Andrew Cornwell.FOUR months since Andrew Cornwell’s political career was destroyed following admissions he accepted banned donations from developers, the former member for Charlestown is in a healthier frame of mind.
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“I’m back into the swing of things at the vets and back being a parent,” Cornwell said on Tuesday following a round of golf at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic.

“I was away from home a lot and it now means I have more time to spend with Sam and the kids, and it’s something I’m enjoying.”

Cornwell resigned from the Liberal party and announced he would not recontest his seat in August after the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard he received an illegal $10,000 donation from former Newcastle lord mayor and developer Jeff McCloy and $10,120 from Hilton Grugeon for a painting.

Since ICAC, Cornwell said he has received plenty of goodwill from his former electorate.

“The most important thing out of it for me personally is most people just wanted to make sure I was OK,” he said.

“It’s obviously a fairly traumatic experience.

“The most tragic thing is the Hunter has lost its leverage. We had leverage because we held seats against their natural voting patterns and we’ve lost that and that’s the real tragedy.”

Asked if the people of Charlestown can expect a return to politics from Cornwell as an independent at the next election, he said: “At this stage I’m focused on enjoying Christmas with the kids and getting my teeth back into the hospital at the moment.

“It something I had on hold for three years, so it’s a good opportunity to get my skills back up to speed and catch up with all my clients, so that’s my focus at the moment.”

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“There is probably six or seven boats who could win this race if no one breaks.”: Anthony Bell. Photo: AFRThe entry of the highly fancied American super maxi Comanche in this year’s Sydney to Hobart yacht race has excited rather than worried Anthony Bell, the owner and skipper of Australian contender and former line-honours winner Perpetual Loyal.
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Bell, whose crew this year includes Australian surfing star Sally Fitzgibbons among its mix of celebrities and experienced sailors, believes the addition of international entries like the new Jim Clark-owned Comanche will only raise the bar competitively.

But, in saying that, Bell believes that this year’s 70th edition of the race that starts on Boxing Day will have “six or seven” contenders among its fleet that now stands at 118-strong.

The favourite is the defending champion Wild Oats XI owned by Bob Oatley which this year is chasing a record eighth victory. But as Bell said on Tuesday: “There is probably six or seven boats who could win this race if no one breaks.

“When I think of the six or seven boats who could win it, there is obviously the five maxis; but boats like [the 70-footer] Black Jack …They are flying. There are certain conditions where the 70 footers can get in front of the maxis.

“There is also the 80-foot boat Giacomo [owned by Jim Delegat]. It was only its first year last year. We understand they have had a year of sailing. Time on the water improves everything. It is not a two-horse race, that’s for sure.”

Asked about Comanche’s threat, even with the likes of Wild Oats XI being the benchmark for her speed that in 2012 saw her set a new record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds for the 628-nautical mile race, Bell said: “That’s good. That’s good for everyone. If people asked if, ‘Are you not happy the Americans are here?’, I’d say, ‘No, let’s have them here’. It builds the race up, brings another spectacle and certainly improves the competition.”

Bell won line honours with his former boat Investec Loyal in 2011 but placed second last year on his current boat Perpetual Loyal. However, a year on, Bell believes his crew and boat are better prepared for this year’s race. “We’ve trained really well,” Bell said.

“We are wary of the competition improving. The big American boat, it’s the best money can buy. Put it that way. On the other hand it is a big teamwork thing. I keep saying this when people ask if you can win Hobart, ‘To win Hobart you have to get to Hobart first. Every boat has to think like that.”

While Perpetual Loyal performs better in rougher weather, Bell said work has been done on the boat to limit her losses in lighter conditions.

“We are hoping for the great reaching conditions that the boat goes best at,” Bell said. “We have done a lot of good work to improve ourselves in things that we traditionally aren’t good at. We have extended the bowsprit and built what we are told is the world’s biggest super-maxi spinnaker. That’s always been a point where the boat hasn’t been fast – basically straight downwind. For light conditions, we have taken 1.9 tons of weight out of the boat.”

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Young gun Julia De Angelis was presented with the rising star award as the best under-20 player of the season. Photo: Matt Bedford
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Sacrificing a shot at local grand final glory to chase her W-League dream is the best career move Canberra United youngster Julia De Angelis has made.

And the 17-year-old is hopeful of cashing in further by helping United to a second title in four years in Sunday’s decider against Perth Glory.

The midfielder and fellow teenager Grace Maher were given the option of playing for ACT Academy of Sport in September’s premier league grand final against Belconnen United, but playing in United’s season opener instead was always a no-brainer.

Canberra United’s clash against Western Sydney was on the same day, and De Angelis made her debut off the bench in the 4-1 win.

She was rewarded for a stellar rookie season by claiming United’s Rising Star award at its presentation night on Tuesday, where skipper Ashleigh Sykes was judged player of the year.

While it is unclear whether she will start in the grand final, the Narrabundah College student is still pinching herself at her rise from obscurity to the big stage.

“Obviously playing for ACTAS the whole year and missing out on the final was disappointing at first, but what came from it was a great opportunity and I’m glad I did,” De Angelis said.

