Aussie Andrew into Lower Trestles semis

Rising Australian surfer Keely Andrew has reached the second semi-final of her burgeoning career at the world championship event at Lower Trestles in California.

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The 22-year-old was dominant in upsetting local Sage Erickson in the quarter-finals, laying down a score of 18.47 from a possible 20 on Thursday.

It was too good for Erickson despite the American coming off a victory at the recent US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach.

Andrew will face another local hope, world No.3 Courtney Conlogue, for a place in the decider.

“I really enjoyed that heat with Sage (Erickson),” Andrew said.

“Just knowing that every heat I have to lift my performance is pretty exciting.

“It’s nice to finally show the world what I can do and it was great to let loose and get really good waves out there.”

A win over last year’s world championship runner-up Conlogue would see world No.12 Andrew, from Mooloolaba in Queensland, go one better than her only previous semi-final appearance last year in Hawaii.

World title contenders and fellow Australians Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

World No.2 Fitzgibbons lost 14.06 to 13.43 to Conlogue but her championship push remains on track after Tour leader and defending Trestles champion, Tyler Wright, lost in the fourth round.

“It was a pivotal moment of the year. It didn’t go my way but I fought right to the end,” Fitzgibbons said.

“But I’m still right there … I think after all these years, I feel well qualified to be in that position.

“There’s still more events to go. I love the conditions in Europe and they always cough up a few surprises.

“But I feel like my surfing’s right there. I just didn’t quite get to display it at this event.”

Tony Abbott’s daughter throws support behind ‘Yes’ vote for same-sex marriage

Tony Abbott’s daughter, Frances Abbott, has taken to social media to announce she will be campaigning for same-sex marriage ahead of Australia’s postal survey on the issue.

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Ms Abbott, one of three daughters of former Prime Minister and avowed ‘No’ campaigner Tony Abbott and his wife Margie, used her Instagram page to make the announcement on Friday when she appeared in a white t-shirt with the words ‘vote yes’ written on the front.

“I don’t really care much for politics,” Ms Abbott wrote.

“But I do really care a lot for love. All love is good. Let’s celebrate it.”

The post was then followed with the hashtags #voteyes #yesyesyes #postalvote #getaroundit #marriageequality.

Her position is at odds with her famous father, who just two days ago penned a column in The Sydney Morning Herald stating same-sex marriage would fundamentally change society. 

Mr Abbott used the column to decry proponents of same-sex marriage as being responsible for bullying and hate speech.

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Last month, the former Prime Minister took to the airwaves to explain his position.

“The concept of marriage is between a man and a woman, preferably for life open to children, that long predates our constitution, it long predates our parliament, it long predates the civil law, frankly,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“It is something that evolved many centuries ago to protect women and children in a world where they were much less secure than they are now. That’s why I would be very reluctant to change.”

Mr Abbott’s sister Christine Forster, a Sydney councilor and marriage equality advocate who is in a same-sex relationship, said his comments were hurtful but the pair had agreed to disagree.

“The Abbott family is like every other family. We do have differences of opinion on some things but we are a normal, functional family,” Ms Forster said.

With AAP.

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Smashing the ‘butter fruit’: Australia looks to feed China’s growing avocado demand

Five years ago avocados were virtually unheard of in China, but a rapidly growing middle class has seen demand for foreign avocados skyrocket.

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Located between the tall office buildings of Beijing’s CBD sits Chaan, a western-style salad bar catering to the city’s increasingly health-conscious army of white-collar workers.

Zhu Hui, 35, is a regular customer of the fruit.

“I first heard about avocados when watching a foreign online video about their nutrition and beauty benefits,” she told SBS News.

“Since everyone has become more conscious of their health, avocados have become more popular.”

Chinese vloggers taste avocado for the first timeSBS News

Chaan owner Jiao Jun said he was one of the first in Beijing to serve what’s known locally as ‘butter fruit’, a gamble that paid off.

“At the start, about five years ago, these dishes didn’t sell well,” he said.

“Customers just weren’t familiar. But in the past year more and more people have approached us asking if we serve avocados.”

According to United Nations data, China’s avocado market is worth almost one billion dollars.

“We’ve seen an almost ten-fold growth every year since 2012,” Clement Mougenot, an analyst from the China-based Daxue Consulting said.

“It’s likely that we’ll continue to see growth.”

While Mexico, Chile and Peru dominate China’s imports, Australian avocado farmers are missing out.

“Australia doesn’t have access to China for avocados,” Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas said.

“Avocados are prohibited to enter mainland China from Australia. We’re obviously really keen to get access.”

This year avocados were prioritised for market access negotiations with the Australian government.

“A small step forward but a really important step,” Mr Tyas said.

Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas was hoping Australian farmers will soon be given market access to China next few years (SBS).SBS News

Mr Mougenot said more exporters would lower prices, and make the fruit available outside of major cities.

“When you look at the figures there’s definitely space for other market players,” he said.

“The avocado right now is quite expensive for most Chinese consumers.”

While younger generations of Chinese living in China’s first-tier cities have enthusiastically adopted avocados into their diet, many others have not.

At a wet market 15 minutes drive east from Beijing’s CBD, fruit seller Liu Wei said her first attempt to sell a box of avocados was a failure.

“My husband thought we’d try them, but all our customers think they’re too expensive,” she said.

“We definitely lost money and won’t try again.”

But that’s not the only problem. Avocados are unrecognisable to most many living residents living in less developed areas of China.

“I’ve never seen that fruit before,” Mrs Li, 85, said.

“It looks strange. Is it edible?” Mrs Ren, 69, said

“it doesn’t taste like anything! I wouldn’t eat this,” after being offered a piece of freshly sliced avocado.”

Beijing resident Mrs Ren says avocados are “tasteless”after being offered her first taste by SBS Asia Correspondent Katrina Yu (SBS).SBS News

Hoping to boost the China’s appetite is Australian Cassie Wang.

Her newly-opened Beijing cafe Home Grounds is helping to popularise a brunch favourite from her home city, Sydney.

“Our avocado smash is the most ordered breakfast dish on the menu, and I see a lot of Chinese people ordering it and sharing it with their friends,” she said.

“We’re one of the few places serving it in Beijing so far, but I’m sure there will soon be many others.”

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Trump signs resolution condemning white supremacists

Trump signed the resolution “rejecting White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups,” which was unanimously passed by Congress earlier in the week.

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In a statement, Trump said he was “pleased to sign” the measure, adding that “as Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and oppose hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms.”

The overwhelming passage of the text meant that Trump would have likely had any attempted presidential veto overturned.

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Lawmakers from Virginia said Congress spoke with “a unified voice” to unequivocally condemn the August unrest, in which a rally by far-right extremists turned violent and a counter-demonstrator was killed when a car driven by a suspected white supremacist plowed into a crowd.

Trump was widely criticized for suggesting “both sides” shared blame for the violence between white supremacist groups and those opposed to them.

The president’s job approval ratings sank to one of the lowest levels of his turbulent seven-month presidency, as he was savaged over his handling of the fallout from Charlottesville.

Trump earlier on Thursday had appeared to revive his much-criticized suggestion of an equivalence between counter-protestors and those who killed Heather Heyer.

“I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” Trump said in reference to anti-fascist groups.

“Now because of what’s happened since then, with Antifa, you look at, you know, really what’s happened since Charlottesville — a lot of people are saying — in fact a lot of people have actually written, ‘gee Trump might have a point.'”

“I said, you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.”

Dual citizenship saga: One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts will face High Court grilling

Malcolm Roberts will be grilled by government lawyers in the High Court over his eligibility to remain in parliament.

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The solicitor-general will cross-examine the One Nation senator in Brisbane next Thursday about his knowledge and “state of mind” in relation to dual citizenship.

Lawyers for Senator Roberts will also seek to challenge expert evidence about the legality of the steps he took to renounce UK citizenship.

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British citizenship expert Laurie Fransman QC’s appearance next week will be subject to availability, but Senator Roberts’ legal team have requested two hours to question him.

“Goodness, you do have a lot to talk about,” Chief Justice Susan Kiefel said on Friday.

They will also look to call their own expert on British law, barrister Adrian Berry, who often serves as a junior lawyer to the government’s pick.

The High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, heard their arguments would hinge on whether it was sufficient for Senator Roberts to send an email to renounce his British citizenship.

Also in question were the legal ramifications of Senator Roberts not paying the usual renunciation fee.

The experts have been told to discuss the contradictions in their interpretations.

“They shouldn’t have to walk very far,” Chief Justice Kiefel said.

Senator Roberts’ team have been given until Tuesday to summarise the differences in a dot-point document.

The One Nation senator’s sister has filed an affidavit to support his claims.

The court also heard the legal issues at play in the matters of Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan, Fiona Nash and Nick Xenophon were “materially indistinguishable”.

Tony Windsor – the political nemesis of Barnaby Joyce – will act as “contradictor” in the deputy prime minister’s case.

While the facts of each case differed, the law was the same.

All of them were born in Australia and insist they had no knowledge of acquiring foreign citizenship by descent.

The solicitor-general said it was “virtually inevitable” the cases would stand or fall together.

Former Greens senator Larissa Waters will submit she was disqualified, while the government will argue she was not.

Her former colleague Scott Ludlum is not expected to contest his eligibility.