Suli knocked back Parra’s offer to return

It turns out Mitchell isn’t the only Moses that Parramatta were willing to part the seas for.


Wests Tigers millionaire rookie Moses Suli will on Monday meet the Eels for the first time since the NRL club rejected, then tried to lure back three years ago.

“I got axed by Parra in Harold Matthews when I was 16,” Suli told AAP.

“They actually wanted me back but I just didn’t want to go back. I just said I wasn’t interested. I was going good at the Tigers and I just wanted to stay here. And here I am today.

“It’ll be good to get out there, play against them and prove them wrong.”

Suli’s revelations come in the same week star five-eighth Moses is set to play his final game for the Tigers before joining the Eels as soon as the traditional Easter Monday clash is over.

Like Suli, Moses is an Eels junior who was famously told he was too small to play first grade before finding his feet at Concord.

But it took the Eels less than six months to come crawling back to Suli, although the joint venture club were determined not to let him go.

Two years on and the Tongan native was, in January, handed the most lucrative contract for a player who at the time had yet to even finish an under-20s game.

He hasn’t missed a game since making his debut in round one.

“Put it this way, small districts like us wouldn’t let someone like Suli go. We’ve got a good culture at Balmain. Not many kids leave us,” Balmain development coach Michael Frain said.

“We don’t have the big pool to choose from, whereas Parramatta and Penrith do. Anyone that comes from us from other districts, they’ve been rejected from somewhere.

“It’s a bit tough on the big districts, but that’s how we survive in a way. It’s a bit more personal here than some of those bigger clubs.”

Frain said his protege had started his NRL career in solid fashion, but promised the teenager still had plenty to show, particularly if he makes a permanent move into the centres.

As one of the few subtle changes under new coach Ivan Cleary in their upset win over North Queensland last week, Suli started in the three-quarter line alongside Kevin Naiqama.

“He’s never played wing before. Moses is a centre – very strong, good on his feet. He’s a similar player to BJ Leilua, that’s who I’d compare him to,” Frain said.

Trump’s top court pick Gorsuch sworn in

Neil Gorsuch, picked by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Republican-led Senate, has been sworn in as a US Supreme Court justice at the White House.


Trump earned the biggest political victory of his presidency and fulfilled a major campaign promise when the Senate voted on Friday to confirm the conservative federal appeals court judge from Colorado to the lifetime job despite vehement Democratic opposition.

With Gorsuch aboard, the court once again has five conservative justices and four liberals.

Gorsuch took his judicial oath in a White House Rose Garden ceremony with Trump watching on, filling a vacancy that lingered for nearly 14 months after the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

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The oath was administered by Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch worked as a clerk as a young lawyer.

Gorsuch will become the first justice to serve alongside a former boss.

All the other members of the court were at the ceremony, including liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who called Trump “a faker” last year during the presidential campaign but later said she regretted the remark. Trump at the time called on her to resign and said her “mind is shot”.

Scalia’s widow, Maureen, also attended the ceremony.


Gorsuch earlier in the day took his separate constitutional oath, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court with the other justices.

Trump made Gorsuch, 49, the youngest Supreme Court nominee since Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991 selected Clarence Thomas, who was then 43.

Gorsuch could be expected to serve for decades, and Trump could make further appointments to the high court to make it even more solidly conservative, with three of the eight justices 78 or older: Ginsburg, 84; fellow liberal Stephen Breyer, 78; and conservative swing vote Kennedy, 80.

Gorsuch could play a vital role in some cases on which his new colleagues may have been split 4-4 along ideological lines and therefore did not yet decide.

Iraq coach Shenaishil sacked after World Cup failure

“We are not happy with the results and the coaching team is to be sacked and replaced by foreign staff,” read a statement on the Iraq FA Facebook page (长沙桑拿,



“The FA will work with the Iraqi government and Iraqi Olympic Committee to provide funds for a replacement.”

Shenaishil’s departure follows that of United Arab Emirates coach Mahdi Ali, who quit after a 2-0 loss to Australia in Sydney in the same round of matches effectively ended his team’s dreams of qualifying for Russia.

Thailand’s Kiatisuk Senamuang also stepped down in the wake of the 4-0 thrashing by Japan that ended slim Thai hopes of reaching the finals for the first time.

Shenaishil led Iraq to the semi-finals of the 2015 Asian Cup in a previous stint in charge and, after a spell at Baghdad club Al-Shorta, returned to mastermind the bid to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986.

Hampered by having to play their “home” matches in neutral venues for security reasons, the Iraqis were always going to struggle to clinch a ticket to Russia after losing their first three qualifiers of the third round.

