Turnbull says sorry to ‘Forgotten’

The Opposition leader followed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in saying sorry to those taken from their families and placed in institutions from the late 1920s until the 1970s.

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The apology parliament would be asked to accept had the unqualified support of the opposition, Mr Turnbull said to cheers and applause.

Mr Turnbull recalled his visit last week to the National Orphanage Museum in Sydney where the faded sticker on an open suitcase caught his eye. The suitcase belonged to Peter Hicks.

Children ‘brutalised, used as child labour’

“This little battered suitcase was Peter’s one passport to a life beyond the grim orphanage in which he found himself at only 14 months of age.”

He used the suitcase, with all his worldly possessions, for an annual stay with a kindly married couple.

The holiday was his only escape from violent assaults, degrading abuses, “the loss of innocence” where marginalised children were brutalised and used as child labour under the guise of safe-guarding their faith or protecting them from moral danger.

Peter, not knowing his parents, was also split apart from his brothers.

“A story that is, as you know, as cruel as it was common,” Mr Turnbull said.

Peter tried to find the love and affection all children desired from their mother.

Emotional embrace for victim

“He wrote away seeking answers, he received a brief and abrupt response from the police saying they didn’t do that sort of thing.”

At the age of 40, Peter received a call “out of the blue” asking him to visit a woman who was in hospital. The woman was his mother, and she was dying. Six weeks later she died of cancer.

“For only six weeks for part of his 56 years, Peter got to know his mother.

“Peter is with us here today.”

That mention prompted Mr Hicks to leave his chair in the audience and embrace a clearly emotional Mr Turnbull.

“Stories like Peter’s are a savage indictment on our society, but we must tell them,” Mr Turnbull said.

The nation was apologising for failing to believe the stories of the Forgotten Australians, he said.

‘We admire, love, believe you’

“I hope, as do we all, that this apology helps restore dignity and respect.

“Today we want you to know we admire you, we believe you, we love you,” he said.

Mr Turnbull choked with emotion as he told the tale of Pippa Corbett, an eight-year-old girl institutionalised in Bondi with her younger brother and sister.

Her two-month-old brother was kept in a separate area and left in a cot where “he was never held or picked up”.

Pippa, when demanding to see him, was belted with the switch.

They were abandoned and betrayed by governments, churches and charities, Mr Turnbull said.

“Those of you who were child migrants were part of a deliberate and calculating policy of many governments to bring children from Britain and Malta to populate the Empire with good white stock.”


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Big jump in profits for JP Morgan

Banking giant JP Morgan Chase reported on Friday a big jump in net profit to US$3.

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27 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2009, highlighting renewed health in the troubled sector.

The New York-based financial giant doubled its profits for the full year to US$11.7 billion dollars, and quadrupled the numbers put up in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The results highlight a return to health in the banking sector after more than a year of crisis, but were expected to fuel public resentment over hefty profits and compensation of firms bailed out by the government and at a time when much of the US economy continues to struggle and unemployment remains high.

Chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon said he was “gratified” by the results but said they “fell short of both an adequate return on capital and the firm’s earnings potential.”

“While we are seeing some stability in delinquencies, consumer credit costs remain high, and weak employment and home prices persist. Accordingly, we remain cautious,” he said in a statement.

The profit for the quarter amounted to 74 cents a shares, better than the 62 cents expected by analysts.

Revenues in the period rose to US25.2 billion dollars from US19.1 billion dollars a year earlier for the banking group, one of the strongest to emerge from the global financial crisis.

For 2009, the profit was US11.7 billion dollars on US100.4 billion in revenues, up from earnings of US5.6 billion dollars in 2008 on revenues of US67.3 billion.

The results come with banks in focus for hefty executive pay schemes — which some blame for encouraging risky practices that led to the global crisis.

Bonuses not included in earnings report

The earnings report for JPMorgan Chase did not include specific bonus amounts, but reports have indicated that many banks are set to pay record bonuses.

