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Lifestyle and breast cancer link probed

Hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle choices do not boost the risk of breast cancer associated with a dozen common genetic mutations, a new study finds.

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Factors such as hormone treatment, alcohol consumption, obesity and giving birth to a first child later in life have all been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.

A number of common genetic variations also correlate with the disease, albeit weakly.

Genetic vs. non-genetic cancers

Earlier research suggested that combining the two types of risk factors could amplify the overall danger, but results were inconclusive.

To help tease apart genetic and non-genetic influences, scientists led by Ruth Travis at the University of Oxford examined the medical histories of some 17,350 women, 7,160 of whom had developed breast cancer.

All of the participants provided blood samples for genetic testing and information on lifestyle habits. Most of the women were post-menopausal.

Environmental factors

The researchers looked for 12 variants in the women’s DNA known to boost the danger of cancer.

They also measured 10 environmental risk factors: age at puberty, number of births, age at first birth, breastfeeding, menopausal status, age at menopause, use of hormone therapy, body fat, height and alcohol intake.

Surprisingly, none of the 120 possible match-ups between a single genetic variant and a behavioural or body-type risk factor showed a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk.

“There was no convincing evidence for gene-environment interaction,” the researchers concluded.

Risky behaviours ‘modifiable’

The study did not cover data on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which have a far stronger association to breast cancer than the other genetic variants examined but are much rarer.

“Genes account for only a small proportion of breast cancers for most women and for most women the main risk remains the lifestyle factors,” said Oxford’s Jane Green, a co-author of the study.

“The good news is that some of these are modifiable, so by changing their behaviour women can alter their risk of breast cancer.”

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2019年1月15日 上海性息

Panel members debut on Insight

Insight has recruited voters from the most marginal seats in Australia to follow the election campaign and give their frank assessment each week of the leaders and their policies.

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Meet the Panel

Watch: Insight ‘Game On’

Last night they joined the Insight audience to share their thoughts, grievances and concerns with Liberal powerbroker Senator Nick Minchin and Labor’s campaign spokesman, MP Chris Bowen.

The Panel expressed their concern over the abilities of Liberal Leader Tony Abbott.

Di Williams, a self-funded retiree from the Brisbane electorate of Bonner said she was concerned about his performance in interviews.

“He doesn’t appear to have any confidence – confidence is really important. They ask him a question and because it is not rehearsed, he doesn’t know what to say. It is like he needs somebody behind him saying, “This is what you say.” And he’s just stumbling. He doesn’t know how to get out of a mess that he’s in,” she said.

South Australian Adrian Beacham, 49, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It is not so much the stumble, it is a full-blown trip! He is falling over! He really is!”

On the topic of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Panel were particularly concerned about the way she came to power.

“I think the way that Julia Gillard got the position of Prime Minister, I don’t agree with it at all. I think it was downright disgusting,” Beacham said.

Emily Cullen, a part-time university student from the Queensland electorate of Dawson said she had “no confidence” in the Prime Minister.

“She seemed so loyal when she was behind Kevin Rudd and then out of nowhere, she came out and next thing you know she was leader,” she said.

Members of the Panel will appear on Insight each week to give their opinion on the progress of the election campaign.

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Israeli boat raid: What the bloggers say

Tens of thousands of people have gathered outside Israeli embassies and consulates across the globe to demonstrate against the incident, which left at least nine activists dead.

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And the protests have gone online too, with thousands making their opinions – both pro- and anti-Israel – on the issue clear.

British actor and writer David Schneider (@davidschneider) expressed the frustration felt by many at Israel’s controversial actions in a post on Twitter.

“As a Jew, Israel’s like a close family member who’s hooked on heroin and you just don’t know what to do with them any more,” he wrote.

Growing sense of anger

Within Israel, too, there was a sense of growing anger, and a feeling that the country was shooting itself in the foot with its raid on an aid convoy.

Yossi Melman, of left-wing daily Ha’aretz, writes that – eyes wide open – Israel has fallen into a trap.

“The organizers of the flotilla wanted to present the Israel Defense Forces to the world as an army that does not hesitate to use force,” he said.