The 1-0 loss to the Saudis on March 28 left the 2007 Asian champions fifth in Group B with four points from seven matches, nine points behind third-placed Australia and 12 in arrears to leaders Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The top two teams qualify directly for Russia, while third place offers a further berth via a playoff against the similarly placed team in Group A and an intercontinental tie against a team from the Central and North America Confederation.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

Le Pen slammed over Holocaust comments

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has come under fire from her rivals in the presidential election, as well as French Jewish groups and Israel Monday after saying France was not responsible for a mass round-up of Jews for deportation during World War II.


The row appeared to mark a blow to Le Pen’s painstaking attempts to moderate her National Front party’s image.

Her “de-demonisation” efforts have helped bring her to joint first place in the opinion polls ahead of this month’s first round of voting.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry condemned Le Pen’s remarks about the July 16, 1942 round-up by French police of more than 13,000 foreign Jews, most of whom were deported to German death camps and never returned.

Le Pen’s main rival for the presidency, centrist Emmanuel Macron, said that she had “shown the true face of the French extreme right” with “a grave political and historical error”.

Conservative hopeful Francois Fillon meanwhile charged that the National Front still counted in its ranks “many who are nostalgic for the Vichy regime”, which collaborated with German occupying forces during the war.

Le Pen had been asked during a television interview on Sunday if former president Jacques Chirac was wrong when, in 1995, he acknowledged France’s responsibility for the round-up, carried out by the collaborationist authorities at the behest of Germany.

Thousands of the victims were interned in squalid conditions at Paris’s Vel d’Hiv cycling track before being put on trains to Auschwitz.

The National Front leader replied that “if someone was responsible, it was those who were in power at the time. It was not France.”

She argued that French children were being taught to see only the darkest parts of their country’s history. “I want us to be proud of being French again,” she asserted.

Le Pen is neck-and-neck with Macron ahead of the first round of the election, set for April 23. Polls suggest she is likely to lose out in the decisive second round on May 7.

North Korea vows response to ‘reckless’ US Navy move: KCNA

The Carl Vinson strike group cancelled a planned trip to Australia this weekend to head to the region, in a show of force as Washington signalled it may act to shut down Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities.


“This goes to prove that the US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase,” a spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry said according to state news agency KCNA.

“The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US,” he said, using the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

President Donald Trump, fresh from ordering a missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea, has asked his advisors for a range of options to rein in Pyongyang, a top US official said Sunday.

WATCH: US Navy strike group near Korean Peninsula 

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Trump has previously threatened unilateral action against Pyongyang if China — the North’s sole major ally — fails to help curb its neighbour’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

But Pyongyang’s response suggested the reclusive state is determined to continue on its current path, despite repeated rounds of United Nations sanctions.

“We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms,” the foreign ministry spokesman said.

“We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”

WATCH: Tillerson’s warning on North Korea

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Related readingSixth test? 

Speculation over an imminent nuclear test is brewing as the North marks anniversaries including the 105th birthday of its founding leader on Saturday — sometimes celebrated with a demonstration of military might.

Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.

Satellite imagery analysis suggests it could be preparing for a sixth, with intelligence officials warning it could be less than two years away from achieving the ability to strike the continental United States.

Seoul and Washington are also currently conducting joint military drills, an annual exercise which is seen by the North as a preparation for invasion.

South Korea’s top nuclear envoy said Monday after talks with his Chinese counterpart that the two nations had agreed to “strong” new measures to punish Pyongyang if it carried out another nuclear test.

The talks came shortly after Trump hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a summit at which he pressed Beijing to do more to curb the North’s nuclear ambitions.

“(We) are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the summit.

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US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday criticised North Korea as a rogue nation engaged in provocative behaviour and said denuclearisation of the peninsula “must happen”.

“The president has asked them to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat,” he said on Fox News, apparently referring to Trump’s advisers.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Hong Yong-Pyo said Monday that the repercussions of a potential military response were worrying.

“Pre-emptive strikes may be aimed at resolving North Korea’s nuclear problems, but for us, it is also related to defending the safety of the public,” he told reporters.

While a US unilateral strike on North Korea from a shorter range might be more effective, it would likely endanger many civilians in the South and risk triggering a broader military conflict, experts warn.

OTHER VIDEO: UK, Germany urge Russia out

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Aust helping India’s big education dream

Over the next five years, India has an ambitious goal to educate a cohort of people which is 16 times the size of Australia’s entire population.


Both countries see enormous potential for Australian universities and its training sector in helping India upskill 400 million people.

Already Australia is the second most popular destination for Indian students, behind the United States, with more than 60,000 studying down under in 2016.

