Trump’s childhood home listed on Airbnb at $725 a night

The $2 million, mock Tudor-style family home in Queens, where the New York tycoon turned Republican commander-in-chief lived for the first four years of his life, sleeps up to 20 people in five bedrooms.

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Equipped with internet and cable TV, the listing says it is verified and calls itself “the perfect accommodation for a New York vacation”.

“We decided to put it on Airbnb to share the house with the world,” said Michael Davis, the real-estate developer who bought the home last year, sold it for profit and now leases it back at $US4,000 a month.

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“There’s been a lot of activity,” Davis said, with the first guests expected to stay this weekend.

The listing shows several dates blocked off in August but currently there are no reviews.

It claims little has changed since the Trumps’ time, boasting an original kitchen and “opulent furnishings”.

“We tried to have presidential furniture,” explained Davis. “It’s decorated very, very nicely and it has all of the amenities that you would need.”

Built by father Fred in 1940 in the upmarket enclave of Jamaica Estates, the president lived in the home until the family moved into a colonnaded mansion that Trump senior built nearby in 1951.

The two-story home embellished with red brick sold at auction in January for 54 per cent more than the $1.39 million the investor paid for last year. The $US2.14 million deal closed in March.

There’s been a lot of activity in the hosue where the President lived the first four years of his life, says real-estate developer Michael Davis.AAP

Listing pictures show photographs of the president and quotations sprinkled around the property. Trump’s best-selling business tome ‘The Art of the Deal’ is in the house library, the only book in the house.

It remains unclear what the president would make of the venture.

“I think he likes a good deal,” said Davis. “His brand creates value and we were certainly the beneficiaries of that.”

Asked about the house when he appeared on NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ during the election campaign, Trump said it was “sad” the building was on sale and said he wanted to buy it.

This Airbnb listing authors say they have no relationship with the White House, Trump or his Manhattan-based Trump Organisation.

Sticky wary of under-fire Warriors in NRL

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart believes the public lashing of the Warriors is the ultimate provocation ahead of their NRL clash in Auckland.

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The equation remains simple for the Raiders. A loss in Sunday’s match is almost certain to end their finals’ hopes.

Canberra bring winning form to the match, unlike their opponents who have lost five on the trot.

The Warriors’ 26-10 loss to last-placed Newcastle – prompted harsh criticism from coach Stephen Kearney who questioned their effort.

“Individually, they’ve been told that some of them aren’t trying,” Stuart said.

“There’s no greater way to be motivated if you’re that way inclined.”

Stuart will urge his players to bring the same fight which had helped them in last week’s defeat of Cronulla.

“If we don’t meet aggression with aggression, we’ll get beaten,” Stuart said.

“I’m going to ask the boys to aim up and prepare to play the type of Warriors team who are going to come out and play their best game of football.”

Dominating through the middle against the Sharks allowed star hooker Josh Hodgson to take charge of the game.

“If their big blokes in the middle can take some control, then he’ll get control. That’s an important factor for our big blokes to understand,” Stuart said.

Sitting two games outside the top eight, it’s been a tumultuous season for a team initially touted as a premiership threat.

But off-field stability continued on Thursday with skipper Jarrod Croker re-signing until the end of 2020.

Croker is the latest key player the Raiders have locked in beyond next year, joining Joey Leilua, Jordan Rapana and Jack Wighton who all recommitted earlier in the season.

Stuart is also signed until the end of 2020.

“We’ve had a lot of tough losses and we could have easily fallen away but with the culture and the club we have here, we’ve stuck it out,” Croker said.

The 26-year-old goal-kicking centre is already Canberra’s leading point scorer and is equal-second on the club’s list of try-scorers.

“To be able to lead this club it’s one thing, but to lead them to a premiership is at the top of my list,” Croker said.

“We’ve got the squad here to push for that.”

Flanagan fires up before Broncos NRL clash

Furious Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has taken aim at Wayne Bennett and slammed suggestions the NRL premiers are trying to talk Jack Bird out of defecting to Brisbane.

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In a spicy precursor to Friday night’s high-stakes top-four clash with the Broncos, Flanagan said the Sharks had no plans to stand in Bird’s way and rubbished reports the club had been bullying the NSW State of Origin star since his lucrative signing in May.

“The Sharks have been at him ever since he signed with the Broncos,” Bird’s father Mick was quoted on Thursday by News Corp Australia.

“They haven’t left him alone and myself and Jack have had a gutful.”

Flanagan, though, denied the sharks had tried to “coerce” Bird into reneging on his four-year deal.

“Let’s all be really clear that Jack is going to Brisbane. There’s no talk about backflips; there’s no one in this organisation, that’s either me or the CEO, that he’s spoken to. None of that’s happened,” Flanagan said.

“It’s terrible. He’s shattered today, Jack … shattered about all this stuff that he’s supposed to be saying or supposed to be doing.

“None of it’s true.”

Not only offended by the reports “from north of the border”, Flanagan was also bemused at Bennett’s claim that Bird would thrive under the Broncos’ less-structured attack.

“I couldn’t give a damn what Wayne says. He can do what he likes. It doesn’t interest me,” he said.