A Wall Street Journal analysis found Wall Street banks and securities firms were on track to pay employees US145 billion dollars for 2009, a record amount.

President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed a tax or fee to be assessed on major banks that would recoup the government’s bailout for the sector.

JPMorgan, the second largest bank by assets, said its investment banking arm posted a profit of US1.9 billion dollars for the quarter, rebounding from a loss a year earlier. Another big profit driver was corporate and private equity, with US1.2 billion dollars.

But its retail banking including home lending lost US399 million dollars and credit card operations lost US306 million.

Commercial banking operations resulted in a profit of US224 million dollars while Treasury and securities operations earned US237 million.

Despite Dimon’s comments, some analysts said the banking giant was hitting its stride.

“The bank blew through expectations,” said Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall Street.

That leaves a lot for Bank of America and Citigroup to live up to.”

Profits follow government repayment

Last year, JPMorgan Chase repaid the US Treasury for an injection of US25 billion dollars in capital under a program to stabilize the financial system.

The repayments, which included dividends, freed the banks from government-imposed compensation restrictions.

Still, public anger has been boiling over at pay scheme that are blamed for fueling the crisis.

Obama unveiled his fee Thursday, saying the new fee on risky assets of big financial institutions was a way to recoup the cost of a massive bailout of the sector than began in 2008.

The plan, which requires congressional approval, would raise 90 billion dollars over 10 years and could be kept for 12 years to offset the full 117 billion dollar shortfall now estimated for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

“We want our money back and we are going to get it,” Obama said, adding that his determination “is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people.”


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Free burials for good karma

As the coffin of 92-year-old Lim Kim Guan was carried out of a hearse, the puzzled crematorium officer asked undertaker Roland Tay: “Where is his family?”

“We are his family,” Tay replied with a wan smile, gesturing to himself and his wife at the funeral of the elderly man who died penniless and alone in a welfare home.

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Two helpers and a Buddhist monk formed the rest of the funeral party on a hot and humid afternoon in May.

‘Charitable mission’

Tay, 63, is an undertaker with a charitable mission: looking after the destitute dead, from senior citizens abandoned by their families to foreign workers and executed criminals.

“I think what I do is very meaningful. I’m in the funeral line, so I can help the destitute and the poor people in the community,” Tay told AFP in an interview.

While most people’s idea of charity work involves financial and other forms of support for the the living, Tay makes sure that society’s forgotten will be taken care of after they die.

Typical funerals in Singapore are pricey affairs, costing around 5,000 Singapore dollars (3,500 US) for the embalming of the corpse, a coffin, a three-day wake and transport to the crematorium or graveyard.

Any race, religion helped

“I help any religion, any nationality. As long as there was life, I will help them,” said Tay, who considers himself a free thinker.

The stout, clean-shaven man, who owns Direct Singapore Funeral Services, has laid to rest more than more than 100 dead people free of charge in the 20-odd years he has been in the business.

Identity cards belonging to his beneficiaries rest in a stack at a corner of his office desk.

Tay ‘saddened’

“I’ve seen so many kinds of cases where they are very poor, destitute, people with financial problems, breadwinners who die and the children and the wife who are left behind are helpless… and I feel very sad,” he added.

Some were victims of grisly murders or suicides, making Tay a bit of a local celebrity.

One of the most famous cases was dubbed the “Kallang body parts murder” by the Singapore media in June 2005.

A 22-year-old Chinese woman, Liu Hong Mei, disappeared and her corpse was found chopped into seven pieces and discarded in five different places including the Kallang River.

Tay, who conducted Liu’s funeral, had to piece together her dismembered corpse, which proved difficult as a portion of one leg was missing and various parts were in different stages of decay.

Drug trafficker case

“Me and my wife, we both went to see how we could make her beautiful and in one piece and dress her up,” he said, calling it the most heart-wrenching case he had ever handled.

Tay also handled the funeral of Nguyen Tuong Van, a Vietnamese Australian hanged in Singapore for drug trafficking in 2005.

