Monthly Archives:February 2019

“Don’t kill me!” were the first words that Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo shouted when forces loyal to his rival Alassane Ouattara captured him, a witness says.

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Laurent Gbagbo has called for an end to fighting in Ivory Coast hours after the strongman was captured by forces loyal to his rival for the presidency at the climax of a deadly months-long crisis.

“I want us to lay down arms and to enter the civilian part of the crisis, which should be completed rapidly for life in the country to resume,” Gbagbo said on his rival Alassane Ouattara’s TCI channel shortly after his capture.

Gbagbo, who has held power since 2000 and stubbornly refused to admit defeat in November’s presidential election, was detained and taken to his rival’s temporary hotel headquarters with his wife Simone and son Michel.

“The nightmare is over,” Ouattara’s prime minister, former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, said on the victorious camp’s television channel, calling for any forces still loyal to Gbagbo to change sides.

“There can be no witch hunts; join the Republican Forces,” Soro said.

“After fierce fighting, surrounded and defeated, Gbagbo and his wife Simone Gbagbo have just surrendered and are now under arrest,” he added, calling on Ivorians to remain calm and saying a lawless Abidjan would soon be secured.

The network showed footage of Gbagbo inside a room in the Golf Hotel along with several senior aides, wearing a vest, wiping himself down with a towel and then changing shirts. He appeared visibly tired but otherwise unharmed.

Ouattara spokeswoman Anne Ouloto told AFP the former first couple had been brought to the Golf Hotel, where Ouattara’s camp was for months besieged by Gbagbo’s forces, around 1pm (2300 AEST), shortly after the arrest.

Speaking in New York, Ivory Coast’s UN envoy Youssoufou Bamba vowed that Gbagbo would now stand trial.

“Mr Gbagbo was arrested. He is alive and well and he will be brought to justice for the crimes he has committed,” Bamba said, adding that only Ivorian forces were involved in his detention.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said Gbagbo and his wife were under the protection of UN police at the Golf Hotel amid fears of reprisals or summary justice.

“UN gendarmes are now ensuring the security of Mr Gbagbo and his wife in an apartment in the Golf Hotel,” Le Roy said. “To my knowledge most of the fighting has stopped but there are pockets of resistance.”

Ouattara will now decide whether Gbagbo should face trial but UN guards would stay with him even if he is moved outside of Abidjan.

After the capture, General Bruno Dogbo Ble, the head of Gbagbo’s Republican Guard, called the UN to say he wanted to surrender and Le Roy said at least 200 Gbagbo fighters had laid down their weapons.

“It is an important step in the process, but we cannot call it euphoria. This is not over. It is extremely important that we maintain law and order inside Abidjan and the whole country,” Le Roy said.

The United Nations has so far confirmed about 800 dead in the Gbagbo-Ouattara conflict since December, but warned that the toll was probably much higher.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Gbagbo’s arrest “sends a strong signal to dictators” in the region and beyond that they “may not disregard” the voice of their own people in free and fair elections.

Earlier, witnesses reported seeing pro-Ouattara forces entering Gbagbo’s besieged residential compound, from which they had been repeatedly repulsed, while French and UN armoured vehicles deployed on a road nearby.

Troops from the cocoa-rich nation’s former colonial ruler France and from a UN peacekeeping force have been pounding Gbagbo’s forces since Sunday in a bid to destroy the heavy weapons they were reportedly using against civilians.

Bodies litter the streets of the west African nation’s commercial capital from days of street-to-street fighting, after Ouattara’s forces swept down from the north of the country in a lightning attack less than two week ago.

A spokesman for the UN mission in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) said its peacekeepers and allies from France’s Licorne force had aimed to destroy heavy weapons that were being used against civilians.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said the French leader had a lengthy phone conversation with Ouattara, a former deputy head of the International Monetary Fund, shortly after Gbagbo was arrested.

France said its military had taken part in the weekend raids at the UN chief’s request, and firmly denied reports that its special forces had taken Gbagbo and handed him over to Ouattara’s men.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Gbagbo should be treated with respect following his capture, and should face “a fair and properly organised judicial process in Cote d’Ivoire”.

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation into the violence in Ivory Coast to see if crimes committed are serious enough to come under its jurisdiction.

