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The most amazing man-made structures in Asia

Sunrise at Borobudur temple on Java. Photo: iStockSHANGHAI TOWER
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Faster, higher, longer and older: there’s no doubt Asia plays the one-upmanship game when it comes to architectural statements. It’s hard to believe that in 1999, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers broke the US’ hold on skyscraper glory. Those towers have long been surpassed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, but the newest, pointiest addition to the Asian architecture scene is Shanghai Tower. Opened in September, the world’s second highest building measures 632 metres. GARDENS BY THE BAY, SINGAPORE

Another hotbed of modern architecture, Singapore gleams with man-made marvels, with the fantastical Gardens by the Bay rivalling the voraciously Instagrammed SkyPark infinity pool – the largest of its kind in the world – atop the three-legged Marina Bay Sands skyscraper. BOROBODUR, INDONESIA

Wreathed in mysticism, Asia’s ancient spires of faith are hidden in jungles, or secreted away high in high mountains. The world’s largest Buddhist monument, Borobodur, was built in the 9th century in central Java, Indonesia. Like its peer in Cambodia, the Angkor complex, it was gouged from voracious vines centuries after its significance had faded for the local population. TIGER’S NEST MONASTERY , BHUTAN

Fading into obscurity was never an option for Taktsang Lhakhang. Bhutan’s favourite pin-up, the Tiger’s Nest monastery can be reached only by a steep trek up the side of the Himalayas, but the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism hasn’t been out of the country’s consciousness since its heroic construction in 1692. SKYGARDENS, SEOUL

South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is again in the 2017 must-visit lists, and has proven a pro at balancing old and new, with Namdaemun, the country’s first National Treasure and the 14th-century South gate in the Fortress Wall of Seoul neatly balanced by Dame Zaha Hadid’s curved aluminium Dongdaemun Design Plaza on the east wall of the city centre. Not content to sit on its laurels, Seoul’s 17-metre high Skygarden overpass, dubbed the High Line of Asia, opens April 2017. PALACE OF THE WINDS, INDIA

Turrets, fluted columns, curlicues and ramparts, the Rajasthani desert city of Jaipur has an overload of architectural beauty, but Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, wins for its outrageously elaborate facade. Built in 1799, over a thousand windows allowed the women of the royal household to observe life, unobserved. UZBEKISTAN

Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Uzbekistan

In Central Asia, Uzbekistan’s stupendous Bibi-Khanym Mosque was built in 1404 by Tamerlane. A statement of power (that needed elephants to help construct it), it was the largest mosque in his world, thought time didn’t save it. Today’s replica recreates its turquoise domes and elaborate mosaic-clad columns. SHOPHOUSES

Wedged modestly between the ancient world and skyscrapers, Asia’s shophouses are enjoying a revival in fortunes, with a slick of bright paint from Singapore to Vietnam’s Hoi An, Penang in Malaysia, Phuket Old Town and Bangkok’s Old City. Downstairs for trade, upstairs for family, a covered corridor at the front for cool perambulations free from the lashing rain and burning sun of the tropics.

‘Hope has been washed away’: MH370 families condemn decision to halt search

Paul and Danica Weeks on their wedding day in 2007. Danica Weeks, whose husband was on board MH370, with her children Lincoln and Jack. Photo: Janie Barrett
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Families of passengers who were on board missing flight MH370 say a government decision to end the search for the plane and ignore game-changing new evidence of its location is “another kick in the guts”.

Danica Weeks, whose husband Paul was one of 238 passengers and crew on the doomed Malaysia Airlines jet, told Fairfax Media that new analysis showing the plane likely crashed in a stretch of the Indian Ocean north of the existing search zone should trigger an extension of the operation.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau review, conducted by a panel of international experts and released this week, found that the 120,000 square kilometre search area likely never contained the wreckage and that salvage teams should instead scour a 25,000 square kilometre area further north.

But the Australian government quickly knocked the idea on the head, saying countries involved in the two-year, $200 million search agreed it will terminate soon unless credible evidence about the “specific location” of the aircraft is found.

Mrs Weeks said the new information was credible and suggested Malaysia should take over and continue the operation if Australia was unwilling.

“They have to find it. It’s not just about us. It’s about the aviation industry as a whole. And if we don’t find out what happened to this plane, it could happen again,” she said.

The Malaysian government, however, has also dismissed the ATSB review.

