I want to captain Wests Tigers: Woods

Aaron Woods wants to be the player to lead Wests Tigers out of their turmoil.


Woods is keen to succeed Robbie Farah as skipper of the embattled NRL club and forge a new era at Concord with under-pressure coach Jason Taylor.

After stepping down from the captaincy last month, Farah’s fallout with Taylor continues to create headlines at the Tigers, while the departure of key personnel including Marty Taupau and Keith Galloway has hit the club hard ahead of the 2016 season.

Test and NSW Origin front-rower Woods, a Tigers junior with Leichhardt juniors said on Tuesday it had always been his ambition head up the club.

“Definitely, as kid it was a goal. I always wanted to be captain of the club,” Woods told AAP.

“No one knows what is going on with all that stuff at the moment, it is only the third week of pre-season, there is a long way to go.

“If it does come my way I would take it with both hands, but it if doesn’t I would support the person that gets it.

“We will just get back into footy first and then see where it goes.”

Ironically, if appointed Woods said he would base his leadership style on that of the out-of-favour Farah.

“Robbie is someone who always plays with his heart on his sleeve. He is a great person to have a role model as to base your captaincy around,” Woods said.

“Robbie is a great leader. He is vice-captain of NSW, he has been captain there a few times and he was captain of the Tigers before he stood down.

“He has played 13 or 14 years of first grade, there is a lot of experience, there and when I first came to the club I was like a sponge and he was a bit off me because I was asking him a million questions.”

“I still do and most of the time he has an answer.”

Woods, 24, said Farah was dealing well with his situation at the Tigers. Taylor hasn’t guaranteed Farah a first grade spot in 2016 and Matt Ballin has joined the club as competition for the hooking spot.

“Robbie is a world class athlete, I have never seen someone as fit and mentally strong as Rob,” Woods said.

“He is that fit and you wouldn’t even know he has had any problems in the off-season.

“He has come back to training and he has been one of our best trainers and I wouldn’t expect any less from Robbie.”

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Tax compensation part of reforms: Morrison

Treasurer Scott Morrison believes Australians know that if there is a change to the GST, they will be adequately compensated.


The latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll has found more than half its respondents supported an increase in the GST as long as the poor were compensated, income taxes cut and changes implemented to stop exploitation of superannuation tax breaks by the wealthy.

“People know that when this was done before that there was adequate compensation, if anything, there was over compensation,” Mr Morrison told Melbourne’s 3AW radio on Tuesday.

Income tax cuts were part of the original GST package back in 2000 under John Howard and Peter Costello and they were the “obvious thing to do” as part of tax reform, he said.

However, the treasurer insists that no decision has been taken to increase the 10 per cent GST rate or broadening its base to possibly take in fresh food.

Senior cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said the opinion poll indicates that Labor has has failed in its efforts to scare voters away from tax reform.

“Labor has manifestly failed in their not-very-scary scare campaign to scare the Australian public away from a debate,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Canberra.

What the poll showed was that the public is willing to have a “sophisticated and intelligent” discussion, he said.

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen played down the poll result, saying there was a long way to go yet in the tax reform debate.

“The government hasn’t yet announced their GST plans, when they do I think the Australian people will take a close look and will not be impressed,” he told AAP.

Mr Morrison said the tax discussion was heading in a “mature direction” and one that will end up with a “better set of taxes rather than a bigger set of taxes”.

A whole range of state and territory taxes will be considered for scrapping as part of reforms to be discussed when Mr Morrison next meets with his state and territory counterparts.

The treasurer cited, as one example, state levies on insurance policies that cost Australians about $6 billion a year.

He said the states and territories will be significant beneficiaries of any change to the tax mix.

“If you want to be a beneficiary you have to be a participant,” he said.

The tax debate has done little to dampen the enthusiasm voters appear to have for the Turnbull government.

The poll shows the coalition extending its two-party preferred lead over Labor to 56-44 per cent.

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#NotInMyName: Muslims condemn IS through Twitter campaign

Muslims around the world have turned to Twitter to campaign against ISIS and recent acts of violence the group has claimed responsibility for.


The hashtags #MessageToISIS and #NotInMyName have been used widely since ISIS claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Beirut and Paris.

