New Kookaburras coach Graham Reid will consider drafting in Jamie Dwyer as one of his assistants if the star hockey striker decides to retire.


Dwyer’s playing future is up in the air after the five-time World Player of the Year was left out of Australia’s title-winning campaign at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Reid has been appointed as the new coach of Australia’s men’s hockey team on a two-year deal, with his major brief to lead the side to gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The 50-year-old former Kookaburra replaces legendary coach Ric Charlesworth, who stepped down following the team’s World Cup triumph in the Netherlands in June.

Although Reid said it was a “bit hard to tell” whether Dwyer would play on, he denied the 35-year-old’s omission from the Commonwealth Games squad was a precursor to the end.

“He has been left home before, as our current captain Mark (Knowles) has been left out before,” Reid said on Thursday.

“It’s a common thing. He was told and given pre-notice. He certainly wasn’t dropped.

“As I said to him straight after, I’m very happy to sit down and work out the future.”

When asked whether Dwyer could potentially come on board as a coach, Reid replied: “That’s always an option. He is a natural coach.

“If that’s his (goal), then it’s always good to have someone like that around the program.”

Reid played 130 games for the Kookaburras between 1984 and 1992, and has been a senior assistant coach with the Kookaburras since 2009.

He also has 21 years’ of experience in the IT industry.

When Charlesworth stepped down from his role earlier this year, Reid combined with fellow assistant Paul Gaudoin to lead the Kookaburras to gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Reid is hopeful Gaudoin will stay on as an assistant despite missing out on the top job.

The Kookaburras have been placed in the top four at every Olympic Games between 1980 to 2012, but their only gold medal was at the 2004 Games in Athens.

Reid is aiming to lead Australia back to the top of the podium, saying he learned great lessons from Charlesworth during the previous five years.

“To follow in Ric Charlesworth’s footsteps is definitely an interesting challenge,” Reid said.

“He’s someone who transcends our sport and he has a list of accomplishments as long as your arm.

“But I relish that challenge and look forward to doing it.”


*1984: Made international debut in 2-0 victory over the Netherlands

*1992: Made his 130th and final appearance for Australia in a 2-1 loss to Germany in the Olympic final

*2009: Appointed assistant coach at the Kookaburras

*2012: Filled in as head coach for the absent Ric Charlesworth at Champions Trophy, leading Australia to gold

*2013: Filled in as head coach for the Oceania Cup, leading Australia to gold

*2014: Combined with fellow assistant Paul Gaudoin to lead the side to gold at Commonwealth Games

*2014: Appointed head coach of the Kookaburras on a two-year deal.

Iron ore prices are set to hit a fresh five-year low, but experts are divided on the outlook for Australia’s most important commodity.


Chinese iron ore futures were down around one per cent on Thursday, making it likely the price of the commodity will finish the day below the $85 mark.

Iron ore prices dropped to $85.70 on Wednesday amid growing concerns about China’s property market and an oversupply of the steel-making commodity.

And several China watchers warn further falls are ahead, including Shanghai-based CSLA analyst Ian Roper, who expects iron ore prices to fall to around $75 in the longer term.

In a report this week, Mr Roper said the supply of iron ore was growing at nearly twice the rate of demand for the commodity in China.

He said if the price falls below $US80 a tonne for a prolonger period, more than 80 mines worldwide will need to close, including 13 in Australia.

“The key issue for the iron ore market is that for the first time in over 10 years the job of the iron-ore market/price is now to eliminate supply, rather than incentivise it,” he said.

The price slide threatens a number of higher cost Australian producers, including Atlas Iron, which has a break-even point in the low-to $US80 a tonne range.

But CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the price slide was good news for low cost producers like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, which have a break even price of around $US42 and $US51 a tonne, respectively.

“In the longer term this probably falls right into the hands of Australian producers, who are among the highest quality and lowest cost producers in the world,” he said.

The fall in prices didn’t hurt the share price of Australia’s other big producer, Fortescue on Thursday, which was buoyed by news of record production and shipments during August.

