Chocolate on the nose as many look to keep Easter egg-spenses in check

It’s not just weight worries that have many people kicking the chocolate habit this Easter. Chocolate is not the only indulgence getting the flick this year
Nanjing Night Net

Easter spending is likely to be lower this year as consumers tighten their belts after spending up over Christmas.

A survey of 1000 consumers on their Easter spending plans, found that more than a third will not buy Easter chocolate this year, citing a need to save cash and cut the calories.

The survey, for ME Bank, discovered that one in 10 will be spending significantly less this Easter because of overspending during the December festive season.

The survey also found that chocolate is not the only indulgence getting the flick this year, with one in five claiming to be cutting back on Easter entertainment such as going to the cinema, dining out and attending Easter festivities.

ME Bank’s Nic Emery says a pricey Christmas has been a wake-up call for consumers to plan ahead this Easter to keep their spending down.

“Many Australians can be financially unprepared for Easter, particularly families,” Emery says.

“Before you know it you’re hit with the cost of overpriced chocolates, gifts, food and drink for entertaining, weekends away and interstate travel to visit family.

“It can be also compounded by back-to-school expenses, school holidays and spontaneous trips away as people realise it’s the last of the longer public holidays for a while,” Emery says.

Top tips for Easter Set a budget for Easter. Incidentals like petrol and last-minute hot cross buns and champagne for entertaining can stack up quickly, so know your budget and stick to it.Entertain at home. Host gatherings at home where everyone brings a plate.Camp instead of staying in a hotel and chose a destination closer to home so you can drive and take advantage of low petrol prices instead of flying.Use credit cards wisely as a way to manage cash flow rather than as a source of long- term and expensive credit.

Source: ME Bank


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Top Gear producer Andy Wilman quits over Jeremy Clarkson sacking

In reverse … the departure of Jeremy Clarkson and now executive producer Andy Wilman is a double blow for remaining Top Gear presenters Richard Hammond, left, and James May, right.Update:Wilman denies quitting Top GearUpdate: Clarkson coming to Australia, with a catchClarkson sacking sparks death threatsTop Gear producer attacked by trolls
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Andy Wilman, the executive producer of Top Gear and the man responsible for much of the show’s style and humour, has quit the program following the sacking of his close friend Jeremy Clarkson.

In a leaked email obtained by motoring blog site Jalopnik, Wilman thanked staff and called Top Gear “one of the most iconic programs in TV history” that was “beautiful to look at and beautiful to listen to”.

“Well, at least we left ’em wanting more,” he writes. “And that alone, when you think about it, is quite an achievement for a show that started 13 years ago.

“We had a lot of laughs, we had a lot of tiffs. We went to amazing places and we went to some shitholes. We nearly killed a presenter, we had to run for the border.”

Clarkson, who was sacked after allegedly assaulting a Top Gear producer, first met Wilman when they were both students at Repton School, a $20,000-a-term private boarding school in Derbyshire.

Top Gear mythology has it that the pair cooked up the new format for the show in 2002 while sitting in the pub.

But while Wilman’s departure is undeniably a huge blow for the BBC and its Top Gear cash cow, which earns up to £150 million ($290 million) worldwide for the corporation, he gave some hope to fans in his email.

“For those of you who still rely on it for work, don’t worry, because the BBC will make sure the show continues,” he writes. “Our stint as guardians of Top Gear was a good one, but we were only part of the show’s history, not the whole of it. Those two words are bigger than us.”

Wilman’s decision to pull the pin follows reports that co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond are also considering quitting.

Late last week, another key member of the Top Gear team also headed for the door. Richard Porter, the show’s long-time script editor, announced via Twitter that he was leaving, adding further credence to the view that Top Gear will have to be rebuilt from the ground up if the BBC is hoping to resurrect the series. Porter, R. Scrpt ed. 13 years, 22 series, 175 programmes. Hon. dis. — Sniff Petrol (@sniffpetrol) March 26, 2015Top Gear Festival slated for April 18 and 19 at Sydney’s Motorsport Park are still waiting to find out the fate of the event.

Many have taken to social media to vent their anger, with some calling for refunds if the show was to go ahead without Clarkson.

A decision from BBC Worldwide is expected by the end of the week.

