Falklands says "yes" to remaining British

The residents of the Falkland Islands have voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in favour of remaining a British overseas territory.



Only three votes out of more than 1500 were cast against the motion.


However, Argentina has rejected the vote as a meaningless publicity stunt.


Santilla Chingaipe has the details.


The referendum was held over two days following pressure from Argentina over its claims to the islands, 31 years after the Falklands War with the Britain.


The question was:


“Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”


Residents were then simply required to respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote.


Chief referendum officer, Keith Padgett, says voter turnout was high among the 1,649 Falklands-born and long-term residents registered to vote.


“The total number of votes publicly cast in the referendum was 1,517. The percentage of turnout for the referendum was 92 per cent. The number of ‘yes’ votes cast was 1,513, which represents 98.8 per cent.”


Britain has held the Falklands since 1833 but Buenos Aires maintains that the islands are occupied Argentinian territory.


Diplomatic tension between Britain and Argentina has flared up again, more than three decades since they went to war over the South Atlantic archipelago.


Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has dismissed the referendum result.


Ms Kirchner says it will not affect Argentina’s claims on the Falklands, which it calls Las Malvinas.


But British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged Argentina to respect the wishes of the islanders.


“The Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away, but they are British through and through, that is how they want to stay and people should know we will always be there to defend them. I think the most important thing about this result is that we believe in self-determination and the Falkland Islanders have spoken so clearly about their future, and now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result.”


Meanwhile, the United States has refused once again to take sides in the dispute over the islands.


However, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the US has noted the overwhelming yes vote by Falkland Islanders to remain a British territory.


“The residents have clearly expressed their preference for a continued relationship with the United Kingdom. That said, we obviously recognise that there are competing claims. Our formal position has not changed. We recognize the de facto UK administration of the islands, but we take no position on sovereignty claims.”

Residents of the islands welcomed the vote with enthusiasm in the capital, Port Stanley.


One of those was Neville Haywood, who told the BBC he hopes the result will allow the Falklands to be accepted on the international stage.


“Probably not Argentina, but maybe the rest of the world needs to start looking at it and thinking differently.”


End of parity: Experts say A$ heading south

That’s good news for exporters, but bad news for Australian travellers.


The sudden decline follows speculation the US Federal Reserve may be winding down its bond buying program.

That essentially means, America’s central bank will be pumping less cash into the economy.

Economics 101 would say less cash, means less supply, bumping up demand. The greenback rises.

Technical reasons can also be applied, particularly as the US currency pushed through the 100 yen barrier, which also had an impact on the Australian dollar.

Commodity prices have also been weakening of late, and some traders would argue some shorting of the Australian dollar has also seen it fall.

But most of you, especially those planning a holiday in the Northern Hemisphere in the coming months really just want to know, where the currency is going.

So, I asked some of my contacts at the close of trade on Friday, for their take.

Generally speaking, most say there is scope for the Australian dollar to flirt with US parity in the short term, but they’re pretty unanimous that the future direction of the Australian dollar versus the greenback, and that’s down.

Chris Gore – GO Markets

“We have fair value sitting just above parity, around US$1.01. We’ve seen a material fall from the Aussie and a large part of this weakness we can attribute to a recalibration of stimulus expectations in the US. In short we think this change in QE expectations may be a tad premature and expect the A$ to regain some composure in the short term. We do however believe the local unit has a home below parity and expect to see a larger leg lower by year end, around US$0.95 in Q4.”

Shane Oliver – AMP Capital

“In the short term it looks like it’s heading down to $US0.95/0.96, which is the the bottom of range it has been in since 2011. Over the medium term it’s likely headed even lower. Commodity prices are now in a downtrend as mining supply pick up and Chinese growth has slowed a bit and the RBA is likely to cut interest rates further. As a result the overvaluation that has been apparent in terms of purchasing power parity measures is likely to be unwound. So it wouldn’t surprise me to see it fall below $US0.90 in the year ahead.”

