Century-old battle sums up horrors of WWI

Dismembered soldiers sucked into cesspools of mud.

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Shattered tree trunks and the waft of poison gas hovering over the wounded who were awaiting their fates on the scarred soil of Flanders Fields.

The Third Battle of Ypres, fought in western Belgium a century ago, was as bad as World War I would get.

Half a million soldiers were estimated to have been killed or wounded during the 100-day battle and one name keeps coming back: Passchendaele, now as grim a symbol as any field of war ever remembered.

Monday marks the centennial of the start of the Allied offensive, which ended up barely moving the front line. Thus it became a metaphor for the folly of war as soldiers from Australia, Canada and New Zealand joined mostly British forces attempting to break Germany’s hold on the Western Front.

“It is the largest massacre ever to have taken place on Belgian soil,” said curator Piet Chielens of the In Flanders Fields Museum, which has recorded over 150,000 dead – and still counting – in the months of fighting.

Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are expected to join Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge over two days of centenary ceremonies, starting with a Last Post at Ypres’ Menin Gate on Sunday.

When the Third Battle of Ypres started on July 31, 1917, World War I was entering its fourth year, bogged down in trench warfare.

Both sides were desperate for a breakthrough following the hundreds of thousands of casualties the year before at Verdun and the Somme in northern France, two other battles that vie with Passchendaele as the most costly of the Great War.

Britain’s Douglas Haig was convinced he could force a breakthrough at Ypres, even though two earlier battles there had failed. The goal was to shut down German submarine operations on the Belgian coast. Haig’s plan to take the village of Passchendaele in a few days and move on to the coast turned out to be wildly ambitious.

With rain turning the swampy terrain to mud and the Germans armed with mustard gas, it would take until November for the Allies to capture the village. They never got close to the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend.

British painter Paul Nash was at Passchendaele in November and used the depth of despair he witnessed as inspiration for his painting The Menin Road.

“The rain drives on, the stinking mud becomes more evilly yellow, the shell holes fill up with green-white water, the roads and tracks are covered in inches of slime, the black dying trees ooze and sweat and the shells never cease,” Nash wrote to his wife.

“Annihilating, maiming, maddening, they plunge into the grave which is this land.”

In the end, the British would argue that even though the advance stalled, the long and costly battle weakened the German enemy. History, however, has highlighted the futility of the exercise, Chielens said, pointing out that Passchendaele could not be held once it was taken.

“Passchendaele was ultimately a small and indefensible salient,” Chielens said.

Josh Jackson backs under-fire Des Hasler

Senior Canterbury forward Josh Jackson has come out in support of Bulldogs coach Des Hasler as conjecture continues to surround his NRL future.

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Hasler is set to miss the finals for the first time since his debut coaching year with Manly in 2004 this season, while the Bulldogs’ absence will be their first since 2011.

Canterbury have won seven games this year to sit 13th, while they have scored just 13.7 points per game – on track for their worst attacking year since the Super League war.

But NSW State of Origin second-rower Jackson said the fault could not lay with Hasler.

“We know how important Des is for our team and to the club,” Jackson said.

“He’s a guy who leaves nothing to chance.

“His preparation, the work he puts in for the team and for the club, and the way he looks after us as players, he gives you the motivation to want to go out there and play for him and the club.”

Hasler was re-signed by the club in April, on a deal that secured his future until at least the end of 2019.

However he came under fire from the club’s former captain, Michael Ennis last week, after he accused Hasler of botching the club’s recruitment and retention.

Hasler also attended a Bulldogs’ board meeting on Tuesday night, however chairman Ray Dib has since insisted they are not looking to sack the two-time premiership-winning coach.

Hasler’s future is likely to play a key component of the lead in to next February’s club board election, as speculation mounts of a possible rival ticket led by Paul Dunn.

Crucially, incoming five-eighth Kieran Foran told News Corp Australia on Sunday he’d be disappointed if Hasler wasn’t at the club next season.

Foran does not have a clause in his contract that would allow him to look elsewhere if Hasler wasn’t coach, but said his former Manly mentor was a big reason he was moving to the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have also signed NSW prop Aaron Woods for next year, as they attempt to rebuild the club.

More support for suicide prevention in Vic

Reducing stigma and discrimination around suicide is the next step in the Victorian government’s plan to halve the number of people who self harm in the state.

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Mental Health minister Martin Foley announced the second phase of the Labor government’s plan to combating suicide by increasing local support services.

“It’s our goal to halve the rates of suicide over the next ten years,” Mr Foley said on Sunday.

“We will do that by having community conversations about seeking to remove stigma, discrimination and bringing the discussions out about what we can do to provide hope,” he said.

