Walters defends Origin move on Milford

Written by admin on 07/30/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

Samoa officials are fuming but Queensland under-20s coach Kevin Walters says it was a “simple” decision to select NRL young gun Anthony Milford for this weekend’s State of Origin junior clash.

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Instead of running out for Samoa in their Four Nations tournament qualifier against Fiji in Penrith on Saturday night, Canberra playmaker Milford will play in the curtainraiser for the junior Maroons and NSW under-20s.

Under new eligibility rules, the 19-year-old Milford could have played for Samoa in their crunch Test then pledged his allegiance to Queensland and Australia for this year’s respective Origin and Four Nations series.

However, Milford reportedly pulled out of the Pacific Test and aligned himself to the Queensland under-20s after being told by Maroons coach Mal Meninga he was a chance of making this year’s State of Origin senior squad.

Milford caught Meninga’s eye after starring for Samoa at last year’s World Cup.

Walters said it was a straightforward decision to pick Milford despite protests from livid Samoan officials.

“We understand there is going to be a lot of discussion around eligibility, but this is a pretty simple one – Anthony is eligible for Queensland, he wants to play for the Maroons and he’s been selected,” he said.

“Anthony has been right through our pathways, from club football with the Souths Logan Magpies through to the Queensland Academy of Sport squad and various Queensland under age representative teams.

“We are delighted to have Anthony in the Queensland team.”

The winner of the Samoa-Fiji Test joins Australia, New Zealand and England in the end-of-year Four Nations tournament.

Four Nations entry would ensure a huge boost in government support, sponsorship and junior numbers for the winning Pacific Island team.

Walters said Milford will have a “leadership role” in the junior Maroons team that also boasts fellow NRL regular, Broncos utility Corey Oates.

“These players are the future of State of Origin,” Walters said.

Oates and Milford are part of a nine-strong contingent who will back up from last year’s 36-12 loss to NSW.

Queensland under 20s squad: Valentine Holmes (Cronulla), Nene MacDonald (Sydney Roosters), Brenko Lee (Canberra), Brendan Elliot (Sydney Roosters), John Folau (Parramatta), Anthony Milford (Canberra), Jaelen Feeney (Newcastle), Lloyd Perrett (Canterbury), Kierran Moseley (Penrith), Christian Welch (Melbourne), Corey Oates (Brisbane), Patrick Mago (Canberra), Luke Bateman (Canberra). Interchange: Cameron Munster (Melbourne), Francis Molo (Brisbane), Brett Greinke (Brisbane), Joe Ofahengaue (Brisbane), Jayden Nikorima (Brisbane).

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Naitanui a poor player: Scott Lucas

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Former Essendon forward Scott Lucas has launched a scathing attack on Nic Naitanui, describing the star West Coast ruckman as a poor footballer that makes horrible decisions.

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Naitanui has copped a barrage of criticism following his quiet start to the year, with AFL greats Brad Hardie, Tony Shaw and Garry Lyon all questioning the 23-year-old’s worth.

Former West Coast coach John Worsfold has leapt to the defence of the 2012 All-Australian, claiming a series of groin injuries over the past two years meant Naitanui was unlikely to reach peak fitness and form this season.

The debate surrounding Naitanui comes at a sensitive time for the 201cm ruckman, who is in the process of negotiating a new deal at West Coast that could be worth in the vicinity of $1 million per season.

Lucas, who kicked 471 goals during his glittering 270-game career, said Naitanui wasn’t even worth half that, describing him as a great athlete but a poor footballer.

“Everyone’s got strengths, and I think his strength is just not relevant to contributing significantly at AFL level,” Lucas told SEN radio.

“If he had 20 decisions to make (against Carlton on Saturday), 18 were incorrect, were horribly wrong.

“He’s only good to watch on television, because you see the little highlights.

“You see a snaphsot of in and around the ball, and he’s really impressive.

“He’s a big dude and he wins the ball, and he does a shimmy and a tap, and you go, ‘That was great’.

“If you come and watch him live, he’s a very ordinary footballer.

“He’ll kick it to the opposition or kick a lob wedge seven metres when he should shoot for goal.”

Although Naitanui’s stats are significantly down on previous years, his one-percenters remain vital.

However, his lack of fitness means his influence on games has become limited.

Lucas said that was clear to see in West Coast’s three-point loss to Carlton on Saturday.

“(Levi) Casboult ran to the fat side a couple of times. Naitanui either wouldn’t run because his fitness wouldn’t allow him, or had no idea that was where Casboult (was going),” Lucas said.

