Spinning finger injury no sweat for Lyon

The last time Nathan Lyon suffered a cracked callus on his spinning finger in India, it led to a career-best haul of 7-94 in Delhi.


As such Lyon isn’t overly worried about the injury he is nursing ahead of the third Test, which starts in Ranchi on Thursday.

Lyon is expected to be on restricted duties during the squad’s training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, ensuring his dinged-up digit is given the best possible chance to recover.

The offspinner grabbed a record-breaking haul of 8-50 in the first innings of the second Test, but failed to conjure a single wicket as India seized control of the clash in their second dig. The hosts went on to level the series with a 75-run win.

Bowling coach David Saker noted last week the niggle clearly “impacted the way” Lyon bowled in India’s second innings.

But the tweaker, who needs eight more Test scalps to surpass Richie Benaud’s career haul of 248 wickets, insists he will be ready to turn the ball as per normal in Ranchi.

“I’ve bowled a lot of balls over the summer and it usually happens once or twice a year,” Lyon said of the setback.

“The last time I was here, the same thing happened in the third Test and I was able to play three days later.

“So I’m more than confident in turning out for the next Test.”

Lyon had an extended batting session in the nets on Sunday but didn’t roll the arm over.

The most experienced member of the touring squad isn’t expected to bowl much in the coming days, but team management say he is in no doubt for the third Test.

“It was pretty painful there for a bit. And you can’t bowl with tape on, there’s rules and laws out there,” Lyon said, having repeatedly scuttled off the field for treatment during India’s second innings in Bangalore.

“I’m able to bowl cross-seam and stuff, so I can still try to spin it.

“But for variations and trying to get drift and drop … it does impede it a little bit.

“But we’ve gone through that now and moved on from the second Test.”

The injury cloud is far from ideal for the tourists, who already have to make two changes to their XI because of series-ending injuries to Mitchell Starc and Mitch Marsh.

Labor on track to win 41 of 59 WA seats

Labor remains on track to win 41 seats in WA’s 59-seat parliament after Saturday’s landslide election win.


Seven seats are in the balance including those of Liberal leadership hopeful Joe Francis, who must win his Jandakot seat first, and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls in Pilbara.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation looks like it will get a second upper house seat despite polling well below expectations with 4.7 per cent across the board.

Labor’s task of 10 seats and a 10 per cent swing to win government was considered extremely difficult, but it has already picked up at least 16 seats, including nearly all of the Perth suburban seats identified as battleground mortgage belt areas.

There was a 16 per cent swing against former premier Colin Barnett’s Liberals, a loss of about one third of their primary vote.

Labor was ahead in another five Liberal-held seats, including the metropolitan seats Jandakot, Joondalup and Kingsley, and rural Murray-Wellington south of Perth and Pilbara in the north, as the electoral commission resumed counting votes on Monday.

In regional Geraldton, sitting Liberal Ian Blayney was slightly ahead of Labor’s Lara Dalton, while Liberal Kyran O’Donnell had a small lead over sitting Nationals MP Tony Crook in Kalgoorlie.

The shape of the previously Liberal-National dominated 59-seat parliament is set to be 41 seats to Labor, the Liberals’ presence will fall from 31 to 13 and the Nationals from seven to five.

Several government ministers lost their seats, including Health Minister John Day, Environment Minister Albert Jacob and Local Government Minister Paul Miles with Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell trailing Labor.

One Nation leader Colin Tincknell is assured of a seat in the upper house and the party may get a second in the legislative council, according to ABC election analyst Antony Green.

The biggest swing was 23.4 per cent in Bunbury, where former senior public servant Don Punch turned a previously safe Liberal seat into a safe Labor one.

The 10 Perth metropolitan seats the Liberals still hold are mostly in Perth’s more affluent western suburbs, such as Mr Barnett’s Cottesloe and deputy leader Liza Harvey’s Scarborough.

The upper house is still to be sorted, including the effect of the preference deals among micro parties and whether the Fluoride Free WA party, which opposes water fluoridation, will get a seat.

However Mr Green is predicting a more balanced upper than lower house, with WA Labor to win 14 seats, the Liberal Party 10, the Nationals four and the Greens a chance to increase their representation from two to three seats.

One Nation is set to do no better than the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, which are set to win two seats each and the Liberal Democrats could win one.

Machete attacker denies he meant to kill

Muhumed Samow Ali split a woman’s head with a machete after deliberately smashing his car into hers and was stopped from further attacking her by a man with a wheelie bin.


But he has told his Brisbane Supreme Court trial he didn’t mean to kill her in the domestic attack, only to harm her.

Ali has pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and dangerous driving over the September 2015 assault, but not guilty to attempted murder.

He had known his victim for about three years, having met her in Townsville after she arrived from Somalia in 2011.

The court heard he would visit the woman on weekends but around July 2015, when both lived at separate homes in Brisbane, he said he didn’t want to see her anymore.

However, on the morning of September 10, he went to the woman’s Wacol street address and, as she was driving home, smashed his car into hers.