He said using case studies would help develop the best strategies to tackle suicide with two organisations chosen to help reduce stigma and seek help.

Advocate Georgia Hocking lost her 22-year-old brother, Benjamin to suicide in 2016 and backed the plans to support people at-risk of suicide and their families.

“If I take anything from what happened with Ben it’s that suicide is 100 per cent preventable and I feel that my brother’s death was preventable,” Ms Hocking said.

She said the “ripple effect” from a suicide for those left behind was “catastrophic” and urged people to speak to their loved ones about the issue.

The organisations to help tackle suicide are the Lived Experience Project which will aim to reduce stigma and promote help-seeking behaviour in the Frankston Mornington Peninsula and Dandenong regions.

Roses in the Ocean directly supports those who have survived suicide or lost a loved one to suicide to help train and mentor people to talk about the issue in their community.

This is the second phase of a government rollout of the Suicide Prevention Framework, which has been provided with $27 million over four years.

The first stage saw hospitals receive funding to help those who attempted suicide in their community after being in the Emergency Department.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia 长沙桑拿,mmha长沙楼凤,长沙夜网,.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from 长沙桑拿,bettertoknow长沙楼凤,长沙夜网,/AMS

Typhoon Nesat injures 81 in Taiwan

Taiwan’s first typhoon of the year has left 81 people injured and coastal towns flooded as the island braced for a second tropical storm on Sunday.

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There were earlier reprts that two people had been killed. One man, climbing a mountain in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, died while trying to make his way down and a woman planting rice was killed by a planting machine which was blown over in the rice field.

Howling winds toppled motor scooters and hit people with flying glass, the Central Emergency Operations Centre said.

In Yilan county on the northeast coast, one person was blown down, another was struck by a wind-driven object and a third was injured when a utility truck flipped.

Typhoon Nesat made landfall on the northeast coast of Taiwan on Saturday evening with maximum sustained winds of 137km/ph and gusts of up to 173km/h, according to the national weather bureau.

All but two of the injuries were light, an operations centre staff person said.

The typhoon also left shops and streets in agricultural Pingtung county knee deep in muddy water after dumping about 600mm of rain.

More than 10,000 people, largely from Taiwan’s south, were evacuated before the typhoon and 1,612 were still in shelters Sunday morning.

Nesat caused the cancellation of 145 international flights and cut power to nearly half a million households.

The typhoon passed through Taiwan and reached Fujian province in southeastern China by 7am on Sunday as a less severe tropical storm, officials said.

Close to 70,000 people have been evacuated so far and dozens of trains and flights suspended in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, Fujian’s water resources department said.

Taiwan, meanwhile, is on alert again as a second tropical storm was due to make landfall on Sunday night.

Philippine mayor killed in anti-drug raid

Twelve people, including a city mayor, have been killed in a shoot-out with police officers during a series of pre-dawn anti-drug raids in the southern Philippines.

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Police officers also arrested the vice mayor of Ozamiz City, about 780km south of Manila, during the raids on Sunday, Chief Superintendent Timoteo Pacleb, a regional police director said.

Police simultaneously served search warrants against the properties of Reynaldo Parojinog Senior, mayor of Ozamiz City, his daughter Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog and three other family members on allegations they were trading in illegal drugs, Pacleb said.

“The police personnel were met with volley of gunfire from their security, prompting the police to retaliate,” he added.

Aside from Parojinog, his wife, a provincial board member who was also a relative and four security aides of the family were among those killed in the shoot-out, Pacleb said.

The identities of the other people slain were still being verified.

Police confiscated high-powered firearms and an undetermined amount of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, from at least four houses of the Parojinog family, the city’s information office said.

Last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed that his aggressive campaign against illegal drugs will not ease despite mounting criticism over the rising death toll.

More than 3000 suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte became president on June 30, 2016, according to police statistics. But human rights groups have warned that the actual death toll could be higher.

Labor to target ‘unfair’ family trusts

A crackdown on people using trusts to avoid paying income tax is not only fair, it will stop more than $17 billion leaking out of the federal budget, Labor argues.

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The opposition has unveiled plans to impose a 30 per cent tax rate on payments to adults from discretionary trusts.

It says this will curb the legal but unfair practice of high income-earners funnelling money through trusts to lower-earning family members, thus avoiding paying top tax rates.

“The lucky few, riding the business end of the tax system are able to opt out of paying taxes,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

“Nice deal if you can get it! The real challenge here is that we want to create one system for Australians.”

The 30 per cent level is just below the second marginal income tax rate, paid by people earning less than $87,000 a year.

