Tech billionaire has no cap on success

Australian startup billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes says there is no end goal to success.

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“This is a big journey. There’s no ending, there’s no destination here, and life’s a bit the same way,” he told AAP.

The co-founder of collaborative software giant Atlassian has a net worth of $2.4 billion, is considered the 17th richest person in Australia and placed 973rd on Forbes’ world’s billionaires list this year.

But the Sydney-based chief executive never set out to be rubbing shoulders with the wealthy.

“We kind of had this idea and it just grew bigger than we expected,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said.

In his TEDx speech in Sydney on Friday, the 37-year-old revealed he has suffered “impostor syndrome” since co-founding Atlassian with fellow University of NSW graduate Scott Farquhar in 2002.

It reared its head when Mr Cannon-Brookes had to interview his first ever HR employee, when he and Farquhar were awarded Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2006, and again when he met his “beautiful” wife Annie in the Qantas business lounge, he said.

“The point I was trying to make was that it doesn’t go away,” the father-of-four told AAP.

“If you don’t feel like an imposter, you’re either within your limits – so you’re not learning, you’re doing something you know how to do and you’re well in the comfort zone – or you are out of your depth and you don’t know.

“I think some people freeze.

“If you’re aware of it, and you know what to do with it, that’s the hardest thing.”

He told the 4000-strong TEDx crowd the sensation is more common than the world seems to think.

And he’s “almost confident” his idols English author Neil Gaiman, late American president Franklin D Roosevelt and United States founding father Alexander Hamilton all felt it too.

“I have this weird obsession with US presidents – forgetting current times – I think that’s just a stressful job,” he said.

“That is a job where you’re kind of making some pretty big calls at a lot of different times in situations that you can’t control.

“You find these people who have done an amazing amount of things – it wasn’t like they did one thing, they just kept doing amazing things throughout – and what was the attribute that made them do that?”

Mr Cannon-Brookes thinks it all comes down to harnessing the sense that you don’t belong and questioning your ideas rather than yourself.

“You look back and they’ve all made very smart decisions, they’ve avoided bad decisions, and just kind of kept going,” he said.

“We’re constantly throwing ourselves into new situations to try and keep that rolling … even if you do feel like ‘Okay, I can do this now’.

“That’s how I think certainly I get enjoyment in life, chuck yourself in the deep end and pretend you don’t look like a flailing idiot.”

Australian police end Cyprus mission

The last federal police officers engaged in Australia’s first and longest-running peacekeeping mission have withdrawn from Cyprus.

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A flag-lowering ceremony at the Cypriot capital’s defunct airport that serves as the UN force’s headquarters overnight drew the curtains on Australia’s 53 year mission, with the three officers officially pulling out.

“While the AFP is leaving Cyprus, the mark of its officers will remain enduring,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan told AAP.

“Over the past five decades the AFP has provided security and stability to a community facing challenging circumstances.”

AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin described the withdrawal from Cyprus as a sad but proud day.

More than 1600 Australian officers have contributed to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus since 1964.

It was the first time the UN deployed civilian police in a peacekeeping mission to bring an end to hostilities in a troubled nation.

The first Australian contingent of 40 police officers arrived in Cyprus in May 1964. Since then, 111 Australian contingents have served with the peacekeeping force.

Three Australian officers died while serving in Cyprus.

Officers worked in the UN-established buffer zone to maintain peace and stability, delivering humanitarian assistance to isolated residents and performing a liaison role between authorities from the north and south.

“The AFP not only earned the trust of the community, but their respect and gratitude,” Mr Keenan said.

“For the AFP, the experience gained from its first peacekeeping mission has been invaluable, and will continue to be drawn upon for ongoing missions across the world.”

Rocky, Karate Kid director John G Avildsen dies, aged 81

John G Avildsen, who directed Rocky and The Karate Kid – two dark-horse, underdog favourites that went on to become Hollywood franchises – died Friday at age 81.

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Anthony Avildsen said his father died Friday in Los Angeles from pancreatic cancer.

Rocky was a huge success. It won Oscars for best picture, director (Avildsen) and editing and was nominated for seven others.

No less a Hollywood eminence than Frank Capra loved it, telling The New York Times in 1977, “When I saw it, I said, ‘Boy, that’s a picture I wish I had made.’ ” For his part, Avildsen said Capra – who also championed underdogs on film – was his favourite director.

Rocky was a chance venture for Avildsen. Sylvester Stallone, then unknown, had written the script and sought Avildsen to direct it, but Avildsen was already working on another film. Suddenly the production company ran out of money and that film was cancelled.

A friend sent Avildsen the Rocky script. “On page 3, this guy (Rocky) is talking to his turtles, and I was hooked,” Avildsen remarked. “It was a great character study.” Avildsen agreed to direct Rocky even though he knew nothing about boxing.