A large delegation of education representatives, led by Education Minister Simon Birmingham, is in New Delhi this week to look at how to grow the partnership further.

The Indian government has predicted to meet its goal by 2022, it will need an extra 4 million university graduates every year.

“Clearly that is a very challenging task to build your own system at a rate that enables you to produce that many graduates,” Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson told AAP in New Delhi where she is part of the delegation.

Universities are using the delegation’s meetings to explore how they might help India with that task.

Ms Robinson has noticed during the two-day summit a real desire from the Indian education sector to encourage more foreign institutions to work with them.

There have been regulatory barriers for Australian universities wanting to set up undergraduate courses in India, but she is hopeful those will be eased.

“Not only is there opportunity created by the aspirations of India to lift so many more people out of poverty through education – that we feel we have a real role to be able to assist with – we also see from the Indian side a real desire to pave the way to enable that potential to be realised as well,” she told AAP.

In the vocational sector, Australian educators are piloting “training the trainer” courses in five Indian cities, starting with 250 students.

Senator Birmingham will formally launch the new courses – co-branded by the two governments – at the Australia-India Skills Conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“Just like a good building, our two nations have an excellent foundation for this shared endeavour,” he will say.

“But a good building needs more than just a strong foundation – it needs to grow and take shape.”

He believes Australia can play a role in building the capacity of trainers, “the cornerstone of an industry-led vocational education system”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his meeting with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Monday included a “very fruitful discussion” about education, and the role Australia could play.

“I have taken copious notes from Prime Minister Modi’s advice on how Australian education institutions can be even more successful than they are today,” Mr Turnbull said.

“His understanding of the need for training, the need for education and the role that Australia can play is extremely informed, very, very deep and very detailed.”

Education exchange is about more than Australia taking on Indian students.

Ms Robinson sees the education relationship as being on the cusp of a “step-change” to move from delivery of training to genuine collaboration and exchange of knowledge.

Formal research agreements between institutions have grown five-fold since 2003, with about 400 now in place.

Mr Turnbull says in a world where growth is driven by technology, science and innovation, collaboration is the key to success.

“Knowledge shared is not diminished, but rather it is enhanced and for the benefit of both parties,” he told the Australia-India Knowledge Partnership dinner on Monday.

“Our opportunities to achieve our dreams are limited only by our imagination, enterprise and courage.”

With India’s enormous dream of 400 million newly skilled workers, those three qualities will need to be abundant.

Debate ensues over proposal to divert super for housing deposits

But Michael Sukkar – the minister assisting Treasurer Scott Morrison put together a housing affordability package for the May 9 budget – won’t say whether this includes allowing young buyers to tap into their superannuation.


Mr Morrison told a conference on Monday it is now taking eight years to save for a housing deposit in Sydney and six years for those looking in Melbourne.

Mr Sukkar said if potential buyers have a target of $50,000 for a deposit in Sydney, by the time they get to the eighth year the deposit required is substantially more.

“We are going to be pretty keen to examine measures that can bridge that gap and allow first home buyers to get into the market as soon as possible otherwise the goal posts keep shifting,” Mr Sukkar told Sky News on Tuesday.

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There is speculation the government will consider allowing young people to divert super contributions into a special savings account, which they will have to match dollar for dollar from other savings.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen saw this as another Liberal attempt to undermine the superannuation system.

“It would actually overheat the housing market even more,” Mr Bowen told ABC television.

“The only winners would be vendors who would have two first home buyers with access to super outbidding each other, spending their superannuation money.”

Derryn Hinch, a key crossbench senator, believes such an idea is “crazy” and would push more people onto the pension, which would inevitably cost taxpayers.

He believes many young people have unrealistic expectations when it came to buying property.

“Owning your own home is not an Australian right, it’s a dream and everyone wants to do it,” he told ABC radio, adding you’re not necessarily going to get a two-car garage at 22-years-old.

But he does favours making it easier for older people to downsize their homes by ensuring the move didn’t affect their eligibility for the pension, in order to improve housing affordability.

While Mr Morrison didn’t touch on allowing would-be home buyers to tap their super accounts in his speech, he did raise concerns that retirees are using their super lump sum to pay off their outstanding mortgage.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declined to comment on the government’s plans.

“I know it’s terribly tough in Sydney and Melbourne,” he told ABC radio, adding that people should consider moving to regional cities and towns for cheaper housing.

Other: Leaders talk Australia-India ties

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‘We will pray’: Families gather after Egypt church attack

Families of victims of Sunday’s bombing at Alexandria’s Coptic cathedral have gathered at the Monastery of Saint Mina under heavy security as Egypt’s cabinet approved a three-month state of emergency ahead of a scheduled trip by Pope Francis.


