering him on at the Bird’s Nest.

“It almost means more to me than my Olympic gold, the state I’m in, the training I’ve done, it’s been very difficult. The struggle is real,” Merritt said.

“My sister’s going to give me one of her kidneys. That’s why she didn’t come to Beijing, she did not want to endanger the transplant.”

Jamaica’s Danielle Williams had her sister Shermaine alongside her when she enjoyed the finest moment of her career with a shock win in the women’s 100 metres hurdles.

It was the first time siblings had competed in a world championship final and it was the younger sister who stormed to victory in a personal best 12.57 seconds ahead of Germany’s Cindy Roleder and Alina Talay of Belarus.

Williams did benefit from three of the American favourites succumbing to the pressure, two going out in the semi-finals and the other clipping her first hurdle, but nothing was going to deny her family their delight.

“It was so special that we were together in this final,” said Danielle, whose sister finished seventh.

“There will be a big celebration for sure, my family is shouting, celebrating — they look even happier than I am.”


Decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton may feel he has family pride to restore after his wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton failed to live up to her favourites tag and settled for silver in the heptathlon.

Eaton clocked the fastest 400 metres of all time in the multi-discipline event (45 seconds) to lead the competition after five events with 4,703 points ahead of Canadian Damian Warner (4,530) and Rico Freimuth of Germany (4,406).

“No way in hell did we think I was running that fast,” he told reporters.

“I thought 46-flat, maxed out. You know me. I just go and don’t hold too much back (and) it turned out something unbelievable.”

There was disbelief for Shubenkov too after he beat Hansle Parchment of Jamaica to the line in a Russian record for the 110m hurdles of 12.98 seconds.

“I don’t remember anything about the race. I heard the starting gun and then I opened my eyes and it was finished,” he said.

“I wondered whether it was really happening, whether I might wake up. This is the best day of my life.”

Tianna Bartoletta rolled back the years in the women’s long jump, snatching a second world title with a leap of 7.14 metres a decade after she won her first under her maiden name Madison.

The American’s best jump was her last and Britain’s Shara Proctor, who had led the competition after breaking her own national record with a 7.07m jump in the third round, fouled with her final effort.

China’s Liu Hong and Lu Xiuzhi looked a little like siblings as they matched each other stride-for-stride until the last few steps of the 20km walk.

Liu led Lu over the line in a time of one hour 27 minutes and 45 seconds for the first gold of the day, to the delight of the crowd basking in the morning sunshine.

“I felt a lot of pressure. China had not won a gold medal and everybody was waiting for it,” Liu said.

Russian walker Alexander Yargunkin will not compete in the men’s 50km walk on Saturday after being suspended while the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) investigates media reports he tested positive for blood-boosting agent Erythropoietin.

It will be the first time no Russian walkers will take part in a world championships.

(Additional reporting by Gene Cherry and Dmitriy Rogovitskiy, editing by Ed Osmond)

Protesters vow to derail Haiti vote

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 18 Reuters – Stone-throwing protesters have taken to the streets of Haiti’s capital to demand the suspension of a run-off presidential election over alleged irregularities.


In rural areas unknown attackers burned several electoral offices.

Haiti is due to hold a runoff vote on January 24, but tensions have risen since the opposition candidate Jude Celestin said last week he would withdraw on the grounds that electoral authorities favoured the ruling party.

Swiss-trained engineer Celestin, 53, came second in an October first-round vote in the poor Caribbean nation, beaten by banana exporter Jovenel Moise, 47, the ruling party candidate.

Accompanied by a man playing trumpet, the several thousand-strong crowd grew angrier as it moved from poor neighbourhoods into downtown Port-au-Prince. Some protesters burned vehicles, threw rocks and attacked a petrol pump.

Elections and transfers of power in Haiti have long been plagued by instability, and international observers said October’s vote was relatively smooth. However, several of the 54 candidates said the government had twisted the results.

Monday’s protesters demanded the creation of an interim government and fresh elections after President Michel Martelly leaves office in February. They included several opposition groups, among them the Platform Pitit Desalin, and supporters of Celestin.

In the north of the country unknown assailants burned four offices belonging to the electoral council, blamed by many for irregularities in the October vote. Four members of the electoral council have resigned in recent days.