“I think most of it is footy smarts.

“I don’t say you drop him.

“My only defence was he didn’t jump, so I’m wondering are you injured.

“But in this day and age you don’t play if you can’t jump.”

West Coast’s three-game losing streak has left them precariously placed at 3-3 heading into Sunday’s crunch western derby against Fremantle.

Eagles forward Josh Kennedy said Naitanui remained a vital cog of the team even at 80 per cent fitness.

“I’ve never seen a bloke of his size be able to take two or three blokes out, grab the footy and get it out to one of our teammates,” Kennedy said.

“When he’s doing that around the ground, he’s unstoppable.

“I have no doubt that by the end of this year he’ll be up and back to where he’s been.”

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Spartacus star finally finds work in Oz

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McIntyre was plucked from relative obscurity when he landed the lead role in the TV series Spartacus which was made in New Zealand for US cable channel Starz.

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Until then he had a resume that was light in detail and, even he admits, slightly misleading.

His list of credits before appearing in Spartacus included a few short films, a guest role on Neighbours, a few episodes on police drama Rush and a part in the-Steven Spielberg produced mini-series The Pacific.

However, McIntyre’s not even sure if he even appears in The Pacific, so he was surprised when he landed the role in Spartacus which has kicked off his career.

“I had a day on Neighbours, just so I can say I have been on Neighbours and a day on The Pacific which was cut but is still on my bio,” McIntyre joked.

“They say I’m in it (The Pacific) but I’m not sure where…when they read my name out for Spartacus I thought they got it wrong.”

Now he has established himself as a lead actor, doors have been flung open for him at home and led to him returning home for The Killing Field.

He landed the role after being asked to audition by The Killing Field’s lead actress Rebecca Gibney who is also co-producer on the Seven Network feature.

“Now I have done that (Spartacus) and come back it’s a whole new world and I am getting opportunities I would not have got before I did this,” he said.

“It absolutely is my first (major) Australian production…which is the reverse way to do things for sure.

“You can’t say no when Rebecca Gibney asks you to audition…it was a compliment.”

Before shooting The Killing Field, McIntyre played another scantily clad character, Sotiris, in the upcoming movie The Legend Of Hercules.

The Legend of Hercules was released in January and starred Kellan Lutz as Hercules/Alcides and Gaia Weiss as Hebe.

“It’s good to get back into pants again and play something in the present,” McIntyre quipped.

The Killing Field starts with a girl who goes missing in a country town and in the search to find her, five bodies are discovered in a field.

McIntyre plays detective Dan Wild. The telemovie also stars Peter O’Brien, who plays detective inspector Lachlan Mckenzie and Gibney as detective sergeant Eve Winter.

McIntyre said the production is worthy of being on a cable TV channel.

“It’s a HBO style quality production,” McIntyre said.

Gibney started working on The Killing Field soon after family drama Packed To The Rafters, in which she played Julie Rafter for six seasons, ceased production.

There’s reason to believe that if the telemovie is a success, it could spawn a TV series.

* The Killing Field starts on Sunday, May 4 on the Seven Network

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Gurus’ Stoneage Romeos line-up to reunite

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The Hoodoo Gurus line-up from their debut album, Stoneage Romeos, will reform for the Splendour In the Grass festival in July.

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Dave Faulkner announced the news on band’s Facebook page stating: “We’re playing at this year’s Splendour In The Grass festival in Byron Bay. This will only be our second time there and we’re on the Friday night (25 July).”

The Splendour show will see the Gurus’ Stoneage Romeos line-up performing together for the first time in 30 years.

“In 1984 we released our first album, Stoneage Romeos, and it wasn’t long after that our drummer James Baker left the band under somewhat acrimonious circumstances,” Faulkner wrote.

“Clyde Bramley, the bass guitarist on Stoneage, left the band shortly after we completed touring for our third album (Blow Your Cool). For Splendour we are going to be reuniting that line-up for the first time since 1984.”

Splendour will feature Gurus of old and the band’s current line-up.

“The show will start with the Stoneage Romeos line-up and then Mark (Kingsmill) will replace James to play some songs from Mars Needs Guitars and Blow Your Cool. Rick (Grossman) will then take over bass from Clyde for selected highlights of the current line-up (unchanged since 1988) before Clyde and James rejoin us onstage for an all-in finale: two drum kits, two basses, two guitars – what a racket!