Warren Hogan – ANZ

“It may go back to parity in the next few months but it is now past its peak. It will certainly be lower by the end of the year and we expect the down move to extend through 2014. It could go as low as the mid-80s.”

Stephen Koukoulas – Market Economics

“I see it at US$0.94 cents, reverting to fair value, meaning the level of commodity prices or terms of trade.”

Peter Maguire – PBM Commodities

“A$ looks like it has more room to move to the downside and our RBA may continue to drop rates over the coming months. If you’re heading to the USA over the coming months it may be prudent to exchange for US$ at around 98.5. It could very well be sub 96 by July”

Chris Weston – IG Markets

“Short term it could rally back to US$0.99 as it’s oversold and Bernanke will reiterate a dovish stance on Wednesday night. I’d sell into it though as medium term it will trade down to US$0.95 and lower longer term. The Federal Reserve won’t cut asset purchases until late 2013, early 2014, and the RBA will keep cutting. Foreigners are not buying the same level of Aussie bonds and there is news today that the Japanese are turning to Mexico rather than Australia.”

Craig James – CommSec

“We see the Aussie back to US$1.03 by September. The Federal Reserve won’t be lifting interest rates for some time, the US still has major budget issues to address and the Aussie is well supported by solid Australian economic fundamentals including a AAA rating.”

Rob Henderson – NAB

“The Aussie is now oversold on the downside and is below fair value at around parity. Medium-term we see it lower. Our forecasts for the end of this year is US$0.98, mid-2014 US$0.96 and end of 2014 US$0.94. But the story for 2014 will be that of a stronger US dollar against all currencies.”

Geale loses IBF title on split decision

A split second and a split decision cost Daniel Geale his world boxing title in his US debut.


Stricken Englishman Darren Barker barely beat the referee’s 10 count after being poleaxed by a vicious Geale left to the body in the sixth round.

But somehow he recovered to lift the IBF middleweight crown, extending his country’s great run of sporting success over Australians in 2013.

One judge scored the fight in Atlantic City 114-113 to Geale, but the other two had Barker ahead 114-113 and 116-111.

Promoter Gary Shaw admitted he was stunned that the resilient Barker, looking in tremendous pain, was able to beat referee Eddie Cotton’s count and he backed Geale to win another world crown.

“That was a vicious liver shot, I was really shocked that Barker survived it,” Shaw told AAP.

Geale 32 (29-2, 15 KOs) tried furiously to finish the job immediately, tagging the challenger with some more shots and a stoppage looked imminent.

But Barker, 31, (26-1, 16 KOs) survived the onslaught and produced a real-life version of the Rocky story as he ended the round raining blows on Geale.

Barker shaded most of the remaining rounds, bar the 12th, with Geale unable to reproduce the late fight surges that were a trademark of his previous four title defences.

The Englishman dedicated the win to his brother Gary, who was killed in a car accident in 2006.

Geale was left pondering how the title was lost.

“I thought I caught a lot (of punches) on the gloves, and a lot were glancing, missing,” Geale said.

“I did feel in control. It wasn’t my best performance but Darren is a great fighter.

“He’s a very skillful guy. I knew I had to be on my game throughout.

“I knew it was going to be tight. It was a close fight. I’m very disappointed.”

Right from the early rounds, third-ranked challenger Barker showed he was going to be a formidable opponent, landing more power punches than the champion and sometimes beating him to the punch.

Geale responded in the middle rounds, teeing off with some good right hand shots, but didn’t seem to throw many shots to the body after the knockdown.

“I thought Daniel won it by a round. I had the score 114-113, but obviously the two other judges didn’t see it that way,” Shaw said.

‘We’ll fight our way back and I’m sure Barker will give us the same opportunity as we gave him.”

Barker may first have to make a mandatory defence against German Felix Sturm.

Asked if he thought Geale could win another world title Shaw said “Yeah, I’m sure.