“The flotilla organizers wanted deaths, casualties, blood and billows of smoke. And this is exactly what Israel gave them.”

Fellow Ha’aretz blogger Bradley Burston argues the crisis shows that Israel’s enemies know the country better than it knows itself.

“Hamas, and no less, Iran and Hezbollah, learned early on that Israel’s own embargo against Hamas-ruled Gaza was the most sophisticated and powerful weapon they could have deployed against the Jewish state. Here in Israel, we have still yet to learn the lesson.”

‘Peaceful activist’ claims ‘a lie’

And he warns that Monday’s raid on the flotilla has backfired spectacularly.

“Keen to have the world focus on Iran and the threat it poses to the people of Israel, Netanyahu must recognize that the world is now focused on Israel and the threat it poses to the people of Gaza.”

But not all commentators are against Israel’s actions. Right-wing blogger Benjamin Kerstein writes in The New Ledger that claims Israeli soldiers “wantonly fired upon the peaceful activists… killing many” are “a lie”.

“But it is a lie that will be repeated ad nauseum over the coming days, until it takes on all the appearance of truth.

“As you watch this happen, note well what it says about the people who repeat this lie, and the ease with which it is accepted by many ostensibly sensible and right thinking people.

“And note as well what this says about their claims to be compassionate, liberal, concerned citizens of the world.”

‘Self-defence’ claims

SBS’s own messageboards have also been used to share readers’ thoughts on the events of the past 24 hours.

Adam from the ACT spoke of his disbelief at the decision to carry out the raid – and at Israel’s justification for it:

“Israeli commandos undertake a pirate raid on an unarmed charity mission in international waters, and it’s somehow self-defence?

“This act flouts every international law and is utterly despicable. I used to support Israel, but nobody can justify this. “

Meanwhile, Milali from ‘Goldy’ said it was difficult for most Australians to share a real understanding of the circumstances surrounding the raid.

“I think its difficult to put into perspective when we live in a quiet safe country. If I lived in a country where mortars could blow me up at any minute I think I would see this issue differently.

‘Human shields’ on boats

“It looks like the Israelis were provoked and it just seems like there is big business involved here making sure the war machine rolls on in the Mid East.”

And Tim from ‘Brissy’ did not have much sympathy for the Australian injured in the raid, explaining: “When you place yourself in harm’s way you are accepting the risks.

“Civilian protesters boarded a ship as human shields and called Israel’s bluff. The bluff failed, and when the protest turned violent, soldiers did what they do best.

“I would like to say I feel sorry for my fellow Aussie but you wanted to be a human shield: mission accomplished.”

Within hours of the raid, those angry at Israel were using the internet to set up rallies.

Israeli Noa Yachot urged her Facebook friends to join a protest at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, warning them: “Don’t bring anything sharp lest the heavily-armed security forces fear for their lives and open fire”.

British-Israeli Alex Stein, who has previously served in the Israeli army, posted on Facebook that he was “increasingly convinced that Israel is being run by Iranian agents”.

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Telstra defends CEO’s pay packet

Telstra has defended chief executive David Thodey’s $8.

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8 million pay packet after a shareholder questioned whether the telco’s performance justified such a salary.

At the telco’s annual general meeting in Sydney, shareholder David Jackson questioned an 8.7 per cent increase that lifted Mr Thodey’s base pay to $2.65 million last year.

The CEO also received millions in bonuses and incentive-based shares.

“If you can allow an 8.7 per cent increase in the base pay of Mr Thodey, it doesn’t sit very well with many shareholders and many employees because they have not received anything like that,” he said during questions from the floor of an otherwise low-key meeting.

Mr Jackson said Telstra’s earnings had been flat over the past five years, and was applauded by most of the 500-strong audience when he said shareholders were “paying lots of money and quite often for results which are not very satisfactory”.

Chairman Catherine Livingstone said executives were rewarded according to their performance, and defended Telstra’s recent results, saying the market and technology had undergone enormous change.

“Every year David Thodey and his team have to cope with the fact that half a billion dollars of revenue on fixed-line voice will no longer be there,” Ms Livingstone said.

