No Bangladesh tour without new pay deal, says Australia’s Smith

The Australia A team boycotted their South Africa tour in July after a new Memorandum of Understanding could not be agreed and Smith says the senior team will skip the Bangladesh tour, which is scheduled to start on Aug.

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“I’d like to, but as we’ve said for a long time we need to get the deal done first,” Smith told Fox Sports.

“I don’t think it would be fair for us to go away after the (Australia) A guys were very strong on not going away on their tour, for us to then go away I don’t think that’s fair.

“CA know this, they’ve been told this. I told (CA’s Executive General Manager Team Performance) Pat Howard personally that this was how things were going to be if there wasn’t a deal done.”

The dispute revolves around CA’s scrapping of the two-decade-old revenue share model, by which players get a fixed share of the organisation’s annual revenue, in the new pay deal.

Local media reported that CA is on the verge of an agreement with the players’ union and Smith remained hopeful that a solution would be found.

“It’s had some difficult moments,” the 28-year-old said.

“When this is all over with, I have to deal with Pat Howard, I have to deal with the (CA) Board and speak to (CA chief executive) James Sutherland so I have to be careful with what sort of lines I tread.

“Talking to the two parties and trying to figure out what each of them want and the best way forward. It’s been a long process and hopefully it comes to a close soon.”

Sutherland said last week that his organisation would take the pay dispute to arbitration if a resolution was not found by this week.

(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

Gaffe-prone prince met his match in Abbott

The link between Australia and the Duke of Edinburgh stretches back more than half a century but his unwitting role in the downfall of a prime minister earns him a lasting mention in Australian history.

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Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s surprise move to award Prince Philip a Knight of the Order of Australia in January 2015 sparked a public and party backlash, and sowed the seeds for his ultimate removal later that year.

A week later Mr Abbott would confess he “probably overdid it on awards” before giving the power to award Orders of Australia solely to the council.

Even the gaffe-prone Prince Philip remained silent on the controversy, accepting the award from his wife, Queen Elizabeth, in a quiet Buckingham Palace ceremony several months later.

On Wednesday in London the Duke will attend his last official public engagement with a Captain General’s parade of the Royal Marines.

The announcement in May that the Duke was stepping down came after a day of much media speculation that the steadfast companion of the Queen for 70 years, may have died.

However, retiring at the age of 96, the Duke, who is the longest-serving consort in British history and also the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch, is reported to be in good health.

He reportedly still takes the stairs rather than the lift and can still fit the uniform he wore on his wedding day.

Wednesday will be his 22,219th solo engagement since 1953, Buckingham Palace said.

The Duke of Edinburgh has been on 637 solo overseas visits, where his inappropriate comments often caused a stir in the hosting nation.

Over 20 royal visits to Australia were no different, asking Aboriginal leader Ivan Brim on a 2002 visit to Australia “do you still throw spears at each other?”

A decade earlier he refused to pat a koala in case he caught “some ghastly disease”.

Prince Philip’s naval career came to an end once his wife became Queen, but he served in WWII, seeing active service from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.

In 1940 he escorted Australian soldiers from Melbourne to the Suez aboard battleship Ramilles, and five years later travelled to Australia as part of the British Pacific Fleet.

He joined the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth on her Commonwealth tour in 1954, travelling across the country over eight weeks, and would return with her and on solo visits many times in the coming years.

During his visits to Australia he opened the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, the Royal Australian Mint in 1965, was with the Queen when she opened the Sydney Opera House in 1973 and also opened the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

With that track record, it comes as no surprise that the Duke has been known to refer to himself as the “world’s most experience plaque-unveiler”.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s royal service in numbers from 1952 to August 2 2017:

* 22,219 – Solo engagements

* 637 – Solo overseas visits, including 229 visits to 67 Commonwealth countries, and 408 visits to 76 other countries

* 5496 – Speeches given

* 785 – Patronages

* 54 – Presentation of colours

* 32 – Service appointments

* 14 – Books authored

‘Sweeteners counterproductive to dieting’

Switching to artificial sweeteners to boost the impact of a weight loss diet is in fact counterproductive, new research suggests.

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An Australian animal study published in journal Cell Metabolism found artificial sweeteners combined with a low carbohydrate diet increased the amount of calories consumed and led to weight gain in fruit flies.

