Occhilupo backs Newcastle 

TWO-time Surfest winner and 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo believes Newcastle has what it takes to fill the void in Australian surfing and host a prime-rated event next year.
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The 46-year-old, who won Surfest in 1986 and 1998, is preparing to compete in the $155,000 six-star World Qualifying Series event in two weeks.

Although not making a full-scale comeback, the popular goofy-footer is keen to keep his ranking high enough to surf at selected events and scratch a competitive itch.

The Gold Coast surfer is also entering the Margaret River Pro, which is the only prime event held in Australia.

Prime events offer $250,000 in prizemoney and are the step just below the elite World Championship Tour.

The Margaret River Pro will become part of the WCT next year, leaving Australia without a prime contest.

Occhilupo said Surfest, which found the financial backing to secure six-star WQS status for the first time last year, was an ideal event to take Margaret River’s prime place.

‘‘I’m just really stoked it’s back to a six-star event now, and hopefully Newcastle might even be a prime next year,’’ Occhilupo said.

‘‘We need more primes in Australia. We should have the same as the other countries, really. We have a lot of events, but we need more bigger ones to give all the kids who want to qualify something to aspire to.’’

Brazil, mainland America and Hawaii have two prime events, while South Africa has one.

Surfest organiser Warren Smith said his event would need a $130,000 boost in support to reach the next level, but he was sure they would tick all the other boxes.

‘‘I’m confident we’d meet all the KPIs for the criteria to be a prime event but dollars would be the big thing,’’ Smith said.

‘‘It’s not only the jump in prizemoney.

‘‘There’s a domino effect with that.

‘‘Things like your sanction fee and international wages all go up.

‘‘But in terms of location and coverage and all the other aspects that make up a prime event, we have all that.’’

Given Surfest has fought hard to secure and retain six-star status, the jump in backing needed for prime rating appears a bridge too far.

Smith said he was ‘‘looking outside the square’’ with his next three-year plan for Surfest and it would focus on building the festival concept.

Regardless, Smith said the vote of confidence from Occhilupo was a boost.

‘‘It’s unbelievable to have his support and it’s not only Occy, a lot of the surfers are saying we need more big events,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s great to have a surfer of Mark Occhilupo’s calibre speaking positively about our event, and he knows what it takes to host a prime.’’

Meanwhile Merewether’s Jesse Adam recorded the highest score of round two at the four-star men’s Burleigh Pro on Tuesday.

Adam earned a best two-wave score of 16.54 to secure a place in round three, which will feature fellow Merewether riders Jake Sylvester and Ryan Callinan.

Merewether’s Philippa Anderson is in round four of the six-star women’s event.

KING OF WAVES: Surfing royalty Mark Occhilupo at Surfest on Merewether beach in 2010. Occy has been competing at the top level since the 1980s. Picture: Simone De Peak

南京夜网 13/07/2018

Townes Earle comes to town

COMING TO MILTON: Justin Townes Earle will be bringing his modern-day take on the authentic country music of yore to Milton Theatre in February.Milton Theatre will host renowned signer songwriter JustinTownes Earle this Saturday, February 9.
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Townes Earle was last in Australia in April 2012 forBluesfest and a national run of headline shows in support of his presciently-titledfourth album Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.

Since April 2012, Justin has since been quiet, working awayon a swag of awesome new tunes, and he is keen to roll out some awesome soundsat his gig this weekend.

He has also spent some time travelling the States impressingall and sundry with his modern-day take on the authentic country music of yore,which was schooled into him from a young age by his legendary old man, SteveEarle.

There have also been whispers of him curating celebrationsfor Woody Guthrie’s centennial celebrations in New York.

He made his debut at producing when he took the helm of thelegendary Wanda Jackson’s new album Unfinished Business.

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what he’sbeen up to, only that he’s returning, and he’s bringing his guitar andincredible knack for writing odes for the downtrodden and broken-hearted,something of a speciality for the young man.

And joining him on this trip for his first foray Down Underwill be burgeoning Houston singer-songwriter Robert Ellis who earned widespreadacclaim for his debut album Photographs (New West), and whose sparse yetpoignant wordplay and deft guitar skills will make him the perfect appetiserfor the Justin Townes Earle main course.

Whether you’ve been seeing him continually over the last fewyears or just recently opened your heart and mind to the music of Justin TownesEarle, fans are sure to rejoice at news of his imminent return, and rest safein the knowledge that he’s as excited to be coming back to Australia.

Tickets for Saturday, February 9 show are now availableonline at www.lovepolice南京夜网.au/tours or through Country Leather in Milton.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 13/07/2018

Marketing push for Barossa food and wine

TOURIST ATTRACTION: South Australian Tourism Commission promotional photo of visitors enjoying food and wine at Murray Street Vineyard. True to its word, the South Australian Tourism Commission is ready to give a significant push for tourism to the Barossa Valley.
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Last year, the SATC indicated after a recent long push for Kangaroo Island, the Barossa was in line for promotion.

Director of Marketing at the South Australian Tourism Commission, David O’Loughlin, said the Barossa is currently a key focus for the commission.

“Over the past few months we have been working closely with the region to refine its regional brand positioning as one of Australia’s premier food and wine destinations, and as one of South Australia’s most popular tourist attractions,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

“Prior to Christmas we began campaign development promoting the region which we are hoping to preview for local stakeholders in the next few months.

