Exploited international students the target of Fair Work advertising blitz

The open letter advertisement, published in three major metropolitan newspapers and three regional newspapers across Australia, are designed to encourage young workers to seek help if they feel exploited.

南京夜网

By Friday the ads will be published in ten foreign language newspapers including Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese. 

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the ads were focused on international students who were possibly fearful of coming forward due to misunderstanding the law. 

Currently, international students make up a large proportion of temporary entrants into Australia – more than 560,000 as at July 2017.

In the last financial year 49 per cent of litigations filed by the FWO in court involved a visa holder. One third of these cases involved an international student.

Ms James urged students to get informed about their rights at work and speak up if they have concerns about their conditions of employment.

She stressed that international workers had the same rights as any other worker in Australia.

The full page advertisement which featured in metropolitan and community newspapers on Monday. Twitter @NatJamesFWO

“The number of international students reporting issues to the Fair Work Ombudsman is disproportionately low compared to other categories of visa holders, despite the fact that international students represent a significant proportion of overseas visitors with work rights,” Ms James said on Monday.

“We know that international students can be reluctant to speak out when something is wrong, making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation. This is especially the case when students think that seeking assistance will damage future job prospects or lead to the cancellation of their visa.”

Ms James said the body was aware of cases where employers had threatened students with deportation in order to persuade them to work longer hours outside their visa requirements.  

“In some cases these same employers have altered payslips and underpaid hourly rates in order to disguise the number of hours the student has worked,” Ms James said.  

“I would like to reassure international students that in line with an agreement between my agency and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you can seek our assistance without fear of your visa being cancelled, even if you’ve worked more hours than you should have under your visa.” 

The FWO found that many international students were unaware of their rights at work and unsure of where to seek help.

International students are entitled to the same minimum wages as all workers in Oz. We can help retrieve unpaid wages and protect your visa. 南京桑拿,南京SPA,/K5dqT1aMur

— Natalie James (@NatJamesFWO) September 25, 2017

Some students told researchers they had been subject to intimidation by their employers, who threatened to deport or “blacklist” them for future work if they complained. 

It was found 60 per cent of international students who participated in FWO research believed the situation would either remain the same or get worse if they reported the issue.

“We know that it can be difficult to understand what is right or wrong at work, or to speak up if you are concerned. This is why we are committed to making it as easy as possible for international students to access the help they need,” Ms James said.  

Fair Work action: Recent cases involving visa holders

In August 2017 Melbourne’s Meatball and Wine Bar faced court for allegedly underpaying 26 workers in restaurants across the CBD, Richmond and Collingwood.

In August 2017 a Newcastle Pizza Hut franchise was found to have underpaid 24 employees a total of almost $20,000.

In July 2017 a 24-hour café operator in Melbourne’s Crown Casino faced court for allegedly underpaying 54 workers over $70,000. 25 of the workers were visa holders.

In November 2016 a Sydney cleaning operator was penalised for refusing to back-pay two international students

In November 2016 a Brisbane 7-Eleven outlet faced court for allegedly short-changing overseas workers thousands of dollars and creating false records. The East Brisbane outlet allegedly underpaid two employees, both international students from India. 

International students seeking assistance can visit 南京夜网,南京桑拿,fairwork.gov南京夜网,/ or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or our Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

 

Myanmar searches for more Hindu corpses as mass grave unearthed

Violence has periodically cut through the western state, where communal rivalries have been sharpened by British colonial meddling, chicanery by Myanmar’s army and fierce dispute over who does — and does not — belong in Rakhine.

南京夜网

But the events of August 25, when raids by Rohingya militants unleashed a swirl of violence across the north, have sunk Rakhine to new depths of hate.

“All of our family died at the village… we will not go back,” said Chaw Shaw Chaw Thee, one of hundreds of displaced Hindus seeking shelter in the state capital Sittwe.

The 20-year-old said she lost 23 family members as Rohingya militants swarmed the clutch of Hindu villages in Kha Maung Seik, near the Bangladesh border. 

On Sunday the army said 28 badly-decomposed bodies of Hindu men, women and children had been pulled from two mass graves in the same area.

It was not immediately clear if they belonged to Chaw Shaw Chaw Thee’s family.

Heavily pregnant when she fled, she gave birth at a disused football stadium in Sittwe, where hundreds of traumatised Hindus now sleep on grubby mats in the overcrowded concourse.

An army lockdown has made it impossible to independently verify what happened in the villages of northern Rakhine, an area dominated by Rohingya Muslims who are a minority elsewhere in the mainly Buddhist country.

But allegations, carved along ethnic lines, are spinning out as conspiracy and competing identity claims override empathy between former neighbours.