“That revenue has to be replaced.

“We regard the performance of the executive team in managing the business model change in Telstra as warranting the remuneration that we provide.”

The remuneration report was passed with 98 per cent shareholder support.

Telstra faced further criticism from the Community and Public Sector Union, which mounted a small protest outside the AGM over more than 3,000 jobs cut by the telco this year.

Ms Livingstone said Telstra’s workforce was “rebalancing”.

“While we have proposed that in our operations workforce, certain roles will reduce by around 1,100 jobs by June next year, we have made other announcements recently that could result in close to 1,000 jobs being added by operations in other areas,” she said.

Mr Thodey also signalled further cost savings.

“We believe there remains further opportunity to improve operational efficiency while growing new business opportunities,” he said.

Telstra would continue to spend the same percentage of its sales revenue on the rollout of the 4G mobile network, he added.

Telstra’s capital expenditure was $3.8 billion in 2012/13.

“We expect capital expenditure to be around 15 per cent of sales as we continue to build out our 4G mobile network and complete the build of the NBN transit network,” he said.

Ms Livingstone said the telco would continue working under existing contracts for the National Broadband Network while the new federal government carried out reviews of the project.

Telstra shares added seven cents to $5.00 on Tuesday.

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2019年9月18日 上海性息

Aust close to world champion target: ASC

Sick about the Socceroos, worried about the Wallabies, testy about the Test cricketers?

Too often Australians are looking in the wrong places for the reflected glow of sporting success, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) politely suggests.

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ASC chiefs on Tuesday reported on progress in meeting the 20-plus world championships target they set for the first year of their revamped sports funding program, Australia’s Winning Edge, launched after the disappointing overall London Olympic campaign.

With $100 million out a total of $120 million of taxpayers’ money a year going from the ASC into the high performance end of Australian sport, they’re keen to show it’s closely monitored and results are definitely required.

They listed 18 current world champions, or recent winners of “iconic international events” – with the good chance the Kangaroos at the Rugby League World Cup can join them before the year is out.

“Whilst there has been attention on the struggling fortunes of Australia’s men’s cricket, rugby and football teams, it should not overshadow these performances,” said ASC chairman John Wylie.

He believed there was an “overwhelming and disproportionate amount of attention paid to the marquee professional sports” which crowded out some great achievements.

The ASC list of 18 includes 13 sports, headed by London Games problem sport swimming with three world champions – Cate Campbell, James Magnussen and Christian Sprenger.

It also, significantly, includes more women’s titles – 10, with women’s sport – “one of the great under-appreciated stories in Australian sport” – one area targeted for potential rich rewards.

The ASC did acknowledge aspects of their list may be debated – for example it includes an Australian Open mixed doubles tennis title.

Australia’s Winning Edge is a multi-faceted 10-year program, which set lofty goals including Australia finishing top five on the medal table at the Summer Olympics, top 15 at Winter Olympics and No.1 at the Commonwealth Games.

Improving governance of the various sports is another key role, with continued ASC funding for seven leading Olympic sports depending on conforming to its guidelines.

The ASC rated as “low”, the current level of reform progress being made by cycling, which needed to integrate its three main bodies, Cycling Australia, BMX Australia and Mountainbike Australia.

The doping-scandal hit sport also needs to find a new Cycling Australia president to replace Klaus Mueller, who stepped down in August, as an “urgent priority” with significant progress needed in cycling before the ASC allocates the next’s year’s funding in March.

The other six sports – athletics, basketball, hockey, rowing, sailing and swimming – rated between medium and high in progress toward meeting the new mandatory standards.

SC CEO Simon Hollingsworth said: “We are enormously encouraged by the way sports have risen to the challenge and embraced change.”

Wylie praised the progress in swimming since the controversies stemming from the London Games flop, particularly the recent appointment of “inspirational figure” John Bertrand as Swimming Australia president.

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Foreign coaches get the hook as Australia fails on world stage

In a miserable 2013 tempered only by golfer Adam Scott’s triumph at the U.

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S. Masters, a proud sporting nation has endured the continuing travails of their once all-conquering cricket team and the defeat of the Wallabies rugby team at the hands of the British and Irish Lions.

