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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has declared her intention to run for president, calling for all of the country’s people to share the fruits of its dramatic reforms.

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Addressing the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in the capital Naypyidaw, the Nobel Peace laureate appealed for the amendment of the military-drafted constitution which prevents her from leading the country.

“I want to run for president and I’m quite frank about it,” the veteran democracy activist told delegates, as she sets her sights on elections due to be held in 2015.

“If I pretended that I didn’t want to be president I wouldn’t be honest,” she added.

The current constitution blocks anyone whose spouses or children are overseas citizens from being appointed by parliament for the top job.

Suu Kyi’s two sons with her late husband Michael Aris are British and the clause is widely believed to be targeted at the Nobel laureate.

Changing certain parts of the text requires the support of more than 75 percent of the members of the fledgling parliament, one quarter of whom are unelected military officials, she noted.

“This constitution is said by experts to be the most difficult constitution in the world to amend. So we must start by amending the requirements for amendments,” Suu Kyi said.

President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government has surprised the world since coming to power two years ago with dramatic political and economic changes that have led to the lifting of most Western sanctions.

Hundreds of political prisoners have been freed, democracy champion Suu Kyi has been welcomed into a new parliament and tentative ceasefires have been reached in the country’s multiple ethnic civil wars.

Suu Kyi, who was herself locked up by the former junta for a total of 15 years, remains hugely popular in Myanmar and her National League for Democracy party is widely expected to win the elections if they are free and fair.

The opposition leader called for all of the Myanmar people to be included in the reform process, warning that otherwise the changes could be jeopardised.

“If the people feel that they’re included in this reform process then it will not be reversible — or at least it will not be easily reversible,” she said.

“But if there are too many people who feel excluded then the dangers of a reversal of the situation would be very great,” Suu Kyi added.

Some 900 delegates from more than 50 countries are gathered in the capital Naypyidaw for the three-day WEF on East Asia — a regional edition of the annual gathering of business and political luminaries in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Foreign firms are queuing up to enter the country formerly known as Burma, tantalised by the prospect of a largely untapped market with a potential 60 million new consumers in addition to Myanmar’s pool of cheap labour.

But experts say businesses entering Myanmar face major hurdles, including an opaque legal framework as well as a lack of basic infrastructure and government and private-sector expertise.

“Look at the poverty in the country,” said Martin Sorrell, chief executive of British advertising giant WPP.

“As you land you look at this capital and you see oxen and ploughs. And getting the balance right I think in terms of expectation is critically important because it’s going to build expectations to a level… which I think will be unrealistic,” he said.

The forum is a huge logistical challenge for Myanmar’s government, which is more used to hosting smaller business and diplomatic delegations as well as the occasional influx of Chinese visitors for jade emporiums.

For many of the delegates, it is also their first glimpse of the sprawling capital built in secret by the former military rulers, who surprised the world in 2005 by suddenly shifting the seat of government from Yangon.

Home to luxury hotels, broad roads and even a 20-lane boulevard leading to the new parliament, the city’s lack of nightlife, restaurants and cafes has not gone unnoticed by delegates.

“Traffic conditions is very nice,” one Korean delegate said of the city’s near empty multi-lane highways. “Here no traffic — but nowhere to go.”

Bloomberg, 70, is among America’s richest people.

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He frequently finances pet causes and, with his final term at the helm of the biggest US city over next year, he is looking for something into which he can pour his clout and cash.

Known in the Big Apple for presiding over a falling murder rate and numerous health initiatives, including restrictions on super-sized soda sales, Bloomberg has long made the national issue of gun controls a priority.

At every shooting massacre, Bloomberg quickly appears on television, Twitter, or podiums to denounce what he sees as an out-of-control gun culture.

But now, his consistently tough line is in tune with a burst of outrage — and a pledge by President Barack Obama to back a law that would ban assault rifles.

The Newtown killings of 20 children and six staff at an elementary school last Friday were “a tipping point,” Bloomberg said. “What kind of craziness is this?” he asked on CBS television.

On Tuesday, he and mayors of several other large cities, including Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and Los Angeles’ Antonio Villaraigosa, sent an open letter to Congress and to Obama, demanding changes to restrict weapons access.

He said on NBC that guns, which are linked to 31,000 deaths in the country a year, should be Obama’s “number one agenda.”

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which Bloomberg co-founded in 2006 and now has more than 725 mayors taking part, is running a petition to ask Washington to “pass gun laws that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

Otherwise, the organization notes, more than 48,000 Americans are on track to be killed in shootings, not counting even greater numbers of gun suicides, between now and the end of Obama’s second term.

Newtown gave impetus to this campaign. Within hours, Bloomberg was on Twitter, saying Obama “rightly sent his condolences to families. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress.”

“It’s time for the president to stand up and lead,” he said.

