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Declan quick to double up

Posted by on 13/02/2019 at 2:12 pm
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THE Irish eyes of talented jockey Declan McDonogh were smiling on Saturday when he landed a double on his first-ever visit to Newcastle Racecourse.
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The 37-year-old Irishman had four mounts on Saturday and he was first past the post on Puppet Master in the 900-metre Three-Year-Old Maiden Plate and California Turbo in the 1400m Maiden Handicap.

WINNER: Jockey Adam Hyeronimus (centre) rides Magic Choir to victory in race three at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: AAP

His other two mounts were unplaced.

The brilliant Pupper Master, the hot $1.60 favourite, wasn’t far outside the 900m track record when he treated racegoers to a display of sheer speed. With McDonogh sporting the colours of 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, Puppet Master quickly put a gap on his rivals, and he straightened up with a big lead and full of running.

Puppet Master won by one-and-three-quarterslengths in 51.34, or 0.17 outside Rebel Miss’s track record.

The colt sped over the last 600m in a breathtaking 32.07.

He is trained for a large syndicate of owners by She Will Reign’s Warwick Farm trainer, Gary Portelli.

Purchased at a “ready to run” sale in Melbourne, the three-year-old has had five starts, for a win and three placings. McDonogh had a smile from ear to ear when greeted by connections on dismounting.

“Wow, he is quick,” he said. “Very fast.

“I wasn’t going to give up the rails but I had no worries there. He left them standing.”

McDonogh’s other winner California Turbo is from the power Snowden stable and he was very impressive.

The three-year-old was on debut after a recent Randwick barrier trial win and he settled at the tail of the field.

The leader, Starvino, kicked away inthe home straight and looked to have the race won. But California Turbo unwound a powerful sprint to gather in Starvino and race away to win by a widening 1.8 lengths.

“The trainer told me to have the horse where he is comfortable in the small field,” O’Donoghsaid.

“They got along up front, so I rode him patient and he attacked the line.”

McDonogh started his riding career at 17 and he has since ridden 960 winners.

“Unfortunately my visa only allows me to stay until the end of January,” he said.

“I love it here in Australia and the tracks are so much better than at home.”

Champion trainer Chris Waller produced a highly promising filly in the 1200mMaiden Plate.

Seahampton, a three-year-old daughter of Golden Slipper winner Sebring, is not only a magnificent looking individual but is also richly talented.

After firming from $4 to $2.80 in her second race start, Seahampton settled near the tail and was held up near the top of the straight.

Jockey Grant Buckley managed to find a gap and Seahampton stormed home to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

The Kris Less-trained Heat Haze was the only Newcastle-trained galloper to win at the meeting.

Meanwhile, AAP reports: Todd Howlett will target another Highway Handicap with Magic Choir after he made a successful metropolitan debut in the concept for country horses at Rosehill.

The four-year-old ($18) notched the third win of his six-race career after finishing strongly to beat Gitan ($7) by half a length on Saturday, with Forever Newyork ($18) a neck away third.

After recording his third Highway Handicap victory, Howlett said Magic Choir could expect to make another road trip from Muswellbrook over summer.

“We picked this out early in his prep and we’ll come back for another Highway,” he said.

“He’s racing well. He’s doing a nice job.”

LeBron schools rookie Ben

Posted by on 13/02/2019 at 2:12 pm
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LeBron James had his 58th NBA triple-double and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers 105-98.
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Despite shooting just 39.1 per cent from the field, James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to help the Cavaliers bounce back from a loss in Indiana that ended their 13-game winning streak.

Former Newcastle Hunters junior Simmons –who ended the game with 14 points, six rebounds and 10 assists –scored with a breakaway dunk to give Philadelphia a 96-91 lead, but the Cavaliers ended the game on a 14-2 run.

James converted a three-point play and Kyle Korver hit a three-pointer, giving Cleveland the lead.

Dwyane Wade added two baskets and Jae Crowder’s three-pointer put the Cavaliers ahead 104-98.

CLASH OF THE TITANS: Cleveland superstar LeBron James and Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons during Sunday’s showdown. Picture: AAP

James had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in the fourth quarter in his third triple-double of the season.

Covington and J.J. Redick scored 19 points each for Philadelphia.

Both starting centres missed the game.

Joel Embiid sat out for Philadelphia because he hasn’t been cleared to play on back-to-back nights and Kevin Love didn’t play because of a sore left hip.

Elsewhere, Jordan Clarkson scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away late to defeat the fatigued and short-handed Charlotte Hornets 110-99 on Saturday night.