The Active Change Foundation is promoting both hashtag campaigns to encourage young Muslims to add “their voices to the fight-back against ISIS”, the foundation’s website says.

“Islam teaches peace, respect and love. ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam. It’s nothing to do with what we stand for. Tell ISIS that they can’t murder in your name,” the website says.

The British foundation says the #MessageToISIS campaign is a “direct message to ISIS that everything they stand for is wrong, and that trying to wear us down or scare us will only make us stronger”.

Twitter users have picked up on the campaigns, using them to send their own messages against the attacks.

ISIS does not represent Islam #NotInMyName

— ㅤ (@BruvSp) November 16, 2015Dear people, this is what Islam preaches Terrorism has no religion. #NotInMyName pic.twitter苏州半永久眼线会所,/xhUwBjMifE

— Bilquis Rayeen (@BilquisRayeen) November 14, 2015I am Muslim, and I stand against any crime/terrorist attack committed by extremists claiming to be Muslim #PrayforParis #notinmyname

— Dania Saltagi (@daniasalt) November 14, 2015″Whoever kills an innocent person, it is as though he has killed all of mankind” (Quran 5:32) #TerrorismHasNoReligion #NotInMyName

— Shehnaz Khan (@shehnazkhan) November 14, 2015My Islam has taught me to show peace and goodwill to all. Terrorism has no religion. Thoughts are with those affected in Paris #notinmyname

— Suhail Mohammed (@shadowwraiths) November 14, 2015#MessageToISIS God is Peace.. The emotion that you will never feel … PEACE.. pic.twitter苏州半永久眼线会所,/3dnSreSD2t

— Ehab Demian (@ehabawadd) November 15, 2015#MessageToISIS: We do not fear you. We care about each other. #Humanity will beat violence. Stay strong! #paris #beirut #syria #iraq

— Ina Mikkola (@InaMikkola) November 15, 2015You cannot destroy #France – it is an idea of universal liberty & humanity that has swept away demons far greater than you #MessageToISIS

— OGT (@womanati) November 14, 2015


Muslim feminist Philistine Ayad told CNN she hoped the #NotInMyName campaign would help to remove Islamophia from Western societies.

“I want there to be an understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims and a sense of communal sympathy for the victims of terrorists, but not descending into Islamophobia,” she told CNN.

“If the #NotInMyName campaign can help expel some of that Islamophobia and expel some of my fear … then that would be wonderful.”

Ayad has also used art to demonstrate the burden terrorist acts placed on innocent Muslims.

“#NotInMyName means that we are taking that power back, to represent ourselves to what we truly are and that is peaceful people,” she told CNN.

Another act of terrorism for Muslims to condemn. Another burden. #NotIslam #Paris #NotInMyName #NotAllMuslims pic.twitter苏州半永久眼线会所,/mbTsdX5fry

— Philistine Ayad (@Cre8tvlyLicnsd) November 14, 2015

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War hero pup honoured

It’s fair to say a tiny yorkshire terrier named Smoky led a far more interesting life than most people.


She was also a hell of a lot braver.

On Tuesday the Brisbane-born pup, who died in 1957, was posthumously bestowed with the RSPCA’s national award for animals for her bravery and efforts during World War II.

She began her life in a pet shop in Brisbane before being taken to Papua New Guinea by an Australian man who sold the pup to US Corporal William (Bill) Wynne for two pounds after losing a bet.

The aeroplane mechanic was based in Australia for three years during WWII and would fly between Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

Smoky joined her new owner on 12 combat missions by being smuggled into the countries under Corporal Wynne’s uniform.

She even went on combat flights with the soldier and parachuted out of planes strapped to him.

In January 1945 on Luzon Island in the Philippines Smoky helped a group of engineers with the difficult task of threading a wire through a small 20 metre long tunnel under an airstrip by running through it with the wire attached to her collar.

Her efforts meant the task took just a few minutes rather than three days and saved hundreds of ground crew from being exposed to enemy fire.

Smoky also became a “therapy dog” by joining nurses on their rounds at hospitals in Papua New Guinea and Brisbane, and later in the US.

After returning to Ohio with Corporal Wynne after WWII she became a star by performing tricks on a weekly TV show.