“(She) got out of her car, she left one of her shoes behind in her haste, she left the engine running and she ran screaming towards houses calling for help,” Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden told the jury.

The woman told the court she then saw Ali take a large knife from the boot of his car.

“I tried to run behind him,” she said, giving evidence through a Somali interpreter, on Monday.

Brandishing the weapon, Ali chased her, cornered her and wielded his machete.

“He hit me seven times and when he hit me the seventh time … that’s when I fell,” she said.

The woman was struck with the blade across the back of the head and knocked to the ground, suffering a six-centimetre cut that went down to the skull, the jury heard.

As she lay in the middle of the road, a neighbour ran to help the crying woman.

Clinton Holgate said it was too dangerous to treat her so he grabbed a nearby wheelie bin and used it to fend off Ali.

Other residents then took the woman into their garage and kept her safe until emergency services arrived.

Most of the facts of the trial are not disputed, but the defence says Ali used the dull edge of the blade in a bid to injure, but not kill.

Defence lawyer Ben Power told the jury they had been assigned to a difficult case.

“My client has pleaded guilty to all of the physical actions,” he said.

“The charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm are a step beyond his physical actions and their consequences.”

Doctors, police and five eye-witnesses are set to give evidence as the trial continues before Justice Roslyn Atkinson.

Greens want electricity price regulation

The Greens are calling for the regulation of state electricity prices by the end of the year to drive down the cost of energy.


NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia should be given until the end of 2017 to re-regulate electricity prices, the Greens say.

And if the states fail to do so, the party wants the commonwealth to put the Australian Energy Regulator in charge of pricing.

“Deregulating electricity prices has failed. It is time the government stepped in and capped electricity prices,” Greens MP Adam Bandt said on Tuesday night.

Under the Greens proposal, retailers would be required to provide a default standard offer based on the average regulated price in the ACT, above which retailers could not charge.

The cap would be determined by the states or the AER, and would result in prices in NSW, Victoria, SA and southeast Queensland being effectively frozen at or below 2017 levels in real terms, the Greens say.

They say based on a typical household, yearly bills are on average $2771 in SA, $2218 in Victoria and $2198 in NSW – all of which have been deregulated. This compares with $1576 in the ACT, which is still regulated.

The Greens proposals come on the eve of electricity company chiefs being hauled before the prime minister’s office to outline how they can help lower prices.

Energy Australia, Momentum Energy, Simply Energy, Alinta Energy, Origin Energy, AGL and Snowy Hydro are expected to front up on Wednesday, together with peak body the Australian Energy Council.

Malcolm Turnbull says households are paying far higher electricity prices than needed because they aren’t getting the best possible deals.

He blames a lack of transparency by retailers and the difficulty in switching providers.

Kenyans flock to vote in high-stakes elections

From first-time voters to those bent with age, from urbanites to ethnic Samburu warriors draped in colourful beads and carrying spears, thousands descended upon polling stations long before dawn to cast their ballots.


“I really hope for a change of leadership, I really hope for a change in the way we do politics. I want corruption out of the country”, said Mary Wangu, 42, at a Nairobi polling station.

However after over six hours of queuing she said she was “fed up” at the slow voting process.

Electoral commission (IEBC) chief Wafula Chebukati said “voting was going smoothly” despite minor delays, technical hiccups and heavy rain slowing the process at some of the 41,000 polling stations.

All eyes are on the biometric voter identification and tallying system which suffered severe glitches in 2013 polls. The system is seen as crucial to a smooth election amid opposition accusations of a plot to rig the vote.

Kenyan voters queue as they wait to cast their votes at a polling station in the Kibera slum in Nairobi.EPA

No strangers to violent polls

Kenyans are no strangers to violent polls, and tensions have soared over fraud claims and the murder of an official in charge of the electronic voting system in the final days of campaigning.

Tuesday’s elections are taking place a decade after a shambolic 2007 vote — which foreign observers agreed was riddled with irregularities — sparked violence which left more than 1,100 people dead and 600,000 displaced.

The IEBC moved quickly to deal with complaints Tuesday, removing clerks in a polling station where ballot papers were pre-marked as “rejected”.

In the port city of Mombasa a clerk was arrested for issuing double ballot papers to certan voters, local police said.

“I voted Raila, because he will be so much better to us. But if he does not win, it’s ok. It’s a democracy after all. Really, there’s no need for violence,” said Tom Mboya, 43, who works in construction and voted in the capital’s largest slum Kibera.

Polling station clerks for the 2017 Kenyan General Elections discuss at a polling station in Nairobi, on August 07, 2017. (Getty)AFP

Will of the people

The election is set to be the final showdown of a dynastic rivalry that has lasted more than half a century since the presidential candidates’ fathers Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga went from allies in the struggle for independence to bitter rivals.

The men belong to two of Kenya’s main ethnic groups, Kenyatta from the Kikuyu, the largest, and Odinga from the Luo.

Both have secured formidable alliances with other influential communities in a country where voting takes place largely along tribal lines.