The election authority said it condemned acts of violence and vowed to go ahead with the vote on Sunday.

China’s crude steel output falls 2.3 per cent

China’s crude steel output fell 2.


3 percent to 803.8 million tonnes in 2015 from the previous year, government data showed on Tuesday, the first drop in more than three decades as the economy of the world’s top producer slows.

Production also declined 5.2 percent to 64.37 million tonnes in December from a year ago, according to the numbers from the National Bureau of Statistics, dented by faltering demand.

China’s industrial output rose 5.9 percent in December from a year earlier, missing market expectations, as its manufacturers struggle with persistently sluggish demand at home and abroad, excess capacity and high borrowing costs.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 6.0 percent increase in factory output, easing from November’s 6.2 percent.

Full-year industrial output rose 6.1 percent year on year while retail sales rose 10.7 percent.

Retail sales climbed 11.1 percent in December from a year earlier, compared with an 11.3 percent rise expected by the market and November’s 11.2 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

Fixed-asset investment growth, a crucial driver of the economy, grew 10.0 percent in 2015 from the previous year, missing market expectations.

Economists had expected investment growth would come in at 10.2 percent – the same rate as in the first 11 months of 2015.

Growth in real estate investment slowed to 1.0 percent in 2015 from the previous year, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent in January-November.

Other data on Tuesday showed China’s economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, its slowest rate of expansion in a quarter of a century, weighed down by weak exports, factory overcapacity, a soft property market, high debt levels and slowing investment.

Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey dead at 67

The Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey has died at the age of 67.


The US band announced the news on its website stating the founding member died on Monday in New York city after complications from a number of illnesses.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday, January 18th, 2016,” the band wrote.

“Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.”

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“The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery. Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide.”

The band included the lyrics of the song It’s Your World Now from the Long Road Out of Eden Album along with the announcement.

Frey’s bandmate Don Henley said the guitarist was like a brother to him, regardless of The Eagle’s fractious relationship over their 45-year history and he gave him credit for starting the group.

“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry – and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan,” Henley wrote in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Eagles toured Australia last year on their History of the Eagles tour.

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Accused murderer faces Vic court

A man who lived next door to Karen Chetcuti has appeared in a Victorian court charged with her murder, a day after a woman’s body was found in bushland.


The body found near Myrtleford on Monday has not yet formally been identified but police believe it is the 49-year-old mother of two from Whorouly in northeast Victoria who went missing a week ago.

Whorouly man Michael Cardamone, 48, briefly appeared in the Wangaratta Magistrates Court on Tuesday, charged with her murder and breaching parole.

Cardamone was arrested in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs on Sunday after allegedly claiming he had been kidnapped.

Dressed in a white t-shirt and grey tracksuit pants, he was not required to speak during the short hearing on Tuesday before Magistrate John O’Callaghan, who appeared via videolink from Wodonga.

Prosecutor Marino Eliades told the court police allege Cardamone killed Ms Chetcuti on or around January 12 after she went to his home for some tomatoes.

Her family and friends wept as defence lawyer Geoff Clancy highlighted custody issues for his client including high blood pressure and back pain.

“I don’t give a s***”, one of Ms Chetcuti’s friend’s said out loud as Mr Clancy explained his client had not received his medication for four days.

Ms Chetcuti was reported missing after failing to turn up to work at Wangaratta Council last Wednesday.

Police found the lights on at her home, with her bag and purse inside.

Her burnt-out car was found in bush near Myrtleford on Thursday, sparking a search of nearby bushland.

Friends of the community-minded woman have taken to social media to remember her.

“This should never have happened to you, a brilliant lady has paid with her life for such a senseless act,” one wrote.

Another described how people were mesmerised by her “wonderful sense of humour” and “infectious laugh”.

Staff at the local council where Ms Chetcuti worked for 20 years are struggling to accept the news of her death.

“We were always hopeful that Karen would be found alive but this news has confirmed the worst,” Rural City of Wangaratta chief executive officer Brendan McGrath said in a statement on Tuesday.

Her two children, aged 14 and 15, are believed to be with their father.

Cardamone’s address was suppressed, amid fears of vigilante attacks on the house where his mother still lives.