The findings expand on previous research that suggested sweeteners affect the brain in ways that alter the regulation of appetite and perceptions of taste.

“Here we show that acute ingestion of sucralose (sweetener) in the context of a low-carbohydrate diet causes a pronounced increase in calories consumed,” the authors said.

Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences offered fruit flies diets with varying amounts of carbohydrate and sweeteners, and tracked resulting food intake.

Flies that consumed artificial sweeteners alongside a low carbohydrate diet showed an immediate increase in food intake.

The increase varied according to the dose of sweeteners provided and was not observed in flies consuming unsweetened foods.

Lead author Associate Professor Greg Neely says there is a growing body of evidence that shows a “clear” connection between artificial sweeteners, hunger and food intake.

While the findings of the fruit fly study may not translate to humans, Associate Professor Neely says a systematic investigation is required to understand the full impact of artificial sweeteners on overall health.

“Distorting the perceived energy value of food, by manipulating sweetness through artificial means, has unanticipated consequences in these animal studies” Associate Professor Neely said.

Tigers forwards impress Grimes in AFL

Well before the start of the AFL season, defender Dylan Grimes knew that Richmond had something good buzzing with their mosquito fleet.

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Jason “George” Castagna’s Rising Star nomination this week reflects the success of the Tigers’ new-look attack, especially the small forwards.

Their other Rising Star nomination this year has been Dan Butler – also a small forward.

When Grimes and the other Richmond backmen played on their forward teammates in intra-club matches earlier this year, the defenders had their work cut out.

“One thing I found was that it was just really challenging to match up on all of them,” Grimes said.

“You face a lot of forward lines now, they might have two or three really good players and really good targets.

“But the benefit of our forward line is that on any given day, we could have potentially seven different goalkickers, not to mention the midfield goalkickers as well.

“We get real consistency from week to week.”

Grimes is also rapt with the pressure efforts of their forwards, saying it has been a big factor in Richmond’s must better defence.

“The pressure they put on has been the best thing to happen to a backline in years,” he said.

The Tigers have gone from having the fourth-worst defence last season, based on the total points scored against them, to the second-best.

It has obviously helped that Grimes and fellow defenders Alex Rance and David Astbury have played every game this season.

Rance is surely a lock for another All-Australian selection, while Grimes is in career-best form and Astbury is also firing

But Grimes said the defensive pressure up the other end of the ground and through the midfield is crucial as well.

“It makes our jobs a lot easier, because instead of the players up the field have the time to pick through our defence, they’re constantly under pressure.

“(They’re) feeding us high balls or dirty ground balls.”

Grimes said the interrupted supply to opposition forwards means Rance is No.1 in the AFL for intercept possessions and Astbury is No.3.

Richmond are fourth heading into Sunday’s big game against Hawthorn, a game the Tigers should win despite the Hawks’ resurgence.

But Richmond’s well-documented history means no-one at Punt Rd is thinking too big just yet.

“We’ve played finals and not had that success – obviously there’s history there,” Grimes said.

“If we focus on what we do well and focus on playing our way, then we’re going to be hard to beat.”

Richmond lost three-straight elimination finals before plummeting out of the top eight last season.

Gay marriage support shifts over 10 years

While Australian MPs fret over whether to allow gay marriage, new data shows the battle of public opinion has already been won.

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Men in every age group have shifted their opinion on gay marriage – mainly opposing it in 2005 to generally supporting it in 2015.

New data from the long-running University of Melbourne HILDA study shows a profound shift towards the view that homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

“In a sense that debate has kind of been won in terms of community attitudes, it just seems that the political system hasn’t caught up,” study author Professor Roger Wilkins told AAP.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey interviews the same 17,000 people each year on a range of issues.

The proportion of women agreeing with a shift to equal gay marriage rights rose from 43 per cent in 2005 to 67 per cent in 2015.

Among men, the proportion rose from 32 per cent to 59 per cent.

Melbourne University gender studies lecturer Hannah McCann said it was the biggest shift in the marriage, children and parenting section of the survey.

“We have seen during that time period, from 2005 to 2015, so many countries around the world change their laws around marriage equality,” Dr McCann told AAP.

“I think that we can surmise that this has had some impact, the campaign has had some impact.”

Dr McCann said there was a slightly smaller change in older age groups.

“But overall everyone was changing towards the agreement end,” she said.

Young men aged 15 to 24 had the biggest positive shift.