“It’ll be an historic re-enactment of our evolution through song – plus it marks a welcome return of two key members from our early days. Not so much historic as pre-historic.”

Splendour In The Grass is from July 25 to 27 in Byron Bay.

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Wobbly Eagles shape up for Dockers

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After ditching his trademark stutter, West Coast forward Josh Kennedy wants the Eagles to overcome their own case of the wobbles.

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Three straight losses have left West Coast clinging to seventh spot heading into Sunday’s western derby against arch AFL rivals Fremantle.

West Coast’s inaccuracy has proven costly this season, with the Eagles kicking a combined 23.39 in their losses to Geelong, Port Adelaide and Carlton.

Kennedy has been one of the biggest offenders, with the 26-year-old booting 3.7 over the past fortnight.

The former Blue’s twinkle-toe approach to set shots worked a treat last year as he bagged 60.23 for the season.

Kennedy has adopted a far smoother approach in his past two games, and while it hasn’t paid dividends just yet, he said it was a necessary tweak in order to gain future success.

“It (the stutter) was just starting to put a bit of risk on my balance on the footy,” Kennedy said on Monday.

“It probably evolved into something that was good at the time, but at this current stage I don’t feel it’s best for me.”

West Coast players were left gutted after coughing up a 24-point lead in the final nine minutes against Carlton.

The Eagles sprayed 1.8 in the last term, and Kennedy said their wayward goalkicking needed to be promptly addressed in order to keep their finals dreams alive.

“Being able to knock those goals over, especially in those dying minutes when they matter – we’re not doing that at the moment,” Kennedy said.

“The last two weeks have been pretty disappointing.

“If we had knocked Port over and we held that win against Carlton, we’d be sitting here at 5-1 and we wouldn’t even be talking about these issues.”

Fremantle defender Michael Johnson is free to play in the derby after he was offered a reprimand for bumping an injured player in last week’s loss to North Melbourne.

Goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne will also return for the Dockers, while West Coast will welcome back skipper Darren Glass from suspension.

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Cancer Drugs ‘can be ruled out’

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Advances in biological imaging techniques could help rule out drugs that are unlikely to work in treating cancer, scientists believe.

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Researchers at the University of Edinburgh said a review of the technology suggests new approaches would make it easier to identify the most promising new drugs to take forward for patient testing.

Recent advances mean scientists can now check how experimental drugs are working inside living cells and in real time.

Using automated microscopes to track fluorescent dyes, researchers can rapidly test thousands of potential drugs in different cancer cell types.

This technique – known as phenotypic drug discovery – monitors the effect of a trial drug on the disease as a whole rather than its impact on an individual target protein, which has been the approach until now.

Applying it early in the drug discovery process could improve the success rate of new medicines by helping to rule out drugs that are unlikely to work, the team said.

Writing in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, they argue it will help to better predict how a drug will work in real life – not just in the test tube.

The scientists said just 5 per cent of drugs currently tested in clinical trials are approved for patients.

Dr Neil Carragher, report author, said: “The drug discovery process is hugely expensive and inefficient.

“In Edinburgh we are leading the way in using biological imaging to streamline the process, allowing us to better select drug candidates with the lowest risk of side effects and the best chances of success in treating patients.”

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Air search for flight MH370 called off

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The air search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in the southern Indian Ocean has been called off, with any wreckage likely to have sunk.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared a new, underwater phase will begin in the baffling and frustrating search for MH370.

“By this stage, 52 days into the search, most material would have become waterlogged and sunk,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Australia is heading the hunt for the Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8 carrying 239 people and is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

In this new phase, private contractors will use technology known as “towed sonar” to scour the probable impact zone – an area of about 700km by 80km of the remote southern Indian Ocean. The cost will be at least $60 million.

Mr Abbott said the search “certainly is not ending”.

He conceded there was a “terrible” possibility the plane may never be found.

“I want the families to know, I want the world to know, that Australia will not shirk its responsibilities in this area,” he said.

Mr Abbott’s language was less certain than two weeks ago when he told reporters in China: “We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometres.”

When questioned on Monday about his previous assertion, Mr Abbott said he was transparent and upfront at all times.

He admitted there was a degree of frustration that no clues have been found as yet despite pings believed to have come from the plane’s black box.

“We are still baffled and disappointed that we haven’t been able to find undersea wreckage based on those detections,” Mr Abbott said.

A multi-nation fleet of aircraft and ships has scanned more than 4.5 million square kilometres of remote ocean off Western Australia for 41 days with no signs of wreckage from the plane.