Full text of Andy Wilman’s email

Well, at least we left ’em wanting more. And that alone, when you think about it, is quite an achievement for a show that started 13 years ago. I know none of us wanted it to end this way, but for a moment I’d like us to look back and think about just what an incredible thing you all had a hand in creating. When Jane Root gave us the green light in 2002, the brief was to reinvigorate a car show and get an audience of three million. What you all ended up making was one of the most iconic programmes in TV history, a show about cars that went global, won countless awards, was devoured by non car fans and ended up in the Guinness Book of Records.

We had a lot of laughs, we had a lot of tiffs. We went to amazing places and we went to some shitholes. We nearly killed a presenter, we had to run for the border. We started off with whoever we could get in the Reasonably Priced Car, and ended up with Tom Cruise. Throughout all this we made television that was beautiful to look at and beautiful to listen to. The work ethic never slipped, the desire for everyone in this dysfunctional family to do right by the show never faltered. Jeremy, Richard and James, as the visible tip of the iceberg, got most of the attention and praise, but you all in your own fields had such an immense hand in weaving this unforgettable tapestry. I would love to single out everybody by name to thank them for what they did, but it’s impossible and I’d forget someone I shouldn’t have and that would be crap, so I’ll just say Jim, I’m sorry we never got a bear to drive an automatic.

For those of you who still rely on it for work, don’t worry, because the BBC will make sure the show continues. Our stint as guardians of Top Gear was a good one, but we were only part of the show’s history, not the whole of it. Those two words are bigger than us.

Anyway, when you’re feeling low in your working day at any point, look around at some of the crap on TV, then have a think about Top Gear, 2002- 2015, and say to yourself: “I made that.”

A big, big, big thank you, which will never be enough.


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Charted: Why the iron ore price keeps falling

Iron ore continues to tumble, falling close to 4 per cent over the last week. Here are four charts explaining why.
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Over the past 12 months, the Australian dollar has fallen 17.4 per cent against its US counterpart. In that same period, iron ore has more than halved. The Reserve Bank of Australia wants the local currency to push lower to help competitiveness and the difference between the fall against the greenback and a slump on a trade weighted basis, down 10.1 per cent, suggests there is further down to go for the Aussie dollar.

Chinese economic growth is losing momentum, which is hardly surprising given the rate of growth it has experienced over the past decade. Last year, China grew at its lowest rate in more than two decades and marginally missed its 7.5 per cent growth target. With a 7 per cent growth target set for this year, many, such as PIMCO, the world’s largest mutual bond fund, are predicting a second consecutive miss.

“The fall in the iron ore price is overstated compared with the Chinese industrial production growth slowdown from 15 per cent in 2011 to closer to 6¾ per cent by early 2015,” TD Securities chief Asia macro strategist Annette Beacher said.

China overnight has moved to boost its housing sector by cutting the minimum down payment for a second home to 40 per cent from 60 per cent. Authorities also plan to introduce a policy in which individuals selling an ordinary house would be exempt from business taxes if they had owned it for more than two years, from a previous five years.

Oversupply of high quality iron ore from the three majors, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brazil’s Vale, have flooded the market thanks to a ramp up in production. With demand soft in China, the price of iron ore, and the high cost miners, have been squeezed tightly.

“Iron ore shipments from Port Hedland jumped about a year ago and remain high,” Ms Beacher said.

While the price of iron ore has dropped dramatically, the value of exports from Western Australia to China, 80 per cent of which are iron ore, according to TD Securities, has not matched the fall. This is thanks to the sharp increases in production of iron ore from major miners, as mentioned earlier.

“There are clearly two forces applying downward pressure to the iron ore price: while there has been declining Chinese demand, ramped up production and exports of iron ore from Western Australia (where the iron ore is extracted and exported out of Port Hedland) appear to play a larger role more recently,” Mr Beacher said.

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Adam Voges, Fawad Ahmed in Test squad for West Indies, Ashes

Adam Voges starred with the bat this summer. Photo: Peter Stoop
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Adam Voges starred with the bat this summer. Photo: Peter Stoop

Adam Voges starred with the bat this summer. Photo: Peter Stoop

Fawad Ahmed reveals life and death struggle

The two newest additions to Australia’s Test squad for the winter tour of the West Indies and England, Adam Voges and Fawad Ahmed, demanded selection through the dominance of this summer’s Sheffield Shield runs and wickets tallies, Rod Marsh says.

The chief selector also offered his personal backing to the notion that Steve Smith’s assured performances at No.3 in the one-day team this summer should see him replace Shane Watson in that position in the Test team.