Bloomberg’s nemesis is the National Rifle Association, a lobby which fights any restrictions of gun ownership on the grounds that this would violate the US constitutional guarantee of the right for private citizens to bear arms.

Bloomberg said the NRA was not as politically powerful as many believe.

“To show you how powerless they really are, their number one objective in this last election was to defeat Barack Obama for a second term,” he said.

“Last time I checked, he won. And the NRA has created this myth that you can’t fight them.”

At the November Congressional and presidential elections, Bloomberg gave millions from his media fortune to candidates he approved of.

Among them were five candidates — four running for the House and one for the Senate — against NRA-backed opponents. In four of the five cases, his candidates won, he says.

“Next time I certainly will do more,” he said.

Benji Marshall is hoping he can round off his glittering rugby league career with a second World Cup triumph for New Zealand, if given the green light to take part in the tournament in the United Kingdom later this year.

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The 28-year-old, who played a starring role in the Kiwis’ stunning win over Australia in the 2008 World Cup final in Brisbane, is set to leave the Wests Tigers at the end of the NRL season to take up a career in rugby union.

Although he’s yet to agree terms with a Super Rugby team, Marshall will walk away from the joint-venture after requesting an early release from his contract following a dispute over an upgraded agreement he’d hoped would net him $1m a season.

However, Marshall said on Thursday the opportunity to play in one last rugby league tournament for the Kiwis would be something he couldn’t to turn down if coach Stephen Kearney came knocking.

But he acknowledged there could be an issue as he’ll be without a rugby league club contract, despite his picture adorning advertising posters for the World Cup in the UK.

“I am not too sure what the situation is regarding that and need to speak to Steve to find out if I am entitled to play or not,” Marshall said.

“I am proud Kiwi and won the last World Cup and would love to do it again.

“I am probably not playing well enough at the moment to get in the team, but if I can find form over the next few games, and the rules permit then hopefully I am allowed to play.”

It’s believed the Rugby League International Federation would rule on the World Cup eligibility of any player without a club deal – something that could also affect fellow Kiwi star Sonny Bill Williams if he has not done a new deal with the Sydney Roosters.

Marshall said he’s no closer to deciding where he rugby union future lies, and has had no further discussions with Auckland Blues coach John Kirwan.

The NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels have also expressed lukewarm interest in the 2005 NRL premiership winner, but Marshall insists he unconcerned about what the future has in store.

“It’s always good to have options, but I have six weeks left here and that is my priority at the moment,” he said.

“I am not too worried about finding a contract because that will happen.

“I spoke to John Kirwan on the phone a few weeks back, but until I make a decision on what I want to do, there is not much to say.”

World leaders and Catholics hailed the election of Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina as the first Latin American pope on Wednesday, urging him to work for religious reconciliation and peace.

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US President Barack Obama and Argentine leader Cristina Kirchner led congratulations from across the Americas, where Roman Catholics rejoiced that one of their own will lead the church’s 1.2-billion-strong flock.

In Buenos Aires, the faithful attending mass at the capital’s main cathedral on the historic Plaza de Mayo erupted in cheers and gave a standing ovation upon learning from Vatican City of the 76-year-old’s elevation.

“As the first pope from the Americas, his selection… speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world,” Obama said in a statement, hailing Pope Francis as a “champion of the poor.”

“Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI, I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith,” he said.

US Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic who will lead the US delegation to the new pope’s inauguration mass on Tuesday, said he would extend his prayers as the pontiff “takes on this holy responsibility”.

“I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome,” Biden said.

Kirchner, who is Catholic but does not have a warm personal relationship with the new pontiff, wished the 76-year-old Jesuit a “fruitful pastoral mission.”

She noted that he had “tremendous responsibility on his shoulders, seeking justice, equality, brotherhood, and peace among mankind.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the “hopes” of “millions of believers in Germany and the world,” now rest “with the new pope,” while EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso urged the pontiff to try to bring the “world’s people and religions closer together.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the United Nations and the Roman Catholic Church shared the “common goals” of promoting peace, social justice and human rights, and the eradication of poverty and hunger.

“We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue,” Ban said.

French President Francois Hollande said Paris looked forward to pursuing a “confident dialogue” with the Holy See.

In Latin America, the leaders of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico joined the clergy in hailing Bergoglio, who was elected after five rounds of voting in the Vatican — one more than when predecessor Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005.

“The faithful eagerly await the arrival of Pope Francis to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in July,” said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, citing her nation as having “the greatest number of Catholics in the world.”

Cardinal Odilo Scherer, the archbishop of Sao Paulo had been considered a contender for the papacy.

“We wanted a Brazilian pope, but the Argentines are our brothers, our neighbors. It’s all good,” said Rosivaldo dos Santos, 38, at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Sao Paulo.

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa exulted “Long live Francis!” on his Twitter account — one of millions of tweets sent about the historic election that ended with white smoke billowing out of a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel.

