Wiasak hopes crash doesn’t ruin Commonwealth Games dream

From the high of winning a national crown, two-time world champion Rebecca Wiasak came crashing back to earth.

The Canberra cyclist was hopeful her concussion wouldn’t prevent her from realising her Commonwealth Games dream, after she was forced out of the Women’s Tour Down Under following her crash in Adelaide on Thursday.

Wiasak was in seventh heaven less than two weeks ago when she sprinted to victory in the n criterium championships in Ballarat, but pleasure has quickly turned to pain.

While the concussion was her most serious injury, Wiasak’s face has a serious case of gravel rash, along with her shoulder, hand and knees.

The 33-year-old was using a brief stint on the road bike in early January in her bid to be part of the n women’s team pursuit team for the track event at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

“[There was] a few moments of panic when I think, ‘I’m running out of time to get my qualifying performance for Comm Games’,” Wiasak said.

“I hope my head does recover because one of my thoughts is that, ‘I hope this doesn’t prevent me making Commonwealth Games’.

“I’m trying to stay positive and push that thought out of my head, and just focus on doing everything right.”

She’ll be able to ride a stationary ergo bike on Monday and if she passes her next concussion test on Tuesday could return to the track on Wednesday.

The crash happened just 50 kilometres into the first stage of the Women’s TDU, with a concussed Wiasak apologising to the Holden Cycling team she was guest riding for.

Riding in the middle of the bunch, a rider swerved in front of Wiasak and clipped the Canberra cyclist’s front wheel sending her over the handlebars.

She was especially disappointed to miss Sunday’s final stage – a street circuit in Adelaide – where Wiasak was hopeful of wearing her green-and-gold jersey as national criterium champion.

“I’ll have the concussion test again on Tuesday and hopefully pass it, and be back on the track and the road on Wednesday,” she said.

“My recollection is a rider swerved to the left very suddenly and just clipped, literally took out my front wheel … it happened very quickly and I went obviously head first into the ground.

“I have very little memory after actually falling. I don’t remember hitting the ground and I have very little memory from even the ambulance trip and then arriving at the make-shift medical centre they had in the footy sheds at Gumeracha.” This sport provides some of the most exhilarating highs and the crappiest of lows. Bummed to crash out of @tourdownunder in Stage 1 on Thursday. Turns out I was a bit of a dud guest rider for @holdencycling. Mild concussion means a few days off the bike to recover. pic.twitter苏州美甲/JtwqLwMKwm??? Rebecca Wiasak (@RebeccaWiasak) January 13, 2018Unfortunately I have abandoned #WTDU Winds like Qatar our there today. On the freeway whilst in a team car – two bikes flew off the roof racks in front of us. So glad to avoid two bikes thru our windscreen at 110km/h ??????? Kimberley Wells (@Kimbers_Wells) January 13, 2018

East Timor’s minority government could fall within days

SPECIAL 010829 xanana pool.010829.pool photo by andrew meares.fairfax.east timor… East Timorese presidential candidate Xanana Gusmao is held aloft by the crowd as they welcome him to the village of Malelat in Occusi, East timor on Wednesday 29 August 2001. Gusmao visited several regions in East Timor pleading for calm ahead of the August 30 poll to elect a constituent assembly. .Only four months after taking office East Timor’s minority government is set to fall, possibly within days, amid tense political manoeuvrings in ‘s nearest north-western neighbour.

Uncertainty about the make up of a new government could delay ratification of a landmark agreement to develop billions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

The government led by Mari Alkatiri from the one-time revolutionary party Fretilin faces a second vote of no confidence in its programs from a three-party opposition alliance which holds a majority of seats in Parliament.

Alkatiri has attempted to delay the vote, claiming opposition parties are attempting to stage a coup, as money for government programs rapidly runs out.

Defeat in the vote would automatically trigger the government’s fall.

President Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres, who is aligned with Fretilin, could dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections to be held within months.

Guterres could also invite the second largest party – the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction led by former president and prime minister Xanana Gusmao – to form government, with two other smaller opposition parties.

At the centre of the fractious stand-off are Alkatiri and Gusmao, the country’s two most dominating political figures who have had bitter fallings out in the past.

Gusmao, a wily political operator and hero of East Timor’s struggle for independence, has wielded the most power behind the scenes while leading his country’s negotiations with on a Timor Sea maritime boundary and sharing arrangements for the $50 billion Greater Sunrise oil and gas field.

As political tensions have risen Gusmao has stayed out of the country, prompting many Timorese to ask what role he will play in any political resolution.

Analysts say without his approval of a new government political uncertainty will remain.

Professor Michael Leach, an expert on East Timor from Swinburne University of Technology, said the impasse has brought to the fore lingering divisions between resistance figures during the independence struggle and leaders who remained outside East Timor during Indonesia’s 22-year occupation.

Some local newspapers have used this potentially divisive theme openly in headlines.

Leach said while some East Timorese see a personality clash between Alkatiri and Gusmao, many see a deeper clash about the type of government and which parties should be included.

“Despite the political ructions, East Timorese society remains largely calm,” he said.

“Leaving aside the return of a more belligerent form of democracy and the accusations of an institutional coup, this political standoff demonstrates that the checks and balances in the constitutional system are operating, with strong accountability to Parliament.”

In March, East Timor and are set to sign a treaty on maritime boundary that has been negotiated under UN supervision at The Hague, ending years of bitter disagreement that strained ties between the neighbours.

Any new government in Dili will have to ratify it.

Details of the agreement have not been made public.

Over years Gusmao has demanded that any development of the Greater Sunrise involve an nshore LNG processing plant on a remote part of East Timor, which he envisages becoming an industrial hub.

