Labor’s message getting through: Shorten

Bill Shorten has told colleagues the federal opposition’s message on jobs and Medicare is getting through to voters.

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The latest Newspoll has Labor leading the coalition on a two-party-preferred basis 54-46 per cent, with its primary vote surging four per cent to 39 per cent.

But Mr Shorten, addressing the Labor caucus on Tuesday, noted there were still about 90 Newspolls before the next election.

Polls were like “trying to use the second hand to tell the time”, he said.

But clearly buoyed by the result, he said Labor’s message on jobs and Medicare was getting through.

“We see the government fighting fiercely for the jobs of Scott Morrison and Fiona Nash, and then abandoning the jobs of ordinary Australians,” he added.

Mr Shorten said he was disgusted by the actions of disgraced former Labor MP Craig Thomson, who will be the subject of a parliamentary apology later on Tuesday.

“Craig Thomson’s actions were a betrayal of his members, his union and of the union movement,” he said.

The opposition leader said there was complete unity within caucus for an independent inquiry into the recent riot at the Manus Island detention centre.

Labor also supported the reinstatement of independent oversight of detention centres.

With reports Qantas may soon sack 5000 workers, Mr Shorten also faced questions from colleagues angry at the airline’s management.

He told them issues of management wouldn’t change Labor’s support for jobs, in reference to whether the government should provide assistance to the national carrier.

Mr Shorten said the unprecedented re-run of the West Australian Senate election would be fought on issues such as the cost of living, jobs and cuts to education and health.

However, he dismissed suggestions from one colleague that Labor should rethink its opposition to the mining tax.

It would not change, he declared.

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Vic’s Geelong gets 300 job call centre

Three hundred new call centre jobs will be created in Geelong, which has been hard hit by recent job losses.

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Electricity and gas company Energy Australia, with a co-investment from the Victorian government, will establish a new national contact centre in the regional city by the year’s end, creating 300 full-time positions.

Premier Denis Napthine said it was a “modest” government investment that will help with infrastructure and training but would not disclose the figure.

“This is a strategic co-investment. It’s a modest amount for a significant outcome,” he told reporters in Geelong on Tuesday.

“It not only brings 300 new jobs for Geelong, but also secures 500 existing jobs around the state.”

The city has experienced a string of bad news after Alcoa announced it will close its Geelong-based aluminium smelter and rolling mills, with about 500 jobs expected to be cut by August.

The regional city has also experienced job losses at Ford, Target, Boral Waurn Ponds and Qantas at Avalon Airport.

Dr Napthine said Geelong is a community that needs jobs and its future was strong and bright.

The government has previously pledged that if re-elected in November, it will relocate the Victorian WorkCover Authority head office with 600 jobs to Geelong.

Dr Napthine said the government was happy to work with Geelong on its key priorities, the first of which is rebuilding the Yarra Street Pier, once a landmark on the waterfront before being destroyed by fire.

Geelong mayor Darren Lyons said his office had this week received more than 30 requests from businesses for meetings about setting up there.

Mr Lyons said the city had the expertise, infrastructure, workforce and location to build businesses based on new technologies.

“The recent announcements in Geelong highlight the volatility of the global economy, especially in the manufacturing sector,” he told reporters.

“We are the fastest-growing regional development hub in Australia – jobs are incredibly important.”

Energy Australia Group retail boss Adrian Merrick said the government investment was one of the reasons for its decision to set up in Geelong.

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Govt to get Medibank sale advice this week

Advice on how to proceed with the sale of health insurer Medibank Private should be in the hands of the federal government this week.

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The government is hoping to raise $4 billion from the sale.

The scoping study report will advise whether market conditions are right for a sale, while making recommendations to its structure and timing to maximise the net proceeds.

“There is no public policy reason for the government to continue to hold a private health fund,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday.

As well, continued public ownership could be viewed a conflict of interest because the government regulated the health insurance sector, while running the nation’s largest fund.

The cabinet will consider the scoping study in the context of budget preparations for 2014/15.

A provision for a $100 million special dividend to be paid to the government by the insurer was factored into the budget by the previous Labor government.

Senator Cormann denied that he had hired a “spin doctor” in January to help with the sale of Medibank Private before seeing the scoping study.

However, finance deputy secretary Jan Mason told the hearing the department had hired a communications adviser, in line with other previous asset sales.

