Asia y Oceanía pretenden unirse para disputar 5 plazas a los mundiales

La selección de Japón, una de las más representativas que integra la AFC, tambien clasificada al Mundial Brasil 2014. Foto: Archivo AFP

 

Los dirigentes de la Confederación Asiática (AFC) y de Oceanía estudian la posibilidad de crear un sólo bloque para la clasificación para los mundiales, con el objetivo de obtener cinco plazas automáticas en las fases finales.

“Aceptamos Australia con nosotros, pero pienso que deberíamos ver cómo podríamos estar juntos”, explicó el presidente de la AFC Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, en Kuala Lumpur, durante la gala de fin de año del fútbol asiático.

“Desde el punto de vista geográfico, estamos muy cerca y más o menos al mismo nivel desde el punto de vista técnico”, justificó el dirigente, quien añadió que se presentará una propuesta conjunta a la FIFA.

Actualmente, Asia dispone de cuatro plazas automáticas para el Mundial y el quinto clasificado de la AFC debe jugar un repechaje contra el quinto de la zona sudamericana.

Oceanía, por su parte, no tiene plaza directa y el ganador de la zona debe jugar una eliminatoria de repesca contra un equipo de la Concacaf.

Para Brasil-2014, Japón, Corea, Irán y Australia (que juega en la zona asiática) obtuvieron su billete directo, mientras que Jordania jugó la repesca contra Uruguay y perdió.

Por su parte, Nueva Zelanda, ganador de la zona oceánica, perdió también la repesca ante México.

 

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Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory

Friday, 29 November 2013 8:00 AM

Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory

Central Coast Mariners host Melbourne Victory in Round 8 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, November 29 at 7.30pm AEDT.

Head-to-head:
Played: 27, Wins: Mariners 11, Victory 9, Draws: 7

Previous encounter:
Mariners 1-0 Victory, April 14 2013

Form:
Past five matches:

Mariners: WLDWD
Victory: WLLWW

The Game:
These Friday night free-to-air games just keep getting better. Last week we had the big first-versus-second showdown between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney and it didn’t disappoint. Next up is the Mariners, in their first home game under new head coach Phil Moss, riding high after a last-gasp win away to Perth Glory. They welcome Melbourne Victory to Gosford fresh from a convincing 3-0 triumph at home Adelaide despite playing with 10 men for the entire second half of that game.

Victory have plenty of unfinished business at Bluetongue – they were on the wrong end of a 6-2 thrashing there last season, and saw their finals challenge end at the same venue in the semi-finals later in the campaign. A trip to tackle the champions, who are still warming to their title defence, will be a major test of Victory’s credentials under their own rookie boss Kevin Muscat.

The big issue:
Mariners – Does Phil Moss have what it takes to continue the impressive work done by Graham Arnold? He made a strong start in the top job last weekend, altering the Mariners’ travel plans and subsequently ending their sequence of negative results out west. But plenty of challenges remain, and we are set to discover just how much the ability of the tiny club to punch far above their weight was down to Arnold. Should the credit be spread more evenly across the club? The visit of Victory can teach us more about what to expect from the champions under their new management.

Victory – Do the Victory have a problem away from home? The navy blue and whites are yet to win on the road this season, coming from 2-0 down to draw in Adelaide, before suffering successive defeats in the Harbour City to Sydney FC and the Wanderers. We know they’ve endured an unhappy time in Gosford in recent seasons. This week’s game represents an opportunity to end that run and make a statement of intent to the rest of the competition.

The game breaker:
Marcos Flores – The Argentine playmaker underwhelmed at Victory after being unveiled to great fanfare prior to the 2012-13 campaign. His rehabilitation with the Mariners has been promising enough to date, but it remains to be seen if he can fully recapture the magic that set the league alight during his time with Adelaide in 2010-11. Surely the visit of the club which played him out of position and then tossed him aside is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his true worth?

 

Football Federation Australia

Qantas taps Brisbane for extensive Airbus A330 upgrade

Qantas taps Brisbane for extensive Airbus A330 upgrade

Qantas has chosen Brisbane as the base for an extensive refit of its Airbus A330 fleet, including the all-new business class Business Suite and inflight entertainment system.

The first of the refreshed A330s will roll out of Qantas’ Brisbane heavy maintenance and engineering facility towards the end of next year.

The upgrade process will take around 30 days for each aircraft, with the project to be completed by mid-2016.

The A330s will appear on the transcontinental trek between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, as well as international flights to Qantas’ key Asian ports including Singapore, Hong Kong (from Melbourne and Brisbane), Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, in Brisbane to officially open a $30 million upgrade to the hangar, said “our state-of-the-art Brisbane heavy maintenance facility is ideally suited to undertake the upgrade of our Airbus A330 aircraft.”

All 30 of Qantas’ A330s will receive the new Business Suites (below).

 

The seats extend to a fully lie-flat bed and, according to Qantas, can be left in a reclining position for take-off and landing.

 

The seats will be arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration so that every travellers has direct aisle access, with the seating staggered to provide great degree of privacy.

Read: Up close – dive into the details of the new Qantas Business Suite

Each A330 will also be fitted with the Q Streaming system which beams movies and music over WiFi to a passengers’ own laptop, tablet or smartphone, giving travellers a choice between their using their own kit or watching the in-seat video screens.

The 10 jets used on international routes will also receive new economy seats (shown below), while the 20 planes assigned to Qantas Domestic will have their current economy seats refurbished.