He was remanded to appear in the same court for a committal hearing on September 8.

The Australian family fighting for Taekwondo gold in Rio

Carmen Marton (mah-TON) comes from a family that knows how to fight.



The daughter of Polish refugees, Marton made history in 2013 by becoming Australia’s first taekwondo world champion.


“That was my childhood dream when I saw my sister train and only being 3-4 years old I knew I wanted to be the world champion.”


The year she won, both her brother Jack and sister Caroline also made the Australian taekwondo team.


With both parents also graded taekwondo athletes, Jack Marton says people often ask questions.


“The first question they always ask is how many fights do we have at home and who wins all the fights.”


Next month he’ll be supporting his sisters at the Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Papua New Guinea.


The pair are in different weight categories, meaning they could both qualify for Rio.


Marton is hoping to win a chance at redemption, after narrowly missing out on a medal at the London 2012 Games.


“I knew I had the capability to come away with a medal, then to come away with nothing crushed me but I knew what I had to do to win that medal and in the following year I won the world championships.”


Her husband – fellow Australian taekwondo athleteâ¯Safwan Khalil – is also hoping to win a ticket to Rio.


But Marton says the Olympics are strictly business.


“It’s not a honeymoon if you have to train. I count it as a half holiday, we’re incredibly blessed to be able to travel together in our sport.”


Australia is sending four taekwondo athletes to Rio in the hopes of backing up the only two medals the country has won in the sport, taken at the Sydney 2000 Games.


Lauren Burns winning the gold and Daniel Trenton taking silver.


Australia’s Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller says if Australia hopes to make the top five in the medal tally, we need to cast a wide net.*


“In respect to Australia’s aim of getting to the top five of the medal tally in Rio, we can’t just rely on the traditional sports of swimming and track cycling and sailing to get us into that top five.”


And Marton’s coach Alf Dell’orso is confident she can deliver.


“That’s what we’re working hard for and I suspect if all goes well she’s up there to win at least one medal and we’re talking about the medal, the gold medal.”


Marton says she won’t be happy with anything else.


“For London I made the mistake of being content with any medal, but now I know that that’s not enough focus, it won’t sustain me throughout the day if I’m happy with any medal I know it has to be gold.”

Indigenous suicide prevention program launched in WA

Now, the alarming rate of Aboriginal people taking their own life has prompted the federal government to trial a “critical response” program.



The initiative will see a rapid response support team connect with those who have lost someone to suicide.


The suicide rate among Indigenous Australians is twice that for non-Indigenous people – and the highest rates are witnessed in Western Australia.


The Turnbull government is now trialling a one million dollar critical response project to address suicide in the state.


The program starts with an on-call service which encourages Aboriginal people to seek help immediately after losing someone to suicide or experiencing a traumatic event.


Speaking from Perth, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said support workers will then be flown into remote communities where a person has taken their own life.


He says the response team will work with local service providers in a timely and culturally appropriate way.

“You’re going to fly people in, they’ll immediately be there to support the family, we are able to map where the extended family is – they may be in other communities. And provide counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, support around those families at the time which it’s needed.”


Mr Scullion says the goal is to address the so-called ripple effect which can occur within Aboriginal communities after a suicide.


“We know the epidemiology of self-harm indicates that if that isn’t in place, then we have other people who are so traumatised at a low level, they’re traumatised then by the loss of their brother, they’re traumatised by the loss of their son or sister and they take their own lives or self-harm as well . So that’s the time when they need the support.”


Adele Cox is a critical response advocate, who visited Western Australia’s Goldfields in December in the aftermath of a spate of suicides there.


She says, in such remote areas, support, though lacking, is vital.


“The critical response is very important because what’s happening for a lot of people in the community is the suicide or trauma happens and there is no one there to support you.”


Human rights campaigner Gerry Georgatos is a researcher in suicide prevention and has been lobbying the WA and federal governments for a critical response approach to Indigenous suicide.


He says the trial in Western Australia should be rolled out nationally.


And that culturally appropriate services are crucial when confronting Indigenous suicide.


“You’ve also got to understand that there is a cultural lens there. You can’t dismiss that. In this country we far too often do that. We can’t have any one stop shops , you know assimilations to policies.”


The West Australia trial runs until January next year.


