Plane crashes at Wales airport and witnesses see ‘massive explosion’

PANIC has surfaced across a Welsh airport tarmac after a frightening plane crash caused a “massive explosion”.

A runway at Caernarfon Airport, Gwynedd has been brought to a standstill after the frightening crash generated a huge “fireball”.

Large teams of emergency service workers were called to the scene at 6.24pm local time — after reports of an explosion.

The latest pictures capture plumes of smoke billowing from the plane, reports The Sun.

A witness told the Daily Postshe heard a “very loud boom” and saw a “massive fireball” after the aircraft started to fly very low.

The plane was reportedly trying to land.

Another witness reportedly said the plane was “flying too fast” before it dramatically hit the tarmac.

During its crash landing, the onlooker said debris was “flying off” the aircraft, and “caught fire straight away”.

North Wales police are at the runway, dealing with the incident.

A cordon has now been set up around the airport, as emergency services continue to deal with the smoking aircraft.

Caernarfon airport — home to the HM Coastguard helicopters, operated by Bristow — operates training flights.

Welshpool air ambulance have been called to the scene, along with another smaller aircraft.

This article was first published in The Sun.

http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/plane-crashes-at-wales-airport-and-witnesses-see-massive-explosion/news-story/15368f2490144e64df4b197048f31f91

Usman Khawaja dropped for second Test

AUSTRALIA faces a huge task to rebuild dumped batsman Usman Khawaja’s confidence after a plan to give him back-to-back Test matches was sacrificed in the Chittagong dust.

Khawaja has been virtually guaranteed his No.3 spot back for the Ashes, but the riddle of how to unlock his talents overseas is no closer to being solved. There is extreme doubt over whether he can ever play a Test in the subcontinent again after his latest stint in the baggy green lasted just one match.

The 30-year-old was axed for the sixth time in his enigmatic 24-Test career; the third consecutive Asian series in the space of 12 months where he’s failed to convince selectors of his worth.

It’s almost unheard of for a batsman averaging 45 in Test cricket to be so regularly and so ruthlessly stranded in no-man’s land, but after such a devastating loss in Dhaka, Khawaja had made himself a sitting duck with a horror outing in the first Test.

National Selector Trevor Hohns said the call to drop Khawaja to accommodate Hilton Cartwright was a “warranted” horses for courses decision and had no wider-reaching ramifications other than the balance of a spin heavy XI for a tricky series-saving scenario in Chittagong.

SPIN TO WIN: Southpaw slayer Lyon sounds Ashes warning

“We have selected a team for this Test based on playing the conditions we are faced with in Chittagong,” said National Selector, Trevor Hohns.

“The inclusion of Cartwright is warranted, he brings solid batting to the side and also gives the captain an extra medium pace option due to Pat Cummins being the only fast bowler in the XI.”

Cartwright has now come from the clouds to be in the box seat to be Australia’s No. 6 for the Ashes.

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade survived for Chittagong but is on his absolute last chance and needs runs, while Glenn Maxwell is also on the chopping block unless he can fire with a big score.

Unlucky quick Jackson Bird is starting to break world records for most matches as 12th man, having now not played a game in Sri Lanka, India or Bangladesh.

In what has been a forgettable 12 months for Khawaja, his cricket development has gone backwards at a crucial time in his career. Even though he will get three Sheffield Shield matches before England arrive in late November, the challenge of re-establishing himself as an international force is profound.

No longer a fixture in the side, Khawaja must find a way to go to the next level as a cricketer, with Australian coach Darren Lehmann making it clear he wants players for all conditions.

Khawaja felt he was made a “scapegoat” when he lost his place after two Tests in Sri Lanka last year, and he must now digest the brutal fact that his latest Test comeback has lasted just one match.

He has played just one international match since January 22 and has sat on the sidelines for five of Australia’s six matches in Asia this year.

After Steve Smith and David Warner, Khawaja is the standout Australian batsman of the past three years.

The good news is both Lehmann and captain Steve Smith have all-but guaranteed Khawaja that the desperate run he’s encountered overseas will not translate to the start of the Ashes summer.

“There was certainly a feel of (giving Khawaja two Tests). It is important to have a settled group where you possibly can. Obviously the result didn’t go our way so we have to think what we are doing there … but for the Ashes, we are pretty clear on where we are going and who want to play in that scenario in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and all of those wickets,” said Lehmann.

“Most of the guys obviously know the Australian conditions really well.”

http://www.news.com.au/sport/cricket/usman-khawajas-confidence-ahead-of-ashes-shattered-after-being-dropped-in-bangladesh/news-story/636981a3e82c9b7b7a4e7453ff5d78ec

South Sydney part ways with Michael Maguire by mutual consent effective immediately.

SOUTH Sydney owner Russell Crowe paid tribute to Michael Maguire for bringing the Rabbitohs “out of the 43-year wilderness” just hours after he was axed as Rabbitohs head coach.

The Rabbitohs sensationally sacked head coach Maguire, just three years after he led the club to a famous grand final triumph.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Anthony Seibold, the man who helped engineer Queensland’s remarkable State of Origin victory this year, has become the leading contender to coach South Sydney.