Odinga, 72, the flagbearer for the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, is taking his fourth and likely final stab at the presidency. He claims elections in 2007 and 2013 were stolen from him.

“In the unlikely event that I lose I don’t need a speech, I will just speak from my heart,” Odinga said shortly before voting.

Both he and Kenyatta cast their votes shortly before midday.

“To my competitors, in the event that they lose they should be able to accept the will of the people. I also want to say that if I lose, I will accept the will of the people,” said Kenyatta.

Development, corruption

Kenyatta, 55, is seeking re-election after a first term in which he oversaw a massive infrastructure drive and steady economic growth of more than five percent.

“Kenyatta has done a tremendous job, he has improved communications, built roads and other infrastructure, he has to keep the job,” said Sashikat Bhaga, 68, in the Nairobi suburb of Parklands, home to many Kenyans of Indian or Pakistani origin.

However Kenyatta is criticised for soaring food prices — with prices jumping 20 percent year-on-year in May — and massive corruption scandals on his watch.

The devolution of power to Kenya’s 47 counties after a post-conflict constitutional reform means elections are now a complex affair, with citizens casting six different ballots.

More than 150,000 members of the security forces have been deployed for polling day.

The international community is also keeping close tabs on the election in a country considered a bastion of stability in east Africa and a key partner in the fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab.

Hundreds of foreign observers, including former US secretary of state John Kerry and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, as well as delegations from the European Union, are overseeing the election.

There are more than 19 million registered voters in the nation of 48 million. Half are aged under 35.

Counting will begin immediately after voting ends at 5 pm (1400 GMT). Polling stations where voting got under way late will remain open for longer, the IEBC said.

First results are expected around Wednesday. Officials have a week to release final results.

Related Reading

Teaching kids how to seek consent, not just the ability to say ‘no’

‘But what if we’re both drunk?’

The first time a teenage boy asked me that, I was stumped.


If people can’t consent to sex when they’re drunk, then neither person can be deemed to have consented if they are both under the influence. So, is it sexual assault if they’re both drunk? And if so, of whom?

It’s a great question and one that I have been asked many times since.

In thinking about it, I realised there is a clear and simple answer to the question: the difficulty arose because we’re not properly understanding the issue of consent.

For so long we have focused on the message that ‘No means no!’ and everyone must immediately respect a clear and assertive ‘no’.

But there is a problem with that message. Saying ‘no’ can be, and tragically, often is, a difficult thing for some people to articulate.

When we teach consent education in kindergarten or the lower years of primary school, we ask all the children to adopt their fiercest pose. With hands on hips, their spines stiff and tops of their heads reaching to the ceiling, they thrust out a hand and yell, ‘STOP! Don’t touch me! I don’t like it!’.

This week on Insight

When I introduce the concept of consent and assertive communication to twelve year olds, I receive a markedly different response. These more mature students clearly understand that they have the right to say no to being touched, it’s equally evident that they struggle with the practice of saying no. I’m met by a myriad of reasons why these older children might fail to speak out. 

We talk about non-sexual touch – hugging, tackling or sitting pressed against a friend – and whether they would verbally communicate feeling discomfort in these situations. Many of the boys feel able to say something. Most of the girls don’t.

Girls are worried about hurting their friends’ feelings, being ostracised from a social group or disappointing someone in a position of power or authority. They put their own needs aside to meet the perceived needs of others.

Children, regardless of gender, express fear of getting into trouble if they say no to an adult, and concern that they will be physically hurt if they say no to an older child or student with a history of bullying.

Why we are perpetuating a culture that places the onus on the vulnerable person to say ‘no’, when really what we should be doing is asking our children to check in with people every time they want to instigate touch? 

Studies repeatedly show us that while everyone is at risk of sexual assault, some people are more vulnerable than others, and run a far greater risk of abuse. Over-represented in sexual assault statistics are people with less structural and/or physical power; children, women, LGBTIQ people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with a disability. In fact, 90 per cent of women with an intellectual disability are sexually assaulted across their lifetimes.

And it’s exactly the people at greatest risk who are least likely to think they can say ‘no’ without repercussions of some kind.

When two people enter into an interaction, one will generally hold greater power. This will be projected onto the other person who then feels less able to communicate non-consent clearly without fear of backlash.

The question that really needs to be addressed here is: why we are perpetuating a culture that places the onus on the vulnerable person to say ‘no’, when really what we should be doing is asking our children to check in with people every time they want to instigate touch? If they don’t hear a clear yes, they should be learning to back up, give the other person space and foster a situation where the person can more clearly articulate their needs. Giving that space may give the person permission to say no, or not yet, or yes to this touch but not to other touch.

If we foster a culture of consent, then children will grow up knowing that every touch they instigate is welcome and wanted. Because they checked first.

Now, when teens ask me, ‘what if we’re both drunk?’ my response is clear: ‘Ask yourself honestly who holds the power in the situation and think of that person as the designated driver. It’s the designated driver’s responsibility to make sure they stay sober enough to drive and that they get everyone home safe and sound.’ 