Hindus, who make up less than one percent of Rakhine’s population, accuse Rohingya of massacring them, burning their homes and kidnapping women for marriage.

Meanwhile the Rohingya, some 430,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh, trade accusations with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of grisly mob attacks and army “clearance operations” that have emptied their villages.

Small ethnic groups such as the Mro, Thet and Diagnet have also been caught up in the killings and chaos of the last month.

“We were barbers for Muslims, our women sold things in Muslim villages, I had Muslim friends, we had no problems,” said Kyaw Kyaw Naing, a 34-year-old Hindu who can dance across linguistic divides in Hindi, Rakhine, Burmese and Rohingya. 

Community ties in what is also Myanmar’s poorest state have now unravelled.

“We want to go back, but we will not if the Muslims are there.”

Bitter history 

Last week Myanmar’s leader Aung san Suu Kyi told the international community that Rohingya refugees were welcome back if they were properly “verified”.

But delivering on that promise will be almost impossible in a country where the status of the Rohingya is incendiary.

The Rohingya say they are a distinct ethnic group whose roots stretch back centuries.

Myanmar’s powerful military insists they are “Bengalis” who were first brought to the country by British colonisers and have continued to pour in illegally ever since.

“It can’t be solved in the short-term… to be stable and harmonious could take decades,” Oo Hla Saw, a lawmaker for the Arakan National Party, which represents Rakhine Buddhists, told AFP.

Rakhine’s history is bitterly contested and flecked by rivalries.

Once a proud a Buddhist kingdom with a deep Muslim influence from trade and settlement, Rakhine’s demographics were overhauled by British colonial administrators.

They shunted in large numbers of Hindu Indians and Bengali Muslims as farm hands to an area already populated by a soup of ethnicities including the Rohingya and Rakhine. 

The Japanese invasion during World War II saw Rakhine clash with Rohingya, who were perceived to have been favoured by the retreating British.

Since 1962 the military has kindled anti-Rohingya sentiment, painting itself as the protector of the Buddhist faith from conquest by Islam.

Three major campaigns — in 1978, the early 90s and now — have driven Rohingya from Myanmar in huge numbers.

The army, which ran the country for 50 years and still has its hands on key levers of power, has also gradually rubbed out the group’s legal status.

A 1982 law stripped Rohingya of citizenship, subjecting them to suffocating controls on everything from where they can travel to how many children they can have.

“The army wants to clear the Muslim community from Rakhine state,” says Kyaw Min, a Rohingya and former MP, who has had his citizenship revoked.

“The intention is to drive down the Rohingya population. They have achieved that in the south of Rakhine, now they are targeting the north.”

Repression has fed Rohingya militancy, according to analysts.

0:00 Number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh surges Share Number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh surges  

‘Next time no escape’ 

Last month a government-backed commission on Rakhine’s troubles, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, urged “all communities to move beyond entrenched historical narratives”.

But a few hours after its report was published, the militants attacked, sparking a ferocious military response that the UN believes amounts to “ethnic cleansing”.

The report also urged the government to boost the economy to uplift a poor population and build community bonds.

Business ties and personal relations once defied communal lines, with Rohingya who could not legally own property relying on Rakhine neighbours to secure deeds for them on the sly.

Now the fearful displaced inside Rakhine say there is no way they can ever again live alongside Rohingya neighbours.

Khin Saw Nyo, 48, an ethnic Rakhine, said nearby Muslim villagers suddenly turned on her community near the Bangladesh border, forcing them to flee to the mountains.

“We will die if we go back,” she told AFP from inside a monastery sheltering refugees in Sittwe, adding Rohingya militants are still preparing to strike.

“They warned us to eat well… they said the next time we will not escape.”

Put down booze, it’s killing you, new research shows

If Australians put down the booze, national cancer deaths will drop, according to new research.

南京夜网

A one-litre decrease in annual alcohol consumption per capita had significant reductions in head, neck and liver cancer mortality, a study across a 20-year period has found.

For head and neck cancer deaths it was associated with an 11.6 per cent drop in males and 7.3 per cent reduction in females, and a 15 per cent reduction in male liver cancer mortality.

Restaurant Manager Maxime Pellegrin says more than half of his daily customers would order an alcoholic beverage with their meal.

“I think Australia got this British culture and at the end its European culture, same as me, that we love enjoying few glasses of wine with a nice meal.” 

Michael Livingston from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR), says for many Australians the recommendations will not be a drastic change from current drinking habits.

“For heavy drinkers that will need quite a big reduction for light drinkers not so much,” Mr Livingston said.

“If you can change population drinking you can change cancer mortality rates in Australia.” 

RELATED READING

The study is published by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).

