Christian Atsu keen on improving performance

Ghana winger Christian Atsu is eager to improve on his last season's performance for Newcastle United in the forthcoming English Premier League. Ahead of the new top flight season, former has reiterated his determination to better his game to help the club achieve its targets.

“I always want to do something to help the team move forward. I try to work hard and I want to be better than last season,” Atsu told club website.

“We know what is ahead of us – it's bigger than what we passed through last season – and we just need to keep working hard and be better players, each and every day."

Atsu scored a goal for the Magpies as they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Italian Serie A side Hellas Verona in their final pre-season match on Sunday.

Newcastle will open their campaign with a home game against Tottenham Hotspurs at the St. James Park on Sunday.


Naked Selfies Used As Collateral For Chinese Loans

Hundreds of photos and videos of naked women used as collateral for loans on a Chinese online lending service have leaked onto the web, highlighting regulatory problems in the fast-growing peer-to-peer marketplace.

A 10-gigabyte file posted on the internet exposed the personal details of more than 160 young women who were asked to provide the explicit material to secure money through online lending platform Jiedaibao.

Launched by JD Capital (Shanghai: 600053.SS - news) in 2015, Jiedaibao allows lenders to operate anonymously but requires borrowers to reveal their real names when making transactions.

Loan amounts and interest rates can be customised to meet the needs of users -- often people who have a hard time accessing loans through more traditional financial institutions, like banks.

Interest on the "nude loans" reached an astonishing 30 percent a week, according to the Global Times newspaper.


20-Foot Basking Shark Caught In Australia Is A Rare Boon For Scientists

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Fishermen in Australia didn't intend to haul in a massive basking shark on Sunday, but scientists around the world may soon be glad they did.
The shark, which measures more than 20 feet long and weighs three tons, belongs to a species that's rarely seen in the Southern hemisphere. Museum Victoria, which acquired the shark after it was accidentally reeled in by a fishing trawler in the western Bass Strait, says it's only encountered three basking shark specimens in the last 160 years. The shark was dead when the fishermen recovered it, Museum Victoria noted on Facebook.


Australia's workers stressed and overweight, says study

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Australia's workforce is affected "in a major way" by poor mental health, stress and obesity, a new study has found.
The average Australian employee is stressed and overweight - about half the 30,000 employees surveyed were physically inactive, the report found.
The study, by the University of Wollongong in partnership with Workplace Health Association Australia (WHAA), spans 10 years of data.
Workers also showed other risk factors.
The report found that 65.1% of the employees had reported "moderate to high stress levels" and that 41% had psychological distress levels considered to be "at risk".
The WHAA said that trends around employee health had been examined over a 5-to-10-year period and that the industries covered included banking and finance, legal, transport and storage, in both metropolitan and rural areas.


Gillian Triggs slams 'scores of laws' threatening fundamental freedoms

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Australian parliaments have passed “scores of laws” that threaten fundamental rights and freedoms, Professor Gillian Triggs has said, pointedly warning MPs to uphold the rule of law as they prepare to debate extraordinary ministerial powers to revoke citizenship.
In a forceful speech, the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission argued parliaments had failed to protect democratic rights and many politicians were “breathtakingly inconsistent” in supporting the rule of law.
And she warned that counter-terrorism laws introduced with “unseemly haste” were likely to have a chilling effect on free speech and privacy.


Aboriginal legends reveal ancient secrets to science

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Scientists are beginning to tap into a wellspring of knowledge buried in the ancient stories of Australia's Aboriginal peoples. But the loss of indigenous languages could mean it is too late to learn from them.
The Luritja people, native to the remote deserts of central Australia, once told stories about a fire devil coming down from the Sun, crashing into Earth and killing everything in the vicinity.
The local people feared if they strayed too close to this land they might reignite some otherworldly creature.
The legend describes the landing of a meteor in Australia's Central Desert about 4,700 years ago, says University of New South Wales (UNSW) astrophysicist Duane Hamacher.
It would have been a dramatic and fiery event, with the meteor blazing across the sky. As it broke apart, large fragments of metal-rich rock would have crashed to Earth with explosive force, creating a dozen giant craters.


Dazzled by Australia's precious opals

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It's exactly 100 years since the teenage Willie Hutchinson stumbled across a few pieces of opal while walking in the Australian Outback.
There with his father to prospect for gold, the youngster's chance find led to a gemstone mining boom and the establishment of the town of Coober Pedy.
Today, the settlement even refers to itself as the "opal capital of the world", with the wider Australian deposits producing more than 80% of the world's precious opals.
Coober Pedy's gemstones are known for their clear or whitish colour, but some will dazzle like a rainbow. Experts talk of "church windows" to describe examples that mimic stained glass.


Boy, 14, from Blackburn held over Australia 'terror plot'

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A 14-year-old boy from Blackburn is being held in the UK in connection with an alleged terror plot at a World War One centenary event in Australia.
Greater Manchester Police said the boy was arrested on 2 April on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism.
Officers said they had uncovered a "credible terrorist threat".
Australian police confirmed it was linked to the arrest of five teenagers in Melbourne over alleged plans to target police at an Anzac memorial.
In a joint statement, Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police said they "can confirm a link between the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in Blackburn, Lancashire, in the United Kingdom on Saturday with Operation Rising, a Joint Counter Terrorism Team operation."
Australian Police arrested five men on Saturday and two remain in custody. The other three have been released but police have said that one man is expected to be charged on weapons offences.


Australian indigenous leader backs declaration plan

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Plans for a declaration recognising the place of Indigenous Australians in the country's history have been backed by indigenous leader Noel Pearson.
The proposal would see Australians vote on the wording of a statement.
Mr Pearson said it was "breakthrough idea", the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A federal government campaign is seeking to reverse the historical exclusion of indigenous people from Australia's constitution.
However, the declaration, suggested by lawyers Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser, would sit outside the constitution.
Mr Pearson said the statement could be recited in schools and at national events.
He compared it to the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand that pledged protection of Maori land.
But he added that the declaration should not replace a referendum to remove discriminatory elements within the constitution.


The copycat who nearly died air-mailing himself home

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Last month the Magazine wrote about Reg Spiers, who posted himself from London to Australia in a box in 1964. Spiers inspired another stowaway, Welshman Brian Robson, whose journey in the opposite direction was less successful - he was lucky to survive.
"Australia was a complete shock to my system," says Brian Robson. "I found it very difficult, and thought from the moment I got there I wanted to get out as quickly as possible."
But he couldn't just buy a ticket home - he had arrived in Australia in late 1964 on an assisted immigration programme which committed him to spending two years in the country. His travel costs had been paid for by the Australian government, and he wouldn't be able to get a passport to legally leave the country until he had done his time.
He took a "boring and lonely" job as a railway ticket clerk, which left him feeling isolated. And despite having some relatives in Australia, he was homesick and desperate to return home.


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