Liberal voters oppose coal mine subsidies

Malcolm Turnbull’s constituents and those of six of his senior ministers overwhelmingly oppose taxpayers subsidising the planned Adani coal mine in Queensland.

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Polling conducted by ReachTEL for the left-leaning think tank The Australia Institute also finds more voters support a ban on new coal mines than would oppose one.

The government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is considering whether to grant Indian company Adani a $900 million loan to build a rail line to its planned Carmichael coal mine.

Pollsters surveyed people in Wentworth (Mr Turnbull’s seat), Cook (Scott Morrison), Curtin (Julie Bishop), Dickson (Peter Dutton), Flinders (Greg Hunt), Kooyong (Josh Frydenberg) and Sturt (Christopher Pyne).

Results showed on average 62.5 per cent opposed any government loan for the rail link, with opposition strongest among voters in Treasurer Scott Morrison’s southern Sydney seat.

Fewer than one in four people were in favour of a loan, with support highest among voters in Mr Dutton’s Brisbane electorate, the only Queensland seat surveyed.

There were similar results on the question of whether taxpayers should be subsidising the Adani mine in any way.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said it made sense the Liberal Party base would oppose subsidising an industry as well established as coal mining.

“Despite a push by some conservatives for coal subsidy polices, these results – in key blue-ribbon Liberal seats – show strong opposition to that very idea,” he said on Monday.

“These results show that Malcolm Turnbull should be confident in staring down the pro-coal faction in his party room.”

Voters were also asked if they supported or opposed a moratorium on building coal mines, meaning existing mines could continue running but no new ones would be allowed.

More people thought a moratorium was a good idea than not, but the suggestions only got a majority of support among Mr Turnbull’s constituents and those in Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s inner-Melbourne seat.

But almost one in four people responded they didn’t know where they stood on the moratorium.

El Salvador teen sentenced to 30 years jail after baby dies at birth

Evelyn Hernandez gave birth in April last year in the makeshift bathroom of her home in the central Cuscatlan region.

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She was 18 years old and eight months pregnant.

She said her son was stillborn but a court in the city of Cojutepeque convicted her on Wednesday of murdering him, abortion rights group ACDATEE said.

A spokeswoman for the group, Morena Herrera, said Hernandez was convicted “with no direct proof” and that the court failed to take into account key forensic evidence.

ACDATEE cited a pathologist’s report which it said indicated the baby had choked to death while still in the womb.

Prosecutors argued Hernandez was culpable for not having sought prenatal care, ACDATEE said.

From Dateline:

It said Hernandez had not known she was pregnant and gave birth on the toilet after feeling abdominal pains.

Hernandez got pregnant as the result of a rape which she did not report out of fear because her family had been threatened.

“The conviction is unjust and we are going to appeal,” Herrera told AFP.

“This case is evidence that the judicial system acts with prejudice.”

Abortion under any circumstances is illegal in El Salvador, where it is classed as aggravated homicide.

Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years. Campaigners say some have been jailed after suffering miscarriages.

The country’s abortion law made international headlines in 2013 when a sick woman was forbidden from aborting a fetus that did not have a head.

Under a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Salvadoran state eventually authorized that woman to undergo a Cesarean section. The baby died a few hours after the procedure.

Lawmakers presented a bill in the Salvadoran legislature in October last year proposing to decriminalize abortion. The bill has been blocked by conservative parties.

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Investigation into alleged killing by special forces in Afghanistan

A secret defence inquiry is examining the conduct of Australian special forces in Afghanistan and the alleged killing of at least two children by Australian troops, according to a special report by the ABC.

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Australian special forces soldiers were reportedly moving through a remote area when they allegedly shot a young boy dead in Kandahar Province in 2012. 

The source the ABC spoke to alleges the killing was never reported up the official chain of command, with the boy’s body recovered by local villagers and retrieved by his family.

In a statement, an AFP spokesperson confirmed the matter had been referred to the ADF for investigation.

“On 2 September 2016 the Chief of Army Australia Defence Force (ADF) referred a matter to the AFP relating to an allegation of an unlawful killing by the ADF in Afghanistan in 2012,” the statement said.

“The AFP is undertaking an evaluation of the matter referred, and as such it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

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Australia’s record in Afghanistan

In April 2006, Chief of Army Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell said the slew of disturbing stories about the conduct of Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere would be examined by an independent investigator.

He said a “range of unsubstantiated, third-person, hearsay stories” warranted “deeper consideration, but independently”.

In May 2016, the Defence department revealed that three soldiers were charged over the death of six Afghanis because they allegedly threw a grenade into a room they knew contained women and children.

