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Queen, royals take part in Garter service

Crowds gathered for the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.Hundreds have watched the spectacle of the Queen and Knights of the Garter attending the Garter service at the chapel where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex married.
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The Queen was joined on Monday by members of the order, including the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle where Harry and Meghan married in May.

Crowds gathered in the castle grounds were treated to the sight of Garter Knights walking past wearing lavish blue velvet robes and black velvet hats with white plumes.

Among them were the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy.

The appointment of Knights of the Garter is in the Queen’s gift and is made without consulting ministers.

Recipients of the honour are chosen because they have held public office, contributed to national life or served the sovereign personally.

Other members of the order include former prime minister Sir John Major, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, a past president of the Supreme Court, and Admiral Lord Boyce, a former head of the UK’s armed forces.

The Queen is sovereign of the order and a number of other British and foreign royals are additional knights of the order, including the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles and William.

Philip, who has effectively retired from official public duties, did not attend.

Earlier in the day the Queen hosted a private investiture ceremony in the Castle’s Garter throne room where Dame Mary Fagan, a former Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and Chancellor of Winchester University, was made a Lady Companion of the order.

Viscount Brookeborough, a Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen, was made a Knight Companion of the order.

Among the guests at the event were the Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Wessex, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and the Duchess of Gloucester.

Royal fans missed out on a Garter service in 2017 as it was cancelled because it was due to be held on the same day as the Queen’s Speech.

But after this year’s service crowds were treated to the traditional carriage procession when the senior members of the royal family travelled back to the castle.

The Queen was joined in her carriage by Charles and Camilla and they were followed by Edward, Sophie, Andrew and William in another.

Australian Associated Press

Swedish delight as focus turns to Germany

Sweden celebrate the goal that won them an opening World Cup game for the first time since 1958.With wounded world champions Germany up next, Sweden could not have got off to a better start to their World Cup campaign than a 1-0 win over South Korea, coach Janne Andersson said.
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“Three points in the bag,” he chortled at the end of the post-match press conference after a 65th-minute penalty, awarded only following a video assistant referee (VAR) review, secured the win.

“I felt the wait for the VAR was unnecessary. There was no doubt that the penalty should have been called straightaway.

“Luckily the referee had VAR to help him to be able to make the right decision.”

Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson in the box but referee Joel Aguilar initially waved the Swedes away, before being called back to consult and then awarding a spot kick which captain Andreas Granqvist expertly tucked away.

“Today’s match was so much more important to win after Germany lost,” Andersson said.

“But we were focused on winning the game anyway. The opportunities for us now going forward are so much better.”

Sweden meet Germany, who were stunned 1-0 by Mexico, in Sochi on Saturday in the second game for both in Group F.

Over the next days, Andersson said Sweden will concentrate on sharper finishing, where they let themselves down against the Koreans at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

“We had this match under control but I hope next time we’ll be more efficient in front of goal,” he said.

South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong admitted his players were intimidated by the height of their Swedish opponents in a match in which they managed just three shots on target over the 90 minutes.

But for the heroics of regular third-string goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, who was predominantly selected due to his height, the margin of victory would have been greater.

“We evaluated all of our goalkeepers and we felt like with the very tall Swedish players, we thought Jo Hyeon-woo would be the best and we thought he’d be a little bit quicker,” Shin said.

“Other teams will have difficulties with the Swedes who will be threatening … at this World Cup because of their height.”

Mexico in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday is next for Korea.

Australian Associated Press

Trump orders creation of ‘space force’

US President Donald Trump is ordering the establishment of a sixth branch of the military to clear the way for American dominance of space.
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“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said on Monday before a meeting of his National Space Council.

“We are going to have the Air Force and we’re going to have the ‘Space Force’. Separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important,” he said later.

The US, however, is a member of the Outer Space Treaty, which bars the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in space and only allows for the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes.

Trump also signed a directive on the management of traffic and debris in space.