“Obviously it’s another kick in the guts for the families,” Mrs Weeks said of government responses to the new evidence. “We’ve had so much hope and then each time we’ve got the hope up and it’s been washed away.”

Of the 239 passengers and crew on board MH370, 152 were Chinese nationals and six were Australian.

Jiang Hui, whose 72-year-old mother Jiang Cuiyun was on the flight, has been a vocal representative for Chinese families and has just returned to Beijing from a two-week trip to Madagascar and Mauritius, searching for washed-up debris from the plane with seven other relatives from China, France and Malaysia.

“The search cannot stop,” he told Fairfax Media. “I remember the three governments all told us the search would be continuous, would not end, and would not ge given up on. It is a promise to all families, and to the international community.”

The search for answers has taken a damaging toll on Mr Jiang, who has been let go from his job and diagnosed with clinical depression.

He said families want greater transparency into why the original search area had come up empty, and what information had prompted investigators to define a new one. He said they will not stop searching.

Armed with new information, the panel of experts now believe the wreckage is likely somewhere along what is called the “seventh arc” – a line calculated from when the plane made its final contact with a satellite before it ran out of fuel and went into the sea.

Transport Minister Darren Chester said the search has stretched the ability of technology and global experts and has been the largest ever undertaken.

“The information that they had available to them and the work they’ve done has indicated that they’re in the vicinity of where the aircraft went down,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“Now, obviously, If we don’t find the aircraft in that 120,000-square-kilometre search area, we are open to the criticism that you had looked in the wrong place.

“If it is not there it must be somewhere else and that’s a pretty obvious assumption to make.”

Mrs Weeks, who has two young children, said life since March 2014 has been an emotional rollercoaster.

“If they’re not going to take [the review] on board, I want to know why. We’ll just keep fighting for justice and to bring our loved ones home,” she said.

“I’m going to find him.”

– with David Wroe

RSL broadens inquiry into allegations of financial misbehaviour in NSW hierarchy

Former NSW RSL president Don Rowe at Sydney’s Hyde Park war memorial. Photo: Ben Rushton The RSL has widened the scope of investigations into alleged financial misconduct that flourished for years in the league’s NSW leadership.
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Reeling from revelations that a string of state councillors accepted unauthorised “consultancy fees” from nursing home provider RSL LifeCare and former NSW RSL president Don Rowe withdrew more than $200,000 in cash on his RSL credit card, the national body wants to throw the spotlight on all financial dealings from 2004 onwards.

“We are broadening the internal investigation to ensure we fully investigate all of the allegations of financial misconduct by some RSL NSW council members,” acting RSL national president Robert Dick said on Wednesday.

NSW RSL has agreed to form a board of inquiry to investigate the use of expenses, LifeCare consultancy fees and the funnelling of donations from sub-branches and the women’s auxiliaries to LifeCare – all concerning aspects of an initial forensic audit by advisory firm KordaMentha.

The board of inquiry will now be presided over by a former High Court, Federal Court or State Supreme Court judge appointed by the national RSL, Mr Dick said.

It will also be assisted by legal counsel to be announced early in the new year.

“The board of inquiry will identify the nature and extent of all the payments made to the individuals specified in the initial KordaMentha report; and investigate the influence those individuals had over decisions for payments or donations made by the district council and sub-branches to RSL LifeCare,” Mr Dick said.

“It will also investigate the circumstances surrounding Don Rowe’s resignation and the alleged misuse of expenses.”

NSW Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott last week referred allegations against Mr Rowe, including that he withdrew $200,000 in cash from an RSL credit card and provided five family members with mobile phones paid for by the league, to police.

KordaMentha found Mr Rowe and former national president Rod White were among NSW state councillors who received $2.5 million in consultancy fees from RSL LifeCare without the needed permission of the state government under charities laws.

Councillors Bill Humphreys and Bob Crosthwaite, who were also RSL LifeCare directors when the payments were made, have refused to stand aside but have been relieved of all committee duties for the time being.

Mr White has refused to explain any of his actions despite repeated requests for information from KordaMentha.

The initial audit revealed Mr Rowe and Mr White had both used their positions within the RSL to steer donations from other, needier parts of the organisation towards RSL LifeCare while they were receiving consultancy fees.

The board of inquiry will commence hearings soon after KordaMentha submits its next report in about March next year.