Deanne Carson is a guest on this week’s Insight, which looks at how people understand and navigate consent. She runs Body Safety Australia, which educates parents and children on protection from sexual abuse.

Watch the full episode of Consent online now:

Further viewing

High school students learn to navigate the grey areas of consent

“When she said she wanted to go lie down and wanted me to come and snuggle with her, what was I supposed to think? Of course I thought she wanted to have sex,” reads a Year 9 student to the class.


The student is reading a fictional scenario from the Respectful Relationships program, which is being implemented across Victorian schools following a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The program aims to build a culture of respect and equality and part of the curriculum specifically teaches about consent.

Insight visited Maryborough Education Centre and observed Year 9 and 10 students exploring what consent means through the fictional teenage couple, ‘Sam’ and ‘Zoe’. The couple attend a party and after they both have some beer Zoe starts to feel tired and goes to lie down, eventually they have sex.

The class hears two different perspectives, from ‘Zoe’: “The next thing I know he’s all over me, forcing me to have sex with him.”

And from ‘Sam’: “She did grumble a bit when I started to undress her but I just thought she wanted to be persuaded.”

The students are then asked to discuss both experiences and the issues arising from the interaction. “He might have just thought that she wanted it even though she didn’t say yes, but she didn’t really try to stop it either,” a student says.

Another student offers his view: “I reckon they’re both correct stories, except it is just seen from a different view on both sides.”

The issue of consent has been making headlines across the country, following an AHRC report that revealed 6 per cent of university students were sexually assaulted in 2015/16. The report recommended universities provide students with education about consent and respectful relationships.

According to high school teacher, Alicia Cassidy, the Respectful Relationships program has provided the opportunity to explicitly explore consent. She says: “Previously we have only talked about sex education in regards to reproductive systems, contraception and STI’s. We haven’t really focused too much on the relationship aspect. The kids have really taken it on board and listened really well.”

Previously we have only talked about sex education in regards to reproductive systems, contraception and STI’s. We haven’t really focused too much on the relationship aspect. The kids have really taken it on board and listened really well.

The need for better education on sex and consent was expressed by young people on an upcoming Insight episode, where some admitted their sex education came via pornography.

On learning about sex and consent, one young woman said: “You do have to go to something like pornography, you go to something like the internet. We don’t have these conversations in a sexual education context. We don’t talk about if something happens, if suddenly something changes when you’re having an interaction, what do you do?”

Insight host Jenny Brockie asked the audience: “What happens if you decide halfway through sex that you don’t want to do it?”

Lauren says she feels pressure to keep going out of guilt: “The first thing that will pop into my head is like, I’ll feel bad, I feel like I’m annoying him because he’s got this huge erection and what’s he going to do now, get blue balls?”

Jean Paul offers a male perspective: “But I think a lot of people are trained from a very young age, through pornography that women don’t ever say no once they say yes.”


On this week’s Insight, young people dish the dirt on sex and sexting – and how they navigate consent around both issues. Watch the full episode online here:

South Africa’s President Zuma faces no-confidence vote

Criticism of Zuma from within the African National Congress (ANC) has grown over corruption scandals and economic woes, and the celebrated party of Nelson Mandela has declined sharply at the polls.


But the ANC — which holds a large majority in parliament — said it expected its members to easily defeat the no-confidence motion.

Several opposition parties led thousands of anti-Zuma protesters to the national assembly in Cape Town ahead of the parliamentary session due to begin at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT).

“ANC MPs now have no excuse. They must use their vote… to remove Jacob Zuma,” the main opposition Democratic Alliance party said after the speaker of parliament made a surprise decision Monday to hold the ballot in secret.

Zuma has survived several previous parliamentary votes that were held without secret balloting.

A 201-vote majority would be needed to remove him from power, and the ANC holds 249 seats in the 400-seat parliament. His cabinet would also be forced to resign.

“Mbete’s decision was made knowing that Zuma will be secure,” said Darias Jonker of the New York-based Eurasia political analysis consultancy.

“The vast majority of ANC MPs are not willing to risk the stability of the party in order to remove Zuma in this fashion.”

Zuma, 75, is due to step down as head of the ANC in December, and as president before the 2019 general election — lessening pressure for his party to trigger imminent change.

ANC loses its lustre 

The secret ballot has been subject to a long legal battle waged by opposition parties, who hope that ANC lawmakers will now be emboldened to vote against him without fear of intimidation.

But ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu told reporters Tuesday that lawmakers would “fight for the unity of our party”.

“We will vote against this motion,” he said. “We can’t vote with the opposition to remove our own government.”

Mthembu last week acknowledged recent criticism of the party, including the impact of a cabinet reshuffle in March when respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan was replaced with a Zuma loyalist.

Gordhan’s sacking led to a string of downgrades to South Africa’s credit rating as well as causing the rand currency to tumble.

Public support for the ANC, which swept to power under Mandela in the first non-racial elections in 1994, slipped to 55 percent in last year’s local polls — its worst-ever result.

