Jewish community welcomes Netanyahu at Bondi Synagogue on controversial visit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken warmly of his country’s relationship with Australia on a visit to the Central Synagogue in Bondi Junction on Wednesday evening.

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It comes after a day spent fielding questions over the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

“There’s no better friend for the state of Israel,” Mr Netanyahu said of Mr Turnbull as the pair appeared before a 2000-strong Jewish congregation.

“But he’s had some standard bearers before him. John Howard and Tony Abbott.”

Both former prime ministers were seated just behind Mr Netanyahu in the synagogue and received huge applause from the congregation, which included NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, prominent lawyer Mark Leibler, retail billionaire Solomon Lew and Jeanne Pratt, widow of the late industrialist Richard Pratt.

Such adulation is harder to come by back at home for Mr Netanyahu, whose Likud party has been slipping in the opinion polls while he remains under police investigation into claims he wrongly accepted gifts from billionaires.

Mr Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, has also faced months of criticism over Israel’s rapid expansion of settlements on Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank – a move condemned by the United Nations.

Mr Turnbull spent much of the day defending Israel against the UN’s criticism.

Facing the congregation at his “local shul” – as he calls the synagogue in the heart of his Wentworth electorate – Mr Turnbull said Australia disassociated itself from the UN resolution because it attributed fault only to the state of Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said while he knew Israel was “much maligned” in the UN, he saluted Mr Turnbull for “standing up for Israel”.

“You refused to accept this hypocrisy,” he said.

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The Israeli leader sparked huge applause for speaking out about the need to “battle against those who seek to demonise Jews”, referring to a resurgence in anti-semitism in many parts of the world.

“It is something we need to fight together,” he said.

“I think this is important in Europe. It’s important in America. It’s very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-semitism.”

Mr Netanyahu left his crowd with an invitation.

“I want all of you to come to Israel. I want you to visit your friends and your families, I want you to walk the streets of the old city in Jerusalem and the Golan.

“We are part of you, you are part of us.”

Earlier, just hours after landing in Sydney for an historic four-day visit, Mr Netanyahu slammed suggestions by Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd for wanting Australia to join 137 other countries in giving diplomatic recognition to an independent Palestine.

“What kind of state will it be that they are advocating?” Mr Netanyahu asked during a press conference at Kirribilli House after holding bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday.

“A state that calls for Israel’s destruction? A state whose territory will be used immediately for radical Islam?”

Landed in Sydney for 1st-ever visit of an Israeli PM to Australia. Thanks for the warm welcome. I’m far from Israel, but feel at home. 🇮🇱🇦🇺 pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/qmUEuSKcJO

— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) February 21, 2017

The calls from Mr Hawke and Mr Rudd – both strong supporters of Israel and backed by former foreign ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr – are largely driven by concerns Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements on land it occupies on the West Bank is damaging the prospects of peace with Palestinians.

The United Nations last December branded Israel’s settlements illegal under international law.

Australia at the time was a lone voice in defending Israel and accused the UN of being “one-sided”.

“Australia has been courageously willing to puncture UN hypocrisy more than once,” Mr Netanyahu said.

“The UN is capable of many absurdities and I think it’s important that you have straightforward and clear-eyed countries like Australia that often bring it back to earth,” he said after meeting Mr Turnbull.

Welcome to Australia Bibi & Sara! @netanyahu pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/ZoL8JqSzmb

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) February 22, 2017

Mr Turnbull said he still believed that to be the case and that Australia still hopes a two-state solution with Israelis and the Palestinians living alongside each other can be achieved.

Referring to the Israeli leader’ by his nickname Bibi, Mr Turnbull suggested the circumstances could be right for both sides to restart peace talks, which last stalled in 2014.

One of the major sticking points in establishing independent states has been the Palestinians’ refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

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Mr Netanyahu said recognition was mandatory along with Israel having security control of all territories.

“If Israel is not there to ensure security, then that state very quickly will become another bastion of radical Islam,” he said.

“Other than that, I want the Palestinians to be able to govern themselves and to have all the freedoms to do so, but not the freedom to destroy the Jewish state.”

The Israeli leader and his wife Sara arrived in Sydney from Singapore on Wednesday morning, accompanied by a large business delegation to help develop trade and security ties with Australia.

His first official port of call in Sydney was the governor-general’s official residence Admiralty House, where he arrived by boat under police escort for talks with Sir Peter Cosgrove and Mr Turnbull.