“I do not bother about what his crime was. I only bother that his mother was here, and really had no money,” Tay said.

Counselling for loved-ones

Tay’s philantrophy also involves counselling and fund-raising for the families left behind.

In one case, a Singaporean man committed suicide by jumping in front of a train because he was heavily in debt and could not pay for his sickly wife and children’s medical bills.

Tay organized a press conference which generated an outpouring of public sympathy, and within five days he raised 500,000 Singapore dollars.

The widow offered him 100,000 dollars in gratitude but he donated the sum to various charities instead.

Good karma

“Heart is very important, when you do all this, it’s very meaningful and there’s karma for me,” said Tay, citing the Hindu concept of reaping what one sows.

The most unusual funeral carried out by Tay involved Ah Meng, a female Sumatran orang utan from the Singapore Zoo who in life had been the face of the city-state’s massive tourism industry.

Ah Meng’s remains are buried in a prominent part of the zoo overlooking a scenic man-made lake.

“Ah Meng is a Singapore icon,” Tay said. “Singapore is very proud of her.”


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Iraq PM warns of ‘war of genocide’

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has warned that the country is facing a “war of genocide” after officials said militants had killed 48 people in two days of attacks.

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Violence has reached a level unseen since 2008, as Iraq emerged from brutal conflict between minority Sunni Muslims and majority Shi’ites.

Militants, including those linked to Al-Qaeda, a Sunni organisation, frequently target security forces and other government employees.

“It has become clear… that Iraq is subjected to a war of genocide targeting all of its components,” Maliki, a Shi’ite, said on Wednesday in his weekly address.

Al-Qaeda is once again “destroying the houses of citizens and killing them, and blowing up government departments,” Maliki said.

But a front opposing the militant group “has begun to form in Iraq from different components… the security services and tribes and Sons of Iraq,” he said, referring to anti-Al-Qaeda militiamen.

On Wednesday, gunmen killed six people in the northern city of Mosul, while five people were shot dead in and near the city the day before.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb in the Ghazaliyah area killed at least three people and wounded 11 on Wednesday, and another killed four people and wounded at least nine in Madain, south of the capital.

Two Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda fighters were also kidnapped and killed in the northern province of Kirkuk.

Anbar province, west of Baghdad, was hit by a series of attacks late on Tuesday that killed 28 people.

Four of them struck targets in and around the town of Rutba, about 110 kilometres from the border with Syria.

A suicide bomber detonated a tanker truck loaded with explosives at a police checkpoint east of the town, militants armed with heavy weapons struck the police station in Rutba itself and another bomber detonated a vehicle at a police checkpoint to its west.

Those attacks killed 18 police and wounded 25, while three civilians died when another suicide bomber blew up a tanker truck on a bridge west of Rutba.

Gunmen also attacked a police checkpoint on Tuesday night at an entrance to Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, and another inside the city, killing seven policemen and wounding an eighth.

Analysts say the Shi’ite-led government’s failure to address the grievances of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority — which complains of political exclusion and abuses by security forces — has driven the surge in unrest.

A study released this month by academics based in the United States, Canada and Iraq said nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003.


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Argentine mums reunited with babies

Two babies mistakenly switched at birth in Argentina have been reunited with their mothers after a weeks-long battle with the clinic where they were delivered, one of the women says.

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“I spent three weeks with a baby that was not my daughter, but I gave her all my love and knew that the other mom would do the same,” Lorena Gerbeno told broadcaster C5N.

Gerbeno, a lawyer who suspected something was wrong from the start, sought out authorities who subsequently ordered genetic testing and seized documents from the private clinic in San Juan.

“Luckily, I’m suspicious,” said Gerbeno, who currently does not intend to pursue further legal action.

However, she wants everyone to know about the mix-up and how it was handled.

She says the clinic dismissed not only her concerns, but also those of the other mother, Veronica Tejada. Both women gave birth on September 30.

“When my baby was born by C-section, they told me straight away it was a beautiful girl weighing 3.1 kilos, but when they gave her to me they said she weighed 3.8 kilos and was a breech birth,” Gerbeno said.