A handful of MPs, including Gordhan, have joined calls from anti-apartheid veterans and trade unions for Zuma to resign, as South Africa endures record unemployment and a recession.

Zuma has been engulfed by corruption allegations since coming to office in 2009.

A court last year found him guilty of violating the constitution after he refused to repay taxpayers’ money used to refurbish his private rural house.

He has been accused of being in the sway of the wealthy Gupta business family, allegedly granting them influence over government appointments, contracts and state-owned businesses.

He is also fighting a court order that could reinstate almost 800 corruption charges against him over a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the 1990s.

Zuma is seen as favouring his ex-wife, former African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed him ahead of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Turkey accuses the Dutch of Nazism over rally ban

His comments came after the Netherlands said it would refuse Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu permission to land for a rally to gather support for a referendum on boosting Erdogan’s powers.


The Dutch decision to ban Cavusoglu from visiting and holding a rally in the port city of Rotterdam came after Germany and other European nations also blocked similar campaign events.

Unlike in Germany, where a string of planned rallies were barred by local authorities, in the Netherlands it was the government that stepped in to block Cavusoglu’s visit.

“They are the vestiges of the Nazis, they are fascists,” Erdogan told an Istanbul rally Saturday, days after he angrily compared moves to block rallies in Germany to “Nazi practices”.

“Ban our foreign minister from flying however much you like, but from now on let’s see how your flights will land in Turkey,” Erdogan said.

Around 1,000 people waving Turkish flags protested outside the consulate in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on Saturday evening, watched by a large police presence.

Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya appeared at the scene after reportedly travelling overland from Germany, but Turkish TV said she was stopped by Dutch police some 30 metres (yards) short of the consulate.

“We’ve been here for about four hours. We were not even offered water,” she told the NTV television channel. “(Dutch) police are not allowing me to enter the consulate. “

“I was told to leave the country and return to Germany as soon as possible,” she added. “I will not leave unless I am allowed to meet even for five minutes with our citizens.”

The Dutch public broadcaster NOS said police were planning to escort Kaya back to the border with Germany. Police would not confirm anything to AFP.

Cavusoglu flies to France

Cavusoglu flew to France where he is expected to address a rally Sunday in the eastern city of Metz. A French official said the visit had been cleared by the foreign ministry in Paris.

As the row raged, Turkish foreign ministry sources said the Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul had both been sealed off for “security reasons”.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Erdogan’s criticism was “crazy.”

“I understand that they are angry but this is way out of line,” he said. “I really think we made the right decision here.”

Cavusoglu, speaking in Istanbul, said the ban was “unacceptable”.

“Why are you taking sides in the referendum?” he said, adding: “Is the foreign minister of Turkey a terrorist?” 

The Turkish foreign ministry said the Dutch charge d’affaires in Ankara was summoned and told that Turkey did not want the Dutch ambassador — currently on holiday — to return “for a while”.

The Netherlands is home to some 400,000 people of Turkish origin, and Ankara is keen to harness votes of the diaspora in Europe ahead of the April 16 referendum on creating an executive presidency.

The Turkish government argues the changes would ensure stability and create more efficient governance but opponents say it would lead to one-man rule and further inflame tensions in its diverse society. 

Backlash threat 

Erdogan accused the Netherlands of working against the “Yes” campaign and said: “Pressure however much you like. Abet terrorists in your country however much you like.

“It will backlash, and there’s no doubt that we’ll start retaliating after April 16… We are patient. Whoever is patient will reach victory.”

Dutch far-right anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders celebrated the government’s ban, attributing it to “heavy PVV pressure”, in a reference to his party, which appears set to emerge as one of the largest in elections to the Dutch parliament on Wednesday.

The latest row came after NATO allies Turkey and Germany sparred over the cancellation of a series of referendum campaign events there.

Germany is home to 1.4 million people eligible to vote in Turkey — the fourth-largest electoral base after Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Although Berlin insisted that the string of cancellations by local authorities were down to logistical reasons, Turkish officials repeatedly hit back, leading to Erdogan’s angry “Nazi” remark.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said such rhetoric was “depressing”, belittled Holocaust victims and was “so out of place as to be unworthy of serious comment”.

Berlin has emerged as a strident critic of Ankara’s crackdown after an attempted coup last July, which has seen more than 100,000 people arrested, suspended from their jobs or sacked for alleged links to the plotters or to Kurdish militants.

Trump tried to call Bharara before sacking

Two days before US Attorney Preet Bharara was fired, the high-profile New York prosecutor declined to take a call from President Donald Trump, a US law enforcement official has said.


Bharara contacted Justice Department headquarters for authorisation to speak to the president on Thursday, according to detailed account from the law enforcement source. When he apparently did not receive it, he called back the woman who had contacted him to say he did not want to talk to Trump without the approval of his superiors.

Bharara oversaw several notable corruption and white-collar criminal cases and prosecutions of terrorism suspects. He was one of 46 Obama administration holdovers who were asked to resign by the Justice Department on Friday.

Related reading

He said on Saturday he had been fired after he defied the request to resign. The move was a surprise because Bharara told reporters in November that Trump had asked him to remain in the job.