The court tries allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Both sides have been accused of massacres during the stand-off and ensuing conflict, with mass graves reportedly found near Abidjan and hundreds killed or raped in the western town of Duekoue.

A senior flood operations engineer will be cross-examined and a weather bureau director will give evidence on the second day of the Queensland floods inquiry.

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The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry got off to a fiery start on Monday, with Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson the first to give evidence on January’s state-wide disaster.

He withheld some documents from the commission under parliamentary privilege, despite a pledge by Premier Anna Bligh that the inquiry would leave no stone unturned.

Mr Robertson later advised that privilege could only be waived by a motion of parliament, prompting the premier to say the government would move on the material as soon as possible and all government and non-government documents should be provided.

The inquiry heard Mr Robertson had raised the idea of a pre-emptive dam release months before Brisbane flooded, but by the time he got a formal response, the destructive deluge had already begun.

Senior flood operations engineer Robert Ayre will be cross-examined on Tuesday.

On Monday, he told the inquiry the flood operation centre’s software was 15 years old and at the height of the flood crisis, power was lost to Wivenhoe Dam, creating problems with faxes and phone lines.

Mr Ayre said engineers used models based on no further rainfall when deciding what strategy to use for managing the dam, rather than models that factored in forecast rain.

The commission heard how engineers had to duck out to buy meals during their 12-hour shifts, had only mattresses to sleep on if floodwaters cut access to their homes.

Bureau of Meteorology Queensland regional director Jim Davidson will also begin his evidence on Tuesday.

Israel’s military killed two Palestinians in Gaza on Saturday, taking to 18 the toll in the deadliest clashes since a devastating war more than two years ago.

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A truce declared by Palestinian armed groups in the enclave unravelled even before it could take hold as militants fired dozens of projectiles into southern Israel and the military retaliated. An Israeli raid in eastern Gaza City on Saturday evening killed a member of the Nasser Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and wounded two other Palestinians, a medic said. Israeli tanks wounded another Palestinian in the strip’s north. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed an air strike was carried out on the Gaza Strip, saying it was aimed at militants shooting rockets. On Saturday morning, an Israeli tank round killed a Palestinian and wounded a second in an eastern neighbourhood of Gaza City, medics said without specifying whether the casualties were militants or civilians. The deaths take to 18 the number of Palestinians killed, including at least six militants and a 10-year-old boy, since an anti-tank round was fired at an Israeli school bus near kibbutz Nahal Oz, close to Gaza, on Thursday. At least 57 Palestinians were wounded, 12 seriously, medics said. Deadliest strikes since Jan 2009 Militants have fired dozens of mortars or rockets into Israel, which has hit back in its deadliest strikes since the devastating 22-day conflict ended in January 2009. Hamas have put security forces and emergency services in Gaza on 24-hour alert amid the escalating violence and despite international calls for an end to hostilities. But a senior Israeli security official also said the Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip had asked for a ceasefire. “The political branch of Hamas has sent a message asking for an Israeli ceasefire” in exchange for a halt to Palestinian attacks, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. He said Israeli operations would continue for as long as Israel felt “its people cannot lead normal lives” because of the threat of Palestinian attack. He also indicated that Defence Minister Ehud Barak had indefinitely postponed a trip to Washington because of the gravity of the situation. Earlier on Saturday, around 30 mortar rounds or rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel, without causing damage or casualties, military radio said. Twenty mortar bombs exploded, while 10 Grad rockets struck the area around Ashdod, Beersheba and Kiryat Gat, it said. Hamas decreed a state of alert after Israeli shelling killed the Palestinian and wounded a second in eastern Gaza City, medics said, without specifying whether they were militants or civilians. “All security forces must work 24 hours in 24, even civil defence and medical services, to protect and save the people targeted by the Zionist occupiers,” interior ministry spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein said. “Groups in Gaza committed themselves to respecting the Palestinian consensus and halting rocket attacks, but the Zionist aggressor has ruined everything by attacking and killing civilians – women, children and old people,” he said. Thursday’s attack on the school bus critically wounded a teenager and injured the driver. “The attack on a school bus yesterday crossed the line… Whoever tries to hurt and murder children, his blood will be on his own head,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday. Israel’s retaliatory strikes have made the confrontation the deadliest since the end of Operation Cast Lead, the offensive Israel launched in December 2008 that claimed the lives of some 1,400 Palestinians – more than half civilians – and 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers. Palestinian armed groups declared a unilateral truce, but both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed mortar and rocket attacks on Israel on Friday as the violence intensified. Rocket and mortar fire continue An Israeli military spokeswoman said rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants continued into Saturday morning. Several industrially manufactured Grad rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Ashkelon but were intercepted by the newly deployed Iron Dome short-range defence system, the spokeswoman added. The port with a population of some 113,000 was the second city to be protected by an Iron Dome battery after the desert city of Beersheba which has also been targeted by Gaza militants. The defence system, the first of its kind in the world and still experimental, is not yet able to provide complete protection against rocket fire from Gaza, army commanders have warned. The Israeli military spokeswoman said overnight raids on Gaza had targeted a “large car carrying weapons,” a tunnel and “three Hamas commanders”. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the rocket fire from Gaza but also urged Israel to show restraint, urging “an immediate cessation of all violence” and prompting an Israeli diplomat’s “dismay” at her “choice of words”.