The latest humiliation came when the Socceroos, fresh from qualifying unconvincingly for next year’s World Cup finals, were handed back-to-back 6-0 thrashings in friendlies against former world champions Brazil and France.

The blame for latter defeat in Paris last weekend was apportioned less than two hours after the final whistle with German coach Holger Osieck summarily dismissed by Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief David Gallop.

Rugby coach Robbie “Dingo” Deans was given a full three days after a third test hammering in July that decided the Lions series before the New Zealander “stood down” to end five-and-a-half years in charge of the Wallabies.

The main event of the cricket year had not even been reached when South African Micky Arthur was the victim of a shock pre-emptive strike, his short reign curtailed after a 4-0 defeat in India but before the Ashes series against England.

Both were the first foreigners to be put in charge of the respective teams and both were succeeded by Australians.

Osieck might yet be replaced by another coach from beyond Australia’s shores but public sentiment, as represented by the media, is resolutely behind giving a local man a chance.

“His demise highlights the folly of using foreign coaches to lead Australian national teams over long periods,” columnist Andrew Webster wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.

“Osieck and his predecessor, Pim Verbeek, are technocrats who never embraced the unique Australian manner in which we play on the international stage: punching above our weight, against nations with far larger player numbers to choose from.

“Foreign coaches don’t bleed like home-grown ones. They are merely fulfilling a contract.”

NO QUICK-FIX

The examples of the Australian cricket and rugby union teams suggests, though, that taking the coaching job back “in-country” is no quick-fix for a struggling team.

Arthur’s replacement Darren Lehmann oversaw a 3-0 defeat in England and his team face an uphill struggle in the return series, which starts in Brisbane on November 21.

Ewen McKenzie was handed the Wallabies job ahead of World Cup-winning South African Jake White but has lost two tests each to New Zealand and the Springboks, only tasting victory in his first six matches against Argentina.

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou, one of the top local candidates for the Socceroos job, initially urged caution over the groundswell of support for an “Australian only” approach to recruitment.

“The only thing I would recommend strongly is to appoint the best person for the job,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“I don’t like this whole ‘Let’s go local as opposed to overseas’. It’s our national team, whoever the best person for the job is, that’s who should get it.”

On Tuesday, though, after two days in which he firmed as media favourite for the post, he conceded that an Australian would have more invested in the job.

“There’s no doubt, in any code and in any country, if you’re coaching the national team and you come from that country, there’s always that little extra bit you’ll put into it,” he told SEN radio.

“An Australian has to live in this country once he’s finished that job.

“I think there’s some sense in saying that if there’s an Australian who’s ready for it, you know, then that would be the way to go.”

Despite saying that recruiting an Australian coach would “make sense”, Gallop said the FFA had already put out feelers to Guus Hiddick, the Dutchman who led Australia to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup.

Whoever takes the job, though, will inherit a very different squad from that Hiddink took over in 2005, a generation of players who blossomed into Australia’s finest.

Given the current teams just managed to squeak past the likes of Oman, Iraq and Jordan to get to Brazil, there is a case for suggesting that, whether led by Australian or foreigner, expectations for the Socceroos might be a little bit too high.

(Editing by John O’Brien)

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US crisis: In-depth analysis with Huw McKay

As the US government shutdown enters its third week and debt-ceiling negotiations continue, Huw McKay, a United States Studies Centre scholar at the University of Sydney, provides a negative forecast for the world’s largest economy.

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Given the US stands at the centre of the global economy, the potential effects of the shutdown could reach an international scale.

The US treasury expects cash reserves to fall to a point where government cannot credibly run by October 17.

Mr Mckay predicts the ramifications of US instability will produce a global ripple-effect.

“The public sectors influence on the American Economy in 2014 will be negative,” he said.

According to Mr McKay, “the world growth number needs to come in line with the US,” as a direct result of the shutdown.

Further, he states the emergent market forecast with China, India and Brazil must decrease, and that has implications for Australia.

Most deadlines are non-negotiable, however delays and demand for concessions have stalled progress to a solution.