Crowe, who embraced Maguire on the ANZ Stadium turf when they ended their 43-year premiership drought in 2014, spoke glowingly of the 43-year-old.

“Michael has given South Sydney six dedicated years, he brought us a premiership, brought us out of the 43 year wilderness,” Maguire said.

“I hold him in the highest regard as a Coach and as a man. The fact that the board, the chairman, the CEO, the GM of football and Michael were able to talk frankly about future direction and come to an amicable and mutual agreement speaks to maturity of our culture which Michael has given so much effort to building.”

Less than 12 months after signing a three-year extension, Maguire fronted a Rabbitohs board meeting yesterday and was dumped, effective immediately, with two years remaining on his contract.

“He took us from the shit house to the penthouse,” Souths legend Craig Coleman said. “It’s a sad day for Souths fans. He did a fantastic job.”

In a statement, Souths claimed Maguire’s sacking was in the club’s “best interests.”

The Daily Telegraph understands Maguire was genuinely shocked when told of his axing.

The senior playing group were also taken by surprise. They were not consulted and only found out after the decision had been made.

Rising young forward Angus Crichton could not be reached because he was undergoing surgery.

“It’s time for a change here at South Sydney,” Souths general manager of football Shane Richardson said.

The Daily Telegraph understands the Gold Coast Titans and English club Warrington have expressed strong interest in Maguire, who had a successful stint with Wigan before taking the reins at Redfern.

Rookie coach Seibold, 42, is now favourite to succeed Maguire. It would be a gamble as head coach but he comes with a strong reputation.

Fellow Rabbitohs assistant and former Canberra coach David Furner is also in the frame, although the board will give some thought to casting the net beyond Redfern to find Maguire’s replacement.

“Michael helped deliver the premiership title in 2014 and for this we will always be indebted to him. He led us to the premiership victory, the 2015 Auckland Nines win and the 2015 World Club Challenge,” Richardson said.

Rising young forward Angus Crichton could not be reached because he was undergoing surgery.

“It’s time for a change here at South Sydney,” Souths general manager of football Shane Richardson said.

The Daily Telegraph understands the Gold Coast Titans and English club Warrington have expressed strong interest in Maguire, who had a successful stint with Wigan before taking the reins at Redfern.

Rookie coach Seibold, 42, is now favourite to succeed Maguire. It would be a gamble as head coach but he comes with a strong reputation.

Fellow Rabbitohs assistant and former Canberra coach David Furner is also in the frame, although the board will give some thought to casting the net beyond Redfern to find Maguire’s replacement.

“Michael helped deliver the premiership title in 2014 and for this we will always be indebted to him. He led us to the premiership victory, the 2015 Auckland Nines win and the 2015 World Club Challenge,” Richardson said.

“However, we feel it’s time for the club to go along a different path in terms of the leadership of the team and the direction the team is taking, and they are the responsibilities of the head coach.

“Michael also feels it’s in his best interest to head in a different direction in his coaching career.

“He is a great head coach and we believe he will go on to do a good job at another club, but as I said, it’s time for a change here at South Sydney.

“Michael will always be remembered as the coach of our 21st premiership side, he helped bring this club to a new level of professionalism, and we wish him and his family the best of luck for what lies ahead in his career and his family’s future.”

Maguire’s fate was sealed by the Rabbitohs’ recent 64-6 hammering from Melbourne Storm two weeks ago.

Souths insiders claim the club needed to move away from Maguire’s hard-nosed, relentless approach.

Seibold is a Souths assistant coach who filled the same role for the Maroons in the 2-1 series win over the Blues this year. He is also a former Manly assistant coach.

Rockhampton-born Seibold is an ex-Canberra Raiders and Brisbane Broncos player who also played in England and France.

Furner was Paul Green’s assistant coach when North Queensland won the 2015 grand final.

Maguire will seek and receive his payout from the club.

Souths missed the finals again this year with a 64-6 hammering against

Melbourne round 25 signalling the end for Maguire.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/rabbitohs/michael-maguire-leaves-south-sydney-effective-immediatley-by-mutual-consent/news-story/20b834695f214c9ffd35b5200a101895

Houtzen McEwen Stakes; Moonee Valley trackwork

GOLD Coast trainer Toby Edmonds won’t be concerned if his flying three-year-old filly Houtzen has her colours lowered in her return to racing in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) on Saturday at Moonee Valley.

He concedes she’s facing a small but high quality field, while he also has his eyes on the bigger prize, the $10m The Everest at Royal Randwick next month.

THE EVEREST: AVDULLA LOCKED IN FOR CHAMP

Houtzen, who won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, will use the slot held by Aquis Farm.

On Tuesday morning, Houtzen had her first look at Moonee Valley, which will be the venue for her two runs leading into The Everest.

“She’s in a good space. She wasn’t out to break any records and she got on the right leg and clicked up nicely down the running,” Edmonds said.