“The integrated campaign is expected to start in various media (including television) mid-year. While the campaign is still in development, we are incredibly excited about what we believe will be one of our most successful campaigns yet.

“The marketing push will be supported by a strong PR campaign which will see a number of journalists visit the region over the coming months, generating valuable editorial for the Barossa.”

Mr O’Loughlin said the campaign would be measured by an increase in consideration for travel to the region, and other areas of South Australia.

Recently appointed Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell is excited about the Barossa campaign.

“I had several briefings with the commission and look forward to working with them to promote all the Barossa region and this great state has to offer,” Mr Bignell said.

“I am a regular visitor to the Barossa and worked closely with locals on establishing the Character Preservation Bill which has locked in the valuable agricultural lands which make the region so special.

“I have already been in touch with Chris Pfeiffer, chair of Tourism Barossa, and I look forward to working with him and tourism operators in the Barossa.

“The quality of the food and wine, along with the magnificent setting of the Barossa – indeed all of our wine regions – is a message I’m really keen to see delivered to an expanded local, national and international audience.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 13/07/2018

Blasko mesmerises Milton

BEAUTIFUL BLASKO: Sarah Blasko performs at Milton Theatre. Photo STEPHEN BRAY.Sarah Blasko rolled into our sleepy south coast town for twointense and cinematic style sets at Milton Theatre on Friday, January 25.
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After quickly selling out the 8pm show, managementgraciously opened up a 4pm matinee slot.

These were the first shows of a prolonged national andinternational album tour for I Awake which includes a backing orchestra andvenues such as the Opera House in Sydney, Art Centre in Melbourne as well asvenues in Paris and Berlin.

A cynic might say she was just here to tighten up a band orto re energise before the ardour of the tour proper.

Yes the later set improved on the matinee and I can onlyimagine that the Candelo shows on the Saturday and Sunday were even better butthis was no rehearsal.

Darren Hanlon was a surprise support act.

His lofi story telling was a perfect foil to the intensitywhich was to follow.

Word is that he and Ms Blasko shared a house in the postmillennium.

He brought a beautiful 100 year old guitar and charmed usall.

Hopefully he will be back, perhaps with some of his oldCandle Records’ stable mates or Mick Thomas of Weddings, Parties, Anything famewhose last album Darren recently produced in Portland, Oregon.

I Awake is Sarah Blasko’s fourth long player.

She produced and wrote the album [co writes and addedorchestral arrangements] by herself.

Composed initially on a piano in a house that Sarah lived inby herself in Brighton UK in the first six-months of 2011 the album was thenrecorded in Sweden and Bulgaria.

I Awake has been receiving steady airplay and acclaim sinceits release late last year.

Sarah’s lilting and fragile voice belies the power andintensity of her performance.

There is a dichotomy at the base of her music.

Light but dark, open yet closed.

Honorary local bassist David Symes combined well withSwedish drummer Frederik Rundqvist and allowed David Hunt on keys to draw andlead these songs.

Long-time band fellow Ben Fletcher was flawless on guitar,uke and banjo.

As the warm night progressed the beats became almost trancelike, with Sarah singing, dancing and channelling her Baptist churchupbringing.

The audience was privy to what are very personal stories ofself-revelation and then, hopefully, shared in the epiphanies of understandingand acceptance.

It is heavy-duty subject material wrapped in Kate Bush likecotton candy vocals and though I felt honoured that she had chosen MiltonTheatre as one of only two small venues on this tour, I was still jealous ofthe major cities, as it would have been even better with a backing orchestra.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 01/07/2018

Student stabbed at a high school in Queanbeyan

Source:Canberra Times
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Year 7 students who only began secondary school last week watched in horror as a 16-year-old was allegedly stabbed during the lunch break at a Queanbeyan high school on Tuesday.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged over the alleged lunch-time attack, which left a 16-year-old student with two wounds – one to his abdomen and another to his thigh – at about 12.45pm, according to police.

The 16-year old was taken from the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, to The Canberra Hospital by ambulance.

Queanbeyan Police duty officer Inspector Christopher Varley said the 15-year-old boy was charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. He would remain in police custody overnight, and appear before Queanbeyan Local Court Wednesday morning.

Paramedics arrived at the scene at 12.45pm, and took the 16-year-old victim to The Canberra Hospital for treatment, where he remained in a stable condition on Tuesday evening. His injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.

Inspector Varley said the alleged attacker had been detained by teachers when police arrived at the school shortly after 12.47pm.

‘‘I’ve got to pay compliments to teaching staff… and the professional job they did to control the incident and contain the young man involved,’’ Inspector Varley said.

‘‘He was basically with the school staff when we arrived.’’

Inspector Varley said the attack had been witnessed by several students as it had occurred during lunch time.

‘‘A number of students were in the vicinity at the time and of course witnessed what occurred,’’ he said.

Counsellinghas already been provided to distressed students at the school.

The NSW Department of Education and Communities said further student support would be offered on Wednesday, and for as long as needed.

The Department refused to comment on the incident any further, saying it would be inappropriate while the police investigation continued.

Inspector Varley said school staff had done a good job of caring for the child witnesses.