Lou Williams hit a go-ahead three-pointer with a little over a second remaining in the game to give the Los Angeles Clippers a 113-112 victory over the Washington Wizards.

After Williams’s basket, to take his tally to 35 points, there was a video review of Bradley Beal’s potential winning baseline jumper.

The referees decided to replay the last 1.1secs but Marcin Gortat’s jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson each scored 20 points and Miami beat the Brooklyn Nets 101-89 in the Heat’s first game in Mexico in franchise history – played in front of 19,777 fans at raucous Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 26 points on nine-for-nine shooting and the Atlanta Hawks overcame Nikola Vucevic’s triple-double to beat the Orlando Magic 117-110.

Vucevic had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jonathan Simmons added a career-high 29 points for the Magic.

Kris Dunn made two free throws with 2.9 secs left to give the Chicago Bulls a 104-102 victory over the New York Knicks.

Kristaps Porzingis, who had 23 points for the Knicks, missed a three-pointer at the buzzer for victory.

Yet another generation of Gandhis in Indian politics

Posted by on 13/02/2019 at 2:12 pm
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When Rahul Gandhi, 47, was appointed vice-president of India’s Congress Party four years ago – under his mother, Sonia Gandhi – he told reporters that “power is poison”.
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For a politician, it was a strange remark.

From Monday, Gandhi will be taking big draughts of that poison when he takes over from his mother as president of the party that was once an unbeatable election juggernaut in India.

It will be the start of one of the biggest political challenges in recent history for one of India’s most perplexing politicians.

Gandhi was a na??f who reluctantly entered politics 13 years ago on his mother’s wishes. He has taken many years to get to grips with his role. At crucial moments, when his leadership was needed, he was out of the country on some jaunt.

Over the years, he has battledwidespread mockery over his bumbling amateurishness and lack of political nous, earning him the derogatory moniker “Puppu”, a nickname for a small boy.

On occasions when he has tried to be aggressive, it has brought to mind British politician Denis Healey’s famous remark that being attacked by his rival, Geoffrey Howe, was like “being savaged by a dead sheep”.

On Monday, however, Gandhi takes over the reins as the latest member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to lead the 132-year-old Congress Party, which has been in opposition since 2014 when Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power.

Gandhi’s election, uncontested, as president is a formality because he has been the de facto leader for the past four years as his mother gradually withdrew, letting him take charge.

His anointment has been praised by veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who said: “Rahul Gandhi will be successful and his leadership will bring the Congress back to power.”

But whether Gandhi has it in him to lead the Congress Party to victory in an election is an open question. Almost everything is stacked against him. The party organisation is feeble: in her 19 years as president, Mrs Gandhi let it become moribund in virtually every state. Rahul Gandhi has spoken of the urgent need to rebuild it but has done little.

The party simply does not have grassroots workers and leaders who can canvass support, campaign for candidates, and get the votes in.

Gandhi’s other disadvantage is that the notion of dynasty no longer holds sway over the Indian public as it once did – his father, Rajiv Gandhi, his grand-mother, Indira Gandhi, and his great grandfather, Jawarharlal Nehru were all prime ministers.

The glamour and charisma attached to the name made the Gandhis India’s answer to the Kennedys. But young Indians tend to be less deferential now and more inclined to have a modern outlook. Dynastic inheritance of a political party sits uncomfortably with this outlook.

“The India of 2017, with its large pool of young voters deciding electoral outcomes, is increasingly questioning the politics of entitlement,” wrote political commentator Neerja Chowdhury in the Indian Express on November 22.

Gandhi’s other difficulty is that he has to take on one of the strongest prime ministers India has seen. Modi enjoys a rarely seen dominance over the political landscape. He has made his contempt for the young, still wet-behind-the-ears Gandhi obvious.

However, in the past few months Gandhi has lifted his game. Some of his barbs – including a series of sarcastic and catchy slogans – have landed. He has got under the skin of some of Modi’s ministers who normally treat him like the village idiot.

Moreover, he has led an unusually aggressive campaign in the past few weeks in the lion’s den – Modi’s home state of Gujarat where polling is to take place in phases up to 14 December. Political commentators were surprised at the energy and spirit which Gandhi brought to the task.

“He has shown at least that he can put up a decent fight, that he is not daunted by taking on Modi in a state where the Congress is extremely weak,” said Seema Mustafa, editor of the online newspaper, The Citizen.

But the scale of the task ahead of him is daunting. In the 2014 election, the party under his de facto leadership suffered its worst ever outcome: just 44 seats in Parliament. This was followed by a string of defeats in other state elections. The Congress Party, which has dominated the life of the nation since the days when it led the movement for independence, now rules in just six of India’s 29 states.

