Myles lucky in Origin tackle: Barrett

Nate Myles was lucky to escape with an elbow injury after being on the receiving end of an ugly tackle in Queensland’s State of Origin I loss, says Manly coach Trent Barrett.

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Myles has all but been ruled out of Sunday’s NRL match against Canberra after scans on Thursday confirmed the Maroons veteran had torn a ligament in his elbow.

Barrett initially feared Myles had his shoulder ripped out by Blues skipper Boyd Cordner, but could now be back as soon as next week’s clash against Newcastle.

It also means the under-pressure forward would be available for the Maroons in game two.

“I think he’ll be right. If it was a semi-final type game on Sunday, he’d put his hand up to play. He’s not happy about it,” Barrett said on Friday.

“But I’ve got to think about the club and we’ve got a five-day turnaround after this. I’m banking on him being available for that.”

Barrett also said he had no issue with the tackle, which Myles bravely played through and went unpunished by the match review committee.

“(Cordner) didn’t mean it. It was more his body. It wasn’t a chicken wing, I didn’t think. Just put in an awkward position and lucky to get out of it with what he’s got,” he said.

“I thought it was more his shoulder. He’s come out of it okay, it could’ve been a lot worse.”

While the 31-year-old received good news on the injury front, he is facing increasing pressure to keep his Maroons spot following their insipid loss at Suncorp Stadium.

A number of ex-Queensland stars have already called for his axing, however Barrett insisted Myles was in good form for the Sea Eagles heading into the series.

“I haven’t read anything about any backlash to be honest. I thought NSW were dominant across the park and it was good to see,” Barrett said.

“Defensively he’s very good around the middle of the ruck. He tightens it up, does a lot of stuff here off the field, particularly with our younger guys. He’s certainly helping their development.”

Barrett also addressed rumours Myles could be granted an early release from the final year of his contract to join Melbourne in 2018.

“Nate’s contracted here until the end of next year,” he said.

Anger as Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris climate deal

In a sharply nationalistic address from the White House Rose Garden, Trump announced the United States would immediately stop implementing the “bad” 195-nation accord.

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“I cannot, in good conscience, support a deal that punishes the United States,” he said, decrying the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country”.

Trump repeatedly painted the pact – struck by his predecessor Barack Obama – as a deal that did not “put America first” and was too easy on economic rivals China, India and Europe. 

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“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be.”

Trump offered no details about how, or when, a formal withdrawal would happen, and at one point suggested a renegotiation could take place. 

“We’re getting out but we’ll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine,” he said.

That idea was unceremoniously slapped down by furious allies in Europe, who joined figures from around the United States and the world in condemning the move.

“The agreement cannot be renegotiated,” France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement.

‘Reject the future’

The United States is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, so Trump’s decision could seriously hamper efforts to cut emissions and limit global temperature increases. 

Amid Trump’s domestic critics was Obama, who said the United States was “joining a handful of nations that reject the future.” 

Nicaragua and Syria are the only countries not party to the Paris accord, the former seeing it as not ambitious enough and the latter being racked by a brutal civil war.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in last year’s White House race, called the decision to pull out an “historic mistake”.

“The world is moving forward together on climate change. Paris withdrawal leaves American workers & families behind,” she said in a tweet.

Watch: ‘US climate deal withdrawal is a mistake’: Macron

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Obama insisted that US business, state governors and mayors of major cities would step up.

The Democratic governors of New York, California and Washington states indeed formed a quick alliance, vowing to respect the standards agreed on under the Paris deal.

With much of the implementation of the accord taking place at the local level, the Paris accord’s supporters hope the deal will be in hibernation rather than killed off entirely.

Trump’s decision is likely to play well with the Republican base, with the more immediate damage on the diplomatic front.

The US president called his counterparts in Britain, Canada, France and Germany to explain his decision.

But traditional US allies were uncharacteristically blunt in their condemnation of the move, which comes amid already strained relationships with the hard-charging president.

Germany said the US was “harming” the entire planet, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the decision “seriously wrong.”