“If she wins, she wins. It’s not the be-all and end-all. Her main goal is the Everest. It will be more important how she goes second up and third up. She worked with a stablemate and Regan Bayliss was happy with her.”

Edmonds said Craig Williams would ride her on Saturday.

Houtzen won her first four starts, including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and her only defeat was her fifth in the Golden Slipper.

“While she’s not fully wound up, she’s going to have an advantage (on Saturday) as she will carry only 50 kilograms,” Edmonds said.

The Gold Coast trainer said after Saturday, Houtzen would again run at Moonee Valley in the Moir Stakes (1000m) or against her own age in the Scarborough Stakes (1200m) on Friday, September 29.

Baker’s mares warming to task

RENOWNED Kiwi trainer Murray Baker will start his Caulfield Cup mares, Bonneval and Lizzie L’Amour, in Saturday’s Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.

On Tuesday, the pair worked together at Moonee Valley with their raceday jockeys Damian Oliver (Lizzie L’Amour) and Damien Lane (Bonneval) aboard.

Bonneval has won five of her eight starts, including a last start romp in the ATC Oaks, while Lizzie L’Amour won the Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie in March.

Baker said both mares would need the run and regarded Lizzie L’Amour as the better of his pair for Saturday as she had trialled well in New Zealand.

PB Lawrence Stakes winner Hartnell also worked at Moonee Valley and pleased Godolphin’s Melbourne stable manager David Charles. “We just brought him here for a look around. He’s on track for the Makybe Diva Stakes on Saturday week,” Charles said.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/superracing/moonee-valley-houtzen-on-track-ahead-of-mcewen-stakes-this-saturday/news-story/dab54832825ca31bc9ee2f42aff6927e

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went to school in Switzerland

THE place where a young Kim Jong Un is believed to have gone to boarding school as a child has offered its services as a mediator in the growing North Korean missile crisis.

Swiss President Doris Leuthard said she believed the neutral country, along with Sweden, could play a role “behind the curtain” to facilitate dialogue between North Korea, the US and South Korea.

Speaking in the city where Kim Jong Un is believed to have attended boarding school as a child and honed his love for basketball, she warned of “overreactions” amid growing tension.

“I think it really is time for dialogue,” Leuthard told a news conference in Bern.

“We are ready to offer our role for good services as a mediator. I think in the upcoming weeks a lot will depend on how the US and China can have an influence in this crisis. That’s why I think Switzerland and Sweden can have a role behind the curtain.”

She said “sanctions did not change many things” and part of the task now is to find a location for countries to meet.

“I think that’s our role to look at what kind of possibilities we find. Because, well, Twitter won’t be an adequate instrument … This must be very discreet,” she said in reference to President Trump’s warnings often issue via the social media platform.

Her comments come after North Korean chairman Kim Jong Un defied global leaders to test a hydrogen bomb over the weekend in a sign he is not backing down despite tougher sanctions.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said North Korea was “begging for war” and the UN should implement the “strongest possible response.”

“Despite our efforts the North Korea nuclear program is more advanced and more dangerous than ever,” Haley told the council. “War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited.”

If Switzerland does become a mediator it would be a return to the country for Kim-Jong Un, who spent part of his childhood in Bern studying at an international school under a pseudonym, Pak Un.

He is believed to have attended Liebefeld-Steinhölzli school between 1998 and 2000 where he was registered as a child of North Korean embassy workers.

Former students, who did not realise his identity at the time, told of a funny boy who was competitive and loved playing basketball.

Chef Joao Micaelo, who still lives in Bern and was friends with the boy he now believes is the North Korean leader, said he was a “normal guy” interested in sport, movies and computers.

“He was competitive at sports. He didn’t like to lose, like any of us. For him, basketball was everything,” Micaelo told The Telegraph in 2010.

“He played basketball, he had basketball games on his PlayStation. The whole world for him was just basketball all the time,” he said.

“One day, he did actually say to me, ‘My father is the Leader of North Korea’, but I just thought he was making it up. Then a few days later he said he showed me a photo of him with this guy who I now realise was Kim Jong-il. But I knew his father was a diplomat, so I thought it was just some photo from a government event they had attended.

“Otherwise, he hardly ever talked about his home life, although he did play the North Korean music a lot, in particular the national anthem. I can still remember it now.”

Another former classmate Nikola Kovacevic told The Washington Post in 2009 that the child known as Pak Un wore $200 Nike shoes that other children “could only dream of”. He reportedly lived on a quiet street with two pizza shops on it and abruptly left in the middle of the school year.

Liebefeld-Steinhölzli school refused to confirm or deny the young North Korean leader had attended the school, telling news.com.au “we don’t answer questions about this”.

It’s believed Kim Jong Un’s brother, Kim Jong Chol, attended a different school in the area under the name Pak Chol, who also refused to confirm attendance.

“I certainly don’t have any records in that regard,” a spokesman said.

Local education administrator Ueli Studer told Reuters in 2011 a student known only as Pak Un who was registered as the child of a North Korean embassy worker attended the Steinhoelzli school from 1998 until late 2000.