A Blue-fin submersible has been scouring a 400 sq km zone centred on what was thought to be a transmission from the black box before its battery died.

Former defence force chief and search coordinator Angus Houston says the new phase could take at least eight months, depending on the weather and how well the towed sonar equipment works.

The technology was used to find the Titanic in 3.8km-deep waters in the Atlantic Ocean in 1985.

The same system was used in 2008 to find HMAS Sydney, which sank off Western Australia in a sea battle in 1941.

Most of the ocean in the MH370 search area is between 4000 and 4500 metres deep.

Meanwhile, an initial report into the disaster is expected to be released by United Nations air safety authorities this week.

It is expected to call for real-time tracking of commercial aircraft – the same advice that was given after a 2009 Air France crash in the Atlantic Ocean. It took about two years to find that plane.

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Brazil expects and hopes to kill off ghost of 1950

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After their quarter-final defeat to the Netherlands four years ago, coach Dunga was replaced by Mano Menezes who re-shaped the team and gave debuts to young, agile players such as Neymar, Oscar, Fernandinho and Paulinho.

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In turn Menezes made way for old favourite Luiz Felipe Scolari in December 2012 and the man who guided Brazil to their fifth World Cup triumph in 2002 has since added both steel and guile to the undoubted flair in the squad.

Crucially he rallied fans behind the team and, in just six months, turned Menezes’s callow group of youngsters into one capable of great things.

The way they waltzed through the Confederations Cup last year, defeating Uruguay and Italy on the road to a 3-0 final drubbing of world champions Spain, was unforgettable and instilled a belief in the side missing for the best part of a decade.

Brazil have won seven games in a row and 13 of their last 14, and fans no longer wonder whether they can win the competition, they are expecting it.

The worry, however, is whether they have peaked too early.

No team have won the World Cup after lifting the Confederations Cup a year previously. Brazil won the dress rehearsal tournament in 2005 and 2009 but a year later suffered crushing disappointment.

Another pertinent question is how will they respond to the pressure of playing the World Cup at home in front of passionate fans desperate for success.

While every member of the 23-man squad has European experience few will have encountered the expectation about to be heaped on their shoulders.

“It’s different,” said Juninho, the former Vasco da Gama, Atletico Madrid and Middlesbrough midfielder who took home a World Cup winner’s medal in 2002. “There’s much more pressure. Representing your country is more important.”

The only other time Brazil hosted the World Cup was in 1950 when the home side lost out in the final match to Uruguay.

ENORMOUS PRESSURE

That defeat scarred the nation and the enormous pressure to finally lift the trophy at the Maracana could be an issue if the team start slowly in their opener against Croatia and anxious supporters get on their backs.

So far, at least, the players do not appear overawed.

The good run has left them brimming with confidence and with good reason – they scored 25 goals in the last seven games, conceding only two. Five of the seven teams they faced had qualified for the World Cup.

“We’ve ended this preparation phase perfectly,” Thiago Silva said after the team’s last friendly, a 5-0 drubbing of South Africa in March.

“We were unbeaten in winning the Confederations Cup, we did what Felipao asked of us in this match and I am certain we’ll do a great job in the World Cup.”

That confidence is not misplaced, but it must beaccompanied by humility if there is to be no repeat of 2006 when, delirious with the form of the Four Rs (Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos), Brazil thought the tournament would be a walk in the park.

Instead they crashed out in the quarter-finals to France.

Scolari has repeatedly and boldly declared Brazil will win the World Cup and seven of the UK and Ireland’s biggest bookmakers make them the favourites.

The feeling at home is the tournament is theirs to lose.

A nation expects.

(Editing by Martyn Herman and Mike Collett)

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Israel’s Netanyahu links Holocaust to Iran’s nuclear program

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Holocaust a heinous crime: Palestinian leader AbbasRecord Holocaust commemoration march in Hungary

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened the country’s annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust by issuing a stern warning Sunday to the world to learn the lessons of the past and prevent another Holocaust.

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At the opening ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu linked the Nazi genocide to Iran’s suspected drive to acquire nuclear bombs and its leaders’ repeated references to the destruction of Israel and its denial of the Holocaust. Netanyahu said that just like before World War II, there were those in the world today who refused to face uncomfortable truths.

“In this place I have said many times that we must identify an existential threat in time and act against it in time and tonight I ask ‘why in the years before the Holocaust did most of the world’s leaders not see the danger ahead of time?’ In hindsight, all the signs were there,” he said.