“I told them that could not be, but they said I must have misunderstood. I never got any answers.”

Suspicion turned to near certainty for Gerbeno when, by mere chance, she and Tejada found themselves at the clinic for a pediatric checkup and started chatting.

Before long, they realised that the birth weights of their respective infants matched up.

With the help of therapists, the two prepared themselves for the truth, which DNA tests confirmed.

“We talked on the phone and exchanged photos online,” Gerbeno said.

Once it was clear a mistake had been made, the two mothers met to swap infants and finally hug their own.

“Thank God this nightmare is over,” Gerbeno added.


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Laos recovers crashed plane cabin from Mek

Search teams have retrieved the main cabin of a Lao Airlines plane which plunged into the Mekong River killing all 49 people on board, officials say.

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The recovery operation involved a large crane that lifted the midsection of the turboprop ATR-72 from the fast-flowing waters, said Yakua Lopankao, director general of Laos’ Department of Civil Aviation on Wednesday.

“It was tough because the current was strong,” he told AFP of the operation that was carried out on Tuesday, nearly a week after the nation’s worst known air disaster.

So far, bodies of at least 43 of the victims have been recovered from the swollen river in Laos, some many kilometres downstream from the crash site.

More than half of the 49 passengers and crew were foreigners from some 10 countries, including six from Australia.

Search teams from neighbouring Thailand have been scouring the river for bodies, along with experts from the airline and the French-Italian aircraft maker.

On Saturday, the airline said it had identified 14 of the 32 bodies hauled from the river by that point.

Two Australian passengers, the Cambodian captain and several members of the crew were among those named so far.

Lao Airlines said the aircraft hit “extreme” bad weather, while witnesses described seeing the plane buffeted by strong winds before plummeting into the Mekong and sinking to the bottom on October 16.

Experts from the French aviation safety agency BEA, who are helping the search operation, said Monday they had detected the aircraft’s two “black boxes” in the tail, which may hold crucial evidence as to the cause of the crash.

But efforts to reach them were hampered by poor visibility and strong river currents.

Yakua said the devices had yet to be retrieved.

“We could not see the plane’s head or tail,” he told AFP, adding that the wreckage was winched from about nine metres under water.

According to an updated passenger list released late Saturday by the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one national each from the United States, Canada, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

There were also five crew, including the Cambodian captain.

Founded in 1976, Lao Airlines serves domestic airports and destinations in China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Impoverished Laos, a one-party communist state, has seen 29 fatal air accidents since the 1950s, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

In 2010 the United Nations’ air safety arm, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, found Laos was just above the world average for all factors except airworthiness and operations, which were recorded as marginally below global norms.

Previously the country’s worst air disaster was in 1954, when 47 people died in an Air Vietnam crash near Pakse, the organisation said.


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UK Super League dispute rumbles on

An attempt to resolve the dispute over the re-structuring of domestic rugby league was thwarted on Wednesday when representatives of six European Super League clubs walked out of a meeting in Leeds.

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The league meeting to discuss a proposal to cut the number of top-flight clubs from 14 to 12 was suspended without resolution after officials from Catalan Dragons, Huddersfield, Hull, Hull KR, Warrington and Wigan walked out, preventing a vote from being taken.

It followed a decision to postpone an extraordinary general meeting of the Rugby Football League council a fortnight ago after a majority of Super League clubs, led by Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan, forced a re-think on the governing body’s re-organisation plans.

At Wednesday’s routine end-of-season meeting, eight clubs indicated their support for a 12-team Super League from 2015 but the six ‘rebels’ blocked a decision, arguing that any debate on change should only take place alongside a review of the competition’s commercial management and governance.

Lenagan has made it clear that he would like to see Super League clubs have a greater say in both the running of the game and the distribution of television income.

The actions of Lenagan and company were condemned by Super League chairman Brian Barwick, the former Football Association chief executive, who is also chairman of the RFL.

