Samuel Johnson to continue Connie’s fight

Cancer campaigner Connie Johnson has been remembered as an “amazing” woman who fought tirelessly to help others in the face of her own certain death.

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And award-winning actor Samuel Johnson has vowed to “charge on the hill” and do his sister proud by ramping up their mission to end cancer for good.

At a moving service in Melbourne on Saturday, supporters filled St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the life of the 40-year-old mother who died at a Canberra hospice on September 8.

Her husband Michael Johnson gave insight into his “amazing” wife’s battle with cancer and her relentless energy in spite of it.

“Con hated cancer,” he said.

“I saw this woman who was so weighed down by cancer, but still had the ability to lift so many of us.

“By actively dying, Con was able to teach so many of us about actively living.”

Connie’s death came a day after she received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her fundraising work through her charity Love Your Sister.

The memorial was packed with nearly 1000 people, while more watched the live-streamed event at nearby Federation Square.

Samuel Johnson said cancer “treats our millions with scorn” but his sister taught him it “absolutely can be cured”,

The Gold Logie winner said he would now take a break before continuing the fight.

“After I go to the river, have a cry and come back stronger, I’m going to accelerate like you haven’t seen,” he said.

“It’s up to me now to go to the corporate world.

“And once we’ve got everyone together, then we charge on the hill.”

Connie’s good friend Myf Warhurst hosted the memorial, while TV personality Carrie Bickmore, whose husband died of brain cancer in 2010, also made an emotional speech.

Small North Korea quake likely natural

A small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site was probably not man-made, the nuclear proliferation watchdog and a South Korean official say, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.

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On Saturday China’s Earthquake Administration said the quake was not a nuclear explosion and had the characteristics of a natural tremor. The administration had said earlier the magnitude 3.4 quake detected was a “suspected explosion”.

The CTBTO, or Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, which monitors nuclear tests, and officials of the South Korean meteorological agency said they believed it was a natural quake.

The Pentagon and the US State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment

A US intelligence official and US-based non-governmental experts said their initial assessment was that the quake was either natural or connected to North Korea’s latest and largest nuclear test on September 3, and not caused by a new nuclear test.

The seismic activity came just hours before North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, who warned on Thursday that North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific, was due to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Ri did not respond when asked by reporters whether North Korea had conducted a new nuclear test.

A US government intelligence analyst said the events could have been a “mine-type” collapse of tunnels damaged by North Korea’s previous nuclear test, but was more likely a small earthquake.

An official of South Korea’s Meteorological Agency said acoustic waves should be detected in the event of a man-made earthquake but there were none.

All of North Korea’s six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above. The last test registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

Russia’s emergency ministry says background radiation in nearby Vladivostok was within the natural range.

The US Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was man-made or natural.

NZ Labour leader Ardern refuses to give in

New Zealand’s Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has vowed to keep fighting.

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But her party’s immediate future is no longer in her hands.

The full force of “Jacindamania” was on display at Auckland’s Aotea Centre, the attendees chanting and applauding so loudly as the 37-year-old party leader entered the building they drowned out and cut off the preceding speaker, party president Nigel Haworth.

He could eventually do naught but stop and introduce Ms Ardern as the audience leapt from their seats and rushed the stage.

Since she became leader seven weeks ago, Ardern’s popularity has carried Labour from 24 per cent in polls to a 36 per cent election result, leaving the party with the thinnest of hopes to form a government – if it can coax Winston Peters’ NZ First party to join a Greens-Labour coalition over one with National.

“The final outcome of tonight’s election wont be decided by us, but it will be decided by MMP (mixed-member proportional representation),” Ms Ardern the audience.

“Sometimes MMP leaves us with an outcome that requires a little bit of extra work. I simply cannot predict at this point what decisions other leaders will make.”

Ms Ardern said as leader she took responsibility for Labour’s 10-point loss.

“I haven’t done as well for (our voters) as I would have liked,” she told the crowd, who protested back loudly.

But she ended her address – neither a victory speech nor a concession – with the “relentless positivity” that has characterised her campaigning.