Titled Alcohol consumption and liver, pancreatic, head and neck cancers in Australia: time-series analyses, the research is the first suggestive evidence that a decrease in population drinking could reduce the prevalence of deaths from the three cancers.

The study also found a higher death rate for men and women aged 50 and over from head and neck cancers, reflecting the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on the development of the disease.

“This study has extended our understanding of the role that alcohol plays with respect to liver, pancreatic, head and neck cancers in Australia, and the importance of addressing the nation’s alcohol consumption levels” lead author, CAPR’s Dr Jason Jiang said.

National guidelines suggest an adult should drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of harm attributed to alcohol.

“There is no doubt that alcohol-related cancers would be significantly reduced if more of the population reduced their alcohol consumption and followed the national drinking guidelines,” FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said.

“The study exposes the need for improved public health education campaigns, better public health policies on alcohol, and more promotion of the guidelines – to reduce the toll of cancer-related diseases and deaths in Australia.”

NZ’s ruling National Party wins most votes as First Party holds balance of power

New Zealand’s ruling National Party won the largest number of votes in the country’s general election on Saturday, securing a comfortable margin over the Labour Party after what had promised to be the most hotly contested race in recent history.

南京夜网

National and Labour had been almost neck and neck in opinion polls, with charismatic 37-year old Jacinda Ardern almost single-handedly dragging Labour back into the race after taking over the party’s leadership in August.

National took 46 per cent of the vote, the Electoral Commission said, while support for Labour was 35.8 per cent.

A final tally including overseas votes will be released on October 7.

0:00 National Party needs to negotiate with ‘tricky’ Winston Peters Share National Party needs to negotiate with ‘tricky’ Winston Peters

The results set up the nationalist New Zealand First Party to hold the balance of power and form the next government with 7.5 per cent of the ballot.

Veteran New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been a minister under both major parties and has not said which party he would favour as a coalition partner. Previously he has backed the party with the largest number of votes.

All party leaders said they would have conversations over the next few days, with some of them already trying to woo Peters on election night.

“I want to acknowledge the strong performance of Winston Peters and New Zealand First,” Bill English said in a speech to his supporters.

“They’re just trading votes on the left,” a young National supporter tells me, “the right is as strong as ever.” #nzelection

— Nastasya Tay (@NastasyaTay) September 23, 2017

“The voters of New Zealand have given New Zealand First a role in forming the next government,” he said.

For English, who campaigned heavily on National’s economic credentials after taking the party leadership last year, the strong showing was a vindication after National crashed to its worst ever election result in 2002 under his first stint as leader.

Opinion polls leading up to the vote had been volatile with two recent ones giving National a near 10 point lead over Labour. National has been in power for nearly a decade.

“Bill English and National have taken the largest number of votes. I’ve called Bill and acknowledged that,” Ardern told her supporters, adding she was planning conversations with both the Green and New Zealand First parties.

“It’s not over yet,” she said.

Peters sounded buoyant but kept his cards close to his chest.

“We have been strong enough and honest enough with our supporters to make it home,” he said.

New Zealand First had “not all the cards but we do have the main cards,” he added, saying he would not be rushed into giving any answers immediately.

0:00 Jacinda Ardern speaks after NZ election count Share Jacinda Ardern speaks after NZ election count

‘Special votes’

Ardern and English were expected to maintain fiscal prudence, but to differ on monetary policy, trade and immigration.

That would likely have implications for the New Zealand dollar, the world’s 11th most-traded currency in 2016. 

The New Zealand dollar has tended to rise when National rose in the polls.

“The thin trading conditions typical of early morning in Asia mean a sharp but short-lived move on the NZD is possible on Monday,” said Joseph Carpuso, senior currency strategist at CBA.      

New Zealand uses a German-style proportional representation system in which a party, or combination of parties, needs 61 of Parliament’s 120 members – usually about 48 percent of the vote – to form a government.

The results secured 58 seats for National in parliament, and 45 for Labour. New Zealand First has nine seats and Greens, which won 5.8 per cent of the votes, have seven.

It feels like National relief has evolved into supporter smugness. But @pmbillenglish is careful: “We may be able to form govt” #nzelection

— Nastasya Tay (@NastasyaTay) September 23, 2017

National’s 58 seats were higher than Labour and Greens put together at 52, but neither combination had enough to govern on their own.

“It’s all over, bar the special votes – but even they won’t change the basic maths. They won’t change any crucial seats and National is extremely unlikely to go up. So Winston Peters rules,” said Bryce Edwards, an analyst at Wellington-based Critical Politics.

A record 1.2 million ballots were cast before the day of the election, accounting for about a third of the 3.3 million New Zealanders enrolled to vote.

