Mar 07

Jokowi must rethink war on drugs: experts

Indonesia’s president should drop the death penalty and adopt strategies that are proven to reduce drug harm, say experts in the leading health journal, The Lancet.


Joko Widodo has committed to sending more than 60 death row drug offenders to the firing squad, demonstrated last month with the executions of eight men, including Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

In an open letter to Mr Joko in The Lancet, a group of prominent Indonesian academics and experts call on Indonesia to urgently discontinue strategies that have proven ineffective, such as involuntary rehabilitation and the death penalty.

One of the experts, Indonesia’s veteran drug and HIV researcher Professor Dr Irwanto, welcomed the government’s increased commitment to addressing drug-related harm.

But he said proven strategies were being neglected in favour of a punitive approach that risked frightening drug users away from the treatments they needed.

“The current drug war approach has been a proven failure around the globe, even causing more harm than good,” Dr Irwanto, of the HIV and AIDS Research Centre at Atma Jaya University, said in a statement.

“Each human life matters.

“Productive human lives may be compromised by misguided policies.”

The 11 signatories to the letter also questioned the data Indonesia relies on to demonstrate the “drug emergency”, which it says necessitates the death penalty.

Mr Joko frequently cites the National Narcotics Board (BNN) figure of 40-50 drug deaths a day when explaining why extreme measures are needed.

The experts say that research is unorthodox and unreliable, and they are calling for accurate data collection urgently.

Meanwhile, Dr Irwanto said there is a wealth of information supporting harm reduction and health-focused programs deserving of expansion: needle exchanges, opioid substitution therapy and voluntary treatment.

Mar 07

Warriors win game one; Cavs count the cost

A shirtless Andrew Bogut sat in the corner of the Golden State Warriors’ locker room with a towel wrapped around his waist and an ice pack over a bruise under his left eye.


The Australian centre looked like a gladiator who had just survived a hellish battle.

The truth wasn’t too far off.

Bogut’s Warriors overcame a slow start and a 44-point onslaught from Cleveland Cavaliers’ star LeBron James on Thursday to take game one of the best-of-seven NBA Finals 108-100 in an overtime thriller.

The Warriors held the Cavaliers to just two points in the overtime period.

“Thankfully we got through the first game with a win,” Bogut told reporters crowded around him.

“Now we know what to expect in game two.”

The Cavaliers not only lost after James and guard Iman Shumpert had two three-point attempts in the final seconds to steal the game in regulation, but they have likely lost their NBA All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Irving had been battling knee tendinitis in his left knee and a sprained right foot throughout the playoffs, but was in sensational form playing 43 minutes, scoring 26 points, seven rebounds, six assists and containing Warriors’ League MVP Stephen Curry.

With two minutes to go in the overtime period Irving had the ball and was charging to the basket, stopped and then fell to the court.

His face was anguished as he immediately limped to the locker room and later left the Warriors’ Oracle Arena on crutches.

Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt said Irving was being evaluated by doctors.

“It was very tough to see,” James said.

“I saw how hard he worked the past eight days to get himself to play tonight.

“To see him walk out of the locker room on crutches, that’s a tough blow for our team.”

It was an historic game for Australia with three Australian-born players on the court – Bogut, Irving and Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova, who played just nine minutes and went scoreless, will likely start in Irving’s place in Sunday’s game two.

“I’m not sure, we’ll have to wait and see,” Dellavedova, asked if he expected to get more court time, said.

James, playing in his fifth-straight NBA Finals, was extraordinary in the first four quarters, but in the extra period missed three shots and had two turnovers.

As well as the 44 points, James had eight rebounds, six assists and four turnovers from almost 46 minutes on the court.

Curry had 26 points, eight assists and four rebounds.

Bogut set the defensive tone early, blocking a James shot which led to a Klay Thompson fast-break opportunity and a few seconds later Bogut intercepted a James pass.

“I was thankful I got LeBron early,” Bogut said.

“He was kind of looking for me for the rest of the game.”

Bogut finished with seven rebounds, two blocked shots and four points and was engaged in wrestling matches with Cavaliers’ big men Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson.

It was Mozgov who bruised Bogut’s eye with an elbow.

With 31.9 seconds left in regulation and the Warriors up 98-96 Mozgov went to dunk, but Bogut went up hard and hit the Russian with a hard foul.

“There’s no layups at that point of the game,” Bogut smiled.

Bogut also didn’t go easy on his Australian teammate Dellavedova.

Just seconds after Dellavedova entered the game for the first time late in the second quarter Curry was bringing up the ball and Dellavedova was guarding him.

Bogut saw an opportunity to set a screen and blindsided Dellavedova with a legal check.

Mar 07

Former All Blacks captain Collins killed in France

The ministry said it was not in a position to confirm how the accident occurred but Le Figaro newspaper reported Collins and his wife, Alana Madill, died in a collision with a bus on the A9 motorway in Herault, southern France.


The couple’s three-month-old daughter was taken to hospital in serious condition, according to the report.

The ministry said New Zealand’s embassy in Paris was in contact with local authorities and consular assistance would be provided to relatives.

