Diana ‘best mum in world’

Rather, it was an image of Diana at her most intimate and unguarded – the princess as a doting mother of William and Harry.


"To us, just two loving children, she was quite simply the best mother in the world," 22-year-old Harry says.

"She kissed us last thing at night. Her beaming smile greeted us from school.

“She laughed hysterically and uncontrollably when sharing something silly she might have said or done that day," Harry says with a mixture of princely composure and deep feeling.

Week of mourning ends

The memorial service yesterday organised by Prince William and Prince Harry climaxed a week of recalling her life and reviving old battles, albeit in a far lower key than the emotional tidal wave that swept over Britain following her death 10 years ago.

In his eulogy, Harry says it is important "that we remember our mother as she would wish to be remembered, as she was: fun-loving, generous, down to earth and entirely genuine."

The service went off with customary royal dignity, just days after published criticism from one of Diana's friends that persuaded Prince Charles' second wife, Camilla, to abandon plans of attending.

‘End the sniping’

To the princess, her close friends and legions of Dianaphiles, Camilla was the other woman who destroyed the marriage.

Richard Chartres, the bishop of London, called for an end to the sniping.

"Still 10 years after her tragic death there are regular reports of 'fury' at this or that incident and the princess' memory is used for scoring points. Let it end here," Mr Chartres says.

"Let this service mark the point at which we let her rest in peace and dwell on her memory with thanksgiving and compassion."

That may be wishful thinking.

Diana still icon

Diana's face still sells magazines and newspapers, and her story inspires an unending stream of books.

A formal inquest into her death opens later this year.

Mohamed al Fayed, whose son died with Diana in the car crash in Paris, has hired a high-paid legal team to argue that the couple were the victims of an Establishment conspiracy led by the queen's husband, Prince Philip.

A poll commissioned by Channel 4 television suggested that one in four Britons believe Diana was murdered.

Diana's admirers, many of them suspicious of the cause of her death and resentful of Charles, tied bouquets, poems and portraits to the gates of Kensington Palace, her former home.

Tribute to ‘Mum’

For Harry and his older brother William, it was a simple tribute to an adored mother.

"When she was alive, we completely took for granted her unrivalled love of life, laughter, fun and folly," he says.

"She was our guardian, friend and protector. She never once allowed her unfaltering love for us to go unspoken or undemonstrated."

Harry, who was 12 when Diana died, said losing a parent at such a tender age "is indescribably shocking and sad."

Crowd of VIPs

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were among the 500 people in the chapel.

Prince Edward, Charles' younger brother, and his sister, Princess Anne, also were there, as were Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, and representatives of 110 charities Diana supported.

Mr Al Fayed observed his own two minutes of silence at Harrods, his department store, an hour before the memorial service.

In the past, the royal family had refrained from any public remembrance of the anniversary of the princess' death.

This year, however, William and Harry took the lead in organising the memorial service, as well as a rock concert on Diana's birthday, July 1, which drew 70,000 paying fans.

The Reverend Frank Gelli, who has led an informal service outside Kensington Palace every year, said yesterday's probably would be the last.

"It would be good if the princess was allowed to rest," he says.

Mortar kills 12 in Baghdad

A mortar barrage has slammed into a mainly Shi'ite east Baghdad neighborhood, killing 12 and wounding 31.


A major battle also raged north of the capital where residents of a Shi'ite city were fighting what police said was a band of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Women and children were among the dead and wounded in the Baghdad mortar attack and some houses in the neighbourhood were damaged, police said.

The victims were taken to Ibin al-Nafis and Sadr hospitals.

Witnesses said US helicopters were hovering above the attack site.

Al-Qaeda counteroffensive

In Khalis, 80km north of Baghdad, police said more than 1,500 people including sheiks and dignitaries had gathered near city hall to launch the counteroffensive against al-Qeida fighters who have been regularly firing mortars into the town and kidnapping residents at illegal checkpoints.

At least seven people were killed and 18 wounded in a mortar attack on Khalis yesterday.

