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The Biggest Loser: Daniel Jofres crowned TBL Families winner after 51kg weight loss

Daniel Jofre stands on the scale on The Biggest Loser: Families finale. Photo: suppliedWhat’s on TV Tuesday: TBL FamiliesMichelle Bridges calls people who grow their own food ‘freaks’
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After three months of gruelling exercise, weekly weigh-ins and inevitable tears, 24-year-old Daniel Jofre has been crowned ‘s “Biggest Loser”.

It boiled down to the three Jofre brothers – Pablo, Tony and Daniel – battling it out on the scales in Tuesday’s glitter-covered finale on Channel Ten’s The Biggest Loser: Families.

While only one lucky sibling came away with the prize money of $100,000, Daniel says that his win was really a victory for the whole family: “What I’m most proud of in the journey is that we’ve all become a healthier us, a happier us, a better us. I’m proud of being a Jofre.”

From the beginning, the Jofres wiped clean their opponents, winning nine of 12 weekly weigh-ins and more than half of the challenges. That is after their trainer – Michelle Bridges – broke down in tears after meeting the family who ate ice cream for breakfast at the beginning of their “journey”.

Uncle Rob Jofre took away $10,000 for the biggest losing eliminated contestant, while the whole family received $100,000 for the combined highest weight loss, with a total of over 200kg.

Now that the competition is over, Daniel is determined to maintain his physique with a combination of healthy eating and building muscle mass. He slimmed down to just over 80 kilograms over the 12 weeks, losing 51 kilograms in the process.

“The scales don’t mean much to me anymore, as long as I’m healthy and fit,” he says.

The weight loss journey skyrocketed not just Daniel’s own confidence, but the whole family’s: “Rob’s definitely happier, healthier, fitter and he’s going to be there for his wife and Amelia and newborn Sophie… And for Pablo and Tony, their confidence has gone up and I know that they’re going to achieve great things in life now.”

Daniel is also looking forward to welcoming trainer Michelle Bridges and Steve ‘Commando’ Willis’ new baby into the fold: “That family is going to be great and one to look out for because [Bridges’ and Willis’ child] is going to be a superbaby.”

Former Biggest Loser contestant turned show host and international model, Fiona Falkiner paid respect to the hard work of the eliminated families as she welcomed them onto the stage: “So inspiring! That’s what this journey is all about.”

Despite the show’s inspirational celebration of all things health and fitness, viewer ratings have suffered throughout the season. But it’s still a 40 per cent rise from last year’s effort, with 630,000 national viewers tuning in on average per show this season.

NRL star Jamal Idris heads back to country rugby league – in Port Macquarie?


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Scoping out the town: Jamal Idris was in Port Macquarie on the weekend to watch the touch football action and to weigh up his future, which may lie with the Port City Breakers. Pic: NIGEL McNEIL

IT WILL be hailed as the biggest signing in Group 3 rugby league if it comes to fruition.

Port City Breakers are hopeful that Port Macquarie will play home to Jamal Idris with the National Rugby League superstar weighing up an offer from the club where he would line up alongside his cousin, Thomas Dooker.

The country rugby league community would be buzzing if Idris declares himself a certain starter for the Breakers.

Idris grew up in Forster and is eager to escape the fishbowl life of Sydney where the pressure and expectations were mounting by the game.

His talent is undeniable. His brute size and strength meant he became one of the game’s power house centres, devastating opponents week in, week out.

In a tumultuous career thus far, Idris has had a rough couple of seasons playing for the Penrith Panthers in the National Rugby League.

He burst onto the NRL scene in amazing fashion, playing with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2008.

His rise to stardom was quick, with experts almost immediately comparing him to some of the greats of the game and declaring him a future superstar.

He did not prove them wrong. He soon found himself in the NSW State of Origin jersey, followed by a Kangaroos cap in which he represented in 2011.

Superstar status earned him a multi-million dollar contract with the Gold Coast Titans but homesickness saw a move closer to family in Sydney where he has been playing with the Panthers since 2014.