Mr McKay said the debt ceiling should be absolutely formulaic and mechanical.

A number of foreign investors were also fearful of the US financial vulnerability and the losses they may face.

But investor options are limited.

“For now there is no alternative for these holders. They have trillions of dollars to invest, they need liquidity, and the US treasury market, for better or for worse, is the only market which meets the important criteria for foreign exchange,” Mr McKay said.

Looking into the future, he points to China, the single biggest holder outside of the US Federal Reserve, as an obvious candidate to supplant the US treasury centric system. 

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Cochlear expects steady profit in 2014

Hearing implant maker Cochlear expects profit to be flat in the current financial year as its operating margin comes under pressure.

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The company will receive less revenue from foreign exchange hedges in the 2013/14 financial year, and will maintain its spending on research and development, chairman Rick Holliday-Smith says.

“These decisions mean there is some pressure in the short term on the operating margin,” he told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Sydney.

Net profit in 2013/14 is expected to be similar to the previous year’s $132.6 million, with most to be made in the second half of the year, he said.

Cochlear’s interim dividend is expected to be $1.27 per share, compared to $1.25 in the prior corresponding period, Mr Holliday-Smith said.

The final dividend is also expected to be at $1.27, in line with the prior corresponding period.

Shares in Cochlear were down 90.5 cents at $59.005 at 1435 AEDT.

Cochlear’s 2012/13 annual profit was significantly higher than the previous year’s, when Cochlear was hit by costs from a recall of the CI500 series implant.

Chief executive Chris Roberts said Cochlear had invested heavily in research and the development of new products over the last five years, and those new products would start rolling out in earnest in 2013/14.

“There’s more going out this year than in any other year that we’ve ever had,” Dr Roberts said.

“Fiscal 2014 is a year of significant activity that is really going to set the company up for growing momentum in the second half of fiscal 2014, going into fiscal 2015.”

Cochlear has just started to launch its Nucleus 6 sound processor, which the company says is the most advanced and smallest sound processor on the market.

It also expects its emerging range of acoustic implants to make progress in the 2013/14 financial year, following initial sales in 2012/13.

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Comment: Jellyfish born in space aren’t happy on Earth

By Rebecca Helm, Brown University

Why send jellyfish to space? Well, because it’s awesome which is true of anything involving space.

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But mostly because of little crystals that they keep in their bodies, and what these crystals can tell us about long-term human space travel.

When a jellyfish grows, it forms calcium sulfate crystals at the margin of its body (termed a bell). These crystals are surrounded by a little cell pocket, coated in specialised hairs, which are equally spaced around the bell. When jellyfish turn, the crystals roll down with gravity to the bottom of the pocket, moving the cell hairs, which in turn send signals to nerve cells. In this way, jellyfish are able to sense their way up and down. All they need for this to happen is gravity.

Humans have gravity sensing structures too, and therein lies the crux: in space with no gravity, will these structures grow normally? If humans ever want to colonise places in deep space, then we may need to have kids in zero gravity. Will these kids develop normal gravity sensing, even after growing up without it?

For jellyfish, at least, things aren’t so good. After developing in space, these astronaut jellyfish have a hard life back on Earth. While development of the sensory pockets appears normal, many more jellies had trouble getting around once on the planet, including pulsing and movement abnormalities, compared to their Earth-bound counterparts.

 

Weightlessness, it’s my thing.

 

Human gravity sensing isn’t exactly like that of jellyfish, but it’s close. The human inner ear contains both fluids and small crystals, which tell us not only the angle of our head, but also our forward momentum. Even with these differences, there is enough similarity between the two systems to be cause for concern. In other words, if jellyfish babies have trouble gravity sensing on Earth after being in space, human babies may be in trouble too.

Human births in space could mean a lifetime of Earthly confusion. Long term space travel will be fraught with developmental challenges to the babies growing onboard. If the jellyfish say growing up in space isn’t so great, we better be listening.


First published on DeepSeaNews.

Rebecca Helm does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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2019年8月17日 上海性息

US default ‘almost inconceivable’: Hockey

Financial markets are becoming more confident that US politicians will secure a deal to avoid a US government debt default that could threaten the world economy.