Police said the city militia also said they were determined to push al-Qaeda fighters out of the nearby town of Hibhib, where the terror organisation's former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an US air strike.

In central Baghdad, gunmen driving several cars waylaid a minibus headed for Sadr City, the capital's Shi'ite enclave, and abducted 13 passengers.

Interfactional talks

Meanwhile, Iraq's fractious leaders have agreed on the agenda for a political summit called by embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a bid to salvage his crumbling unity government.

The breakthrough came on the second day of preparatory talks involving the country's most senior political leaders, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said in a statement.

In a bid to shore up his government, Maliki announced the formation of an alliance grouping his Shiite Dawa party and Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Kurdish factions of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdish Democratic Party (PDK).

But the National Concord Front slammed the new tie-up as a "futile" exercise.

Mr Maliki is under growing pressure from Washington to end the infighting, concerned that it could torpedo efforts to reconcile the warring factions and undermine the work of 155,000 American troops trying to end the conflict.

The US has pushed around 30,000 extra troops as part of a "surge" into Baghdad and surrounding flashpoint provinces in a bid to stamp out the sectarian violence which has killed thousands of people in the past 18 months.


Meanwhile, several families are displaced following suicide truck bombings that killed up to 500 people in Northern Iraq last week.

The coordinated suicide truck bombings were the worst terrorist attack since the beginning of the war.

The victims of the attack, which the US blamed on al-Qaida, were members of the Yazidis, a small Kurdish sect that has been the target of Muslim extremists who label it blasphemous.

Sudan 'overlooked rapes'

The UN's top human rights office has released new details of the rapes, reportedly carried out by soldiers and government militia.


"The abuses may also constitute war crimes," said the report by the office of Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights.

Members of the Sudanese armed forces and allied militiamen allegedly subjected around 50 women to multiple rapes and other forms of violence in an attack on the village of Deribat in late December, it said, adding that they abducted many children.

Deribat was one of nine villages attacked in the eastern Jebel Marra region of Darfur at the time, it said, adding that 36 civilians were killed and many people were driven from their homes.

"Interviews indicate that the abducted women were systematically raped," said yesterday's report, which was compiled by a team of UN human rights investigators.

Armed forces blamed

Testimony from victims indicated that the attacks were committed by members of the Sudanese armed forces and affiliated groups, the report said.

Ms Arbour's office urged the Sudanese government to "establish an independent body to investigate abduction, rape and sexual slavery committed in the region," and said the suspects should be brought to justice.

The office said in a report last April that the military and its allies have been using rape as part of a wider assault on people belonging to the same ethnic group as some Darfuri rebels.

The report said UN representatives presented the initial findings to local authorities in Darfur, but "no investigations were carried out by the authorities," it said.

Sudanese government reaction was not immediately available.

Daughter witnessed rape

The report said a woman who had been abducted from Deribat with her 16-year-old daughter described how the women were raped in front of each other.

Those who resisted would be beaten with sticks, the report said.

The women suffered physical injuries and psychological trauma from the repeated rapes by many of the attackers, the report said.

"A number of women became pregnant as a result of the rape," posing a further health risk to them, it said.

The women were forced to cook and serve food to their abductors, but received only leftovers to eat, according to the report.

Darfur has been the scene of a bloody four-year conflict between government-backed militias and rebel forces that has so far seen more than 200,000 people killed and at least 2.5 million driven from their homes, according to UN estimates.

Schoolboy Kangaroos not up to scratch

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says his players need to graduate from their schoolboy errors before they can call themselves a good side.


The Kangaroos were given a lesson in the art of skill and pressure in Saturday’s 73-point loss to premiership favourites Fremantle in Perth.

The result leaves North Melbourne precariously placed at 4-4 heading into tough games against Collingwood, West Coast, Sydney, and GWS.

North Melbourne reached a preliminary final last year, and were expected to challenge for the premiership this season.

But Scott says his side are way off the mark at the moment.

“We just got killed in terms of errors,” Scott said.

“Good sides don’t give up. I think we conceded 13 goals from turnovers – really soft goals – and good sides don’t do that.