The only problem is he’s not telling anyone.

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The seven-time premiership-winning mentor is expected to announce he will join Newcastle or South Sydney.

He now has supporters of both on the edge of the their seats following the revelation after St George Illawarra’s convincing 25-6 victory over Canterbury at the SCG that he had made up his mind.

Asked about his decision on Sunday, Bennett replied: “I can’t answer that for you. I don’t know.

“Well, I do know, but I just don’t want to share it with you.”

Asked if that suggested an announcement would be made soon, he replied: “Suggests nothing.”

But he did say the mass of speculation in the media was not affecting him.

“I don’t write it and I don’t read it, so how does it impact on me? It doesn’t,” he said.

“It’s my decision. If you all stop trying to tell me what I should be doing and what I’m supposed to be doing, then I might make it a lot quicker.”

The intrigue over Bennett’s next move extends to match-winning Dragons fullback Darius Boyd, who single-handedly snuffed out a Bulldogs revival with a freakish intercept.

Boyd is waiting on Bennett’s decision before deciding on his own future, with his contract with the Dragons expiring at year’s end.

It had been assumed Boyd would follow Bennett but the Queenslander said the Dragons, Brisbane and Gold Coast were among options he would consider.

“The (Dragons have) been really great to me and I owe them a lot,” Boyd said.

“In saying that, though, Wayne’s been great to me as well so it’s not going to be an easy decision but I suppose I’ll make it when the time comes.

“I’m not too sure but I’d always like to go home as well. That’s definitely an option.

“Just home, anywhere. Queensland, Brisbane, Gold Coast, that’s my home so I’d never rule it out and eventually I’d like to finish up my career there so it depends whether it’s now or later, I don’t know so we’ll just wait and see.”

For now, Boyd, like the rest of the rugby league world, is waiting on Bennett’s call.

“When he makes a decision, I’ll see what happens there and weigh up my options but until that happens I’m just concentrating on playing footy,” he said.

The Dragons moved to second place on the NRL ladder with Sunday’s victory, behind Melbourne on points differential, after the Storm sent Parramatta’s season spiralling with a 38-0 annihilation at AAMI Park.

Brisbane can join the Dragons and Storm on four wins with a victory over Newcastle at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night.

Australia’s economic growth would continue to benefit from the expansion in the emerging markets

despite recent events in Japan and north Africa, Treasurer Wayne Swan says.

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Mr Swan said the global economy would prosper overall for the next two years according to the latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The IMF’s April 2011 World Economic Outlook released overnight says emerging economies will continue to underpin global growth, forecast at 4.4 per cent this year and 4.5 per cent in 2012, but warns of key downside risks to the outlook,” Mr Swan said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The tragic events in Japan, political instability in North Africa and the Middle East, and persisting sovereign debt concerns in Europe continue to cloud the global economic horizon.”

Mr Swan said these global risks as well as the recent natural disasters locally added to the challenges for the Australian economy.

“Our devastating summer of natural disasters means that Australia’s economic growth will be impacted in the short term, as will the Budget from reconstruction spending and lower tax receipts,” he said.

