Chinese labourer remains found in Peru

Archaeologists exploring Peru’s pre-Colombian past recently unearthed a glimpse of a less prominent chapter in the Andean country’s history – the remains of 16 Chinese labourers from around the turn of the last century.


The bodies, thought to be those of indentured workers brought to Peru to replace slave labour, were found buried at the top of an adobe pyramid first used by the ancient Ichma people, Roxana Gomez, the lead archaeologist of the site, said on Thursday.

Peru was one of the biggest destinations for Chinese labour in Latin America in the 20th century, a market that thrived after slavery was abolished in the country in 1854.

The Chinese found at the Bellavista pyramid in Lima were buried in the late 1800s and early 1900s and had likely picked cotton at a nearby plantation in “very difficult” conditions, said Gomez.

In a possible sign of how the Chinese gradually emerged from dire poverty in Peru, the first 11 bodies were shrouded in cloth and placed in the ground, while the last five wore blue-green jackets and were buried in wooden coffins, Gomez said.

“In one Chinese coffin, an opium pipe and a small ceramic vessel were included in the funerary ensemble,” said Gomez.

Chinese laborers in the 20th century were generally not allowed to be buried at Lima’s Catholic cemeteries, forcing them to improvise burial sites, according to Peru’s Culture Ministry.

The remains of Chinese laborers were previously found in Lima at other adobe pyramids known as “huacas.” Built by the indigenous societies that once ruled much of Peru’s Pacific coast, huacas were used as administrative and religious centers where members of the elite were often buried with gold objects, ceramics or human sacrifices.

Gomez said the huacas had a sacred association that might have made them attractive places for burial by Chinese labourers.

The Bellavista huaca was occupied by Ichma starting in about 1000 A.D. and was later annexed by the Incan empire until the arrival of Spanish conquerors who deemed huacas blasphemous.

Italian immigrants later kept vineyards at the base of the site, Gomez added.

“The best way to understand our history is as a continuum of different cultures,” said Gomez.

Lord Mayor defends $8m ‘arch’ blowout

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says she can’t assure ratepayers there won’t be further price increases on a controversial art project bound for city’s CBD which has already blown out by almost $8 million.


The updated design for Cloud Arch, a massive steel sculpture that will soar over George Street, was unveiled on Friday accompanied by a revised cost of $11.3 million up from the original price tag of $3.5 million.

Ms Moore said the price hike is due to a rise in global steel prices and complex engineering problems associated with placing the artwork over a cavernous city underground but could not promise there wouldn’t be further price hikes to the project.

“Well no I can’t give assurances now but I certainly hope … the price we now have is the basis of a lot of work and a lot of engineering examination,” she told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

“These projects are a challenge and we’ve been working on this since 2014 and as you have seen it’s dramatically changed, we’re really very committed to it.”

Critics, including Labor Councillor Linda Scott have slammed the artwork.

“This is a project that is now significantly delayed and nearly triple the budget that was originally given to council and that will necessarily mean cuts for residents and business in services and important key infrastructure,” Ms Scott told ABC Radio.

“It’s just not right.”

Ms Moore didn’t respond to individual criticisms on Friday, saying Councillors would have the opportunity to voice their opinions at the next meeting.

Supporters of the Cloud Arch say it will cater to a growing Instagram generation and put Sydney on the map, with tourism and economic benefits far outweighing the initial cost.

“You go to Chicago, everyone has their photo taken next to The Bean, that’s what’s going to happen here in Sydney,” Tourism and Transport Forum’s chief executive Maggie Osmond told reporters on Friday.

“People need a photograph of themselves with the Opera House without a doubt but the next place they come will be the arch, it’s going to be glorious.”

Venezuela takes two TV networks off air

Venezuela’s government has ordered cable television providers to cut the signal of two Colombian networks, a move that critics, including Colombia’s leader, are calling a crackdown on free speech by President Nicolas Maduro.


The country’s telecommunications regulator called for RCN and Caracol Television to be taken off the air for broadcasting a message it said incited Maduro’s murder, the office of Venezuela’s presidency said in a statement.

“The measure is within the bounds of the law, given that those stations over several months attacked Venezuela and (its) institutionality and now are openly calling for a magnicide,” the statement said, citing Andres Mendez, former head of telecom regulator Conatel.

The statement said the message in question was a comment by former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who said: “Maduro, resign or you will die.”

The decision was lambasted by Venezuelan opposition political leaders and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who called it another sign that Venezuela was descending into dictatorship.

Caracol, which earlier announced its removal from Venezuelan cable networks, blasted Maduro for engaging in censorship.

RCN said on its evening news broadcast that it categorically rejected the action and that its signal had been cut off at 5.30pm (local time) on Thursday.