“No matter where tonight’s result takes us, I am committed to a future we can all be proud of, a future that is better,” she said to whistles and cheers of “we love you”.

“So let’s keep doing this.”

Other party members were also optimistic the result could improve in coming days.

Professor Haworth said the party couldn’t have done much better, given it changed leaders less than two months ago amid poor numbers.

“We’ve run such an extraordinary campaign and we’ve had such support, it would be very difficult for me to be depressed,” he said.

Chambers not haunted by 2016 GF loss

Will Chambers refuses to be haunted by the ghosts of 2016 as Melbourne prepare to avenge last year’s NRL grand final loss.

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The representative centre bristles when the subject of last year’s grand final loss comes up, adamant it has been dealt with and banished to the dustbin of history.

The Storm went down 14-12 to Cronulla in last year’s season decider but only after the Storm failed to capitalise on a Chambers break with two minutes on the clock which could have won them the game.

After the Queensland and Australian outside back danced his way down the the right touchline, he kicked and regathered only to be wrapped up by Ben Barba before he had a chance to look up.

Had he looked inside, he would have seen Cooper Cronk unmarked and with the tryline begging.

A lot was made of that moment in the wash-up however few speak about Chambers’ brilliant effort to score in the 64th minute which gave the Storm the lead for the first time.

“Why bring up last year?” Chambers told AAP after Melbourne qualified for next Sunday’s grand final with a 30-0 thumping of Brisbane.

According to the 29-year-old, the Storm line-up has undergone significant turnover in the last 12 months, making the past irrelevant.

“We’ve got seven new kids that weren’t there last year who played their first finals game when we played Parramatta.

“It was hard, it was hard to accept but we’ve put that behind us.

“We’ve got a new group of players. We’re trying to move forward and trying to worry about now.

“We’ve got an opportunity as a playing group to do something special next Sunday but the most important thing is preparation over the next seven days.”

Australia could take part of $330 billion space market

Australia should launch its own satellites to take control of its space data and potentially create a valuable export industry in the process, a leading space and aeronautic engineer says.

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Aude Vignelles says the data which people use every day is provided by international satellites at a cost of about $3 billion a year.

“Any data that Australia uses to function on a day-to-day basis is coming from an overseas entity,” Ms Vignelles says.

Given so many things we take for granted rely on information from satellites orbiting the earth it’s no small matter that none of it comes from Australian-controlled sources, she says.

Without this data there would be no smartphones, no internet, no movie streaming for instance, and no GPS navigation systems and Google maps.

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Weather forecasting would be considerably limited while the finance and banking sector would be significantly impacted.

Ms Vignelles says the situation can and should be remedied, first by determining what companies and other organisations buy and what their requirements are.

“To me, when you gather all this, you have a business case to launch an Australian geo-stationary satellite,” she said.

“And you have something that is owned and operated by an Australian entity.”

It could also become a valuable export earner.

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The country with a satellite that covers Australia is also capable of providing data to other countries throughout southeast Asia, and as far away as Japan and China.

“So there is a market of about two billion people around us that we could serve,” Ms Vignelles said.

“We could take control of this market.”

Her comments come on the eve of the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide which will also explore the value of the global space industry, currently estimated at $330 billion.

The industry is steadily moving from being predominantly government funded to more commercial models with start-up companies across the world looking to exploit opportunities.

It is here, Ms Vignelles believes, Australia could also play a role, with local companies building so-called micro-satellites with much shorter lifespans of around two years.

“I’m very pragmatic, I’m looking at the trends in space, the issues and trying to see if Australia can fill that gap,” she said.

Tigers’ AFL best stacks up: Cotchin

Trent Cotchin doesn’t know whether he will be lining up with Richmond in the AFL grand final but he knows one thing: the Tigers will be ready for Adelaide.

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“The evidence is, our footy stacks up,” the Richmond skipper said after leading his side to the club’s first grand final in 35 years.

The Tigers emerged from a first-half arm wrestle against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night, running away with a 36-point preliminary final win and with it, a place in the grand final.

The roar from the 94,258-strong crowd was loudest in the third term, when the Tigers attacked in waves.