“When an asset is being considered for sale there is heightened media interest in that activity,” she told the hearing.

“It is important that the responses that are provided are co-ordinated and do not have the impact of potentially damaging value for the commonwealth.”

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It’s not Beijing’s hackers you should worry about, it’s Moscow’s

When U.

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S. officials warn of the threat foreign cyber spies pose to American companies and government agencies, they usually focus on China, which has long been home to the world’s most relentless and aggressive hackers. But new information shows that Russian and Eastern European hackers, who have historically focused their energies on crime and fraud, now account for a large and growing percentage of all cyber espionage, most of which is directed at the United States. Individuals and groups in Eastern Europe, and particularly in Russia and Russian-speaking countries, are responsible for a fifth of all cyber spying incidents in the world, according to a global study of data breaches conducted by Verizon, published this week. The spies are targeting a range of companies as varied as the global economy itself, and are stealing manufacturing designs, proprietary technology and confidential business plans. The cyber spies steal information on behalf of their governments in order to manufacture cheaper versions of technologies or weapons systems, or to give their home country’s corporations a leg up on their foreign competitors. The report is based on information provided by computer security companies as well as the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Last year, it attributed nearly all incidences of cyber espionage – 96 percent – to sources in China. Russia and Eastern Europe didn’t even rank in the findings. The United States is by far the biggest victim of cyber espionage, accounting for 54 percent of spying incidences, the report found. The report’s authors say the increase in spying attributed to Russia and Eastern Europe this year is partly the result of new sources of information that reveal more than was previously known about the long reach and sophistication of hackers in those countries. It’s difficult to know precisely how much cyber espionage by Russia had gone undetected in the past – Russian hackers have gone to great lengths to cover their tracks, unlike their counterparts in China, who have generally been easier to detect, said Alan Paller, the a cyber security expert at the SANS Institute. But that Russian spying is on the rise seems clear, experts said. Spies in East Asian countries, primarily China and North Korea, were still the most active globally, accounting for 49 percent of all cyber espionage incidents, according to the Verizon report. But that data could be skewed by the fact that more cyber espionage campaigns were attributed to Chinese sources – there could be other Russian campaigns that haven’t yet been detected. That may come as unsettling news for Obama administration officials, who have been watching warily as Russian forces in Ukraine have incorporated cyber spying and warfare alongside conventional military strikes in their swift takeover of Crimea and what looks like an increasingly likely invasion of eastern Ukraine. The report offers new and compelling evidence that Russia is just as interested as the long-time spymaster China in using cyberspace to steal secrets from governments and corporations. And viewed alongside Russia’s successful cyber operations in Ukraine in the past few months, it suggests that Moscow is aggressively ramping up its efforts to dominate cyberspace both for spying and military purposes. “Intelligence services, as well as cyber criminals, operating in Russia have an interest in collecting information on our government, industry, and economy,” said White House spokesperson Laura Lucas Magnuson. “These threats are not going away. We are addressing them by improving our network defenses, sharing information on known vulnerabilities with the private sector, and implementing the president’s executive order on improving cybersecurity for U.S. critical infrastructure.” The Russian success is especially stinging for the U.S. because these types of blended attacks – cyber strikes launched alongside military operations – are what U.S. military and intelligence officials have for years said will be the hallmarks of America’s future way of fighting a war. Indeed, the US military is spending billions of dollars to integrate cyber warfare into military combat and intends to train a force of 6,000 cyber warriors by the end of 2015, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said.

Scepticism over Indian soccer league plans

Its backers include some of the biggest names in Indian sport, business and Bollywood who hope it will help the country shed its image as the sleeping giant of world soccer.

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But the Indian Super League (ISL), which promises to lure a galaxy of former stars out of retirement, is already facing scepticism and even downright hostility from within the game some five months ahead of kick-off.

“It’s going to kill the sleeping giant without allowing it a chance to wake up and get out of bed,” said Valanka Alemao, chief executive of Churchill Brothers, ex-champions of India’s domestic league.

“This is such a weak-structured tournament that it’s bound to fail.”

Despite being the second-most populous nation, India has long struggled in world football and is ranked 145th out of 207 in FIFA’s rankings.

