Trade in the spotlight on India visit, Turnbull ‘looking forward’ to meeting with Adani

It’s the Prime Minister’s first official trip to the world’s most populous democracy, and after arriving late Sunday night, Malcolm Turnbull is keen to get down to business to strengthen and increase cooperation between the two countries.

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“It’s a competitive market and as you know we love competition, we like free trade, we like open markets [and] we’re committed to them,” Mr Turnbull said on Monday in New Delhi. 

Mr Turnbull is keen to close a trade deal with India, after his predecessor Tony Abbott set an ambitious 12-month timetable on a deal when he was in office but failed to deliver.

The federal government is hopeful it can increase its exports, particularly when it comes to energy commodities, higher education, and professional services.

“It is a process that will take some time, you know India has a long tradition of protection particularly for agriculture,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We want to have open markets, open markets for everything, but in particular for agriculture.”

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Mr Turnbull said it’s important to “persevere” will trade talks to finalise a deal, with two-way trade between Australia and India currently worth nearly $20 billion each year.

“You can see the trade between our two countries is growing all the time [and] there are more opportunities arising,” he said.

The opportunities for exports of coal are there, if the giant Adani Carmichael mine tipped for Queensland’s Galilee basin goes ahead as planned.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull (left) is received by Indian PM Narendra Modi at a welcome at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, April 10, 2017. FAIRFAX MEDIA POOL

Mr Turnbull said he’s “looking forward” to meeting with Adani founder, Gautam Adani, during his three-day state visit, in which he is expected to be asked to seal the deal on $900 million from the Northern Australia Infrastructure fund.

“That’s an independent process, it has to go through that process, through that independent assessment by the board,” Mr Turnbull said.

Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit coincides with that of Education Minister Simon Birmingham and a large contingent of university vice-chancellors.

Shadow Resources Minister Jason Clare said important to dispel the myth that increased trade means fewer jobs for Australians.

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“America’s lost a lot of manufacturing jobs over the last few decades. Some of it’s because of trade but most of it is because of automation,” Mr Clare said.

He said it’s up to the federal government to provide better incomes and opportunities for the working class if it wants to avoid the anti-trade sentiment similar to that seen in the United States.

If you’re someone who’s just lost your job you don’t really care whether it’s trade of whether it’s a robot that’s taken your job you just want your job back,” he said.

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US, Russian crew return from space station

A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts made a parachute landing in Kazakhstan, wrapping up a nearly six-month mission aboard the International Space Station, a NASA TV broadcast showed.

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The Russian Soyuz capsule touched down southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Monday morning after a short three-hour journey.

Seated in the capsule were returning station commander Shane Kimbrough of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko from Russian space agency Roscosmos.

“It’s really neat to be part of something this big, something bigger than ourselves … even bigger than a nation,” Kimbrough said during a change-of-command ceremony on Sunday. “We get the ability up here to interact with things that actually benefit all of humanity. It’s really humbling.”

Three crew members remain aboard the station, a $US100 billion ($A133 billion) research laboratory that flies about 400 km above Earth. In command is NASA’s Peggy Whitson, who on April 24 will break the 534-day record for the most time spent in space by a US astronaut.

Whitson, a veteran of two previous missions on the station, is the first woman to hold the post of commander twice.

Two new crew members, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and France’s Thomas Pesque, will join her on April 20.

The US and Russian space agencies agreed last week to extend Whitson’s mission by three months to fill in as the new crew’s third member.

Russia is reducing its station cadre to two from three members until its new science laboratory launches to the space station next year, the head of Roscosmos said last week at the US Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Whitson will return to Earth in September, having amassed a career US record of 666 days in orbit. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who has 878 days in orbit, is the world’s most experienced space flier.

Pauline Hanson: ‘Go and buy some non-halal Easter eggs’

Pauline Hanson has urged her followers to avoid brands like Cadbury and instead opt for ‘non-halal’ certified chocolates this Easter.

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Hanson’s message came in a video posted to her Facebook page, in which she promoted Lindt and Darrell Lea as non-halal alternatives.

“If you want to actually support these companies, do it,” she said.

“Go and buy some non-halal Easter eggs and chocolate – and have a happy Easter everyone, and a very safe one.”