For the Congress, being so diminished is an existential crisis. Gandhi needs a vision and, so far, no vision has emerged.

He attacks Modi but fails to offer an alternative, nor even to offer solutions to questions of how he will create jobs or reduce poverty. Capitalising on Modi’s mistakes is useful (and Gandhi has succeeded in tapping into rising unrest over the lack of jobs and the economic slowdown) but this can only take him so far.

If he manages to narrow the gap between his party and the BJP in Gujarat (no one gives him any chance of winning), it will be a big feather in his cap.

But more than that, he needs to come up with fresh ideas that can inspire his party and the electorate. In the 13 years since he joined politics and stood for election as an MP, Gandhi has failed to make his mark.

He cannot afford to take another 13.

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

Foreign boats set to fish in Australian waters, expert claims

Posted by on 13/02/2019 at 2:12 pm
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FV Margiris giant fishing trawler that will operate in Tasmanian waters1939803.jpg South Australian Senator Anne Ruston poses for a photo in a florist store in Adelaide, Friday 25 September 2015. AFR news Picture By David Mariuz
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The federal government is stripping marine protections from remote waters off the Australian coast because it plans to change the law to allow foreign fishing boats with low-paid crews to fish there, a leading fisheries expert claims.

The suggestion, backed by conservationists, has been rejected by the government as “unsubstantiated scaremongering”.

However the Australian Fisheries Management Authority says some waters are being under-fished and they are in talks with several operators about allowing foreign boats to operate in Australia’s fishing zone under existing laws.

The Turnbull government has proposed changes to the 3.3 million square kilometres of Australia’s protected offshore regions, allowing commercial fishing in a host of sensitive marine areas.

Dr Quentin Hanich, head of fisheries governance research at the University of Wollongong’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, said many of the proposed changes were in distant waters far from port and “it had never been profitable for the fishers to go there”.

“But if you allow cheap distant-water vessels to come in … those vessels won’t come into port. That combined with subsidised fuel, a $1000 annual wage and a whole bunch of problems with the way they treat their crews means they have incredibly low costs and can fish those remote areas,” he said.

“Not only does that undermine the protection of those conservation values, it will return incredibly little benefit to Australia.”

Dr Hanich, who advises international organisations and governments on fisheries governance and marine conservation, said such a scenario would require law changes allowing cheap foreign boats.

He believed the government’s proposed weakening of protected marine areas was based on “hypothetical future changes in Australian regulations on foreign vessels [that] may enable industry to reduce business costs and fish in these previously economically marginal zones”.

Dr Hanich questioned the economic need to relax marine protections, saying official estimates showed that under current laws, it would result in a mere $4 million gain to the Australian fishing industry.

There are no foreign boats operating in the Australian fishing zone. Foreign boats can be deemed Australian, and allowed to fish in Australian waters, when there are no domestic boats of that type available – such as large distant-water boats that can deep-freeze fish and stay at sea for long periods. Such boats must operate under Australian standards.

AFMA confirmed it has been in “discussions with a number of operators this year about deeming boats to be Australian across several fisheries”.

At a Senate estimates hearing in October, AFMA chief executive James Findlay said there was “significant underfishing … going on in a number of quota-managed fisheries.”

“We’re only taking about half of the quota that we’ve scientifically demonstrated is sustainable. Understandably, quota holders are looking to explore opportunities to harvest that quota … they’re looking at opportunities on the global market to bring in cheap capacity,” he said.

Mr Findlay said the moves were not linked to the wind-back of marine protections.

However Pew Charitable Trusts oceans director Michelle Grady insisted the “ambition of the tuna industry to see very deep water remote areas fished” was driving the marine park changes.

This could lead to increased bycatch of threatened species, depleted fish stocks and the loss of large conservation areas, she said.

Water Resources Minister Anne Ruston said such claims had “no substance”.

“Of course it is not the intention, nor has it ever been the intention, of the government to allow foreign fishing vessels to fish in Australian waters as a result of changes to marine park zoning,” she said.

Tuna Australia chief executive David Ellis described as “absurd” the claim that the Australian fishing industry required foreign vessels to access fishing areas, and said Australia was “recognised worldwide as a leader in sustainable fishery management”.

Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said cheap foreign labour “results in a race to the bottom rather than decent wages for all”, and unions would fight any such move in the fishing industry.

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

AGL Liddell closure a game-changer requiring NSW Government action: green groups

Posted by on 13/02/2019 at 2:12 pm
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AGL Liddell closure a game-changer requiring NSW Government action: green groups Announce: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and campaigning former MP John Alexander during questions over the AGL decision on Saturday.
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Ageing: Liddell power station near Muswellbrook.