Mr Dick said: “We will work in unison with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and other government agencies who are currently conducting their own investigations into these matters.”

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Canberra teen Nickoletta Flannery wants to tap into Lisa de Vanna’s brain

Canberra United recruit Lisa de Vanna with coach Rae Dower after the Matildas captain signed a deal to play in the W-League. Photo: Capital FootballCanberra United young gun Nickoletta Flannery wants to tap into the brain of one of Australian soccer’s greatest players as she prepares to battle Matildas captain Lisa de Vanna for W-League game time.
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De Vanna started her stint with W-League ladder leaders Canberra with a pre-Christmas beep test on Wednesday as she sacrifices a holiday at home to begin her mission in the capital.

Canberra coach Rae Dower said the international veteran must train with the team this week and return on Boxing Day if she wants to be considered for selection to play against the Melbourne Victory on December 28.

De Vanna jumped at the chance and was put through a gruelling fitness session after the 32-year-old took a two-month break from the game.

Canberra is already at the top of the ladder and has scored more goals than any team in the competition, but de Vanna’s arrival gives their championship dreams a major boost.

Despite being one of the most decorated players in Matildas history, de Vanna insists she has to earn her place in the Canberra line-up. That includes battling with 17-year-old Flannery for an attacking spot.

“I think it’s going to be good for the team, [de Vanna] is a world-class player and I think everyone can learn something from her,” Flannery said.

“Even at training [on Wednesday] she was giving out orders which kind of lifted our training environment.

“There’s a lot of learning to be had. Lisa’s in my position so I can learn a lot – shooting, crossing, position. It’s good to be here with her. I’ll just try my hardest and see what happens.” Look who is in town! Welcome @lisadevanna11pic.twitter南京夜网/WfnGFrR2Mv— Canberra United (@CanberraUnited) December 19, 2016

Sons of James Sutherland and Steve Waugh make names for themselves

Following on: Austin Waugh, son of Steve, made a one-day ton at the under-17 championships. Photo: Brody Grogan Pedigree: Steve Waugh with Austin during the former Test skipper’s playing days. Photo: Tim Clayton
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As the son of the boss of Australian cricket, Will Sutherland has heard the barbs before.

“You get a bit of sledging,” the talented junior said. “You get selected from your dad.”

The teenager knows it’s not true – and he has the runs on the board to show it. Given the potential he is showing, there will be plenty more opportunities for opponents to trash-talk him.

Sutherland, whose father James is the chief of Cricket Australia, is among a group of precocious youngsters progressing through the governing body’s pathways system.

Among his contemporaries is Austin Waugh, the son of former national captain Steve, who has already made headlines for his deeds with NSW in the under-17 national championships.

There are huge wraps on the pair, who along with NSW’s Jason Sangha, are considered well above their age group.

Sangha, 17, became the youngest player contracted by the Blues this year when he was signed as a 16-year-old.

All three have been named to play in a Big Bash League curtain-raiser at the SCG on Tuesday as part of a CA initiative aimed at keeping talented juniors in the game.

Sutherland will lead a Ponting XII consisting of the best performers from this year’s under-17 national championships, against a Gilchrist XII from the under-19s tournament.

Sutherland’s performances with bat and ball are proof there is no nepotism behind his rise in the game.

Batting in the middle order for a CA XI consisting of under-17s at the national under-19 championships, he averaged 51 with a strike rate of 101, and claimed 10 wickets at 16. His standout game came against Queensland, producing a match-winning double of 95 and 5-27.

CA’s pathways manager Graham Manou, a South Australian stalwart who played his only Test in the 2009 Ashes, does not believe it will be long before Victoria sign up Sutherland, who has already made his first-grade debut.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Cricket Victoria look to contract him in the next year or two. From an all-rounder perspective, he’s someone who I can see having a bright future,” Manou said.

Sutherland, a student at Melbourne’s Scotch College, is also a promising footballer, but is committing to cricket despite interest from Oakleigh Chargers, who play in the AFL’s feeder competition the TAC Cup.

“Cricket’s the way to go at the moment, I just enjoy footy with my mates at school,” Sutherland said.

Waugh is already on NSW’s radar as the recipient of a Basil Sellers Scholarship this year. He has not made his first-grade debut and is considered one or two years away from contending for a rookie contract with the Blues.

Waugh, who also had a strong under-19s tournament, bears an uncanny resemblance to his father.