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Halal certification involves use of a licensed marker to indicate that a food is approved for consumption under Islamic religious rules.

In confectionary products, colouring and other additives derived from insects, or gelatin derived from other animals, can violate Islamic dietary rules.

One Nation says the fee for certification amounts to an ‘Islamic tax’ and has raised concern that licensing fees are used to finance terrorism – although a 2015 Senate committee found there was no substance to such concerns.

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One Nation’s anti-halal policy specifically singles out Cadbury on the political party’s website.  

“Australian icon Cadbury paid to have the Halal certification on their Easter product range in 2014, even though Easter is a Christian celebration and nothing to do with Islam,” the party states.

Cadbury Australia lists a significant range of Halal certified products, including bars, blocks and snacks, as well as seasonal Easter and Christmas items.

SBS has sought comment from the chocolate giant – other companies have said that certification schemes are vital for exporting their products to international markets.

Cadbury has recently been under fire after social media reports that they have removed the word ‘Easter’ from their products and seasonal marketing campaign – but as the company has been at pains to point out, there’s no truth to the reports.

One Nation’s anti-Islam policies include holding Royal Commission into Islam, halting all Muslim immigration, banning the Burqa and Niqab in public places and having surveillance cameras installed in Mosques.

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Troubled 2016 census gets first airing

The Australian census is compiled every five years to gain an insight into what makes the typical Australian tick.

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The 2016 version will be remembered as the one that nearly didn’t happen as the Australian Bureau of Statistics went online for the first time to survey Australia’s 24 million population.

It will be one IT company IBM will want to forget.

A preview of the census findings will be released on Tuesday before the full version on June 27.

The census questions each household on age, gender, incomes, occupations, dwellings, transportation, ancestry, languages spoken, and religion to help with future planning for the nation.

But Federal Labor is questioning the reliability of the findings this time.

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The census, mostly conducted online on the night of August 9, was marred by cyber attacks which prompted the bureau to shut it down for almost two days.

It resulted in IT company IBM paying out millions of dollars in compensation for its role in the botched survey.

A Senate inquiry conducted last year concluded the main responsibility for this bungled event lay with the federal government because of reduced funding for the bureau when demands put on it had increased.

Small Business Minister Michael McCormack said the 2016 Census results would be released only after being cleared by an independent panel.

“Thanks to the very high rate of engagement by Australians with the Census last year and ABS’s efforts to assure the data through its internal quality checks and the expert panel, I am assured that Australians can trust the quality of the Census data,” Mr McCormack said.

 

Aust-sized permafrost at risk of melting

If nations fail to meet global targets on climate change, a chunk of frozen soil bigger than Australia will melt, sending planet-warming gases into the atmosphere, British scientists say.

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Permafrost – soil that has been frozen for at least two years – is more sensitive and susceptible to global warming than previously thought, the scientists found, in the first study to quantify how much permafrost could be lost due to climate change.

“The amount of permafrost that thaws under global warming is going to be very large, and this is the first time we’ve really put numbers on it,” said Sarah Chadburn, the lead author of the study and a research fellow at the University of Exeter on Monday.

Permafrost, mostly found in high-latitude regions like the Arctic, stores large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane, which are released into the atmosphere if the soil melts and decomposes, according to the researchers from Exeter, the University of Leeds, and Britain’s official weather service, the Met Office.

Their study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that for every degree the world warms, 4 million sq km of permafrost would be lost.

An increase in global warming by 2 degrees Celsius would thaw more than 40 per cent of the earth’s permafrost, according to the study.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change aims to limit this, by using the cooperation of almost 200 countries to attempt to keep the global temperature increase “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But at the current level of warming, Chadburn said, “you could lose almost all of the permafrost”.

An estimated 35 million people currently live in cities or towns on top of permafrost, and thawed soil could cause the ground to become unstable, the scientists said.

The researchers said this would put buildings, roads and other infrastructure at risk of collapsing.

“The ability to more accurately assess permafrost loss can hopefully feed into a greater understanding of the impact of global warming and potentially inform global warming policy,” co-author Eleanor Burke, a permafrost research scientist with the Met Office, added in a statement.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (苏州美甲培训学校,

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facebook苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/iraqfa).

“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.

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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.

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“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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