Calls: Nature Conservation Council chief executive Kate Smolski said the AGL decision was a good start.

Future: Liddell power station outside Muswellbrook which will close in 2022.

Calls: There are calls for NSW to shift to 100 per cent renewable power by 2030.

TweetFacebookAGL’s decision to close Liddell power station at Muswellbrook should be backed by a NSW Government commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, said one of the state’s peak environmental groups.

AGL’s commitment to close Liddell by 2022, despite intense political pressure from the Turnbull Government was a game-changer that requires a NSW Government response, and further commitments from AGL to shift from coal by 2030, said Nature Conservation Council chief executive Kate Smolski.

The AGL decision in the face of political pressure shows that clean energy is now the cheapest way for Australia to generate power, said Ms Smolski said.

“It’s time to get on with building wind and solar farms to bring down bills and create jobs in regional NSW.

“The important thing now is for a plan for the Hunter Valley to ensure that no worker or community is left behind in the transition to clean energy.”

AGL on Saturday said an independent analysis had found keeping the nearly 50-year-old Liddell power station open for five yearspast the planned 2022 closing date would cost almost $1 billion.

It found splitting the plant from surrounding infrastructure and trying to sell it was also not feasible.

The company said it planned to generate 1600 megawatts from renewables, 500 MW from a new gas power plant, 250 MW from a gas plant for Newcastle and another 250 MW from a battery on the Liddell site.

AGL is also exploring a pumped hydro project in the Hunter region of NSW.

The company said it did not believe its plan would adversely affect power prices. Its analysis showed it could produce power at $83 a megawatt-hour compared with $106 if Liddell was refurbished to extend its life.

The plan would also reduce the company’s carbon footprint by more than 17 per cent, in line with its commitment to reduce emissions and help meet the Paris agreement targets.

“This plan demonstrates that old power plants can be replaced with a mix of new, cleaner technology while improving reliability and affordability,” AGL chair Graeme Hunter said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government would seek expert advice on AGL’s plan, after imploring the company in September to keep the station open. AGL responded with a publicity campaign to demonstrate that Liddell failed to produce the dispatchable –readily available –energy required during peak periods in summer and winter, after a Liddell failure in February last year forced Tomago Aluminium to shut down operations for crucial hours.

Grattan Institute energy expert Tony Wood said the AGL decision fitted the recommendations of the Energy Security Board and Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s energy review. Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott also praised the proposal as innovative, secure and environmentally sound.

Ms Smolski said despite the Liddell decision AGL remained Australia’s biggest climate polluter.

“Committing to replace Liddell with mostly clean energy is an important start yet the company urgently needs a plan to transition out of coal entirely by 2030,” she said.

The Nature Conservation Council has calledon the Berejiklian government to setenforceable targets to source 100 per centof the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

The government also needed to develop a plan for aquick and orderly phase-out of coal-fired power stations that is fair to power-station workers and createincentives for the development of storage technologies, including batteries and pumped hydro, Ms Smolski said.

How a promise of the Great Australian Dream became a nightmare

Posted by on 14/01/2019 at 8:46 am
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BUYERS: From left, Margaret Morgan-King and Stephen King, Grant and Kim Conroy and Tim and Melissa Weatherstone at the Teralba Waters Estate site. Picture: Marina NeilKimand Grant Conroy are battlers, a teachers’ aide and machinery operator, who worked overtime to save thousands for their dream – a house and land package in Lake Macquarie where they planned to retire.
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The advertising for Teralba Waters Estate, on Cockle Creek, that featured in a glossy Newcastle magazine looked just the thing.

“Waterfront estate,” the ad read. “17 brand new three bedroom homes. Access to Lake Macquarie.” And all this starting from just $432,500…how could you go wrong?

They went and had a look at the site, called the real estate agent the same day. There were only four left, they picked the one they thought they liked, paid a $1000 holding deposit and signed up on the spot. It was July, 2016.

All 17 house and land packages were sold in just four weeks. Why did people come running?

“It was in a price bracket,” Mrs Conroy said. “It attracted people with not a great deal of money. It was a new three-bedroom house that was affordable.”

A year later, Mrs Conroy was speechless. “It’s just destroyed us, we’re second marriage and we put everything we had into this,” she said. “We worked so hard to save for a place…we planned to retire there.”

She was told by a friend last month that he’d seen the Teralba Waters development site relisted for sale on the internet. Not only that, itwas advertised as a mortgagee in possession sale.