“Personally — if you’re not asking me as chairman of selectors — I would say yes,” Rod Marsh said on Tuesday. “If you ask me as chairman of selectors I’ll give you the stock-standard answer: captain set the batting order.”

Australia could field up to three debutants in the tour: Voges, Ahmed and 29-year-old NSW wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, who was chosen as Brad Haddin’s understudy. The 16 players will depart in mid-May for the tour, with Ryan Harris to join the squad in England once his wife has given birth to their first child.

If 35-year-old Voges was chosen to play in any of the seven Tests — two in the West Indies, five in England — he would be Australia’s second-oldest debutant batsman in Test history, ranking only behind South Australian Arthur Richardson who was 36 years and 148 days when he debuted in 1924.

Western Australia captain Voges this season plundered 1358 runs at an average of 104.46. Marsh said selectors were swayed not just by the number of runs he made — the right-hander’s average was the highest of anyone to have played more than seven matches in the shield season — but the way he compiled them.

“He had a magnificent shield season, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. I looked at him on about four or five occasions – maybe more – this year and I thought ‘I don’t know how anyone is going to get this bloke out’ – he was that dominant,” Marsh said on Tuesday. “It wasn’t only the fact he made 1300-odd runs. It was the way he made them. It was as good Sheffield Shield batting as I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen some good stuff.”

Marsh said Voges was elevated at the expense of Joe Burns, who averaged 36.5 in his two Tests against India and ranked sixth for shield runs with 793 at 52.87, due to “pure weight of runs” and his manner of doing so.

“You could just see ‘Test player’ written all over him. Everyone [on the selection panel] was the same. Mark Waugh saw him bat, Trevor Hohns saw him bat, I saw him bat. All the state coaches, all the state talent managers. Everyone said the same thing. Surely we can’t all be wrong.”

Victorian leg-spinner Ahmed has been rewarded for snaring 48 wickets at an average of 24.79, the most by a spinner in a decade. This included a shield-final record 8-89, a haul achieved in front of Australian selector and former leg-spinner Hohns. Ahmed was particularly accurate this season, with his performances good enough for him to trump WA’s Ashton Agar, who debuted in the 2013 Ashes series, and NSW’s Stephen O’Keefe, who was Australia’s No.2 spinner for the series late last year in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan.

As for Ahmed, Marsh said the way the 33-year-old performed was not just defined by statistics.

“Him being a leg-spinner, a wrist-spinner as opposed to a finger-spinner, probably also gave him a slight advantage because, believe it or not, Australia is always looking for leg-spinners. We’ve had a proud history of leg-spinning in this country and we want that to continue,” he said.

“He doesn’t bowl too much rubbish, and he creates a lot of pressure. He’s able to have men around the bat in most instances, and he keeps on asking the batsmen questions. That’s what good spinners do.

“You need to be able to remain ‘on’ as a leg-spinner. It’s all very well coming in and ripping the ball but if you’re bowling two full tosses and two long hops it’s very hard for the captain to keep you on, because you’re going for that many runs. He maintains good economy and he asks many questions of both left- and right-handed batsmen, which is very important remembering that England may have about seven left-handers in their line-up.”

Workhorse paceman Peter Siddle will return to the squad for the two tours after falling out of favour this summer but responding with a dominant shield season. Nevertheless, the fact he was also dropped from the national contract list for the first time in six years, added weight to the theory his best chance of selection will come in the expected difficult bowling conditions in the West Indies.

The player who has overtaken Siddle in the pace and contract pecking order, Josh Hazlewood was lauded by Marsh ahead of his first Ashes tour.

“Personally, I think he [Hazlewood] will be a terrific bowler in England. I really think he’s one guy that I’m looking forward to seeing bowl in England. I think he could be very, very good – [Glenn] McGrath-like,” he said.

Selectors overlooked two of the key players for Australia in their triumphant World Cup campaign, James Faulkner and Glenn Maxwell. Marsh offered consolation to both, explaining it had been difficult to fit more than two incumbent all-rounders — Shane Watson and Mitch Marsh — in the squad and acknowledging both had had their shield opportunities curtailed because of their importance to Australia for overlapping limited-overs series.

“James desperately needs some red-ball cricket. It’s not his fault that he’s not played any red-ball cricket really. Glenn Maxwell is another who hasn’t played much red-ball cricket. We’re giving Glenn some [for Australia A] but we’ve also got hopeful plans, which I can’t reveal right now, for Jimmy Faulkner.

