Bloody Sunday findings

LONDON: The families of 14 civilians gunned down by British soldiers in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday learnt yesterday the findings of the Saville inquiry into their murder. The report was expected finally to exonerate their loved ones of involvement in violence, 38 years after the horror of that day.As thousands met in the city’s town square to finish the civil rights march that exploded into an inexplicable massacre on January 30, 1972, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was to speak in the House of Commons in London and pave the way for rewriting British military history on whether the soldiers had killed unlawfully.Before his speech, 56 relatives and injured survivors were given access to the report in a secure area in Londonderry’s Guildhall. Lawyers for family members were given access earlier.Lord Saville’s 13-year inquiry was expected to stop short of recommending prosecution of the soldiers but to clearly rebut the findings of the initial Widgery inquiry, which found that paratroopers involved in the shootings were acting in self-defence and that many of the dead – of whom seven were teenagers – had been handling firearms.Historians regard Bloody Sunday as a seminal moment that gave the IRA new impetus and public sympathy, sparking the two decades of violence in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.The inquiry, the most expensive in British history at £190 million ($325 million) and producing a report of more than 5000 pages, was ordered by the then prime minister, Tony Blair, in 1998 in an attempt to find the truth and help heal the wounds of the trauma.He insisted it would not attempt to ”invite fresh recriminations”. It was also a symbolic moment as it was announced during highly charged dealings between unionists and nationalists that ended in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.Lord Saville was always widely expected to stop short of recommending prosecution of the British soldiers who opened fire on the protesters and to refer the final decision to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland – a symbolic move.The suggestion that soldiers acting under orders could face criminal charges nearly four decades on has infuriated unionists and the military, who warn it is an injustice, particularly when scores of IRA and loyalist paramilitary prisoners were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.The families of the victims – most of the parents have since died – want their loved ones declared innocent of inciting violence and do not want soldiers jailed. But they would be content to see them explain themselves in court or in public.with agencies

Folau part of Johns’ black list in racism row

The racism storm surrounding the NSW Origin camp has taken a new twist with the revelation Timana Tahu walked out on the team because of remarks Andrew Johns made about Israel Folau as well as Greg Inglis.Tahu, who left the NSW camp at Kingscliff on Friday, released a video statement late yesterday addressing his reasons for pulling out of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night.It had been thought that assistant coach Johns’s description of Queensland centre Inglis as a ”black c—” at a team gathering last Wednesday night was the sole catalyst for his departure. However, Tahu said disparaging comments of a racist nature had not only been directed at Inglis, who is Aboriginal.”This has been a very traumatic and hurtful time for me and my family and I want to thank everybody for the support I have received,” Tahu said from Newcastle, where he has been staying with his family since leaving the camp.”Leaving Origin was a really big decision for me and I’d like to clarify that it was not just one racial comment directed at one individual that offended me. The remarks were directed at various races and the situation I encountered was totally unacceptable.”It is understood Johns also referred to AFL-bound Maroons winger Folau, who is Polynesian, in a negative racial tone although it was last night unclear exactly what words he used. Johns left the NSW camp on Saturday night after issuing a joint statement with Tahu.”I believe I am a role model for children and I did this to show my kids this type of behaviour is wrong,” Tahu said yesterday. ”This isn’t about me or Andrew Johns.”It’s about arresting racism and standing up for my beliefs. I want to move on now and I know something positive will come from this.” Johns’s role as a coaching consultant at Parramatta, Tahu’s club, is set to be reviewed next week because of his remarks while News Ltd, which pays him to write columns, has said it will discuss its association with the former Blues halfback.Another employer, Channel Nine, has said it has accepted his apology.Johns’s manager, John Fordham, issued a statement last night.”In view of Andrew Johns having previously apologised sincerely and unreservedly for his inappropriate and offending remarks we see no need to comment further,” Fordham said.Tahu, who was replaced in the Blues line-up by Canberra’s Joel Monaghan, will re-join his Parramatta teammates at Eels training tomorrow.Once back in Sydney, the dual international may have an opportunity to speak with NSWRL and ARL supremo Geoff Carr, who has been unsuccessful in his attempts to contact Tahu since the furore erupted at the weekend.”My view is if he’s got issues with the game he simply needs to speak to me,” Carr said.”I’ve made that invitation clear…I’ve been trying to get a hold of him.”Meanwhile, Queensland hooker Cameron Smith yesterday played down suggestions of widespread racism in the game.A teammate of Inglis at club, interstate and international level, Smith said he supported Tahu’s stance but said calls by former NRL star and boxing world champion Anthony Mundine for other indigenous players to withdraw were ”a bit extreme”.”It comes down to the individual and how they feel. Timana obviously felt very strongly which is why he left,” Smith said.”I think it would hurt the game if all the indigenous boys left and it would hurt the fans.”I don’t think Greg’s ever thought he had to leave because Timana did.”Timana felt very strongly about it and obviously we support him, not because he’s left the NSW camp or disrupted their Origin. I think Greg would like to go out on Wednesday night and have a strong game and show he can get past these issues and that he’s got a strong character.”