Daniel Rioli and Dustin Martin put the finishing touches on Richmond’s attacks, while Cotchin led the way with hard graft in midfield.

“Sometimes it isn’t pretty but we know it works for us,” Cotchin said.

“The beauty of AFL is it’s a game of momentum.

“You’ve got to withstand it and then sway it back your way.

“Adelaide will be doing everything they can to stop our strengths.

“We’ll be doing the same and we’re looking forward to a contest.”

Cotchin will know on Monday whether he has been cited by the match review panel for his head-high collision on Dylan Shiel.

The 27-year-old had eyes for the footy when he barrelled into Shiel, collecting the Giant’s head with his shoulder.

Shiel left the match with concussion at quarter-time.

After the match, Cotchin was matter-of-fact about the incident.

“It’s out of my control. I was going for the footy. It will be what it will be,” he said.

Cotchin was Richmond’s best when they last played the Crows in a 76-point loss at Adelaide Oval in round six.

The MCG looms as a great equaliser for the two sides, given Richmond’s rampaging home form and vocal support.

But either way, Saturday’s result will be a drought-breaker.

The Tigers and Crows will end the competition’s two longest streaks without a grand final appearance.

Cotchin said that was “nice for the story writers” but he wouldn’t be winding back the clock for inspiration.

“As much as you respect the history of the footy club and what’s been a long period of time, for us it’s about the now and that’s all you can control,” he said.

“They’ve been the best team all season so we’re coming up against the best.

“If we want to be No.1 we’ve got to beat them.”

Tigers ready to blunt Crows’ AFL weapons

Versatile defender Dylan Grimes has declared Richmond ready to handle the huge task of subduing Adelaide’s star-studded forward line in the AFL grand final.

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The Tigers are gearing up for their first premiership decider since 1982 after claiming a 36-point victory over Greater Western Sydney in Saturday’s preliminary final.

They will face an imposing opponent in the Crows, who were clinical in their 61-point preliminary final win over Geelong.

The minor premiers boast the best forward line in the competition, with talls Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins, Tom Lynch and Mitch McGovern complemented by brilliant smalls Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron.

While McGovern is no certainty to play after missing Friday night’s game with a sore hamstring, the Crows have nonetheless proved to be scoring machines regardless of injuries.

Adelaide were the only team in the AFL to average 100 points or more per game during the regular season, a feat they also achieved last year when they bowed out in the semi-finals.

Richmond have been among the AFL’s best defensive sides this year, led by All-Australian fullback Alex Rance.

With Rance and lockdown defender David Astbury likely to handle Walker and Jenkins, the Tigers will put plenty of thought into how best to deploy Grimes and Nathan Broad.

“We’re really lucky that we’ve got two really solid key backs in Dave and Rancey, and two hybrids in Broady and myself that can give the back line a bit of flexibility,” Grimes said.

“The look that we’ve gone with all year hasn’t really changed in the back line.

“We’ve had minimal changes, and there’s a lot of faith in the back line within our playing group.”

Grimes had his first taste of September action when the Tigers were knocked out in the first week of the finals in 2013 – a pattern that would repeat in 2014 and 2015.

Emotions were running high in the Richmond rooms after their 15.13 (103) to 9.13 (67) victory over the Giants, but Grimes said the Tigers would waste little time in getting to work ahead of the grand final.

“Adelaide are in amazing form,” he said.

“They had a really consistent year and they finished top of the ladder, which says a lot.

“No doubt we’ll do a lot of prep this week, get our bodies right and pretty much straight away start working on what we’re going to do.”

Kim vows to make Trump ‘pay dearly’ for threatening North Korea: KCNA

Kim lashed out after Trump stunned the world on Tuesday when he used his maiden UN General Assembly speech to warn the North that Washington would “totally destroy” it if the US or its allies were attacked.

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The bellicose speech came after months of escalating tensions over advances in the rogue weapons programme operated by Pyongyang, which has defied tough sanctions to launch its sixth and largest nuclear test and to fire a series of missiles over Japan.

“I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the US pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK,” Kim was quoted as saying by state news agency KCNA, referring to North Korea’s official name.