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“We feel we are in the friendliest country possible,” Mr Netanyahu told Mr Turnbull as they sat down for talks on security, trade and the Middle East.

Mr Netanyahu paid tribute to the Light Horse Brigade’s liberation of Beersheba during World War I and Australia’s help in creating the Jewish state in 1947.

He later joined Mr Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at business luncheon, saying Israel was keen to develop an innovation partnership with Australia.

At the lunch, Mr Turnbull said Australia “deplored” the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which he said was designed “to delegitimise the Jewish state”.

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Climate change harms ocean hot spots:study

Six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a study has found.

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An international study published in the journal Science Advances looked at 2100 species of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and even plankton to calculate Earth’s hot spots of marine biodiversity.

It also found overfishing and warming temperatures were hurting the lush life in these areas.

“In those hot spots, the changes are already happening,” says study co-author Andre Chiaradia, a senior scientist and penguin expert at the Phillip Island Nature Parks in Australia.

“They are the most at risk,” he said.

Researchers found the liveliest ocean hot spot also happens to be where the science of evolution sprouted: the Pacific Ocean off the central South American coast.

Other hot spots include the the southwestern Pacific off Australia’s southern and eastern coast, southwestern Atlantic Ocean off Argentina; the western Indian Ocean off the African coast; the central western Pacific Ocean surrounding Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines and the Oceania region of the Pacific around the international date line.

Four of the six hot spots are in the Pacific; all are either in the southern hemisphere or just north of the equator.

“What makes this biodiversity? It’s the isolation,” Chiardia said.

“On land, we have kangaroos and weird animals like the platypus. And in the ocean it’s not different.”

Penguins, which are near the top of the food chain, were a good example of the impact of changing water temperatures and currents, Chiardia said.

Warm El Nino waters have decimated Galapagos penguins and the population of southern African penguins had dropped by about 90 per cent in just 20 years.

Leaks, not Russia ties, worry Republicans

Rank-and-file Republicans are more concerned about leaks of conversations between Trump advisers and the Russian government than they are about the conversations themselves, according to a new opinion poll.

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The Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted between February 16 and February 20, shows US President Donald Trump has shifted opinions within a party where national security has been a top issue since the Cold War, the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato says.

“Republicans have now put a higher priority on their partisan identification and support for their current leader than principles they have had for many decades,” Sabato said.

“We live in such a polarised era.”

The poll asked people to pick one of two statements that was “the most concerning to you”.

The first statement cited “reports that Trump advisers were in repeated contact with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election”.

The second cited “US intelligence agents leaking details of conversations between Trump advisers and the Russian government to reporters”.

Overall, 43 per cent of Americans said they were most concerned about reports of the contacts with Russia.

Another 39 per cent said they were concerned about the leaks and 19 per cent said they did not know.

However, people who identified with the Republican Party appeared to be much more troubled by the leaks.

About 57 per cent said the leaks were the bigger concern, while 23 per cent said it was the Russian contacts, and another 20 per cent did not know.

Trump asked his national security adviser Michael Flynn to resign in February after reports he had discussed US sanctions with a Russian diplomat while Barack Obama was still president.

Yet, while the media focused on the contacts with Russia, Trump blamed Flynn’s departure on “criminal” leaks.

“The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” Trump said in a tweet.

Could genetics be the reason behind obesity?

Twenty-five per cent of Australian adults are estimated to be clinically obese.

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The common view is that obesity is a self-inflicted condition. But one Melbourne clinic is challenging that perception.

Austin Health Obesity Physician, Professor Joe Proietto says he treats obesity as a chronic genetic disease.

“The view that obesity is genetic is controversial, however the evidence is very strong that there is a genetic predisposition to obesity,” said Professor Proietto.

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In a new SBS documentary Obesity Myth, doctors are trying to treat patients through a combination of diet, medication and surgery, tailored specifically for their genetic make-up.

Professor Proietto believes the environment has far less bearing on weight than genetics.

But Sydney University Obesity Research Director, Dr Nick Fuller says blaming genetics is only going to make the obesity crisis worse.

“We are finding more and more genes that contribute to obesity but genetics are not the reason for the increase in prevalence of obesity,” said Dr Fuller.

Dr Fuller believes dieting is not the most effective solution. He believes weight loss should happen slowly, to trick the body into believing it is at a new set weight point.