“He’ll be right. He’s a hell of a good cricketer and he’s a hard man to keep down. We certainly haven’t forgotten him, put it that way.”

The chairman also said he would “love to have” Maxwell playing in all formats for Australia and, like for Faulkner, indicated selectors had plans for him to help him achieve that.

Wicketkeeper Nevill was chosen after a season in which he scored 764 runs at an average of 76.4, including 235 not out in February in Hobart, and was typically neat with his glovework. Marsh said he had been “bashing the door down”.

AUSTRALIA TEST SQUAD FOR WEST INDIES AND ASHES: Michael Clarke (c), Steve Smith (vc), Fawad Ahmed, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris (Ashes only), Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Adam Voges, David Warner, Shane Watson.

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Peter Siddle sidelined but Steve Smith, Mitch Starc succeed in CA contract list

Siddle has been dumped from Cricket Australia’s contract list. Photo: Pat Scala Siddle has been dumped from Cricket Australia’s contract list. Photo: Pat Scala
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Siddle has been dumped from Cricket Australia’s contract list. Photo: Pat Scala

Siddle has been dumped from Cricket Australia’s contract list. Photo: Pat Scala

Given Steve Smith has moved up the order in the one-day team and is poised to do the same in Tests, it is only fitting he has done the same in the contracts that reflect players’ importance to the Australian cricket team.

The combination of the 25-year-old’s mighty Test performances and his addition to the one-day team, of which he made himself an integral member, strengthened his position when it came to the contracts given by Cricket Australia for 2015-16. Mitch Starc did likewise with his dominant performance in the World Cup that sealed his elevation to the top of the ICC’s one-day bowling rankings.

CA has elected to expand its contract base by one, to 19, to be paid from a retainer pool of $14 million. The minimum contract is $260,000.

Mitch Marsh and Josh Hazlewood have been chosen for the first time, while Pat Cummins returns after a one-year absence that was triggered by his injury problems. That will benefit NSW, which last season had to fit both in their state-contract pool.

Peter Siddle was the only player overlooked from last year’s list, which also featured Phillip Hughes. It was the first time in six years the Victorian has not received a central contract and reinforced the theory he had been overtaken in the fast-bowling pecking order by Hazlewood, the 24-year-old who took his place after the first Test of the past summer.

Chief selector Rod Marsh on Tuesday conveyed his lofty expectations for Hazlewood, who made his international debut in 2010 but was not a regular until this season, mainly due to injury.

“Personally, I think he [Hazlewood] will be a terrific bowler in England. I really think he’s one guy that I’m looking forward to seeing bowl in England. I think he could be very, very good – [Glenn] McGrath-like,” he said.

Marsh did not address the suggestion that Siddle, renowned for his physical resilience, could be primarily used in the West Indies series expected to be played on difficult pitches for pacemen and then be outside the first-choice attack for the Ashes. He instead focused on the potential for the 30-year-old to promptly return to the contract list by playing enough matches across the two series to qualify for an automatic upgrade.

“Anything is possible once we get away,” he said. “You’ve got to remember blokes are going to the IPL as well. ‘Sidds’ is going off to play at Lancashire and by the time that first Test match [in Dominica] gets underway . . . I’m not sure what that line-up will be. I’m not sure anyone knows just yet. ‘Sidds’ could very easily jump back into a contract just through sheer weight of [contract upgrade points from] being chosen. It only takes three Tests I think.”

The weighting given to Tests in the contracts was particularly pertinent this year given the Test team will play more Tests (19) in the contract period than one-dayers (10). Australia will most likely play more Twenty20 internationals than one-dayers too, with seven already confirmed and then the World Twenty20 next March in India.

Captain Michael Clarke’s contract has been reduced because he has retired from one-dayers and is now only available for Tests.

The left-hamstring injury that kept James Pattinson from contention to tour the West Indies has not threatened his central contract.  Marsh reiterated his high expectations for the 24-year-old.

“We hold him in high regard. He’s a hell of a good bowler. It’s just a shame he’s injured. We want him right, and when he gets right then we’re going to have some real selection problems trying to pick the best three because they are a pretty good bunch of fast-bowlers at the moment,” the chief selector said

While Marsh lamented that Pattinson would not recover in time for the West Indies he raised the possibility of an Ashes call-up by declaring “that [inability to be a contender for the West Indies] doesn’t mean if someone gets a niggle that we can’t get him to England”.