The announcements were his administration’s latest moves to scale up US space exploration. The US wants to send robotic explorers to the moon as soon as next year as a preparatory step towards sending astronauts back there for the first time since 1972, a NASA official said on Monday.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is planning a series of lunar missions beginning next year aimed at developing the capacity for a return to the moon, said Cheryl Warner, a spokeswoman for NASA’s Human Exploration Directorate.

NASA will work with private companies, which have not yet been chosen, on the missions, Warner said in a phone interview.

In December, Trump signed a directive that he said would enable astronauts to return to the moon and eventually lead a mission to Mars. He ordered the government last month to review regulations on commercial space flights.

Americans first landed on the moon in 1969, reaching a goal set by former president John F. Kennedy in 1961 and capping a decade-long space race between Washington and Moscow.

Since then, US efforts to explore beyond the Earth’s orbit have largely focused on remote spacecraft that do not have human crew members, though American presidents have repeatedly raised the idea of sending human explorers back to the moon or further.

President George W. Bush in 2004 said humans would return to the moon by 2020. His successor, President Barack Obama, said in 2016 the US would send humans to Mars by the 2030s.

Australian Associated Press

United Socceroos march on towards Denmark

Bert van Marwijk with support staff Jurgen Dirkx (c) and Mark van Bommel at Socceroos training.They might have lost against France but the Socceroos’ showing in their World Cup opener has doubled the team’s trust in coach Bert van Marwijk and his coaching unit.
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Australia fell just short of a major boilover against the French, coming within nine minutes of a draw against one of the tournament favourites.

After the match, the Socceroos were full of praise for van Marwijk’s game plan, with no talk of second-guessing the boss.

Such disunity can be death at international tournaments.

There are certainly players on the sidelines that might wish they were playing a larger role, but there’s no doubt that Australia is moving forward, united, in Russia.

“There’s an immense atmosphere of positivity,” striker Tomi Juric said.

“The way we played was really fantastic. We can take that forward into Denmark and Peru … I’m immensely positive of our chances of getting out of this group.”

Much of that is down to van Marwijk’s team.

The 66-year-old has used his experience wisely to assemble a backroom staff catering to every need.

In all, 10 Dutch staff have been brought in among the existing infrastructure, bringing the total support team to 34 in Russia.

Mark van Bommel, Jurgen Dirkx, Roel Coumans and Ante Milicic are assistants to van Marwijk, with further support staff assisting the football side as well as a dedicated physio team, strength and conditioning team and other staffers.

Centre-back and vice captain Trent Sainsbury called the squad Australia’s “background banditos”.

The glue that works around the more rigid coaching elements is Mile Sterjovski.

The long-time Socceroos striker and 2006 World Cup attendee’s title is ‘player adviser’, acting as the shoulder to cry on, the wise head to call on, or the mediator when things get heated.

“My role is basically to advise the players and to make sure they’re focused on every training session, every game, and take the load off the older players – Mile (Jedinak), Timmy (Cahill), Mark Milligan,” Sterjovksi told AAP.

“Sometimes it’s at training. If I see something that needs mentioning, I’ll go up to them quickly.

“I also look at their body language when they’re eating. When they’re in the social rooms. I just start up a chat and see how they’re doing.

“I might pick up some signs and go up to them afterwards.

“It could be friction between players. I aim to iron all that out and make sure everything’s good within the team.”

Sterjovski said every player had different needs – from 19-year-old Daniel Arzani to all-time leading scorer Cahill.

“The boys and the staff have been so professional,” he said.

“Our strength is being together with high morale … it’s always difficult when a new coach with new ways comes in.

“They understood it would take a bit of time to get things right.

“We definitely know what he wants from the team and the team knows that, and they’re working towards it.”