“It is very disappointing that we were unable to take a vote on such important issues because some clubs chose to leave the room and refuse to participate further,” Barwick said.

“In many ways this form of action is unprecedented. These proposals would have had a positive impact on the whole sport but they were halted by a minority of clubs.

“Clearly some of the clubs have deep-rooted issues and between us we have to find a way of resolving our differences for the benefit of both Super League and the wider game.

“It is my view that this was a very unsatisfactory way for the six clubs to demonstrate their frustration.”


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Upbeat England Australia-bound for Ashes

The chance to make history by winning a fourth straight Ashes series ensured England’s cricketers departed for Australia high on excitement and free of complacency on Wednesday.

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Alastair Cook’s squad flew out of London’s Heathrow airport to commence preparations for the coming five-match series, starting in Brisbane on November 21.

The captain played down talk of another possible whitewash, insisting he’d happily take a series whatever the scoreline.

But Cook admitted the chance to become the first side since 1890 to win four straight series had ensured there would be no complacency on the back of three straight victories.

“You can ask any of those guys what it means to them getting on that plane to play for England in Australia,” Cook said shortly before the side left the UK.

“As a side we have a chance to win four Ashes series in a row, the first time since 1890 that’s been done.

“That to me and speaking to the lads over this last week, everyone is excited about that.

“We have an opportunity to do that and we are desperate to take that so complacency won’t be a factor.”

Cook said top-order runs would hold the key to both sides’ hopes of success in Australia and most of the totals in the recent 3-0 series win on English soil wouldn’t cut it.

“Sometimes in England, 240, 250 can be a good (innings) score with the overhead conditions,” Cook said.

“But the majority of the time in Australia 400 is the bare minimum.

“In that first innings you want to get into the game. That’s the job of the top order.”

Cook said England had picked a bowling attack capable of producing plenty of the pace and bounce needed on true Australian wickets.

He also suggested England would again look to exploit Australian captain Michael Clarke’s weakness against the short ball.

“I think you can cause him problems if you can get that in the right area. I think everyone’s got plans for every guy,” Cook said.

England came in for some criticism during their recent series win for the style of play but Cook said nothing but the end result mattered to him.

He’s also not willing to buy into suggestions England could again keep Australia winless in the series.

“The numbers for me are pretty irrelevant,” he said.

“You saw how close the cricket was at times this summer and a lot of people say it could have gone either way.

“The one thing we did really well, was winning those crucial moments and crucial times and winning them very well.

“We’ve kind of had a habit of doing that in the past and we’ll have to do it this coming (series) if we want to bring home those Ashes.”

England play the first of three warm-up games on October 31 against Western Australia.

Tim Bresnan flew out with the squad and England will monitor his recovery from a back injury before deciding whether he is involved in the series.

Kevin Pietersen joins up with the squad on Sunday after being granted compassionate leave following the death of a friend.


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N Korean defectors tell UN of horrors

UN investigators probing human rights abuses in North Korea have heard harrowing evidence in London from people who have managed to flee the secretive Stalinist regime.

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Led by retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, the team is the first UN expert panel to officially investigate human rights abuses in North Korea.

The landmark UN rights commission heard from a handful of defectors who have reached Europe after similar hearings were held in Seoul and Tokyo.

Jihyuan Park, aged in her thirties, wept as she told how she managed to cross the border into China in 1998, only to be sold as a “wife” to a Chinese gambler and his family.

“The first thing they told me was that, since they’d bought me, they could do anything to me,” she told the panel through a translator.

Park, who fled North Korea after her soldier brother got in trouble for his business activities, gave birth to a son in China, but was then arrested and told she would be sent home without him.

Soon after, she heard her “husband” haggling with a trafficker over a price for the boy.

Park was sent back and, like other would-be defectors, placed in a detention camp and made to perform hard labour, but she eventually managed to return to China and find her son, who had not been sold to traffickers.

From there, she finally made her way to Britain, where she is now seeking citizenship.