 

Qantas gives thumbs up for Hockey debate on ownership

November 28, 2013

Matt O’Sullivan

Business Reporter

"Qantas will not be able to compete on the same terms as the competition if they have access to the foreign capital and don't care about losing money": Alan Joyce.

“Qantas will not be able to compete on the same terms as the competition if they have access to the foreign capital and don’t care about losing money”: Alan Joyce. Photo: Glenn Hunt

 

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has raised the prospect of scrapping rules that restrict foreign investment in Qantas, in the wake of foreign airlines boosting their stakes in Virgin Australia.

After last week demanding urgent action from the government, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce welcomed the Treasurer’s call for a national debate about the laws governing this country’s airlines.

”What we have seen in Canberra … is politicians saying there is an unlevel playing field. Now we are talking about mechanisms … about how we change it,” he said.

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Qantas claims it is severely hamstrung by foreign ownership restrictions that do not apply to its arch rival. Virgin is now majority owned by three state-owned airlines – Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Etihad.

Mr Joyce said Qantas needed ”urgent, immediate action on this” because the future of the national flag carrier was at stake.

Earlier, Mr Hockey told a business luncheon in Sydney that it was time for a national debate about aviation laws.

”We still need to properly deal with the aviation transformation that has occurred in Australia, and deal with the legacy of Qantas continuing to have shareholding restrictions when their competition does not have exactly the same … restrictions,” he said.

A spokesman for federal Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss also said the government ”is considering what, if anything, could be done”.

Mr Joyce said investments, such as those Qantas was making in a heavy maintenance base in Brisbane, would be threatened unless aviation policies were changed to ensure a level playing field.

”Qantas will not be able to compete on the same terms as the competition if they have access to this foreign capital, and don’t care about losing money,” he said in reference to Virgin.

Under the Qantas Sale Act, foreign investment in the national carrier is capped at 49 per cent, total ownership by foreign airlines is limited to 35 per cent, and a single foreign investor to 25 per cent.

The national carrier’s campaign for law changes has been sparked by Virgin’s recent $350 million capital raising, which will allow Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to increase their combined stake to as much as 68 per cent.

Qantas has also demanded the government consider whether Virgin is complying with laws that allow it to gain access to air routes out of Australia.

Under the Air Navigation Act, an airline has to be 51 per cent Australian owned in order to gain access to these routes under bilateral air rights agreements.

Virgin has previously accused Qantas of ”an orchestrated media campaign regarding this capital raising”.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Beijing furious over Julie Bishop’s ‘irresponsible’ remarks

November 28, 2013

Philip Wen

China correspondent for Fairfax Media

The Chinese government has delivered an angry rebuke over “irresponsible remarks” made by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop regarding its newly declared air defence zone in the East China Sea, in the latest diplomatic headache for the Abbott government in Asia.

Ms Bishop summoned Chinese ambassador Ma Zhaoxu on Monday to express the government’s concern over the new zone, which covers airspace over a string of uninhabited islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – at the centre of a longstanding territorial dispute between the two regional powers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says  Australia is opposed to any ''coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea''.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says Australia is opposed to any ”coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea”.

Echoing the sentiments of the Japanese and the United States, Ms Bishop said the timing and manner of China’s announcement was “unhelpful in light of current regional tensions, and will not contribute to regional stability”.

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“Australia has made clear its opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” she said on Tuesday.

But in a sternly worded statement on Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry warned Ms Bishop to ”correct” her characterisation of its new air defence zone or risk damaging bilateral ties.

“It is completely a mistake for Australia to make irresponsible remarks on China’s establishment of an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea, and the Chinese side will not accept it,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. “China urges Australia to correct its mistake immediately to prevent damaging Sino-Australia relations.”

The fall-out threatens to sour the mood for Ms Bishop’s imminent visit to China – her first as foreign minister – and comes as the Abbott government pushes aggressively to seal a much-vaunted free trade deal with its largest trading partner within a year.

On Thursday morning, Ms Bishop stood by her public criticism of China, denying she overstepped the mark.

”This is a matter of long-standing Australian policy, we’ve raised it before and the response from China was to be expected,” she told Sky News.

”Australia has a key stake in the region and we would oppose action by any side that we believe could add to the tensions or add to the risk of a miscalculation in disputed territorial zones in the region.”

Ms Bishop said she did not believe the comments would affect Australia’s hopes of securing a free trade agreement with China next year.

Mr Abbott’s public declaration last month that Japan was Australia’s “best friend” in Asia had already raised eyebrows in Beijing.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the government would not retreat from its stance despite the pressure from Beijing and said it was expected to be ”a topic of discussion in Ms Bishop’s upcoming visit”.

“The Australian government remains concerned that China’s sudden announcement of an air-defence identification zone over the East China Sea at this time could have potentially destabilising consequences for the region,” the spokesman said on Wednesday.

“Australia has critical interests at stake in ensuring the continued peace and stability of our region. It was natural that the Australian government should signal its concerns about the timing and manner of China’s announcement and to seek clarification.”

China established its new “air defence identification zone” on Saturday, requiring aircraft entering the zone to notify authorities in advance and maintain radio contact – or risk military intervention.

The move has been met with strong protests by Japan and the US. Both have ignored China’s claims to the airspace with Washington flying two unarmed warplanes through the zone in a planned training mission on Tuesday, and the Japanese government instructing its two largest airlines to ignore Beijing’s requests for flight plans and other information.

Wang Xiangsui, a retired colonel of the People’s Liberation Army, said Australia had offended China by taking sides with Japan.

“Australia says it is trying to become China’s strategic partner, but it doesn’t even consider respecting China’s security interests.”

The Sydney Morning Herald