Lions boss gives 2017 AFL season the tick

Brisbane chief executive Greg Swann has seen enough this season to be pleased with the AFL strugglers’ progress – despite languishing at the bottom of the ladder.

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The Lions have three wins from 16 games but are eyeing a string of successes to close the season.

In the final six weeks, Carlton, North Melbourne, Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs all visit the Gabba – giving Chris Fagan’s side hope of doubling their win tally.

The Lions won just three games in 2016 and four in 2015, finishing 17th in both seasons.

This season, they are 18th, four points and 20 per cent behind North Melbourne.

Regardless of whether they improve their win-loss record, Swann is happy with the gains the club has made this season.

“We’re really encouraged,” he said.

“As I said earlier this year, we’d lost nine games in a row but it was the happiest footy club I’d been in.

“There was no whingeing or bitching or finger-pointing because we knew that we were gradually getting better and the results would come.

“Hopefully, these six games set us up to go into next year really looking to make a significant improvement.”

Any further wins might take a priority pick in this year’s draft off the table.

The Lions were given an extra first-round selection in the 2016 draft.

Swann said he wasn’t concerned about securing an extra pick this year.

“Not putting any pressure on Chris but, with six to go, we might win them all and we won’t get a priority pick,” he said on Thursday.

“Let’s worry about that when it happens.”

Swann pointed to key re-signings – led by gun forward Josh Schache – as further proof of a cultural shift.

“So long as we’ve got a good culture at the footy club, we think (good players will) stay,” he said.

“We had four Queenslanders on our list – now we’ve got 15.

“We want to be a club people come to no matter what your background is.

“We’ve made some inroads there with what we do with our welfare and you can tell it’s a lot better.”

Swann also foreshadowed an announcement on the club’s new training base and playing ground at Springfield before season’s end.

“We’ve got a commitment from the council. We’ve got some submissions in with the state government which are hopefully being reviewed in the coming month or so,” he said.

Aust industry ‘a bit of a tragedy’: Gupta

Australia is not the industrial nation that it should be with the natural resources it possesses, the British billionaire industrialist who has rescued Australian steelmaker Arrium says.

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But Sanjeev Gupta says he sees that “problem” as an opportunity.

Mr Gupta, who visited a OneSteel plant – part of his new enterprise – in western Sydney on Thursday, says Australia’s natural assets attracted him to the nation.

His London-based GFG Alliance signed a binding agreement to buy Arrium earlier this month and he is now in Australia inspecting the facilities and meeting workers.

“Australia has an abundance of natural resources. It should be an industrial nation, its a bit of a tragedy that it’s not,” he told reporters at the Rooty Hill-based steel mill.

“That loss is also an opportunity, so we see that opportunity clearly.

“Instead of exporting raw materials like iron ore, like coal, like scrap, we’d like to see that turned into steel here and we would like to see our business here turn into a world class, world-scale, steel producer.”

Mr Gupta said the other vertical elements of his business, such as power, aluminium, mining, financial services, logistics and infrastructure, will also play a role in its expansion in Australia.

“They all sort of come together as an ecosystem – they are all independent but they are part of an alliance which comes together to generate value overall,” he said.

“So we will look to do the same as we’ve looked to have that in the UK.”

Mr Gupta has been nicknamed the “man of steel” for his efforts turning around battling steel plants and saving jobs in the UK.

Mr Gupta said Arrium facilities such as those at Rooty Hill – which has 280 staff – would experience some changes under its new owners, but not a significant alteration in the structure of its labour force.

GFG Alliance signed a binding agreement earlier this month to buy Arrium for an undisclosed sum, with the deal expected to be finalised in August.

Fewer Victorian youths doing gang crime

Fewer young crooks are working in gangs in Victoria, crime figures show, despite a recent spate of home invasions and carjackings involving youths.

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Crime Statistics Agency data from 2016 found 56 per cent of young offenders aged 10 to 17 committed at least one offence with other people, down from 63 per cent in 2007.

Of those young offenders, 17 per cent offended with four or more people in 2016, they we’re most likely to be male and living in disadvantaged areas.

Groups are most likely to commit robberies, followed by burglary and public nuisance, the agency said on Thursday.

“Young people were less likely to commit serious assaults and motor vehicle thefts in company, and co-offending for these crimes have both decreased compared to 2007,” chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said in a statement.

But there is still widespread concern about youth crime across Melbourne, particularly among jewellers, who are being targeted almost weekly in smash-and-grab attacks.