A multitude of injuries has hampered Idris’ previous couple of seasons in the NRL and he has now asked for leave from the club on compassionate grounds, which he has been granted.

Earlier this year the 24-year-old had surgery on his back to remove some of his vertebrae and fix nerve damage to the left side of his lower body.

He was due to head to South Africa this week, and Idris will make a decision in January or February.

One thing is certain:He won’t feature in the NRL in 2016, with Port Macquarie his most likely destination.

The club, headed by new coach Digby Murray, has already strengthened its squad with a host of signings.

Speedy outside back Oral Monaghan will join former South Sydney Rabbitohs under-20s player of the year Mal Webster, Kurtley Scott and Adam McMurray from Wauchope, Korie Paio from rugby union, Gary Bywater from Western and Windsor Wolves stalwart Ben Stewart.

The gains aren’t without the losses, with Trae Clarke, Taylor Ridland and Kurt Lewis moving on.

Murray said all but one of the players had approached the club looking for a spot in the squad.

“Ben Stewart is a talent I identified and is the only one we have chased,” he said.

“We heard he was moving to town and I heard about his rugby league background and thought he would be a great asset to the club.

“These guys have approached us, we haven’t chased them. They have come looking for a spot and we are more than happy to look at their credentials and sign them if they suit what we are looking for.”

Murray said the Breakers were still looking to keep as many of their 2015 players and locals as possible.

The competition kicks off in April.

Port Macquarie News

Tony Abbott: I would have won the next election

Tony Abbott has flagged an intention to stay in Parliament. Photo: Andrew MearesTony Abbott was brought down by UN: MoncktonShirtfronted: The story of the Abbott governmentMalcolm Turnbull positions himself as the evangelist of change
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Tony Abbott has fired a broadside at the plotters who brought him down, defiantly declaring he would have led the Coalition to a victory at the next election.

The comments came in an interview in which he flagged an intention to stay around in Parliament; called on Malcolm Turnbull to spend a week in an Indigenous community each year; advocated a more robust defence of “superior” Western values in the struggle with Islamic extremism; and said his first budget was fine.

And, in a worrying sign for the government, he has also signalled he would not shy away from defending the facts where the record was intentionally falsified by surviving ministers.

Talking to Sky News, Mr Abbott said the West should continue to work with what he called “live-and-let-live” Muslims, as he issued an implicit criticism of political leaders appeasing Islam by suggesting there was a crisis of confidence and a lack of self-belief in Western societies and governments.

“If there is a problem today it is not just a problem within Islam, which is very serious, but it’s also a lack of cultural self-belief within the West and ,” he said in comments markedly different in tone to the conciliatory words of Mr Turnbull in the wake of the Paris attacks.

“There’s got to be a very strong security response home and abroad,” Mr Abbott said.

“We need a strong hearts-and-mind approach. We need to work closely with ‘live and let live’ Muslims. There needs to be a revolution within Islam. We can’t do it; Muslims need to do it for themselves. The other thing needed is a restoration of cultural self-confidence in those who are supporters of Western cultural civilisation.”

Mr Abbott is unlikely to decide on his future until April – when a Liberal candidate for his seat of Warringah must be endorsed – but he gave strong indications of the direction in which he is leaning, extolling the “vocation” of a backbench MP as a “noble, honourable, calling”.

“I’ve had thousands and thousands of messages of encouragement since mid September. The message I’m getting is I still have a contribution to make to public life. I’m not going to rush in the final decision, but that’s the message I’m getting from people,” he told the broadcaster’s Paul Murray.

If Malcolm Turnbull was hoping his former boss would make a quick and quiet departure, the signs suggest otherwise.

Mr Abbott said: “I think it’s important to correct the record when the record has been falsified. I did a bit of that last week, but I’m not in the business of replaying events … but it’s important I defend the legacy of the Abbott government.

“If I defend the legacy of my government, I’m helping the foundations of the Turnbull government.”