“We’re not in the good side category yet because we are not defending well enough and producing consistently enough.

“Just some schoolboy stuff at times.”

Scott said the absence of prime movers Daniel Wells (Achilles tendon), Nick Dal Santo (hamstring), and Andrew Swallow (thumb) couldn’t be used as an excuse for their poor display.

“I thought the effort for the most part was ok, but we left too much to too few,” Scott said.

“We’ve got some guys that need to stand up and start playing an AFL brand of footy.”

Forward Jarrad Waite is in some doubt for Sunday’s clash with Collingwood at the MCG after hurting his foot early against the Dockers.

Waite was able to play out the match after receiving treatment, with Scott revealing the injury was a flare-up of a past complaint.

Fremantle (8-0) remain two wins clear on top of the table following their best ever start to an AFL season.

Nat Fyfe (37 disposals, 11 clearances) boosted his Brownlow medal chances with another best-on-ground display, while Michael Walters (four goals) produced his finest game of the season.

Skipper Matthew Pavlich was subbed off early in the last quarter as a precaution, but coach Ross Lyon expects the 33-year-old to play in Saturday night’s clash with the Crows in Adelaide.

“He came in with a slightly tight abductor, and it was a greasy night,” Lyon said.

“We were in the position to choose between Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich, David Mundy, Michael Johnson and Luke McPharlin (as the sub).

“Pavlich was the one tonight.”

Fremantle have been able to keep the majority of their best 22 out on the park this season.

Lyon knows injuries will come at some point, and he’s urging his charges to make the most of their good run while the sun is shining.

“It’s a long hard year, it’s a marathon,” Lyon said.

“We’re a third of the way through. Anything can happen from here.”

Abbott focuses on passing budget

Small business and Australian jihadis will be on the federal government’s mind as parliament returns for a fortnight-long sitting.


The opposition intends to highlight the “sneaky cuts” hidden in the federal budget.

Labor will pursue this theme both in the lower house where budget bills are up for debate and during estimates hearings when senators get the chance to quiz ministers and senior government officials.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott indicated on Sunday the government will put new counter-terrorism laws to parliament this week.

It’s anticipated these will give the government the power to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they join terrorist organisations.

The government is also understood to be considering ways to restrict the rights of foreign fighters who only hold Australian citizenship.

But Mr Abbott said it wasn’t his priority to get these new laws passed straight away.

“The priority this week is getting the budget bills through … unleashing the latent creativity of the small businesses of Australia,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

The key measure he wants Labor’s immediate support on is a $20,000 instant asset write-off for small business.

Immigration and national security issues will also come under scrutiny at legal and constitutional affairs committee hearings over the week.

Agriculture department officials are likely to face questions about their handling of the saga involving Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s dogs.

Labor and the Greens will also ask how Barnaby Joyce’s department is handling concerns about Australian cattle being mistreated in Vietnam.

Clive Palmer will introduce a private member’s bill to the lower house aimed at preventing the disclosure by police or other agencies of information that could lead to the death penalty being imposed on Australians overseas.

On Wednesday, the parliament will receive a visit from New Zealand Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Force must learn to covert chances: Foley

If they can get past their propensity to throw games away the Western Force might be able to upset the apple cart for other Australian Super Rugby franchises in the run to the playoffs.


Having again thrown away chances, this time against the Highlanders, the Force will take on the struggling Reds, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels in the final rounds of the regular season.

After all, the Force have been able to defeat the Waratahs twice and were competitive in their previous losses to other Australian sides, positive thinking decrees wins could be just around the corner.

In losing to the Highlanders 23-3, the Force allowed the NZ team to climb above the Brumbies on the ladder, but coach Michael Foley was optimistic they learned a valuable lesson about what they need to do to convert their opportunities.

“It’s not a new lesson but I think when we bring that great enthusiasm and aggression to our defence and create chances, you have to make the most of them,” Foley said.

“Against really good sides you’re not going to get a hell of a lot of chances and we saw that against the Waratahs as well when we only got a couple of chances. Against the Waratahs, we finished them off and this week we didn’t quite do that.