“We are extremely happy because our Lord has cast his eyes on Latin America, and we are extremely grateful to God for that because we have a Latin American pope,” said the Archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar.

In Africa, where the number of Catholics is steadily growing, the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference said that, while some had hoped for a younger pontiff, all expect “great things” from Pope Francis.

“The symbolism of choosing a pope from Latin America delights and touches us, most particularly in developing countries,” said Archbishop Stephen Breslin.

Father John Dingi, of St. Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral in downtown Khartoum, where Christians are a tiny minority in Islamist-run Sudan, also expressed his joy.

“We are very happy,” Dingi said. “It’s good because, you see, Christianity is now growing very fast in Africa, in Latin America, in Asia.”

Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the world’s Anglicans, wished “every blessing” to the new pope and said he looked forward to meeting him.

The new pope, however, will face renewed pressure to better handle sex abuse scandals involving pedophile priests, and avoid cover-ups by senior clergymen.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests warned that Jesuits have a “troubled track record on children’s safety” and urged Pope Francis to seize an “enormous opportunity and duty to help prevent heinous assaults against kids.”

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By Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation

Trainee teachers would be tested for literacy, numeracy and emotional intelligence under a suite of teacher training reforms released by the Federal Government today.

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Under the plan, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) needed to enter a university teaching course may also rise.

A media release issued by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Bowen, and the Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, said there were four main parts to the plan:

More rigorous and targeted admissions into university courses, potentially including interviews, demonstrated values and aptitude, and a written statement; A new literacy and numeracy test, building on the National Plan for School Improvement, that each teaching student will have to pass before they can graduate; A national approach to teacher practicum to ensure new teachers have the skills, personal capacity and practical experience they need to do well; and A review of all teaching courses by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Here are some expert responses to the plan:

Dr Nicole Mockler, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Newcastle

This idea that we need to focus on teacher quality and drive the ATAR up – ATARs in this country are set as a consequence of supply and demand. The courses that have the highest demand have the highest ATAR.

If teaching was well remunerated and had high status in our society, like law and medicine, we would see ATARs go up.

They are trying to make ATARs go up, but without focusing on the status of the teaching profession. These ongoing arguments around teacher quality, in fact, have the potential to do the exact opposite.

I am not against the idea that we need to have a quality teaching profession. It’s hard to argue against quality. But what exactly does that mean?

We absolutely need teachers who are literate and numerate, but we need teachers who have so much more than that, for example, who are good at creative and innovative thinking, who care about kids.

A focus on just literacy and numeracy is looking at the baseline rather than the top.

When we frame the argument in this way, we look at what they bring into the teaching program, not about what they bring out at the other end.

It’s a four year program. It’s not that you come into a program and then you go out into schools four years later with the same understanding of education.

It’s about understanding how to teach, the art and science of learning and teaching, developing an understanding of the content they are teaching and how to put it all together to cater to students. It’s also about developing a disposition toward professional learning and understanding that professional learning is a career-long process.

The teaching profession is quite strongly regulated already and teacher education programs are as well.

I would be interested to see what kind of emotional intelligence test is being proposed.

We seem to take as our starting point the idea that we have a big teacher quality problem. I am not sure of the evidence of that. I am sure there are great teachers and not-so-great teachers.

My experience from being in schools is not that we are beset by people with low literacy, low numeracy skills and low emotional intelligence.

The pay issue goes back to ATARs. If prospective teacher education students saw that teachers were held in high esteem and remunerated well, the ATAR would go up.

It’s a very tough job.

Dr Tony Loughland, Director of Professional Experience, Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney

I welcome the focus on improving the quality of the practicum, especially in relation to providing professional learning for teachers who mentor our students teachers.

The broadening of the entry requirements for teacher education with the inclusion of interviews and aptitude tests is also to be commended, as long as the Federal Government provides the resources for this to happen in cash-strapped schools of education.

Dr Matthew Clarke, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales

It seems, to me, to be part of a pattern of putting the blame for the ills of education onto individual teachers rather than looking at systemic or structural issues.

It is diverting attention away from the structural reforms outlined in the Gonski report.

It’s also a huge vote of no confidence in this country’s teacher education programs.

I don’t think the medical or legal professions would countenance these requirements.

This is responding to anecdotal stories and media scares — what real evidence is this based on?

It was interesting the NSW government announced their teaching and learning platform at the same time as they were introducing quite dramatic cuts to education funding.

There’s also the issue of the completely ad-hoc nature of the induction into schools of new teachers. You have a 30% attrition rate within the first three years of the job because teachers are so overwhelmed by the demands of the role.

Belinda Robinson, Chief executive, Universities Australia

The plan announced today by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Chris Bowen, and the Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, will ensure that Australian school students are taught by teachers trained in the highest quality teaching education system.

The significance of the Federal Government’s intervention shifts the responsibility for achieving teacher quality to the national arena. In effect this national plan displaces the recently announced NSW plan.