Fortescue shares overcame general market weakness to lift five cents to $4.05.

But Mr McCarthy does not expect the current price slide to last, and is forecasting an average price of between $US100 and $US110 a tonne for the next 12 months.

“I would expect to see some recovery in prices soon,” he said.

“Steel demand is continuing to grow in China, albeit at a slower rate, but its still growing.”

Australia’s elevation to enhanced partner status with NATO recognises the crucial role the nation played in securing “political legitimacy” for the war in Afghanistan, a senior NATO official says.


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister David Johnston are attending the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, where Australia was to be officially declared an “enhanced partner” of the world’s most powerful military alliance.

The partnership means Australia will have a seat at the NATO table when planning future security operations, as well as access to the group’s secure IT network and shared intelligence.

Speaking from Brussels before the summit, a senior NATO official said membership of the enhanced partnership program was recognition of the contribution Australia had made to NATO operations.

But the official also said the experience in Afghanistan over more than a decade of conflict had confirmed Australia as a crucial ally in terms of securing support for operations in the war-torn country.

“We do benefit from a very significant contribution but it’s not only in operational terms, it’s also in political terms. The larger the coalition the more sound is the political legitimacy of what we do in Afghanistan,” the official told AAP.

“We realised over the years we needed to have the proper institutions to make sure that whenever we were discussing politically the operations, Australia needed to have a seat at the table.”

Until 2013, Australia was the largest non-NATO troop contributing nation in Afghanistan followed by Jordan, and there are reports the Abbott government is considering boosting Australia’s long-term involvement with the possible deployment of 200 special forces troops.

The official said Afghanistan had been “a telling experience”.

“In the run-up to the summit the basic assumption was that after two decades of major military operations deep in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, the underlying assumption was that NATO would not necessarily be engaged in large-scale operations abroad,” the official said.

“Therefore there was a need for us to preserve the level of inter-operability we had developed over these two decades with a series of partners.”

Sweden, Finland, Jordan and Georgia will also be elevated to enhanced partner status.

Dr Ben Schreer, a senior analyst of defence strategy with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the partnership was a further signal that Australia will likely be working alongside NATO in Afghanistan for longer than was initially expected.

The NATO summit will focus on Afghanistan and involvement there beyond the end of this year when the international security force mission expires, as well as the crisis in Ukraine.

A British nurse infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone has been discharged from a London hospital after recovering from the disease following treatment with the experimental drug ZMapp.


“I was very lucky,” said William Pooley, 29, who had been working as a volunteer in one of the worst-hit areas and was flown out of Africa on a specially-equipped British military plane.

“I had some unpleasant symptoms but nothing compared to some of the worst of the disease, especially when people end up dying.”

He was the only Briton reportedly infected.

The Royal Free Hospital, the only facility in Britain with a high-level isolation unit that can host Ebola patients, said the treatment had been “successful”.

Pooley, who spent 10 days in the hospital, was given the drug ZMapp, which was also used on two US missionaries who also recovered. At least two others also treated with ZMapp have died.

More than 1,900 people have died in the Ebola epidemic sweeping through west Africa – all in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone – according to a count released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.

Pooley, quoted by the hospital on Wednesday, admitted “I was worried I was going to die”, but added that he had no regrets about flying out to Sierra Leone to help with the outbreak.

“I wish that the level of care I’ve received here could be provided there”, he said.

“I have mixed memories, some great memories and some horrible memories – lots of people dying…

“But also some wonderful memories of people going home, people showing massive spirit and cheer, despite the horrible conditions, the truly heroic people that I worked with, people that went on to get sick, so it is a massive mix of memories.”

Pooley found out he had the disease from a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor, following a blood test.

“He was in personal protective equipment so I knew it was bad news,” he said.

Pooley said his recovery will continue with the help of family and friends at his home in south east England and that there were no plans to return to Africa any time soon.

“They incinerated my passport so my mum will be pleased to know I cannot go anywhere at the moment,” he joked.