The sleeping giant tag was first coined by FIFA president Sepp Blatter on a visit to India in 2007 but, with even war-torn Syria and Afghanistan ranked higher, some wags have said the snooze has become a coma.

Cricket dominates the back pages but matches in the existing I-League domestic championship attract significant crowds in some parts of the country, and the English Premiership is a major driver behind the growth of satellite TV in India.

So it was no surprise when Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV was revealed as one of the backers of the new ISL along with other big names such as sports management giant IMG.

And in an echo of the format for the glitzy Indian Premier League (IPL), it was announced last week that eight city-based franchises with famous frontmen would take part in the two-month competition from September.

Co-owners include cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood A-listers Salman Khan and Ranbir Kapoor as well as Atletico Madrid, leaders of Spain’s La Liga.

Nita Ambani, chairwoman of the joint venture IMG-Reliance marketing group which conceived the league concept, forecast that it would pave the way for “the nation’s sporting renaissance”.

“Football, with its largely untapped potential in the country, has the opportunity to grow to an unrivalled commercial success quite unlike any other sport,” Ambani, wife of India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, said.

A more-measured assessment came from former national cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, co-owner of the Kolkata franchise. He said the league could be a force for good even if it did not supplant cricket as India’s No.1 game.

“Don’t compare it with the IPL or cricket,” Ganguly told AFP.

“It’s the start of something good. Hopefully, somewhere down the line, things will improve.”

Each of the eight teams will be allowed to draft 10 foreign players, with a proviso that at least 50 of them in the 80-man pool should have played for their national teams.

But with ISL dates clashing with the start of major leagues around the world and organisers facing stiff opposition from local clubs, finalising the foreign and Indian talent will not be easy.

“Let’s face it, India is a non-entity in world football and will find it tough to attract top players,” the country’s best-known football writer Novy Kapadia told AFP.

“At the most, you will get second-string players, mainly from Africa, or those unlucky ones who are not contracted to any club. The September-November window just does not make sense. This whole thing is a gimmick.”

Similar plans last year by football officials in the state of West Bengal for a franchise-based league featuring fading stars like Crespo and Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro failed to take off.

AFL Saints look at doubling NZ games

Matt Finnis has been St Kilda’s chief executive for less than two weeks but he reckons he has a solid grasp of what the Saints need.

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They must give total effort to their New Zealand project to make it work, and commit to a rebuilding phase on and off the field.

“What I’ve also learnt over nine years at AFL Players’ Association is some of the things that really establish the truly great clubs (who) seem to be able to buck the intention of the draft and salary cap and have this sustained success,” the former AFLPA chief told reporters on Wednesday.

“That real clarity of vision that they have and the continuity of that … to relentlessly achieve that goal is something that I’ve really admired at clubs like Hawthorn and Geelong and Sydney.”

While the Saints have climbed to ninth after five rounds, premiership success for this year at least looks unlikely.

Keeping pace with the big boys in football-department spending means making sure the club’s finances are ticking over. Finnis says he’s proud of St Kilda’s vision to become the first team to host games overseas for premiership points.

Last year St Kilda lost to Sydney in Wellington on Anzac Day, and on Friday the Saints will host Brisbane at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.

The Saints’ five-year deal in Wellington expires after the 2018 season.

St Kilda’s commercial projects general manager Ben Davies says the deal will be reviewed after next year’s game, which falls on the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.

“We’ll get to a discussion about whether a second game works in that market,” Davies told afl广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,.

Finnis says the key to commercial success in New Zealand is to keep fronting up. Put in the effort.

“When you look around the world where sports want to expand, you need to do that with a consistent face to the game,” Finnis says.

“In this case it’s St Kilda. So that regularity of coming back to Wellington year on year, with the support and growth with the work AFL New Zealand is doing in the schools, the dream is that AFL becomes a regular feature on the sporting calendar in New Zealand.

“We’ve got a pretty bold target by 2018. We’d like to think we could have up to 10,000 New Zealand-based members of the club.

“That gives you a sense of the fact that we’re serious about it.”

Promoting the Saints’ brand in their Melbourne heartland includes attempting to have training and administrative bases in Seaford, while maintaining a profile at their former home grounds at Moorabbin and Junction Oval.

“Maybe I’m greedy but I’d like to think we could have a presence in all those places,” Finnis said.