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Ever the showman, the 70-year-old Trump had given his decision a reality TV-style tease, refusing to indicate his preference either way until his announcement.

Opponents of withdrawal – said to include Trump’s  daughter Ivanka – had warned that America’s leadership role on the world stage was at stake, along with the environment.

A dozen large companies including oil major BP, agrochemical giant DuPont, Google, Intel and Microsoft, had urged Trump to remain in the deal.

Ultimately, the lobbying by Trump’s environmental protection chief Scott Pruitt and chief strategist Steve Bannon urging the president to leave won out.

In the wake of the announcement, Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk and Disney chief Robert Iger announced they would no longer take part in presidential business councils. 

“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk said.

GE head Jeff Immelt said he was “disappointed” with the decision: “Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

Related readingChina pledge

White House officials acknowledged that under the deal, formal withdrawal may not take place until after the 2020 election.

Hours ahead of Trump’s announcement, China’s Premier Li Keqiang pledged to stay the course on implementing the climate accord in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and urged other countries to do likewise.

China has been investing billions in clean energy infrastructure, as it battles to clear up the choking pollution enveloping its cities.

China and the US are responsible for some 40 per cent of the world’s emissions and experts had warned it was vital for both to remain in the Paris agreement if it is to succeed.

The leader of Asia’s other behemoth, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who is due to visit the White House shortly – has said failing to act on climate change would be “morally criminal”.

Mixed signals

Trump’s announcement comes less than 18 months after the climate pact was adopted in the French capital, the fruit of a hard-fought agreement between Beijing and Washington under Obama’s leadership.

The Paris Agreement commits signatories to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, which is blamed for melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels and more violent weather events.

They vowed steps to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures “well below” two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times and to “pursue efforts” to hold the increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Watch: Trump’s full speech

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$8b offshore wind farm plan for Vic

Australia’s first offshore wind farm off the eastern coast of Victoria could provide almost a fifth of the state’s energy.

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The proposed plant would see 250 turbines built off the Gippsland coastline and produce enough energy to power 1.2 million homes.

Offshore Energy says the project could bring $8 billion worth of investment into Victoria and create 12,000 jobs during the construction phase, with local campaigners hoping recently retrenched coal workers can be retrained.

Managing director Andy Evans says the wind farm could reduce carbon emissions by 10.5 million tonnes a year.

“When placed in the right wind conditions, like those off the coast of Gippsland, offshore wind delivers a high, consistent flow of electricity,” Mr Evans said in a statement on Friday.

The feasibility phase is expected to take three years, the company says.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio says a preliminary analysis of the proposed site is promising.

“This is a massive project. It’s an exciting project; it is unprecedented and one that our government supports and we’ll continue to work alongside Offshore Energy to work through all of the planning requirements,” Ms D’Ambrosio told reporters on Friday.

Gippsland has been hit hard by job cuts with the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station, and Environmental Justice Australia lawyer, Bronya Lipski, says coal workers could move to the renewable energy sector.

“In Wyoming, in the USA, a wind farm manufacturer recently jumped at the opportunity to retrain former coal workers to take advantage of their electrical and mechanical expertise,” Ms Lipski said.

“There is no reason why this can’t happen for Latrobe Valley workers.”

The government hopes the project will be generating power in time to contribute to its renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025.

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the plan has the potential to “displace highly polluting brown coal generators from Victoria’s electricity grid”.

But Mark Wakeham from Environment Victoria cautioned it will have to prove it doesn’t impact marine life.

Right-wing extremism on rise

Right-wing extremism is on the rise in Australia with the potential for violence to be used, according to experts.

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Professor Geoff Dean from Griffith University is the co-author of a recent study published in the Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism.

Prof Dean says there is evidence of a significant shift in Australia’s right-wing movement towards a more extreme far-right ideology and, in some instances, violence.

The study identified six core themes to the “new” right-wing groups; anti-immigrant, anti-establishment, protection of western values, commitment to democratic reforms, traditional values and a “strong state”.