While it is expected for political appointees including prosecutors to be replaced after an election, the mass firing of so many US attorneys was unusual and abrupt.

The Justice Department would not comment on reports of Bharara’s contacts with Trump representatives and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ office in the days before his firing.

The White House had no comment on Sunday on any contacts with Bharara.

The office in the southern district of New York handles some of the most critical business and criminal cases that pass through the federal judicial system. Bharara had been overseeing a probe into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising.

Bharara said his deputy, Joon Kim, would serve as his temporary replacement.

The law enforcement source declined comment on whether or not the office had any active investigations related to Trump.

Related reading

Why Europe’s most tolerant country is surging right

The Netherlands is often considered one of the most liberal and tolerant countries on the planet.


It’s not just tourists flocking to Amsterdam for recreational drugs and legalised prostitution – the country was also the first in the world to legislate for same-sex marriage and takes a progressive approach to euthanasia.

But for most of the past 18 months – the leading party in the polls has been the stridently anti-immigrant, anti-Islam, anti-EU Party for Freedom (the PVV).

The party’s leader, international provocateur Geert Wilders, saw his popularity surge in December, when he was found guilty of inciting racial discrimination against Moroccan immigrants.

Similar to rhetoric from Donald Trump and One Nation, Wilders’ policies include a ban on headscarves, the Quran and Muslim immigration, the closure of Islamic schools and mosques, and withdrawal from the European Union.

Pulling support between 15 per cent and 20 per cent, the Party for Freedom has been the most popular among a crowded field for much of the campaign.

Wilders has only recently fallen behind the Prime Minister’s center-right party, itself only polling at 16 per cent.

Polling from the last 12 months shows Wilders’ PVV has narrowly fallen behind Prime Minister Rutte’s VVD, while the PvdA labour party remains stuck at 8%.Peilingwijzer

But while Prime Minister Mark Rutte is hoping to stay ahead and win the chance to form a coalition government, the race could be even closer than it looks says Carolien van Ham, a UNSW politics lecturer and a Dutch voter herself.

“Recent polling experiences with Brexit and in the US seem to indicate that support for populist right tends to be under-estimated,” expert in political representation said.

“I think it’s because there might still be a group of people who are polite, or don’t dare to say they intend to vote for those parties.”


Polls show that concern about the preservation Dutch culture is one of the most dominant political issues – but Dr van Ham pins the surge in far-right sentiment on voter dissatisfaction, and a failure of mainstream parties to represent their interests.

“People that vote PVV tend to be white, lower educated, with lower incomes, and are more often jobless,” she said, “his supporters live mostly in more rural areas and in semi-urban areas around the big cities.”

Those voters don’t feel represented by centrist parties, Dr van Ham says, and they haven’t been big winners from globalisation or the Netherlands’ economic recovery.

Geert Wilders takes a photo with a supporter on the campaign trail in March 2017 (AP).EPA

Cultural decay

Dutch political researcher and Loughborough University lecturer Stijn van Kessel says voters are anxious about cultural decay and the social consequences of immigration.

With the European migration crisis and a rise in terror attacks, the Netherlands is just one of numerous countries witnessing a growth in anti-immigrant, anti-Islam sentiment.

“The last election was largely about dealing with the economic crisis. Now that the economy has recovered, there is more room for cultural issues again,” he said.

The focus on Dutch culture has sparked a debate on what Dutch values actually are. 

On the right parties have referred to the country’s Judeo Christian heritage and national iconography, while on the left leaders have emphasised tolerance and empathy. Both sides have stressed the importance of Freedom. 


But Dr van Ham says the underlying issues driving voting behaviour are not confined to the Netherlands.

“Europe and America are seeing a rise of the far-right – and it will come to Australia I’m sure,” she said.

“There are several clear causes of that – First there’s a rise in economic inequality and the impact of globalisation, that’s led to voters feeling as if their national politicians can’t properly represent their interests.”

“Then, there’s the failure of the Labour parties on the left to represent the interests of those voters – they’ve shifted to the centre and embraced neoliberalism, letting go of the welfare state a little bit.”

“There’s a feeling among some citizens that national politicians are losing control to multinational corporations and to the European Union.”

A multitude of party leaders vie for support in a televised election debate.EPA/Remko de Waal

Matt Sherwood –  lead strategist at Perpetual Investments and one of the few to correctly predict Trump’s victory – says the rise of the far-right is becoming a global phenomenon in established democracies.

“All around the world governments are struggling to find jobs for lower skilled workers – but it’s not an economic problem, it’s a social problem,” he said.

Voters bitter about globalisation and immigration are misdirecting their frustration, Sherwood says, and the prescription of closing borders isn’t going to help.

“The jobs Trump and others talk about were lost to technology, so they won’t be coming back,” he said.

It’s a challenge that wedges progressive labour parties, Dr van Ham says.

“They feel they can’t go hard against immigration, even if they are strong on labour and pay issues.”