‘‘Clearly it’s a traumatic event to occur in the school grounds,’’ he said.

An outdoor lunch area at the school had been cordoned off, and police said a knife was recovered at the scene.

Students had been called into an assembly after the incident, while some students could be seen leaving the school in tears.

Several parents rushed to the school to collect their children after hearing news of incident.

One mother said: ”My son just rang and said a boy he knew had been stabbed. ‘We’re in minor lockdown please come and get me’.”

Another mother said her Year 7 daughter had told her the stabbing happened at the end of lunch time.

“It’s her first week [of high school]. She was sitting having lunch and then she saw the stabbing. I’m thinking of pulling her out and sending her to a private school.”

Students who witnessed the incident said they had been instructed not to speak to the media.

The school’s principal refused to comment on the incident.

NSW Police at the scene of the alleged stabbing. Photo: Karleen Minney – CANBERRA TIMES

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 01/07/2018

Boys impress at Summer Carnival

AWESOME ATHLETES: Little Athletics members Archie Skinner, Haydn Galea, Jack Skinner, Lachlan Smith and Ryan Smith at the Lake Illawarraa Summer Carnival at which they competed along with Joe and Ben Shephard.The last half of the Little Athleticsseason has seen a handful of childrendown at Frogs Holla enjoying some sprint races and some distance races, resultswere not recorded for the first two weeks but it was a great opportunity to getback into training after a nice Christmas break.
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Sadly the weather got the better of us last week and we hadto cancel.

During the holidays a small group headed up to LakeIllawarra and competed in the Summer Carnival.

Once again this event was well attended by other AthleticCentres and the competition was very tough.

As we’ve come to expect from Milton Ulladulla, Haydn Galea,Jack and Archie Skinner, Lachlan and Ryan Smith, Joe and Ben Shephard allshowed a great competitive spirit and gave it their best shot.

Our medal tally may have been smaller than previouscarnivals but our team went into all of their events with greatenthusiasm.

Well done boys.

The Shoalhaven Gala Day is being held this coming Sunday,February 10, at the Ron Brown Sporting Complex, starting at 9am.

All of our members are welcome to take part.

This may be good practice for those attending the RegionalChampionships in Wagga Wagga later in the month.

Our next point score day is scheduled for Tuesday, February12.

Let’s see if we can break some of those long standing clubrecords.

And finally as always Milton Ulladulla Little Athleticswould like to express our heartfelt thanks to our sponsors: Milton Ulladulla ExServos, Milton UlladullaBowling Club, Mollymook Golf Club, Mollymook Narrawallee Real Estate and BakersDelight, their continued generosity helps the development of athletics withinthe Milton Ulladulla area.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 01/07/2018

Chapman happy in open water

COURTNEY Chapman ditched the pool for the open water two years ago and hasn’t look back since.
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Given the success she’s enjoyed, it’s little wonder too.

The 15-year-old Orange High School student will swim in her second open water nationals at the 2013 Open Water Swimming Championships at Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre on Lake Macquarie this weekend.

“I got into it maybe two years ago. I was never really good in the pool and I thought maybe the longer stuff would be a bit better for me, and on my first attempt I made nationals,” Chapman said, qualifying via the state championships at Penrith’s International Regatta Centre.

This year’s three-day open water national championships begins on Friday.

Chapman will compete in the 10 kilometre event on Saturday and the five kilometre swim on Sunday.

The event showcases Australia’s top open water swimming talent, with the open 5km and 10km events incorporating the selection trials for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

And while Chapman hasn’t yet booked a place on the plane to Europe just yet, her goals ahead of the national championship suggest she has one eye on Spain.

“I’m hoping to medal in the five (kilometre) and finish in the top 10 in 10 (kilometre),” she said.

Open water swimming is largely a foreign sport in Orange.

Aside from triathletes, Chapman said only a handful of swimmers have given the open water variety of the sport a chance, but, personally, it has been a challenge she’s loved.

“It’s hard to explain, you don’t have anything to follow and there’s no turns and you’ve just got to look up… you’ve got to have a lot of strength,” she said.

“It’s a different feel in the water. There’s no chlorine, it’s fresh water.

“I really enjoy it.”

She said training along side the experienced Gary Hollywood at Kinross has helped in her development immeasurably.

“He is from New Zealand, and he is very, very good,” she said.

“I train in the pool but he gives me six to seven kilometre sets, which prepares me for the open water swim.”

The 2013 Open Water Swimming Championships in Lake Macquarie start on Friday and wrap up on Sunday.

IN DEEP: Courtney Chapman will contest the Open Water Swimming Championships this weekend. Photo: NICK MCGRATH 0204nmswim

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 21/11/2018

Occhilupo backs Newcastle 

TWO-time Surfest winner and 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo believes Newcastle has what it takes to fill the void in Australian surfing and host a prime-rated event next year.
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The 46-year-old, who won Surfest in 1986 and 1998, is preparing to compete in the $155,000 six-star World Qualifying Series event in two weeks.

Although not making a full-scale comeback, the popular goofy-footer is keen to keep his ranking high enough to surf at selected events and scratch a competitive itch.

The Gold Coast surfer is also entering the Margaret River Pro, which is the only prime event held in Australia.