Hundreds of mourners, many outraged by what they said was the state’s failure to keep them safe on one of their holiest days, carried wooden coffins to the beat of drums interrupted by the wails of those dressed in all black.

“Where should we go pray? They are attacking us in our churches. They don’t want us to pray but we will pray,” said Samira Adly, 53, whose neighbours were killed in the attack.

Relatives react during the funeral of Copts on April 10 (AAP)AAP

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The blast in Egypt’s second largest city, which killed 17 including seven police officers, came hours after a bomb struck a Coptic church in Tanta, a nearby city in the Nile Delta, that took the lives of 28 and wounded nearly 80.

The twin attacks marked one of the bloodiest days in recent memory for Egypt’s Christian minority, the largest in the Middle East.

Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State, which has waged a campaign against Egypt’s Christian minority. The Copts, whose presence in Egypt dates to the Roman era, have long complained of religious persecution and accused the state of not doing enough to protect them.

Coming on Palm Sunday, when Christians mark the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, the bombings appeared designed to spread fear among the Coptic minority.

Related reading

The attacks also raised security fears ahead of a visit to Cairo by Roman Catholic Pope Francis planned for April 28-29 intended to promote interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

Coptic Pope Tawadros, who was leading the mass in Alexandria’s Saint Mark’s Cathedral when the bomb exploded, was not harmed, the Interior Ministry said.

The nationwide state of emergency declared by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and agreed by the cabinet on Monday is expected to be approved by parliament within seven days in order to remain in place.

Measures would be taken to “maintain security across the country, protect public and private property and the lives of citizens”, it said.

OTHER: Assad allies: US Syria attack ‘crosses red lines’

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Labor not keen on Adani railway loan

Federal Labor has questioned the merit of granting a taxpayer-funded loan for a railway to the Adani Carmichael mine.


The Indian company has applied for a $900 million concessional loan from the government’s Northern Australia infrastructure fund to help build a rail line connecting the central Queensland mine and the Abbot Point port.

“If you want to have a good commercial operation in Australia, I am not convinced the taxpayer of Australia should underwrite the risk of the project through a billion dollar loan,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

Mr Shorten said other mining companies are not getting billion dollar railways built for them.

“We have to make sure it stacks up,” Mr Shorten said.

The company’s Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland was approved in December but has faced serious opposition from environmental and indigenous groups.

Senior executives of Adani, including founder and chairman Gautam Adani met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in India on Monday.

Mr Adani requested an early resolution of native title issues surrounding the mine, which was hit by a Federal Court ruling that invalidated deals with traditional owners across Australia.

Legislation dealing with the problem is before the Senate and Mr Turnbull is understood to have assured the company the issue would be fixed.

Mr Shorten said Attorney General George Brandis was to blame for the confusion over native title.

Anything he touches turns to “custard”, the Labor leader said.

“In an incompetent government, he is the gold medal of incompetence,” he said.

Urban, Sia, Flume score Billboard noms

Australia will be well represented at this year’s Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas with Keith Urban, Sia, Flume and Hillsong Worship scoring nominations.


The big winners at Monday’s nomination ceremony were Drake and The Chainsmokers with 22 nominations each, including going head-to-head for top artist.

Twenty One Pilots picked up the third most nominations with 17 while Rihanna has 14, The Weeknd collected 13 and Beyonce earned eight for the May 21 ceremony.

Urban scored a hat-trick in the country categories with nominations for top country artist and country album for Ripcord and country song for Blue Ain’t Your Color.

The Caboolture-raised artist faces Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton and Jason Aldean for top country artist.

Sia also bagged three, including top female artist pitting her against an elite field of Adele, Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Rihanna.

Sia’s top radio song and top collaboration nominations were for her hit Cheap Thrills with Sean Paul.

Sydney musician, DJ and producer Harley Streten, also known as Flume, will be looking to add to this year’s Grammy win with a Billboard trophy for dance/electronic album for Skin.

The Chainsmokers have two nominations in the category for Bouquet and Collage.

Hillsong Worship is in the running for top Christian artist.

Lauren Daigle, Hillary Scott & the Family, Skillet and Chris Tomlin are the other nominees.

The biggest award of the night, top artist, features a who’s who of the music industry with the nominees: Adele; Beyonce; Justin Bieber; Ariana Grande; Shawn Mendes; Rihanna; Twenty One Pilots; The Weeknd; The Chainsmokers; and Drake.

The Billboard awards differ from other award shows as nominees are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital songs sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement.

The measurements were tracked between March 18, 2016 through to March 16, this year.