“Special votes”, which include ballots from New Zealanders overseas and those who vote outside their home constituencies, will be released on October 7.

These are estimated to represent 15 percent of total votes and could have a considerable impact.

“I would expect us to get a bit of a lift out of those special votes,” said Ardern.

0:00 Maori Party ‘changed face’ of New Zealand politics Share Maori Party ‘changed face’ of New Zealand politics

600,000 sign petition to overturn London Uber ban

Friday’s decision to ban the ride-sharing service was “affecting the real lives of a huge number of honest and hard-working drivers” and would “show the world that London is far from being open and is closed to innovative companies,” the petition said.

南京夜网

Transport for London said the conduct of Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in the British capital, had raised safety concerns.

“TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence,” it said in a statement.

It said Uber’s “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications”, citing concerns over background checks of drivers.

The petition, on change南京楼凤,, said that Uber provided a “safe, reliable and affordable ride”, and thar its users would be “astounded” by the ban.

RELATED

“By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and their chairman the Mayor have given in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice,” it added.

The licence expires on September 30 but Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision, and has said it plans a challenge.

0:00 Angry taxi drivers block London streets protesting Uber Share Angry taxi drivers block London streets protesting Uber

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday backed his London mayor Sadiq Khan, telling Sky News that authorities had done the “right thing”.

“Obviously people need to be able to travel, obviously they want to be able to access cabs,” he said. “Those cabs must be safe, must be regulated and must be available for all.”

 

Finch shines with century in ODI return

Australian opener Aaron Finch has scored his eighth one-day international century with a powerful display against India in his return from injury.

南京夜网

Finch missed the first two games with a calf complaint as Australia slumped to 2-0 down in the five-match series making victory in Indore crucial to their hopes of winning the series.

The 30-year-old Victorian made 124 off 125 balls, plundering 17 boundaries including five sixes to help his side into a strong position on Sunday.

Finch had no trouble clearing the short boundaries at Holkar Stadium after skipper Steve Smith won the toss and chose to bat first.

He smashed four of his five sixes off Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

But Yadav eventually claimed his wicket with a slog sweep hit straight down Kedar Jadhav’s throat at deep mid-wicket.

With batting collapses Australia’s chief concern coming into the match, Finch provided a steady hand at the top of the order as he reunited with long-time opening partner David Warner.

Finch and Warner put on 70 for the first wicket before skipper Steve Smith came to the crease.

Smith, who has spoken about success being underpinned by batting partnerships, teamed up with Finch for a second wicket stand of 174.

After starting watchfully, Finch eased into his innings and brought up his fifty from 61 deliveries.

He reached his ton in 110 balls before putting his foot on the accelerator only to be brought undone after not middling another six attempt.

Finch replaced makeshift opener Hilton Cartwright who was bowled for one in the first two matches of the series.

Germany votes as Merkel heads for win, hard-right AfD for first seats

Surveys suggest Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance has a double-digit lead over its nearest rivals, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) led by Martin Schulz.

南京夜网

Polling stations opened at 0600 GMT in Europe’s top economy and will close at 1600 GMT.

With four other parties predicted to clear the five-percent bar to enter into the Bundestag, the highest number since the 1950s, it could take months of coalition wrangling before the next government takes shape.

RELATED

0:00 SBS Chief International Correspondent Brett Mason previews Germany’s election Share SBS Chief International Correspondent Brett Mason previews Germany’s election

Mainstream parties however have already ruled out talking to the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is polling at 11 to 13 percent and could emerge as Germany’s third-strongest party.

Alarmed by the prospect of what Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded “real Nazis” entering the Bundestag for the first since the end of World War II, politicians used their final days of campaigning to urge voters to reject the rightwing populist AfD.

“This Alternative for Germany is no alternative. They are a shame for our nation,” former European Parliament chief Schulz said at a rally on Friday.

Gabrielle: “I hope it will be #Merkel. She’s a Christian. She’s for peace. And Mr Trump is for war.” #BTW2017 pic南京夜生活,/ZZzWvbDDv6

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017

The latest surveys put support for Merkel’s conservative block at 34-36 percent, with the SPD trailing at 21-22 percent — which would translate into a historic low for the party.

Despite bracing for a drubbing, Schulz was all smiles as he and his wife cast their ballot in his western hometown of Wuerselen.

Of those voters: 31.7 million are women, 29.8 million are men and around 3 million are first time voters #BTW2017 #GermanyDecides

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017

Merkel, 63, whose campaign events were regularly disrupted by jeering AfD protesters, said at her final stump speech in the southern city of Munich that “the future of Germany will definitely not be built with whistles and hollers”.