Five teens, aged 16 and 17, were arrested in January after an allegedly violent robbery of a Toorak jewellery store in which a worker was beaten with a gun.

It was the second time in three months the shop had been targeted – one of more than a dozen such stores hit in the past year.

Victoria Police said the research highlighted the types of crimes officers were dealing with.

“We know that the number of young offenders is decreasing, yet there remains a small number of repeat offenders committing very serious crimes and causing fear in the community,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Getting caught up in crime and having a criminal record at such a young age can start a pattern of offending into adulthood.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to look at the underlying issues driving this offending, as a community, to ensure these young people don’t enter the justice system to begin with.”

The agency also found the number of serious assault offences involving co-offenders had the largest decrease, dropping from 41.3 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2016.

Overall, young offenders were more likely to co-offend compared to adults aged 18 to 24, of which only 30 per cent committed an offence with someone else.

Scales tip in fight against HIV

The scales have tipped in the fight against AIDS, with more than half of people infected with HIV now getting treatment and AIDS-related deaths almost halving since 2005, the UN says.

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In its latest global report on the pandemic, which has killed around 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s, the UNAIDS agency said there were particularly encouraging signs in Africa, a continent ravaged by the disease.

Eastern and southern Africa are leading the way, reducing new HIV infections by nearly 30 percent since 2010, the report said. Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe have gone further, cutting new HIV infections by 40 per cent or more since 2010.

And among the most significant impacts of a vast scale-up of HIV testing, treatment and prevention programs, has been in the reduction of AIDS-related deaths, which have dropped by almost half since 2005.

As a result, more people in what had been some of the worst affected countries, are now living longer. In eastern and southern Africa, for example, average life expectancy increased by nearly 10 years from 2006 to 2016.

“Communities and families are thriving as AIDS is being pushed back,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe. “As we bring the epidemic under control, health outcomes are improving and nations are becoming stronger.”

The report warned, however, that not all regions are making progress. In the Middle East and North Africa, and in eastern Europe and central Asia, AIDS-related deaths have risen by 48 per cent and 38 per cent respectively, it said, mostly due to HIV-positive patients not getting access to treatment.

Reuters

‘Grumpy’ Scott Morrison takes reporter’s phone during press conference

A live press conference with Treasurer Scott Morrison ended on a bizarre note after he took a reporter’s phone and offered to read his questions aloud.

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Mr Morrison had been fielding questions about housing affordibility alongside the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar in Melbourne on Thursday.

ABC reporter Guy Stayner later quizzed Mr Morrison about why the government gave $30 million to Fox Sports as part of its latest Budget.

After persistent questioning, Mr Morrison’s patience appeared to wear thin.

Do you think ScoMo got grumpy with being grilled by @GuyStayner? I think ScoMo got grumpy. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/1yVcN9K0g5

— Matthew Doran (@MattDoran91) July 20, 2017

“It appears there’s no paper trail for this $30 million fund,” Mr Stayner began, before being cut off by Mr Morrison.

“Well, you can make all the assertions you like, but that doesn’t make them true,” the Treasurer said.

“Is there a paper trail?” Mr Stayner followed up.

“Again, I’m happy to deal with the issue offline,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Stayner appeared to try and ask two more questions from his phone on another topic, prompting Mr Morrison to reach for Mr Stayner’s phone and offer to read out the questions for him.

Those nearby could be heard laughing as Mr Stayner agreed to hand it over.

“I’ll just read the questions out, I’ll save you the trouble,” Mr Morrison laughed. “Who’s sending me the questions? I should know who’s asking them actually.”

The questions were about whether Mr Morrison supported a plebiscite for pre-selection in New South Wales.

As he answered, Mr Morrison appeared to hand the phone back to Mr Stayner.

At the end of the press conference, Mr Stayner jokingly asked if Mr Morrison had anything else he wanted to read.

“I’ll send a text message back,” the Treasurer laughed.

ABC Political reporter Matt Doran later posted a video of the exchange on Twitter.

“Do you think ScoMo got grumpy with being grilled by @GuyStayner? I think ScoMo got grumpy,” he wrote.

Mr Stayner laughed off the exchange by tweeting a selfie with the Treasurer. 

@ScottMorrisonMP stole my phone mid-presser but he did give it back for this selfie @abcnews @abcnewsMelb pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/RHyRiDbVP7

— Guy Stayner (@GuyStayner) July 20, 2017