Australian Associated Press

Socceroos’ Arzani is confident not cocky

Daniel Arzani has wasted no time in making his presence known with the Socceroos.Daniel Arzani admits the older Socceroos have been quick to take him down a peg since his arrival in the national team setup.
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But there’s been plenty too that have an eye out for the 19-year-old, on the cusp of a first start at the World Cup.

“You come in as a young player and you get a couple of older boys that have heard some things about you,” he said.

“They’ve given me the tough love when I need it but when I’ve needed it they’ve also put their hand around me and helped me out.”

It seems everyone is now finding out about Daniel Arzani. The teenager has enjoyed a meteoric run from anonymity to stardom.

In January, Arzani hadn’t even made an A-League start.

Protective club Melbourne City did everything they could to hold the youngster back before finally unleashing him on the domestic season, where he ran rings around opponent after opponent, winning the league’s young player of the season award.

Eventually the Socceroos relented to his footwork and eye for goal, calling him up for the pre-World Cup training group, where he survived the cut to make the final squad.

But does anyone know the real Daniel Arzani?

One rite of passage – his Socceroos induction song – shows that maybe he isn’t as bold as his confident persona suggests.

“I was thinking about doing something out there for the boys,” he told AAP.

“You remember ‘Man’s Not Hot?’ I was going to do that but Timmy (Cahill) told me not to. He said ‘don’t make a fool of yourself’ and I was like, ‘alright’.

“So I sang Wonderwall by Oasis. Very standard. An easy one to sing, and Melbourne City-inspired.

“I went a bit more basic.

“I was hoping people would start singing from about 20 seconds in so I wouldn’t have to do it myself but they gave me absolutely nothing.”

Being deferential is one thing. Having expectations is another.

Arzani is willing to let more established Socceroos rule the roost in camp but he’s not about to set limits on what he and the team can achieve in Russia.

“A lot of people have a lot of expectations of me,” he said.

“No one’s expectations of me will ever be as high as my own.

“I’m confident … this is what I’ve wanted to do for so long.

“Some people think that’s me being cocky but I’m just happy being me.”

Australian Associated Press

Ennis unleashes on struggling Bulldogs

Former captain Michael Ennis pulled no punches when describing Canterbury’s latest NRL loss.Former Canterbury captain Michael Ennis has let loose at the current roster, describing the Bulldogs’ weekend NRL mauling at the hands of the Gold Coast as “diabolical”.
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The Bulldogs have slipped to their worst start to a season in 54 years, with their chances of making the finals already effectively over with 10 rounds still to play.

Without Kieran Foran and Brett and Josh Morris, Saturday’s 32-10 loss at their spiritual home of Belmore was their worst of the season, prompting Ennis’ outburst.

“It was diabolical, their performance. It was so sad to see,” Ennis told Fox Sports’ Big League Wrap.

“Defensively they were atrocious in the opening half. They were down 22-0. Moses Mbye looked to be their only spark.

“What was on display on the weekend was not NRL standard. The performance of their spine was not NRL standard.

“They had endless opportunities inside a Gold Coast side that were averaging 26 points against heading into that game and they couldn’t score.”

Maligned for their attack during the Des Hasler era, the Bulldogs’ problems with ball in hand are almost at the same level as last season.

After the same amount of games in 2017, Canterbury have this year averaged just one extra point in attack to still rank 15th in that department.

But they have also let in an extra 2.5 points per game, contributing to their concerns as they bid to fight off what would be only the fifth wooden spoon in club history.

“I loved Dean Pay as a kid how he played. All the talk coming out of their over the summer was that the Dogs of War were going to come back,” Ennis said.

“But their defence wasn’t an issue. It was with their attack. And I’m not seeing any change in their attack.

“It’s block play after block play after forward dominance in attacking positions. Which we’ve seen for a number of years now.”

Canterbury have made moves in recent months to fix a roster that was handed to Pay by Hasler and the previous administration.

Moses Mbye will head to the Wests Tigers this week, while Aaron Woods could also be on the move.