Treasury’s analysis indicates that the combined impact of natural disasters at home and abroad could cut Australia’s economic growth by up to 0.75 of a percentage point to an annual rate of 2.5 per cent in 2010-11, Mr Swan said.

But he said the downgrade in the growth forecasts would only be for a short time with the economy expected to pick up following the natural disasters.

“The IMF projects growth for the Australian economy of 3.0 per cent this calendar year and 3.5 per cent in 2012.”

Mr Swan departs for the US on Tuesday to attend the Group of 20 Finance Ministers’ meeting, the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington later this week.

He said he would also have meetings with senior financial executives in New York.

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has denied embezzlement allegations as he issued an emotional defence of his legacy in his first public remarks since his dramatic ouster.

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The statement, broadcast at the end of a turbulent weekend that saw a deadly military crackdown on protesters, only stoked more public anger in the midst of Egypt’s turbulent transition to a more democratic system.

In the pre-recorded audiotape, the 82-year-old Mubarak spoke with a tone of authority more in keeping with his past power than his current situation.

He said he had agreed to “authorise” an investigation of his finances, and promised to sue all those who smeared his reputation.

As the ruling military council comes under increasing public pressure for its management of the post-Mubarak transition, the ex-president’s first words were a reminder that he still has a grip on the country’s mood.

Shortly after the speech was aired, Egypt’s prosecutor general announced he had issued orders summoning the ex-president and his two sons for questioning on the embezzlement allegations.

The scope of the investigation was also widened to include the crackdown on protesters that killed an estimated 300 people.

The move could help ease public anger now largely directed at the military.

The pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, which broadcast the speech, said it was recorded on Saturday, a day after demonstrators gathered in huge numbers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand that the military council that took over from Mubarak launch an investigation into his wealth.

The speech seemed to be as much about preserving his dignity as about denying the accusations against him.

“I was hurt very much, and I am still hurting – my family and I – from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my (political) stances and my military history,” Mubarak said.

The speech came as hundreds of protesters remain barricaded in Tahrir square, the epicentre of the uprising that forced Mubarak from office after 30 years in power.

Friday’s protest by tens of thousands was the biggest since Mubarak’s ouster on February 11, which followed 18 days of mass demonstrations.

Despite constitutional amendments to allow free elections and other steps toward a freer political scene, many in the anti-Mubarak movement are sceptical of the military’s pledges to meet all demands.

Trust between the military and the reform movement suffered a serious setback when soldiers stormed their protest camp in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, killing at least one person and injuring 71 others.

That increased calls for the resignation of the head of the military council running the country, Defence Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak appointee.

It also spurred protesters to retake Tahrir Square, shutting down traffic in the heart of the city.

By midnight Sunday, several hundred protesters remained barricaded in the Square behind barbed wire, burned-out troop carriers and makeshift checkpoints they set up to keep out vehicle traffic and search people for weapons. There was no sign of the military.

Since his ouster, Mubarak and his family have been under house arrest at a presidential palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, their assets frozen.

But Mubarak has not been charged.

In his speech, the former president said he only possessed a single account in an Egyptian bank and only held property in Egypt.

He said he would agree in writing, if requested, to allow the prosecutor-general to contact other countries to investigate whether he or his wife, Suzanne, owned any accounts or property abroad.

He said the move was to “prove to the people that their former president only owns domestically, according to previous financial disclosure.”

Many were not impressed.

“It was a condescending statement, and the way it was worded was provocative,” said Nasser Abdel-Hamid, a member of a youth coalition that led the 18-day protest.

Wael Abdel-Fattah, a columnist and a founder of a group demanding a clear course for transitional justice in Egypt, said Mubarak’s speech amounted to a “challenge” to the country’s military rulers, who had clearly disagreed on how to treat their former boss.

“He didn’t only steal the wealth but he is a repressive leader that killed his people,” Abdel-Fattah said.

Essam El-Erian, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said Mubarak still believes he is above accountability.

“Trying Mubarak is not only about bringing back the money. It also sets a precedent here that every ruler and president that comes after will know” he will face prosecution for any violations, El-Erian said.

Former world champions South Africa will include seven non-white players in 23-man match squads in the run-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the national rugby body has announced.

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The commitment is part of plans for radical racial transformation in the traditionally white sport, which aims to have non-whites making up half of all domestic and national teams by 2019.