All Universities will act on the basis of a national plan and NSW universities will not implement any proposals that are inconsistent with it.

It is critical that our teachers have the skills, capabilities and aptitude that is necessary to equip our children with the education they need to prepare for a future in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world.

The plan announced today acknowledges the role of universities in selecting students based on a range of factors that go beyond final year school results. This is particularly important since fewer than 40 per cent of students enter teacher training straight from school.

Its focus on the quality of the teacher graduate rather than a government-set final school result means that those with the ability, commitment and drive to become a teacher will have the opportunity to do so.

Universities Australia encourages all states and territories to support the plan to enable agreement by the Council of Australian Governments.

We look forward to working collaboratively with the Government, the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency on a national approach to lifting the quality of teaching graduates to the highest level.

Indonesian officials have called off the search for victims of a Russian jet crash, the operation’s head said as experts continue their probe into why it flew into a dormant volcano.

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The new Sukhoi Superjet 100 slammed into Mount Salak, south of the capital Jakarta, on May 9 with the loss of all 45 passengers and crew on board. Body parts were flung over dense forest and down a deep ravine.

As experts analyse data from the plane’s cockpit voice recorder for clues as to why it crashed during a demonstration flight, officials called off the search for victims.

“The national rescue agency called off the search on Friday as we’d recovered as many body parts as we could,” Colonel Anton Mukti Putranto told AFP.

“By the end of the operation, we sent 35 body bags filled with victims’ remains to Jakarta for identification and four more bags containing their belongings like wallets carrying ID cards.”

A DNA identification process is still under way at the Kramat Jati Police Hospital in Jakarta.

“We can confirm that we have identified 14 victims — 12 Indonesians and two foreigners. Nine were men, five were women,” hospital chief Agus Prayitno told reporters.

The promotional flight aimed at touting the new jet to booming Indonesia was carrying mostly Indonesian airline officials as well as eight Russians. A US citizen and a French national were also on board.

Putranto said special forces, who located the plane’s cockpit voice recorder during the week, would continue to search for the aircraft’s other black box, the flight data recorder.

Investigators said it would take around three weeks to analyse the voice recordings, which they hope will help explain how a veteran pilot flew the aircraft into Mount Salak, which stands 7,200 feet (2,200 metres) tall.

A team of Russian experts will stay at Mount Salak to clear up the wreckage and gather information for the investigation, Putranto said.

By Antje Missbach, University of Melbourne

Despite arrivals of asylum seekers by boat being a major political issue for Australia over the last decade, the Indonesian government has not regarded the presence of asylum seekers and refugees with nearly the same urgency.

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In fact, for almost a decade the Indonesian government has reacted towards them with what could be described as a “benevolent neglect”.

By and large, asylum seekers and refugees do not attract sympathy in Indonesia, with the exception of the tragic disasters at sea. More interest is reserved for the hundreds of imprisoned Indonesian fishermen, some of whom are underage, who are serving sentences in Australia for having shipped asylum seekers to the “Lucky Island”. However, it is also the case in Indonesia that local fishermen and other transporters face minimum five year prison terms when caught and put on trial. Since the enactment of the new Law on Immigration in May 2011, there have been a number of trials for local and foreign people smugglers.

Journey to ‘Lucky Island’

The two most common routes to Australia from Indonesia are from Lombok, Sumba, Sumbawa or Timor via Sabu or Rote to the 170km-distant Ashmore Reef and from the South Java Coast to Christmas Island, a 400km long journey though open sea.

United States Central Intelligence Agency

Previously, most transit people were transported to Eastern Indonesia for departure. At the moment it is the boat crews that are transported to take the boat people from Java.

Intensified border surveillance and more frequent arrests, and to some extent, persecution, create higher risks for people smugglers. These risks force networks to adapt by choosing new routes or paying higher bribes. The inflated prices have to be paid in turn by the transit migrants. Whereas in the late 1990s a passage from Indonesia to Australia cost around US$2000, nowadays prices range between US$5-8000.

Surveillance and awareness raising

In order to sensitise police and immigration officers to irregular migration, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with the Indonesia Police and the Department of Immigration has held hundreds of seminars all over Indonesia during the last three years.

Officers on the ground were trained on how to recognise, arrest and deal with irregular migrants. Besides the local police, special awareness campaigns also targeted staff in areas known to be frequent transit points, such as bus, taxi, aviation and ferry companies. And over the past few years, anti-people smuggling propaganda has been deployed widely to prevent local fishermen becoming involved in people smuggling.

Strategies included the distribution of compilations of Christian and Muslim sermons among Christian and Muslim preachers with the core message that assisting people to go to Australia will result in severe punishments. The increase in the number of locals reporting foreigners to the authorities has been attributed to the anti-people smuggling campaigns. But knowing about the possible legal consequences does not mean that poor fishermen will resist being involved in transporting asylum seekers to Australia. Recruiters of ship crews intentionally focus on unmarried and underaged boys, knowing they face less severe punishments when sentenced.