Nigel Allsopp, who wrote a book about Smoky’s adventures, told AAP the corporal’s love for the dog is still strong almost six decades after she died.

“Even today at age 95 it’s like Bill is still with Smoky now – she’s had a huge impact on his life,” he said. “There isn’t a day goes by that he doesn’t think of her.”

The RSPCA’s purple medal is the ninth award bestowed on Smoky who also has eight battle stars to her name.

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Killers and suspects after Paris attacks



* ISMAIL OMAR MOSTEFAI, 29, Frenchman of Algerian descent involved in Bataclan concert hall attack.


Name was put on French intelligence services’ “S notice” in 2010 for reported radicalisation. Investigators suspect he went to Syria in 2013.

* SAMY AMIMOUR, 28, Frenchman involved in Bataclan attack. Subject of international arrest warrant since 2013. Had been under official investigation since October 2012 on suspicion of terrorism-related activity over a plan to go to Yemen. Believed to have gone to Syria in 2013.

* BRAHIM ABDESLAM, 31. Brother of Salah Abdeslam, the key suspect who is still at large. Frenchman but resident of Belgium. Blew himself up at Comptoir Voltaire cafe in Paris.

* BILAL HADFI, 20. Suicide bomber involved in Stade de France attack.

* AHMAD AL MOHAMMAD, 25 from Idlib, northwest Syria. Suicide bomber involved in Stade de France attack. Passport being checked but fingerprints match up with print of a person registered under that name in Greece in October 2015.


* ABDELHAMID ABAAOUD, the suspected mastermind of the attacks. Belgian resident of Molenbeek district of Brussels. Media in Belgium said Abaaoud had been involved in a series of planned attacks in Belgium foiled by the police in January.

* SALAH ABDESLAM, 26, French, born in Brussels. Suspected of having rented black VW Polo car used in attacks in Paris.


*BELGIUM: Two of seven people arrested in November 14 raids were detained on terrorism charges. Mohammad Abdeslam, brother of Salah and Brahim (dead), was among five released after preliminary questioning.

*FRANCE: Police arrested 25 people in broad swoops on suspected Islamist militants on Sunday night.

SOURCE: prosecutor’s office, judiciary sources

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Govt not rushing to pick up Abbott plan

Nine days after the 9/11 terror attacks, the US inserted a small group of special forces into northern Afghanistan and they were followed soon after by another few dozen.


Their role proved crucial in the air campaign that started on October 7 directing precision air strikes against Taliban defences, and allowing forces of the Northern Alliance to sweep south, capturing Kabul on November 12 and Kandahar a fortnight later.

So former prime minister Tony Abbott’s suggestion Australian special forces play a similar role against Islamic State in Syria could have merit.

It would address the fundamental shortcoming of the air campaign against IS in Syria – a lack of eyes on the ground to direct precision air strikes.

This is a specialist role the military calls a “joint terminal attack controller”, or JTAC.

In Iraq, targeting requests come from Iraqi soldiers in direct contact with IS forces on the frontline, and are conveyed through coalition soldiers including Australian special forces to the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, called CAOC, in Qatar, from where missions are allocated to coalition aircraft.

It’s not perfect. But it’s better than what happens in Syria, where picking targets relies on aerial surveillance and intelligence from such sources as phone intercepts.

Nevertheless, Australia is unlikely to unilaterally deploy soldiers into Syria which hosts a chequerboard of warring factions.

Such a move could only happen as a part of a much larger mission, and as the consequence of a political deal involving the US, Russia, Iran and other regional nations to resolve the conflict.

And Australia would at best play a modest role, which could be years away if it happens at all.

The federal government won’t rush to adopt Mr Abbott’s suggestion.

“We are part of an international coalition,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said on Tuesday.

“We will work with our partners to determine what is the best response from day to day, from week to week. Those discussions will develop consequent on events in France.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia played by the rules.

“We’re not going to expose our soldiers to international consequences, should we be acting unilaterally,” she said.

Mr Abbott also suggested Australia step up air attacks on IS in Syria by adopting less restrictive targeting rules. These are the rules of engagement designed to minimise the risk of civilian casualties.

But government has no plans to step up the mission frequency, Senator Payne’s office said.