At least two of the seven non-whites in the 2015 squads must be black Africans, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) said on Tuesday, distinguishing them from players of mixed race who have long played a role in Springbok teams.

Including seven non-whites will be a challenge for Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer, though, because were he to pick a starting XV now it would probably include only one black African and two mixed race players.

That would mean four of the eight replacements having to be non-white.

Zimbabwe-born black African prop Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira has been a long-serving first choice, but is injury prone.

And both wings, including 2007 World Rugby Player of the Year Bryan Habana, are traditionally mixed race players.

A second black African, flank Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje, made a number of appearances for South Africa last season, but got his chance after injuries to first choices Willem Alberts and Francois Louw.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux stressed at a news conference in Cape Town that the “Strategic Transformation Plan” was not a quota system, but said he was confident the targets would be reached.

“It’s not just about numbers on the field”, he said, pointing to plans for expanding black participation at all levels of the game.

“We know that we are only judged on representation in the Springbok team,” a reference to government pressure for racial transformation.

“We understand that, and we also understand that it is also unfair to put that pressure on the Springbok coach without offering him any assistance – his teams can only reflect what is going on at the elite end of the domestic game.”

Roux said rugby had already been “massively transformed” in the 20 years since the end of apartheid, when rugby was played almost exclusively by whites and blacks tended to play football.

“The simple facts are that the majority of rugby supporters and players – at schoolboy and club level – in South Africa are black; 84 per cent of this country’s under-18s are black African – and we want them in our game in some way.”

Apart from the Springboks, the target of 50 per cent black representation by 2019 would apply to national sevens, youth and schoolboy teams and to the Currie Cup, the national inter-provincial rugby competition and a breeding ground for the national team.

The transformation plans – first revealed unofficially last year – come amid growing unhappiness with Meyer for recalling veteran white players last year rather than giving emerging black Africans a sustained chance.

Queensland Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson did not seek advice from his own department on Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for a wetter than average summer which resulted in the state’s worst-ever floods.

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Mr Robertson was on Monday the first to give evidence at the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, looking into January’s statewide disaster.

The inquiry heard that on October 18, 2010 Bureau of Meteorology regional director Jim Davidson briefed cabinet on the La Nina weather pattern, saying it was not run-of-the-mill and advising the government to prepare for more rain and cyclones than usual.

Mr Robertson said he asked Wivenhoe Dam’s manager, SeqWater, whether it shouldn’t be lowered to 95 per cent capacity in preparation for the unusually wet season.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Peter Callaghan, asked whether he also asked the advice of his own department, or only those bodies charged with the “water security” of the previously drought-stricken region.

Mr Robertson said he hadn’t raised it with his department, and also rejected that SeqWater and the Water Grid Manager were chiefly involved with drinking water security.

“I wouldn’t say it was their principal concern,” he told the inquiry in Brisbane.

“They have a range of concerns, one of which is maintenance of the full supply level or the maximum full supply level for supply to southeast Queensland, but I’m also aware they have very significant responsibilities in terms of dam safety.”

Earlier, Mr Callaghan said the four engineers who manned the Flood Operations Centre through the crisis had taken a “stoic approach” to their work, and the commission would consider whether the modest Brisbane CBD building should be better equipped.

Statements from the men have described how they had to duck out to buy meals during their 12-hour shifts, had only mattresses to sleep on if floodwaters cut access to their homes, and suggested there had been some doubt over whether their electricity supply would be maintained.

Also to be examined is a “difference of understanding” between the engineers and a Brisbane City Council officer, Ken Morris, who had a different understanding of the water level in the Brisbane River at Moggill that would result in flooding properties.

As a result of Mr Morris’s advice on January 10, the day a deluge of rain hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley, the engineers limited releases from Wivenhoe Dam for five hours, until it was no longer practical.

Mr Callaghan said it was an example of communication with the centre that must be examined.

“While this exchange might have been of little consequence in the grand scheme of decision-making at the Flood Operations Centre, it’s an example of the communication we will be looking at,” he said.

The inquiry is also required to look at the issues of insurance and planning, but Mr Callaghan said these would be examined at hearings in the second half of the year.

The equivalent of six million pages of material has already been put to the commission, he said.