On the politically disastrous 2014 budget, which most Liberals now concede consumed all their goodwill with voters in a flurry of broken promises, Mr Abbott was direct, declaring it was Labor’s refusal to pass the measures aimed at budget repair that was the problem.

“Whoever led the Coalition, I believe we were going to win the next election and win it quite strongly, because obviously on all the evidence so far, the Labor Party can’t learn and it hasn’t changed.”

The statement is likely to excite furious disagreement from the Liberals who backed the September coup based on an entrenched an apparently permanent poll deficit to Labor under Mr Abbott’s leadership, a situation instantly remedied by the switch to Mr Turnbull.

In other observations, Mr Abbott: again defended his controversial chief of staff, Peta Credlin;refused to say if Buckingham Palace had asked for the knighthood for Prince Philip, but acknowledged it had been a political own goal;criticised crossbench senators as populists who had breached his trust by revealing private discussions, because they lacked seriousness and had reduced politics to a circus;confirmed he and Mr Turnbull had held a meeting last week, which was “certainly a genuine conversation” but declined to reveal details;welcomed what he termed “straws in the wind” suggesting the Obama administration was becoming more muscular in taking the fight to Islamic State;condemned Vladimir Putin for bombing opponents of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad rather than IS;and called for ‘s relationship with Singapore to become as familial as that with New Zealand.

Mr Abbott also revealed he will travel to Singapore on Wednesday for talks, including with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Fairfax Media revealed last week that Mr Abbott’s attempt to gain an audience with the Queen in the days after his September ousting had been rebuffed.

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Margaret Cunneen says she was joking about telling her son’s girlfriend to fake chest pains

Margaret Cunneen now claims she was only joking about the comments. Photo: Daniel Munoz Sophia Tilley was driving Margaret Cunneen’s car when she was involved in a car accident. Photo: Nick Moir
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ICAC ‘acted illegally’ in Cunneen inquiry: inspectorMargaret Cunneen blasts ICAC’s ‘extraordinarily draconian’ powers

In a remarkable backflip, Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen has admitted that phone taps recorded her recounting to a smash repairer that she had told her son’s girlfriend to fake chest pains – but now Ms Cunneen claims she was only joking.

Ms Cunneen took successful legal action to prevent the Independent Commission Against Corruption from investigating whether she was involved in an attempt to pervert the course of justice by advising Sophia Tilley, who was driving Ms Cunneen’s car, to fake chest pains in order to avoid a blood alcohol test at the scene of a car accident.

Unbeknown to Ms Cunneen, the n Crime Commission was monitoring the phone of a tow truck driver, who has links to organised crime. The tow truck driver on the scene passed his phone to a smash repairer George Kharadijan who asked to speak to Ms Cunneen, whom he knew.

The ACC listened as Ms Cunneen discussed her concerns that her car insurance could be voided if Ms Tilley, her son’s girlfriend, had any alcohol in her system.

As a P-plater Ms Tilley was allowed zero alcohol. According to a public statement issued by ICAC on Friday, Ms Tilley admitted that she had consumed alcohol prior to the motor vehicle accident.

Mr Kharadijan told Fairfax Media “I’ve known Margaret for years just through the area. We drink at the same pub.”

He said that after the accident he’d had a “tongue in cheek conversation with Margaret about Sophia’s fake boobs.”

Asked how this topic had come up, Mr Kharadijan said, “Because when I first met Sophia – she was in the pub and Margaret and I were just having a laugh about her fake boobs.”

Ms Tilley, 25 at the time of the May 2014 accident, did claim to have chest pains, saying that she was worried her breast implants had ruptured. It is understood that this delayed the blood alcohol test by just over an hour. Ms Tilley, who was not at fault in the accident, returned a zero blood alcohol reading.

Ms Cunneen has previously stated that the only thing she spoke to Ms Tilley about in the ambulance was an offer to call her parents, which Ms Tilley declined.