Observers say a strong showing by the AfD, which has capitalised on anger over the influx of a million migrants and refugees since 2015, will hit Germany like a bombshell.

“If the AfD becomes the leading opposition party, they will challenge key themes,” said Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin. “It will very much change the tone of debate in parliament.”

Aside from the populist noise, the past two months of campaigning have been widely criticised as lacklustre, with few hot-button issues dividing the main contenders.

Commentators say Merkel’s reassuring message of stability and prosperity has resonated in greying Germany, where more than half of the 61 million voters are aged 52 or older.

0:00 Germany election 2017: Five things you should know about the German election Share Germany election 2017: Five things you should know about the German election

Europe’s most powerful woman appears all but assured of winning another term, matching the 16-year reign of her mentor Helmut Kohl.

Schulz on the other hand has struggled to gain traction with his calls for a more socially just Germany at a time when the economy is humming and employment is at a record low.

The SPD has also found it hard to shine after four years as the junior partner in Merkel’s left-right “grand coalition”, marked by broad agreement on major topics, from foreign policy to migration.

In the final stretch, the more outspoken Schulz told voters to reject Merkel’s “sleeping-pill politics” and vote against “another four years of stagnation and lethargy”.

Germany’s best-selling daily Bild at the weekend said 61-year-old Schulz found his voice as he neared the finish line, and praised him for “fighting until the end”.

“Germany doesn’t just need a chancellor. It also needs an opposition leader. Schulz has started to sound like one,” the newspaper wrote. 

Die Zeit: “Be careful, Germany!” #GermanyDecides #BTW2017 @SBSNews pic南京夜生活,/cQ0doyqzgZ

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017Undecided

The CDU and the SPD have signalled they aren’t keen to continue their loveless marriage, and many rank-and file SPD members believe the traditional working class party would benefit from a stint in opposition to rekindle its fighting spirit.

This would leave the presumed winner Merkel in need of new coalition partners — possibly the liberal and pro-business Free Democrats, who are hoping for a comeback after crashing out of parliament four years ago.

Another potential partner would be the ecologist and left-leaning Greens party, which, however, starkly differs with the FDP on issues from climate change to migration policy.

Ulf: “I hope that today we secure a free, democratic Europe” #BTW2017 pic南京夜生活,/x2NQrJCX0v

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017

Pundits have pointed out that a significant number of voters remained undecided until the last minute, suggesting the final outcome could throw up some surprises depending on turnout.

In the western city of Frankfurt, 66-year-old Harald said he was still unsure who to vote for as he headed home from his night shift as a security guard in the leafy Westend suburb.

“I will make up my mind once I’m in the polling booth. You can forget about the AfD,” he told AFP.

0:00 Angela Merkel’s CDU campaigning to the ‘prosperity and security for all’ manifesto Share Angela Merkel’s CDU campaigning to the ‘prosperity and security for all’ manifesto

Here are some facts and figures about the country:

GEOGRAPHY: The Federal Republic of Germany is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the west by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, to the south by Switzerland and Austria and to the east by the Czech Republic and Poland.

The country covers 357,050 square kilometres (137,850 square miles). The landscape rises from lowlands on the North and Baltic seas to the Bavarian Alps in the south. The biggest rivers are the Rhine, Elbe and Danube.

CAPITAL: Berlin, with 3.5 million inhabitants, is Germany’s biggest city and the second biggest in the European Union after London.

POPULATION: The EU’s most populous country, Germany had 82.8 million inhabitants at the end of 2016, including 10 million foreigners. Germany has the highest population of ethnic Turks outside Turkey, at about three million. It is one of Europe’s most densely populated countries, at 232 people per square kilometre. With a low birth rate, the population is ageing and shrinking.

0:00 Germany election 2017: What you need to know about the AfD party Share Germany election 2017: What you need to know about the AfD party

RELIGION: Christianity is the main religion in Germany, with a third of the country Protestants and a similar number Catholics. Other major religious groups in Germany include Muslims, who are estimated at 4.4 million and a Jewish population of 99,000.

HISTORY: Otto von Bismarck, the “Iron Chancellor”, founded the German Empire in 1871 from many independent states, dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia.

After four years of bitter fighting, Germany suffered a devastating defeat in World War I and the humiliating conditions of the peace settlement contributed to the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in 1933.

Hitler unleashed the Holocaust and plunged Europe and the world into its bloodiest-ever conflict that resulted in the death of tens of millions of people and the division of Germany and Berlin into four zones, shared by the victorious powers – Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States.

