More migrants arrive in Turkey from Greece

A ferry carrying 45 Pakistani migrants has returned to Turkey from the Greek island of Lesbos – the second round of arrivals under a European Union deal with Ankara to stem mass migration to Europe across the Aegean Sea.


The accord, which came into force on Monday, aims to help end a chaotic influx into the EU of migrants and refugees, most fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, after the arrival of over a million last year.

Nearly 250 people have been sent back from the Greek islands under the new accord.

Another boat carrying a larger group of migrants was due to leave Lesbos later in the morning, Greek state TV reported.

Those who left early on Friday were from Pakistan, it said.

Around two dozen uniformed Turkish police officers lined the boarding plank of the ferry after it docked in the Turkish town of Dikili, accompanied by two Turkish coast guard vessels.

All Pakistanis on board were men, a Turkish official said.

Before the boat departed from Lesbos, at least two rights activists plunged into the water close to the small ferry, dangling from the heavy chain of the anchor in an attempt to prevent the vessel from sailing from the port of Mytilene back to Turkey.

They were plucked from the water by the Greek coastguard.

Activists say the EU-Turkey deal runs roughshod over human rights.

A first group of 202 migrants, most from Pakistan and Afghanistan, were sent back to Turkey on Monday.

Under the EU-Turkey agreement, Ankara will take back all migrants and refugees, including Syrians, who enter Greece through irregular routes in return for the EU taking in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and rewarding it with more money, early visa-free travel for its citizens and progress in its EU membership negotiations.

Randwick horses outshine Bollywood royalty

It was the day Bollywood royalty came to Randwick, but India’s megastar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan couldn’t steal the limelight from the kings and queens of the turf.


The former Miss World, who is a household name in India, was the celebrity attraction for the second and final day of The Championships on Saturday.

Arriving in black BMW convertible, the Bride and Prejudice actress looked every inch the glamorous star as she waved to the 25,000 punters.

But hardly anyone waved back to the 42-year-old Bollywood veteran, who has been described as one of the world’s most beautiful women.

Randwick punters were more interested in collecting their winnings from the race that had finished a few moments before, The Provincial Championships Final.

Race favourite, four-year-old mare Danish Twist, clinched the 1400m event to the delight of punters and her posse of 20 owners who jumped and cheered in celebration.

One owner, Louis Cortazzo, nearly lost his glasses and cap during the celebrations. He gushed about the horse during a TV interview and then excitedly called a friend on his mobile.

But there was little excitement about the Bollywood actress as she spent precisely two minutes posing for photographers in her Tony Maticevski skirt-and-top ensemble, politely complimenting the “beautiful weather” and how “wonderful it is to see everyone celebrating”.

She was brought to Royal Randwick by luxury accessories brand Longines, sponsor of Saturday’s main race, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

A group of five women snapped away on their mobiles as the actress walked by, unnoticed by most other punters.

Another two men who had waited since 7am to catch a glimpse of the megastar were also thrilled when Rai Bachchan stopped to pose for photos and an autograph after presenting a prize at the Myer Fashions on the Field contest.

The actress was then whisked away to a private suite, where she told AAP about her new movie, meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Mumbai this week, and how much she appreciates support from her fans in Australia.

She wasn’t keen, however, to discuss how she was among high-profile celebrities and politicians from around the world named in the 11.5 million documents leaked from the secretive Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca this week.

“The statement has already been made,” she told AAP, referring to a previous statement by her media advisor who has branded the documents as false.

The actress was more comfortable returning to the stage to present trophies to the team behind Lucia Valentina, the Kris Lees-trained winner of the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The five-year-old mare notched up her seventh win in 27 starts, defeating last year’s winner Criterion who finished in 11th place and will now retire to stud.

Lees summed up Lucia Valentina’s win as “a career best”.

Her victory topped off a great day for Lees, who also trained the winner of the Provincial Championships.

But for the queen of Bollywood, Randwick proved less of star moment.

Prudent budget with no fist full of cash

The Turnbull government’s first federal budget will be prudent and responsible and won’t hand out a “fist full of dollars”.


The prime minister on Saturday began the task of managing public expectations ahead of the May budget, warning it would focus on living “within our means”.

However, he confirmed his first budget would contain “changes to our tax system” designed to promote investment, innovation and enterprise.

“This budget will not be about a fist full of dollars, it will be about prudence, fairness and responsibility to our future generations,” he told the Victorian Liberal Party conference in Melbourne on Saturday.