“It was very scary, the first time I saw him – his mannerisms,” Manou said. “Genetically, I suppose you’d expect [it], but it’s like he’s watched a tape of his old man for years. They’re very, very similar.”

Ban slapped on decorative alcohol-fuelled burners after more than 100 injuries

A 28-year-old Perth woman suffered serious burns to her face and upper body after an ethanol burner exploded. Photo: Consumer Protection WA The Perth woman suffered very serious burns. Photo: Consumer Protection WA
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Portable decorative ethanol burners have been banned from sale. Photo: NSW Fair Trading

If you’re using a decorative alcohol-fuelled burner to liven up the atmosphere this Christmas, throw it out or return it for a refund.

NSW and Victoria are among six state and territory governments that have slapped a 60-day interim ban on the sale of portable, decorative burners after a string of fire incidents and injuries – some life-threatening. The burners can be filled with methylated spirits, ethanol or bio fuel.

Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack has issued a proposed ban notice, the precursor to a national interim ban.

They say 113 people have been injured by these products in the past six years, including 34 in NSW. There have been 115 reported incidents in that period, but the actual figure is believed to be much higher.

“When this kind of burner is low on fuel, the flame can be difficult to see, and some injuries have occurred when consumers try to re-fuel a device that is in fact still alight,” said NSW Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe.

“Another risk is people or pets knocking over a lit burner, causing a fire. Consumers are entitled to a refund from the business that sold it.”

A 28-year-old Perth woman will be spending this Christmas in a full-head, fabric face mask, gloves and compression garments after she suffered serious burns at a friend’s party in the suburb of Safety Bay two months ago.

Her friends had carefully followed the instructions on the label, cleaning it and ensuring it was dry before pouring the recommended fuel into the canister and lighting it.

“We sat down and a few minutes later there was kind of a crackling noise, a fireball kind of came out of where the candle was sitting, heading in my direction and it hit me, setting me on fire,” she said.

“Given it was fuel it just wouldn’t go out no matter how much I kind of patted it down so I stopped, dropped and rolled …  One of the other girls got a hose and eventually I was extinguished,” she continued.

“My skin was still bubbling from the heat, I had skin falling off my hands, off my face.”

She was in an induced coma and spent three weeks in the intensive care unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital before being transferred to its burns unit.

Her doctor, the renowned burns specialist Fiona Wood, urged consumers to consider the dangers of using products such as lamps that require flammable liquid.

“When you’re looking at something that improves the ambience of your environment and involves a naked flame and a flammable liquid, then you’re in an environment where you have a significant fire risk a lot of the year,” Professor Wood said.

“You have to stand back and really ask the question: Why?”

The Perth incident was closely followed by another one in Queensland, where two people suffered burns.

Consumer Protection WA announced an interim ban on Tuesday. It was soon followed by NSW, Qld, Victorian, South Australian and ACT state and territory governments.

Mr Stowe said the interim ban means retailers and online traders, depending on which state they’re based in, must take the banned products off their shelves or delete them from online catalogues and cease sales immediately.

The maximum fines for selling banned products are $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for corporations.

While the interim ban is in place, the consumer watchdogs will conduct further investigations into whether the burners are safe and suitable for sale.

WA Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the statistics were just the tip of the iceberg as he believes there have been many more incidents and injuries that haven’t been reported.

Qld Acting Attorney-General Anthony Lynham has urged people to stop using them.

Consumer Affairs Victoria Director Simon Cohen said the number of injuries justified a product safety ban.

The interim ban only applies to portable or table-top alcohol-fuelled burners. It does not include fixed alcohol-fuelled fireplaces, products used in the heating or warming of food, or products with a power output of more than 4.5 kW.

In regards to the proposed ban notice, Mr McCormack said: “If it’s determined that some products simply pose too great a risk to be on the market, we will act to protect consumers.”

Businesses have until January 20, 2017, to request a conference with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the national interim ban. Frequently asked questions

What is an interim ban? Bans can be placed on products and product-related services if there is a risk that they may cause serious injury, illness or death.

I’ve been using my alcohol burner for years, with no problems. Can I continue to use it? No, you should stop using it, even if you have been using it for a number of years.

What should I do with my burner? You should store it in a safe place and await further information. If you have your proof of purchase, request a full refund.