Prime events offer $250,000 in prizemoney and are the step just below the elite World Championship Tour.

The Margaret River Pro will become part of the WCT next year, leaving Australia without a prime contest.

Occhilupo said Surfest, which found the financial backing to secure six-star WQS status for the first time last year, was an ideal event to take Margaret River’s prime place.

‘‘I’m just really stoked it’s back to a six-star event now, and hopefully Newcastle might even be a prime next year,’’ Occhilupo said.

‘‘We need more primes in Australia. We should have the same as the other countries, really. We have a lot of events, but we need more bigger ones to give all the kids who want to qualify something to aspire to.’’

Brazil, mainland America and Hawaii have two prime events, while South Africa has one.

Surfest organiser Warren Smith said his event would need a $130,000 boost in support to reach the next level, but he was sure they would tick all the other boxes.

‘‘I’m confident we’d meet all the KPIs for the criteria to be a prime event but dollars would be the big thing,’’ Smith said.

‘‘It’s not only the jump in prizemoney.

‘‘There’s a domino effect with that.

‘‘Things like your sanction fee and international wages all go up.

‘‘But in terms of location and coverage and all the other aspects that make up a prime event, we have all that.’’

Given Surfest has fought hard to secure and retain six-star status, the jump in backing needed for prime rating appears a bridge too far.

Smith said he was ‘‘looking outside the square’’ with his next three-year plan for Surfest and it would focus on building the festival concept.

Regardless, Smith said the vote of confidence from Occhilupo was a boost.

‘‘It’s unbelievable to have his support and it’s not only Occy, a lot of the surfers are saying we need more big events,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s great to have a surfer of Mark Occhilupo’s calibre speaking positively about our event, and he knows what it takes to host a prime.’’

Meanwhile Merewether’s Jesse Adam recorded the highest score of round two at the four-star men’s Burleigh Pro on Tuesday.

Adam earned a best two-wave score of 16.54 to secure a place in round three, which will feature fellow Merewether riders Jake Sylvester and Ryan Callinan.

Merewether’s Philippa Anderson is in round four of the six-star women’s event.

KING OF WAVES: Surfing royalty Mark Occhilupo at Surfest on Merewether beach in 2010. Occy has been competing at the top level since the 1980s. Picture: Simone De Peak

南京夜网 21/11/2018

Hunters line up new coach

NEWCASTLE Basketball president Ross Lewis hopes to appoint a new Hunters coach by the end of the week so the association can move on from Darren Nichols’s shock resignation.
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After coaching Newcastle’s Waratah Basketball League senior men’s team for the past four years, guiding them to the finals for the past three, Nichols has severed ties after falling out with Newcastle Basketball general manager Ivan Spyrdz.

Assistant coach Larry Davidson and team manager Martin Anderson stepped down from their positions with the team to support Nichols’s stance.

Former Hunter Pirates assistant coach Trevor Gallacher, who was to have been Nichols’s other assistant this season, has been appointed interim head coach.

But Lewis said the association had already sounded out several potential permanent replacements.

‘‘Nicko has resigned as coach and we’re moving on, so we’ve got to find another head coach,’’ Lewis told the Newcastle Herald.

‘‘We’ve built a bridge and we’re getting on with it.

‘‘I tried to talk Nicko into staying on, but he was pretty adamant. It’s one of those things that happens so now we’ve got to move on from that.

‘‘We’re speaking to a couple of people about the head coaching position. A couple of them are considering it now and, hopefully, we’ll have a decision this week. That would be good news.’’

The often strained professional relationship between Nichols and Spyrdz had been common knowledge within the inner circle of Newcastle’s basketball community for the past 18 months.

It came to a head on Friday when Nichols, who did not see eye to eye with Spyrdz over a range of issues including recruitment, funding and costs incurred by players to represent the Hunters, contacted Lewis to tender his resignation.

‘‘I really can’t comment on internal club matters,’’ Lewis said. ‘‘But … there are issues between people – that’s going to happen in any organisation where you’ve got a couple of hundred volunteers. There’s always going to be issues. It would be nice if you could please everybody all the time but you just can’t do it.

‘‘Nicko’s got a lot of supporters but most of them are Hunters players and Hunters people, so I don’t think the support base is going anywhere. These things happen and you’ve just got to move on.’’

Spyrdz said yesterday that he was getting on with his duties as general manager and was looking forward to the Hunters senior and junior teams enjoying successful seasons.

‘‘It’s business as usual. We’ll be announcing our men’s and women’s teams in the very near future, so there’s a lot to look forward to,’’ Spyrdz said.

Davidson wants to air his grievances in an appropriate forum.

‘‘I support Nicko and his actions, and like Newcastle Basketball I’m not at liberty to talk openly about what’s gone on, but I would like the opportunity to address the board with not only my concerns but the concerns of the senior program,’’ Davidson said.

‘‘I will speak to Ross Lewis about that, and I’m sure that they would like to speak to Nicko and myself as well.’’

Gallacher said he would speak to players at training tonight and tomorrow to determine their intentions for this season, and he was confident the Hunters would field a competitive team.

He said he could not commit to the coaching position this season as he was completing his final year of university studies and had other commitments, but he was keen to continue as an assistant with whoever Newcastle Basketball appointed to replace Nichols.