“Daniel Geale is a real warrior, someone that the Aussies should be very proud of.

“Those are the types of fighters that television needs, so he’s a fan friendly fighter.”

“He came forward, he fought and didn’t back up so I’m pretty proud of him.”

On the undercard, Australian featherweight Joel Brunker (27-0, 15 KOs), who is top 15 rated by all four major boxing bodies, scored an eight-round unanimous points win against veteran Mike Oliver.

Isinbayeva lights up Moscow with fairytale gold

Yelena Isinbayeva, the greatest ever woman pole vaulter, thrilled a partisan crowd by securing the third world title of her illustrious career on Tuesday before saying she was taking a break to have a baby.


The record-breaking Russian, twice Olympic champion and the first woman to clear the revered five metres barrier, was the only vaulter to jump 4.89 metres, pulling out a winning leap when it mattered most in an enthralled Luzhniki arena.

Her dominance of the sport she took to new heights with 28 world records, 15 outdoors and 13 indoors, has receded in recent years, but a season’s best leap was good enough to secure gold.

“I’m the pole vault queen, the crowd is mine,” the 31-year-old told reporters. “This victory is the most precious won in all my career.”

Isinbayeva, whose last global outdoor title came at the 2008 Olympics, had said she could retire after the championships but, after lengthy celebrations, told a news conference she would step away from the sport to become a mother.

“I’m not retiring for the moment, I’m just taking a break,” she said.

“I will have a baby next year and try to come back for Rio (the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics).”

After a nervous start when she failed with her first attempt after entering the competition at 4.65, a measure of her confidence with her rivals up and running, Isinbayeva grew in stature.

With a chorus of “Yelena, Yelena” reverberating around the stadium from the biggest crowd of a poorly attended championships, each clearance was greeted by a cacophony of approval.

Isinbayeva rewarded the support with punches in the air and squeals of delight.

One by one her 11 rivals dropped away. First American Olympic champion Jenn Surh, who bettered Isinbayeva’s world indoor record in March, failed at 4.89, then Cuban Yarisley Silva also failed to get over that height.

With gold assured, Isinbayeva ran to the crowd and embraced her coach and mentor Yefgeny Trofimov, who she split from in 2005 before teaming up with again in 2011.

Milking the moment and urging the crowd to raise the decibel level further, she asked for the bar to be raised to 5.07, one centimetre above the outdoor world record she set in 2009.

Three unsuccessful attempts followed but it could not spoil the former gymnast’s celebrations as she set off for a lap of the track which featured cartwheels and a back-flip.

Isinbayeva said she had fed off the energy of the crowd.

“I won because I was at home,” she said.

“I wanted to leave a bright trace. I want to thank all the fans – their support made it happen.”

Isinbayeva was virtually unbeatable between 2003 and 2008, when she kept raising the world record higher and higher, often by a centimetre at a time.

But plagued by injury and poor form and after failing to register a height in the 2009 world championships, she decided to take a break from the sport, returning after an 11-month absence.

She was again outside the medals at the 2011 worlds but took bronze at last year’s London Olympics.

She credited Trofimov with resurrecting her career.

“He resuscitated me. It’s all thanks to him,” she said.

“He is a genius, he helped me get my world title back.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Will there ever again be one Korea?

Six decades after the end of hostilities on the Korean peninsula, what might the future hold for the two Koreas?


Many Koreans insist it is still one country – just a divided one.



It’s a view that would appear to be held by governments on both sides of the Demilitarised Zone, but just how those two parts might be joined again remains a mystery.


Michael Kenny, with this report compiled by Nikki Canning.


Sixteen years after the Armistice was signed in 1953, South Korea established its Ministry of Unification to work towards repairing the country’s division.


The Ministry also has a counterpart in the North, in the Communist government’s Unification Strategy department.


However the philosophical and political differences between the governments on both sides would appear to be insurmountable.


2012 saw major changes on both sides of the DMZ.