The film was shot on a tight budget, less than $US1 million, and it was completed in 28 days.

“The first time I showed it to 40 or 50 friends, they all freaked out, so that was encouraging,” he recalled. “But I guess when I saw the lines around the block, it began to take on a reality.”

Stallone praised the director Friday night for believing in him.

“I owe just about everything to John Avildsen. His directing, his passion, his toughness and his heart – a great heart – is what made ‘Rocky’ the film it became,” Stallone wrote in a statement. “He changed my life and I will be forever indebted to him. Nobody could have done it better than my friend John Avildsen. I will miss him.”

Five sequels followed, but Avildsen turned them down, until the fourth, Rocky V, in 1990. He said he considered it a good script and liked that Rocky would die. During the shooting the producers decided Rocky had to live. “You don’t kill off your corporate assets,” Avildsen commented. The fifth sequel, Rocky Balboa, came out in 2006.

The Karate Kid was another surprise hit. In it, a teenager hounded by bullies played by Ralph Macchio seeks help from a Japanese handyman (Noryuki “Pat” Morita) who teaches him about karate. At the climax, a newly self-confident Macchio takes on a bully in a karate contest – and wins.

Released in the summer of 1984, The Karate Kid attracted millions of youngsters and brought Morita, a veteran performer best known for his TV roles, an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor.

“As soon as the producers saw the business it was doing, they wanted to do it again,” Avildsen said in a 1986 interview. “I was very apprehensive. I didn’t want to do a sequel because this was a very tough act to follow.”

He relented and directed both The Karate Kid, Part II in 1986 and The Karate Kid, Part III in 1989. (The franchise was revived in 2010 with a hit remake directed by Harald Zwart.)

Russia says it may have killed IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Moscow claims its forces may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria last month, but Washington says it can’t corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials are sceptical.

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The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since he declared a caliphate to rule over all Muslims from a mosque in Mosul in 2014, after leading his fighters on a sweep through northern Iraq.

If the report does prove true, it would be one of the biggest blows yet to Islamic State, which is trying to defend its shrinking territory against an array of forces backed by regional and global powers in both Syria and Iraq.

But in the absence of independent confirmation, some US officials said US agencies were sceptical of the report. Several Iraqi security officials said Iraq was doubtful as well.

“His death has been reported so often that you have to be cautious till a formal Daesh statement comes,” a European security official said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

US Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “We have no information to corroborate those reports.”

A senior Trump administration official noted “a number of infirmities” in the reports, which have given US officials reason to question their accuracy.

“Some of those infirmities suggested that this happened at the end of May and that there were upwards of 300 or more soldiers killed in that strike,” said the official, who asked not to be identified.

“A strike of that size and that claim that would have happened that long ago without any knowledge is something that made me curious,” the official added.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on its Facebook page that it was checking information that Baghdadi was killed in the strike on the outskirts of Raqqa in Syria, launched after Russia received intelligence about a meeting of Islamic State leaders.

Killed policeman recognised in UK honours

The policeman killed after confronting the Westminster attacker outside Britain’s parliament and the heroic passer-by stabbed trying to protect MP Jo Cox have been awarded medals for their bravery.

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Their recognition comes as comedian Billy Connolly was given a knighthood and actress Julie Walters was made a dame in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Oscar-winner Olivia de Havilland, who turns 101 next month, is the oldest woman to become a dame in this centenary year of the modern-day honours system.

Those honoured from the world of entertainment include chart-topper Ed Sheeran and comedian David Walliams, with the honours committee describing the list as the most diverse yet.

In a break with tradition, the Queen’s Civilian Gallantry List has been released at the same time as the monarch’s birthday honours.

Police Constable Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death by attacker Khalid Masood in March on the forecourt of the Palace of Westminster, is posthumously awarded the George Medal for confronting an armed terrorist to protect others and parliament.

Briton Dominic Troulan, an ex-soldier who was working as a civilian in Kenya when terrorists attacked a shopping mall in 2013, is awarded the George Cross for saving lives during the massacre.

Bernard Kenny, who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to stop neo-Nazi Thomas Mair attacking Mrs Cox outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire, receives the George Medal one year on from the murder.

More than 1000 people have been recognised in the separate Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which is led by Dame Julie, Dame Olivia, and the renowned Glaswegian comic who said he is not sure if he will now become Sir William, rather than Billy.

The stand-up, affectionately known as the Big Yin and famed for his often irreverent routines, is knighted at the age of 74 in recognition of his services to entertainment and charity.

Twenty years after he was knighted by the Queen, Sir Paul McCartney is upgraded with a Companion of Honour for services to music, alongside JK Rowling.

The author, who is also marking two decades since the publication of the first book in her best-selling Harry Potter series, is honoured for services to literature and philanthropy.