Another defector, Song Ju Kim, told of his four attempts to flee North Korea because he “didn’t have any food”.

Famine killed hundreds of thousands of North Koreans during the 1990s, and millions still depend on food aid.

Kim told of how he was caught almost immediately by the Chinese army on his first attempt to cross the icy Tumen river in March 2006 and received a severe beating by the North Koreans, which he described as “below human”.

Kim described a detention centre where he witnessed terrible beatings, was ordered to search through prisoners’ excrement for money they were believed to have swallowed, and where inmates were not allowed to stand up.

Pyongyang has refused to grant the UN commission access to the country and has described the dozens of defectors who have given evidence as “human scum”.

Two days of further hearings are due to be held in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday next week.


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Haas’ ATP London hopes dented by loss

German veteran Tommy Haas’ hopes of making the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month took a huge blow as he was beaten by Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round of the Valencia Open on Wednesday.

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The No.2 seed got off to the perfect start as he took the opening set.

However, fellow German Kohlschreiber responded well to break serve early in the final two sets and serve out for a 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory.

Haas lies 12th in the race to London standings, but his chances of making it to the English capital had been raised by winning in Vienna last Sunday and an early exit for Richard Gasquet at the Swiss Indoors in Basel also on Wednesday.

However, he now faces a huge task at the Paris Masters next week to claim one of the remaining three places on offer.

Earlier, world No.3 David Ferrer booked his place in the second round with a confident 6-3 6-2 win over Gael Monfils.

The first seed was expected to be stretched by the mercurial Monfils having lost three of the previous four meetings between the pair.

However, he edged a tight first set, saving two break points to serve it out in the ninth game before breaking twice early in the second to cruise to victory.

“Games against Gael are never easy, he has great physical power and it was a hard fought match,” said the Spaniard.

Next up for the three-time champion in Valencia is another Frenchman, Julien Benneteau, on Thursday.

Fourth-seeded American John Isner also sealed his place in the second round as he edged past Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2).

And seventh seed Fabio Fognini became the first man to book his place in the quarter-finals as he eased past Marcel Granollers 6-3 6-2.


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Williams taking ‘swagger’ into World Cup

Sonny Bill Williams has put his controversial late selection for the rugby league World Cup behind him and says he will take a “swagger” into his performances for the Kiwis at the tournament.

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Dual international Williams faced more questions about his availability backflip when New Zealand’s training session finished in bitterly cold conditions at Cowley International College in St Helens.

“Obviously there are regrets there, but I’ve moved forward,” Williams said.

“I’m not worrying about that, I’m just worrying about hopefully getting picked this week and doing a job on Samoa.”

The 28-year-old ousted Melbourne Storm second-rower Tohu Harris from the Kiwis squad when he had a change of heart and made himself available after the Kiwis squad had been announced.

It isn’t the first time Williams has polarised opinions but he says he is becoming used to the attention – negative and positive – that follows his career.

“I think I’ve become a better person for it and now I’m very content with the man I see in the mirror. You know the way I carry myself I’m a lot more confident.

“I don’t know if it shows, but I definitely walk around with a bit of a swagger because I’m happy as a man.”

Williams is a likely starter in Sunday’s game against the Samoans in Warrington.

There had been suggestions Williams may play at centre in the tournament but the absence of enforcer Jeremy Smith in the forwards and the good form of the outside backs means coach Stephen Kearney is unlikely to shuffle his deck.

Williams remains a key player for Kearney, wherever he plays, but says he is ready for the scrutiny of critics and extra attention from opposition teams.

“At the start of this season (NRL), you know there was a lot of pressure,” he said.

“I guess I kind of thrive on that, I know it gets the best out of me and I seem to just be able to push that to one side.”


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Kangaroos jersey a ‘massive gift’: Fifita

Cronulla forward Andrew Fifita says making his debut for Australia at the rugby league World Cup feels like a fitting reward for his stellar NRL season.

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Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has announced his team for the tournament-opening clash with England in Cardiff on Saturday, with Fifita named on an extended bench and set to earn his first international cap.