“I thought there was enough there for us to potentially win that game if we take those chances early, but the couple of tries that we were probably a pass away from making we missed.”

Now the Highlanders can move to second in the New Zealand conference and box seat for a finals appearance by beating the currently second placed Chiefs this Saturday in Invercargill.

Coach Jamie Joseph was proud of his team’s efforts to beat the Force and is looking forward to getting home after three weeks in South Africa and one in Perth before preparing for the Chiefs.

“I take my hat off to the Force because they had to work really hard and they made us earn it, but our boys had a lot of incentive with our captain (Ben Smith) playing 100 games and one of their best mates (John Hardie) playing 50,” Joseph said.

“We’ve got three matches to go and for us if we beat the Chiefs and get up against those guys we will slip ahead of them. That really boils down to being a massive match in Invercargill and we are really looking forward to that.”

Stosur emerges as French Open challenger

A year after almost quitting tennis in despair, a revitalised and resurgent Samantha Stosur has emerged from the darkness to be a French Open challenger once more.


Stosur is spearheading Australia’s 12-strong singles assault in Paris as the country’s top-ranked player for the sixth straight year.

But unlike last year when the fallen former grand slam champion arrived at Roland Garros fighting mental demons and a desperate urge to give the game away, Stosur “couldn’t be happier” entering the claycourt major.

A reunion with former long-time coach David Taylor last month has yielded instant success.

In her first match in 20 months back under Taylor’s wing, the 2010 French Open runner-up returned from a calf injury to snap the 11-match, two-title claycourt winning streak of German Angelique Kerber in Madrid.

Stosur was back in the game again and, a month on, the one-time US Open champion and world No.4 crowned her comeback on Saturday (Sunday AEST) with a first WTA title since last October.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Stosur told AAP following her Strasbourg International triumph.

“I’m doing all the things I want to be doing heading into a grand slam.”

Stosur’s positive mindset is a far cry from when she questioned her future in the sport following a demoralising first-round loss to Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky at last year’s Portugal Open.

Tired of blowing one-set leads and throwing matches away, the usually upbeat Queenslander had, had enough.

“In Portugal last year, it (retirement) was front and centre,” Stosur said ahead of her first-round French Open clash with American Madison Brengle.

“I wasn’t in a good place and I wasn’t enjoying my tennis at all. All the way up to the French Open I struggled.

“There was still a long way to go before making that decision, but it wasn’t fun being on court for a long time.”

It’s fun now, though, and Stosur credits Taylor with freshening up her game and restoring the optimism.

After unsuccessful stints with Andy Murray’s former coach Miles Maclagan and Nick Kyrgios’s ex-mentor Simon Rea, Stosur turned again to Taylor, just as she did after battling career-threatening Lyme disease in 2007.

During a six-year partnership, Taylor was in Stosur’s corner not only for her charge to the 2010 final in Paris and her stunning victory over Serena Williams in the 2011 US Open final, but also for runs to the last four in Paris in 2009 and 2012.

“It’s only been four or five weeks but it was a pretty easy transition. Dave knows my game and what to expect and it’s kind of like it never stopped,” Stosur said.

Reuniting with Taylor wasn’t all straightforward.

He has two young daughters and has also been busy coaching Croatian-born Australian Ajla Tomljanovic since the end of 2013.

But after convincing him, Stosur and Tomljanovic joined Taylor at his Liechtenstein base after Australia’s Fed Cup tie last month in the Netherlands.

“I had to make sure Ajla was okay with it and thankfully she was,” Stosur said two days after edging Tomljanovic in a three-set quarter-final in Strasbourg.

“Obviously there’s less time and if you’re both on court at the same time, it can be difficult.

“Even for our match (last Thursday), he sat in the players’ lounge and watched it on TV.

“Yeah, it’s unique. But so far it’s working.”

Stosur, Tomljanovic and fellow Australians in the bottom quarter of the women’s draw – Casey Dellacqua, Daria Gavrilova and Jarmila Gajdosova – all launch their Open campaigns on Monday.