“Pak Un attended a class for non-German speaking pupils but then quickly moved over to another class. He was described as well-integrated, diligent and ambitious. His hobby was basketball,” Mr Studer said.

South Korean officials believe North Korea is preparing for further tests in the lead up to its Foundation Day anniversary on Saturday.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the UN Security Council to consider further measures to force North Korea to “change course”.

“We welcome China’s intent to implement sanctions, and urge it to use its substantial economic and political leverage to rein in North Korea’s actions,” Mr Turnbull said.

President Trump has said all military options are on the table and the US was considering “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/switzerland-offers-to-mediate-amid-rising-tension-with-north-korea/news-story/fdc684d23f41f3a27203e6d40e02ea7c

South Korea says rogue nation is preparing missile launch

SOUTH Korea has detected signs that the North is preparing another missile launch, the defence ministry said Monday, adding it could involve an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The ministry said signs that North Korea was “preparing for another ballistic missile launch have consistently been detected since Sunday’s test”, referring to Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test.

It did not give details, or indicate when a launch might take place.

SOUTH KOREA’S BLUNT REPLY TO BOMB

South Korea has launched a ballistic missile exercise in response to North Korea’s provocative detonation of what it claimed was a miniaturised hydrogen bomb.

The drill involved surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and F-15K fighter jets hitting targets off the east coast of South Korea, simulating a strike on a target as far away as North Korea’s nuclear test site, Punggye-ri.

Monday’s drill was carried out by only the Korean military, but more are being prepared with the US forces in South Korea, the statement said.

Photos have emerged of the military exercise, which were distributed by the South Korean Defence Ministry on Monday.

“South Korea’s military stages ballistic missile exercise in response to N. Korea’s nuke test,” the Yonhap agency said.

Trump is not ruling out a retaliatory strike against North Korea following its most powerful nuclear test to date, which he called “very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

The missile exercise comes as US President Donald Trump and his top general have warned the US is prepared to use “overwhelming” force after North Korea’s nuclear test.

It also comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on China to act against the rogue nation.

Defence chiefs and intelligence agency heads have briefed Mr Turnbull and the National Security Committee of Cabinet on the developing situation in North Korea after it claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb at the weekend.

Mr Turnbull condemned the “shocking” test while updating Parliament on the matter today.

He also confirmed Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and he had agreed to meet with the US government on the matter at the soonest possible opportunity.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australia’s response would continue to be “firm, measured and calm”.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Australians could be assured there was bipartisan condemnation of North Korea’s “deliberate, dangerous and provocative” testing.

He quoted US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, saying “if this goes to a military solution, it will be tragic on an unbelievable scale”.

Asked as he left church services on Sunday whether he was planning to attack the rogue nation after dictator Kim Jong-un ordered a hydrogen bomb test, designed for a long-range missile, President Trump told reporters: “We’ll see.”

The US leader is set to convene a meeting of his national security team later on Sunday to discuss the American response, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin drawing up tough new economic sanctions to further isolate North Korea.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting about 10am Monday (midnight Tuesday AEST) to discuss an international response. The US, Britain, France, Japan and South Korea requested the urgent, open session meeting.

President Trump also tweeted that the US “is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

The tweet suggested he hopes to squeeze China, the North’s patron for many decades and a vital US trading partner, on the economic front, to persuade Beijing to exert leverage on its neighbour.

North Korea’s latest underground blast defied UN resolutions that prohibit Pyongyang from pursuing nuclear and missile programs.

‘NOT TOTAL ANNIHILATION’

After meeting with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis read a brief White House statement in response to North Korea’s latest threat.

“We have many military options, and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them. We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack, and our commitments among the allies are ironclad,” he said.

“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming. Kim Jong-un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

Before walking off, he said: “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”

TURNBULL: CHINA MUST ACT

Malcolm Turnbull has redoubled calls on China to rein in North Korea’s “cruel and evil dictatorship” after the hermit kingdom claimed it tested a hydrogen bomb.

Conflict on the Korean Peninsula could now only be avoided by the regime “coming to its senses”, the Prime Minister said this morning.

Mr Turnbull said Kim Jong-un’s nuclear bomb test was a direct affront to China and called for a “strong Chinese response”.

But the Prime Minister said economic sanctions, not war, were still the next step in pressuring the rogue nation to give up its nuclear and missile testing programs.

“Having a near-neighbour that is bringing the Korean Peninsula closer to war than at any time since the end of the Korean War cannot possibly be in China’s interests,” Mr Turnbull told ABC radio.

China cutting off oil exports to North Korea would put “enormous” economic pressure on the regime, he said.

The Prime Minister called Kim Jong-un an “evil” man in some of his strongest language yet on the North Korean threat.

“This is a person that routinely assassinates members of his own family, other people, other would-be threats into the regime,” he said.

“It is a cruel and evil dictatorship, and he starves his own people.

“This is a shocking, dangerous, provocative, illegal regime that is threatening the peace and security of the region and the world, and is advancing nobody’s interests other than the maintenance of that one family’s dictatorship of North Korea.”