“Has the world learned a lesson from the mistakes of the past? Today we are again faced with clear facts and before a real danger. Iran calls for our destruction, it develops nuclear weapons.

“Iran is calling for our destruction, it is building underground bunkers to enrich uranium, producing heavy water for plutonium, acquiring intercontinental missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads that threaten the entire world,” Netanyahu said.

In November, Iran clinched a deal with world powers under which it froze some nuclear activities in return for limited relief from crippling Western sanctions.

Since then it has been engaged in negotiations with the P5+1 – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany – aimed at reaching a lasting accord on its nuclear ambitions.

Israel, which is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the region, had denounced the November agreement and repeatedly voiced concern over the ongoing talks between Iran and world powers.

Speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu urged world powers “not to give in for the sake of avoiding, at all costs, a confrontation” with Tehran.

Netanyahu, whose government has not ruled out military action to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb, said the international community must demand Tehran “dismantle totally its capacity to produce nuclear weapons.”

Israel and the West have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian programme – something strongly denied by Tehran.

The stated links between the Holocaust and Iran showed how more than six decades later, the mass murder of Jews during World War II is still a central part of Israel’s psyche. The nation was created just three years after the end of the war, and hundreds of thousands of dazed survivors made their way to Israel.

Israel commemorates victims of Holocaust

Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust, wiping out a third of world Jewry. Today, fewer than 200,000 elderly survivors remain in Israel.

The annual memorial day is one of the most solemn on Israel’s calendar. Restaurants, cafes and places of entertainment are shut down, and radio and TV programming are dedicated almost exclusively to documentaries about the Holocaust, interviews with survivors and somber music.

On Monday morning, Israel will come to a standstill as sirens wail for two minutes. Pedestrians typically stop in their tracks, and cars and buses halt on the streets while drivers and passengers stand with their heads bowed.

Further ceremonies include the public reading of names of Holocaust victims at sites around the country, including Israel’s parliament. Schoolchildren dress in white and stop their studies to hold memorial ceremonies.

Sunday night’s main ceremony at Yad Vashem included six survivors who lit six symbolic torches to commemorate the 6 million dead. A video segment on each one’s personal story was presented.

The Israeli flag flew at half-staff and a military honor guard stood at one side of the podium as poems and psalms were read and the Jewish prayer for the dead was recited.

Anti-Semitism increasing in Europe?

Hours before the opening ceremony, an annual report by Tel Aviv University on worldwide anti-Semitism said violent attacks against Jews worldwide dropped in 2013, but anti-Semitism was becoming more widespread in Europe amid a rise in popularity of extremist parties.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, an umbrella group representing Jewish communities across Europe, expressed concern over the increasing popularity of far-right parties, especially in France, Hungary and Greece, where they are expected to make big gains in European Parliament elections next month.

He also mentioned the situation in Ukraine, where Jews are caught in the middle of the conflict between nationalists and Russian separatists, with both sides using anti-Jewish rhetoric while accusing each other of harboring anti-Semitic supporters.

In his comments, Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke of his own family’s destruction in the Holocaust and said Israel was the deterrence against another one happening.

“We must not ignore any occurrence of anti-Semitism, any desecration of a synagogue, any tombstone smashed in a cemetery in which our families are buried. We must not ignore the rise of extreme right-wing parties with neo-Nazi tendencies who are a danger to each of us and a threat to every nation,” he said.

“A strong Israel is our response to the horrors of anti-Semitism but it does not excuse the rest of the world from its responsibility to prevent this disease from returning to their own homes.”

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SA man obsessed with killing his father

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A man whose mother may have deliberately crashed her car, killing herself and a daughter, ruminated about the deaths for years before murdering his father.

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Christopher Robert Mieglich, now 20, was only six when he and his three siblings were in the car which crashed into a tree near the family’s dairy farm in the Adelaide Hills.

His barrister, Michael Woods, told the Supreme Court that Mieglich ruminated about the cause of the deaths and became obsessed with killing his father despite knowing he had done nothing wrong.

“This young man grew up in an environment where there was more than speculation about whether his mother took her own life and tried to extinguish their lives,” he said on Monday.

Mieglich has pleaded guilty to murdering Graham Mieglich, 56, by shooting him twice in the head in his bed on June 6 last year.

He also has admitted the attempted murder of retired soldier Stephen Collins, 56, who was shot in the head through the lounge room window of his Gumeracha home on May 26, as he watched TV.