Indonesia begins search for migrant boats

Indonesia has begun search and rescue operations for stranded migrant boats carrying Bangladeshis and ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, after it dropped a hardline policy of refusing them sanctuary.


Jakarta sparked international outrage by turning away vessels filled with desperate migrants, among thousands stranded at sea since a Thai crackdown on human-trafficking in early May threw the illicit trade into chaos.

Along with neighbouring Malaysia, the government changed approach on Wednesday with an announcement that they would take in boat people provided they could be resettled or repatriated within a year.

While Indonesian fisherman have helped hundreds of stranded Rohingya and Bangladeshis to shore, so far there has been no official rescue effort from Jakarta.

But four naval ships, two pontoons and a patrol aircraft have now been deployed in a search which started Friday evening, Indonesian military spokesman Fuad Basya told AFP.

“We have officially received an order from President (Joko Widodo) to carry out search and rescue operations, whether in the Indonesian territory or international waters,” he said.

“We will save the migrants and take them to shore,” he said, adding that as of Saturday evening, no new boats had been sighted.

The Malaysian government announced on Thursday that its navy and coastguard would be mobilised for search operations but so far it has not reported any rescues either.

More than 3,500 migrants have swum to shore or been rescued off the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh since the crisis erupted earlier this month.

Boatloads of starving Rohingya and Bangladeshis have been abandoned by smuggling syndicates and left to fend for themselves.

Air strikes and ground fighting in Yemen

Saudi-led warplanes have launched a fresh wave of air strikes across Yemen on Saturday, targeting Iran-backed rebels as fighting raged on the ground in the south of the country, witnesses said.


The air raids pounded arms depots under the control of the Shi’ite Huthi rebels in the locality of Ghula, in Omran province north of Sanaa, residents said.

This followed similar bombardments of weapons storage facilities in the capital that sparked deadly explosions, and strikes on the Dhabwa military base, which is currently under rebel control.

In the western province of Hodeida, a military airport was twice bombed by coalition warplanes, according to residents.

The Arab coalition has stepped up raids on positions held by the Huthis and their allies since a humanitarian ceasefire ended late on Tuesday.

At Hajja in the north of the country, a gathering of Huthis was struck, killing at least 12 of the Shi’ite fighters, witnesses reported.

Air strikes also attacked rebel positions in Dhamar, officials there said, while tank and mortar fire sounded across some sectors of the central region where heavy fighting took place, according to tribal sources.

In southern Yemen warplanes targeted rebels locked in combat with tribesmen in Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province, military officials said.

The fighting killed at least 28 people, including 17 Huthis and 11 tribesmen, the sources said.

In Aden, clashes raged in the north, east and west of the port city between rebels and fighters loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, military sources said.

The Saudi-led coalition launched the air campaign against the Huthis on March 26, after the rebels seized the capital and advanced on Hadi’s stronghold of Aden, forcing him to flee to Riyadh.

The United Nations, which plans to hold a conference on Yemen in Geneva next week, says the violence has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced close to half a million more.

Kyrgios confident of French Open run

Call him cocky, he doesn’t mind, but Nick Kyrgios is confident of doing “special things” at the French Open in his maiden outing as a grand slam seed.


The first player since Roger Federer to reach two men’s grand slam quarter-finals as a teenager, Kyrgios turned 20 last month but makes no apologies for retaining his youthful brashness and bravado.

“It’s not annoying at all,” Kyrgios said when asked by a French reporter if he was bothered by being dubbed “arrogant”.

“I think the greatest people in every sport have an unbelievable amount of self confidence and I think that’s one thing that makes me a good tennis player; I have a lot of belief in myself.

“You don’t see many 19 or 20-year-olds beating some of the greatest of all-time.”

The tennis world has seen Kyrgios do it twice in the past 10 months.

The Australian’s fourth-round victory over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last year brought him instant stardom, while his stunning win over Federer in Madrid this month secured his French Open seeding.

“So it definitely helps me on the court,” Kyrgios said of his volatile temperament.