And if you need help or know someone who does you can call Lifeline on 131 114 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.

Turnbull argues in Washington for "the right boots" on the ground in Iraq

He’s on his first official visit to the United States as PM, spending the two days focusing on security, trade and the global economy.



Visiting the Arlington War Cemetery in Washington DC, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to America’s fallen troops as a 19-gun salute boomed out over thousands of white stone war graves.


Fresh from his weekend visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s focused largely on the military efforts needed in the battle against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIL or Daesh.


In a keynote speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Mr Turnbull spoke of the need for ground forces in Iraq in order to defeat I-S.


“The destruction of ISIL requires military action including boots on the ground but they must be the right boots on the right ground.”


He cited the recent operation retaking the city of Ramadi, conducted under Iraqi army leadership assisted by the coalition, as an example of “the right boots on the right ground.”


‘Led by the Iraqis themselves, assisted by the Coalition’s respective air and special forces, it was not just a blow to ISIL but an example of the right combination.”


Mr Turnbull expressed his concern over IS’s capacity to use technology to spread its propaganda.


He highlighted the need for improvement in the way in which we respond to the strategies used by IS to recruit fighters on social media.


“ISIL may have an archaic and barbaric ideology but its use of technology and social media in particular is very sophisticated and agile. ISIL claims must be mocked and disproved as soon as they are made. The cyber-sphere demands reactions as rapid as the kinetic battlefield.”


With the Jakarta terror attacks still fresh in his mind, Mr Turnbull turned his focus towards the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, praising him as a powerful advocate for moderate and tolerant Islam.


He said he’d like to see President Widodo become a global figure in promoting a counter-narrative of Islam.


It’s a move he says could help in the fight against ISIS.


“He condemns the extremists, not just for their violence, most of which after all is directed against other Muslims, but for the way they defame Islam, his faith.”


But the Prime Minister warned against any blanket condemnation associating all Muslims with the acts of terrorist groups.


“We should not be so delicate as to say ISIL and its ilk have got nothing to do with Islam. But neither should we tag all Muslims or their religion with responsibility for the crimes of a tiny terrorist minority. That is precisely what the extremists want us to do.”

Palmer workers to join creditors’ list

Five years ago, Clive Palmer was handing out free luxury cars and overseas holidays to workers at his Queensland nickel refinery.


Now some of those same workers will be joining a list of creditors to ensure they get redundancy payouts from the self-proclaimed billionaire’s beleaguered enterprise.

Administrators for the federal MP’s company, Queensland Nickel (QNI), moved in on Monday after 237 workers at its refinery near Townsville were told their jobs were gone.

The Australian Workers Union says the bean counters have painted a “pretty spooky” picture of the company’s financial position in preliminary meetings.

The company does not have the cash to pay out entitlements, it’s about three months behind in superannuation payments, and it has debts of about $70 million, AWU secretary Ben Swan told AAP on Tuesday.

Sacked workers who are owed money are planning to list themselves as creditors ahead of a meeting expected to go ahead in Townsville next week.

It’s a far cry from the scenes of largesse Mr Palmer presided over just before Christmas in 2010.

He arrived by plane bearing goodies that included 55 Mercedes-Benz cars and 750 holidays at luxury resorts in Fiji and Australia for the staff he credited with turning the refinery’s fortunes around in stunning fashion.

On Tuesday, the federal MP continued to point to the dramatic drop in the price of nickel as a primary reason for the job cuts.

He also had things to say about how much his company has done for north Queensland.

“QNI has spent $4bn in North QLD since 2009. Liberal & Labor would be lucky to have spent that combined,” he wrote on Twitter.

He again defended using the business to bankroll the Palmer United Party to the tune of more than $20 million, saying he could have pocketed that cash but instead used it to campaign on issues for the greater good.

“In 2013, I could have received $15m as a dividend from QNI. Instead it was donated to PUP which mandated a reduction in electricity prices,” he tweeted.

The Queensland government is holding fast-tracked talks on job creation in Townsville this week, after refusing Mr Palmer’s request last year to guarantee a $35 million loan to help the cash-strapped refinery.

On Tuesday, the federal government revealed it also rebuffed a request for a loan guarantee.