0:00 Martin Schulz’s SPD campaigning on ‘a future plan for modern Germany’ Share Martin Schulz’s SPD campaigning on ‘a future plan for modern Germany’

Divided Germany became the key Cold War battleground between nuclear superpowers Russia and the United States, whose tanks faced each other across the Berlin Wall, which was finally and jubilantly torn down by people power in 1989. Germany was reunified in 1990.

POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: Germany has two houses of parliament, the Bundestag (lower house) and Bundesrat (upper house, representing the 16 federal states).

The head of government or chancellor is now Angela Merkel, the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union.

She has governed since 2005 and was re-elected in September 2009, ruling with Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union and, in her second term, with junior partners the pro-business Free Democrats. She now leads a coalition with the Social Democratic Party as junior partners.

There is also a president, a largely symbolic head of state, currently Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a former foreign minister who was sworn in in March 2017.

Germany is a founding member of the European Economic and Monetary Union, launched in 1999, and was among the first 11 countries to physically use the euro currency on January 1, 2002.

ECONOMY: Germany is Europe’s leading economic power and the world’s second-largest exporter after China, mainly of vehicles, machinery, high-tech goods and chemicals. Big companies include auto makers Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi and industrial conglomerates ThyssenKrupp and Siemens. The main financial centre is Frankfurt.

GDP: 3.134 trillion euros ($3.760 trillion) in 2016 or 48,839 euros per capita.

UNEMPLOYMENT: 5.7 percent in August 2017.

ARMED FORCES: The German armed forces had 178,304 personnel in June 2017. The constitution states they can be used only “for defensive purposes”. The army requires parliamentary consent for any missions abroad. Conscription was ended in 2011.

 

Germany federal election 2017: The final countdown

With only days until Germany heads to the polls on September 24, here’s a recap of the race in the lead up to election day.

南京夜网

 

Where do Germany’s two chancellor candidates stand on key issues?

FOREIGN POLICY:

On the issue of North Korea, Social Democrat Martin Schulz argues US President Donald Trump is not the right person to solve tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says although she disagrees with Mr Trump on many issues, solving the current situation without his involvement is impossible.

Mr Schulz says if he were to become chancellor he would stop EU accession talks for Turkey, while Ms Merkel says Germany should not push for a break in the negotiations although she believes there should be a freeze on any payments from the European Union to help with Turkey’s accession.

0:00 Germany’s AfD vows to dethrone Merkel Share Germany’s AfD vows to dethrone Merkel

MIGRATION:

Mr Schulz accuses Ms Merkel of not informing other European Union nations properly of Germany’s plan, two years ago, to allow in refugees who were stuck in Hungary.

The chancellor says the government simply acted in accordance with the laws laid down in the country’s constitution.

Both candidates agree that the EU-Turkey agreement on refugees should be maintained, despite human rights abuses committed by Ankara.

0:00 How Europe will impact the German election Share How Europe will impact the German election

SECURITY AND ISLAMIC EXTREMISM:

The chancellor argues authorities need to have more tools at their disposal to conduct video and social media surveillance.

Mr Schulz says he wants 15,000 more police jobs created and officers should not be tied up with so much bureaucracy.

On the topic of radicalisation, Ms Merkel says a version of Islam which abides by Germany’s constitution is welcome in the country.

Both candidates say preachers who spread extreme views in Germany’s mosques should not be tolerated.

SOCIAL JUSTICE:

Mr Schulz argues although Germany is a wealthy country, not all people in the country are doing well, citing single parents, pensioners and long-term unemployed.

He says he will campaign for free kindergartens to try to lighten the financial burden on parents.

Ms Merkel counters the number of unemployed has sunk from 5 million to 2.5 million since she took over as chancellor.

Mr Schulz wants to reduce taxes on families and also force the top tax rate to apply to those earning higher.

The chancellor says she wants to save German taxpayers 15 billion euros over the next four years.

0:00 Refugees talk about upcoming German election Share Refugees talk about upcoming German election

COALITION OPTIONS:

Ms Merkel categorically rules out forming a coalition with the country’s Left Party or the right-wing AfD party, and avoids answering the question on whether she would enter into a partnership with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

Mr Schulz has refused to rule out his party could again form the junior partner in a grand coalition with Ms Merkel’s Christian Democrats, should they fail to win the vote on September 24.

Germany 2017: The final countdown

Barty wins first round in Wuhan tennis

Ashleigh Barty has set up a second round clash with world No.

南京夜网

7 Johanna Konta after a straight sets win in the opening round of the Wuhan Open.

After a tight first set against American Catherine Bells, Barty steamrolled her way through the second to win 7-5 6-0.

Konta, who had a first round bye, enjoyed a win over Barty in their only clash, in the quarter finals of Nottingham earlier this year.

In a breakout year Barty has risen to No.37 in the world, from 271 at the start of 2017.