Maduro often criticises neighbouring Colombia for being part of a right-wing conspiracy to bring down socialism in oil-rich Venezuela. He says Venezuela is the victim of an “economic war” led by adversaries with the help of Washington.

Critics say Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party, which this year led a campaign to create an all-powerful legislative superbody, is seeking to limit coverage of rampant inflation, product shortages and a crackdown on opposition politicians.

“One more channel off the airwaves! Has that made crime go down? Is inflation any lower? Is there more food? More medicine? Has any problem been solved?” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Thursday.

Maduro alleges he is fighting well-financed coup plotters with links to the United States and hostile foreign media.

Sims boosts dividend on return to profit

Metals recycler Sims Metal Management expects to further improve performance in FY18 after swinging to a solid full-year profit in a booming scrap market.


Sims reported net profit of $203.6 million for the year to June 30, compared to a $216.5 million net loss a year earlier.

Revenue for the year was up 9.1 per cent to $5.09 billion.

It said underlying earnings before interest and tax, which strips out significant items, surged to $182 million – more than three times the previous year thanks to stronger metal margins and internal streamlining initiatives.

External market conditions have continued to improve, the company said.

“Steel exports from China have continued to decline since the start of 2016,” it said in a statement.

“Lower export volumes have eased competitive pressures on steelmakers outside China which, in turn, is supporting higher global demand for ferrous scrap metal.”

Sims is one of the world’s largest metal recyclers with over 200 facilities spread over 20 countries.

The company said stronger demand and rising prices have already contributed to a 15 per cent lift in ferrous scrap prices since July 1.

Based on current market conditions and expected internal efficiencies, it is targeting an underlying return on capital of 10 per cent in FY18, up from 8.0 per cent in FY17.

It has also allocated $180 million to $200 million in capital for sustaining and growth projects in the current year.

The strong result comes just weeks after the company abruptly announced chief executive Galdino Claro and chief financial officer Fred Knechtel would leave with immediate effect, spooking the market and sending its shares down by more than 12 per cent.

Alistair Field, the former head of its Australian and New Zealand metals business, took over as CEO.

On Friday, Sims declared a fully franked final dividend of 20 cents, taking full-year dividend to 40 cents a share.

It also announced an unfranked special dividend of 10 cents a share.

By 1415 AEST, Sims shares were up 3.8 per cent at $14.75 in a weak Australian market.


* Net profit of $204m vs $217m loss

* Revenue up 9pct to $5.9b

* Final dividend up 8.0 cents to 20 cents, plus special dividend of 10 cents

Demons eye Magpies, not AFL finals

Melbourne can seal their first AFL finals berth since 2006 with a win over Collingwood, but the Demons dare not look beyond Saturday’s clash with the Pies.


Melbourne, who enter round 23 in seventh spot, can still lose to Collingwood and make the top eight, but it would make for a nervous Sunday for Simon Goodwin’s men.

Essendon (eighth) host Fremantle and ninth-placed West Coast take on ladder-leaders Adelaide and could knock the Demons out of the eight if they both win and overtake them on percentage.

Goodwin has steadfastly refused to discuss his side’s finals destiny, perhaps partly out of fear a lack of focus against Collingwood will help that doomsday scenario unfold.

“It’s always hard to know exactly what’s going through the players’ heads in relation to (thoughts of the finals),” assistant coach Jade Rawlings told AAP.

“But I think our coach has done a great job of being able to keep the direction to our players pretty strong that it matters where we are after round 23.

“It’s been the same line internally, we’d be foolish not to know what’s on the line for us if we can get the job done, but we do have a pretty narrow focus.”

Rawlings said the Demons are wary of the 13th-placed Pies, who have played excellent footy at times this season and will be looking to finish strongly in what could be embattled coach Nathan Buckley’s last game in charge.

Jack Watts and Christian Salem returned to the side for the MCG clash after spells in the VFL.

Co-captain Jack Viney missed last weekend’s tight win over Brisbane and won’t feature against Collingwood as he continues to battle a foot injury.

“Jack is irreplaceable but we keep asking more of the players in that part of the ground,” Rawlings said.

“There have been various times when we haven’t had leaders or influential players available, but we’ve found ways to combat that.

“We lose a bit out of Jack not being there but it’s been pleasing that others have been able to fill the void.”

Collingwood were strengthened with the return of Brodie Grundy from a two-week suspension and also regained Tyson Goldsack after he missed last week’s loss to Geelong.

But the Pies suffered a blow on Friday when important swing man Ben Reid withdrew with soreness.

However his departure allowed exciting forward Kayle Kirby to make his AFL debut.