Conflict on the Korean peninsula would be a “disaster” for the region and the world, Mr Turnbull said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said North Korea’s latest missile test was “exponentially” more powerful than any previous test.

“We are still to verify precisely what type of bomb test it was but this is a dangerous escalation and we must redouble our efforts to compel North Korea to change its behaviour and deter it from carrying out any other tests,” she told Sky News.

Ms Bishop said there were still a number of options other than war to be pursued, including more sanctions in addition to the new measures that take effect this week.

WAR OF WORDS

Hours after North Korea called its sixth bomb test a “perfect success” and a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons program, President Trump lashed out on Twitter.

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” President Trump wrote.

“North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success. South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

In retaliation, North Korea issued a statement saying US “imperialists” will not be able to avoid the “greatest disaster” if the Asian nation is “awkwardly provoked”.

The Korean Central News Agency said: “If the US imperialists awkwardly provoke the DPRK, they would not be able to escape from the greatest disaster. Do not forget even a moment that sharp ultra-modern strike means aim at the US. This is a severe warning of Songun Korea.”

NUKE LAUNCH: N Korea conducts ‘flawless’ H-bomb test

N KOREA LAUNCHES SIXTH NUCLEAR TEST

The war of words comes after a large earthquake that appeared to be man-made was detected near the North’s known nuclear test site, indicating that the reclusive country had conducted its sixth nuclear test.

The Korean Central News Agency said the test, which took place at 1.30pm AEST, was carried out to “examine and confirm the accuracy and credibility” of its technology.

Several national geological agencies detected unusual seismic activity near the location of Pyongyang’s previous tests in the country’s northeast at around that time.

The White House said President Trump will meet with his national security team on North Korea today.

FIRE AND FURY: Reality of a N Korean nuclear war

http://www.news.com.au/world/north-korea-preparing-missile-launch-after-successful-test-of-hydrogen-bomb/news-story/07f458a3d7f0dc5cf205740234235991

Harvey damage may be up to $US180 billion

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says damage from Hurricane Harvey would exceed that of epic hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, likely reaching $US150 billion to $US180 billion ($A188 billion to $A226 billion).

Harvey, which came ashore on August 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years, has killed an estimated 47 people and displaced more than 1 million after causing wreckage in an area stretching for more than 480kms.

Abbott, who is advocating for US government aid to repair his state, said the damage would exceed that of Katrina, the storm that devastated New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, and Sandy, which overwhelmed New York city and the US Northeast in 2012.

“Katrina caused if I recall more than $US120 billion but when you look at the number of homes and business affected by this I think this will cost well over $US120 billion, probably $US150 to $US180 billion,” Abbott told Fox News, adding, “this is far larger than Hurricane Sandy”.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has asked Congress for an initial $US7.85 billion for recovery efforts, which Abbott called a “down payment”.

Houston was still struggling to recover on Sunday, when the city forced the evacuation of thousands of people on the western side of town who were affected by the release of floodwater that had built up in a reservoir.

The US Environmental Protection Agency on Saturday raised concerns about 13 Superfund sites, heavily contaminated former industrial zones, that had been flooded and were in danger of spreading toxins.

Damage from the storm is also posing an economic and humanitarian challenge for Trump, who visited Houston on Saturday and met some survivors and rescue workers.

The visit gave Trump an opportunity to show an empathetic side, after some criticised him for staying clear of the disaster zone during a Texas visit on Tuesday. Trump said he did not want to hamper rescue efforts.

http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/harvey-damage-may-be-up-to-us180-billion/news-story/134d4be6642ca07bfe1a9e9f8921488b

North Korea claims it can load hydrogen bomb onto ‘long-range missile’

North Korea’s launch of a missile that flew over Japanese territory has prompted intensified military activity by the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific. The WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains what the heavier presence means for the standoff between Washington and Pyongyang. Photo: AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Picture: AFP

SOUTH Korea claims North Korea may have conducted a sixth nuclear test.

The South Korean military has confirmed an artificial quake has taken place near North Korea’s nuclear test site and has put its nuclear crisis response team into operation, the Yonhap news agency says.

The quake near the country’s known nuclear test site Punggye-ri on Sunday has been upgraded to 6.3 from 5.6 in magnitude.

It came after earlier reports that North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb which can be loaded into the country’s new intercontinental ballistic missile, the official Korean Central News Agency has claimed.

Meantime, questions remain over whether nuclear-armed Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised its weapons, and whether it has a working H-bomb, but KCNA said that leader Kim Jong-un had inspected such a device at the Nuclear Weapons Institute.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via APSource:AP

It’s a claim to technological mastery that some outside experts will doubt but that will raise already high worries on the Korean Peninsula. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

It’s a claim to technological mastery that some outside experts will doubt but that will raise already high worries on the Korean Peninsula. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via APSource:AP

It was a “thermonuclear weapon with super explosive power made by our own efforts and technology”, KCNA cited Kim as saying, and “all components of the H-bomb were 100 per cent domestically made”.