So far Australian combat aircraft have flown nine missions over Syria and dropped just two bombs.

RAAF chief Air Marshal Leo Davies said the stringent application of the rules of engagement must continue.

But as the campaign against IS continues and there’s a better understanding of what the terror group, also known as Daesh, is doing and Australian aircraft may be able to reach more targets.

As an immediate gesture of support for France, the government appears to be leaning toward accepting a French invitation to attach a warship to a carrier task group deploying to the Persian Gulf to attack IS targets in Iraq and Syria.

Senator Payne said the request came some time ago, well before the terror attacks in Paris.

“The government is considering that and I look forward to speaking about it further with the PM when he returns. He has had a chance to meet with the foreign minister and to speak to President Hollande,” she said.

Australian warship HMAS Melbourne is now operating in the Middle East as part of the multinational taskforce conducting security, counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations.

It’s the 60th deployment of an Australian warship to the Middle East since 1990.

Navy chief Vice Admiral Tim Barrett confirmed Defence was considering the French invitation and providing advice to the government.

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Philadelphia first US World Heritage city

America’s birthplace has been named the country’s first World Heritage City, putting it on par with Jerusalem, Cairo, Paris and other places recognised for their impacts on the course of human events.


The Organisation of World Heritage Cities added Philadelphia in a vote earlier this month at its biennial conference in Arequipa, Peru.

Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth largest city, qualified because Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Declaration of Independence was signed at Independence Hall in 1776. Four years later, the Articles of Confederation, which united the 13 colonies, were ratified. The US Constitution was debated and signed at Independence Hall in 1787, with George Washington presiding.

“The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on lawmakers around the world,” according to UNESCO’s website.

The Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center are nearby, part of the three-block Independence Mall park created in the 1950s at the expense of dozens of colonial-era and early American buildings, including what was left of the home where Washington lived as president.

A consortium of city government and business leaders started campaigning for the honour three years ago at the suggestion of Richard Hodges, then the director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, who asked simply: “Why isn’t Philadelphia a World Heritage City?”

The designation, held by about 260 cities, also reflects Philadelphia’s evolution into an economic and educational hub and its resilience – a theme of the organisation’s conference, Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger said.

Denis Ricard, OWHC secretary general, was particularly taken during his visit last year with how the city has transformed its naval shipyard into a booming industrial park.

Being a World Heritage City will create more opportunities for cultural collaboration and exchanges, akin to a grander version of Philadelphia’s sister cities program, said John Smith, a lawyer who helped lead the campaign through the non-profit Global Philadelphia Association.

It will also help boost tourism, he said.

“Philadelphia has a lot going for it, but certainly isn’t as well recognised as New York or Washington in international parlance,” said Smith.

“Philadelphia has to start thinking of other ways to establish itself as a bona fide world city.”

Recent events have helped.

Philadelphia hosted Pope Francis in September and will welcome the Democratic National Convention next summer.

Philadelphia was already renowned for its rich history and vibrant arts scene, including The Barnes Foundation museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Sylvester Stallone ran up the steps in Rocky.

“People for a long time have raised questions about how confident Philadelphians are in themselves,” Smith said.

“We think this will be a huge boost to the city’s ego. Once you get foreign cities and foreign countries to believe in you, it’s easier to believe in yourself.”

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Lesbian couple’s baby judge off case

A Utah judge who sparked an outcry when he ordered a foster child to be taken from the home of her married lesbian foster parents has removed himself from the case.


Seventh District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen disqualified himself from the case and referred it to the court’s presiding judge, Mary Manley, according to a copy of the court order published online by gay rights organisation Equality Utah.

The foster parents, Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland, had cared for the nine-month-old girl since August, but Johansen last week ordered state child welfare workers to remove the baby from the couple’s home because of their sexual orientation and find new foster parents within seven days.

He later amended his ruling, dropping the removal order in favour of a hearing to determine what was in the baby’s best interest.

“We are thankful that Judge Johansen has decided to step aside. Our greatest concern now is taking care of our beautiful baby foster daughter,” Peirce and Hoagland said in a statement sent to Equality Utah on Monday.

Earlier, the state Division of Child and Family Services, which opposed the order, said the judge had cited unspecified research that he said showed children were better off with heterosexual parents.