A former head of defence says the Abbott government is doing its utmost to strip hope from asylum seekers, and has urged Australians to educate themselves on what he calls the government’s breach of human rights standards.


Retired Admiral Chris Barrie, who was Chief of the Defence Force during the 2001 Tampa and ‘Children Overboard’ scandals, made the comments at a book launch in Sydney on Thursday.

“We are doing our utmost to extinguish hope,” Mr Barrie said.

“We are in a country of so-called fair minded people – yet it seems we don’t want to hear, or see what is being done in our name in the context of asylum seekers.”

Mr Barrie, who was in charge of border protection between 1998 and 2002, accused Immigration Minister Scott Morrison of “double-handling” in returning asylum seekers to Syria and Iraq while warning of the dangers inherent in those warzones.

He said the government was violating its human rights obligations, including a fundamental principle where states are barred from returning asylum seekers to countries where they face the risk of persecution.

“The fact that we’re buying orange boats to send people to back to Indonesia … forcibly taking people from one vessel, putting them on another and sending them to a country they don’t want to go to, that concerns me,” Mr Barrie said.

His comments came at the launch of international law professor Jane McAdam’s book, ‘Refugees: Why Seeking Asylum is Legal and Australia’s policies are not’.

Prof McAdams said the government’s justifications in violating human rights law were not legally sound.

“They’re trying to identify what the bare minimum is so that they can scrape through on a technicality,” she said.

“Australia needs to be careful, that when it wants to point out the human rights violations in other countries it’s not just perceived as entirely hypocritical.”

Mourners are planning to gather at Sydney Town Hall on Thursday evening in a vigil for Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei who was pronounced brain dead on Wednesday in Brisbane.

Refugee activists have alleged Mr Kehazaei died after he received inadequate medical treatment for a cut to his foot.

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

After eight years of construction, Singapore has officially opened a huge facility to store oil underground.


Known as the Jurong Rock Caverns, the facility is in the seabed, underneath an artificial island just off the country’s main island.

Kristina Kukolja has the details.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

In tiny Singapore, land for any purpose is scarce.

Building the Jurong Rock Caverns at a cost of $1.7 billion was more expensive than building a storage facility on land.

But it frees up 60 hectares of land, the equivalent about 84 football fields, that can now be used for other purposes.

The Jurong Rock Caverns can store almost 1.5 million cubic metres of liquid hydrocarbons such as crude oil.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Singapore needs to come up with innovative solutions to the problem of having a land mass of just over 700 square kilometres.

“Singapore’s land constraint is a little bit like peak oil. It exists, there is a theoretical limit, but with ingenuity and determination and technology, that limit can be quite a way off yet, and as you approach it, hopefully we can push it further off into the future.”

Mr Lee adds that Singapore will continue to develop its petrochemical industry, despite UN climate negotiations for a 2015 deal that aims to bind all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“And we will develop the petrochemical industry because the industry provides good jobs for Singaporeans, because it contributes significantly to our economy. In fact, the chemicals industry comprises a third of our manufacturing output, and also, because we are determined to find all ways to make a living for ourselves in the world.”

The Jurong Rock Caverns are about 150 metres underground, in the seabed under the artificial island of Jurong, a heavily secured area southwest of the main island of Singapore.

Scientist Teo Tiong Yong says there’s no danger of oil leaking from the caverns to the surface.

“Because everywhere underground there are waters around, so we are making use of the water pressure underground to hold the oil within the caverns so that the oil will not leak out.”

The Jurong Rock Caverns are the first facility of their type in Southeast Asia.




(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

Western powers have promised to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq until they are no longer a force in the Middle East.


The vow comes as the United States says it will seek justice for the beheading of a second US journalist by the group.

And as Santilla Chingaipe reports, Britain has also joined in the fight against the Islamic State after one of its citizens was threatened in a video.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

US President Barack Obama says Islamic State militants in Iraq will not intimidate the United States.