Eagles face crunch math quiz against Crows

West Coast coach Adam Simpson isn’t fretting about his upcoming maths quiz as his side attempts to snare an unlikely AFL finals berth.


The Eagles take on ladder-leading Adelaide in Perth on Sunday but their fate largely hinges on other results.

If Fremantle upset Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, then the Eagles will secure a finals berth with victory over the Crows.

But if the eighth-placed Bombers win, West Coast will need to beat the Crows by a big enough margin to ensure they overtake Essendon on percentage.

The Bombers currently sit 1.8 percentage points above the Eagles.

Another way West Coast can sneak into the top eight is if Collingwood upsets seventh-placed Melbourne on Saturday.

Once again, West Coast would need to beat Adelaide by a big enough margin to overtake the Demons on percentage.

West Coast’s match is the final game of the round, meaning they will know exactly what they need to do come the first bounce.

Simpson said says it’s important his side doesn’t get bogged down in thinking about margins, given they face an almighty battle just to beat the Crows.

“It’s a unique situation,” Simpson said on Friday.

“We had a bit of this in 2014. We needed Sydney to beat Richmond at home, and they didn’t. So we played the next day in a bit of a dead rubber.

“I’m not thinking too hard about it. It’s really difficult to say ‘guys, let’s win by five goals this week’.

“We might need to win by 90 points – who knows?

“All I know is we have to win no matter what.”

Simpson quipped he would play eight forwards if his team needed to win by a massive margin.

West Coast’s victory hopes received a huge double boost on Friday when star Adelaide duo Taylor Walker (toe) and Daniel Talia (ankle) were ruled out.

The Eagles welcome back forward Mark LeCras from a hamstring injury.

Sunday’s match will be the final AFL game at Subiaco Oval, while it will also be the final AFL game for Eagles duo Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell if West Coast don’t qualify for finals.

Councillor: Qld bike crash ‘preventable’

An accident involving five cyclists and a car in Brisbane’s inner-city was “predictable and preventable” says Brisbane Greens councillor Jonathan Sri.


Five cyclists were taken to hospital with one woman, 54, in a critical condition after Friday morning’s crash.

The injured cyclists, who were out with a regular riding group, are all in a stable condition with the woman’s condition improving.

Cyclist Julian Drake wrote on Facebook that the riders were “wedged” against the car and thrown from their bikes.

The injuries were so severe they were given morphine whistles on the scene, he said.

“Having ridden with the five injured on many rides over several years I can attest all are highly experienced, mature, fit, level headed regular group riders,” said Mr Drake, who was not hurt in the crash.

Cr Sri said Brisbane City Council was not taking cyclists’ safety “seriously” and it wasn’t a “high priority”.

He has previously raised Dornoch Terrace as a dangerous road for cyclists to council, with thousands travelling along the popular route each week.

“The council has let Brisbane cyclists down,” Cr Sri said.

“More and more people are taking up cycling. It’s gotten to the point where we need to re-think the balance of road space allocated.”

He said Dornoch Terrace is steep and a lack of bike lanes forces cyclists to duck in and out of cars.

He suggested a reduction in speed limits and parking spaces to be removed to make way for a separate barrier and cycle way.

Cr Sri said he will be writing to the Lord Mayor and Deputy Mayor about the accident.

He said council “talk the talk” on cyclist safety but do not follow through with suitable funding and road safety changes.

“It’s like banging my head against a brick wall,” he said.

Brisbane City Council has been contacted for comment.

Police investigations continue.

Sugar tax key to beat the bulge: Oliver

British chef and health campaigner Jamie Oliver has delivered a message to Australians with a sweet tooth and the federal government – sugar taxes are the unavoidable new normal.


“The sugary drinks tax – it’s not cute, it’s not nice – it’s the new normal,” Oliver told a London press event on Thursday to launch his new cookbook, 5 Ingredients, and accompanying television program.

Last year Oliver was part of a British campaign to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks in a bid to tackle the country’s rising obesity levels.

Draft legislation predicts the levy will raise an expected STG520 million ($A842 million) in the first year.

Sugar taxes already exist in France, Portugal and Mexico and one has been proposed in New Zealand, he said.

“Then there’s Australia, pretending it’s not happening, but it will, I can tell you, it will,” Oliver said.

“The Australian government is kind of more American than British, so they’re just pretending they’re not going to do it – but they will do it because the science says that it’s right.”

Some companies are also now dropping the amount of sugar they put in drinks, and the tax debate has paved the way for a rethink by companies on added salt and fat too, Oliver said.

Now studying for a masters of nutrition the 42-year-old father of five said he’s not only learning about healthy food, but also public health and death.