The beginning of the year saw a leadership transition in North Korea, following the death of President Kim Jung-il.


His third son, Kim Jong-Un, became president.


Parliamentary elections in April saw South Korea’s ruling conservative Saenuri party retain power.


Saenuri’s candidate, Park Geun-hye, also won December’s presidential elections, becoming the country’s first female leader.


The daughter of a former military ruler, the 60-year old has vowed to work to heal a divided society.


Ms Park returned to the presidential palace in Seoul where she had served as her father’s first lady in the 1970s, after her mother was assassinated by a North Korean-backed gunman.


Ms Park says she will negotiate with North Korea’s new young leader, but wants the North to give up its nuclear weapons program as a precondition for aid, something Pyongyang has so far refused to do.


The Republic of Korea’s relationship with its northern neighbour is largely facilitated by South Korea’s Unification Ministry.


It collates and analyses information about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, organises official exchanges and other cooperative programs involving trade and investment, as well as managing humanitarian assistance programs to North Korea.


The Ministry is also responsible for South Korea’s involvement in international multilateral fora, such as the Six-Party talks, and manages all dialogue between the two Koreas.


It also coordinates the resettlement program for North Korean refugees in South Korea – around 23,000 of them over the past two decades.


South Korea’s primary concern remains North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, but of late tensions increased after several key incidents seen by South Korea as provocative in the extreme.


The first was the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist after the 53 year-old woman wandered into a military area at a Kumgang mountain resort in North Korea in 2008.


Then in 2010, the navy ship Cheonan was sunk, later blamed by a South Korean-led team of international researchers on a torpedo fired from a North Korean midget submarine.


And later that same year, North Korea fired artillery and rocket shells at Yeonpyeong island after a South Korean artillery exercise in nearby waters, striking civilian homes, killing four South Koreans and injuring 19 others.


The effect on inter-Korean dialogue was profound.


(under translation) “After all these happenings from North Korea, we stopped all dialogue between the two and there is no channel now to make conversation and no exchanges at all.”


A Ministry of Unification official says a shift in policy was needed.


“This is the baggage from the period before then, that the generation caught up in the Cold War period had very strong anti-Communist education and we needed to bring the pendulum back to the other side. But we probably went too far during the Sunshine Policy. At that time we emphasised coexistence, cooperation and mutual trust but despite all those efforts, North Koreans kept developing their nuclear capabilities – and they’ve never changed.”


A senior Ministry offical says now the government’s priorities are: maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, normalising relations with North Korea, and making substantive progress towards unification.


He says they’re doing this in several ways:


“Helping North Korea to settle down, help them come through these political difficulties from the power transition, economic difficulties [resulting in] starvation and so forth. And again emphasising making the young generation develop a desire for national unification in the future.”


The Ministry acknowledges that any public education campaign that aims to achieve the last part of the program will have to be pretty good.


[under translation] “Young people in Korea are not really interested in political issues other than unification. They are more interested in lifestyle – comfortable lives, nice houses and cars, convenient IT and technology. My generation is the first generation of a divided Korea. Understanding the need for unification is hard for Korean youngsters.”


One young Korean agrees.


“We don’t even talk about it! Just sometimes we make a joke about it.”


Jinah Kwon says North Korea only occupies a small part in the back of most young people’s minds, to be taken out and examined from time to time – as happened in 2010.


“When we had the Yeonpyeong island thing and the Cheonan warship, I was so worried so I sent messages to my friends and all their reactions were, ‘well it always happens like that and there won’t be anything more happening.’ I was working later as a researcher and having lunch with my colleagues and then we saw the television, it was the death of Kim Jong-il. I was so shocked and I was worried maybe something might happen to South Korea but my colleagues around me said ‘Oh, he died’, and they didn’t even pay attention – they weren’t really worried at all, yeah.”


But in her experience, the most interest in North Korea is coming from young, Christian South Koreans.