But the former hooker questioned why Mbye was the man to move, given he leads the Bulldogs for linebreaks and tackle busts since moving to fullback this year.

“I don’t know why they’re letting Moses Mbye go,” Ennis said.

“Let some of the other big-name forwards go, bring some young kids through in the forward pack.

“And get some blokes in the spine who can for Christ’s sake put the ball over the line because the blokes who are there at the moment aren’t up to scratch.”

Australian Associated Press

Port unlikely to back Jack for AFL return

Port’s Jack Watts is not expected to get a recall to take on his old side Melbourne.High-profile Port Adelaide recruit Jack Watts will most likely miss out on a recall for the Friday night AFL blockbuster against his old club Melbourne.
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Watts was dropped last weekend after an inconsistent start to his debut season with the Power.

Impressive youngster Todd Marshall took Watts’ place and coach Ken Hinkley has forecast minimal – if any – changes after their wins over Richmond and the Western Bulldogs.

This is the first opportunity for Watts to play against his old club, where he was the 2008 No.1 draft pick.

He played 153 games for Melbourne and another 11 so far this season for the Power.

“Todd will play. Jack, we haven’t had selection yet, but we played pretty well last week,” Hinkley told Fox Footy.

“I’d imagine we’d be pretty close to (the) same.

“We brought Jack to the club for finish and that’s what we’re still looking for.”

Watts impressed in Port Adelaide’s SANFL win over Sturt on Sunday, kicking three goals.

“We watched him play yesterday in the (Port) Magpies and he played really well, he had an outstanding game,” Hinkley said.

“His finishing in really tough conditions was on show yesterday.

“We think he still has a lot to learn about the way we play and that will only help him become a better player.”

Friday night at Adelaide Oval is significant game, with only percentage separating fourth-placed Melbourne from the Power, who are seventh.

While Port are building momentum with a couple of good home wins, Melbourne are coming off a disappointing Queen’s Birthday loss to Collingwood.

“We certainly want to win this game of football, to put ourselves up in front of Melbourne and other sides,” Hinkley said.

“Friday night, a big stage again for Port Adelaide, it’s really important we play well.”

Hinkley also had high praise for Port star Robbie Gray, who had another big game last Thursday night and is among the Brownlow Medal contenders.

“He’s right up the top,” said Hinkley, formerly an assistant coach at Geelong and Gold Coast.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be around Junior – Gary (Ablett).

“He’s an outstanding player. Stevie J (Geelong great Steve Johnson) … Robbie’s not far away.

“He’s probably at least equal, he’s a pretty good player.”

Australian Associated Press

PM fires up as Labor confirms tax stance

Malcolm Turnbull has accused Labor of wanting to keep workers in their place after the opposition committed to rejecting a large part of his government’s personal income tax package.
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During a rowdy parliamentary question time, the prime minister launched into a tirade against the opposition saying Labor wanted to end “enterprise and aspiration”.

“Australians should be entitled to aspire to get ahead, to get a better job, to invest in their business, to make some real economic progress in their lives,” Mr Turnbull told MPs.

“It is what Labor used to stand for, but no more. This privileged elite opposite, they want to keep the workers in their place.”

Ahead of a Senate debate this week, the Labor caucus at a meeting on Tuesday unanimously agreed to only back the tax reductions that start on July 1 in the government’s seven-year, multi-stage tax package.

This comprises a new low-and middle-income tax offset worth up to $530 for individuals and an increase in the top threshold of the 32.5 per cent tax bracket from $87,000 to $90,000.

The opposition doesn’t support further reductions due in 2022 and 2024.

“If the Labor party is asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the total package – including stages two and three – we will vote ‘no’,” shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told reporters after the meeting.

Furthermore, if the coalition manages to get the entire package passed by the Senate, Labor plans to repeal stages two and three if it wins government which Mr Bowen described as “responsible”.