“No-one told us a thing,” she said. “Then we find out the place is back up for sale.” They want to know what happened to their $50,000 deposit.

Likethe majority ofbuyers, the Conroys signed a contract that stipulated their deposit would be released to the vendor.About $700,000 was paid upfront, the money was to be used for civil works.

Steve David, whose parents workednight shift for years to save the $48,000 deposit they gave him as a wedding present, summed up the feelings of the buyers.

“To put it bluntly, we are furious and we want answers about how this could happen,” he said. “It’s all of my parents’ hard-earned money, that’s what I can’t stop thinking about. They worked for years putting that money away from a host of cleaning and othertough jobs. It’s just not right this can happen.”

ANGRY: Kim and Grant Conroy are fighting to get their $50,000 deposit returned.

Mr David, who is getting married next year, planned to move to Teralba to start a new life. Instead, he’s been forced to take a job in Orange.

“I’m going to have to put my retirement on hold now,” said Margaret Morgan-King, another unhappy purchaser, who at 63 is the main bread winner in her family.

“It’s not just the $50,000 we put in, we sold our home and have been wasting money on rent. Prices have gone up a lot while we have been waiting for this to progress.

“It’s been a financial disaster for us. For a while it was all happening, but then everything just stopped.”

Sydneyfireman Lloyd Mulder set up a self-managed super fund to invest in Teralba, putting down a deposit of $86,000.

Stephen King and Margaret Morgan-King have been forced to put their retirement plans on hold.

It’s money his young family, that has been living with relatives for four years to save,can’t afford to lose.

“I’m a firie and my wife is a midwife so we’re never going to be making big dollars, we did this to invest in our future,” Mr Mulder said. “This was our retirement savings.”

It all began several years ago when businessman, Colin Wallace, and real estate agent and developer, Jamin Ryan, both prominent members of the Christadelphian Church, bought a three-acre block in William Street, Teralba, for $1 million.

Back at that time the men were good friends. Theyhad high hopes for their $8.7 million plan to develop Teralba Waters Estate.

They formed a company called R & W Design (Teralba)and embarked on an ambitious plan to sell the house and land packages.

Melissa and Tim Weatherstone planned to move to Teralba Waters Estate.

Their companysigned a loan last year for $1 million with Home Savers Group, trading as Finance Wise, a lenderthatis run by Mr Wallace’sstep-daughter’s partner’s family.

The artist’s impressions thrust into the hands of potential buyers shows asmall, neat subdivisionwith brand new brick homes. They were all proposed to be built by Mr Wallace’scompany, Castle Eco Build.

Mr Ryan’s wife JanettBazouni Ryan, who runsMy Home Company, was signed on as the real estate agent.

By March, according to Mr Wallace, CastleEco Build, should have completed all 17 three-bedroom homes.

None of this, Mr Wallace reluctantly conceded last month, was now likely to happen.

Almost 18 months after the buyers signed onto the project and most handed over their deposits, the site lookslike aghost town, covered by grass, with large dirt mounds from partially completed earthworks.

Teralba Waters Estate site relisted for sale.

Mr Ryan and Mr Wallace, both former bankrupts,disagree on thecause of the development’s demiseand how their business relationship explodedat the start of the year: needless to say money isat the heart of the dispute.

The feud became so acrimonious it ended in Mr Ryan taking legal action against his former business partner.

Mr Wallace, who went bankrupt in1991, alleges the Teralba project couldn’t get further finance.

Mr Ryan, who went bankrupt in 2008 and wasconvictedby ASICin 2009 for breaches of the Corporations Act involvingcompany collapses, said his control of the development ceased in February when he was “removed” as a director ofR & W Design (Teralba) against his wishes.

“As far as I was concerned it was all moving ahead,” he said.“Everything was going fine, it was all smooth.”

He said 80 per cent of the civil works had been completed and there were “finance offers on the table”. Themen agree asignificant amount of money wasspent on earthworks and installing services atthe site.

In the 10months since the business relationship ended, the Teralba Waters saga unfolded dramatically.

The secured first mortgage to Finance Wise went into default and the finance company called on the loan.

Mr Wallace estimates W & R Design (Teralba)now owes about $1.3 million, partially due to defaults and penalties.

The 65-year-old claims to have mortgaged his house and said at one stage last month he had just $25 in the bank.

“I’ve put in $800,000 of my own money and I don’t have any more money,” he said. “I’m going to come out of this with nothing. I’m driving a borrowed car, I’m going to end up in a caravan on the pension.”