Sheens’ team featured a couple of minor surprises with St George Illawarra’s Brett Morris named on the wing ahead of Jarryd Hayne, who is on the six-man bench.

Veteran Brent Tate caps a remarkable comeback from countless injuries after beating out Michael Jennings and Josh Morris to line up in the centres alongside Greg Inglis.

Rising prop Fifita, who was outstanding for his NRL club Cronulla this season and earned a State of Origin call up for NSW, says he’s “stoked, surprised and very happy”.

“It just tops off the year that I’ve had to represent my country,” he told AAP.

“Like they say you do your job at club footy, and you do your job at Origin level, and I’ve been rewarded with this massive gift to represent my country.

“I can’t wait to get out there.”

Two years ago then-Wests Tigers mentor Sheens deemed Fifita surplus to requirements at the NRL club.

The youngster joined the Sharks and has since developed into one of the most feared forwards in the game.

Fifita insisted there’s no hard feelings between himself and the Kangaroos coach, however.

“There was no `get out of my club you’ve got to go’, it was more on good terms,” he said before the Kangaroos’ first training session at Cardiff.

“It was just that they couldn’t fit me in their salary cap.”

He said to be coached by Sheens again was “awesome”.

“I know what he’s like, what he wants and what he expects.”

Tate made his international debut against Great Britain back in 2002 but ever since has been plagued by injuries.

In 2010 he feared his representative days were over when struck down by the third serious knee injury of his career in the Four Nations final.

“Obviously I’m stoked to be here,” Tate told AAP on Wednesday.

“It has been a long, tough journey. But I’m back here now … and I also understand that the challenge now is to keep that jersey and stay in this team.”

England have suffered a series of setbacks ahead of Saturday’s clash.

The co-hosts lost a practice match to Italy and this week dispatched forward Gareth Hock after he reportedly failed to turn up for the squad’s camp in Loughborough.

Australian team:

Billy Slater, Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matthew Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), James Tamou, Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen (vc). Interchange: Robbie Farah, Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis, Corey Parker, Jarryd Hayne, Nate Myles. (two to be omitted)


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Finance News Update, what you need to know

WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:

The Australian dollar is lower following falls on Wall Street and commodity prices overnight.

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At 0630 AEDT on Thursday, the local unit was trading at 96.24 US cents, down from 96.53 cents on Wednesday.

And the Australian share market looks set to open flat following falls on international markets overnight.

At 0645 AEDT on Thursday, the December share price index futures contract was up four points at 5,350.

ELSEWHERE:

FRANKFURT – The European Central Bank has geared up for a year-long audit of the strength of big eurozone banks to withstand crisis, wielding new policing powers which hit bank shares hard.

BERLIN – Germany says its robust economy will fuel record employment this year and next, as well as boost consumer spending and industrial investment.

MADRID – Spain inched out of its two-year recession with timid growth in the third quarter, the country’s central bank says, fuelling fragile hopes of a broader eurozone recovery.

LONDON – GlaxoSmithKline says its sales of drugs and vaccines in China have tumbled in the third quarter as it was hit by bribery investigations there.

AMSTERDAM – Dutch brewer Heineken NV has issued a profit warning, saying business was worse than expected in developing markets and the economic recovery in industrial nations was weak.

WASHINGTON – US aerospace and defence giant Boeing says third-quarter profits have soared 12 per cent from a year ago and it’s raised its 2013 earnings outlook on a pick-up in commercial aircraft deliveries.

DALLAS – Higher taxes are reducing US Airways’ profit, but the airline’s results beat expectations.

MUMBAI – Indian carrier Jet Airways, in which Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is buying a stake, on Wednesday posted one of its worst ever quarterly results, hit by the economic slowdown, rising fuel costs and a depreciating rupee.

NEW YORK – Slumping industrial giant Caterpillar has reported a 44 per cent drop in profits and again slashed its 2013 full-year forecast due to weakness in the mining sector.


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