However, the government has repeatedly said it will not split the package that was announced in the May budget, saying it is all or nothing, setting up a high stakes game of political brinkmanship.

The coalition insists it “won’t be blinking” as the tax debate descends into a game of “chicken”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison took to social media to state the government’s case.

“Unless we take action now, in coming years Australians will have more of what they earn eaten away in higher taxes caused by bracket creep,” he said in a Facebook video.

He later described Labor’s stance as a “creep tax”.

While the Australian Greens support attempts to split the government’s income tax cuts they will vote against them regardless of whether or not the bill is amended.

Without the support of Labor and the Greens, the government could still get the cuts through with the help of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation or independent senator Tim Storer.

But while Senator Storer supports the first tranche of cuts, he too wants the package split and is hopeful the government will warm to his “prudent and sensible” plans.

Australian Associated Press

Falling jobless rate may lift confidence

RBA Governor Philip Lowe says there are some signs of wages growth moving in the right direction.New figures could show whether Australians are comforted by Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe’s remark that a three per cent wages growth rate is “possible and desirable”.
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Dr Lowe told a conference last week there are some signs of wages growth moving in that direction and that the laws of supply and demand are still at work.

Wage growth has been the missing link in Australia’s strengthening economy, presently running at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent and close to a two-decade low.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index is due on Tuesday – a pointer to future retail spending – which may capture the governor’s views on the outlook.

Last week the index jumped 5.6 per cent and to its highest level since mid-January following economic growth figures showing the economy expanding at its fastest pace in almost two years.

Since then the jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 5.4 per cent.

This compares with conventional wisdom that puts full employment at around a five per cent unemployment rate.

Dr Lowe told the conference it is possible an even lower rate could be achieved if the five per cent mark is approached at a steady pace, rather than too quickly.

The central bank will also release the minutes of the June 5 board meeting on Tuesday, a gathering that again left the cash rate at a record low 1.5 per cent for another month.

Dr Lowe in his post-meeting statement said household consumption is a continuing source of uncertainty given slow income growth and high debt levels.

Economists also see falling house prices as a further detriment to confidence.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will also release its residential property price indexes for the March quarter.

Australian Associated Press

Deledio says he and GWS can fire in AFL

It’s been a mixed start for the Giants in 2018 but Brett Deledio reckons they can finish strongly.Despite their current AFL struggles, Brett Deledio is bullish about himself and GWS this season.
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Deledio aims for a senior comeback in round 17 – when the Giants play his old team Richmond – or the following week.

He has been out of action since last month because of another calf muscle injury.

GWS remain half a game as they come out of the bye on Saturday against Brisbane at the Gabba.

But they have won their last two matches and several key players are on the verge of easing their horrid run of injuries.

Stephen Coniglio (concussion) and Rory Lobb (ribs) might play this week, while Toby Greene (foot) and Tom Scully (ankle) are progressing in their rehabilitation.

Daniel Lloyd is also sidelined with a knee injury.

“You get those sorts of players back and the teams continues to play good footy, you know you only have to get it right at the end of the season to win it all,” he told Fox Footy.

“If we can get everyone humming come the end of the season and make the finals, I think we can give it a real shake, for sure.”

Deledio’s latest injury setback was a major blow, particularly given he had made a strong start to the season.

The 31-year-old asked if he considered retirement because of his latest injury and Deledio’s answer was emphatic.

“We’re starting to play some good footy … I’m looking forward to trying to get back into that senior side,” he said.

Deledio also replied to commentator Wayne Schwass, who said on the weekend that the AFL should abandon the GWS and Gold Coast expansion projects.

“It’s an interesting opinion – I’d be out of a job, first and foremost,” Deledio said.

“I’m not sure about that. The growth we’ve seen already – (and) I’ve seen certainly in the western Sydney region up here … that’s really important for us.

“I’m sure if we culled every team when they first started in the competition, there might not be that competition.”

Australian Associated Press