Interceptions

Indonesia’s borders remain porous despite increased awareness-campaigns and border surveillance to counter people smuggling. The three brand new patrol boats provided by the Australian government in late 2011 to enable the Indonesian Maritime Police to patrol more than 40,000 kilometres of coast-line seem rather inadequate.

Although the Indonesian Maritime Police have their own boats, these are often not ocean-going. Maritime patrols are costly in terms of fuel and maintenance, to the point that interceptions rarely happen in the open sea. Asylum seeker arrests mostly take place at the beach before boarding a boat or on the road or in hotels further inland. Hardly a single day passes without interceptions somewhere around the archipelago.

Once intercepted, police and the immigration officers examine the arrested migrants and then send them to one of the 13 detention centres in Indonesia. The conditions in these centres are often substandard compared to Western standards, but generally slightly better than in Indonesian prisons.

Law enforcement

During interceptions, the police occasionally arrest transporters.

The real brains that set up these smuggling ventures, however, are rarely in the field. The Indonesian special unit for people smuggling claims to have cracked down on people-smugglers, but far more Indonesians than foreigners have been detained.

In 2011, for example, three foreigners and 24 Indonesians were arrested for people smuggling. Whereas asylum seekers can avoid legal consequences for breaking the immigration laws when they apply for asylum, their transporters face the law.

Some people smugglers are charged in Indonesia, but smalltime fishermen suffer more than kingpins. AAP/Office of the Prime Minister

Evidently, not all cases of arrest go to court. Lack of evidence or, more specifically, lack of will to find evidence, saves some suspects from penalty. Nevertheless, there are an increasing number of cases going to court, resulting in harsher sentences than those imposed in the past.

Taking a closer look at some of the trials, it becomes obvious that it is most often the chauffeurs and the boat crew who stand trial. According to Ferdinand Lolo, a former prosecutor with the Attorney-General Office, smuggling bosses tend to have good links with the authorities and it’s often the lowest-ranking members in the hierarchy who are deliberately sacrificed in order to protect the ones further up the chain.

The eagerness of impoverished fishermen to be recruited enables smuggling bosses to easily exchange lower positions, such as drivers, with new staff. So far, only few organisers of people smuggling have been arrested and incarcerated. Recent reports have shown that the criminal elements of the Indonesian police and navy involved in the people smuggling business have hindered sentencing.

Despite Indonesia responding to Australia’s pressure and funding in the past two years by intensifying its anti-people smuggling activities and carrying out more interceptions, arrests and trials with harsher sentences, asylum seekers are still getting on the unseaworthy boats en route to Australia.

The fundamental problem – what to do with the increasing numbers of transit migrants coming to Indonesia for whom fast resettlement is unavailable – remains unsolved.

Antje Missbach does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The 50-year-old, who took over when Alex Ferguson retired at the end of last season, has been astonished by the passion for the club both on the first stop of the tour in Thailand, where United lost, and in Sydney, where they won 5-1 on Saturday.

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More than 20,000 turned out to watch the English champions train on Friday night and tickets for Saturday’s match against an All Star XI picked from the local A-League sold out in eight minutes with 83,127 packed into the Olympic Stadium.

“It was a good game for us,” Moyes said afterwards. “(But) more importantly to get 83,000 at the game – and I’d say all Manchester United supporters – is incredible and I thank all of them for coming to the game.

“It was a great night and a very special night to get my first victory as Manchester United manager.”

With great support also comes great expectation and every day in the job makes it clearer and clearer just what a monumental task he faces to get anywhere close to his most hallowed predecessors – Matt Busby and Ferguson.

“The enormity of the job sunk even more yesterday when I saw an incredible video about Manchester United, seen Sir Matt Busby followed by Sir Alex Ferguson,” he said on Friday.

“If I didn’t know it before, I certainly knew it when I saw what those two gentlemen had done before me.

“It’s a great job, it’s a fantastic club – a football club that everybody in the world knows the name of and I’m very fortunate and privileged I was given the opportunity to manage.

“And I hope I can come as close to the success that the two gentlemen before me enjoyed.”

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Moyes’s task over the six years of his contract is to ensure he is being bracketed with the two illustrious Scots and not with Wilf McGuinness, Frank O’Farrell, Tommy Docherty, Dave Sexton and Ron Atkinson, who were less successful in the job.

The former Everton manager also got an inkling this week of what kind of protection he can expect from the massed ranks of the Manchester United machine, represented in Sydney by nearly 200 club staff.

Australian reporters, who work in one of the most commercialized sporting environments in the world, were astonished by control exerted by the club in the few opportunities there were to talk to Moyes over the week.

