US Navy removes admiral after collisions

The US Navy has relieved Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin of his duties after two fatal collisions involving warships in Asia in less than three months.

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Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, relieved Aucoin from duty at the US Navy’s Yokosuka naval base in Japan, a US Navy spokesman said.

Rear Admiral Phil Sawyer, the deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet, will assume command immediately, he added.

A pre-dawn collision between a guided-missile destroyer and a merchant vessel east of Singapore and Malaysia on Monday was the fourth major incident in the US Pacific Fleet this year .

The decision to relieve Aucoin was made “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the spokesman said.

Aucoin was due to step down next month.

An international search-and-rescue operation involving aircraft, divers and vessels from the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia is looking for the 10 US sailors missing since Monday’s accident.

On Tuesday, US Navy and Marine Divers found human remains inside sealed sections of the damaged hull of the USS John S McCain, which is moored at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base.

The Navy has not yet announced the identities of the bodies discovered.

The US Navy is also working to identify a body found by the Malaysian navy about eight nautical miles northwest of the collision site.

The latest collision has already prompted a fleet-wide investigation and plans for temporary halts in US Navy operations.

The USS John S. McCain’s sister ship, the USS Fitzgerald, almost sank off the coast of Japan after colliding with a Philippine container ship on June 17.

The bodies of seven US sailors were found in a flooded berthing area after that collision.

The USS John S. McCain and the tanker Alnic MC collided on Monday while the US ship was approaching Singapore on a routine port call.

The impact tore a hole in the warship’s port side at the waterline, flooding compartments that included a crew sleeping area.

AFL veteran Jarrad McVeigh keen to play on

Former Sydney captain Jarrad McVeigh is keen to play on next year, even if it means leaving the AFL club he’s spent almost half his life at.

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Talks are ongoing but McVeigh, who comes off contract at the end of this season, is yet to be offered a new deal by the Swans.

Provided Sydney contest at least two finals, McVeigh will next month play his 300th game.

There is every chance the 32-year-old, who grew up on NSW’s Central Coast, will be unsure of his future whenever the Swans’ campaign ends.

McVeigh insists that prospect doesn’t worry him, likewise if coach John Longmire later tells him he is no longer part of the club’s plans for 2018.

“I understand the game of AFL. It is a ruthless business. I have got to perform and there has got to be a spot for me,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“It is a two-way street.

“I have a really strong relationship with everyone at the club and we all know where we stand … I’ve been in constant communication with the club all year and I’m pretty comfortable with where it sits.

“I have always said all year that I want to play on if my body is right and I am playing at a high level, so definitely I want to play on next year.”

McVeigh added there was a “a lot of trust and honesty” in the ongoing discussions between him, Longmire and Swans football manager Tom Harley.

“I don’t think it matters when it is,” McVeigh said, when asked if he’d like the Swans to make a call soon.

McVeigh has only played 10 games this year because of a calf injury but remains one of Sydney’s best users of the ball and will be a crucial part of their push for a premiership.

Former Brisbane captain and three-time premiership forward Alastair Lynch penned an open letter to McVeigh earlier this month, asking him to consider joining the Lions.

McVeigh has also been linked with Greater Western Sydney, where his older brother Mark is an assistant coach.

Hayne’s swipe at sacked Titans coach Henry

Gold Coast fullback Jarryd Hayne has launched a stinging attack on sacked coach Neil Henry, despite denying the pair were ever involved in a feud.

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The under-fire Hayne claimed the coach was using the media, rather than approaching himself directly, to work through any differences.

Hayne surprised journalists with an unscheduled media conference before training on Wednesday, saying the tipping point in the pair’s relationship was a media report which said the mentor didn’t support signing him.

Henry was sacked on Monday with club boss Graham Annesley attributing the fractured relationship between coach and star player as a factor in the decision.

Denying the pair had any “verbal arguments”, Hayne made a point of expressing his disappointment at what he alleged to be a “relationship” between Henry and News Corp journalist Paul Kent.

Hayne said he was upset to read Henry didn’t want him at the club, an accusation Henry later countered by saying his signing was a “mutual decision”.

The NSW Origin star said it was the second such disappointment after an article earlier in the year indicated the Titans mentor wasn’t happy with Hayne’s attitude at training.