Pictures showed Kim in black suit examining a metal casing with two bulges.

North Korea triggered a new escalation of tensions in July, when it carried out two successful tests of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, which apparently brought much of the US mainland within range.

It has since threatened to send a salvo of rockets towards the US territory of Guam, and last week fired a missile over Japan and into the Pacific, the first time it has ever acknowledged doing so.

US President Donald Trump has warned Pyongyang that it faces a rain of “fire and fury”, and that Washington’s weapons are “locked and loaded”.

Kim Jong-un (centre). Picture: KRT via AP Video

Kim Jong-un (centre). Picture: KRT via AP VideoSource:AP

Questions remain over whether nuclear-armed Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised its weapons. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

Questions remain over whether nuclear-armed Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised its weapons. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via APSource:AP

After Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test, in January 2016, it claimed that the device was a miniaturised H-bomb, which has the potential to be far more powerful than other nuclear devices.

But scientists said the six-kiloton yield achieved then was far too low for a thermonuclear device.

When it carried out its fifth test, in September 2016, it did not say it was a hydrogen bomb.

The North had “further upgraded its technical performance at a higher ultra-modern level on the basis of precious successes made in the first H-bomb test”, KCNA said today, adding that Kim “set forth tasks to be fulfilled in the research into nukes”.

Actually mounting a warhead onto a missile would amount to a significant escalation on the North’s part, as it would create a risk that it was preparing an attack.

PREPARING A TEST?

The North Korean leadership says a credible nuclear deterrent is critical to the nation’s survival, claiming it is under constant threat from an aggressive United States.

It has been subjected to seven rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, but always insists it will continue to pursue them.

Its first nuclear test was in 2006, and successive blasts are believed to have been aimed at refining designs and reliability as well as increasing yield.

The most recent detonation, in September last year, was its “most powerful to date” according to Seoul, with a 10-kiloton yield — still less than the 15-kiloton US device which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

In this image made from video by North Korea's KRT released on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location. North Korea’s state media on Sunday, Sept 3, 2017, said leader Kim Jong Un inspected the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a claim to technological mastery that some outside experts will doubt but that will raise already high worries on the Korean Peninsula. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (KRT via AP Video)

In this image made from video by North Korea’s KRT released on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location. North Korea’s state media on Sunday, Sept 3, 2017, said leader Kim Jong Un inspected the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a claim to technological mastery that some outside experts will doubt but that will raise already high worries on the Korean Peninsula. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (KRT via AP Video)Source:AP

Atomic or “A-bombs” work on the principle of nuclear fission, where energy is released by splitting atoms of enriched uranium or plutonium encased in the warhead.

Hydrogen or H-bombs, also known as thermonuclear weapons, work on fusion and are far more powerful, with a nuclear blast taking place first to create the intense temperatures required.

No H-bomb has ever been used in combat, but they make up most of the world’s nuclear arsenals.

Melissa Hanham of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in California said the latest images released by the North could not be proved real of themselves.

“We don’t know if this thing is full of styrofoam, but yes, it is shaped like it has two devices,” she said on Twitter.

“It doesn’t need to be shaped like that on the outside, but they threw in a diagram, just so we would get the message.

“The bottom line is that they probably are going to do a thermonuclear test in the future, we won’t know if it’s this object though.” Reports have suggested that Pyongyang could soon carry out a sixth nuclear test, but the respected 38 North website said last week that satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri test site showed no evidence that a blast was imminent.

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/north-korea-claims-it-can-load-hydrogen-bomb-onto-longrange-missile/news-story/3553f7cc5adcee2101d86b8441c3c10b

Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson reveals eating disorder battle

Sadie Robertson has opened up about her battle with an eating disorder. Picture: Shutterstock/Splash News

DUCK Dynasty star Sadie Robertson is known for being an open book with her fans, but there was one struggle the reality star hid from everyone in her life.

“At least five times a day, I would wrap my hands around my thighs, making sure they hadn’t grown beyond what I could reach,” Robertson wrote of her eating disorder on her blog Live Original.

“I knew each little calorie that was in every bite of food I took. I talked about food all of the time. I hid behind the talk, and I actually hid behind encouraging others.

“It was dark. It was ugly. It was insanely difficult. It was done in secret. It was hidden. I did not even tell my own mother until recently. I thought I had everything under control.”

The 20-year-old said she decided to finally reveal her eating disorder in order to help her fans who might be dealing with the same issue.

“I don’t want to be the photoshopped girl behind the window or the screen — giving you another impossible image to compare yourself to,” she wrote, adding those same images were the ones that sent her over the edge.

“My self-worth was demolished, and I began to lose sight of my true identity,” she shared.

Robertson said her body image issues began after she was on Dancing With The Stars in the US in 2014.

She wrote she would look in the mirror and her “thoughts instantly went to the imperfections. The blemishes. The flaws.”

The Louisiana-native said she helped others through similar issues while she was dealing with her own issues but refused to listen to her own advice.

“The day I prayed for the Lord to enlighten my eyes to see His standard of beauty, is the day my whole life changed,” she said.