But the field’s joint venture partners, led by Woodside Petroleum, say bringing the gas ashore to East Timor across a deep undersea trench is uneconomic.

They want to exploit the reserves through a floating LNG platform or pipe the gas to an existing LNG plant in Darwin.

Gusmao is tipped to head a new authority to oversee Greater Sunrise’s development, which is critical to East Timor’s future as existing joint gas fields with run dry in the next few years.

Cricket: Newcastle all-rounder Joseph Price completes extraordinary clean sweep at Chinan Country Championships

Joseph Price has capped off an extraordinary n Country Championships with a whirlwind 24 hours that saw him namedplayer of the tournament andselectedin the national merit XII after the Bush Blues miraculously claimed the overall title.

The Adamstown 35-year-old picked up the individual honours at the official presentation in Geraldton on Saturday night after NSW Country completed a late-carnival surge to narrowly finish on top of the standingscourtesy ofnet run rate (NRR).

Price hadfigures of3-12, taking his personal tally to18 wickets, in the Bush Blues’ double-bonus-point victory over South on the final day of competition.

Joseph Price

NSW Country dismissed SAfor 95 and successfully chasedthe target four wickets down in the 21stover of the one-day fixture.

The nature of thatresult, combinedwith a loss to equalleaders Victoria bylast year’s champions Queensland and an upset win for hosts WA over contendersEast Asia Pacific,saw NSW Country jumpfrom fourthto clinch the silverware for the first time since 2012-2013.

NSW Country (1.1852) had abetter NRR than Victoria (1.0729).

Both sides finished on 22 competition points, three in front of Queensland (19) and four ahead of East Asia Pacific (18).

NSW Country won their last two 50-over encounters with double bonus points after losing their opening three. Earlier at the tournament the Bush Blues won the T20 crown undefeated.

Wests all-rounder Price also scored 277 runs at an average of 25.18.

He was joined in the n Country XII by Bush Blues’ teammates Caleb Ziebell, leading wicket taker Cameron Sudigest andwicketkeeper of the tournamentTom Groth.

Meanwhile, the women’s title was won by South with Bush Breakerspair Rebecca Cady and Naomi McDonald named in the n Country XII.

ASX to catch Wall St’s bullish wave

AFR photo. generic ASX stock board shares investors investment portfolioThe local sharemarket, which has lagged overseas rivals so far this year, is poised to start the week sharply higher as Wall Street bulls shift into yet a higher gear.

The S&P/ASX 200 has risen a mere 1 per cent this month, lagging behind the 4.2 per cent advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500, the Nasdaq’s 4.7 per cent gain and the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 5.3 per cent leap. The fast start to 2018 in New York has been reasonably broad based and there’s little evidence that the upward market melt is cooling.

Over the weekend ASX futures surged 31 points or 0.5 per cent. The n dollar topped US79?? as the greenback swooned.

A key test for local investors this week will be December’s employment print on Thursday, which will provide a fundamental check on November’s retail sales and December manufacturing.

The longest run of job creation since 1994 is set to continue, with the market expecting a 15,000 month over month gain, according to NAB, which sees “upside risks” given solid job advertising trends on job site SEEK as well as a “reassuringly steady” employment index in NAB’s monthly business survey.

NAB is expecting the economy to have added at least 35,000 jobs last month. The bank expects the unemployment rate to hold at 5.4 per cent, though NAB markets strategist Tapas Strickland said “the trend is firmly lower in 2018”.

“Trend employment growth currently exceeds the level needed to keep the unemployment rate unchanged and at +22k is enough for it drop 0.1 every 2-3 months,” Mr Strickland wrote in a weekend note. “The most recent employment indicators suggest it could fall below the RBA’s 5 per cent NAIRU in 2018.

“Our view of a continuing strong labour market is part of the reason why NAB sees the RBA hiking rates twice in the second half of 2018,” Mr Strickland also said. Bond market turning

It’s the prospect of higher global rates that has put investors on notice over this past week, reflected in part in the spike in US government yields; the 10-year yield hit a 10-month high last week and over the weekend the yield on the 2-year Treasury topped 2 per cent, its highest since the 2008 depths of the global financial crisis.

The yield moves lead Bill Gross to declare that a “mild” bear market had begun for bonds. But there’s not yet a consensus; Morgan Stanley strategists still see value in Treasuries.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter attributed at least “some of the back-up in US bond yields” to “much more conventional, homegrown factors – a solid domestic economy, an uptick in inflation, and a rising budget deficit” – a reason why he agrees that “yields are more likely to rise than fall this year”.

Mr Porter is far from alarmist. Inflation is rising and could get a push from the recent leap in oil prices. The US government is going to start selling more debt in part to cover the cost of Republican tax cuts, at the same time as the Federal Reserve is planning to pare its $US4 trillion-plus ($5 trillion) balance sheet. There are no black swans here.

“Against this backdrop, one doesn’t need to concoct any stories about China trimming its purchases to make a bearish case for Treasuries,” Mr Porter said.

“The global economy is beginning to behave in a much more normal fashion, and so should monetary policy.”

To that point, and first off the rank on rates in 2018 is widely expected to be the Bank of Canada, which meets this week – Thursday morning AEDT. Governor Stephen Poloz is expected to announce a third 25-basis-point hike in its current upward cycle, lifting the bank’s target rate to 1.25 per cent.

Over the weekend, the latest US consumer price data bolstered bets that the Fed will lift its key rate by 25 basis points in March – the first of potentially three hikes in 2018. In the wake of the CPI data, TD Securities said it now sees three hikes as its base case for this year, up from two. That in turn led TD to lift its yield expectations on the short end of the US curve, up to five years, however it held its year-end 10-year yield forecast at 2.65 per cent.