At the post-match news conference on Saturday, the club official accompanying Moyes was trying to extract him from his chair pretty much as soon as he sat down.

As a result, the story of the rift with Wayne Rooney that threatens to end the England striker’s time at the club bubbled all week without a meaningful contribution from Moyes – the man whose comments apparently caused it.

There was precious little more information on Moyes’s transfer targets, particularly the attempt to wrest Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas away from the Camp Nou.

“I’ve not had any more news,” Moyes said on Saturday. “I have no more updates on anything really, so there is nothing positive or negative.” ($1 = 1.0870 Australian dollars)

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

A major 8.

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0 magnitude earthquake jolted the Solomon Islands with small tsunami waves buffeting Pacific coasts, leaving at least five people dead and dozens of homes damaged or destroyed.

A quake-generated wave of just under one metre (three feet) reached parts of the Solomons, and Vanuatu and New Caledonia also reported rising sea levels, before a region-wide tsunami alert was lifted.

This video emerged on YouTube shortly after the quake. It was posted by Jimclines, but SBS News could not verify it.

Sirens were heard in Fiji, locals said. “Chaos in the streets of Suva as everyone tries to avoid the tsunami!!” tweeted Ratu Nemani Tebana from the Fiji capital.

Japan, which was hit by a huge tsunami in March 2011 that killed more than 19,000 people, was also on edge for a time with the national weather agency warning that a minor tsunami could come ashore. Only small waves were detected.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled its regional alert for Pacific-island nations at 0350 GMT, about two and a half hours after the powerful quake struck at 0112 GMT near the Santa Cruz Islands in the Solomons.

This picture was posted shortly after the quake by @benmcnair, who tweeted “School kids moved to higher ground after SI tsunami warning”.

Australian and US monitors said a tsunami wave measuring 91 centimetres washed into the town of Lata, on the main Santa Cruz island of Ndende.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the wave appeared to have travelled 500 metres inland, inundating Lata’s airstrip as well as surrounding villages, flattening many traditional houses.

“We can report five dead and three injured. One of the dead was a male child, three were elderly women and one an elderly man,” Chris Rogers, a nurse at Lata Hospital, told AFP.

Solomons Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s office said four villages on the Santa Cruz Islands had been hit by the tsunami.

“Latest reports suggest that between 60 to 70 homes have been damaged by waves crashing into at least four villages on Santa Cruz Islands,” Lilo’s spokesman George Herming told AFP.

“At this stage, authorities are still trying to establish the exact number and extent of damage. Communication to (the) Santa Cruz Islands is difficult due to the remoteness of the islands.”

Solomon Islands Red Cross secretary general Joanne Zoleveke said she had been told at least three villages were hit, with houses washed away.

“In the Solomon Islands when we talk about villages there can be anything from 10 to 30 houses,” she said.

With Lata’s airstrip out of commission, officials were hoping to fly over the area early Thursday to assess the damage better.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck the Santa Cruz Islands, which have been rocked by a series of strong tremors over the past week, at a depth of 28.7 kilometres (18 miles).

About 20 aftershocks were recorded, including one at 6.6-magnitude.

“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated,” the Hawaii-based Pacific warning centre said after the 8.0 quake, before lifting its tsunami alert for several island nations.

Lata Hospital director of nursing Augustine Bilve said some patients were evacuated to higher ground to prepare for any injured from the villages along the coast.

Settlements did not appear to be seriously damaged in the quake, he said, but added: “We were told that after the shaking, waves came to the villages.”

In 2007 a tsunami following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless. The quake lifted an entire island and pushed out its shoreline by dozens of metres.

The Solomons are part of the “Ring of Fire”, a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

In December 2004, a 9.3-magnitude quake off Indonesia triggered a catastrophic tsunami that killed 226,000 people around the Indian Ocean.

By Kristin Carson

How can anti-smoking campaigns be targeted more effectively at Australia’s Indigenous youth? It’s a good question, and one that, as yet, has proven difficult to answer.

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Almost half of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians aged 14 years and older smoke cigarettes, compared with one-fifth of non-Indigenous Australians.

This has contributed to one of the largest gaps in life expectancy throughout the world, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people dying around ten years earlier than non-Indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are at a significant risk of premature death and smoking-related illnesses such as heart and lung disease, cancers and vascular diseases, among many other conditions.

The dangers of tobacco use, among Indigenous youth in particular, are amplified by the “normalisation” of smoking as part of the usual environment.

In an attempt to eliminate these differences in death and illness, the Council of Australian Government (COAG) in 2008 pledged A$1.6 billion to Closing the Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage initiative, of which anti-smoking programs were an important part.

These programs were built on existing campaigns and included mass media advertising, culturally tailored resources (such as pamphlets, posters, calendars and DVDs), smoking cessation and reduction programs, and training workers to support these programs through health centres and communities.