Led Zeppelin unveil unheard recordings

Rock giants Led Zeppelin have unveiled two previously unheard recordings ahead of the re-release of the band’s first three albums in June.

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The two tracks – an early version of their classic track Whole Lotta Love, and a 1970 cover of blues standard Keys to the Highway – are among dozens of tracks which will be officially released along with the re-issued albums.

Guitarist Jimmy Page, 70, chose the material after painstakingly searching through the tracks, stored in the band’s archive for decades.

The band say the material will give fans a taste of their early studio sessions – the soon-to-be-released discs feature alternative versions of songs, works in progress and live performances.

“It was a particularly prolific time, where we were learning about each other’s capabilities,” singer Robert Plant said.

He said when listening to the re-discovered tracks now, he was sometimes shocked by his younger self.

“My enthusiasm sometimes got in the way of finesse,” he said in a BBC interview. “I listen to it and I go ‘wow, why didn’t I shut up a bit?’.

“But it’s of the time and it’s of the enthusiasm and it’s of the development of quite an amazing quartet of players.”

Keys to the Highway/Trouble in Mind, which will appear on the Led Zeppelin III re-issue, was recorded in 1970 but never released.

The early version of Whole Lotta Love that will appear on the Led Zeppelin II compilation is significantly different from the final track.

The original is missing the first chorus and middle section and new vocals and a slide guitar appear on the finished version.

“You realise just how important all of those additional layers and the filigree work is,” Page said.

“There’s all manner of bells and whistles to make it the song Whole Lotta Love as we all know it.”

Led Zeppelin split in 1980, but interest in the band remains intense.

The surviving members reunited seven years ago for a concert at London’s O2 but Plant said the chances of the band performing live again were “zero”.

Real pace too much for Bayern in ECL semi

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola said his side had struggled to contain Real Madrid’s pace on the counter-attack as Los Blancos secured a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

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Karim Benzema scored the only goal on 19 minutes from one of many Madrid counter-attacks in the first half that caught the European champions wanting at the back.

“Madrid have athletes. They are footballers, but they are real athletes,” said the former Barcelona boss.

“It is easy to say we need to play more vertically but, the quicker we move the ball forward, the quicker it comes back and that can be very dangerous for us.”

Bayern enjoyed 63 per cent of possession, but failed to create many clear-cut opportunities as Madrid defended in numbers.

And Guardiola expects more of the same when his side try to turn the tie around on home soil on Tuesday.

“I think the next game will be exactly the same. We need to control their counter-attacks, but it is a question of finding the right balance.

“Madrid are a complete team and it is true that not scoring away from home makes the tie very difficult.

“However, we will be at home, with our fans behind us, and we will give everything to reach the final.”

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted he didn’t like having to relinquish control of the ball for large spells to the Germans.

However, just as in Madrid’s Copa del Rey victory over Barcelona last week, the Italian believed his side had played to their strengths.

“I don’t like to give up the ball. It is clear that you cannot control the ball for the whole game but, especially against Barca and Bayern, it is very difficult to control it.

“Football, though, is not just about possession, but defending, counter-attacks and many other things. What we had tonight was the sacrifice of the players, but I don’t like not having the ball because you have less chance to score.”

Ancelotti had recalled world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo after four games out through injury.

The Portuguese was involved in the build-up to the goal and had another glaring opportunity to make it 2-0 when he blasted over soon after, before being replaced by Gareth Bale with 20 minutes remaining.

Twitter to bolster Indon flood defences

Australian academics are eyeing a novel tool in their bid to defend Jakarta from monsoonal flash flooding: Twitter.

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They’ll plot flood-related tweets on a map to create a living picture of where the floods hit hardest.

The information could help divert flood protection to where it is needed most, says Dr Tom Holderness from the University of Wollongong.

“Jakarta residents are well-known for their love of social media,” he says.

“The Twitter data about flooding will have a wealth of information to help us understand and improve urban resilience.”

In January the city of 10 million was paralysed by the worst floods in several years, with more than 30,000 residents evacuated.

The idea was enough to convince Twitter to award Dr Holderness and his team one of just six highly-coveted “data grants” from a pool of over 1300 applications.

The program, unveiled in February, provides select research projects access to Twitter’s vast horde of tweets.

Dr Holderness’ team tested their tweet-mapping platform during the recent devastating floods, but say the data grant will help perfect it.