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US Senate leaders in Washington were reportedly close on Monday to an agreement to raise their country’s $US16.7 trillion ($A17.64 trillion) borrowing limit before the October 17 deadline.

There have been repeated disappointments during a political standoff that has left the US government in partial shutdown for two weeks, but Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey remains fairly confident that a deal will be done.

Mr Hockey, who is still in the US following last week’s Group of 20 finance ministers’ meeting, told CNBC television that a default was “almost inconceivable”.

“The world needs America and America needs the world,” he said.

“I think it is that second part that has been lost to some in Congress.”

He said the Australian government has contingency plans in place should the US suffer a “heart attack”.

“Certainly we have back pocket plans to deal with whatever arises over the next few weeks as a result of negotiations,” he said.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) October 1 board meeting minutes released on Tuesday showed it had concerns over the uncertain US budget environment.

The central bank left open the option of further cutting the cash rate, which already sits at an all-time low of 2.5 per cent.

It said there had been two developments over the past month: the appreciation of the exchange rate and the pick up in measures of both consumer and business confidence.

“It was difficult to know how significant the effects of either of these developments would be, partly because it was uncertain whether they would be sustained,” the minutes said.

It noted the Australian dollar had appreciated significantly against the US dollar when the US Federal Reserve refrained from an expected tightening in monetary policy, but said the currency was still about 10 per cent lower than a peak in April.

The currency struck a four-month high of 95.35 US cents on Tuesday, more than a cent higher than at the time of the board meeting.

The minutes said recent data confirmed that overall Australia growth had been below trend.

Even so, the board believes the effect of low interest rates was evident across a range of indicators and had further to run, noting increased house prices and signs of a coming pick up in dwelling investment.

RBC Capital Markets head of strategy Su-Lin Ong pushed back the timing of an expected rate cut from December to the June quarter 2014.

“The cash rate is likely to remain at an historical low throughout 2014 – and possibly longer – regardless of whether the RBA delivers one final cut or not,” she said in a note to clients.

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SBW left out of Kiwis for warm-up game

Star second-rower Sonny Bill Williams hasn’t been named in the Kiwis team for their World Cup warm-up match against the Cook Islands in Doncaster.

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Coach Stephen Kearney has named an 18-man squad for the international on Sunday, which doesn’t carry Test status, choosing to leave out his six players who were involved in the recent NRL grand final.

That includes Manly Sea Eagles five-eighth Kieran Foran and five players from the champion Sydney Roosters side – wing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and forwards Williams, Sam Moa, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

It means Williams will probably make his international rugby league return when they play the opening match of their World Cup title defence against Samoa in Warrington on October 27.

The 28-year-old dual international hasn’t played for the Kiwis since 2008 and was a controversial late inclusion in the touring party in place of Melbourne Storm second-rower Tohu Harris after making himself available following the official squad announcement.

The team to face the Cook Islands will be captained by Simon Mannering, one of seven Warriors players in the squad, including halves Shaun Johnson and Thomas Leuluai.

Mannering and Leuluai are the most experienced members of the squad with 30 Tests each.

Kiwis:

Josh Hoffman, Jason Nightingale, Krisnan Inu, Dean Whare, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich, Issac Luke, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Simon Mannering (capt), Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Ben Matulino, Alex Glenn, Kevin Locke, Bryson Goodwin

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Fresh injury blows for Wallabies

Australia’s hopes of breaking a 12-year winless drought in New Zealand have been dealt another major blow, with wingers Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia ruled out of Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks.

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The Wallabies have already lost centre and goalkicker Christian Lealiifano and in-form flanker Scott Fardy for the dead rubber clash in Dunedin and the latest injury setbacks on the wing add to an already extensive unavailable list out wide.

Although the Dunedin clash is a dead rubber affair, pride is on the line for the Wallabies as they look to put a disappointing Rugby Championship behind them and take momentum into next month’s spring tour.

Tomane and Queensland flyer Feauai-Sautia both have hamstring injuries, but are expected to be available for the Wallabies’ opening match against England on November 2.