“Do these old thoughts come back from time to time? Absolutely, but it is my job to take authority over them.”

In the wake of an interview in which “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson made anti-gay remarks and was subsequently suspended indefinitely by A&E, the future of the show is in question. What would that mean for A&E? Photo: AP

This story originally appeared on Fox News and has been republished here with permission.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/duck-dynasty-star-sadie-robertson-reveals-secret-battle-with-eating-disorder/news-story/7e8ee886f274d94c98dea7a6e9bd332f

Remembering golden era of ironmen

Former Ironman Dean Mercer has died aged 47 after a car crash on the Gold Coast.

Brothers Dean, left, and Darren Mercer at Wollongong Surf Carnival.

GUY Leech remembers the race well. The year was 1986 and Leech was Australia’s premier ironman after winning the first two Coolangatta Gold races ever held.

On this day Leech was competing in a lifesaving event in Wollongong and as per the script, the golden boy was winning.

“I still remember it,” Leech recalled this week.

Brothers Dean, left, and Darren Mercer at a Wollongong Surf Carnival.

Brothers Dean, left, and Darren Mercer at a Wollongong Surf Carnival.Source:News Corp Australia

“The last leg was board and I looked over my shoulder going into the water first, and there was this little kid running in second place.

“I was like, that doesn’t look right, he has to be half my size. I couldn’t recognise him. I knew all the major players.

“I was thinking: ‘Oh, well, he won’t be there when I get through this board leg’ but he was. He finished second. He was still there. That was Dean Mercer as a 16-year-old.”

Mercer would go on to win a national ironman title within three years, and over the next few decades, carve out a career as one of the top lifesaving athletes.

Via the success in the surf of Dean and brother Darren, the name Mercer would become as much a household fixture in Australia as Leech.

So it was with sadness the nation mourned the passing of Dean Mercer this week, courtesy of a heart attack at age 47.

Uncle Tobys Ironmen film an episode of Baywatch.

Uncle Tobys Ironmen film an episode of Baywatch.Source:News Corp Australia

Mercer’s untimely death was a shock to all those who remembered the golden age of his sport, when ironmen strode across Australia’s sporting landscape like giants.

Bronzed athletes with Hollywood smiles, they sold us our breakfast cereals and competed against one another in one of the toughest mixed disciplines: run, board, swim and ski.

During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, it’s no exaggeration to say names such as Trevor Hendy, Leech, Mercer, Craig Riddington, Guy Andrews, Phil Clayton, Dwayne Thuys, Jonathan Crowe and Ky Hurst were as well known as Aussies wearing baggy greens or passing Steedens.

Around them was a rich and deep supporting cast of gifted athletes, including Olympic kayaking gold medallist Clint Robinson and four-time champ Grant Kenny.

“If you think back, those days of the late ’80s and early ’90s, the sport was huge,” says veteran ironman Wes Berg.

“In Australia you had rugby league, cricket and ironman racing. They were the sports our country was dominant in, and all the media was around that as well. It was massive.”

Ironmen Guy Andrews and Trevor Hendy compete in a round of the Uncle Toby's Super Series at Glenelg.

Ironmen Guy Andrews and Trevor Hendy compete in a round of the Uncle Toby’s Super Series at Glenelg.Source:News Corp Australia

The golden days of surf ironman racing saw crowds of up to 30,000 flock to beaches in Australia, New Zealand and even America for events, all with live television broadcasts.

The sport was so big two rival series ran concurrently, in what became known as the cereal wars: the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Series and the Uncle Tobys Super Series.

After Leech won the first professional ironman events in 1984 and 1985 at Coolangatta, the SLSA set up the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Grand Prix in 1986 but with limited prizemoney.

Dean Mercer cruises home. Picture: Harvie Allison WWW.HARVPIX.COM

Dean Mercer cruises home. Picture: Harvie Allison WWW.HARVPIX.COMSource:Supplied

A breakaway group of 12 athletes got together in 1989 and, with sponsor Uncle Tobys, began a second series.

The Mercer brothers were the stars of the Nutri-Grain world and Hendy, Leech and Andrews were the superstars of Uncle Tobys.

Hendy recalls: “It was a really amazing experience. We had huge crowds at events, and outside of the sport we appeared in Home and Away. We played on stage with the Beach Boys and had private parties with Madonna.”

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson Lee and ironman Jonathan Crowe during filming at Malibu Beach. Picture: Nathan Richter

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson Lee and ironman Jonathan Crowe during filming at Malibu Beach. Picture: Nathan RichterSource:News Corp Australia

There was a hit film — The Coolangatta Gold.

To remind you of how big it got, in 1996 the Uncle Tobys athletes filmed an episode of Baywatch in California — the world’s biggest TV show.

Hendy, if you can believe it, only just managed to pip David Hasselhoff in a race that’s worth digging up on YouTube for laughs.

“Even when I was growing up, the events down at North Wollongong when the Mercer boys were racing at home, the crowds were rows deep,” says ex-ironman Rhys Drury, who trained with the Mercers.