It has completely changed the way he sees things.

“You’ll find as the public health goes down there’s five companies that [profits] go up,” he says, alluding to big multi-national food companies such as Nestle, Coca Cola and Mars.

“Food and culture are so interwound – but lifestyle and how things are changing forgets the connection,” Oliver said.

Finding the right balance between carrot and stick when it comes to improving public health and diet is hard, but good nutrition doesn’t have to “take the fun away”.

“If you’re employer… and you feed them s*** food everyday, 300 days of the year you’re a bad employer. If you have people on night shifts working in your factory and you have nothing apart from s*** in your vending machines, you’re a bad employer – but what does good look like?

“I don’t want lentils and sage, I’m not like a hippie,” Oliver said. “I want choice, and choice means to me at least 50 per cent. If you’ve got Coke and Mars bars – cool, but at least give me 50 per cent real food.”

In the two decades since a young Oliver captured the public’s imagination with the Naked Chef, he’s become more than his exclamations of “lovely jubbly” to bring about changes in the British eating, including the introduction of nutritional standards for school meals.

“Twenty years ago I was not a political person and I really am now,” he said.

“I think through food and exposure it has changed me and I am glad because it’s important.”

Oliver’s 5 Ingredients cookbook is available in Australia, while the program is due in Autumn on Channel 10.

Call for Australia to help Iraqi teachers

Iraq is seeking Australia’s help to train teachers to cope with a generation of traumatised students who have survived under Islamic State and war.


The terrorist organisation’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” effectively collapsed in July when Iraqi security forces reclaimed its previous stronghold Mosul.

In some areas kids have begun returning to school for the first time after a two-year disruption.

Iraq ambassador to Australia, Hussain Al-Ameri, said his country’s education department was desperately trying to help schools deal with post-war mental health issues and children who have been brainwashed by radical Islamic propaganda.

Dr Al-Ameri recently had preliminary talks with the Queensland education department’s international arm about a specialised training program.

“You have a generation of students who have endured extraordinary conditions,” Dr Al-Ameri told AAP.

Australia could potentially help out by offering a scholarship program to give psychological training to Iraqi teachers aimed at promoting resilience and healing, he said.

According to the United Nations children’s agency, almost 10 per cent of Iraqi children have fled their homes because of conflict since early 2014.

A UNICEF survey of the Kurdistan region found 76 per cent of children had changes in behaviour such as crying and screaming, nightmares, and antisocial and aggressive behaviour.

Youngsters have endured untold horrors of war from seeing family members murdered in front of their eyes, to rape, abduction and surviving air strikes and bombings.

Experts warn the psychological damage experienced by children in war zones can last a lifetime.

Dr Al-Ameri said as the military campaign in parts of Iraq winds down, it was in the interest of international security that other countries step up support for rebuilding flattened cities.

Kickstarting the Iraqi economy and creating jobs would go a long way towards warding off the threat of other extremist groups gaining a foothold.

“Housing, schools, work, sports centres – when we have these we have a healthy society,” he said.

He also called for an increase in foreign aid support.

Since 2014, Australia has provided $180 million of humanitarian assistance to Iraq including a $110 million contribution announced in April.

No safety issues with SA cladding: govt

An audit of cladding on 4500 buildings in Adelaide’s CBD has revealed no safety risks, the state government says.


However, Deputy Premier John Rau says the checks identified 77 multi-storey buildings that warrant further consideration, including the Adelaide Oval, the Adelaide Convention Centre and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Of those, 38 have very limited or isolated cladding.

“South Australians should not be alarmed at the use of aluminium composite cladding on buildings in the CBD,” Mr Rau said.

The audit was triggered by London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy that killed at least 80 people in June.

The next phase will be a more thorough investigation of the identified buildings to ensure the cladding adheres to the National Construction Code and relevant fire safety measures.

Immediate action will then be taken if any building materials are considered a fire hazard which could go as far as a closure order, Metropolitan Fire Service chief officer Greg Crossman said.

“It’s in my interest to ensure that buildings are safe, not just for the occupants but also for firefighters,” Mr Crossman said.

He said there were “no concerns” about fire risk cladding at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital which is due to open in just over a week.

Property Council SA director Daniel Gannon welcomed the audit after the Grenfell Tower fire “sent shudders” through the industry.

“We already have high building standards, but if there are lessons to learn from the UK then we should put that learning into practice,” he said.

“As our cities become more dense and our apartment buildings grow taller, we must stay vigilant if we are to ensure that public safety and confidence in our fire safety standards remains high.”

The Adelaide City Council is writing to the building owners of the 77 identified sites to organise further investigations.

Buildings outside of the CBD will now also be checked.