The warning came with a similar one for state governments, which recently shot down the prime minister’s proposal to levy their own income tax to pay for schools and hospitals.

“The premiers don’t want to raise taxes to pay for their spending, well neither do we,” Mr Turnbull said.

The decision of the states and territories was a “revealing moment of clarity” for the prime minister and made it clear all governments had to live within their means.

The only way then to create revenue was economic growth, he said.

“Excessive taxes, excessive debt serve as a hand brake on economic growth.”

The prime minister also declared Australia’s transition from a country experiencing a mining boom to a new economy the “one central issue” of the upcoming federal election.

But that may not be how his Labor counterpart Bill Shorten sees it, with the opposition leader spending most of his time this week pushing the Liberal’s cuts to education funding.

His deputy, Tanya Plibersek, repeated that message on Saturday, pointing to the coalition government’s $80 billion cuts to hospitals and schools.

“In contrast, you’ve got an opposition that invests in health and education,” she said.

But Mr Turnbull accused Labor of having no plans to pay for spending announcements.

“That is a fundamental test for Mr Shorten, the numeracy test if you like that he can no longer shirk,” the prime minister told the Liberal conference.

“How is he going to pay? Higher taxes, more debt or both?”

A Labor party led by Mr Shorten was a risk to Australia’s economic advancement, he said.

“His is basically the Gillard agenda, with a new coat of paint.”

Port hammer Essendon in AFL

Prized recruit Charlie Dixon led an early blitz as Port Adelaide hammered Essendon by 61 points in a Friday night AFL fizzer.


Port banked a second win of the season, 17.10 (112) to 7.9 (51), at Adelaide Oval.

Dixon was instrumental in a fierce Port start, the home side scoring nine of the first 10 goals of a lopsided encounter.

Dixon and Aaron Young booted three goals each while Robbie Gray’s Brownlow medal odds will shorten after 30 disposals, two goals and a dozen clearances.

Halfbacks Matthew Broadbent (27 disposals) and Jasper Pittard (29 touches) and winger Jared Polec (23 possessions) were damaging but Port lost Paul Stewart to an ankle injury – the club stalwart was in his comeback match after falling from selection favour last year.

Essendon’s main attack man Joe Daniher booted two goals – his side’s initial two. But by the time of his second, 10 minutes into the second quarter, they already trailed by eight goals.

After the Bombers began the match with three minutes of missed opportunities, the Power went on a scoring spree: five goals in 14 minutes.

Dixon, lured from the Gold Coast, fed the first to his captain Travis Boak and kicked the second and fourth goals as Port posted 7.4 to 1.4 in the opening quarter.

Before 44,601 home spectators, Port led 65-17 midway through the second quarter and the Bombers were effectively shot.

Essendon’s old hands – James Kelly (29 possessions), David Zaharakis (27 disposals) and Adam Cooney (26 possessions) – battled gamely.

But the Bombers couldn’t pierce Port’s defence, scoring just one point in a dour third quarter before adding three consolation goals late in the final term.

Port coach Ken Hinkley said the victory was far from perfect, but crucial after last week’s heavy loss to Adelaide.

“We played pretty solid football for most part of the match,” he said.

“We had rightly copped a fair bit … we had to recover some belief in the way we play.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said his side was outclassed but praised the effort of his players.

“They are not giving up in terms of talk and attitude on the field,” he said.

Britain urges China to cut steel capacity

Britain has asked China to tackle over-capacity in its steel industry, hoping to stem the flood of cheap imports into Europe which India’s Tata Steel said caused it to pull out of the United Kingdom, putting 15,000 jobs at risk.


Tata put its entire UK business up for sale last month, including steel works at Port Talbot in south Wales, saying it could no longer endure mounting losses caused by increased imports to Europe from countries like China, high manufacturing costs and domestic market weakness.

“I urged China to accelerate its efforts to reduce levels of steel production,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement after in talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.

“The UK’s focus is on finding a long-term sustainable future for steel making at Port Talbot and across the UK, and I welcomed the potential interest of Chinese companies in investment in UK steel-making.”

The global steel industry is suffering from over-capacity as a slowdown in growth in the Chinese economy has dampened demand.

China, which produces half of the world’s steel, and Russia have responded by diverting more of their steel output to markets like Europe.

The European Union opened three anti-dumping investigations into Chinese steel products in February and imposed new duties on imports after the European steel industry said thousands of jobs were at stake.

China said earlier on Saturday that plans to shut steel mills over the next five years would cut capacity to an estimated 1.13 billion tonnes by 2020, which is still far in excess of the country’s needs.