The Dutch Labour Party is facing a wipeout – they’re currently projected to lose just over half of their 35 seats.

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The rise of the Dutch right

Dr van Kessel says it’s debatable whether the Netherlands truly ever was a country properly characterised by liberal tolerance and acceptance, where multiculturalism was truly celebrated.

“It was long considered politically incorrect to identify perceived problems concerning the cultural integration of immigrants,” he said.

“But since the rise of [anti-Islam leader] Pim Fortuyn in 2002, issues related to immigration and integration have been placed firmly on the political agenda.”

Dr van Ham agrees.

“There was this less tolerant side – which was there all the time, but was suppressed,” she said.

“They were told their opinions were racist and that it wasn’t okay to be anti-Islam or anti-immigrant – but then we had Fortuyn, who said that actually we needed to talk about these things and to call it out, and so that brought it all out into the open.”

Wilders has taken Fortuyn’s place in the Netherlands – Fortuyn was assassinated in the 2002 election campaign by a far-left activist.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Dutch right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn out of the Laurentius and Elisabeth Cathedral in Rotterdam.AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski

Under siege from their right, more centrist parties have been attempting to woo voters by co-opting Wilders style rhetoric.

“Mark Rutte urged people with a migrant background to accept Dutch values – to ‘act normal’ – or to leave the country,” he said.

“The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) leader Sybrand Buma proposed to teach immigrants the national anthem and to make schoolchildren sing it every morning in class.


“They have arguably legitimised the concerns expressed by the PVV, which is still the ‘issue owner’ regarding immigration and multiculturalism.”

It’s debatable whether that approach has worked – while the PVV has fallen from its peak of 21 per cent support to 15 per cent currently – Rutte’s party hasn’t been a major beneficiary.

Support for the left-of-centre Green Left and D66 have risen in line with the PVV’s most recent decline, as has the Christian Democratic Appeal.

As has been the case in Australia – major parties are losing ground as minor parties are surging.

As demonstrated to the left of the graph, in 2012 the mainstream centre-right VVD and centre-left PvdA plummeted. They have struggled to regain support as Wilders PVV and the Green Left have surged.Peilingwijzer

Dr van Ham says Rutte’s centre-right party will struggle to regain appeal from those who have fled to the far-right.

“These people are not only going for anti-immigration, they’re also against multinational corporations, against rich people getting richer, and there’s an anti-EU sentiment as well,” she said.

“Rutte and his party just can’t represent that, because they represent business interests and the governing elite.”

The centre-left will also have to undergo a change. The minor Green Left party has seen a sustained increase in support – the Labour party has flatlined.

“For the left, they have to re-engage with those lower-income, lower educated voters and see how they can better represent those voters,” Dr van Ham said.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte is struggling to maintain a narrow lead over Wilders in the final days of the election.EPA/REMKO DE WAAL

Dr van Ham says the reason voter are angry is because of their lived experiences, which makes them difficult to woo back to the establishment centre.  it’s their reality and that can’t be ignored.

“It’s their reality and that can’t be ignored,” she said.

“In the last 30 years, globalisation has improved trade flows and developing countries have become richer – and the rich have done well in developed countries – but for the lower middle-class it hasn’t done much for them at all,” she said.


“Globalisation just doesn’t have equally good effects for everyone.”

While Rutte has sworn not to include Wilders in a governing coalition – he was burned by Wilders after doing so in a previous government – Wilders’ inclusion may be unavoidable if he gains a sizable swathe of seats in a minority dominated parliament.

Dr van Ham puts little stock in his pre-election promise.

“Yeah, he goes back on his word pretty often,” she said.

After the assassination of Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and Theo van Gogh in 2004, Wilders has been sourrounded by tight security.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Implications for Europe

The Netherlands will be the first of three major European elections to be held this year, with France and Germany to follow.

All three countries have seen a rise in support for far-right parties.

But Dr van Kessel is cautious about reading too much into the Dutch results when it comes to figuring out the broader implications for Europe.

He says the decline of the major parties and the rise of minor parties is likely a result of domestic politics.


The centre-left Labour party has been governing in coalition with Mark Rutte’s centre-right party – and it hasn’t been popular.

“Both are seen to have watered down their agenda, they are traditionally polar opposites on the class cleavage,” he said.

“The parties seem unable to benefit from the economic recovery, and their ability to pass many reforms.”

Dr van Ham puts it in starker terms.

“It would be a bit like Turnbull going together with Shorten now – that would make a lot of people very angry right?” she said.

Dr van Kessel, who lives in the UK, says that while the rise of euro-skeptic minor-parties is problematic for the European Union, he doesn’t see it as evidence of Brexit contagion.

“I’m not a big believer in other countries rapidly following the path of the UK, which has an exceptionally Eurosceptic electorate,” he said.  

“A victory of Marine Le Pen still looks unlikely – though I don’t dare to rule it out anymore after Brexit and Trump.”

He describes support for the far-right ‘Alternative for Germany’ party as “rather modest”.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte greets British PM Theresa May during an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 9, 2017.Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP

Dealing with Wilders

It’s Dutch custom that the party with the largest number of seats is given the first opportunity to form government, normally one or two other parties.