The 34-year-old, who played 48 tests for the All Blacks and captained them three times, was playing for Narbonne in France’s second division.

Wellington Hurricanes, his former team in New Zealand, said they would hold a minute’s silence before their game against the Otago Highlanders in Napier later on Friday, with the players to wear black armbands as a mark of respect.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear the news of Jerry and his wife Alana passing,” Hurricanes Chief Executive James Te Puni said in a statement.

“Obviously Jerry was a special part of both the Hurricanes and Wellington Lions over the years.

“He was an extraordinary leader and player, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time.”

Known for his hard-edged, abrasive style and crunching tackles, Collins was widely considered one of the most intimidating players to ever play for the All Blacks.

A former rubbish collector, Collins captained his club side as an 18-year-old and made his provincial debut for Wellington in 2000, though he did not play for the Hurricanes until 2001 due to a broken leg.

He also made the All Blacks that year aged 20 and went on to play 48 times for the national side, including at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

He left New Zealand in 2008 for playing stints in Wales, France and Japan.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Mar 07

Sharks sign first major sponsor since 2011

Cronulla has secured its first major long-term naming rights sponsor in almost four years, with Southern Radiology signing on with the NRL club until the end of 2017.


Sharks skipper Paul Gallen is also a confirmed starter for Sunday afternoon’s clash against the Roosters, while Sosaia Feki has officially been recalled for an injured Ben Barba.

But today’s sponsorship announcement is a major step in Cronulla’s rebuild and comes after years of off-field dramas, including the infamous supplements scandal of 2011 that almost brought the club to its knees.

CEO Lyall Gorman said it was a deal they would never have been able to negotiate two seasons ago.

“There’s no doubt the last couple of years have brought those challenges off the field and certainly last year with the wooden spoon on the field as well,” Gorman said.

“We had to come from the back and re-establish a little bit of credibility and brand equity and belief in the external market, both within with our members and external with our corporate partners.”

The move means for the first time since the club’s partnership with Hisense, all properties on the jersey have been sold for the short-term future.

“And that has a roll on effect, because we haven’t been able to sell home jerseys because they haven’t had a major sponsor on it,” coach Shane Flanagan said.

“That’s another massive income to the club long-term. If we can sell that jersey, sell them over Christmas, that’s all income and it all helps.”

Flanagan confirmed Michael Gordon will step in at fullback after Barba succumbed to a rib injury late this week. Feki will fill the vacant wing slot.

“Benny’s been struggling for two weeks with his rib, he had to get some painkillers last week and it didn’t work real well with a rib injury,” he said.

“With a bye coming up it was one of those calls that I just had to make as a coach, to give him the rest so he’d be right for our game after the bye.”

Flanagan also hinted at the possibility of keeping Gordon when his contract finishes at the end of the season.

The 31-year-old was slated for a mid-season move to Parramatta a month ago but was sensationally blocked by the Sharks and will now play out the rest of the year in the shire.

“He could still be here next year. No decision’s been made there yet. Michael could earn himself a contract here next year. Form’s indicative of all that,” Flanagan said.

Mar 07

Key quotes from the Sydney siege inquest


“We all believed that there was something going on with this guy.


A cousin of a girlfriend of Monis who met him in 2008.

“He came across as someone who was very well-off.”

“I was a bit uncomfortable with his presence – I thought that there was something odd about it.”

Amanda Morsy, whom Monis dated and wanted to marry in 2003.

“I formed the view that he was a hero in his own story.”

A social worker on her impressions after interviewing Monis in 2012.

“What she described about him was a manipulative man who successfully duped her and eventually intimidated and emotionally blackmailed her.”

A social worker recounts what Monis’s former wife told her about her ex-husband in 2012.

“One individual said that no one in the club liked him and he was ‘weird’. Another said he was strange and weird, that things didn’t add up with him.”

“Ultimately he was rejected by the Rebels and they took his motorbike around the middle of 2013.”

Junior counsel assisting the inquest Sophie Callan details how Monis’s bid to join the Rebels bikie gang ended.

“I found Mr Monis to be a smart guy, but a very evil smart guy.”

“If I knew he was the hostage-taker, I would call police to shoot him on (sic) the head and no negotiation.”

Lawyer Dr Nazir Daawar, who represented Monis during his offensive letters case in 2010.

“David Koch is the boss. He’s a killer and a terrorist.”

Seven Network security manager Scott McIlveena recounted the words Monis screamed as he ran towards TV personality Mr Koch in Martin Place in 2008.

“He said I need a report to indicate that I’m not suffering any mental illness.”

Psychologist Dr Kasim Abaie, who helped Monis with anxiety and depression issues in 2010.

“He felt that he was being watched all the time, even in his bathroom.”

“My impression was that he had chronic schizophrenia and my treatment plan was to start anti-psychotic medication.”

Psychiatrist Dr Kristen Barrett, who saw Monis in 2010.

“Was Monis a so-called lone wolf prosecuting an ISIS-inspired terrorist act or was he a deranged individual pursuing some personal, private grievance in a public manner?”

NSW Coroner Michael Barnes in his opening address to the hearing.