A few more wins this year should ensure she breaks into the top 32, enabling her to avoid playing seeds in the first two rounds of grand slam tournaments.

Meanwhile Katerina Siniakova beat a top-20 player for the sixth time this year when she ousted Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3 6-2.

The Czech, who has two singles titles already this year, deepened the hole occupied by Mladenovic, who lost an eighth consecutive match, all to players ranked outside the WTA top 25.

Ekaterina Makarova of Russia won nine games in a row from 4-1 down en route to beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-4 6-2.

Also, Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine defeated Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3 7-6 (10-8) to line up world No.1 Garbine Muguruza in the next round.

Muguruza, second-seeded Simona Halep and the other top six seeds received byes into the second round.

Sloane Stephens will take on Wang Qiang of China in the first round in her first competitive match since winning the US Open.

Stephens, seeded 14th in Wuhan, arrived on Friday and is expected to play her opening match on Monday. Madison Keys, who lost to Stephens in the all-American final in New York, will face qualifier Varvara Lepchenko in her opener.

Australia set India 294 for ODI victory

An Aaron Finch century hasn’t been enough to lift Australia past 300 in their do-or-die one-day international against India in Indore.

南京夜网

Australia finished with 6-293 which the hosts will be confident of chasing down given the short boundaries and favourable batting conditions at Holkar Stadium on Sunday.

Finch, who missed the first two matches of the five-game series with a calf injury, smashed 17 boundaries including five sixes in his knock of 124 off 125 balls.

Australia must win to keep the series alive after slumping to 2-0 down with losses in Chennai and Kolkata.

With Finch and skipper Steve Smith at the crease Australia looked destined for a massive total.

But following their 174-run stand, the Australians stalled with tight Indian bowling restricting them to three boundaries in the final 11 overs.

Australia started strongly with Finch and Warner combining for a 70-run opening partnership.

But a Hardik Pandya off-cutter skidded through Warner’s defences and clipped the top of off stump with the Australian vice-captain on 42.

Smith was furious with himself after getting out caught at long-off from the final ball of Kuldeep Yadav’s ninth over for 63 off 71 balls, his second consecutive ODI half-century.

Glenn Maxwell (five) was promoted to No.4 in the batting order but failed to fire a shot, out stumped to Yuzvendra Chahal the ball after Smith was dismissed.

Travis Head (four) had his middle stumped knocked out of the ground by a Jasprit Bumrah slower ball as Australia lost 5-51 in the space of 10 overs.

That brought Peter Handscomb to the crease but he and Marcus Stoinis struggled to launch a meaningful assault on the bowlers in the death overs.

Marcus Stoinis finished with an unbeaten 27 off 28 balls but struggled to find the boundary when Australia needed it most.

Handscomb was out for three to an outstanding bit of fielding from Manish Pandey off the bowling of Bumrah (2-52).

Pandey took the catch at long-off as he was falling over the rope, threw the ball in the air and jumped back into the field of play to grab it on the second attempt.

Handscomb will take as wicketkeeper when Australia bowl following Matthew Wade’s axing.

Germany votes, history beckons for Merkel

Polling stations have opened across Germany in an election that is likely to see Chancellor Angela Merkel win a historic fourth term and a far-right party enter parliament for the first time in more than half a century.

南京夜网

Some 61.5 million people are eligible to cast their ballots in the election in which Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) are expected to post a commanding lead over their centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) rivals.

Merkel’s conservative bloc is on track to remain the largest group in parliament, opinion polls indicated, but a fracturing of the political landscape may well make it harder for her to form a ruling coalition than previously.

With as many as a third of Germans undecided in the run-up to the election, Merkel and her main rival, centre-left challenger Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats (SPD), urged them to get out and vote.

“We want to boost your motivation so that we can still reach many, many people,” the chancellor, 63, said in Berlin on Saturday before heading north to her constituency for a final round of campaigning.

In regional votes last year, Merkel’s conservatives suffered setbacks to the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which profited from resentment at her 2015 decision to leave German borders open to over one million migrants.

Those setbacks made Merkel, a pastor’s daughter who grew up in Communist East Germany, wonder if she should even run for re-election.

But with the migrant issue under control this year, she has bounced back and thrown herself into a punishing campaign schedule, presenting herself as an anchor of stability in an uncertain world.

Visibly happier, Merkel campaigned with renewed conviction: a resolve to retool the economy for the digital age, to head off future migrant crises, and to defend a Western order shaken by Donald Trump’s US election victory last November.

Both Merkel and Schulz worry that a low turnout could work in favour of smaller parties, especially the AfD. On Friday, Schulz described the AfD as “gravediggers of democracy”.