“They need to lose a small amount of weight before the usual response to weight loss kicks in and maintain that weight so they can reprogram their set weight before going on to lose weight,” said Dr Fuller.

Helene Jagdon has been trying to lose weight for 30 years. She has tried every fad diet and training regime in the book.

Only in the last few years under Dr Fuller’s strategy has she been able to lose 14 kilograms and keep it off.

“He didn’t make us feel like we were on a diet, he was just guiding us to what foods we can eat and not really saying what foods we can’t eat.

“He was just saying if you feel like having a laksa, have a laksa, but maybe limit it to one takeaway treat in a week,” said Ms Jagdon.

Now sitting at a comfortable 68 kilograms, Helene has maintained her passion for cooking and is inspiring people half her age to lose weight without dramatically changing their lives.

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The three-part documentary series The Obesity Myth  starts September 4 on SBS at 7.30pm.

Out-of-sorts Diamonds outplayed by NZ

Australia’s inability to find their shooters cost them dearly in the Netball Quad series finale against New Zealand, captain Caitlin Bassett believes.

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The Diamonds were comprehensively outplayed 57-47 by New Zealand in Invercargill, losing the four-nation tournament title after earlier beating England and South Africa.

The Silver Ferns ran away with the first quarter 18-10, then held their nerve over the remaining 45 minutes to shut out their second win over the world champions in nearly two years.

Bassett said the Australians had failed to respond to New Zealand’s lift in intensity.

“I think once we got the ball in the circle, there was no issue – it was getting the ball into the circle that we had an issue with,” she said.

“I think tonight we lost our connection – we didn’t play as a team.

“We were doing too much individual work, and not enough unit work.

“That was what the Silver Ferns did well: they split us apart and they exposed us, they put us in individual units and we didn’t get back together again.”

Two positional changes were key in the New Zealand win – the introduction of 20-year-old 192cm goalkeeper Kelly Jury to mark Bassett, and the shift of shooter Bailey Mes to goal attack.

Coach Lisa Alexander admitted her players didn’t adjust well to either change, and she was particularly unhappy with Jury’s impact on the game.

“She did very well, but I think she got away with a bit in the circle though,” Alexander said.

“There were a lot of hands across and I thought she was too close on a number of occasions, so I’ll speak to the umpires about that.”

While Mes did a solid job in sinking 17 from 18, it was the work she did further up the court which proved crucial.

Her height and athleticism was invaluable in bringing the ball downcourt, while her defensive skills forced numerous turnovers, including three clear intercepts.

The Diamonds did themselves no favours with an uncharacteristically disorganised response to New Zealand’s zone defence, something Alexander struggled to explain.

“We know we’ve got an all-out out strategy against the zone, but we simply didn’t do it – I can’t explain it any other way,” she said.

While the introduction of Liz Watson helped boost Australia’s midcourt, 43-cap centre Kim Ravaillion was too often ineffective.

“At the end of the day, Kim is the more experienced player, she’s played in these competitions before and we would have expected her to step up,” Alexander said.

“Unfortunately, she just didn’t have the drive.”

N Korea’s ‘H-bomb’ sends global shockwaves

North Korea says its tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, marking a dramatic escalation of the regime’s stand-off with the United States and its allies.

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State television said the hydrogen bomb test ordered by leader Kim Jong Un had been a “perfect success”.

The bomb was designed to be mounted on its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea’s sixth nuclear test drew swift international condemnation.

US President Donald Trump described North Korea as a “dangerous” “rogue nation”, later when asked if he would attack the North he said: “We’ll see.”

He late tweeted he was considering a global trade embargo, which would cut US trade with any country doing business with Pyongyang.

The big question is whether advisers like defence secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can persuade Trump not to abandon diplomacy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to “appropriately deal” with the test.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed the international community must step up its response, while Abe also said he and Putin would cooperate.

Putin has no plans to telephone North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

The test registered with international seismic agencies as a man-made earthquake.

Japanese and South Korean officials said it was about 10 times more powerful than the tremor picked up after North Korea’s last nuclear test a year ago.

There was no independent confirmation the detonation was a hydrogen bomb, but Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo could not rule out such a possibility.

A US intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US had no reason to doubt it was an advanced nuclear device tested.