Australia’s long history of heartache at Augusta National continued as Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to shoot a six-under-par 66 closing round and win by two strokes from debutant Day (68) and fellow Queenslander Scott (67) at 14-under 274.

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Wielding his broomstick putter with rare certainty Scott led by two strokes with two holes left but, despite parring home, was unable to hold off the fast-finishing Schwartzel.

Schwartzel becomes the third South African to win the green jacket after Gary Player and Trevor Immelman.

Another Australian, Geoff Ogilvy, fired a 67 to finish four shots behind in a tie for fourth with Tiger Woods (67) and Englishman Luke Donald.

Scott and Day played together in the third last group and fed off each other’s good play.

“To be right in the mix is everything I’ve dreamed of. It just didn’t pan out,” said Scott.

“I’ve got to be pretty proud of the way I played over the weekend. Obviously I can’t control Charl.

“When you birdie the last four holes at the Masters when you’re around the lead, that usually wins.

“I’m disappointed I didn’t win when I held the lead with a few holes to go. It’s exciting to be in the mix at a major, something I haven’t been able to talk about before.

“It would have made the Masters exciting for (Australian golf fans) to have three guys contending on the back nine on Sunday. It’s been a while.”

The 23-year-old Day could hardly have been more impressive in his first appearance in the Masters and he charged home with birdies at the last two holes.

“I couldn’t do any more than what I did today. Adam and I played wonderful golf and Charl played even better golf,” said Day.

“I’ve known Adam since I was 15. We’ve been good mates since then. We had a lot of fun today.

“It was really really good to be in the hunt for the Masters.”

Third round leader Rory McIlroy collapsed with an 80 to finish equal 15th.

Anthony Mundine is adamant Wednesday night’s rematch with conqueror Garth Wood won’t signal the end of his boxing career.

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Mundine, 35, vowed on Tuesday to follow his long-stated plan to pursue big fights in the United States after the 10-round middleweight bout in Brisbane.

The way Mundine saw it, last December’s shock fifth-round knockout loss to fellow ex-rugby league player Wood was a good thing.

“He didn’t knock me out. He woke me up,” Mundine said.

Critics suggest Mundine (40 wins, 4 losses) will be at a career crossroads when he faces Wood (10 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw), with another defeat possibly signalling the end.

But Mundine preferred to call it a “resurrection”.

“I am going to make it, I am going to be there (overseas),” Mundine told AAP.

“It’s just a matter of time – it all starts with my resurrection tomorrow.

“We will cross that bridge (losing) if we get to it, that’s if God wills it.

“But I know I am not going to lose. That’s just the way it is.”

The early signs were good for Mundine, judging by Tuesday’s chaotic weigh-in.

He admitted he wasn’t himself when they last met, but it was vintage Mundine on Tuesday, riling Wood at the pre-fight media conference by calling him a “dirty” fighter before holding his own in some argy-bargy.

Standing eye-to-eye for post weigh-in photos, Wood appeared to headbutt a chatty Mundine, sparking a shoving match that only ended when support staff jumped in.

The pair exchanged taunts, prompting another scuffle, this time between support staff.

When the dust settled, Mundine swore that he would one day be fighting in the US like Michael Katsidis, who lost to Robert Guerrero in their weekend fight for the interim WBO and WBA lightweight crowns.

And all thanks to his dad Tony Mundine.

“He’s a legend. I am unhappy with myself for not taking his advice earlier,” Mundine said.

“I was being pig-headed (ahead of the first Wood fight) – my dad was trying to address certain issues about the way I was fighting and I didn’t listen.

“Now I have fixed all my errors and bad habits.”

Wood first met Mundine as a reward for winning Australia’s The Contender reality TV program in 2010.

He remains the only Australian to have beaten Mundine.

Not that it earned him much respect on Tuesday.

“I knew he was going to be dirty but I didn’t think he was going to be that dirty in the first one,” Mundine said at the media conference.

Wood interjected: “What was dirty?”

“Hitting me in the back of the head … over 30 times – check the video,” Mundine said.

“And you tried to knee me when I went down.

“This is boxing, it’s not Muay Thai, it’s not wrestling.”

But Wood said later: “I am not looking for respect.

“I am confident and happy with where I am at.

“I learned from the first fight the potential I have got.

“I am going to go out there and do the business.”