“All the rubbish that he’s going to enjoy it more up there, all that stuff, I just don’t get it.

“Like, well done to the Broncos. They’ve signed a quality player and we’ll be looking after him, treating his injuries and sending him up there as a grand final-winning player.

“We’ll have great memories of Jack at our club. He’s a special player and he’ll hold a special part in this club’s history.

“But he’ll be there next year. We had our chance to keep him and he decided to go and we’ll live with that.”

Flanagan’s tirade came after Bennett earlier on Thursday said he felt compelled to “step in” and assure fans Bird would be a Brisbane player in 2018.

“Jack Bird is coming to the Broncos – full stop,” Bennett said.

End of debate, if not the two coaches’ seemingly needless war of words.

Fossils reveal new gliding mammal species

In dense Chinese forests populated by dinosaurs 160 million years ago, two furry critters resembling flying squirrels glided from tree to tree, showing that even in such a perilous neighbourhood early mammals had succeeded in going airborne.

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Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of fossils of two Jurassic Period gliding mammals so well preserved and complete they show the wing-like skin membranes the creatures employed while gliding effortlessly between trees.

The species, Maiopatagium furculiferum from Liaoning Province and Vilevolodon diplomylos unearthed about 65km away in Hebei Province, come from an extinct early mammalian side branch.

These two and another apparent glider from about the same time that was described in 2006 were the vanguard of the mammalian air force.

It was not until more than 100 million years later that bats, which use powered flight like birds, and more gliding mammals appeared, following the dinosaurs’ demise.

Mammals first appeared about 210 million years ago.

These fossils underscore that early mammals were not merely cowering at the feet of dinosaurs but boasted a range of body plans and lifestyles.

“Despite living in dinosaur-dominated ecosystems, early mammals diversified into many ecological niches,” said University of Chicago paleontologist Zhe-Xi Luo, who led the research published in the journal Nature.

The new species were unrelated to today’s four groups of gliding mammals: flying squirrels in North America and Asia, Africa’s scaly-tailed gliders, Australia’s marsupial sugar gliders and Southeast Asia’s colugos.

Maiopatagium was about 23cm long, similar in size to flying squirrels. Vilevolodon was a bit smaller.

Maiopatagium’s teeth resemble those of fruit bats, suggesting it ate soft plant parts, while Vilevolodon’s teeth were more like those of squirrels and good for eating seeds.

They lived at a time when small feathered dinosaurs such as Anchiornis were also experimenting with flying, on the evolutionary road leading to birds.

Greens warn Labor over competition law

The Greens have warned Labor not to get in bed with big business when competition laws come before the Senate.

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Labor had a win in the Senate on Thursday, with the removal of barriers to small businesses taking court action against anti-competitive behaviour from big business.

The private bill would allow Federal Court judges to waive small business liability to pay the huge legal fees of big business if it challenges anti-competitive behaviour in court.

The bill will need to be passed by the lower house in order to become law, which is unlikely given the government holds the majority in that chamber.

The Greens supported the legislation but warned Labor not to use it as an excuse to oppose competition laws due to be debated in the upper house next week.

The so-called “effects test” bill strengthens rules that prevent companies with substantial market power engaging in conduct that harms competition.

Labor has already vowed to oppose the bill.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson suggested Labor was opposing the changes to protect its funding from big business.

He warned the opposition would be “jumping into bed with big business” if it opposed the legislation.

“I hope that the ALP aren’t going to use this as an excuse to get out of supporting a change to section 46,” he said.

It was no good helping small businesses take their cases to court without fixing laws that make it nearly impossible for them to win, he said.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher said Thursday’s legislation would empower small business, urging the government to support it.

“We know that all too often, small businesses don’t take on the big end of town, despite the fact they may actually have a strong case,” she told parliament.

“They can’t afford the risks of the costs of going to court.”

It’s been welcomed by the small business ombudsman Kate Carnell, who said access to justice was an important issue for small businesses.

“This has the added benefit of filtering cases that might potentially be considered vexatious or unlikely to succeed, saving time and money for all involved,” she said.

Small Business Minister Michael McCormack accused Labor of crying “crocodile tears”, insisting it should support the effects test changes if it is genuinely interested in levelling the playing field.

Longmire hails his AFL assistant Dew

Sydney coach John Longmire has sung the praises of his senior assistant Staurt Dew, who is considered one of the frontline candidates for the Gold Coast job.

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The Suns earlier this week opted not to renew Rodney Eade’s contract and assistant Dean Solomon is filling their head coaching post on an interim basis for their last three games of the season.

Dew is widely considered a head coach in waiting and is highly regarded by the Swans, to whom he is contracted for next season.

A premiership player with both Port Adelaide and Hawthorn, Dew has been with Sydney since late 2009.

Dew has held a number of positions at the Swans, overseeing the defence, development and stoppage areas at different times.

“He plays a key role at our footy club week in week out, either in preview or review, at training sessions,” Longmire said.

“He’s highly experienced and a very good coach for what he’s doing now.

“He’s very well prepared and he’s very important to what we do.”