“For myself, I am involved in a prayer group at my church. We meet once a week and we pray for North Korea, for the people there. And then we study about North Korea – read a book, discuss it. Then we decide the direction of the prayer – how we should pray.”


After analysing the unification of Germany, Korea’s government says being better prepared can lessen the pain for both sides.


But absorbing North Korea’s largely impoverished population of around 24 million will be costly.


The Ministry has decided to resource unification initially from public fundraising, following the success of its public fundraising efforts in 2001 when the country repaid the I-M-F debt it incurred during the Asian economic crisis.


(under translation) “In Korea during the time of the IMF loan, we were having a really hard time. But the general public and Korean citizens voluntarily gave their gold and jewellery and things to the government to resolve the IMF problem at the time, so now we are planning to do that kind of public participation [again].”


Diplomatic and possible fundraising efforts are also extending to international stakeholders, with South Korea keen to explain that a unified and peaceful Korean peninsula would serve the interest of all.


Meanwhile, North Korea may also be tentatively reaching outwards again.


Foreign Minister Bob Carr has confirmed that the North Korean government is seeking to re-open its diplomatic mission in Canberra.


The embassy was closed in January 2008, apparently because of financial pressures.


Mr Carr hasn’t confirmed Australian approval for the move, but says it could help the federal government voice its human rights concerns to North Korea.


“A North Korean embassy in Canberra would enable us to register our deep and our strong concerns about the human rights crisis in North Korea, which is probably the most systemic abuse of human rights you could find on the planet.”


(Incidental sound effects courtesy of Chongdong Theatre’s musical “Miso”)


And World News Australia Radio will be broadcasting a special program-length feature on Thursday July 25, at 6.10 am and 6.10 pm, to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended hostilities on the Korean peninsula.


Former players urge Bartoli to rethink or face regret

The world number seven stunned the tennis world on Wednesday by calling it a day at the age of 28, six weeks after her first grand slam triumph.


“What she did at Wimbledon was fantastic, but she will regret this decision when Wimbledon comes,” Ivanisevic, unable to defend his 2001 Wimbledon title because of a shoulder injury, said in a statement released by the ATP on Thursday.

“There is nothing like playing at Wimbledon as ‘Wimbledon champion’,” added the big-serving Croat, who retired from the sport in 2004 after losing to Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the third round of the grasscourt grand slam on Centre Court.

Former men’s world number four Forget said the decision announced after a second-round defeat by Romanian Simona Halep at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati sounded too hasty.

“Marion is a very smart girl, she is so dedicated about the sport that I’m always very cautious about someone’s quote right after a defeat,” the former French number one said in the same ATP statement.

“I hope she is going to change her mind. You don’t want to have regrets looking back. Being a professional player is such an exceptional job and you don’t want to look back a few months or years later and think ‘why did I stop?’.”


He advised Bartoli to simply take a break rather than pack up her rackets for good.

“Don’t rush it, just don’t rush it,” he said.

“Take time, go to the beach for a few days, go running in the park, just get your head together … if you don’t want to play the next week, just don’t play it, if you want to miss the U.S. Open, fine, but just don’t quit.

“Don’t take such a radical decision only a few weeks after winning the biggest tournament in the world.”

French tennis federation president Jean Gachassin, who was not aware of Bartoli’s decision before she made it public, said he had not lost hope of persuading her to reverse her decision.

“Some champions have come back like (Kim) Clijsters or (Justine) Henin and I hope I will make Marion change her mind in the coming months,” he told French broadcaster L’Equipe 21.

Former world number one Clijsters won the U.S. Open twice in 2009 and 2010 and the 2011 Australian Open when she returned to the sport after retiring.

“Marion has been such a fighter. I want her to continue training because I know she’s going to miss tennis,” Gachassin added.

French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou was convinced this was not the end of Bartoli’s tennis career.