The issue was complicated furtherlast month whenMr Wallace’s Castle Eco Build was placed inliquidation owing more than $1million.Legal action to wind upthe company was initiatedby Mr Ryan’s wife, Mrs Bazouni Ryan, claiming $145,000 owed to My Home Company from unrelatedbusiness transactions.

An expressions of interest campaign to sell the Teralbasite, initiated by Finance Wise,ended unsuccessfullylast month.

Real estate agent Joe Di Claudio, of Dowling Mayfield, said there had been “plenty” of interest, but not in the right price range.

Stuart Scoles, a disability support worker from Maitland, who handed over $200,000 to secure a house and land package at Teralba Waters said he has “no idea” what he’d do if he doesn’tget his “life savings” back.

The 58-year-oldsaid he had known Mr Wallace for years because hispartner used to work for Castle Eco Build. He’s taken a caveat out on Mr Wallace’s Central Coast home, butdoesn’t believe Mr Wallace has done anything wrong.

“It’s really messy,” he said.“If I don’t get my money back it will really hurt me bad.”

Amid the dispute there is one thing Mr Ryan and Mr Wallace agreeon.

The value of the house and land packages hasincreased about $80,000 each since the project was first sold.

That is way beyond the means of the purchasers interviewed byFairfax Mediafor this article.

Mr Wallace said he was still hopeful the land would sell for a “decent price” and the buyers would get their money back.

“I’ve had hate mail addressed to my wife,” he said. “I’ve never done property development before, it’s my first time, and in all honesty it’s failed abysmally. At the end of the day it’s an investment and it hasn’t worked.”

Newcastle Herald

Pictures from the NSW Surf Life Saving Championship at Stockton Beach

Posted by on 14/01/2019 at 8:45 am
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Pictures from the NSW Surf Life Saving Championship at Stockton Beach Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Day 1 of the NSW Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships at Stockon Beach, Newcastle. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookStockton Beach wasthe venue for this year’s Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championship. TheHunter Clubhosted thecarnival for the first time since 2002.

A decade and a half mighthave passed since those days, but the Interbranch Championships still maintains a special place on the surf sports calendar.

A maximum of 40 athletes from each branch, consisting of three male and female competitors in the Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15, Under 17, Under 19 and Open age groups compete in both ocean and beach events over the course of the weekend.

For the athletes, performances are crucial with this weekend being thelast opportunity to impress selectors to be named in the NSW Interstate team to travel to South Australia in January.

​Check out all the action in the gallery above.

An institution in crisis: Where to now for the Catholic Church?

Posted by on 14/01/2019 at 8:45 am
Nanjing Night Net

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hear Anne Levey has not stepped foot inside a Catholic church for more than two years.
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Her son Paul’s tale of being sent to live with notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in Mortlake, Victoria,in the mid-1970s was among the most harrowing heard across more than two years of testimony.

Despite her best efforts to have her teenage son removed from Ridsdale’s control, disgraced former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns claimed he could not fulfill her wish despite knowing of the priest’s abusive history.

Now living in Albury, Ms Levey said her once-devout commitment to the cross had evaporated after hearing countless cases of rampant sexual abuse and systematic cover-ups.

“Iwas totally devastated when I went to the commission. Ithought it was just Ridsdale,” Ms Levey said upon hearing of the volume of paedophile priests operating throughout the Ballarat Diocese.“Iused to go to church every Sunday but I just couldn’t go down to the church now and look a priest in the face.”

Damaged: Anne Levey refuses to step foot in a Catholic church following the extensive sexual abuse suffered by her son Paul in the mid-1970s. Picture: Mark Jesser

While many parishioners like Ms Levey have chosen to abandon the organisation, others with an intimate understanding of the abuse have found comfort in their faith. However in the wake of the scandal there is a clear, growing groundswell calling for major reform of the Catholic Church’s governance.

Nowhere clearer was the commission’s damning effect on a once mighty institution of western Victoria felt than in the 2016 census, which delivered a blunt critique of the Catholic Church’s standing within Ballarat.

Those who registered as having ‘no religion’ jumped by more than 10 per cent, while the city’s official Catholic population dropped to less than 25 per cent.

The role faith had played in allowing abuse to proliferate throughout the diocese wasnot lost on the nation’s most powerful legal inquiry.The commission heard countless instances where clergy used their unquestioned standing within the community to break into families and gain access to children.

For one Ballarat family, who didn’t want to be named, it was this betrayal of trust which shattered their affiliation with an organisation which had once been a pillar of their lives.

Once active members of the Catholic community, the boys’ father said the family was willing to “do without a bit themselves” to put their children through the revered Catholic education system.The family felt “honoured” to host senior clergy for meals at their home and were thankful for one particular priest who seemed willing to go out of his way to spend time with the children.