Experts who studied the impact of the earthquake caused by the explosion – measured by the US Geological Survey at magnitude 6.3 – said that there was enough strong evidence to suggest the reclusive state has either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting very close.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Seoul would push for strong steps to further isolate the North, including new UN sanctions. Japan also raised the prospect of further sanctions, saying curbs on North Korea’s oil trade would be on the table.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally, strongly condemned the nuclear test and urged Pyongyang to stop its “wrong” actions.

The US wants urged Beijing to do more to rein in its neighbour, but Beijing rejects that it’s solely responsible for doing so. China says military drills by South Korea and the US on the Korean peninsula add to tensions.

Under third-generation leader Kim, North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile, without affecting its range and making it capable of surviving re-entry.

North Korea claimed in January last year to have tested a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear device, but outside experts were sceptical.

Southgate’s England under pressure to entertain

While England have remained in control of Group F since beating Slovakia 1-0 away with a last-gasp goal, they have hardly provided much excitement.

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Friday’s 4-0 victory in Malta included one goal in the 85th minute and two in stoppage time — disguising what had been a turgid display against a side ranked 190th in the world by FIFA.

Former captain Terry Butcher said the current England team lacked “something special” after the Malta victory.

While manager Gareth Southgate defended the display against Malta, and will prioritise three points on Monday over style, he knows the fans want evidence his side can make an impression in Russia next year after a series of flops in major tournaments.

“We have some exciting players and we want to show that,” Southgate said ahead of Monday’s game against second-placed Slovakia, who are two points behind England.

“We have a responsibility to get the Wembley crowd on their feet but, equally, everywhere we go in the world the home crowd give the team a lift. It will be great if we can get the level of support that stadium (Wembley) can bring.”

That will largely depend on whether his team of Premier League regulars commanding vast transfer fees, can do a better job at breaking down Slovakia than they did against Malta until a late flurry of goals put some gloss on the scoreline.

England are unbeaten in their last 36 qualifiers for major tournaments and have won their last 12.

Slovakia, however, are their closest challengers having won five qualifiers in a row after a bad start to the campaign.

“We are playing good opposition so we have to make sure we are tactically prepared, which we will be, but also have belief in the team we have got,” Southgate said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Buhrer positive Knights have turned corner

Newcastle have enough wooden spoons to fill a culinary set, but captain Jamie Buhrer insists it doesn’t feel as though the Knights have finished last this NRL season.

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The Knights ended another miserable campaign with a spirited 26-18 loss to Cronulla where they showed glimpses of the improvement made under Nathan Brown this year.

Twice they could have folded against the defending premiers on Sunday but Brown’s men displayed the fighting qualities that netted them three wins late in the season.

“You saw periods in that game which showed how far we’ve come, but also showed that there’s a period where the younger guys have got to grow again,” Brown said.

The defeat meant the Knights ended the year at the bottom of the ladder – two wins behind the 15th-placed Wests Tigers.

But Buhrer was adamant that if the regular season extended into October, the cellar-dwellers would have dragged themselves up a rung or two.

“It’s a different feeling getting the wooden spoon, you wouldn’t expect there to be too much optimism I suppose,” Buhrer said.

“But from my standpoint, and a lot of the other boys, to see where the club’s gone from November last year when I got here to where we sit now, I can say with confidence that if we had another five, six games left in the season, I don’t think we’d get the wooden spoon.

“That’s the upward trajectory I feel the club’s going in.”

Buhrer said the Knights may have ended with the spoon, but there was gold around the corner.

“It is a wooden spoon; we’re not going to beat around the bush with that. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way,” he said.

“There’s excitement building for next year that comes with the experience that all the young boys are getting. Some of the players that have now got 50 games, they’ve also taken a step.

“And it’s quite well documented we’ve got some great recruits coming in. It’s time to have a rest, but I’m not the only one that’s itching for November 1 and the new year to roll around.”

Brown pointed to the season-high 20,535 crowd that turned up for their annual old boys’ day as proof the fanbase had also begun to believe.

“I think the Knights do old boys day better than anyone,” he said.

“But to get over 20,000 people when you’re playing for your third consecutive spoon, playing a side which nobody gave us a chance of beating, to turn up like they did was unbelievable.

“That’s why the club’s got big scope to become a powerful club because you have got a fanbase that’ll turn up under those circumstances and with Wests (Group), you have a powerful organisation.”