‘‘There is still a lot for the Hunters to be positive about in 2013, and we’re trying to deal with this situation as swiftly and respectfully as possible,’’ Gallacher said.

‘‘Each player has a personal decision to make regarding this season, and we’re trying to work through that with every respect for Newcastle Basketball and for coach Nichols.’’

The circumstances surrounding Nichols’s departure have left long-serving player Adam Melmeth disappointed and wondering whether he wanted to keep playing.

‘‘I’m very frustrated with the whole situation. I don’t agree with the way Nicko has been treated and I believe there has been a lack of support for the coaches and the players and the program,’’ Melmeth said.

GONE: Darren Nichols, left, and Larry Davidson have resigned.

南京夜网 21/11/2018

Grant to lead Hawks in surge to finals

Malcolm Grant, right, with teammate Adris Deleon at training. While Wollongong’s play-off hopes remain on a knife-edge, mid-season recruit Malcolm Grant has already declared his desire to stay with the Hawks beyond this season.
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Grant has made a major on-court contribution since arriving in Australia, following a season-ending injury to Hawks guard and close friend Lance Hurdle.

The former University of Miami sharp-shooter scored a game high 21 points in the crucial victory over Adelaide, which has maintained the gap over the Melbourne Tigers.

Facing off against the Tigers in Wollongong on Friday night, Grant said the Hawks wanted the chance to be part of a title-contending force this year and in the future.

Complete coverage of the Wollongong Hawks

‘‘Definitely,’’ Grant said.

‘‘If they will have me and things are going right, I would definitely like to stay out here.

‘‘That’s if it all goes according to plan, it’s one of those things, but the people out here are wonderful and [the Hawks] are so good to me since I’ve been here.

‘‘I would love to stay.’’

With their season on the slide, the Hawks’ crippling injury toll led to their SOS for Grant.

A knee injury forced Glen Saville to retire last week after 19 seasons, while Rhys Martin and Hurdle have both been sidelined until the end of the year.

Larry Davidson, Tim Coenraad and Tyson Demos have been among the other injury concerns.

On the recommendation of Hurdle and former Hawks league MVP Gary Ervin – now with Townsville – Grant filled the yawning gap in Wollongong’s roster.

While Grant and Adris Deleon are in charge of leading a renewed surge to the finals series, it now provides a fascinating sub-plot about who will remain on deck at the end of the season.

The Hawks, like most NBL clubs, have had mixed success attracting talented imports. Ervin was a standout, while Ty McKee proved a hit before his off-court misdemeanours saw him leave the club. But the Hawks struggled with Showron Glover and Ayinde Ubaka last season.

Grant said coach Gordie McLeod had played an important role in preventing the Hawks’ season from falling apart.

‘‘When you have a great coach like we have and I’ve only been here a short period of time, but I know that he’s been very positive,’’ Grant said.

‘‘He’s a leader and if he’s being positive it trickles down through the team, it’s something I admire about him.’’

With eight games remaining, including five at home, Grant is determined to ensure Wollongong makes the final four in March and April.

‘‘I think I’ve adjusted pretty well, I’m still used to the [Hawks] plays, I’m still getting them down pat,’’ he said.

‘‘We have the opportunity to be in the play-offs, we just have to take care of business.’’

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 21/11/2018

Miner fears strike: Rail union action could cost $50m

COAL shipments from the North West are set to grind to a halt on Friday, costing the mining industry dearly, if train drivers walk off the job as planned.
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The region’s biggest coalminer says a proposed rail staff strike planned to start on Friday could cause significant damage.

It will be the second major disruption to Whitehaven Coal’s rail transport link to the port of Newcastle in the past two months.

Whitehaven is responding to threats of industrial action made against its coal hauler, Pacific National, by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) after wage negotiations with the company broke down.

The union informed Pacific National, one of the country’s biggest coal haulage operators, of its intention to stage a one-day strike beginning noon Friday.

Late yesterday afternoon, it is understood the union extended the strike from 24 to 48 hours.

One industry expert estimated a 24-hour shutdown could prevent 300,000 tonnes of the state’s coal from reaching port – costing more than $25 million to the economy.

Just weeks before a Christmas shipment of the company’s coal was en route to Newcastle when six fully-laden coal wagons on a Pacific National train derailed at the Coxs Creek bridge crossing near Boggabri on November 28.

The bridge was damaged and required extensive repairs before freight trains returned to service. The cause of the derailment has not yet been disclosed.

The 22-day closure of the north western line caused a backlog of tonnes of coal, from four mines in the region, along with agricultural commodities which are transported out of Narrabri.

While a two day strike is by no means as damaging as the pre-Christmas closure of the rail line, Whitehaven says it has cause for concern.

Whitehaven managing director Tony Haggarty said the proposed action had the potential to cause significant harm and, accordingly, the company had requested the union to withdraw its strike notice.

“Whitehaven has advised the Rail, Tram and Bus Union that it considers the potential impact that this, or future industrial action, may have on its operations is extremely serious,” Mr Haggarty said.

He warned the union that Whitehaven reserved all its rights to make any necessary application to the Fair Work Commission.

Mr Haggarty said it wasn’t appropriate to comment on the negotiations between the RTBU or Pacific National, or on the details of any application it could make to the commission.