Break the chain: the Commonwealth government’s latest Indigenous anti-tobacco advertisement

My colleagues and I set out to examine these COAG initiatives and other programs from around the world where culturally tailored tobacco prevention messages were assessed as part of public policy or research.

We wanted to combine all the evidence to assess what did and didn’t work, along with the gaps where evaluations were needed.

But we found no meaningful evaluations of an Australian youth tobacco prevention program. Although the Australian government has conducted some evaluations of Indigenous tobacco prevention programs, they are of poor quality.

Effective evaluations need to include a control population with matching participant characteristics, baseline and follow-up data collection for comparison. Evaluations should look at multiple communities before and after the program is carried out and these results should be published and made available to the general public, which to date has not happened.

Internationally, we found only three published studies: two in American Indian populations (available here and here) one in a New Zealand Māori population. The three studies exposed some potentially dangerous findings, with two studies showing no evidence of any effect following the tobacco prevention program.

One study showed reduced levels of smoking among youth in the control population, meaning the participants who received the tailored tobacco prevention program did worse than the youth who received nothing.

For this study 21% of people in the tobacco prevention program reported trying tobacco use compared to 14% in the control population.

The review is published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

A potential explanation for these results include acts of rebellion, where young people deliberately start smoking or report current smoking simply because they are being asked not to do it.

Another possible explanation of why these studies failed is that tobacco prevention programs should be delivered to youth before they even start considering tobacco use. In the non-Indigenous population this is usually around the age of ten to 12 years.

But we know Indigenous youth start smoking at a much younger age, so the programs are most likely being applied too late.

Also, an incorrect match between the program components such as DVDs, interactive workshops, community events, and the age and gender of the actual youth could also be contributing to the unsuccessful results.

We need a well-conducted evaluation of Australian COAG-led tobacco prevention initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

Although some may say that any initiative without an evaluation of how well it works is better than nothing, we can see from our study that this is not the case. We could be doing more harm than good by continuing to run these programs without conducting good quality evaluations that run alongside them.

Continuing to invest money into ineffective programs means we cannot redirect funds into the initiatives that are most likely to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth have the best possible chance of a long and healthy life, through being smoke-free.

Kristin Carson does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

World leaders expressed shock and horror after a gunman massacred 20 small children and six teachers in the US state of Connecticut, in one of the worst school shootings in history

UN chief Ban Ki-moon wrote to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy to give his “deepest condolences at the shocking murders,” a statement said.

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“The targeting of children is heinous and unthinkable,” he added in condemning the “horrendous” crime.

“I would like to express my shock at the tragic shooting at the school in Connecticut today,” European Union diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton said

The head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso spoke of his “deep shock and horror” upon hearing of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which he called a “terrible tragedy”.

“Young lives full of hope have been destroyed,” he said in a statement.

Local media said that the shooter, reported to be a young man who picked off his victims with unusual accuracy, began in the kindergarten section where he killed his teacher mother and her class, then moved on.

The child victims were reported to be aged between five and ten.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear about today’s horrific shooting,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

“My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones. It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to President Barack Obama in which she said she was “deeply shocked and saddened” to hear of the shootings.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth are with the families and friends of those killed and with all those who have been affected by today’s events.”

French President Francois Hollande also extended his condolences to the victims and their relatives in a message to Obama.

“This news… horrified me and I wish to express my deep shock and consternation,” Hollande said.

The foreign ministry also issued a message in which it offered “France’s full support to the American people and authorities.”

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a statement: “Australia grieves with America today following the mass shooting of primary school children and teachers in Connecticut.

“Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken.

“We share America’s shock at this senseless and incomprehensible act of evil.”

A federal Liberal backbencher has accused his own party of vilifying asylum seekers.

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Victorian MP Russell Broadbent made the comments after a colleague, Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison, called for behaviour protocols for those released into the community.

Mr Morrison says police should be notified of where asylum-seekers are living in the community, and there should be strict guidelines for the behaviour of those on bridging visas

It comes after a Sri Lankan asylum seeker on a bridging visa was charged following allegations he sexually assaulted a female student at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Mr Broadbent says the rule of law should apply to all people equally, and asylum seekers should not be set apart.

Labor government minister Peter Garrett has told Sky News the Coalition’s harsh attitude towards refugees deserves criticism.

“What Russell Broadbent has done today is to basically expose Scott Morrison for his major dog whistle, which is really deserving of fair dinkum condemnation. And of course Mr Broadbent is a member of the Liberal party. He sits on the backbench, he’s taken an interest in these issues, and I think he’s made it perfectly clear that these views that have been expressed by Mr Morrison are totally unpalatable and unacceptable.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has dismissed the cristicism from Liberal backbencher Russell Broadbent over calls to freeze the community detention program for asylum seekers.

Mr Abbott says any and all measures need to be taken to stop people coming to Australia by boat.