News of Johansen’s initial ruling angered gay rights and civil liberties advocates.

The national Human Rights Campaign urged the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission to investigate the judge’s actions.

The couple are already parents to Peirce’s 12-and 14-year-old biological children and said they were planning to adopt their foster child at the request of the girl’s biological mother.

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Aust, Indon to team up and take on world

Australian and Indonesian businesses should team up in key areas of commercial advantage to jockey for a larger slice of a potential $4 trillion trade prize.


That’s the key message of a new report – Succeeding Together from the Australia-Indonesia Centre, ANZ and PwC – that Trade Minister Andrew Robb is launching in Yogyakarta on Tuesday.

Centre director Paul Ramadge says a multi-trillion dollar opportunity is emerging in the next decade as the world moves into a second phase of the Asian Century, with capital flows from north Asia spreading quickly to the south.

“Fast-moving countries that understand this will be winners,” Mr Ramadge told AAP.

With low commodity prices, Indonesia and Australia needed to diversify competitive advantages away from mining to other sources, he said.

One way to do this was by combining comparative advantages in order to win in third markets such as China.

For Indonesia the shift could stimulate a second manufacturing revolution akin to the one experienced in the late 1980s.

Australia stood to benefit from increase opportunities to value add to physical, biological, intellectual and service-rich resources, the report said.

Food processing, logistics, animal products and textiles/fashion are potential areas for increased co-operation which could help tap into larger regional and global value supply chains.

Examples include:

* Australian and Indonesian fashion industries collaborating on designs to suit western preferences

* Small Australian food processors employing Indonesian techniques for energy efficient production such as methane-recycling in tofu production

* Australian know-how on wool could help Indonesia’s textile manufacturing sector expand product ranges.

The report flags that if wool processing facilities were set up in Indonesia, raw Australian wool could be exported there and then third markets approached.

Mr Ramadge said there was scope for both countries to reduce regulatory red tape and legal hurdles through free-trade deals.

Better literacy about each other’s countries and stronger relationships were critical, he said.

Mr Robb is leading an historic trade mission to Indonesia with 360 business representatives this week.

On the eve of its visit, he acknowledged the huge untapped potential for joint ventures.

“(If you look at) what we’re strong at, what Indonesia’s strong at… we’d be better if we put the two together,” he said.

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Hartley on a high in Bulls’ big Shield win

An effective blend of old and new has lifted Queensland to a thumping Sheffield Shield win over South Australia as Chris Hartley became the Bulls’ most prolific wicketkeeper.


Queensland made short work of the Redbacks’ batting on the last day of their clash on Tuesday to record an emphatic innings-and-14-run victory at the Gabba.

Resuming on 4-181 and still requiring 68 runs to make the hosts bat again, South Australia were rolled for 235 as the Bulls’ quicks made the most of a still lively wicket.

Hartley finished with 10 catches for the match, moving him to 521 first-class dismissals to break the previous record of 519 held by former Bulls gloveman Wade Seccombe.

The Bulls veteran credited Queensland’s fast bowlers for the big win, with 204cm, 21-year-old Billy Stanlake finishing with match figures of 6-103 and 37-year-old James Hopes 8-84.

“(The record) reminds me that I’ve been playing for a while,” said the 33-year-old Hartley.

“It’s a good indication of how your fast bowlers are going… we had a lot of guys taking catches behind the wicket.”

Just as pleasing for the Bulls – who have now won their last two matches after being beaten convincingly by Victoria – were the breakthrough innings of two young batsmen.

Marnus Labuschagne made 112 – his maiden first-class century – and fellow 21-year-old Matthew Renshaw was run out for 94 as the pair set the platform for a solid total of 452.

South Australia’s captain Travis Head was disappointed with the way his side batted on day one after being sent in.

“It wasn’t a great toss to lose,” Head said.

“But we’ve played enough games here when it’s been like that and we knew what it had to take to bat on this wicket.

“We had to leave well and be strong in defence and we weren’t able to do that in the first innings which set us back.”

Queensland next face NSW at the SCG from November 27 while South Australia will travel to Hobart to take on Tasmania at Bellerive Oval.

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