Negotiations between the rail operator and union had broken down after a year-long pay dispute over wages.

It is understood the RTBU wanted an increase of about 7 per cent while Pacific National offered 4 per cent, before walking out of negotiations last week.

BRAKE APPLIED: A coal train passes through Branxton on its way to Newcastle. Train drivers have said they will walk off the job.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 21/11/2018

Ministers dragged into Obeid scandal

NAMES: ALP powerbroker Eddie Obeid leaves the ICAC after giving evidence. Picture: Dallas KilponenTHREE of Labor’s most senior politicians – federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson – have been dragged into a corruption probe after admitting they accepted lavish ski trips from the ALP powerbroker Eddie Obeid.
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In his final few moments in the witness box at the Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday, Mr Obeid named six senior Labor figures he claimed had accepted thousands of dollars worth of hospitality from his family in a lodge at the Perisher ski resort.

Mr Obeid was being questioned about his generosity to former state mining minister Ian Macdonald, who is accused of providing the Obeid family confidential information about a government coal tender.

Mr Macdonald was given a rent-free holiday at the Obeids’ three-bedroom ski lodge, The Stables at Perisher, which costs more than $7500 a week in peak season.

The Obeids also picked up Mr Macdonald’s meal tab.

Mr Obeid denied providing such hospitality was to create obligations on behalf of other people.

‘‘We’re generous people and we like to share our generosity with our friends,’’ he said.

Mr Obeid added that he thought the federal Workplace Minister, Bill Shorten, had enjoyed a holiday on the slopes with Mr Burke.

Mr Obeid was mistaken. It was not Mr Shorten, who doesn’t ski, it was his colleague Mr Conroy, who said last night: ‘‘I wish to declare one stay for two days at this apartment in either 2005 or 2006’’.

Mr Burke said: ‘‘Given the media interest which has emerged today, I declare two separate stays at this accommodation in the period 2004 to 2006’’.

Both Mr Burke and Mr Conroy said the Obeid family was not present during the stays.

Mr Obeid said the former NSW premier Morris Iemma, the former NSW minister Carl Scully and the former federal minister turned lobbyist Mark Arbib had all stayed at The Stables lodge.

Mr Iemma denied the claim. Mr Scully said he stayed there twice but ‘‘as this was from a fellow parliamentary colleague I did not at the time believe I was required to declare it in the pecuniary interest register’’.

Mr Robertson and Mr Arbib confirmed they had accepted Mr Obeid’s hospitality, but said it was before they entered Parliament.

Mr Robertson said his trip, with his family, occurred in 2007 when he was the head of Unions NSW.

He said no politicians or members of the Obeid family were present.

Mr Obeid’s testimony came as a result of a two-year investigation undertaken by the ICAC into an allegedly corrupt 2008 coal licence tender run by Mr Macdonald that led to windfall gains for the Obeid family of more than $75 million.

During his second day of interrogation by counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC, Mr Obeid was grilled about his own pecuniary interest declaration, which made no mention of the millions of dollars flowing from the Obeid family trust, of which he and his wife were the ultimate beneficiaries.

Mr Obeid repeatedly declared he did not know and could not explain the workings of the accounts – including how it was that payments made to his family’s business partners, its staff and even to himself were channelled through his wife’s loan account.

Although he said he had trained and worked as an accountant early in his career, Mr Obeid said: ‘‘I have no knowledge of these accounts.’’

Taking Mr Obeid through page after page of mysterious account entries, counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC, remarked: ‘‘It looks shonky, doesn’t it?’’

‘‘I don’t believe my family does anything shonky,’’ Mr Obeid replied, becoming increasingly angry at the questions being asked of him. This was despite the fact he had not declared the $2.3 million he had drawn from his family trust between 2001 and 2011.

Asked how he had managed to ‘‘squirrel away’’ from his MP’s salary (the only income listed in his parliamentary assets register) hundreds of thousands of dollars, as reflected in his family trust loan account, he snapped: ‘‘Don’t squirrel me. I’ve spent more money than you have made in a lifetime.’’

When Commissioner David Ipp asked him where that money had come from, he said he had been very successful in business and had ‘‘more money than you could imagine’’ before he went into Parliament in 1990, after handing control of the family business to his sons.

Corruption watchdog airs family’s dirty laundry

By ANNE DAVIES

FINALLY the Independent Commission Against Corruption has got down to the Obeid’s dirty laundry – literally.

As the corruption watchdog tries to unscramble the accounts of the Obeid empire, what’s emerged is a picture that is both mundane and exotic.

At the heart of it are several trust funds that lend Obeid family members money to support their lifestyles.

Each member appears to have a loan account which they draw upon to pay for luxury cars, houses in Sydney’s prestigious suburbs, credit cards and holidays.

ICAC has now turned its sights on Mr Obeid senior’s financial arrangements and those of his wife Judith, casting real doubt on Mr Obeid’s claims for the last decade that he had no other income other than his parliamentary salary.

Let’s start with the exotic. The commission wanted to know about nearly $30,000 paid to Rydges Port Macquarie in 2007 by the trust from Judith Obeid’s loan account.

‘‘You’re talking nine families and we own one unit and you’re talking rotating each 10 days,’’ Mr Obeid explained.