They’ll examine how closely flood-related tweets posted during several monsoon seasons match the government’s flood maps, and which parts of the city are hardest hit.

The results should help increase government transparency and give everyday Jakartans more say about where flood defences are erected.

“We hope to move from noise to knowledge,” Dr Holderness says.

A year-long pilot study will begin in May, ahead of the start of monsoon season in November.

In a similar project last year, firefighters used Twitter to map and respond quickly to bushfires that tore through NSW’s Blue Mountains.

Software designed by the CSIRO sounded an alarm whenever a cluster of hot words, such as “fire” or “evacuation” popped up.

It pinpointed the precise location and could also distinguish between false alarms and emergencies.

Announcing the grants program in February, Twitter claimed to handle more than 500 million posts daily.

The other five grants went to researchers investigating topics as diverse as food poisoning, early cancer detection campaigns, and whether Twitter affects the performance of sports teams.

Another will use Twitter to measure the happiness of cities around the world.

Twitter says it plans to extend the program in future via Gnip, a social data firm it acquired in recent weeks for an undisclosed sum.

Deadly threat of pancreatic cancer in EU

Pancreatic cancer stands alone as an increasingly deadly threat to both men and women in Europe, a study shows.

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Experts called for priority to be given to preventing and treating the disease, which is predicted to kill 82,300 people in the EU this year.

The new research shows proportionately more people are dying from pancreatic cancer, while deaths from other cancers are falling, with the exception of lung cancer in women. This is because generations of women took up smoking later than men.

Since overall cancer mortality in Europe peaked in 1988, it will have dropped by 26 per cent for men and 20 per cent for women in 2014, say the researchers.

The new figures translate to an estimated 250,000 deaths avoided compared with 1988, according to the findings published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

Lead scientist Professor Carlo La Vecchia, from the University of Milan, said: “Our predictions for 2014 confirm that pancreatic death rates are continuing to increase overall.

“This year we predict that 41,300 men and 41,000 women will die from pancreatic cancer – an age standardised rate of eight and 5.6 deaths respectively per 100,000 of the population.

“This represents a small but steady increase since the beginning of this century. Between 2000-2004, death rates from the disease were 7.6 per 100,000 men and five per 100,000 women.

“The increased death rate is cause for concern, because the prognosis for this tumour is bleak, with less than 5 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients surviving for five years after diagnosis.

The study looked at cancer rates in the whole of the EU, encompassing the 27 member states it included in 2007.

Data based on death certificates and population were collected for stomach, bowel, pancreatic, lung, breast, uterus (including cervical), and prostate cancers, as well as leukaemias.

The analysis showed that absolute numbers of cancer deaths had increased since 2009 when the last mortality figures for the EU were published by the World Health Organisation.

However, the proportion of the population dying had fallen by 7 per cent for men and 5 per cent for women.

This year, 742,500 men and 581,100 women in the EU were expected to die from some form of cancer.

Among men, predicted rates for lung, bowel and prostate cancer had fallen by 8 per cent, 4 per cent and 10 per cent respectively since 2009.

Breast and bowel cancer rates for women fell by 9 per cent and 7 per cent. But lung cancer death rates were expected to rise by 8 per cent.

What is driving the worsening trend for pancreatic cancer is unclear. But major risk factors for the disease include smoking, alcohol consumption, and family history.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Paolo Boffetta, associate editor for epidemiology at the Annals of Oncology and director of the Institute of Translational Epidemiology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, said: “These results are extremely important in showing that reducing cancer mortality can be achieved.

“Priority should be given to research in cancers with unfavourable trends, such as pancreatic cancer, and in reducing cancer mortality disparities, both between countries (Central/Eastern versus Western Europe), and within countries, for example, between socio-economic groups.”

Vic factory fire ‘like a bushfire’: worker

A fire raced through a Melbourne fibreglass factory like a bushfire, a worker who fled the blaze says.

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Toolmaker Ken Crouch was working on the other side of a brick wall as two explosions rocked the Bolwell manufacturing plant in Mordialloc.

He fled with about 30 workmates and they watched as the fire quickly took hold.

“It was like a bushfire, but very, very black,” Mr Crouch said.

“The fire went up through the roof and took off.

“You could see all the exhaust fans starting to collapse, the roof collapsing and all the iron and that falling on the floor. It moved pretty quickly.”