Kim, whom Trump belittles as “Rocket Man”, also questioned the sanity of the US leader, referring to the “mentally deranged behavior of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state”.

Isolated and impoverished, the North says it needs a nuclear deterrent to protect it from an aggressive US and the autocratic regime has made militarism a central part of its national ideology.

The statement stressed Kim was in no mood to change course. 

Trump’s remarks “have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last,” Kim added.

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The angry response also came after the US on Thursday sharply ramped up sanctions aimed at curtailing North Korea’s nuclear weapons drive, targeting the regime’s trading partners with a sweeping ban on business. 

Trump unveiled the new measures as he met with the leaders of allies Japan and South Korea, even as key players China and Russia voiced unease with his more aggressive approach.

Pyongyang’s stated aim is to be able to target the US mainland and the nation has flaunted the advances in its weapons programme in recent weeks, with the September test of what it said was a miniaturised H-bomb capable of being loaded onto a rocket. 

The country also tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range.

Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic loom for World Cup

NSW fullback James Tedesco has boosted his World Cup hopes while Manly flyer Tom Trbojevic looms as a Kangaroos bolter after both scored hat-tricks in the PM’s XIII win in Port Moresby.

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The Mal Meninga-coached side had to work hard to overcome a spirited Papua New Guinea PM’s XIII 48-8 on Saturday afternoon but the class of Tedesco and Trbojevic shone through.

Meninga shuffled his players around with Sydney Roosters-bound Tedesco spending time at fullback, wing and centre.

“I thought he handled centre and wing really well,” Meninga said after the match.

“Versatility is very important when you go into a World Cup campaign where you play a number of games so the ability to play a number of positions is important”.

Tedesco was one of the Blues’ best in their failed Origin campaign, but is mounting a strong case for inclusion with the Kangaroos who already face a tough choice between incumbent Darius Boyd and the rejuvenated Billy Slater.

The 24-year-old could also be considered on the wing or in the centres alongside Dane Gagai, Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes or Will Chambers.

“We’re in an envious position, in all positions we go deep,” Meninga said.

World Cup honours would cap a remarkable 2017 for Tedesco who won the Rugby League Players Association player of the year award ahead of Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith.

Trbojevic, playing his first game in the green and gold, continued the rich vein of form that saw him set to earn an Origin debut before a knee injury ruled him out of the opening game of the series.

The 20-year-old impressed Meninga with his aerial skills and easy running style.

“Tom’s a freak, he just keeps getting better as he plays more games,” the coach said.

“Form is a key issue, but past performance is good too so it’s a dilemma for us but I’m sure we’ll come up with the right balance”.

Pope accused of spreading heresy

Several dozen conservative Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy with his 2016 opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

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In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month and provided on Saturday to The Associated Press, the 62 signatories issued a “filial correction” to the Pope – a measure they said hadn’t been employed since the 14th century.

The letter accused Francis of propagating seven heretical positions concerning marriage, moral life and the sacraments with his 2016 document “The Joy of Love” and subsequent “acts, words and omissions”.

The initiative follows another formal act by four tradition-minded cardinals who wrote Francis last year asking him to clarify a series of questions, or “dubbia,” they had about his 2016 text.

Francis hasn’t responded to either initiative. The Vatican spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

None of the signatories of the new letter is a cardinal, and the highest-ranking churchman listed is actually someone whose organisation has no legal standing in the Catholic Church: Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the breakaway Society of St Pius X. Several other signatories are well-known admirers of the old Latin Mass which Fellay’s followers celebrate.

But organisers said the initiative was nevertheless significant and a sign of the concern among a certain contingent of academics and pastors over Francis’ positions, which they said posed a danger to the faithful.

“There is a role for theologians and philosophers to explain to people the church’s teaching, to correct misunderstandings,” said Joseph Shaw, a spokesman for the initiative, signatory of the correction and senior research fellow in moral philosophy at Oxford University.

When it was released in April 2016, “The Joy of Love” immediately sparked controversy because it opened the door to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion. Church teaching holds that unless these Catholics obtain an annulment – a church decree that their first marriage was invalid – they cannot receive the sacraments, since they are seen as committing adultery.