An INSA poll published by Bild newspaper on Saturday suggested that support was slipping for Merkel’s conservatives, who dropped two percentage points to 34 per cent, and the SPD, down one point to 21 per cent – both now joined in an unwieldy “grand coalition”.

The anti-immigrant AfD rose two points to 13 per cent, putting it on course to be the third-largest party.

Should she win a fourth term, Merkel will join the late Helmut Kohl, her mentor who reunified Germany, and Konrad Adenauer, who led Germany’s rebirth after World War II, as the only post-war chancellors to win four national elections.

The AfD’s expected entry into the national parliament is likely to herald an era of more robust debate in German politics – a departure from the steady, consensus-based approach that has marked the post-war period.

Too many X-rays done on kids, experts warn

Concerns have been raised too many unnecessary X-rays are being used on infants with common respiratory conditions like bronchiolitis and asthma.

南京夜网

Medical experts are calling for a re-think of the procedure’s use in children as part of the latest recommendations of the Choosing Wisely initiative launched on Monday by NPS MedicineWise.

Emergency department physician Dr Sarah Dalton, RACP Paediatrics & Child Health Division President, says in some cases X-rays are happening “too frequently”, placing the child at harm.

“Unfortunately what we see is that so many of these children that come in to emergency departments with breathing problems and are having chest X-rays that doesn’t really change the treatment that we offer but it does put them at risk of the radiation that is associated with the X-ray and that is what we are trying to stop,” Dr Dalton told AAP.

Dr Dalton said very rarely does an X-ray change the treatment of a child with typical bronchiolitis – a common condition in babies where they get a virus that makes it hard to breathe.

An X-ray should always be ordered if a doctor suspects pneumonia, a complication of bronchiolitis, she said.

“But there really is only a very small number of children who when I listen to their chest I think they do need a chest X-ray, in most situations when we examine children with this kind of problem there is no indication of it being pneumonia and therefore they don’t really need the X-ray,” Dr Dalton told AAP.

“One of the studies showed that if you do 100 X-rays for children with bronchiolitis it will only change the treatment course for one child.”

Dr Dalton is calling on her fellow doctors to “pause for a second” before recommending an X-ray.

“The challenge is working out when they’re needed and when they’re not,” she said.

“For any parents who might be concerned about the idea that ‘less can sometimes be more’, I would say to them we want to make sure we are only ordering a test when it is medically beneficial for your child.”

The initiative is also advising against the use of X-rays for lower back pain in adults.

Another important focus of the newly-released Choosing Wisely recommendations is getting people back to work and doctors have asked not to certify a patient as totally unfit for work unless clinically necessary.

“Where appropriate we are encouraging willing patients to continue working in some capacity as part of their overall healthcare management,” said Associate Professor Peter Connaughton, President of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Doctors have also been warned about prescribing opioids for the treatment of acute or chronic pain.

Hill runs prep Wallabies for the Highveld

The old-school fitness camp the Wallabies suffered through is set to pay huge dividends as they return to South Africa’s Highveld, assistant coach Mick Byrne says.

南京夜网

Australia’s record at altitude against the Springboks is dismal, having won a total of just three times in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria – and only once in the last 54 years.

Coach Michael Cheika has suggested it is a purely mental roadblock that his players must overcome.

But they have also done the hard yards to ensure they can meet the physical demands of the challenge as well.

Cheika smashed his players with cardio in June and then again in the lead-up to Australia’s Rugby Championship opener last month, sending them on hill runs in Newcastle with their mouths taped shut as he pushed them past the point of exhaustion.

Former AFL ruckman Byrne said it will all come in handy when crunch time arrives during their clash with the Springboks in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning (AEST).

“I know (strength and conditioning) coaches will have a crack at me but it isn’t rocket science,” Byrne said.

“They talk about it being science but I didn’t have a lot of sports science around me when I played and we were able to get fit. It’s about hard work.

“Getting a good base of work, which we did in that August window, has set us up for the year really well.

“It’s going to be a help every week, but I guess if you’re looking for more oxygen and you’re not fit, you’re in trouble. If you’re fit you’ll be OK.

“We’re still not there, we’ve still got work to do but what we did in that window and how hard the players worked, we’ve seen some good results.”

Byrne acknowledged that the challenges of playing 1500m above sea level cannot be dismissed or simply talked down as something that both teams have to deal with.

“Obviously, you can’t hide away from the fact that altitude’s a different atmosphere,” he said.

“But I think the players adapt to it pretty quickly.

“The worst thing you can do is talk about it, so you just get on with it.

“We’ve put plans in place, we’ve come here, started our sessions this morning and just get on with our week.”