The loss of Tomane is the most significant for coach Ewen McKenzie, given the rugby league convert starred in Australia’s last-start demolition of Argentina, scoring a try and setting up another.

Waratahs winger Peter Betham has been added to the Wallabies’ 24-man squad for the Dunedin match, but Nick Cummins, himself returning from a broken hand, shapes as the frontrunner to replace Tomane.

The injury dramas have added to selection headaches for McKenzie since he took over as Wallabies coach, with Digby Ioane (French rugby), James O’Connor (discipline) and Henry Speight (eligibility) all unavailable.

Last week McKenzie was forced to move Adam Ashley-Cooper from his outside centre position to fill a void on the flanks and if Cummins isn’t selected to start, the rookie Test coach will have to consider shifting Israel Folau to the wing and putting Bernard Foley at fullback.

Matt Toomua is set to replace Lealiifano at No.12 and Ben McCalman tipped to come in for Fardy.

The All Blacks are without backline stars Dan Carter and Conrad Smith, but will still have the Australians well-and-truly beaten for experience out wide.

Prop James Slipper is renowned for his work rate and speed across the ground, but he admits his career will be defined by his consistency at scrum time.

Australia struggled to match South Africa and New Zealand at the set piece throughout the Rugby Championship, but the forwards have a chance to prove they’ve made progress against the All Blacks.

Slipper, 24, has been earmarked as the future of the Wallabies front row.

He’s a favourite of coach McKenzie, because his pace, power and workhorse qualities give the Wallabies the equivalent of a fourth backrower at the breakdown.

“As we all know, scrummaging is the No.1 priority job for a front rower,” Slipper said.

“I do feel like our scrum is an improvement throughout the year and for me personally, I feel like I’m getting through a lot of work around the field. But obviously scrums and the set piece is my first job.

“I still feel like I’m at the start of my career. This year has been great to have an opportunity to start a few games. I’m pretty happy with my form.”

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Toyota to cuts jobs and slash costs

Toyota will axe up to 100 jobs and must slash the cost of building cars in Australia to ensure the future of its local manufacturing operations.

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The company will call for voluntary redundancies at its Altona plant in Melbourne, where it currently employs about 2500 people, with the jobs to be go by the end of November.

In December it will cut production from 470 to 430 vehicles a day in response to a major fall in demand from the Middle East.

Toyota has recently built about 100,000 cars a year in Australia with 70 per cent of those destined for export markets.

The job losses are another blow to Australia’s struggling auto sector and put further pressure on the federal government to maintain or even increase financial support.

More worrying is Toyota’s need to cut the cost of building each car in Australia by $3800 by 2018 in order for its local manufacturing to remain viable.

Executive vice president Dave Buttner says Toyota has a long-term vision to continue as a local producer but must make savings.

“We’ve just got to keep working hard to reduce our overall cost base,” Mr Buttner said.

“That’s the key to our ongoing sustainability as a manufacturer.”

Toyota has not asked the federal government for more financial assistance and will work with the commonwealth on key issues affecting the automotive sector.

Cost cuts made so far will allow Toyota Australia to proceed with the next facelifts on its current cars, both for the domestic and export markets.

Its next hurdle is to secure the next generation of locally-manufactured product.

“Because of the long-term nature and lead times in our industry, those decisions will be happening some time throughout 2014,” Mr Buttner said.

Toyota’s latest job cuts follow a move by the company to axe 350 jobs in April last year, Holden’s decision to cut 400 jobs earlier this year amid ongoing fears for the future of its local operations, and Ford’s plan to close its manufacturing operations by 2016.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said the job losses were “terrible news” for an industry that was doing it tough but was vital to Australia and deserved ongoing assistance.

Labor industry spokesman Kim Carr said the cuts should remind the government of the cost pressures facing the car industry.

“If we want to see major employers like our car makers stay in business, providing jobs for Australians, we need to back them,” he said.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the federal government remained committed to working with the car industry on the challenges it faced and said the government’s plans for a productivity commission review of the sector were proceeding.

“This is a difficult time for affected workers at Toyota,” he said.

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