Warm weather ends trouble for Hubble Bubble

A SOUTH KOREAN artist who flew back to Australia to rebuild his popular art installation in the Biennale of Sydney after it imploded in the recent wild weather will complete his mission today.Choi Jeong Hwa’s rebuilding came as Cockatoo Island, one of the exhibition’s two main venues, drew 4844 visitors on Sunday – its biggest one-day result in a biennale – and 12,283 across the long weekend, confirming attendance is bouncing back after the wet stretch.Hubble Bubble drew much attention in its spot between two sails of the Sydney Opera House before it was damaged in heavy winds. He flew in from Seoul on Friday and worked with volunteers over the weekend to rebuild the piece, in which hundreds of neon-green colanders formed tall walls that created a twisting path to walk through.The artist and designer, who had been in Sydney for the Biennale opening just over a month ago, said he was not at all worried about Hubble Bubble being wrecked. ”I am OK … nature is more important. Art is not important,” he said. The work’s meaning was to ”think green”. Attendance across the Biennale’s seven venues over the long weekend was strong, a spokeswoman said. It reflects a return to the buoyancy of the record opening week before visits dipped when the rains took hold. This led to overall attendance for the first three weeks – the latest figures – of 122,932, a 4 per cent drop on 2008.The exhibition’s artistic director, David Elliott, said it was a strong result given the bad weather. He expected visitors to top 500,000 by the show’s end on August 1 – passing the 436,000 in 2008. ”It’s flowing the right way,” he said.Mr Elliott said Hubble Bubble had fallen victim to a ”freak” wind in a location that created a wind-tunnel effect. ”We had it checked out by a structural engineer [beforehand], of course, so we thought it was OK … but it got hit.”Choi scouted Cockatoo Island with Mr Elliott on Friday to find a less vulnerable spot to rebuild. Nine crates of the various-sized green colanders were moved in.The 49-year-old artist is expected to finish remaking the piece today with the same materials but a different design – hanging from the roof like jellyfish tentacles. ”For me it’s good opportunity,” he said. ”New location, new installation.”