“Marion, hope you are already preparing your comeback … I checked if we weren’t the 1st of April when I read.” he wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Sonia Oxley)

Ansell keen to grow in China and Brazil

Protective clothing and condom maker Ansell expects its earnings to grow in the year ahead despite weakness in its Asian and European markets.


Ansell made a net profit of $136.8 million in the year to June 30, a five per cent rise from the previous year’s $130 million.

Sales grew by 10 per cent to $1.3 billion and earnings rose by 11 per cent from the previous year, due primarily to Ansell’s purchase of four new businesses in the year.

That helped to offset flat trading conditions in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Ansell said.

In the US, sales of protective glovewear fell following the country’s decision to reduce military spending and withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

The slowing Australian economy also impacted sales of industrial gloves.

But revenue from emerging markets increased, making up 27 per cent of Ansell’s total revenue, up from 25 per cent a year earlier.

This was aided by its acquisition of a protective clothing operation in Brazil and a condom distributor in Guangzhou, China.

Chief executive Magnus Nicolin forecast earnings to grow by high single digits or low teens in 2013/14, despite warning that conditions is some markets will be weak.

“Although some improvement in the global economic environment is anticipated in (2013/14) in North America and Latin America, this is expected to be offset by weakness in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific,” Mr Nicolin said.

The company increased its unfranked final dividend to 22 cents per share, up from 20.5 cents at the same time last year.

Ansell shares were were up $1.05, or 5.7 per cent, at $19.50 at 1300 AEST.

NZ house prices rise again in July

New Zealand house prices rose in July as more houses changed hands, suggesting first-home buyers are trying to secure properties ahead of possible Reserve Bank restrictions on buyers with low deposits.


The median house price rose 6.6 per cent to $NZ385,000 ($A340,076) in July from the year earlier month, with all 12 regions posting an increase, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Some 6,777 dwellings changed hands, up 15 per cent from the year earlier, with nine regions recording an increase, the institute said.

The Reserve Bank is expected to raise the benchmark interest rate from a record low 2.5 per cent next year in part to contain the housing market in Auckland, where a supply shortage has driven up prices, and Christchurch, which is being rebuilt following a series of earthquakes.

The strong property market figures for July come as the central bank mulls the use of new macro-prudential tools to restrict the volume of low equity mortgages on concern pressure in the housing market poses a risk to financial stability.

“It is the most active winter the residential real estate market has seen for a while, with the volume of sales higher than would normally be expected for this time of year,” Institute chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said.

House sales were at a six-year high for the month of July.

“Reports from agents around the country suggest that first home buyers are moving quickly to secure properties ahead of any move by the Reserve Bank to impose lending restrictions on buyers with lower deposits.”

July is usually one of the quietest months for real estate but the normal winter slowdown hasn’t happened this year, Ms O’Sullivan said.

Otago recorded a new record median price of $NZ266,778 while the Nelson/Marlborough region recorded the largest increase in median price from the year earlier, up 15 per cent, followed by Central Otago Lakes and Taranaki.

Seven West Media shares slump, Kardashian stock soar

If you’re on the network, starring in a successful show, then your personal profits are up.


Shares in Seven West Media slumped as much as 23 per cent today, after investors reacted to the company’s profit warning two days ago.

Seven West, which owns Network Seven and The West Australian, said a lacklustre advertising market will see earnings for this financial year fall to between $460million and $470million.

Brokers are also unhappy with the underperformance of shows like Dancing With The Stars and Australia’s Got Talent when you compare them with their respective 2011 ratings.

Only last week, Network Ten also blamed a soft advertising market for a 70 per cent drop in half year profit.

But as traditional media stuggle to grow profits, the reality is, others are growing their bottom line.

One of the biggest bottoms in the business, and I can say that because she trades on her curvy figure, is Kim Kardashian.

Forbes has reported, the Kardashian clan has just signed a $40million three year deal with America’s E! Network, to continue with the show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

At that price, it is the most profitable deal in reality television history.