Can I get a refund? Under Australian Consumer Law, most products come with automatic guarantees the item will be of acceptable quality and safe, among other things. In most cases, if these products are determined to be unsafe and are permanently banned, you will be able to return the product to the retailer for a full refund.

I bought one as a Christmas gift. What should I do? Do not give it as a gift. You should take it back to the seller with the proof of purchase to get your money back or an exchange.

I have seen these products for sale at my local store, how do I report it? Call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or lodge a complaint through the website.

(source: NSW Fair Trading) ​Latest consumer affairs storiesSavvy Consumer – Interact with us on Facebook

Bellamy’s Chinese burn causes more financial pain

It will be a difficult Christmas for Bellamy’s managing director, Laura McBain. Photo: Mark Jesser Bega’s chairman, Barry Irvin, warned of oversupply in the marketplace. Photo: Brendon Thorne
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Shareholders are right to be increasingly worried about just how financially painful Bellamy’s Chinese burn is going to be.

At its worst, the organic baby formula producer is experiencing an existential moment as the crisis it’s having with suppliers and customers drags on.

The saga of Bellamy’s demonstrates just how rapidly a company can move from being a sharemarket darling with seemingly limitless growth prospects to a sharemarket pariah with a questionable business model.

Following a trading halt and a two-week trading suspension of its shares in early December, the company has now requested its shares remain suspended from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange until January 13.

Such a delay does not not augur well for the future of the company, which is in the sights of at least one class action law firm and whose chief executive, Laura McBain, is the subject of calls for a scalping.

In the meantime, shareholders are stuck holding the stock they can be almost certain will drop precipitously when trading eventually resumes.

And such an outcome would be more favourable than the other possibility that the stock never comes back onto the market.

The suspension in the shares came after the stock was heavily sold down, wiping $544 million from the company’s market capitalisation following its 40 per cent downgrade to earnings earlier this month. The stock last traded at $6.68, compared with a high of $16.50 reached earlier in the year.

Up until the downgrade, investors and most analysts had growth expectations so high they were in nose-bleed territory and accordingly the share price had been priced around complete success.

This was despite the fact that the Tasmanian-based company had only been listed since 2014 and was riding the fashionable yet risky China export story.

It is only over the past few weeks that experts have started to dissect the Bellamy’s story and take a closer look at the pitfalls in the business, including the lack of experience of management, the supply chain shortcomings and the fickle nature of the Chinese customer.

More particularly, they have homed in on the fact that Bellamy’s misread the importance and power of the ‘Daigou’ trade – which involves intermediaries buying baby formula from Australian supermarket shelves to re-sell it into the Chinese market.

The theory is that when Bellamy’s started to discount its product earlier this year, it cut the margin for the intermediaries which in turn switched to other brands.

On the other side of the ledger, the company is now clearly attempting to renegotiate its own supply contracts with producers such as Bega and Fonterra.

Thus Bellamy’s is caught in a pincer from falling volumes and shrinking margins.

The most positive aspect to Bellamy’s financial position is that it was virtually debt free with $32 million in cash.

But the June 2016 balance sheet shows a worrying and massive increase in inventory levels from $17 million the year before to around $68 million – half of which was finished goods and half ingredients.

Still, in the October presentation to shareholders the company made no mention of any difficulties it could have been experiencing in the first three months of the 2017 financial year. Bega’s warning

This was in sharp contrast to Bega’s chairman, Barry Irvin,  who in the same month warned of oversupply and pressure on prices in the Chinese market, telling shareholders the company had a watch brief on its infant formula partnership with Blackmores.

In a frank review, he told his investors that “while this time last year supermarket shelves were empty and customers in Australia and internationally were providing ever-increasing orders, the combination of a regulation change in China, a supply response to demand signals and the evolution of supply channels to market now sees significant discounting in the marketplace and signs of short term oversupply”.

The potential lack of disclosure and transparency will be at the heart of any class action legal claims.

But the more immediate problem for Bellamy’s will be a potential cash flow crisis if sales and prices remain depressed and it cannot renegotiate supply contracts.

It will be a difficult Christmas for its management and board – and a nervous period for investors, who are waiting to see if the company has a future.

Ricciardo’s Christmas wish? A fast car by March

So what does formula one racer Daniel Ricciardo want for Christmas?
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“For Christmas, a cold beer would be enough, but for March a fast car,” the West Australian Formula One driver said on Wednesday after enjoying a kick with West Coast players in Perth during his break back home.