Time to take Harry out of the holster

Australia have to go for broke and score goals in their two remaining matches if they are to stay alive in the World Cup, and coach Pim Verbeek will surely now remove Harry Kewell from the glass case in which he has been sheltered for the past month.It has often seemed the Kewell container is there to be opened only in the case of emergency, and Australia have rarely been in more dire straits than now after their devastating loss to Germany.Assuming the team’s morale and confidence is not shattered, then Verbeek will look to regroup and reload against a Ghanaian team which will itself be on a high after its 1-0 win over Serbia.Verbeek has been a cheerleader for conservative consistency during his 2½/-year reign, sticking through thick and thin with a 4-2-3-1 formation designed to contain and stifle opponents.Surprisingly, he abandoned it at the last moment in the opening World Cup match to go with a two-pronged strike force of Tim Cahill and Richard Garcia up front.The Dutchman would not admit that the decision to pick the personnel or adopt the tactics he did – he dropped Mark Bresciano and left out Josh Kennedy – had backfired, merely saying that neither man had played well enough in warm-up matches or impressed at training sufficiently to be included.”I think it wasn’t a mistake to change to 4-4-2 … the only way to get a result over here was to use our pace in front. The target was to play more compact than we did in the first 20 minutes and that’s where we lost control,” he said after the match.Having shown an unexpected inclination for experimentation against Germany, where he pushed Jason Culina to left midfield to try to contain – unsuccessfully – the rampaging runs of the German full-back and captain Philipp Lahm, he might as well continue against Ghana as there is nothing to lose.A draw with Ghana and a win over Serbia is unlikely to be sufficient to progress given Australia’s terrible goal difference, so Kewell starting in a two-pronged strike force may be the way to force the issue against the Africans.Questions remain over Kewell’s fitness. Verbeek said he had planned to introduce him late in the game against Germany had the situation been propitious, but didn’t when the game was a lost cause.”With 10 players against a team that was already better than us, you have to make different decisions. I try to save him for maybe the next game,” was his verdict.Verbeek was man enough to take responsibility for the tactics and choices he had made and said it was now up to him to galvanise his squad. ”As the coach you are always responsible. I am the one who picks up the final 11, I am the one who prepares the strategy and the way we play. I never blame the players. I always look in the mirror and say, ‘Did you do a good decision or not?’ I have no problems to admit that it’s my responsibility.”Compared with the top teams, Australia’s squad depth is not great. Kewell aside, he could bring back Bresciano, use the pacy Nikita Rukavytsya or Dario Vidosic or start with Brett Holman, who at least made some sort of attacking impression, albeit briefly, when he came into the second-half against Germany.”Germany was better, we knew that in advance, we tried to make it very difficult for them and use our speed in front but we never had the ball, especially in the first 25 minutes. They were better, and the reality is the next two games we have to win. There is no discussion about that, it’s very simple. A draw is not enough. The next game is a final. We have to learn from this game. We have six days to recover physically and mentally,” said the coach, who is now drawing very close to the end of his time with Australia.

More substance, less style please Harry

TWO minutes on the park in the past six months. That’s all we’ve seen of Harry Kewell, the footballer. Harry Kewell the fashionista, however, we’ve seen everywhere. Cover stories in magazines such as Good Weekend, Sport & Style, Emporium, and InStyle. Thousands of words written elsewhere. Front page of both dailies when the Socceroos kicked off their World Cup against Germany. Talk, talk, talk. A compliant, obsequious media lapping it all up.

One television reporter went one step further. At the end of Kewell’s first round of media interviews last week, he signed off with: ”Don’t worry Harry, we love you.” True story.

And where was our Harry when Germany were systematically, surgically, dissecting the Socceroos? On the bench. Where he was always likely to start the World Cup. No sign of him on the field with the rest of the subs in the warm-up and in the end he didn’t take the field.

In between he was seen warmly embracing a member of the German coaching staff at half-time, and then smiling, chatting to family and friends at the fence after the final whistle. If the catastrophe that unfolded before his eyes upset him, there were no outward signs of distress.

Pim Verbeek gambled on selecting Kewell for this tournament. Right now, the gamble hasn’t paid off. Don’t worry, came the message from the coach throughout the build-up, he’ll be right to play the opening game. He wasn’t. If he can’t even complete a proper warm-up with the other players, how could he have been?

There was always going to be a point where the talk became cheap. More than that, irrelevant. Well that point has arrived. No doubt there will be plenty of headlines over the next few days about King Kewell coming to the rescue. By accident, or design, he seems to embrace the role of saviour. Well this time it’s not about Harry saving Australia. It’s about Harry saving what’s left of his international career.