NRL rise cold comfort for gutted Dragons

At some point, Paul McGregor knows he will be able to see the positives out of the 2017 NRL season.

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But that point isn’t likely to arrive any time soon.

McGregor was a shattered man following St George Illawarra’s 26-20 loss to Canterbury on Sunday, which ended the Dragons’ finals hopes.

The Dragons were widely tipped to go closer to the wooden spoon than the play-offs at the start of the season, making their ninth-place finish a significant result.

But that would be cold comfort to McGregor, who watched his side become just the third in 23 years of the top-eight system to go from first spot after seven rounds to missing the finals.

“Right now I’m actually gutted,” McGregor said.

“But I’m sure once I assess the year there is a lot of good things to look at.

“If you look at our development throughout the year, how much we’ve improved from this time last year, there is only one way for the club, and that’s forward.

“But we all start the pre-season in October to play finals footy … That’s why you like to be involved in the game to play in the best time of the year.

“And that starts next week, and we’re not going to be a part of it.”

The Dragons had their chances to book a finals spot on Sunday.

They led 20-14 with 20 minutes to play, before the Bulldogs sealed it with two late tries.

Josh Dugan was also held up by Will Hopoate after he looked certain to score a try which would have created a 10-point lead

But McGregor said their early post-season holiday couldn’t be blamed on Sunday’s result.

“There’s six games this year that come to mind that could’ve went each way and we didn’t win any of them,” he said.

“The competition is that tight, when you don’t win the close ones continually you don’t play finals footy.”

Dragons captain Gareth Widdop echoed McGregor’s sentiments.

“We played some good football, that’s for sure – we certainly improved on last year,” he said.

“But you want to play finals and we didn’t. I’m certainly disappointed.”

The Dragons will welcome halfback Ben Hunt to the club next year, while star centre Dugan will depart for Cronulla.

Dugan shed tears on the field following the loss, but refused to talk to waiting media following his return match after being dropped for missing the team bus.

Vettel still smiling after difficult day

With the Italian team’s home crowd cheering as he stood on the podium, despite trailing in third and half a minute behind race winner Hamilton, Vettel said he was energised for the battles ahead.

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“For sure, they are giving us a very, very hard time, especially at the moment, but we’ll see,” the German told reporters. “It’s a long journey still.

“I’m still full of adrenaline from the podium, the atmosphere was amazing. You can ask whatever you want now, I don’t care. You will always get a positive answer.”

Ferrari had arrived for their home race knowing that it was likely to favour Mercedes but encouraged by a strong showing in Belgium the previous weekend when Vettel was on Hamilton’s tail all the way.

There have been races this season where the Italian team have dominated, and they could well do so again in Singapore in two weeks’ time, but Monza was the equivalent of a bucket of cold water in the face.

“I think we just screwed up,” Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne told RTL television. “The set-up for the car was wrong. I think we underestimated the circuit.”

Vettel is three points behind Hamilton with seven of the 20 races remaining; Ferrari are 62 points adrift of Mercedes.

“For me, it looks like this weekend Ferrari have taken a step back,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after another one-two finish for the ‘Silver Arrows’.

“I think we were very solid, but they (Ferrari) have not performed in the way everybody expected.

“Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo started from the back of the grid, and almost finished third, which suggests something is out of synch here and not how it should be.”

Vettel, who had started in sixth place, said his Ferrari simply did not have the pace to match Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the fastest track on the calendar.

But he also knew Ferrari had a strong car and would be competitive to the end of the season.

“Overall you could say it was a bad day, but I know the team is on the right way and there is a lot of stuff that is going to improve,” said Vettel.

“I know that we only get stronger, so I’m in a very, very positive mood,” added the German.

“I am not worried… it was a difficult weekend but I know that there is still a long way to go and we have got the people behind us so it is a great feeling.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Global condemnation after Korea nuclear test

World reaction to North Korea’s biggest nuclear test to date: :

United States

US President Donald Trump tweeted “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they (North Korea) only understand one thing!”

In another tweet he said North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States” and the regime “has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.

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Later when asked by reporters if the US would attack North Korea the president said: “we’ll see”.

Australia

Australia condemned North Korea’s “flagrant defiance” of UN Security Council resolutions and urged the world body to take further action against the “dangerous pariah regime”.

“We call for the UN Security Council to urgently consider further strong measures that would place pressure on North Korea to change course,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Australia called for all countries, especially the five UN veto powers “to apply the maximum possible pressure to this dangerous pariah regime”, according to the statement.