This year, it looks like it’s down to Wilders or Rutte – and negotiations are likely to be more complex than ever.

“Up until the 1990s, there would generally be three parties which would get 80 per cent of the vote between them so you only had to form a coalition with one or two other parties at most,” Dr van Ham said.

“Now it looks like only two parties are likely to get more than 20 per cent of the vote and many other parties might get 10 per cent to 15 per cent.”

Indeed, according to the latest polls, no party is pulling higher than 17 per cent.

That likely means cobbling together a majority of 75 seats could take weeks or months of protracted negotiations after the dust of the campaign settles.

Wilders shakes hands with Rutte at a newspaper forum, leaders from the Socialist Party, D66 and the Labour party look on.AP Photo/Peter Dejong

Forming a coalition which excludes Wilders and his projected 23 seats will require some complex triangulation between parties which may have little ideologically in common.

Forming a coalition with Wilders at the helm, or in second place, will also prove challenging.

“If the PVV is included, it’s going to take a long time, because the ideological differences are just so large,” Dr van Ham said.  

“Wilders wants things like banning Islamic headscarves and shutting down Islamic schools, which goes against our constitution, so if they have to be included there will be a lot of parties strongly pushing back against that.”

But Dr van Ham says the best outcome may be for Wilders to be included in the government, although she’s no fan of the party herself.

“What we know from experience elsewhere is that when you govern you inevitably make mistakes, and they will have to compromise and moderate to get things done,” she said.

“Right now all his support is based on promises, and not on what he can deliver.”

The Netherlands heads to the polls on Wednesday, March 15.


Turkey minister lashes out at ‘ugly’ Dutch treatment

Turkey’s Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was back in Istanbul on Sunday after being expelled from the Netherlands and escorted back to Germany by Dutch police, condemning The Hague’s “ugly” treatment.


“We were subjected to rude and tough treatment… Treating a female minister this way is very ugly,” Kaya told reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, where she was welcomed by a crowd waving Turkish flags.


“As a minister holding a diplomatic passport, I don’t have to get permission to come together with our citizens at our consulate, which is considered Turkish territory,” said Kaya, who wears the Islamic headscarf.

The minister was expelled after being prevented from addressing a rally in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

The Dutch government said it had told Turkey it could not compromise on public order and security.

“We were stopped 30 metres (yards) from the consulate building and were not allowed to access it. And our chief consul was not allowed to exit the consulate building to meet us… We were held for hours,” Kaya said. 

“We were subjected to inhumane, immoral treatment. We had a bitter night in Holland.”

The Netherlands is home to some 400,000 people of Turkish origin, and Ankara is keen to harness votes of the diaspora in Europe ahead of an April 16 referendum on boosting presidential powers.

Also on Sunday, The Hague refused to allow Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s plane to land ahead of a planned rally, with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan likening the ban to Nazism.

Protesters angry at the treatment of Turkey’s Family Minister rally at the Dutch Embassy in Ankara.AAP

Swans AFL forwards looking lively

Sam Reid’s return to fitness and a roaming Lance Franklin are set to create plenty of headaches for opposing AFL defences, judging by their form for Sydney in the final AFL pre-season game on Sunday.


The trio of Reid, Franklin and Kurt Tippett snaffled 21 marks between them in Sydney’s three-point win over St Kilda in Albury..

Reid notched nine, Franklin, seven and Tippett five.

With Reid holding down centre half forward, Tippett alternating between the ruck and deep forward, a lively Franklin had licence to roam and made his presence felt.

He racked up 22 possessions, several outside the forward 50 and frequently found his teammates with pinpoint kicks.

“It’s always nice getting out of the forward 50 and getting some touches,” Franklin told Fox Footy.

“I think that will be part of my play this year again, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Reid didn’t play any senior games last season due to injuries, but looks sharp after thee good hit-outs..

“Obviously missing a lot of footy, we wanted him to play big minutes during the pre-season games,” Sydney coach John Longmire said.

‘We’ve played him a lot during the last three weeks and he’s been getting better every week, so it’s good to see him in that sort of form and good for his confidence.”

Another player catching the eye in Albury was Zak Jones.

Used primarily at half back in his breakout season last year, Jones is expected to get a good portion of midfield minutes in the coming campaign.

He impressed with his speed and distribution against the Saints, gathering a team-high 20 kicks and challenging the opposition with his running.

“He’s’ playing quite well, he’s still learning and improving, particularly in that midfield group,” Longmire said.

“But he gives us some really quality outside run and he’s been really good over the pre-season.”

Longmire said Isaac Heeney, who has also been earmarked for more midfield time this year, would likely take things easy for another week as he recovers from glandular fever.

“I’d rather be a little bit later with his return to training than pushing him and be a bit too early.” Longmire said.

Swans’ medical staff told him Heath Grundy was okay after getting a head knock on Sunday and Longmire said Callum Mills was rested for the latter part of the game after suffering a cork at training, but could have played more.