“Not just a string of people either, the hill was full. It was huge. You couldn’t get a car park to get in. You had to walk for Ks just to get in. Same down at Portsea and up in Queensland, too. It was massive and those guys paved the way for the kind of huge event it all was.”

Ironman surf lifesaving captured Australia’s imagination, across both sexes.

Female stars such as Samantha O’Brien, Reen Corbett and Karla Gilbert were also big names in the respective women’s series.

Ironwoman Reen Corbett after winning race 1 of Uncle Tobys Super Series at Newcastle in 2000. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Ironwoman Reen Corbett after winning race 1 of Uncle Tobys Super Series at Newcastle in 2000. Picture: Phil HillyardSource:News Corp Australia

The sport married Australia’s two loves — sport and the beach.

“But we also couldn’t fathom how much pain these guys could endure in their racing,” Berg says. “You’re talking about races that could last up to four hours.”

Every ironman trained hard. But Dean Mercer was widely known as the bloke who trained the hardest.

Older brother Darren was regarded as the more natural athlete and he won two Australian titles and seven Nutri-Grain series.

But Dean outworked him and outworked everyone. Three sessions a day, six days a week. And then secret sessions when others weren’t watching.

“The amount of Ks we all used to do was insane,” Drury recalls.

“It was a crazy period.”

Berg adds: “Those guys didn’t have data or scientific training programs either. They would just turn up and bore the hell out of themselves, go home, and then do it all the next day. It was go hard and go home, and that’s the way the racing was as well.”

Having just started to build dominance and some cracking rivalries in the late 1980s, the cereal wars split was frustrating for the Mercers.

They didn’t care that Hendy and the Uncle Tobys brigade enjoyed more of the celebrity limelight. They just hated they couldn’t all race.

Ironman winner Dean Mercer, left, shakes hands with an unlucky Trevor Hendy, who had the 1989 title sewn up to within 30m of the beach.

Ironman winner Dean Mercer, left, shakes hands with an unlucky Trevor Hendy, who had the 1989 title sewn up to within 30m of the beach.Source:News Corp Australia

“I know from training with them, it was frustrating,” Drury says.

“It was hard for them, when Hendy and that broke away. Especially for Deano, he was so competitive. He always wanted to race the best.

“It was hard for them to not be racing those boys week in, week out.”

That’s not to say there wasn’t an annual grudge match. Each year the date of the Australian national surf lifesaving titles was circled on everyone’s calendar; when all the ironmen came together, away from their cereal brands.

“The Mercer boys felt it was a proving ground,” Drury says. “They had something to prove. Yeah, it was definitely marked on our calendar.”

Leech says: “It was on. There was angst between the two camps and it was this whole square-up race. It will be a battle and we’ll see what comes out with what.”

Ten thousand would cram into the amphitheatre around Kurrawa Beach, Berg says.

“It was like a gladiator ring,” he says.

Dean and Darren with their mother Maureen in 1984.

Dean and Darren with their mother Maureen in 1984.Source:News Corp Australia

In 1995 when Hendy was a six-time national champion and king of the Uncle Tobys crew, and Dean Mercer was at his peak too, the two gladiators clashed in a race they still talk about.

Mercer was in the top two spot for most of the race, but Hendy stalked him and paddled onto the last wave of the day alongside his rival.

It came down to this: Hendy v Mercer, and for most of the audience, it was no contest.

“If you saw the scenario, 10 out of 10 times you’d say Trevor is going to jump off and win,” Berg says.

Mercer got off quicker and sprinted.

“You couldn’t have set it up better,” Drury recalls.

“The biggest guy in surf lifesaving, not just in stature but celebrity as well. And there’s little Deano, the littlest bloke with the biggest heart. He refused to lose, mate. It summed him up perfectly.”

With half of Hendy’s stride-length, Mercer outsprinted the big gun and won the national title. By sheer will, it seemed.

Leech says: “That just doesn’t happen.

“He did that with heart and determination. Mate, I’ll be buggered what the autopsy is going to show. It can’t have been his heart.”

Hendy adds: “The Aussie title was a David and Goliath battle but he beat me in the sprint.

“He was always the little guy who was chasing everyone else. He had the biggest heart.”

Dean Mercer on his way to winning the 1995 Australian Ironman title.

Dean Mercer on his way to winning the 1995 Australian Ironman title.Source:News Corp Australia

Waning sponsorship saw the Uncle Tobys series finish in 2001. Rivalry had been competitive but never nasty.

Now, past and present, the lifesaving community are grappling with Mercer’s death.

The man with the biggest ticker suffering a heart attack.

“Ironman racers are supposed to be the guys who do things other people can’t,” Leech says.

“But it’s funny. With Dean going, talking to the guys this week, something has changed for a lot of us. This has been the first time we’ve felt mortal.”

Originally published as Golden era of the Iron giants

http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/he-was-always-the-little-guy-who-was-chasing-everyone-else-he-had-the-biggest-heart/news-story/210264d5fae7e422f5a21f863eb1aba1

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