After finishing third in the world championship, Ricciardo has high hopes that next year’s new design regulations will further close the gap between his Red Bull and the dominant Mercedes, but he concedes he’s still winding down after a tiring 21-round season.

“It’s tiring, it’s taxing and the seasons are long; you know this was our longest season ever,” he said, acknowledging the decision of reigning champion Nico Rosberg to vacate his Mercedes seat by retiring within a week of claiming the title.

“Let’s say, at the time, it [Rosberg’s decision] surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it, but once I realised it I understood it,” Ricciardo said.

“I understand that. I mean, yeah, to have a family and do everything and to be under that stress and pressure. And he’s been doing it ??? not only is he older than me, he has been in it his whole life. His dad was a champion, so even before he was racing his life was probably heavily involved in the sport.

“And then it’s been four weeks since the last race and yet we are still talking about F1, so it doesn’t really stop, which takes its toll. So I understand it from his point of view.”

Ricciardo is comfortable that the wider tyres and lower-slung car designs will play to Red Bull’s aerodynamic strengths and, having extended his contract during the year, said he was never in the running to take Rosberg’s place at Mercedes.

“I’m sure a lot of people wanted it. Let’s be honest, it is currently the best seat in terms of speed and whatnot. I said it from once I heard the news: whoever gets that seat better know what they are getting and better appreciate it because it is not every day that someone offers the best seat in the house. So, sure, it is a very good one to be in and, whoever ends up getting the nod, hopefully they run with it. I obviously don’t want them to beat me, but hopefully they don’t take it for granted.”

Ricciardo thinks that Mercedes will be the team to beat again.

“It depends who they sign up, but obviously Lewis [Hamilton] will be hard to beat whoever they do, but it is one of those ones. Teams dominate in F1 and they sort of go through their periods, but with rule changes and that I still think that Mercedes will be quick. If the rules were the same next year then it would be a no-brainer that is the seat that everyone wants, but with a few changes it might just make it a little more questionable, but I still think they’ll be very strong.”

As for his fitness, Ricciardo knows there’s hard work ahead as extra muscle and stamina will be required with car speeds likely to increase by as much as five seconds a lap.

“It’s really just off-season time, but once January starts my trainer comes over ??? he’ll come to Perth straight after the new year and we’ll get a bit of a head start here and then head off from here,” Ricciardo said.

“The team will be in touch every now and then and maybe ask a couple of things, but more driver comfort things as opposed to design and that. I’ll be honest, in terms of design and that I’m nowhere near capable of telling the guys what shape that part should be ??? but I guess where I’m sort of strong is once we drive the car, it’s then telling them what I think we should do now.”

And his title chances?

“We’ll see. We’ll see what happens. You definitely need everything to fall into place, but I personally feel ready. Definitely hungry enough that’s for sure.”

# An extended interview with Daniel Ricciardo will be published in the Saturday Age.

Brenton Avdulla has narrow escape from stewards as Wyong Magic Millions in focus

Near miss: Brenton Avdulla bagged an early treble at Warwick Farm. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网南京夜生活NSW premiership leader Brenton Avdulla can further Chris Waller’s hopes of a first Magic Millions success after stewards admitted they were hoping the state’s hottest jockey won a controversial photo finish that prevented a serious charge at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
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Avdulla, who will be legged aboard Madame Moustache in the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions Classic on Thursday, bagged a quartet of winners at Warwick Farm that had him under the microscope of stipes for his riding late on Good Time Charlie, the second leg of his four-timer.

Fearing Joe Pride’s three-year-old was shifting ground over the final metres, Avdulla’s vigour relented for a “stride and a half” as Good Time Charlie had just a half-head to spare in a photo from the fast-finishing Gauguin wide out on the track.

“Watching the race live we were hoping the photo finish would go your way,” acting chief steward Phillip Dingwall told Avdulla. “All’s well that ends well.”

Avdulla explained to stewards he could hear yelling behind him and was concerned a runner might have been to his outside, but Dingwall said there wasn’t a rival within “cooee” and his explanation “wouldn’t be a successful defence against a charge and you’re fortunate you got the bob in”.

“I didn’t go 100 per cent on him because I could feel him shifting,” Avdulla said while explaining the horse was hanging the entire race.