2015-16 CONTRACTED PLAYERS: George Bailey, Michael Clarke, Pat Cummins James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Rogers, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.

In: Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Marsh

Out: Phillip Hughes, Peter Siddle

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WNBL review recommends move to winter, shorter season in league shake-up

TV coverage for the WNBL could be more problematic in the already cluttered winter season. Photo: Matt Bedford Since 1999 the WNBL season has begun in October, avoiding a clash with the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby. Photo: Matt Bedford
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Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf insists the Women’s National Basketball League can co-exist with football codes if Basketball Australia presses forward with plans to return to winter.

She also called upon  the league to make introducing a minimum player wage a priority and believes plans to cap player payments could hurt team’s chances of attracting big names like Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor.

The WNBL is in line for the biggest shake-up in its history with playing the league from April to July and shortening the season the biggest changes under consideration.

Basketball Australia released the findings of the Australian Sports Commission’s WNBL review, which contains 53 recommendations to be assessed by a working party of representatives from clubs, the WNBL Commission and players.

While most recommendations won’t be implemented in time for next season, the main points include: Shortening the season to the teams playing each other twice, or 14-16 games depending on if the financially struggling Adelaide Lightning competes;Teams to play only one game every round;Finals in July including a three-game finals series, with the semi finals to possibly be played on a home and away aggregate basis;Maximum player payments per team capped at 40% of team revenues an up to a total of $200,000, with a marquee player excluded from the cap;More double headers with NBL games;The WNBL Commission to be disbanded and operation of the league handed back to Basketball Australia. 

Since 1999 the WNBL season has begun in October, avoiding a clash with the NRL, AFL and Super Rugby.

But Graf said the issue is just one aspect of a more detailed debate which must take place before returning to winter.

“You have to look at everything, people’s obvious thoughts are we’d struggle in some markets to get media coverage [in winter],” Graf said.

“I’d like to think we’d get the same coverage [in Canberra] we do, even in football season.

“Clashing with the WNBA wouldn’t be an issue for us as only the top echelon of players go there, but we wouldn’t be competing with Europe where the big money is to keep our players here.

“There’s 10 or 12 big factors which would come under the debate of whether we go from summer to winter.

“It would take time to implement if it was seen as the way forward, but I think it’s worthy of long, lengthy discussion.”

The report has recommended capping player payments, presumably because Lighting’s future in doubt and the folding of Logan after the 2013-14 season.

Graf said it’s important to ensure the stability of clubs, but could hurt the chances of luring big name talent to play alongside a marquee player.

“Those governance things are in there to help clubs maintain stability but you should have that focus anyway, you don’t spend what you don’t have,” Graf said.

“Laying something over the top that restricts some of our world class athletes to play in the WNBL, I think that hurts the league mostly.

“Look at the impact those players [Jackson and Taylor] have on the profile of the league, why would we want to put something in place which prevents it?

“In this instance Cappie Pondexter and Penny probably couldn’t have played [together at Dandenong], making an assumption on what they earn.

“Logan didn’t go bust because they had two players on big salaries. In fact the teams who have done that, ourselves and Dandenong, are healthy financially and have been around a long time.”

Graf said bridging the huge gap in player payments from the top to bottom should be the priority.

“We still have our squad members on hardly anything. We need to raise the bottom end so we can progress things, and not put a limit on the top until it becomes an issue,” she said.

“Talking about restricting player salaries is inappropriate if we don’t first talk about minimum salary. A lot of players still get maybe a gym membership, and 500 dollars.”

Graf said the introduction of a three-game grand final series to bring it in line with overseas leagues was long overdue and could be implemented immediately.

She said it would showcase the league and give it bargaining power with broadcasters after the ABC scrapped its TV coverage after 35 years.

“It’s beyond time to have a best of three finals series,” she said.

“Everyone that’s hosted finals for many years had huge huge crowds, it looks great on TV and is the best product.”

Former NBL player Paul Maley has also been appointed general manager WNBL and Competitions, and will begin in late April.