It examined the online comments of four “new” groups (Reclaim Australia, United Patriots Front, Australian Liberty Alliance and Nationalist Alternative) as well as four “old” groups (Blood and Honour, Southern Cross Hammerskins, Women for Aryan Unity and Australian Sovereign Citizens).

Prof Dean told AAP there had clearly been a rise in right-wing extremism not only in Australia but globally.

“It’s spread through America and France, and Australia is not immune to that,” he said.

“And Pauline Hanson is riding on the back of that.”

Prof Dean said right-wing extremism represented three types of threat to western society; political, security and community.

“The political threat is about gaining political support and a broad base. Their populist politics resonate well, especially when globalisation has taken peoples’ jobs away.

“Remember it was the rust belt of America that put Trump in.”

He said the security threat was about inciting violence and it was the “old groups” or disaffected members of the radical right who were more likely to be involved.

“The security threat is minimal, but it’s there,” Prof Dean said, pointing to last year’s arrest of a Melbourne right-wing extremist for plotting a bomb attack.

The community threat is illustrated by Senator Hanson’s campaign for a ban on Muslim migrants.

“If they can create a backlash against all Muslims … all (right-wing political groups) have something to gain,” Prof Dean said.

“They want to create a community out of fear.”

He said right-wing groups were not a homogenous movement, but there were some basic steps governments could take to reduce their support base.

“Long-term solutions have to be at the political level – where people feel the government is helping them rather than just delivering political spin,” Prof Dean said.

Tackling the rising cost of living and unemployment, taking on the banks, providing a more nuanced picture of Muslims, and explaining globalisation were some of the steps which could be taken.

The brothers who bombed Nazi Germany

In war-gripped London – then occupied by eight million people – Murray Maxton stumbled upon his brother in a small cafe in The Strand.

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After overcoming a bout of the measles, the RAAF pilot was picking up the mail at Australia House in 1943 when he thought he would grab a coffee.

“You wouldn’t believe this but there was my brother sitting there,” he said.

“I didn’t even know he was in London.”

Murray and Eric, a wireless operator, realised they were both being sent to an airfield in Lincolnshire the next morning.

“We went and had too many beers – forgot about the coffee.”

That serendipitous meeting would begin a rare military association – they flew in the same Bomber Command crew over Germany.

“Wherever I went in the air there he was with me,” Murray said.

Their mother was kept in the dark until they had completed their 30 operations.

Both didn’t want to join the army because their father, who was gassed in the First World War, warned them against it.

Murray couldn’t join the navy as he didn’t have the education after leaving school at 14.

Now well into his 90s he recalls being none too happy about bombing German cities towards the end of the war.

“But when I heard what (Hitler) was doing to the German jews, gassing them then I thought everyday we could shorten the war, we’d just bomb the hell out of them.”

Murray was on the “hotline to heaven” one night – their 27th mission – when a German night fighter damaged their aircraft. While Eric fired shots at the enemy, Murray corkscrewed the plane into a cloud and to safety.

Visiting the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Friday, Murray stepped into the cockpit of ‘G for George’ – the Lancaster bomber he flew once to the south of England.

He remembered the main spar being much lower – but then again he was only 20 back then – but the throttles and controls were all the same.

His visit to the memorial coincides with the 75th anniversary of RAAF squadrons joining combat operations with Bomber Command.

“These men were the brightest and the best,” memorial director Brendan Nelson told reporters.

“They volunteered knowing only 40 per cent would survive the 30 operations.”

After the war Murray moved to a farm outside Albany and agreed to a mate’s request to give a young German a job.

They worked alongside each other for years before he discovered he was one of Hitler’s bodyguards.

“He’d never take his shirt off because the SS were branded under the arm,” he remembered, even on a day that reached 100 degrees.

“We never mentioned the war.”

Murray said he married a good cook and the pair made apple pies every day for 30 years – nowadays they’re self-funded retirees.

“I’m proud to say I haven’t cost Australia one cent. I’ve paid my taxes, earnt enough money to retire on and we’re just going to live happily every after.”