Months earlier, Mieglich was involved in a very minor car accident with Mr Collins.

Justice Michael David said it was perfectly obvious Mieglich “is not well”, although psychiatrists reported he did not have a mental illness but may have an autism spectrum disorder.

Mieglich’s sister, Fiona, said the murder shocked her but she was completely devastated to discover the killer was her brother.

She had been due to be home that night, but at the last minute stayed somewhere else.

“I believe I escaped death that night,” she said.

Mieglich’s aunt, Helen Tripp, said although his mother was mentally ill, his father may have found it easier to deal with the crash by thinking the sun was in her eyes when she crashed.

Although the tree could be seen from the farm, authorities would not remove it.

“How does the tree have more rights than psychologically scarred children?” she asked.

Ms Tripp said she knew her nephew also had been a victim of crime.

The dead man’s partner, Lucinda Kenward, said she was unable to feel anger towards Mieglich and knew his father adored him.

“I feel a deep sadness and am sorry I didn’t realise you were hurting so much,” she said.

Mr Woods said Mieglich was clearly disturbed, had auditory hallucinations and became obsessed with killing his father.

He will be sentenced next month.

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Hunt on to find Cervantes

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Miguel de Cervantes, Spain’s greatest writer, was a soldier of little fortune.

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He died broke in Madrid, his body riddled with bullets. His burial place was a tiny convent church no larger than the entrance hall of an average house.

No more was heard of the 16th century author until the rediscovery of a novel featuring an eccentric character called Don Quixote rescued him from oblivion.

By then, nobody could remember where his grave was. Four centuries later, Spain intends to do the great man justice.

A team that will search for Cervantes’s remains begins excavations on Monday and final conclusions – should the search succeed – will be known by the year’s end. The estimated cost of the operation is 100,000 euros ($A150,185).

A three-phase search will take place at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid’s historic Barrio de las Letras – or Literary Quarter.

When Cervantes moved to Spain’s capital in 1606 he had already published the novel that was to change Spanish literature: The Adventures of the Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.

Although his book enjoyed some success, it did not make him famous – and the author was better known in Spain as an ill-fated soldier.

Cervantes had been wounded in battle and spent years captive in Algiers. He had been seized by Turkish pirates who boarded the ship on which he was returning to Spain after fighting in a war against the Ottoman Empire.

The Trinitarian order negotiated his release and helped pay a ransom that ruined Cervantes’ family.

Cervantes was compelled to live as an errand-runner for the convent to give thanks for his deliverance.

He lived in a neighbourhood of narrow streets, small houses and taverns full of artists and hustlers, where wine flowed and tapas was served. Other authors of Spain’s golden age of literature, such as Francisco de Quevedo, Lope de Vega and Luis de Gongora, ignored him.

Then in 1616, aged 69, he was buried. Years later the chapel was expanded to its current – still modest – proportions.

According to Fernando Prado, the historian in charge of the project, just five people, including a child and Cervantes, are buried there.

“We know he is buried there,” Prado said. “History teaches us that churches never throw bones away. They might relocate them under roofs and vaults if necessary, but no one would dare throw them into a common ossuary.”

The first phase will consist of underground exploration using radar: “We will clearly see if there is altered terrain that will give us clues,” said radar operator Luis Avial.

Avial’s report will be ready in a month.

Then the investigation turns to reputed Spanish forensic anthropologist Francisco Etxeberria, who participated in the autopsy that confirmed the suicide of former Chilean president Salvador Allende.

Forensic identification will be the last – and possibly most delicate – part of the process. Any bones found may have been mixed up. Prado said that with no living Cervantes descendants, DNA analysis is unlikely to lead anywhere.

The investigation will refer to the author’s portraits and his own stories, in which he relates that shortly before dying he only had six teeth.

But the most obvious marks will be the battle-wounds that Cervantes sustained. In 1571 the writer was wounded in the Battle of Lepanto, which pitted Ottoman Turkish forces against the Holy League, led by Spain. Aboard the ship La Marquesa, Cervantes was hit with three musket shots, two in the chest and one in his hand.

He spent several months in a hospital in Sicily, but managed to recover.

Although historic texts often speak of the “one-armed man of Lepanto,” doctors never amputated his limb. He did, however, completely lose its use.

Should the bones be found, they will be returned to the church.

“He will be re-buried there, but with a plaque to remember his name and who he is,” said Prado.

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