Nearby residents were warned to remain indoors with air-conditioners off, and doors and windows shut as toxic smoke spread from the factory, but that advice has since been lifted.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade assistant chief fire officer Darren Davies said the cause of the fire has not been determined.

He said about two-thirds of the factory has been destroyed, with an early estimate of at least $1 million damage.

“There was a very high fire load. Fibreglass burns very quickly. We had a strong northerly wind blowing that helped fan the fire, so it took more than an hour to control the fire,” he said.

More than 80 MFB and CFA firefighters were on the scene at the height of the blaze early Thursday morning.

The fire is under control but crews will remain on site for most of the day.

Mr Crouch said there was no work for about 50 permanent workers and about 30 casuals had already been dismissed.

“Obviously, there is no work. They have got to clean the place up and work out their plans of what they are going to do,” he said.

“As the day goes on we’re going to be angry. We’ve all got houses and things to pay for. That’s all going to be up in the air. What can we do?”

Reds reveal Anfield soccer ground plans

Premier League leaders Liverpool on Wednesday published plans for the redevelopment of their Anfield home that would raise the stadium’s capacity from 45,000 to around 54,000.

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The club plan to add 8500 seats to the arena’s Main Stand, which would also become the new home of the memorial to the 96 Liverpool fans killed in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster.

Liverpool have also presented separate “outline proposals” to expand the Anfield Road stand by adding around 4800 extra seats.

“As part of our proposed Stadium redevelopment project, we have unveiled the detail of our ambitious plans for an expanded Main Stand and Anfield Road stand and are embarking on a consultation process which will shape and inform our planning application,” said managing director Ian Ayre.

“We started this journey just over 18 months ago and a lot of work has already been done. There is still an incredible amount to do, but good progress has been made so far and we are proud to be able to unveil our plans.”

The club expect to submit a planning application to Liverpool City Council at the end of the current season, with a view to starting construction work on the Main Stand in early 2015.

In its current state, Anfield is dwarfed by the stadiums of some of Liverpool’s main rivals, such as Manchester United’s Old Trafford (75,731 capacity) and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium (60,338).

As a result, whereas United brought in STG99 million ($A179 million) in match-day revenue during the 2011-12 season, Liverpool’s equivalent income was STG42 million ($A76 million), according to figures published by The Guardian newspaper last year.

Liverpool have played at Anfield since their foundation in 1892.

Twitter to boost Jakarta’s flood defences

Australian academics are eyeing a novel tool in their bid to defend Jakarta from monsoonal flash flooding: Twitter.

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They’ll plot flood-related tweets on a map to create a living picture of where the floods hit hardest.

The information could help divert flood protection to where it is needed most, says Dr Tom Holderness from the University of Wollongong.

“Jakarta residents are well-known for their love of social media,” he says.

“The Twitter data about flooding will have a wealth of information to help us understand and improve urban resilience.”

In January, the city of 10 million was paralysed by the worst floods in several years, with more than 30,000 residents evacuated.

The idea was enough to convince Twitter to award Dr Holderness and his team one of just six highly-coveted “data grants” from a pool of more than 1300 applications.

The program, unveiled in February, provides select research projects access to Twitter’s vast horde of tweets.

Dr Holderness’s team tested their tweet-mapping platform during the recent devastating floods, but say the data grant will help perfect it.

They’ll examine how closely flood-related tweets posted during several monsoon seasons match the government’s flood maps, and which parts of the city are hardest hit.

The results should help increase government transparency and give everyday people in Jakarta more say about where flood defences are erected.

“We hope to move from noise to knowledge,” Dr Holderness says.

A year-long pilot study will begin in May, ahead of the start of monsoon season in November.

In a similar project last year, firefighters used Twitter to map and respond quickly to bushfires that tore through NSW’s Blue Mountains.

Software designed by the CSIRO sounded an alarm whenever a cluster of hot words, such as “fire” or “evacuation” popped up.

It pinpointed the precise location and could also distinguish between false alarms and emergencies.

Announcing the grants program in February, Twitter claimed to handle more than 500 million posts daily.

The other five grants went to researchers investigating topics as diverse as food poisoning, early cancer detection campaigns, and whether Twitter affects the performance of sports teams.

Another will use Twitter to measure the happiness of cities across the world.