I guess Donald Trump is now preparing to launch a tweet. It will lift off in smoke and fire, and then with a roar disappear into nowhere.

— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) September 3, 2017France

President Emmanuel Macron: “The international community must treat this new provocation with the utmost firmness, in order to bring North Korea to come back unconditionally to the path of dialogue and to proceed to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear and ballistic program.”

China

China, the only North Korean ally that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, urged its neighbour to stop “wrong” actions that worsen the situation. It said it would fully enforce UN resolutions on the country.

Russia

The Russian foreign ministry: “In the emerging conditions it is absolutely essential to keep cool, refrain from any actions that could lead to a further escalation of tensions,” it said on its website, adding that North Korea risked “serious consequences”.

Japan

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s “nuclear and missile development programs pose a new level of a grave and immediate threat” and “seriously undermines the peace and security of the region”.

South Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said North Korea’s sixth nuclear test should be met with the “strongest possible” response, including new United Nations Security Council sanctions to “completely isolate” the country.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Nations Security Council should urgently look at imposing new sanctions and speed up implementation of existing ones.

“This latest action by North Korea is reckless and poses an unacceptable further threat to the international community,” May said in an emailed statement.

Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said North Korea’s provocations have “reached a new dimension” with the nation’s sixth nuclear test.

IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has no access to North Korea, called the nuclear test, Pyongyang’s test is “an extremely regrettable act” that is “in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community.”

United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the test as “profoundly destabilising for regional security” and called on the country’s leadership to cease such acts.

 

UN to meet after North Korea’s nuke test

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet and discuss North Korea’s nuclear test at the request of the United States, Japan, Britain, France and South Korea, but Russia is pushing for talks rather than more sanctions.

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North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which it said was an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile.

The UN will meet on Monday morning, the US mission to the United Nations said.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea in early July over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

The sanctions were said to have the potential to cut the Asian state’s $US3 billion ($A3.8 billion) annual export revenue by a third, but Russia questions their effectiveness.

“The imposed sanctions have not created any positive outcome. On the contrary, the situation leaves something to be desired,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

Peskov said it was premature to speak of “specific modalities” of Russia’s possible actions ahead of new talks on North Korea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is now in China for a summit of BRICS leaders, discussed the bomb test with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier on Sunday. Both leaders expressed their deep concerns about security on the Korean Peninsula.

Later on Sunday Putin also had a phone call with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and they both condemned Pyongyang’s bomb test, Peskov said.

“Vladimir Putin said the international society should avoid being overwhelmed by emotion, it should act calmly and prudently. He also highlighted that a complex settlement of the nuclear and other problems of the Korean Peninsula could be achieved solely by political and diplomatic means,” Peskov said.

Australian Copts voice hope for brighter future as Pope Tawadros II continues outreach

At a Coptic Christian church service in Sydney, the parishioners follow the same liturgy they have for centuries.

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One of the world’s most ancient churches, Coptic Christianity broke from other branches of Christianity in 451 AD, with differing beliefs about the nature of Christ.

“We say that his divinity never parted from his humanity for a single moment, or a twinkling of an eye, actually acknowledging both natures exist in Christ,” Coptic priest Father Joshua said.

The Pope describes his church as a church of martyrs, but its priests admit there is also growing fear.

Nehad Kelada lived through that fear.

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Back home in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, she was an accountant – until the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power in 2013.

“I couldn’t live my life freely, even at work I couldn’t live freely,” she said. “I was scared for my life.”

She says followers of the Brotherhood still pose a threat in Eygpt – and now there is also the threat from IS.

Members of Coptic congregations at churches say they feel safe here in Australia, but many also say they worry about family and friends back home.

Australian Coptic Christians at a church service in Sydney (SBS)SBS

Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock has been embraced by Australia’s Coptic Christian community.

He was behind the first programme for their migration to Australia in 1997.

“The problems are more dynamic now, particularly when you’ve had the firebombing of churches and some of the terrorist acts that have occurred,” he said.

“And one of the difficulties Egypt has had to deal with is containing that sort of violence. Not all of Copts – 10 million out of 90 million – are going to be able to be resettled around the world.”

Over the coming days, Pope Tawadros II will travel to Wollongong, Melbourne and Canberra, where he will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.