The in-form hoop had earlier ridden Waller’s Oklahoma Girl to victory in the first race and will be hoping the winning combination can be preserved for 24 hours on Madame Moustache, who is already a Saturday metropolitan winner in Sydney.

Subsequent Golden Slipper and Magic Millions hero Capitalist won the Wyong race en route to the Gold Coast last year when beating Niccolance, who was the first big money-spinning ride for then apprentice Koby Jennings.

Jennings has been booked for Gary Portelli’s smart trialist Single Bullet ($5.50), who is on the third line of betting behind Madeenaty ($2.10).

“It was really good to stick with Niccolance until then and it was the first horse I had ridden that was in the market [in a big race],” Jennings said.

“[Single Bullet] is a laid-back bugger and he showed a lot more [last] Saturday morning because he worked alongside Falconic.

“He looks really sharp, but on [Tuesday] morning he just did his own thing before a horse came up alongside him and then gave me a good feel.

“He feels like a natural speedy two-year-old and a few of his workers have had a bit of an opinion of him.”

Meanwhile, Tony Hodgson has been appointed deputy chairman of Racing NSW as the governing body prepares for boss John Messara’s retirement at the end of the month.

Acting racing minister David Elliott extended Hodgson’s term by another three years and elevated him into the role, which was previously occupied by Russell Balding who will take over from Messara.

“During his tenure on the board Mr Hodgson has played a significant role in helping establish the Championships, a destination event to reinvigorate the Sydney autumn carnival as the state’s premier racing event, increasing prize money to over $200 million per year and introducing stronger integrity measures,” Elliott said.

Nick Kyrgios is a ‘great, great player’, says Roger Federer

Roger Federer says it’s important to know where the boundaries are. Photo: Joe ArmaoNick Kyrgios is a “great, great player” according to Roger Federer, but the Australian has to be willing “to work at it” if he wants to have a successful career.
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Federer, who is preparing for his comeback at the Hopman Cup and Australian Open in January after a six-month layoff with a back injury, says he’s been impressed with Kyrgios ever since he first trained with him in 2014.

“What I know is he’s an exciting player to watch. He’s a great shotmaker, got a massive serve and with those capabilities come great potential for great results,” Federer told The New York Times.

“The question is, the mind, the body, how much is he willing to work at it? And he seems to check in and out of that sometimes, but ever since he came to Zurich to train with me a month before he beat Rafa [Nadal] at Wimbledon, I’ve thought he was a great, great player. And he still is going to stay that way for years to come.

“The question is how much does he want it? I think it’s all going to boil down to that, and that’s going to determine how much success he’s going to have.”

Kyrgios, who will also begin his 2017 at the Hopman Cup, is returning to competition after serving a ban following his suspension for “conduct contrary to the integrity of the game” during a tournament in Shanghai.

Kyrgios was initially suspended for eight weeks and fined $3200 following his behaviour on court during a 48-minute loss to Mischa Zverev after appearing to put in no effort at various stages of the match – even walking to the change of ends before one of his opponent’s serves had landed. Chair umpire Ali Nilli told Kyrgios: “You can’t play like that, OK? That’s not professional.”

His ban was reduced to three weeks after he underwent a number of sessions with a sports psychologist.

Federer, who is regarded as not only one of the greatest players of all-time but also one of the most respected, said it was important that the next generation of players behaved well on and off the court.

“I think it would be good to have because our game sort of creates that, like golf. We have usually classy players, classy attitudes. But at the same time, I don’t believe everybody has to be exactly like that. I like different attitudes, different characters, different talk, different behaviour,” Federer said.

“Obviously, if you step outside the box, it’s like a kid, you tell them, ‘no, you’re not allowed to do that’. And that’s why you have rules, but you can stretch the rules. I’m cool with that. Nick I’m sure knows what the boundaries are more now because of what happened.”

Federer, who along with Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have dominated the men’s circuit for more than a decade, said the old guard were looking over their shoulders at the next generation of stars such as Kyrgios, Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem.

“I think next year we’ll know again better who is going to be that next player, and I think it’s going to be an exciting year as well with the youngsters and with us coming back, Rafa and me, and Andy and Novak fighting for what they are fighting for.

“I think Raonic is on the doorstep. Can Stan [Wawrinka] win another slam this next year? There are some great storylines. I’ve always been a big fan of young players coming up and there seems to be some talent there now, which I like to see.”