Guus Hiddink never indulged Kewell, and given his chronic injury list you can’t imagine he would be playing in his second World Cup if the Dutch Master was still in charge. However, the Dutch Apprentice has obliged him at every turn. In return, Verbeek has got one influential performance out of his star man since he took over. Against Iraq, in Brisbane, where he led the line with enthusiasm, energy, and – most of all – courage. Since then, Kewell has basically been a myth.

On Saturday (midnight, AEST), in Rustenburg, he gets the chance to prove he’s got something left to give. At times in his career, Kewell has been a genuine star. And his long, arduous battle to keep his body together remains a tribute to his bravery, and resilience. But he’s never been able to accept his diminished circumstances. Instead, he’s chosen to deflect the scrutiny with hype. Kewell Inc is on the way up. Kewell, football player, is on the way down. And has been for years.

Now there is nowhere left to hide. If he’s got any petrol left in the tank, he’s got to show it, against Ghana. Preferably by starting the game, and finishing it. Preferably by providing a point of difference. Preferably by giving glimpses of the Harry of old. Anything less, and there’s no more excuses. None.

If the Socceroos lose to the Black Stars, they’re out of contention. With a new coach coming on board, there’ll be a broom swept through a squad creaking at the joints. Believe it or not, Kewell is likely to be part of the clean out. A few years ago that was unthinkable. But a few years is a long time in football. ‘Our Harry’ knows that better than anyone.

Report says better financial state for unis temporary

THE University of Sydney has nearly regained its billion-dollar fortune after its annus horribilis caused by the global financial crisis, a new report says.The collapse in world share prices wiped 23 per cent off the university’s $1.15 billion invest-ment holdings during the furious fallout. To maintain financial liquidity, the university sold a number of equities at a loss of $45 million.Twelve months later, improving financial markets meant the value of the university’s investments rose from $877 million to $927 million. It recorded an operating surplus of $69 million in 2009 after a $167 million loss.The NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, disclosed the significant rebound for the state’s 10 public universities yesterday in his annual report to Parliament.He warned, however, that the recovery may be fleeting, amid falling enrolments for foreign students, who contributed nearly 20 per cent of total revenue for NSW universities last year.Mr Achterstraat said the sector also faced an ageing staff base; a quarter of academics employed in NSW universities are 55 years or older and their skills could be lost when they retire.”Financial risks remain for universities,” Mr Achterstraat said. ”With the recovery in global financial markets remaining fragile, universities with overseas operations and those needing to fund capital works programs are at most risk. Capital funding is estimated at $2 billion for 2010 and 2011.”Yesterday the Universities Australia chief executive, Glenn Withers, said new international student numbers were falling substantially, buffeted by changes to the skilled migration policy, the fallout from the attacks on Indian students and a high Australian dollar.He said higher education visa applications for semester two were down by 20 per cent, with bigger falls being reported by agents for 2010-11.Over the past three years Macquarie University has had the highest percentage of foreign students, with more than 37 per cent of full-time enrolments from overseas.Wollongong also had high numbers and Sydney University and the University of NSW are rising.The vice-chancellor of Macquarie University, Steven Schwartz, said the impact of falling overseas student enrolments was too early to gauge.”We may be in a better position than most universities, at least in the short term,” he said. ”We have a strong [number] of students who are already on campus studying.”A Greens NSW MP, John Kaye, said the universities remained highly vulnerable.”An inevitable steep decline in foreign student enrolments and an ageing workforce could combine with another downturn in the economy to form the perfect triple-headed storm for the sector,” he said.