“Look I think it’s very important that we try to ensure that the boats are stopped. The only way to ensure that we don’t have the sorts of issues that Scott was highlighting is to stop the boats.”

Senior Liberal MP Eric Abetz says the plan proposed by Scott Morrison would help build a cohesive society.

“I would have thought that it would be a good idea to say that somebody’s moving next door to you, that might not be able to have all the English language skills you might have normally have expected or they come from a traumatised background,” he said.

Scott Morrison’s comments have triggered a move by the Australian Greens to introduce a motion in the Senate today calling on all political parties to reject the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers.

Sarah Hanson-Young has condemned Mr Morrison’s comments and urged all members of parliament to speak out against him.

“If we don’t stand up in our chambers of parliament to say very clearly that we do not accept the vilification of people based upon their circumstance, their race and what country they come from, then we shouldn’t be here. If we as parliamentarians can not say that vilification is unacceptable, then we don’t deserve to be in parliament.”

Labor Senator Doug Cameron says he’s been unimpressed with Mr Morrison’s comments.

“The dog whistle you have just seen is the worst politics I have witnessed for many years in this parliament,” he said, adding there was no evidence refugees or asylum seekers in Australia were criminals.

Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says it’s important people respect the rules when they come to Australia.

“They (migrants) expect other people who come here to abide by the rules,” she said.

But Liberal MP Russell Broadbent said there should never be special categories of laws for different categories of people.

“This kind of vilification of asylum seekers is unacceptable in this nation,” he told Fairfax Media.

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

A report by the Australian Council of Social Service shows people with disability are more than twice as likely as other Australians to be living in poverty.

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The Australian Council of Social Service’s report shows more than 620,000 people with disability live below the poverty line.

That’s equivalent to more than a quarter of people with a disability surviving on less than $600 a week, which is half the median household income.

ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie says the figures are shocking.

“I think it’s really troubling that despite 20 years of strong economic growth and the fact that we have overall relatively low rates of unemployment, we still have such significant levels of people living below the poverty line. We’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It’s absolutely shameful that this situation is allowed to continue.”

The National Disability Insurance Scheme, now to be called Disability Care Australia, will commence in four launch sites, in four states on the 1st of July this year.

Ms Goldie says the scheme is a good start, but more action is needed to address the barriers to unemployment faced by people with disability.

“There will be a whole group of people who will not be getting any assistance out of that scheme [NDIS] who are currently on Newstart and not getting the breaks they need. So we, as a country, must ask ourselves is it fair that we are saying to people with a disability ‘You must get out and get a job’, and they desperately want them. But on the other hand we’re not making sure that workplaces are taking people into the workforce and providing the supports that will be needed.”

Gerard Thomas is from the National Welfare Rights Network that provides legal assistance to people receiving Centrelink payments.

He says research conducted by the organisation shows half of the people who have sought a disability support pension have been rejected under harsher rules introduced by the federal government during the past two years.

He says his clients face a number of employment barriers.

“We receive calls from those people, many of who have significant disabilities seeking their way through the employment service system, struggling to live now on 35 dollars a day, and they’re finding that just impossible to make ends meet. The other concern for many people is that if you look at the profile of people on disabilities, it’s changing significiantly. Three out four of people on disability are aged over forty. One in two are aged over 50. So many of those people aren’t just facing disability discrimination, but age discrimination in the workforce as well.”

Mr Thomas says his organisation would like to see the federal government implement its own policy of hiring people with disabilities.

“Federal government, I think it is fair to say, while it’s been active on a number of fronts, has been asleep at the wheel in relation to its own responsibilities to employ of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth service. The number has fallen from 5.2 per cent in 1992 to around 2.9 per cent last year. That is a shocking indictment and we certainly support the call for the establishment of targets for people with disability in the Commonwealth public service. Obviously businesses also have a role to play.”

The President of People with Disability Australia, Craig Wallace, says living in poverty takes a huge toll on mental health and wellbeing.

“The reality of it might be people who might not have been to the cinema for years, people who can’t afford to go to dinner with friends, people who have lost social networks, people whose marriages have broken up because they’ve been in poverty for a very long time – people who are on a very thin thread. I have a friend from Canberra, where I’m from, who had a scooter and if it broke down – and it did – he was stuck. And we spent four hours with that person trying to talk him out of taking his own life. That is the extent of the thread people are on with this issue and with poverty.”

He says a national strategy is required to address the particular challenges people with disability face when it comes to unemployment.

“If we were talking about Indigenous (issues), we’d be talking about a national close the gap strategy with a range of (social) levers. And I think we need to be thinking about that way in terms of disability. I think we need to look at a number of different employment levers, we need to be looking at quotas and goals in employment, we need to be looking at mandatory reporting by companies. We need to be looking at things like tax breaks, additional assistance to get people into jobs. But often it’s not just about landing people in jobs. That’s the last thing you do, at the end of a long series of things, to get people’s lives stabilised.”