“I’m still learning how to deal with my emotions on the court. I show a lot of anger at times, but I’m still learning and I think it’s a good thing.

“I’m not fussed about what others think at all.”

Kyrgios only answers to himself and he is once again asking for a lot in Paris.

“I’ve got pretty high expectations of myself,” the 30th seed said ahead of his first-round clash on Monday with Denis Istomin.

“Obviously I’ve had some pretty good results the last couple of weeks and I feel confident.

“I have belief in my body. I feel I have the metres in my legs. I’ve played a lot of five-set matches now, so I feel confident in the grand slams.

“I know it’s an emotional two weeks so you’ve got to try to keep those emotions in check for the first couple of matches if you happen to get through.”

Kyrgios retired midway through his second-round match at the Nice Open last week with elbow soreness, but insists it won’t be an issue at Roland Garros.

Still growing into his 193cm frame, Kyrgios is accustomed to playing injured.

He played just one ATP match in four months before powering into the Australian Open quarter-finals despite a stress fracture in his back.

“At the Australian Open, my back was really bad. I had to take a couple of months off afterwards,” he said.

“But I’m feeling way better than I felt then, so that in itself gives me confidence.

“If I can make the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a bad back, I can do some special things healthy.”

Kyrgios’s optimism is in contrast to Bernard Tomic’s uncertainness entering his first-round match on Monday with lowly-ranked qualifier Luca Vanni.

The Australian No.1 also pulled the pin in Nice and said on Saturday he was still suffering from a virus that had him laying low for five days.

Tomic said he was “probably 80, 90 per cent” but hoped to improve before taking on the qualifier who edged him in a third-set tiebreaker two weeks ago in Madrid.

“His serve’s really good,” Tomic said.

“I played him at 900 metres altitude so I don’t know how he’s going to serve here, but he’s qualified so it’s not an easy match.”

If Tomic wins and Thanasi Kokkinakis beats Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili on his Roland Garros debut on Monday, the Davis Cup teammates will clash in a second-round blockbuster on Wednesday.


Women’s singles, first round

26-Samantha Stosur v Madison Brengle (USA)

Casey Dellacqua v Ajla Tomljanovic

Daria Gavrilova v Johanna Larsson (SWE)

Jarmila Gajdosova v Amandine Hesse (FRA)

Men’s singles, first round

27-Bernard Tomic v Luca Vanni (ITA)

30-Nick Kyrgios v Denis Istomin (UZB)

Sam Groth v 21-Pablo Cuevas (URU)

Thanasi Kokkinakis v Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)

Marinko Matosevic v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)

Porte may abandon Giro

Australian cycling star Richie Porte may cut his losses and look to the Tour de France after three disastrous days at the Giro d’Italia.


The Tasmanian said he was feeling the effects of the previous day’s crash when he struggled through the stage-14 individual time trial on Saturday night (AEST).

It dashed whatever faint hopes he had left of a big overall finish in this year’s race.

Porte admitted he could abandon the Giro so he can focus on July’s Tour, where he is scheduled to support Sky leader and his good friend Chris Froome.

“In some ways it might make sense and get out of here and look forward to the Tour,” Porte said.

“It’s massively disappointing … I don’t think I did anything wrong, I’ve just been unlucky.”

The Tasmanian is now nearly nine minutes off the pace in the overall standings, a devastating blow given he entered the three-week Giro hoping to contend for a podium finish at least.

Porte went into the Giro as Team Sky’s designated team leader, the first time he had the role for a three-week Grand Tour.

Saturday was the third stage since last Tuesday where Porte has lost a big chunk of time.

It is a dramatic reversal of fortune after Porte had started this year with the best form of his career.

The Tasmanian could only manage 55th for the 59.2km time trial, a whopping four minutes 20 seconds down on Sky teammate and stage winner Vasil Kiryienka from Belarus.

Spaniard Alberto Contador finished third to regain the race lead, while Porte is now 17th overall at 8:52.

With less than 10km left in stage 10 last week, Porte was in an ideal position at third overall, just 22 seconds behind Contador.