The policy will “prevent leakage” in the billions from the federal budget, adding $4.1 billion to commonwealth coffers over four years and $17.2 billion over a decade, Mr Shorten said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen issued a challenge to the Turnbull government.

“Either come out today and defend income splitting, defend the current arrangements and promise no change, or admit there’s a problem and look at adopting Labor’s proposals,” he told reporters, anticipating the government would opt for a scare campaign.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann offered a flavour of the response on Sunday morning, though conceded he didn’t know the full details of Labor’s policy.

“This is ultimately going to be a tax hike in particular on the many small business operators across Australia who use trust structures as a legitimate way of managing their financial affairs,” he told Sky News.

“They will want to see how Bill Shorten thinks he’s going to be able to take $17 billion out of their pockets.”

He said trusts were predominantly used for legitimate purposes and there was an integrity taskforce within the tax office to rout out the rorters.

Mr Bowen acknowledged there were legitimate uses, such as asset protection for small business owners or succession planning.

Labor’s “carefully calibrated” changes shouldn’t affect these.

“There are many, many hundreds of thousands of small businesses in Australia and most don’t use discretionary trusts,” he said.

“Where a small business is employing a family member … they will or can pay them a wage and of course they’ll be taxed at the normal rate and they can claim the tax-free threshold, there’s no change.”

Farm trusts, charitable trusts, disability and those set up to manage deceased estates will be exempt.

There are about 642,000 discretionary trusts operating in Australia and Labor estimates its policy will affect 315,000 of these – and 98 per cent of taxpayers will see no change.

Left-wing think tank The Australia Institute says there has been an explosion in the use of discretionary trusts in recent years and they now hold more than $3.1 trillion.

Income from trusts overwhelmingly flows to the wealthiest Australians, director Ben Oquist told reporters, with more than half going to the top 0.5 per cent of the population.

“It’s time something was done about them. This is a modest step in the right direction by Labor today,” he said.

Cats gun Dangerfield defends ‘fair’ tackle

Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has launched a spirited defence of the tackle which may cost him a second Brownlow Medal.

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Dangerfield pinned Matthew Kreuzer’s arms and dumped the ruckman head first into the Etihad Stadium turf during Geelong’s 65-point victory on Saturday night.

Kreuzer was ushered to the Carlton rooms and wasn’t sighted for the rest of the match, with the Blues later confirming he had suffered a concussion.

The incident is certain to come under heavy scrutiny when the AFL match review panel meets on Monday.

Former Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney on Sunday said he believed Dangerfield would receive a one-game suspension.

A bemused Dangerfield said he wasn’t aware of the furore surrounding the tackle until he was shown the footage after the game.

“I actually thought he still had the ball, so that’s why I’ve turned around and put my hands in the air,” he told the Seven Network’s AFL Game Day.

“‘I haven’t been cited for anything. I felt it was a fair tackle.

“There was no umpire’s call at the time, so I don’t see an issue with it, but it’s not up to me.”

At the heart of the issue is the fact Kreuzer’s arms were pinned, meaning he had no opportunity to protect himself.

This could lead the MRP to class it as a dangerous tackle, however they must also decide whether Dangerfield used “excessive force” in bringing down the 101kg Kreuzer.

If the MRP decide Dangerfield has a case to answer, it seems almost certain he will face suspension.

The Cats star had been joint favourite to become the first back-to-back Brownlow winner since St Kilda champion Robert Harvey.

Geelong coach Chris Scott said he was confident Dangerfield would be cleared.

“I think the powers that be have been very clear that the severity of any injury only comes into play once you acknowledge there’s been a breach of the rules,” he said.

“I just don’t see that when I watch it.”

Sydney star Josh Kennedy also came to Dangerfield’s defence, adding that the incident should be judged on intent rather than the outcome.

“If it was one of my teammates, you’d be disappointed if they were to go for something like that,” he said.

Government subsidises miracle cancer drug

Thousands of Australians fighting late-stage renal and lung cancer will soon get easier access to a new miracle drug.

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From Tuesday, the federal government will subsidise Opdivo so that patients will pay just $38.80 per treatment, or $6.30 for those with a concession card.

Up to now, patients have had to fork out about $5000 a course – adding up to more than $130,000 per year.

“This drug changes lives and save lives,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.

“For patients and their families it provides the precious gift of a full and healthy life.”

It’s one of the biggest listings ever on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, costing the government $1.1 billion.

The drug has been credited with saving the life of AFL star Jarryd Roughead among others.

It’s a type of immunotherapy that helps make cancer cells more vulnerable to attack by your body’s own immune cells.