The couple recalled when their boys fronted police with the allegations in the early 1990s, it was not just the senior church hierarchy who sought to silence the scandal.“Once they knew this had happened to our kids the parishionersdumped us,” the boys’ mother said.“I think they thought we were blaming the church for what happened to our kids.They thought you should never criticise the church.

“Alot of people who we thought were friends have never contacted us to see how we are.”

In just a few weeks the pair will make their annual trip to St Patrick’s Cathedral for Christmas mass, an unlikely ritual which has survived the trauma.Despite an unwavering belief in the Catholic doctrine, both affirmed the bulk of thechurch’s leaders and followers “simply don’t get it”.

Despite three separate hearings in both Ballarat and Sydney into abuse across western Victoria, the commission acknowledged the figures accrued were likely well short of the true scope of the damage.

Staying faithful: Jean Dumaresq’s son was among the dozens of Gerald Ridsdale’s victims when he was an altar boy in Lake Bolac. Picture: Lachlan Bence

The commission heard from several survivorswho“believed a number of their classmatesfrom St Alipius (Christian Brothers School) and St Patrick’s College had died by suicide or died prematurely,” never given the opportunity to tell their story before a federally-sanctioned inquiry.

While a remarkable 78 claims were made againstRidsdale, the story of JeanDumaresq’s son was not one of them.

An altar boy at Lake Bolac in the 1970s, Ms Dumaresq’s son did not reveal the abuse he suffered while his mother was“standingin the church yard” until he was almost 50 years old.A lethal concoction of prescription medication and alcohol in January 2016 led to his untimely death before he ever reported the abuse to the church or police.His mother to this day does not know if the tragic loss was suicide.

Despite the deep sense of betrayal, Ms Dumaresq remains a dedicated member of the Ballarat Diocese.Surrounded by religious paraphernalia in her Lucas home, she claims“it was my faith that kept me going and it’s kept me going through all of the trauma I’ve been through”.

“My son did ask me once why I was still going to church after what happened to him but I said my faith is in God, it’s not in some priest,” the 72-year-old affirmed.“People think the church is the hierarchy, but the church is a people.We’re the church, it’s not a building.”

Radical change: Warrenheip parishioner Liz Hanrahan believes the Catholic Church must “hit rock bottom” and rebuild as a grassroots movement. Picture: Brendan Wrigley

While almost a quarter of the city’s population might still class themselves as Catholic, the anecdotal evidence from the pews paints a bleaker picture, particularly amonga younger generation struggling to connect with a once revered institution.

While in part this reflects an almost eight per cent spike in Australians removing themselves from religion across the past half-decade, neither modern clergy or parishioners are denying decades of abuse and secrecy has tarnished the Catholic Church’s moral authority.

“The older generation have come through and their faith is so strong so they’re hanging in there,” Warrenheip parishioner Liz Hanrahan said.“But I have come across a lot of people who have been really strong church goers who have just walked away, some of them you would never expect.

“It’s very hard to get the kids interested in religious education anymore…I think (the abuse)has had an effect on the way they think about the church.I just feel as though the church has got to go down to rock bottom and emerge as a new way of operating as a church.A grassroots church.”

New approach: Vicar-general Justin Driscoll says the church has a mountain of work ahead of it to regain trust in the community. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

In a matter of days the commission will deliver its final diagnosis on the state of the Catholic Church when it hands down its recommendations.Ballarat Diocese Bishop Paul Bird said the church would be judged by its actions to protect children into the future.

His junior,Vicar-generalJustin Driscoll, was far stronger in his assessment.While the churches dotted across the small towns of western Victoria affirm the continued presence of Catholicism, Fr Driscoll admitted the trust in the church which was once taken for granted had vanished.

“I still see there would be individuals in the church who would want to pack this whole experience away and move on as though it hadn’t happened,” Fr Driscoll said.

“But the ground has so significantly shifted from beneath our feet that what was before won’t be regained.”

The Courier, Ballarat

The winding path to same-sex marriage through the eyes of cartoonist David Pope

Posted by on 14/01/2019 at 8:45 am
Nanjing Night Net

Marriage equality has been a long time coming in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

And throughout the past decade, Fairfax Media cartoonist David Pope has been there to capture every political moment as it happened along the way.

These twelve cartoons byPope, drawn between 2006 and 2017, illustrate the path to same-sex marriage in Australia.