Then there was the mundane: the Obeid dry cleaning. It is apparently dropped at Hunters Hill newsagent by his wife, who then pays for it via a loan account through the Obeid Family Trust No.1.

Mrs Obeid has racked up $1.7million in loans to the trust even though she has no employment outside the home.

Also under scrutiny was Mr Obeid’s loan account. In 2001 it held $1.6million. But it was drawn down as Mr Obeid bought a unit in Port Macquarie, and drew down funds, often in $10,000 increments.

南京夜网 21/10/2018

Cooper on track for Dragons’ 2013 campaign

His mind is willing and his body is able – and that’s enough to convince Matt Cooper playing beyond 2013 is not out of the question.
Nanjing Night Net

Having survived what Dragons players have described as the toughest pre-season in years, Cooper yesterday hinted that thoughts of joining fellow Red V stalwarts Ben Hornby and Dean Young in retirement were premature.

‘‘I had some surgery at the end of last year just to fix up minor injuries I had throughout [last] year,’’ 33-year-old Cooper said.

‘‘It’s been great and I’ve had a great pre-season.’’

Pressed on whether his body was capable of carrying him into 2014 and beyond, the veteran of seven Tests said: ‘‘At the moment, yeah it does. Ask me that question in June or July and I might have a different answer.

‘‘At the moment the body feels really good and I feel like I could play a couple more seasons. It’s too early to tell and obviously come mid-year I’m going to have to make that decision.’’

Cooper’s desire to ask for a contract extension if his often injury-plagued body allows would help offset the Dragons’ thinning experience stocks. St George Illawarra watched all-time games leader Hornby (273 games) and Young (209 games) hang up the boots last season, while the hard-nosed Beau Scott fled to Newcastle over summer.

Matt Cooper, centre, back at Dragons training last month. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO

If he was to embark on a 15th season in the NRL, Cooper, a veteran of 235 appearances, would also have the chance to usurp Hornby’s record.

Cooper said the club had already unearthed several willing leaders in the absence of Hornby and Young.

‘‘There was a couple of years ago when Shaun Timmins, Trent Barrett and Luke Bailey left,’’ Cooper said.

‘‘That was a bit of a change. This year with Dean and Ben going, there’s a new group of leaders stepping up.

‘‘The likes of Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale and Dan Hunt – players like those blokes have really stepped up this year and have turned into great leaders.’’

St George Illawarra will begin their 2013 campaign with a trial against North Queensland in Cairns next Saturday.

Cooper said he would take part in the Cowboys hit-out and the Charity Shield duel with Souths on February 22, matches crucial to a daunting month for the Dragons.

‘‘If you have a look at the draw we have a really tough opening few weeks. Round one against Melbourne in Melbourne is going to be a tough game and we’re looking to start the year with a couple of wins.’’

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 21/10/2018

Shenanigans keep going on

IT WAS just like old times. Despite the solace of a church service to get the parliamentary year started, the “love one another” Christian message was quickly lost when question time arrived a few hours later.
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The old combatants, with renewed vigour courtesy of an election date, were at it again.

Like a prize fight they exchanged blows, hoping for that knockout punch which never arrives.

With rumblings within the Labor ranks that the election could deliver the party one of its worst defeats, and only a day after the Prime Minister warned her caucus to be loyal or watch out, there was plenty to talk about.

With a fresh poll indicating the Coalition is in line for a momentous victory, no time was lost in the attempt to draw first blood.

The Coalition, armed with wads of paper documenting how many times Treasurer Wayne Swan had reiterated Labor’s pledge to deliver a budget surplus in the 2012-13 fiscal year, was wasting time trying to discredit the government.

The Gillard government will be judged on its own actions and the electorate is smart enough to know when a government has lost its way.

Kevin Rudd, the rejected leader with hope still on board, missed the caucus meeting but responded to reports yesterday that some Labor backbenchers were restless about Julia Gillard’s ability to lift the government’s fortunes from a quagmire of broken promises and unfulfilled policies.

“Have a long, cold shower,” was Mr Rudd’s response to speculation he might have another tilt at the Labor leadership.

But Kevin Rudd does not need to show any interest in Labor’s top job, because he knows, if the polls continue to show the party will be routed at the September 14 election, Julia Gillard’s grip on power will be significantly weakened.

If the crisis worsens and the outlook is bad enough, Labor will seek him out, some predict.

The reality, however, is that any change in leadership leading up to the election will not work in Labor’s favour.

It would confirm to the voting public that Labor has no real leadership and no ability to govern with authority.

Tony Abbott might not win the election – he may be delivered victory by a party in disarray. Time will tell.

In the meantime, the mean-spirited shenanigans which are part and parcel of parliamentary life will continue.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 21/10/2018

Longer coal strike could cost $50m

THE Rail, Tram and Bus Union effectively declared war on train company Pacific National on Tuesdayby doubling Friday’s planned strike to 48hours.
Nanjing Night Net

If not settled by noon on Friday the strike could stop the movement of about 600,000 tonnes of coal worth about $50million.

Pacific National hauls about three-quarters of the Hunter’s coal but the two other operators could also be hit if stopped trains block access to the Newcastle and Port Kembla coal-loaders.

Pacific National director Dave Irwin said the company was not expecting the extra action, nor had the union explained its actions.