It’s interesting because a number of US media outlets have been predicting the decline of the Kardashian conglomerate, most noticably, the New York Post which attempted to point out cracks in their empire.

But the new deal cements the Kardashian’s place in pop culture, whether you like them or not.

I’m indifferent.

If the family is smart enough to grow their own personal empire and businesses on the back of their television exposure, then well done to them.

However, let’s not forget though, that what really triggered the Kardashian’s rise to fame, was Kim Kardashian’s sex tape. Moral much?

But as they say, sex sells, and Americans are buying in to the Kardashian story in droves.

In fact, 3 million Americans watch the show every week and season 7 is about to premiere across the Pacific next month.

The new deal, doesn’t include current spin off shows like Kim and Kourntey Take New York and Khloe and Lamar, so there’ll be extra cash coming in there.

And get ready for more spin off shows, because the deal reportedly allows E! first look privileges at any unscripted projects by the family.

The irony of all of this, is that while the show is broadcast on FOXTEL in Australia, Seven also runs it on its digital channel.

I wonder if there’s a market for “Going with the Goncalves’”

Napoli get Benitez off to a flying start

Mazzarri, on the other hand, was made to suffer as Inter Milan spluttered to a 2-0 win with late goals from Yuto Nagatomo and Rodrigo Palacio at a half-empty San Siro.


Mazzarri, Inter’s sixth coach since Jose Mourinho left after completing the treble three years ago, was greeted by a lukewarm atmosphere as he replaced Andrea Stramaccioni who led Inter to a dismal ninth last season, including seven home defeats.

“These boys hadn’t won at home for 4-1/2 months, they had to exorcise a psychosis,” Mazzarri told Sky Sports Italia.

“We are getting better and we are finding a balance. We are improving more than I had anticipated, we’ve done a lot in a short space of time.”

In other games, AS Roma beat promoted Livorno 2-0 on coach Rudi Garcia’s debut while Hernanes and Antonio Candreva, from a penalty, scored in the first 20 minutes to set up a 2-1 win for Lazio over Udinese.

Torino overcame Sassuolo, another promoted side 2-0, while Cagliari beat Atalanta 2-1 and Parma and Chievo played out a goalless stalemate.

Cagliari, unable to find a suitable venue in Sardinia, played their game in Trieste on the border with Slovenia, around 1,000 kilometres from their base.


There was plenty for Benitez to celebrate at Napoli as Gonzalo Higuain also made an impressive debut following his move from Real Madrid while Pepe Reina in goal was barely tested.

Callejon his the post early on and put Napoli ahead in the 32nd minute from a rebound after Hamsik’s shot had been saved.

Higuain had a goal ruled out for offside shortly afterwards before Hamsik scored a brilliant second, slaloming his way through the defence before scoring from a narrow angle despite being off-balance.

Although Napoli slowed after the break, they were still in control and Hamsik turned in Goran Pandev’s cross just after the hour for their third.

It was a different story at San Siro where Mazzarri was visibly relieved on the touchline when Rodrigo Palacio sealed victory with Inter’s second goal in stoppage time after Yuto Nagatomo had put them ahead with a fortuitous goal.

Mazzarri, Inter’s sixth coach since Jose Mourinho left after completing the treble three years ago, was greeted by a lukewarm atmosphere for his first league game since replacing Andrea Stramaccioni who led Inter to a dismal ninth last season.

Inter dominated the game but, with captain Javier Zanetti, defender Walter Samuel and striker Diego Milito still missing with long-term injuries, their play was disjointed and shoddy.

Genoa, playing their first match under new coach Fabio Liverani, offered little threat of their own and Inter finally broke through with 15 minutes left when Jonathan’s deflected cross caught their defence offguard and Nagatomo headed in at the far post.

Argentine Mauro Icardi, signed from Sampdoria in the close season, saw his header hit the crossbar shortly afterwards before compatriot Palacio latched on to Fredy Guarin’s through ball to slip the ball past Mattia Perin.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by John Mehaffey)