Giteau admits he isn’t guaranteed a walk-up start

MATT GITEAU concedes he will struggle to regain his place in the Wallabies starting line-up to play England on Saturday night because the Test selectors could easily show faith in midfielders Quade Cooper and Berrick Barnes following Australia’s triumph in Perth.Giteau was named at inside-centre in the starting line-up at Subiaco Oval, only to be withdrawn on Friday because of a hip complaint. He remains the Wallabies’ No.1 goalkicker and has been selected at No.12 in the first two Test teams of the season, but Giteau realises that everything changes when you hand the spot to someone else.And after five-eighth Cooper and inside-centre Barnes combined with aplomb in the 27-17 first Test victory against England, Giteau understands that even though he is now fully fit, he could still miss out for the clash at ANZ Stadium. Barnes helped his cause with an exceptional defensive effort in Perth.”With the way things are, you just got to train hard and see what happens,” Giteau said yesterday. ”But the way they went, the back line is playing some good football, and so I’m like anyone else, I’ve just got to train hard and hopefully get an opportunity.”Deciding between Barnes and Giteau at No.12 is not the selectors’ only dilemma. There is also the question of who starts at halfback. Even though first-choice No.9 Will Genia is available again, it will be near impossible to drop Luke Burgess after his best performance for the Wallabies.Giteau, an unwilling spectator, said that he had been enthused by the development of the young Australian back line, with fellow centre Rob Horne immediately acquitting himself to Test football.”Rob’s great and he offers a lot,” Giteau said. ”He plays the way he has been playing in the Super 14, so you know he has that confidence, as with all the younger guys. Look at Quade. He’s carried that form into the first couple of Tests, while Luke Burgess had one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”Giteau also revealed that despite the Australian team management last week stressing he had not injured his hip during a brutal Test against Fiji, the ailment did emanate from the Canberra international.”It first happened in the Fiji Test when I was shoulder-charged, and my legs split a little bit,” Giteau said.The Wallabies midfielder said he felt pain ”throughout the hip” during the game, and it failed to improve in Perth, forcing him to withdraw. Like all the Wallabies, Giteau is anticipating Jonny Wilkinson will start as the England five-eighth this weekend.”We’re not so much preparing for it, but it won’t shock us if he is named,” Giteau said.”He offers different things to Toby Flood, so with that comes a different game, in particularly using their big backs. I think they will make a few changes which will probably improve the way they’re going to play.”Former England hooker Brian Moore, meanwhile, believes it is time for the team’s manager, Martin Johnson, to sack some of his coaches, including his defence coach Mike Ford.In his column in London’s Daily Telegraph, Moore wrote: ”In games against southern hemisphere sides, England’s defence under coach Mike Ford has shipped more than 32 points per game, which is a terrible record. I have hitherto not joined the glowing clamour from fans for any specific member of the England coaching team to resign or be replaced, but enough is enough. Loyalty to colleagues is admirable but not in the face of these statistics”Johnson has to ask himself this – if this continues are England likely to beat any of the Tri Nations sides in the World Cup when, on the balance of probabilities, that side will score 32 points, England will be slower in thought and deed and also be unable to position a win through a territorial kicking game?’

ICC objects to microphones in one-dayers amid corruption concerns

The International Cricket Council will not allow broadcasters to strap microphones to players during one-day internationals for fear that corrupt cricketers could send coded messages to illegal bookmakers and gamblers live on air.Channel Nine is trying to convince the ICC to ease its stance on the issue but the recent controversies surrounding alleged match-fixing and spot-fixing has led to increased resistance.The concerns about corruption within the game may also lead to the withdrawal of permission for players to wear microphones in Twenty20 internationals. No players are allowed to wear microphones in ICC events such as World Cups and Champions Trophy tournaments, but in bilateral series, host boards can decide if their players will wear them for the broadcaster.Networks consider this a great tool to boost audiences because the viewer can get closer than ever to the action by listening to what players are thinking at crucial stages.However, as rumours of corruption swirl around cricket, officials are worried that players could use secret words or phrases that would sound meaningless to the average listener, but would trigger a response for gamblers and bookmakers who deal in spot-fixing. This is where bets are taken on the outcomes of small moments in play, for example, what might occur in the fourth ball of the second over.Channel Nine has had positive feedback from viewers to players being able to speak while on the field in T20s and wants to use the system in ODIs, where ratings are lower.Nine’s executive producer of cricket, Brad McNamara, said the blockade reflected double standards by the ICC because they allow players to wear microphones in international Twenty20s.”There is absolutely no difference as far as we’re concerned, that is one thing we’re going to investigate, we can’t see any problems with it,” he said. ”I think it is a little bit overprotective, we think they are being way oversensitive about it.”If people are going to be drawn to one-day cricket through tools that have proven successful in Twenty20s, then it makes sense to use those tools.”We definitely see the miking of players as adding to the entertainment value of the product and our indication from the players is that it is not a drama.”The problem is with the ICC. If they want to lift their game they need to start thinking outside the box. We think they are being overzealous about miking the players.”An ICC spokesman last night said the gambling aspect was one of many issues they had a problem with and suggested the T20 allowance could be revoked.”We allowed players to wear microphones in Twenty20s in the early days because it was a new form of the game and we wanted to give it every opportunity to succeed,” the spokesman said. ”There is a relaxation to players being miked in Twenty20s, but the board can review that decision if it wishes.”