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Axed Test batsman Joe Burns tipped to benefit from tour of India with Australia A

The batsman axed from Australia’s Test team for the tours of the West Indies and England, Joe Burns, has been urged to look at his selection for the overlapping Australia A tour of India as a chance to make himself a more rounded batsman.
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Burns, 25, was chosen ahead of Adam Voges to play in the last two Tests of the Australian summer. He averaged 36.5 across his four innings against India and finished the Sheffield Shield season with 793 runs at 52.87. That was not enough to preserve his position, with Voges finishing the season with a mighty 1358 runs at 104.46.

Chief selector Rod Marsh defended the decision to prefer the 35-year-old Voges, and said it could ultimately benefit Burns, who could be a contender to move to opener, the position he fills with Queensland, in the Test team once Chris Rogers departed.

“It’s worked out quite nicely for Joe in a lot of ways, in as much as he’ll be going to India, where he’s never played cricket. He’ll have two four-day matches and five one-day matches in India and I reckon that will be very, very good for his overall development as a batsman,” Marsh said on Tuesday.

Usman Khawaja’s comeback to cricket after a knee injury that ruined most of his season will be complemented by captaining the Australia A squad that also features Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell.

Queensland’s Khawaja has been appointed captain for both the four-day and one-day portions of the tour ahead of Sheffield Shield-winning captain Matthew Wade of Victoria, who was trumped by NSW’s Peter Nevill for the role of understudy wicketkeeper for the Test tours of the West Indies and England.

” Nev [Nevill] . . . he’s bashing the door down,” Marsh explained. “Matthew Wade had a very good season as well. I don’t know what you can read into the fact we picked Wade in the A team – that’s up to you to read something into it if you want to.”

Cummins’ bid to return to Test cricket will take another step with his selection in the July tour. The 21-year-old has only played two first-class matches since his dazzling Test debut in 2011, both in mid-2013 in an Australia A tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The squad does not include James Pattinson, who suffered hamstring injuries in each of his last two shield matches of the season, nor all-rounder James Faulkner. Maxwell has only been chosen in the four-day squad, having clearly proven his limited-over credentials at international level.

Cummins and NSW teammate Gurinder Sandhu are the only pacemen chosen for both the four-day and one-day matches.

Tasmania’s Andrew Fekete earned selection for the red-ball squad by finishing second in the shield wicket tally in the just-completed summer with 37 wickets at an average of 24.11.

NSW’s Sean Abbott and Western Australia’s Nathan Coulter-Nile will replace Fekete for the one-day matches.

Left-arm finger-spinner Ashton Agar will feature in the whole series. NSW’s Stephen O’Keefe will join him for the four-day matches, with leg-spinners Cameron Boyce of Queensland and Adam Zampa of South Australia to feature in the one-dayers.

Besides Khawaja, Burns and wicketkeeper Wade, Victoria’s Peter Handscomb and SA’s Travis Head are the batsmen to feature in both squads.

Cameron Bancroft (WA), Marcus Stoinis (Victoria) and Nic Maddinson (NSW) are in the four-day squad, with Chris Lynn (Queensland) and Callum Ferguson (SA) chosen in the one-day squad.

AUSTRALIA A FOUR-DAY SQUAD FOR INDIA TOUR: Usman Khawaja (Qld – c), Matthew Wade (Vic – vc), Ashton Agar (WA), Cameron Bancroft (WA), Joe Burns (Qld), Pat Cummins (NSW), Andrew Fekete (Tas), Peter Handscomb (Vic), Travis Head (SA), Nic Maddinson (NSW), Glenn Maxwell (Vic), Stephen O’Keefe (NSW), Gurinder Sandhu (NSW), Marcus Stoinis (Vic).

AUSTRALIA A ONE-DAY SQUAD FOR INDIA TOUR: Usman Khawaja (Qld – c), Matthew Wade (Vic – vc), Sean Abbott (NSW), Ashton Agar (WA), Cameron Boyce (Qld), Joe Burns (Qld), Nathan Coulter-Nile (WA), Pat Cummins (NSW), Callum Ferguson (SA), Peter Handscomb (Vic), Travis Head (SA), Chris Lynn (Qld), Gurinder Sandhu (NSW), Adam Zampa (SA).

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Adam Voges selected for tours of West Indies and England

WA captain Adam Voges. Photo: Dean Osland Evergreen cricketer Adam Voges has been selected in the upcoming Test tours of the West Indies and England at the ripe old age of 35.
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If the Western Australian cricket captain gets a call up for a Test cap, he will be second-oldest batsmen to make his debut, behind Arthur Richardson who was 36 in 1924.