Speaking about the tape recordings, Ms Cunneen told News Corp on Tuesday that while she might have jokingly referred to Ms Tilley’s “fake chest pains” with Mr Kharadijan, she had not spoken to Ms Tilley or her son Steve Wyllie immediately after the accident.

Therefore, she “could not have told her to fake chest pains,” it was reported.

Ms Cunneen has previously stated in an email: “It is indeed amazing that these people don’t realise that my dear Sophia doesn’t drink (her blood test was 0.00) and the crash was so bad that the car was written off.”

Ms Tilley was not at fault in the accident.

Ms Cunneen initially blamed her estranged sister for sparking the ICAC investigation but in his damning report into the ICAC’s handling of the Cunneen the ICAC inspector David Levine inadvertently revealed that it was the ACC which had provided the information.

Following the release of Mr Levine’s report on Friday, the ICAC replied with a blistering response pointing out that “it is unlawful to disclose information about the issue of an interception warrant” and that Mr Levine may have breached the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.

The ACC declined to comment on “allegations that the Inspector may have breached the TIA Act.”

Meanwhile, Ms Cunneen has warded off the potential for disciplinary action at her work place by obtaining legal advice that material retrieved from her phone was inadmissible as the ICAC had obtained the phone under a “notice to produce” rather than a search warrant.

In it’s response to Mr Levine, ICAC reported that it had the power to pass on material to the Director of Public Prosecutions “for consideration of disciplinary action against Ms Cunneen.”

The material passed on to the DPP, Lloyd Babb, SC, was the contents of Ms Cunneen’s mobile phone which revealed that she had been leaking confidential information about criminal matters to journalists.

After the meeting with Mr Babb, Ms Cunneen went on the attack telling News Corp papers that the ICAC had deliberately leaked text messages in which she was critical of Mr Babb in order to damage her.

“These texts are inaccurately rendered and can only have been … leaked by an organisation that has debased itself by its petty and personal efforts to damage me in every area of my life”, she told the Daily Telegraph.

The n suggested that the “leaks” to Mr Babb were done at the behest of the ICAC commissioner Megan Latham.

Ms Cunneen made no mention of the other text messages relating to allegations concerning the unauthorised release of material about confidential DPP matters.

Ms Cunneen has previously alleged ICAC officers have leaked details about her to Fairfax Media and has called for criminal charges to be laid against any officers caught doing this.

Late on Tuesday night Ms Cunneen said in a statement: “I have been completely exonerated of any disciplinary action in this matter, in writing, by the DPP, Lloyd Babb.”

“There was no confidential material to journalists. The only texts were from a journalist in a court telling me what was occurring.”

Arsenal to play friendlies against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers

The wave of high-profile European clubs touring continues with English Premier League title candidates Arsenal set to play two games in .
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For the first time in 40 years, Arsenal will make the long trip to to play friendly games against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, likely at ANZ Stadium in July 2017.

The pre-season matches for all three clubs will be among the highest profile games to be played in in recent years, given the popularity of the north London club and their reluctance to make long trips for international friendlies.

They broke the ice with a tour of Vietnam in 2013 and are now set to make the longer flight to Sydney where n fans will have a glimpse of coach Arsene Wenger in pre-season mode, building up for the 2017-18 English Premier League campaign.

ns will be given a chance to watch the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud and Petr Cech in action when the Gunners play games against the A-League sides.

More than 150,000 supporters could walk through the turnstiles to gain the first glimpse of Arsenal Down Under since 1977, when they lost to the Socceroos 3-1.

The two games are set to be officially announced later this week to continue the recent blockbuster friendlies played by international football giants in this country. Already this year, Sydney has hosted two friendlies against Chelsea and Tottenham, while Liverpool, Real Madrid, AS Roma and Manchester City played exhibition games around the country.

Despite the games with Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers being more than a year away, both parties and the NSW Government are understood to be eager to lock in the series early given the popularity of as a destination for touring clubs.

Arsenal’s tour will also be the first time Western Sydney Wanderers have hosted a high-profile foreign club in a home friendly game.