Monthly Archives:July 2019

Spain’s 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Dutch at last year’s World Cup finals marked the end of La Roja’s glittering six-year run when they won back-to-back continental titles with a debut World Cup in between, beating Netherlands 1-0 in the final in Johannesburg.

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Since then, Spain have stuttered in qualifying for Euro 2016, dropping three points behind Group C leaders Slovakia after a 2-1 defeat away to the eastern Europeans in October, and have come in for some sharp criticism in the normally adoring Spanish media.

However, Del Bosque insisted Spain are on track to secure their place at next year’s tournament in France and indicated he was ready to change things around if needed.

“Before the criticism was always favourable and now there is a lot of emphasis on the negative,” he told a news conference previewing the game at the Amsterdam Arena.

“We have a very mature and fixed national team but we shouldn’t be satisfied with what has already been achieved,” added the 64-year-old. “We have to be rebels as well.”

Del Bosque said he was likely to field a completely different team on Tuesday to the one that ground out a 1-0 qualifying victory against Ukraine in Seville on Friday.

New faces such as Malaga forward Juanmi and Sevilla midfielder Vitolo are likely to make their debuts, he said, adding that he had no thoughts of revenge for the reverse to Netherlands in Salvador in June.

Spain’s Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is likely to start on Tuesday and urged fans to give the new players time to bed in with the established internationals in the squad.

“Some important people have retired but those who are coming into the team are full of desire,” Cazorla told an earlier news conference.

“Maybe we need some time,” he added. “The players are united and believe in what they are doing. That is really what is important for us.”

After Tuesday’s outing, Spain are not in action again until June when they play away to Group C rivals Belarus.

They host Slovakia in September in a match that could decide who secures their place in France as group winners.

(Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Justin Palmer)

Conte was in emotional mood as he returned to the Juventus stadium, where he won three Serie A titles in as many seasons as coach, for an Italy training session ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against England.

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“I know it will not be easy but I am carrying on in my work,” Conte told reporters, who quit Juventus in July.

“Mennea said that to achieve big dreams, one must make great effort,” he added, citing the late Pietro Mennea, the Olympic champion whose 200 metres world record lasted more than 16 years.

Conte was criticised after Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio suffered a knee injury during an Italy training session on Friday.

John Elkann, the head of the holding company which controls FIAT and Juventus, said the Italy coach worked the players too hard during training camps.

Conte was also reported to have received death threats on the internet and some reports said he had considered quitting before Saturday’s 2-2 Euro qualifying draw away to Bulgaria.

“Let us work, we need it. We have not much time, we will do the maximum to qualify, I can promise a great job by all of us,” Conte said.

“Hard work ought to be the norm but it’s an exception,” he added. “I’m told that I work too hard and I don’t know how to respond to that.”

Italy have managed five wins and two draws under Conte, yet the coach has never been far from controversy.

In February, there were also suggestions he could resign after clubs failed to reach an agreement to release their players for a planned training camp.

“We are going through a significant change in generation and we need a little patience,” said Conte, who is faced with a rebuilding job.

“We are trying to build something good and we need to allow players to settle in the national team without being rejected at the first opportunity.

“It was a strong emotion to go through the gate of the Juventus Stadium, entering the dressing room and going on to the pitch,” he added. “There were three fantastic, extraordinary years, with many indelible and exciting memories.”

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

A young woman missing from Bali is believed to have travelled to Syria and radical teachings have been discovered in the tourist island’s mosques, police say.

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Bali police on Monday announced the formation of a special new taskforce to focus on investigating, capturing and de-radicalising extremists.

Investigators have already discovered that a woman from Denpasar travelled to Syria in a group of 16 people who left Indonesia in early March, police spokesman Hery Wiyanto said.

The 23-year-old woman referred to as “SA” married a man from Solo, Central Java, referred to as “M” in 2013, and her Bali family hasn’t seen her since.

“Up to now they haven’t been found,” Mr Hery said. “Both left for Syria from East Java taking their one year old child.

“We have asked SA’s parents and they say they don’t know where their daughter went after she married.” Police have also found indications of radical teachings in Quran recital groups visiting Bali from Malang and Jember, East Java.

Officers were urging people to report groups with radical and antisocial characteristics.

Part of the taskforce’s role will also be to find and block Islamic State-related websites.

Indonesian authorities have estimated that more than 500 citizens could be fighting with IS in the Middle East.

They are well aware of the threat they pose, as returned jihadis were behind the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Turkey recently detained 16 Indonesians who were caught trying to cross into Syria and it’s believed a chlorine bomb that detonated in a Jakarta mall last month – with no casualties – was the work of fighters returned from Syria.

An Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman says they have yet to receive information from Bali police on their latest findings.

THE FULL TEXT OF A PREPARED STATEMENT READ OUT BY AUSTRALIAN MALCOLM CORAM AT THE FRENCH ALPS MEMORIAL TO VICTIMS OF THE GERMANWINGS CRASH INCLUDING HIS SISTER, CAROL FRIDAY, AND NEPHEW, GREIG FRIDAY.

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I felt the need to come here to France with my two daughters, Georgina and Philippa, and son-in-law, Michael, to represent the rest of our family back in Australia.

I have a need to see the crash site myself and pay my respects to my sister and my nephew.

My family suffers this loss terribly.

My brother-in-law and niece are too devastated to travel here today.

(Carol’s husband) Dave’s siblings have rallied around him at home to provide much needed support.

My two brothers are back in Australia still in denial.

We have decided to treat this as an accident at this stage and thus deny the perpetrator his wishes.

I now know the true meaning of the words “grief stricken”.

My sister, Carol, loving wife of Dave for 34 years and devoted mother of Alex and Greig.

She was the linchpin of the entire family. My life-long travelling companion and my mate of 63 years.

She was a unique and compassionate person, who always welcomed and accepted others, no matter their background.

Fortunately, her son inherited these same beautiful values, and was always thinking of others.

My nephew Greig was my Godson and my daughter’s special soul mate for their whole lives.

I would like to thank all those involved in getting us to France so quickly.

I would like to make special thanks to the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Foreign Affairs for their assistance, and to the captains and crews of the Lufthansa and Qantas flights.

The airline crews have been especially sincere and supportive in our journey over here.

Carol and Greig’s death has left a hole in our family that will probably never be filled.

In closing I would like to read something from Greig’s partner: “Life has taught us a tough lesson, the lesson being – enjoy every bit of what we have for we don’t know when it is going to be taken away from us.”

Senator Dean Smith has called on the Opposition to allow a conscience vote on free speech as calls to repeal parts of the Racial Discrimination Act gain momentum.

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The Western Australian Liberal, best known for being the party’s first openly gay politician, also criticised Labor members for staying silent on what he described as a “racist” campaign by its NSW branch.

Speaking at a Freedom of Speech symposium hosted by classical liberal think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), Senator Smith dismissed claims of “radicalism” over his push to repeal the Racial Discrimination Act.

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“We don’t need the government to legislate to make us tolerant,” he said.

“I challenge the Labor Party to give their parliamentarians a conscience vote on free speech.”

Senator Smith also criticised his own government after proposed amendments to Section 18C of the Act were axed in August following widespread public backlash.

The proposed amendments – involving the removal of the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” – also face threats from within the federal government with Liberal MPs threatening to cross the floor.

Senator Smith said he accepted that the priorities of the Abbott Government had changed, but he disagreed with the move.

‘It criminalises the holding of an opinion and that is wrong’

“I’ll never be convinced that it was the right decision at the time,” he said.

Senator Smith has publicly supported Bob Day’s push to water down the bill. He co-sponsored the Family First Senator’s private member’s bill alongside Cory Bernardi, while Queensland senator Ian Macdonald and West Australian senator Chris Back have also supported the bill.

Senator Smith said that ground in the Senate was “starting to shift” in regards to repealing parts of the Act, despite confirming speculation that the government was trying to stop its Senators from voting for the bill.

He said that Prime Minister Tony Abbott had said upper house members were free to vote how they felt on private member’s bills, but conceded that his leniency was “yet to be tested”.

“I suspect we would get seven or eight [Senators] after the budget,” he said.

Senator Smith described the bill as a “minimal proposal”, which would fix what he saw as the primary issue with the Act.

“It criminalises the holding of an opinion and that is wrong,” he said.

“… It doesn’t do anything to combat racism it merely serves to hide it, to conceal it. Racists and bigots should be free to air their ugly views, so they can be shown for what they are.”

‘It seems now that free speech is once again a battleground’

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson also stood by his calls to repeal parts of the Racial Discrimination Act, stating that the argument against reform was “simply absurd”.

Speaking at the CIS symposium, Mr Wilson argued that recent events such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks should have been a trigger for the government to revive the amendments.

“It remains a very serious disappointment that the federal government botched effort to reform this law last year,” he said.

“The federal government simply inadequately prepared the case for change.”

Mr Wilson also criticised government moves to crack down on hate speech, saying that criminalising it would be “as terrifying as Hizb ut-Tahrir themselves”.

He said such groups should be monitored rather than censored, as their views will remain constant.

“They are a group we should keep an eye on,” he said.

“Pushing them underground won’t help.”