Planning laws ‘not to blame’ for crisis

MAYORS have accused the federal government of ”old-fashioned council bashing” in blaming local planning laws for the housing affordability crisis.The Australian Local Government Association says the problem lies with the federal government’s failure to provide jobs and infrastructure in outer suburban and regional areas to attract new home buyers.The association’s State of the Regions report, publised today, says the rise in property prices relative to incomes has been caused by a centralisation of jobs in big cities, and by the easy availability of credit.”Lack of attention to the job-accessibility aspects of housing contributed to the inability of households to pay the rising costs of construction, which in turn reflected poor macroeconomic management,” the report says.The association president, the City of Monash councillor Geoff Lake, said the group was disappointed that whenever the government and developers spoke about action on affordable housing it focused on tackling council planning processes.”It is unfortunate that they choose a bit of old-fashioned council bashing rather than address the real macroeconomic policy settings which have most impact on the cost of housing,” he told the Herald.Through the Council of Australian Governments, the federal, state and territory treasurers are inquiring into the effect of planning processes on housing prices, but Cr Lake argued that the inquiry should focus on demand issues instead.In linking the federal government to the easy availability of credit, which contributed to a surge in house prices, the report argues that policies such as the first home owners grant was not matched with an increase in the size of deposit required by lenders.The report cites figures showing that if the average household size had stayed as it was in 2001, then the current housing shortage was 382,000 dwellings nationally, including 108,000 in NSW and 75,000 in Victoria.The association’s national general assembly is being held in Canberra and concludes tomorrow.Opinion – Page 15

Ted haunted by the Kennedy curse, FBI documents reveal

WASHINGTON: Edward Kennedy died last year of brain cancer at 77, after a long political career which partially redeemed the disgrace of fleeing a car accident, but the Massachusetts senator was subject to death threats before and after the assassination of his brothers, FBI documents released yesterday revealed.Five years after John was gunned down in Dallas and soon after Robert was shot in Los Angeles, one letter warned he was next: ”Ted Kennedy number three to be assassinated on Oct. 25, 1968. The Kennedy residence must be well protected on that date.”In 1985, he and the then president, Ronald Reagan, were named in another threatening missive. ”Brass tacks, I’m gonna kill Kennedy and Reagan, and I really mean it.”The FBI has released more than 2200 pages of documents, saying on its website: ”These threats originated from multiple sources, including individuals, anonymous persons and members of radical groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, ‘Minutemen’ organisations and the National Socialist White People’s Party.”Some threats were passed on to Kennedy and police but there is no indication they were anything other than threats.The FBI did investigate one threat, however – allegations that Robert’s killer, Sirhan Sirhan, had attempted to hire a fellow prisoner to kill Edward.The FBI documents reveal little about the 1969 accident at Chappaquiddick Island, off the Massachusetts coast, in which Mary Jo Kopechne died.Kennedy was driving when the car left a bridge over a pond. He swam to safety, leaving his 28-year-old companion who was not found until 10 hours later.The files show the FBI was told almost immediately of Kennedy’s involvement but kept his identity quiet at the start.Guardian News & Media