Henry was not quoted in either unsourced article, the coach even expressing his own disappointment at the timing of the initial article while still in the job last week.

“For it to happen again really took me over the edge,” Hayne said.

“I’d rather Neil just tell me instead of a journalist write it.”

But Kent hit back at the claims, saying Henry was not the source of the story about Hayne’s poor training habits.

“Jarryd’s got it in his head that Neil is feeding me all this stuff for some reason to unsettle Jarryd,” Kent told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.

“He made that up because I didn’t speak to Neil.

“To say I’m a friend of Neil Henry’s like Jarryd’s alleged there, that’s not right.”

Hayne said he told Henry that he would leave the club if he was not wanted, before repeating it to a journalist.

The ensuing article prompted crisis meetings between Hayne and Henry and club hierarchy before an emergency board meeting that eventually led to the coach’s sacking.

Hayne said constant focus on his relationship with Henry, being described as a “coach killer”, had not really bothered him.

But the 29-year-old did feel for his teammates, hence Wednesday’s impromptu media call.

“It hasn’t been that bad because I understand the media; they sell papers, not write truths and that’s something I’ve become accustomed to,” Hayne said.

“It’s more my teammates getting asked questions of me, being under the pump with repeated questions.

“I thought I’d just speak up and answer questions about what you guys think was going on.”

Henry did not reply when contacted by AAP on Tuesday night.

Annesley said while Hayne was entitled to his view, the club had nothing to add.

“It’s about moving on now and getting on with the future of the club,” Annesley told Fox Sports.

Australian foreign spy chief ‘courtesy calls’ Duterte in Manila

The head of Australia’s overseas intelligence agency has been snapped posing with a clenched fist beside president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte.

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Nick Warner, director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, held talks with the leader at Malacanang Palace in Manila on Tuesday.

The president’s office released video of the meeting, with separate photos showing the pair talking and making Mr Duterte’s signature hand gesture.

President Duterte meets with Australian Secret Intelligence Service Director General Nick Warner in Malacañang pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/3u1sLFUEgb

— Pia Gutierrez (@pia_gutierrez) August 22, 2017

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told AAP the director-general meets with leaders and ministers of regional countries regularly “to advance co-operation in information sharing to counter terrorism”.

According to a palace official, it was “basically a courtesy call” that “touched on regional security issues and declaration of mutual support”.

It comes just a week after the federal government moved to formally list Islamic State in East Asia as a terrorist organisation, with the group responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in the Philippines.

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Attorney-General George Brandis said IS was using the conflict in Marawi as a “call to arms”, with foreign fighters believed to be actively fighting against Philippine security forces.

“Only last week, ISIL released a propaganda video of Australian-accented extremist Abu Adam Al-Australi urging fighters to go to join the conflict in Mindanao,” he told parliament last Wednesday.

The head of the domestic intelligence agency ASIO, Duncan Lewis, has previously said one of the greatest terrorist threats to Australians is in South East Asia.

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0:00 Filipino President takes aim at human rights campaigners Share Filipino President takes aim at human rights campaigners

Egypt FM, Kushner meeting cancelled

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has cancelled meeting US President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, a copy of his schedule sent out to journalists showed.

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A Foreign Ministry official told Reuters Wednesday’s meeting had been cancelled but did not provide a reason. A US embassy official in Cairo said Kushner’s meeting with Shoukry had never been set in stone because “the schedule was never fixed.”

Shoukry had been scheduled to meet with a US delegation led by Kushner to discuss the Middle East peace process.

Kushner is still expected meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo later on Wednesday.

Two US sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that US authorities would deny Egypt $US95.7 million ($A121.2 million) in aid and delay a further $US195 million payment over its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms.

“Egypt sees this measure as reflecting poor judgment of the strategic relationship that ties the two countries over long decades and as adopting a view that lacks an accurate understanding of the importance of supporting Egypt’s stability,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The decision could have “negative implications” on achieving common goals and interests between the two countries, it added.

Last year, al-Sissi welcomed Trump’s election, hoping the new president would “breathe a new spirit into Egyptian-US relations” after ties with the administration of former president Barack Obama became strained.

The 2013 military-led ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in Egypt prompted Washington briefly to halt some military aid to Cairo, although that was later restored.