A Defence ministerial submission, released under Freedom of Information, said the soldiers believed they were under insurgent fire but evidence indicated it was an Afghan national defending his home and family from attack in the middle of the night in February, 2009.

But charges of manslaughter against the three special forces personnel were dismissed on the grounds that soldiers had no legal duty of care to civilians during combat.

Defence has also denied Australian involvement in an incident in Oruzgan province in 2006 in which a taxi was mistakenly fired upon, killing an Afghan civilian man, blinding a woman and seriously injuring a girl.

In May 2013, then Defence Minister Stephen Smith rejected concerns raised by Sydney-based advocacy group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre over allegations that Australian forces in Afghanistan mistreated Afghan detainees in their custody.

The allegations were put forward by Afghan detainees captured by the Australian Defence Force and held at a United States military prison near Bagram air base.

0:00 Australian efforts in Afghanistan helping restructure military Share Australian efforts in Afghanistan helping restructure military

Meanwhile Australia has committed an extra 30 troops to Afghanistan, taking its deployment to 300 Australian Defence Force personnel.

The ADF’s presence in Afghanistan is due to expire in 2018, but Defence Minister Marise Payne says it is under constant review.

The Australian commitment to Afghanistan is known as Operation Highroad, which replaced combat operations in 2014.

Since Australian troops were first sent to Afghanistan in 2001, 42 troops have died.

 

Cordner wants Daley back for Origin 2018

NSW captain Boyd Cordner has pleaded for Laurie Daley to stay past this year’s State of Origin decider amid fears the Blues could be on the lookout for a new coach in 2018.

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Daley’s contract expires at the end of this year’s series however there is no guarantee to remain at the helm should NSW lose a fourth attempt at the shield under his watch.

No Blues coach has survived more than three series defeats, and Daley has been non-committal on whether he would be seeking a new deal next year.

However ahead of Wednesday’s decider at Suncorp Stadium, where the Blues enter as favourites, Cordner went in to bat for the former Blues champion.

The Blues skipper said the Origin coaching gig was made for Daley, who also stands on the precipice of becoming the second NSW coach to claim more than one series triumph.

Legendary mentor Phil Gould has six series wins.

“I love Loz as a coach. I don’t think I’ve met a more passionate man who’s worn the blue jersey. I think it’s carbon-copied for him to have his job just with the emotion he shows,” Cordner said.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve. A hundred per cent I want him to stay.”

NSW under-16s and 18s coach Brad Fittler and current Blues assistant John Cartwright have been mentioned as possible candidates to take over should the job be vacated.

The future of selection adviser Peter Sterling, who signed a one-year deal last year, is also under a cloud after recently hinting his status would be tied to Daley’s decision.

Cordner, who was appointed captaincy from Paul Gallen on the eve of this year’s series, credited Daley for helping develop him into one of the NRL’s elite players.

Matthews second in Tour green jersey race

Michael Matthews’ great effort in the sprinters’ green jersey battle was overshadowed on a dramatic day when fellow Australian Richie Porte crashed out of the Tour de France.

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Riding in the mountains with the world’s best climbers for a good part of the tour’s toughest stage, Matthews improved from third to second in the points classification after collecting the maximum 20 points for winning the intermediate sprint.

He closed to within 52 points of green jersey leader Marcel Kittel (212 points), the winner of three stages,and is 30 points clear another German star, Andre Greipel.

The versatile Matthews was part of a 38-rider breakaway group seven kilometres into the Sunday’s stage, maintaining his spot among the leaders by the 126.5km mark to win the 7.5km-sprint at Massignieu-de-Rives.

“Wow, what a day by all my team at (Sunweb). That was a team effort,” he tweeted.

The 26-year-old Matthews’ chances for a maiden green jersey title have been greatly boosted the absences of sprint heavyweights Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish.

Five-time green jersey winner Sagan was disqualified from the remainder of the Tour after he sent Cavendish crashing in the stage four sprint.

French star Arnaud Demare, who was in second place in the points competition, is also now out after missing the time cut off on stage nine.

BMC’s Porte, one of the pre-race favourites, crashed heavily at high-speed on the stage’s final descent on Mont du Chat, fracturing his right clavicle and pelvis.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac won the stage, which claimed Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas to a crash injury.

Matthews’ Sunweb teammate Warren Barguil, the polka dot jersey wearer for leading climber came second behind Uran in a photo-finish on Sunday and later acknowledged the Australian’s efforts.

“Today was an amazing day for myself and the team. We had five guys in the break which was brilliant,” Barguil said.

“After Michael won the intermediate sprint, the guys went full for my chances on day success and that gave me the confidence that I needed to climb at my best.”