The right-hand batsmen had a standout Sheffield Shield season scoring 1358 runs at an average of 104.46.

Voges told Radio 6PR on Tuesday morning he was “very excited” about being selected in the touring sides.

“I found out yesterday,” he said.

“I got a call from Rod Marsh [Chairman of selectors]…he told me to keep it under my hat for the last 24-hours, but I probably haven’t done a good job of that.”

Voges said he never gave up hope of getting a call up for the national team.

“My last two seasons in particular have been really good in terms of the runs I scored,” he said.

“And with the selection panel now, I know that if you do score runs you can be rewarded.

“For me it was always a case of scoring as many runs as I could for WA and if it happened that was great. So the hope was always there.”

Voges said he initially didn’t answer the phone on Monday, when Marsh called.

“I rang him back pretty quickly,” he said.

“He said ‘your last two seasons have been really good and you’ve been getting better and better and you deserve that spot and just keep getting better and good luck with the opportunity’.”

Voges wasn’t fazed he could be of the oldest batsmen to have ever debut for Australia if he wins a baggy green during the winter tours.

“That’s probably a record I don’t necessarily want, but that’s OK, I’ll take it,” he said.

“I’m just excited to be on the tour.”

Voges will be joined on tour by three other Western Australians: Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Jacqui Lambie to start her own party

Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui LambieTasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie intends to start a political party.
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Public notices appeared in Tasmanian newspapers this morning declaring Senator Lambie had applied to register the Jacqui Lambie Network, based out of Burnie.

Senator Lambie was elected with the Palmer United Party, but split to become independent last year after a public fallout with leader Clive Palmer.

A spokesman for Senator Lambie said the move would allow her to run a group Senate ticket at the next federal election.

Through a media release, Senator Lambie has outlined some of the key goals of the Jacqui Lambie Network.

”While there’s a big job in front of the political network I will lead and promote–there will be a number of core beliefs that will bring supporters of the JacquiLambieNetwork together,” Senator Lambie said.

The core beliefs include:”JLN will always have a special interest in all matters associated with veterans, serving members of the Australian Defence force and their families.””JLN is opposed to Sharia Law being imposed in Australia either formally or informally and will promote a policy of undivided loyalty to the Australian Constitution and people.””JLN will support the proper regulation of Halal and other food certification systems.””JLN supports dedicated indigenous seats being established for Australian Parliaments.””JLN supports the introduction of a carbon tax – only after our major trading partners introduce a similar tax on their coal-fired power stations.”He said the party could also run candidates at the next Tasmanian election, due in 2018.

Under Australian electoral laws, people can lodge an objection to the party’s registration before the end of April.

Tasmanian independent Senator Jacqui Lambie intends to start a political party.

Girl distraught as missing pet dog ‘Flower’ turns up cooked on roadside food stall

Nanjing Night Net

A photo purportedly showing a Vietnamese girl in tears beside her pet dog, which had been slaughtered, roasted and put out for sale at a street-food stall, has gone viral on social media and raised ethical questions about the trade in dog-meat.

The People’s Daily, a Chinese newspaper, reported on Saturday that the little girl’s dog had wandered off a few days earlier, and when she stumbled across the pet at a local dog-meat stand, cries of “That’s Flower!” could be heard.

The newspaper said Taiwanese ETTV Television Network had reported that the photo was taken in the countryside in north Vietnam, but the time, exact place and girl’s identity could not be confirmed.

The photo, showing the distraught girl crouching down with one hand on the deceased dog’s back, has captured the hearts of people around the world.  Five-year-old girl finds her missing pet dog… being sold ready-cooked at Vietnamese stall南京夜网/dqGyQJAFAa — Compassion 4 Animals (@AmyRoseKathryn) March 30, 2015

@[email protected][email protected] I watched the video attached to it- I genuinely cried — b (@_BethLineham) March 30, 2015

The photo has provoked discussion around the issue of the dog-meat trade in south-east Asia.

In 2013, The Guardian looked at the black market smuggling of dogs into Vietnam for consumption, reporting that the meat was a highly sought-after product, eaten at special occasions and believed to cure a host of medical conditions.

It said that high demand, particularly in north Vietnam, was fuelling the theft of pet and stray dogs, but activists concerned about animal welfare and the potential transmission of infectious diseases through dog-meat were fighting back.

Fairfax Media

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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