Longmire, who served his own apprenticeship at Sydney under his predecessor Paul Roos, said Dew had taken time to broaden his knowledge in numerous areas, and not just coaching.

“He’s been able to do that at this footy club and get involved in other areas that are important to have that experience in if you want to go on and be a senior coach,” Longmire said.

“We’ve been keen to help him with those areas and he’s certainly been very good at it; so he’s a fantastic coach for this footy club and I’m sure whatever he wants to do going forward that he’ll be very good at it.”

Asked if Dew handled stress well Longmire laughed and said, “You don’t really know what stress is until you’re a senior coach.”

Controversial removal of homeless tent city to be done ‘compassionately’, NSW Premier says

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says homeless people will be treated “compassionately” when police forcibly remove occupants from Sydney’s CBD tent city.

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Ms Berejiklian says she expects legislation empowering police to tear down the tents in Martin Place, which passed parliament late on Wednesday, will be enacted on Friday but wouldn’t confirm when police will move in to dismantle the camp.

“Everybody knows my attitude, that everybody on the site needs to be treated compassionately, respectfully and in a way in which will help them,” she told reporters on Thursday.

The man dubbed the “Mayor of Martin Place”, Lanz Priestley, says the camp is still searching for another location in the interim, but the government’s promise to fund extra hours at the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross isn’t a solution to their needs.

Mr Priestley says those living in the camp aren’t “looking for a babysitting service”.

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“They’re looking for something that they can be part of, and that something they can be part of might even be more necessary in rebuilding people than a house,” he told AAP.

Wayside Chapel chief executive Rev Graham Long says the service has no space for sleeping, but could offer a warm shower, low-cost meals and support services.

“The Department of Family and Community Services has asked Wayside if we would extend our hours to 11pm closing each night,” he said in a statement, clarifying that the department had requested the charity consider operating 24/7 but nothing had been confirmed.

Rev Long pointed out nothing Wayside could do would disguise the lack of affordable housing in the city, a problem he described as “complex”.

That lack of housing is the real issue at the heart of the whole debate, according to Mr Priestley, who says revelations about his criminal past that emerged on Thursday were distracting from the problem.

The camp’s unofficial leader did not deny he had a criminal history, pointing out there were many in the tent city whose pasts had left them trapped in homelessness.

“It’s unfortunate that there’s this obfuscation away from the actual issue, which is that these guys don’t have anywhere to go of choice,” he told AAP.

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Mexican football hero sanctioned by US over alleged ties to drug kingpin

Rafael Marquez, 38, along with a popular singer known as Julion Alvarez and nearly two dozen other Mexican nationals, is accused of financial ties with Raul Flores Hernandez, a suspected drug trafficker with links to the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation gang.

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The US Treasury Department said the designation was “the largest single Kingpin Act action against a Mexican drug cartel network that OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control) has designated,” and comes after US President Donald Trump promised to crush Mexico’s drug cartels.

“Raul Flores Hernandez has operated for decades because of his longstanding relationships with other drug cartels and his use of financial front persons to mask his investments of illegal drug proceeds,” OFAC Director John E. Smith said in a statement, calling the move a “major joint action” with Mexico.

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Marquez denied the accusations in a news conference Wednesday evening and vowed to cooperate with authorities.

“I deny categorically any type of relation with this organisation,” he said.

“I understand the legal situation in which I find myself, and I will immediately focus my energy on the clarification of the facts with the support of my team of lawyers.”

Marquez gave a voluntary declaration before the Mexican attorney general’s office on Wednesday, the office said in a statement.

Marquez, who hails from the cartel-riddled state of Michoacan, is one of the country’s best know sportsmen and has played in Europe for club sides FC Barcelona and Monaco.

He still occasionally captains the Mexican national team, having represented his country in four World Cup football tournaments.

According to documents on the Treasury’s website, Marquez was linked to Flores Hernandez’s organization via a football school called Escuela de Futbol Rafael Marquez as well as various other sports and health outfits.

Marquez’s current team, Club Atlas in Guadalajara, could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Everything I have, I’ve earned,” says popular Mexican singer Julion Alvarez in response to allegations that he has links to a drug kingpin.Getty Images

The US Treasury said it had sanctioned 43 entities linked to Flores Hernandez’s holdings, from sectors including sport, hospitality and tourism and health.

Julio Cesar Alvarez, more commonly known as Julion Alvarez, is a popular “banda” singer. In a folksy video posted to his official Facebook page, Alvarez, 34, rejected the accusations against him.

“Everything I have, I’ve earned,” he said. “I dedicated myself to making music, and thank God, I don’t have the necessity to do many of the things they’re accusing me of.”

He added that he knew Marquez, and may invite him to join forces legally to defend themselves against the accusations.

In an awkward twist, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had posted a photo of himself with Alvarez to his Instagram page this week, but deleted it just before news of the sanctions against Alvarez broke.

A spokesman from the president’s office declined to comment on why the photo was deleted.

Trump vowed to dismantle transnational crime groups in a February executive order. Little change in strategy has been seen so far, although there are some signs of increased cooperation with Mexican security forces.

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