Unlike conventional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, it activates white blood cells that help fight disease so they can attack cancer cells in your body.

The federal government says it is more effective and safer than current therapies and can improve and extend the life of patients.

“The hardest part of this role is to witness families facing the most tragic of medical diagnoses,” Mr Hunt said.

“The most uplifting is to see breakthroughs that save lives , transform families and give people real hope – and that’s exactly what Opdivo does.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia, with about 8000 people dying from the disease each year.

Some 3500 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed annually, making it the ninth most common cancer in Australia.

Peak bodies Lung Health Australia and Kidney Health Australia both welcomed the drug’s listing, saying it could make a significant difference to patients’ lives.

Comedian Chris Lilley apologises for blackface video posted after Elijah Doughty protests

The comedian Chris Lilley has apologised after facing criticism online for a blackface video posted to his Instagram account.

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Social media users reacted with anger when the music video was reposted to Lilley’s account on Saturday.

The video – titled Squashed N**** – features Lilley as his Angry Boys character S.Mouse.

pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/VAmYljgROl

— Chris Lilley (@ChrisLilley) July 29, 2017

It was posted hours after hundreds of people took to the streets of Melbourne to protest over the death of Indigenous boy Elijah Doughty.

Some Twitter users claimed the post was insensitive at a time when Indigenous people are mourning the death of the 14-year-old boy.

The video was deleted from Lilley’s Instagram account and the comedian issued an apology on Twitter.

He clarified that the post “is not connected in any way to current news stories”.

In a time where this country is mourning the death of a child run down this cheap excuse of comedy drops. The only joke here is Chris. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/uLeL0dgbka

— Ryan Griffen (@RyanJGriffen) July 29, 2017

“My social media pages are run for me to give fans nostalgic pics or clips from previous shows,” Lilley said in a statement on Twitter.

“A fan-made remix of a song from Angry Boys made in 2009 was posted recently. It is not connected in any way to current news stories.

“I apologise for any hurt caused by the misinterpretation.”

I used to defend @ChrisLilley’s comedic right to play diff ethnicities, but this new video has proven me wrong. Not linking it, too horrible

— Hau (@hauiebeast) July 29, 2017

A 56-year-old man was last week acquitted of manslaughter over the death of Doughty in Kalgoorlie, and was instead sentenced to three years jail on a lesser charge.

The man admitted to dangerous driving occasioning death after he hit the teen with his ute. He had been chasing the boy, who had stolen his motorcycle.

The man said the motorbike veered in front of his car and he was unable to avoid the collision.

The Supreme Court jury deliberated for six hours before finding the man – whose identity is suppressed – guilty of dangerous driving occasioning death.

— With AAP

Turnbull told to stop avoiding WA issues

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would be dreading this week’s visit to Western Australia following a poll suggesting the Coalition is heading for an election rout in the state, Premier Mark McGowan said.

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The PM and his cabinet head west this week, but he has made the trip only twice in 11 months – the last time in February before the WA election when he damaged former premier Colin Barnett’s campaign by backing away from a promise to lift it’s GST share.

“He knows these issues are here, he needs to deal with them, better to bite the bullet and get it over with, rip the bandaid off rather than procrastinate and make excuses,” Mr McGowan told reporters.

A Galaxy poll published on Sunday indicates a swing of six points and a loss of four Liberal-held seats across WA, which would deliver Bill Shorten power.

Those potential lost seats include cabinet ministers Michael Keenan, Christian Porter and Ken Wyatt.

If Mr Turnbull wants to improve his stocks, he must stop pork barrelling in other states and fix the flawed GST distribution model that gave WA by far the least amount and sent billions of dollars to other states, the premier said.

The PM announced to a standing ovation at the Liberal state conference in Perth last August he would fix the system and lift WA’s share, but then all but walked away from that promise on his next visit in February.

“The federal treasurer and or the prime minister can sign a letter to the grants commission today and the formula will change,” Mr McGowan said.

“That’s all he has to do or can he top up Western Australia to 80 cents or 90 cents, whatever he’d like to do it is all within Mr Turnbull’s hands.

The Galaxy found only 21 per cent of respondents trusted the PM to change the GST distribution system, while 61 per cent did not.

The Coalition government has tried to appease WA by launching a Productivity Commission inquiry into the system and providing $1.6 billion in top-up funding for state road and rail projects, although that money was merely reallocated from previous state government projects.

He was speaking at the launch of tunnel-boring work at one of those projects, the $1.86 billion new Forretfield-Airport link train line.

Mr McGowan said he hoped to meet with Mr Turnbull but nothing had been organised yet during the visit that will include Perth and regional towns including Broome, Albany and others.