‘‘This is an uncontrolled escalation of the action on behalf of the [union]. We don’t understand the basis on which they have taken it.’’

The union’s Newcastle organiser, Steve Wright, defended the extended action saying the union had always intended to go for 48hours and was only required to give 72hours notice for each day’s action.

Pacific National and the union have been at loggerheads for more than a year over pay and conditions for about 800 employees including more than 400 drivers involved with Hunter and Gunnedah coal trains.

The company has cut its final three-year offer from 4per cent a year to 3per cent, making it well short of the union demand of 7per cent, 5per cent and 5per cent, with another 2per cent a year on top of that for a fuel efficiency bonus carried over from the previous agreement.

Mr Wright said the company reneged on the fuel offer and had not even fitted the monitors needed to measure the improvements.

But Mr Irwin said the bonus was not paid because the fuel bills were never cut, at least partly because rail congestion added to running costs.

Relations between the parties have deteriorated in recent days and Pacific National defended sending private investigators into its Newcastle and Port Kembla workplaces after company notices relating to the dispute were defaced with references to ‘‘scabs’’.

Mr Wright said the company was ‘‘going over the top’’ in reacting to things written on meal-room notice boards.

‘‘And they had the hide to write to the union asking for our support in investigating who wrote on them,’’ Mr Wright said.

But Mr Irwin said the ‘‘scabs’’ messages were ‘‘bullying and intimidation’’ and the company was determined to ‘‘protect those employees who have chosen not to take industrial action’’.

Train drivers contacted the Newcastle Herald on Tuesdayto say that Mr Irwin was refusing to meet their pay claims while his company’s annual report showed his remuneration rising 37per cent to more than $1million last year.

Mr Irwin confirmed the figures, but said the business had grown a lot in the past five years and it was not his job to justify his salary.

南京夜网 21/10/2018

Australians are improving when it comes to being safe in the sun

More Australians are keeping out of the sun and avoiding getting sunburnt than six years ago, according to the latest cancer council research released today.
Nanjing Night Net

Research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health compared the results of the National Sun protection survey conducted in the summer of 2010-11 with surveys in 2006-07 and three years before. It found that the proportion of adults who wanted a tan fell from jl39 per cent in 2003-04 and 32 per cent in 2006-07 to 27 per cent in 2010-11.

Fewer reported getting sunburnt at the weekend – 18 per cent in 2003-04 compared with 13 per cent in 2010-11.

Similar changes were reported for adolescents with the proportion of young people wanting a tan falling from jl60 per cent in 2003-04 and 51 per cent in 2006-07 to 45 per cent in 2010-11.

Tasmanians followed the national trend with 40 per cent in 2003 liking the idea of a suntan, with only 30 per cent in 2006, and 28 per cent in 2010.

More than 80 per cent of Tasmanians surveyed in 2003 believed that if they protected themselves from the sun they could avoid skin cancer in 2003.

That figure dropped to 79 per cent in 2006 but lifted to 83 per cent in 2010.

There was a “very slight” decrease in the proportion of adults surveyed who stayed mostly in the shade during their main outdoor activity since the 2003-04 survey.

Cancer Council of Australia skin cancer committee chairman Terry Slevin said that, nationally, improved sun protection behaviour (wearing sunscreen and long-sleeve tops) was noted with adults over time, but improvement slowed in recent years.

“One in five adolescents and one in eight adults still report getting sunburnt so while attitudes towards tanning are improving we are still seeing people getting too much sun,” Mr Slevin said.

Launceston tradesman Aaron McBain works outside all day and exercises sun safety, slopping on sunscreen and seeking shade on his breaks. Picture: ZONA BLACK

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

南京夜网 21/10/2018

Enforcement of fair rules would be better

MY WIFE and I have been coming to Tamworth for the festival for 13 years.
Nanjing Night Net

It has an exciting, throbbing, vibrant feel in Peel St, the variety of which never fails to amaze and entertain us.

This year was a bloody dreadful mess.

The reason given for the change was that it was too noisy.

The council-operated stage was the worst offender by far!

I asked the sound operator why they were so loud, with shrieking female singers echoing around the street.

He replied: “The lots behind us turn up, so we do.”

Is that not what started this argument in the first place – “turning up”?

The lots behind him, oh yeah!

One had a 15-watt amp, one was just a guitar and no amp and the other had a twin speaker PA of 50W.

They sat on the pavement totally overpowered and then left Peel St, very upset.

Also, what gives the organisers the right to exclude the oldies and the not-so-good who come every year?

Or the singers who are fundraisers for various charities but sing flat or off-key?

It doesn’t matter – they are all part of the character of the festival and deserve a fair go on Peel St.

At least they entertain and can go home and say “I sang in Tamworth”.

There is a very simple solution to the noise issue.

Get the council officers to properly implement the noise policy.

As in any job, three warnings and you are fired.

Three warnings, then: “You have been warned three times, now pack up and leave or you will be removed.”

Use the council golf carts to effect this.

No act that has travelled hundreds of kilometres will want that to happen.

Pre-warned of this rule and strong enforcement might just make the difference in the street.

We will be back next year, but please give the busking job back to whoever did it in previous years.

JOHN COUZENS

METUNG VIC

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.