“To be honest it was an easy decision, I’ve always wanted to play for Canberra United.

“They [United] had a meeting with us and they were going to give us time if we wanted to think about it, but my decision was pretty clear.

“I honestly thought I’d just get maybe five or 10 minutes [of playing time] here or there, but being in the starting team a few times has been crazy.

“From playing in the local premier league to where I am now is pretty unbelievable, it doesn’t really feel real.”

De Angelis proved her ability to stand up under pressure when called on to deputise for injured mainstay Ellie Brush in United’s vital 2-1 final round win over Glory.

With Canberra requiring at least a draw to make the finals, the holding midfielder stood tall after coming on early in the second half with scores locked at 1-all.

“Going on in such an important game was hard to do, but I feel like I kept pretty calm in that situation,” De Angelis said.

“I try not to have too many preconceived ideas, and the class of the players I’m up against, I just do my job.”

De Angelis hopes the rapid rise she and Maher have enjoyed will inspire other local products to follow suit.

“I think it’s important for young players to realise it’s not unattainable to reach,” she said.

“Grace and I both worked really hard through ACTAS and it shows it can be done.”

AWARD WINNERS

Player of the Year: Ashleigh Sykes

Players’ Player of the Year: Caitlin Munoz

Rising Star Award: Julia De Angelis

Supporters’ Player of the Year: Lori Lindsey

SUNDAY

W-League grand final: Perth Glory v Canberra United at nib Stadium, 3pm (Canberra time)

TV Time: Live on ABC1

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Katrina Dawson.THE Sydney legal fraternity has been left in shock after barrister Katrina Dawson was confirmed as the 38-year-old woman killed during the siege at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe.
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The mother of three and rising star at the commercial bar was one of two hostages pronounced dead after being taken to hospital after an exchange of gunfire just after 2am on Tuesday.

Ms Dawson, a highly respected barrister from Eighth Floor Selborne Chambers in Phillip Street, was the younger sister of prominent defamation barrister Sandy Dawson and McKinsey & Company director Angus Dawson.

She was married to Paul Smith, a partner at top-tier law firm King & Wood Mallesons.

Ms Dawson was a close friend of barrister Julie Taylor, also from Eighth Floor Selborne Chambers, who was also taken hostage. There are reports Ms Dawson died protecting the pregnant Ms Taylor.

Ms Dawson, an Ascham old girl, topped the state in the Higher School Certificate in 1994, with a TER of 100, and topped her bar exams.

An alumna of the University of Sydney Law School, Ms Dawson completed her master of laws at the University of NSW. She was called to the bar in 2005 and her chambers are metres from the Lindt cafe.

She had three children aged under 10 – Chloe, Sasha and Oliver.

Ms Dawson was the daughter of businessman Alexander ‘‘Sandy’’ Dawson, president of the Royal Sydney Golf Club and the former head of food company Arnott’s, and sculptor Jane Dawson.

The president of the NSW Bar Association, Jane Needham, SC, said it was ‘‘with a heavy heart and deep sorrow’’ that she informed members of the bar that Ms Dawson had died.

‘‘Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed … Our thoughts are with her family at this time.’’

Ms Dawson’s alma mater said she was a ‘‘well-respected and giving member of the Ascham School community’’.

She attended Ascham from 1981 to 1994 and was dux and a prefect.

Her daughter Chloe is an Ascham student and Sasha is expected to start next year.

Ascham’s head of school, Andrew Powell, said he knew Ms Dawson well and she ‘‘is remembered affectionately as an outstanding student.

‘‘She was generous in giving of her time and this year Katrina used her skills as a barrister to guide our senior students in preparing for mock trials.’’

Her son Oliver has just completed kindergarten at Cranbrook.

Vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Sydney Dr Michael Spence offered his condolences to her family.

‘‘Katrina Dawson carved out a successful career as a respected barrister, and her death is a moment of great sadness for the University of Sydney and the legal community,’’ Dr Spence said.

‘‘Our thoughts are with her family and friends.’’

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A Pakistani girl, who was injured in a Taliban attack in a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar. Photo: APTaliban insurgents have killed at least 140 people, most of them children, after storming an army-run school in Pakistan.
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Witnesses described how a huge blast shook the Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar and gunmen went from classroom to classroom, shooting children.

Pakistani soldiers transport rescued school children from the site of an attack by Taliban. Photo: AFP

The gunmen killed 141 in total, including 132 children and 9 teachers, according to the most recent reports.

“In CMH (Combined Military Hospital) there are around 60 and there are 24 dead in Lady Reading (hospital),” Pervaiz Khattak, Chief Minister of the province where Pehsawar is located, told local television channels.

Distraught parents thronged the city’s Lady Reading Hospital in the wake of the attack, weeping uncontrollably as children’s bodies arrived, their school uniforms drenched in blood.

A soldier escorts schoolchildren from the Army Public School after an attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar. Picture: REUTERS

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack as retaliation for a major military offensive in the region, saying militants had been ordered to shoot older students.

“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. “We want them to feel the pain.”