His comments follow the militants’ release earlier this week of a video showing the beheading of a second US journalist.

The footage shows 31 year old freelancer Steven Sotloff being beheaded in similar surroundings to those where fellow journalist James Foley was beheaded last month.

The White House has confirmed the video showing the execution of Mr Sotloff is authentic.

Mr Obama says the latest execution has left him more determined to defeat the Islamic State militants.

“Whatever these murderers think they’ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They have failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists.”

The US president has stressed the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, will take time.

“Our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so that it’s no longer a threat, not just to Iraq, but also to the region and to the United States.”

The family of Steven Sotloff has spoken publicly for the first time since the news of his beheading.

Family spokesman Barak Barfi says Mr Sotloff was not trying to be a hero.

“He was no war junkie. He did not want to be a modern day Lawrence of Arabia. He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none. Steve was no hero. Like all of us, he was a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness. And if it did not exist, he tried to create it.”

Britain has joined the United States on the frontline against the Islamic State.

It comes after a British hostage’s life was threatened in the video showing the execution of Steven Sotloff.

A masked militant in the video also warned a British man would be killed in response to US air strikes against militants in northern Iraq.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says British officials will look at every possible option to protect that person.

And he says it could include taking part in air strikes.

“We will look very carefully at the options available to us to support the legitimate government of Iraq and Kurdistan in defending themselves against the threat from ISIL. And if we judge that air strikes could be beneficial, could be the best way to do that, then we will certainly consider them, but we’ve made no decision to do so at the moment.”

Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain will increase diplomatic efforts to assure other countries of the Group of Eight major economies do not pay hostage ransoms.

They have an agreement not to pay, but Mr Cameron says he believes tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments are going to the militants in Syria and Iraq.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the many tens of millions of dollars that ISIL have raised from ransom payments is going into promoting terrorism, including terrorism affecting our own country. At the G8, I launched an initiative to try to get other countries to sign up to a very clear doctrine that, in the case of terrorist kidnap, no ransom should be paid. Britain continues with this policy, America continues with this policy, but we need to redouble the efforts to make sure that other countries are good to their word.”

US and European officials have said France, Spain and Italy have tolerated or facilitated ransom payments for citizens held in Syria.




South Korea says it will create a combined army unit with the US, reportedly tasked with destroying North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction in the event of an all-out conflict.


The mechanised unit led by a US major general will be set up in the first half of next year, the South’s defence ministry said on Thursday, as part of elaborate preparations for any future war between the two Koreas.

“It will be the first combined ‘field combat’ unit to carry out wartime operations,” a defence ministry spokesman said without elaborating on its mission.

If war breaks out, the unit would be tasked with eliminating weapons of mass destruction in the nuclear-armed North, Yonhap news agency said.

The contingent would have a joint office of US and South Korean staff in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, where the US 2nd Infantry Division guards a strategically important area as a deterrent to an invasion by North Korea.

In the event of a full-scale conflict, the combined unit would absorb a mechanised South Korean brigade and forces from the US division, which is armed with helicopters and other advanced weapons.

Because the Korean conflict ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty, the two Koreas are still technically at war.

Nearly 30,000 US troops are stationed in the South under a bilateral military accord.

If fresh hostilities broke out, the US commander in South Korea would assume control of the South’s 640,000 troops.

A transfer of command in a wartime setting was set for 2015, which would allow South Korea control its own troops, but the South wants a postponement, citing the increased threat from North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

In June, North Korea announced the successful test of new high-precision, tactical guided missiles.

In the following months the North conducted a series of missile and rocket tests, raising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile South Korea and the US held an annual military drill in August despite condemnation by North Korea which had threatened a “merciless” retaliatory strike.

The drill simulated the response to a nuclear attack threat for the first time, according to the South’s defence ministry, using a strategy of “tailored” deterrence developed last year in the course of joint defence talks.

UN resolutions bar Pyongyang from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology. But the North has defended its missile launches as a legitimate exercise in self-defence.