The winding path to same-sex marriage through the eyes of cartoonist David Pope July 11, 2006

August 4, 2009

December 2, 2011

May 22, 2013

October 23, 2013

May 30, 2015

August 28, 2015

August 9, 2017

September 2, 2017

September 20, 2017

November 16, 2017

December 8, 2017

TweetFacebookWhat’s in the Marriage Act now?

According to Attorney-General George Brandis:

“The right to marry in Australia will no longer be determined by sex or gender.Marriage will now be defined in theMarriage Act 1961as the ‘union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’. Same-sex couples now have the same rights under the Marriage Actas all other couples.”

When are the first same-sex weddings going to happen here?

The marriage reforms officially started on Saturday, December 9.

Couples must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month before the ‘solemnisation of the marriage’ –the wedding.

This means the first same-sex marriages in Australia will be on January 9, 2018.

How to choose the right sunscreen

Posted by on 14/01/2019 at 8:45 am
Nanjing Night Net

Kate Swift and her three children Carter, 5, Willow, 7, and Finn, 9, apply sunscreen at Coogee Beach. Photo: Katherine GriffithsKate Swift can remember a time when summer was synonymous with sunburn.
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So sun protection has become an essential part of life with three children, including Finn, nine, and Willow, seven, who do nippers training every Sunday.

“We always leave the house with a hat, sunscreen and appropriate clothing,” Ms Swift said.

“When your kids are little, their skin is so perfect and delicate, and you quickly realise how it can burn in the harsh Australian sun.

“It’s so different to when I was a kid – our school uniform didn’t have a hat, and a trip to the beach meant you’d sometimes get so burnt your skin would peel, or even blister. I tried explaining that to my kids recently, and they couldn’t believe it.”

As summer sets in, the Cancer Council stresses sunscreen is not enough to stop sunburn, and a hat, clothing and sunglasses are also essential.

“It’s not a shield of armour,” said Craig Sinclair, head of the Cancer Council’s public health committee.

“The intensity of UV rays, which we know cause sunburn and skin cancer, is very strong this time of year. To protect ourselves against this harsh and intense UV environment, you need all the forms of sun protection.”

With SPF 30+, SPF 50+, generic, expensive, perfumed, and spray lotions available, sunscreen is often the trickiest form of sun protection to decipher.

How to choose the right sunscreen

Mr Sinclair said the basic criteria should be a product that is at least SPF 30+, is broad spectrum, and water resistant. It should be a product that feels comfortable because you’re more likely to re-apply it.

While SPF 50+ offers more protection it can be thick or have a “ghosting” effect on the skin, deterring some people from applying it correctly.

“If it doesn’t look or feel right you’re better off choosing an SPF 30+, which you find easier to rub on,” Mr Sinclair said.

“An SPF 30+ applied properly will always outperform an SPF 50+ applied inadequately.”

How to choose a brand

Selecting a brand generally comes down to personal choice about how a sunscreen looks, feels, or smells, as all products sold in Australia are regulated.

Sunscreens must be registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, just like medicines. In order to be listed, manufacturers must test the product according to the Australian standard.

Concerns have been raised about the efficacy of some SPF 50+ products in the past, but Mr Sinclair said problems usually arise with incorrect application.

“Consumers have every right to feel confident that the sunscreen they’re purchasing – whether it’s a cheap generic brand or an expensive, exclusive brand – offers the sun protection that’s stated on the bottle,” Mr Sinclair said.

How to apply

An adult should apply about one teaspoon of cream to each limb, the torso, back and face – about 35ml in total – 20 minutes before going out in the sun.

It should be rubbed into dry, clean skin and be re-applied every two hours, or after swimming, sweating, and using a towel.

Is it safe?

Aerosol sunscreens were recently deemed useless because they cannot deliver an adequate amount of lotion.

Bannister Law has raised the possibility of a class action against Edgewell Personal Care, the makers of Banana Boat aerosols, alleging the products were marketed as having a higher SPF level than they really did.

Banana Boat “categorically refuted” those claims.

Over the years, there have been concerns about ingredients that disrupt the endocrine system and the effect of nanoparticles.

The Cancer Council says there is no evidence of chemicals used in Australian sunscreens disrupting the endocrine system.

The peak cancer advisory body also says based on the best evidence, nanoparticles used in sunscreens do not pose a health risk, though it continues to monitor the research.

Cream for kids

Lotions targeted at children are usually suitable for sensitive skin. But that doesn’t mean they can’t use regular sunscreen.

“Use it on a small patch of skin first and if there’s no problem, then go ahead and use a typical adult formula,” Mr Sinclair said.

Sunscreen should not be used on babies, who should be protected by hats, clothing, shade, and kept inside during the hottest parts of the day.

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