“We’re not in the practice of bailing out private companies,” Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

The AWU says affected workers are anxiously awaiting a clearer picture of Queensland Nickel’s position.

Asked if he believed the company’s assurances that it could trade out of its woes, Mr Swan said: “I’m not in a position to answer that.”

University fee deregulation delayed for a year: Birmingham

Universities and students can be certain about their funding for 2016 after Education Minister Simon Birmingham delayed fee deregulation for at least a year.


Acting opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said she was pleased with the one-year reprieve but said the government should dump its plans entirely.

“They haven’t worked out that it’s a mistake to introduce $100,000 university degrees, all they’ve said is it’s too late this year to do it,” she told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Birmingham has indicated he is rethinking all aspects of a package to overhaul higher education that has so far been rejected twice in the Senate.

“With only three months left in 2015, it is necessary to give both universities and students certainty about what the higher education funding arrangements for 2016 will be,” Senator Birmingham told an audience at the University of Melbourne on Thursday.

“Any future reforms, should they be legislated, would not commence until 2017 at the earliest.”

Existing arrangements, with indexed funding, will continue for the next year.

Previous education minister Christopher Pyne unveiled the changes in the 2014 budget.

They included a deregulation of fees, an expansion of government funding to private providers and degrees below bachelor level, a 20 per cent cut to federal per-student funding and the dumping of loan fees for vocational students.

It was all supposed to start on January 2016.

After the Senate rejected the package for a second time in March, Mr Pyne insisted he would again put it to parliament before the end of the year.

Now Senator Birmingham says that won’t happen.

He will use the extra time to consult with the higher education sector, students, employers and Senate crossbenchers.

The government’s challenge was to make sure future funding of higher education was sustainable while still letting universities enrol as many undergraduate students as they wanted and keeping a high quality, accessible system.

“To those who claim consideration of reform is about ideology or privilege, you are dead wrong,” Senator Birmingham said.

“I will only ever champion reforms that achieve both equity and excellence.”

Tasmanian university students welcomed the minister’s decision, and have called on the government to heed the views of students before making future plans.

Tasmanian University Union president Heidi La Paglia thanked Labor, Greens and crossbench senators for standing strong against the legislation in the upper house.

“This should be a lesson to the goverment that legislation is not successful if it does not have the support of all stakeholders,” she said in a statement.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said while he was disappointed in the delay, it was understandable given the political realities of the Senate’s opposition.

The package had been the centrepiece of “a brave, reforming budget” in 2014 and was still needed, he told 3AW radio.

Sedgman pledges profit lift, special div

Mining services company Sedgman expects to sharply boost first half profit and has pledged a special dividend for shareholders, as it looks to fend off a takeover bid from construction giant CIMIC.


In a letter to shareholders, chairman Rob McDonald said the company expects to unveil a nearly 70 per cent rise in its first half net profit to between $7.5 million and $8 million, despite subdued market conditions.

It had posted net profit of $4.7 million in the same period last year.

While the second half of the financial year is likely to be softer, the company is confident about its order book for FY 2017 and beyond, he said.

Mr McDonald also said Sedgman will announce a fully franked special dividend at the time of its half year results in February, in addition to its normal interim dividend.

Last week, CIMIC launched its $243 million takeover play for the company as part of its efforts to strengthen its hold in the Australian market.

It made an unconditional offer to buy the 63.01 per cent of Sedgman shares it did not already own, at a price of $1.07 each, implying a 35 per cent premium to Sedgman’s closing price ahead of the announcement.

CIMIC, already Sedgman’s largest shareholder, separately said on Tuesday it had raised its holding to 38.4 per cent.

The construction giant, formerly called Leighton Holdings, has been a long-time strategic investor in Brisbane-based Sedgman, which provides construction and maintenance services to the global mining industry.

In November, CIMIC surprised Sedgman’s board by voting against most resolutions at the company’s annual general meeting, resulting in three of its directors having to step down.

At the time, it had demanded more representation on the company’s board and asked that Sedgman’s founder directors be removed, but had been rebuffed.

On Tuesday, Sedgman again urged its shareholders not to take any action on CIMIC’s offer, as its board considers the merits of the takeover.

Sedgman shares were trading flat at $1.07 each at 1524.