But he punctured, costing him more than 40 seconds, and controversially was also penalised two minutes for accepting a wheel from Orica-GreenEDGE rider Simon Clarke.

He plummeted to 12th overall, more than three minutes off the pace.

The stage-14 time trial was a key moment for Porte and the hope was he could produce a storming ride that would propel him back into the top 10.

But he lost more time in a crash near the end of stage 13 and also hurt his knee and hip.

“I know where my form’s at – I’m in a little bit of pain and I couldn’t really push on the flat,” he said after the time trial.

“I didn’t really have it.

“It’s bittersweet with Kiryienkya doing so well there.

“In ‘recon’, it was a time trial that I liked, it suited me.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen now – I’m in a fair amount of pain.”

Porte added that, in theory, he could try to chase a stage win through the mountains in the last week of the Giro.

He said he would talk to team officials before making the call.

“The way my knee and hip felt today I’m just not sure,” he said.

“I think it may be making up numbers to be honest.”

Budget set to again face Senate hurdles

Joe Hockey’s second budget may have won an initial round of applause from voters but that does not mean it will get an easy passage through parliament.


A clutch of crossbench senators will likely hold sway on whether key items such as the treasurer’s childcare package and pension reform will get across the line.

Heading into a sitting fortnight for the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is urging the Labor Party to “work with us” in backing the $20,000 instant asset write-off for small business when budget bills start to be debated.

“We all know that the Labor government got us into a mess,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday. “This is a chance for the Labor Party to be part of the solution rather than the problem.”

But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten still believes it is a “sneaky” budget that repackages last year’s poorly received effort for opinion polls.

Senators will be going through the budget with a fine toothcomb during two weeks of grilling government departments in Senate estimates.

Two key crossbench senators are not happy the government is sticking with last year’s cuts to family tax benefits to help pay for its new childcare package.

South Australian independent Nick Xenophon believes that while there is a lot of merit in the package, cutting benefits once a child turns six is “not a good way to negotiate”.

Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie describes it as holding the parliament to “ransom again”.

But she does support ending “double dipping” in the commonwealth’s paid parental leave scheme, even though she is yet to be convinced about the latest changes to the pension and is due to meet with Social Services Minister Scott Morrison on Monday.

“I want to see it all in black and white … I’m still sitting in the middle on that,” she told Sky News.

Greens deputy leader Scott Ludlam says he is “cautiously supportive” of some of the pension measures but he is arguing for a broader retirement income review.

“The elephant in the room is superannuation and its tax treatment,” he told Sky News.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm has broader concerns, like bringing the budget back to balance.

“There just seems to be this denial that we can spend more than we bring in,” he told Sky News.

Fever bounce back to win netball thriller

The West Coast Fever held off a fast finishing Adelaide Thunderbirds to score a much needed trans-Tasman netball league win in Adelaide on Sunday.


After leading by as many as 10 goals at one stage through the third quarter, the Fever squandered the lead with just minutes remaining before regaining composure to win 63-61.

The result snapped a two game losing streak for the Perth-based side, which resulted in them surrendering top spot in the Australian conference.

It was also the first time in competition history West Coast have beaten the Thunderbirds twice in a season.

Coach Stacey Rosman said it was an important result just a week out from the finals.

“We knew the Thunderbirds were going to fight till the very end,” she said.

“They have shown all year they contest hard and they have got great athleticism and can contest four quarters and keep coming at you.

“I thought we did well to settle, particularly with such a parochial home crowd.”

Goal shooter Caitlin Bassett was impressive as always for the Fever landing 52 goals from 56 attempts while Carla Borrego slotted 44 for the Thunderbirds.

Adelaide coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson said her side showed guts to peg back the deficit.

“We gave it all we had and we certainly left nothing out there, it was just a few judgment errors in the first quarter,” she said.

“You can not afford to make those mistakes against a team like Fever with Bassett at the other end.

“I think we take a lot of heart from that, we set ourselves up in a winning position.”

Both sides end the regular season at home with the Fever hosting the New South Wales Swifts and the Thunderbirds host Central Pulse.