The Afghanistan Taliban, meanwhile, have condemned the attack.”The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

Relatives of a student, who was injured during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, comfort each other outside Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Photo: Reuters

The Pakistani Taliban are separate from but allied to the Afghan Taliban across the border. Both aim to overthrow their own governments and establish an Islamic state.

According to early witness accounts, the gunmen fired indiscriminatelyat children and teachers. It is the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years.

More than eight hours after militants entered the school compound, the military declared the operation to flush them out over, and said that all nine insurgents had been killed.

The attack at a military-run high school attended by at least 500 students, many of them children of army personnel, struck at the heart of Pakistan’s military establishment, an assault certain to enrage the country’s powerful army.

The attack began around 10.30am local time when a group of nine insurgents, reportedly in military uniforms, entered the school.

The Taliban said the gunmen had been equipped with suicide vests. Three explosions were heard inside the high school at the height of the massacre, raising fears of more casualties.

Outside, as helicopters rumbled overhead, police struggled to hold back distraught parents who were trying to break past a security cordon and get into the school.

Officials said 122 people were wounded. A local hospital said the dead and injured were aged from 10 to 20 years old.

The gunmen, who several students said communicated with each other in a foreign language, managed to slip past the school’s security because they were wearing Pakistani military uniforms, local media reported.

A security official said hundreds of students and staff were in the school when the attack began, though according to the military the bulk of them were then evacuated.

Around five-and-a-half hours after the attack began, the army’s chief spokesman General Asim Bajwa said the attackers had been cleared from all but one of the school’s buildings.

Five militants had been killed, Bajwa said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described the attack as a “national tragedy unleashed by savages”.

“These were my children. This is my loss. This is the nation’s loss,” he said.

Provincial Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani said the death toll had reached 130, with a similar number wounded. The toll was confirmed by another provincial minister.

Provincial Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said the attackers were wearing uniforms of the government paramilitary Frontier Corps.

Mudassar Abbas, a physics laboratory assistant at the school, said some students were celebrating at a party when the attack began.

“I saw six or seven people walking class-to-class and opening fire on children,” he said.

One student said soldiers came to rescue them during a lull in the firing.

“When we were coming out of the class we saw dead bodies of our friends lying in the corridors. They were bleeding. Some were shot three times, some four times,” the student said.

“The men entered the rooms one by one and started indiscriminate firing at the staff and students.”

The school on Peshawar’s Warsak Road is part of the Army Public Schools and Colleges System, which runs 146 schools nationwide for the children of military personnel and civilians.

Its students range in age from around 10 to 18.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are fighting to topple the government and set up a strict Islamic state, have vowed to step up attacks against Pakistani targets in response to a major army operation against the insurgents in the tribal areas.

The army said in a statement that many hostages had been evacuated but did not say how many.

“Rescue operation by troops underway. Exchange of fire continues. Bulk of student(s) and staff evacuated. Reports of some children and teachers killed by terrorist,” the army said in a brief English-language statement.

Military officials at the scene said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.

“We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers,” said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.

One student inside the school at the time of the attack told a private television channel: “We were in the examination hall when all of sudden firing started and our teachers told us to silently lay on the floor. We remained on the floor for an hour. There was a lot of gunfire.

“When the gunfire died down our soldiers came and guided us out.”

Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani toldReutershis group was responsible for the attack.

“Our suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel,” he said.

“It’s a revenge attack for the army offensive in North Waziristan,” he said, referring to the anti-Taliban military offensive that began in June.

A Reuters journalist at the scene heard heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it. Helicopters hovered overhead and ambulances ferried wounded children to hospital.

The Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, a sprawling and volatile city not far from the Afghan border, earlier said the hospital had received the bodies of at least 12 people and was treating 40 wounded students and two male teachers.

“Many are in the operation theatre now in critical condition, undergoing treatment,” said hospital official Ejaz Khan.

“An army doctor was visiting us teaching us about first aid when attackers came from behind our school and started firing,” one student told Pakistan’s Dunya Television.

“Our teachers locked the door and we ducked on the floor, but they (militants) broke down the door. Initially they fired in the air and later started killing the students, but left the hall suddenly.

“The attackers had long beards, wore shalwar kameez (traditional baggy clothes) and spoke Arabic.”

The Taliban had earlier said they had sent six insurgents with suicide vests to attack the school.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are fighting to topple the government and set up a strict Islamic state, have vowed to step up attacks in response to a major army operation against the insurgents in the tribal areas.

They have targeted security forces, checkpoints, military bases and airports, but attacks on civilian targets with no logistical significance are relatively rare.

In September, 2013, dozens of people, including many children, were killed in an attack on a church, also in Peshawar, a sprawling and violent city near the Afghan border.

Pakistanis, used to almost daily militant attacks, were shocked by the scale of the massacre and the loss of so many young lives.

It recalled the 2004 siege of a school in Russia’s Beslan by Chechen militants which ended in the death of more than 330 people, half of them children.

Malala condemns Taliban school attack

Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai says she’s heartbroken by killing of scores of children by Taliban militants in Pakistan.

17-year-old Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, says the incident is a senseless and cold blooded act of terror.

Reuters, AFP

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