Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

WHEN Todd Deary gives adviceon bushfires, he does it with an insight more unique and terrifying than most.
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The Victorian highway patrol officer wasthe first on the scene of a massive Black Saturday blaze that went on to claim onelife, destroy 58 homes and scorch 341 hectares west of Bendigo.

“As fast as I was driving, thefire was travelling across the top of the trees,” he recalled this month.

“I remember thinking to myselfit actually looks like a Mexican wave at the MCG, because it was travelling thatquickly.”

Three years have passed and Australia facesanother potentially dangerous fire season. The leading seniorconstable said the lessons of February 7, 2009 were still current.

“There’s probably a few thingsI won’t forget, number one (being) how powerful a bushfire can be and howquickly it can travel and how you don’t have to be that close to it to beburnt,” Leading Sen-Constable Deary said.

“As far as the human side of it goes, I canremember how stressed people can get very quickly and how their logical thoughtpatterns just go straight out the door. When people are panicking and thinktheir life might be in danger, they don’t make great decisions sometimes.”

Fire authorities are againpreaching a similar message: prepareearly and prepare well.

The deputy chief officer ofVictoria’s Country Fire Authority, Alan Ellis, said this season would likelysee more fires than inthe past two years, which have been wetter than usual.Grass fires loom as a serious threat.

“We’re probably not facing the extreme levels like we didin drought years but, nevertheless, the weather pattern means we will still havesevere days in the cycles of weather,” he said.

“Given the fact this south-east corner of Australia isone of the most fire-prone areas in the world, regardless of the year, there isalways the potential for one bad day of extreme weather and dry fuel to bringon a major fire. So people, regardless of the weather or predictions, need tobe prepared.

“It only takes a couple of days of hot, dry, windyweather for conditions to turn pretty quickly.”

The CFA cannot guarantee it will be available to rescueresidents in a major fire.

“The reality is we’ll have information and warnings outon the day to let people know what’s going on, we’ll have fire-suppression activities,but we cannot guarantee asset protection for every house which may be in thepath of a bushfire,” he said.

“We have an obligation to protect people but the flipsideof our contract with the public is that the public has a responsibility to lookafter themselves by preparing for summer and remaining informed throughoutthose days where there is a high or extreme fire danger.”

Meanwhile, firefighters are warning people to verifyinformation on social media to make sure they don’t make wrong decisions duringa bushfire.

Mr Ellis said social networking sites like Facebook andTwitter would be abuzz should large, life-threatening blazes flare over summer.

Social media was widely used during Cyclone Yasi and thedevastating Queensland floods in 2011. It was also used following the 2009Black Saturday disaster.

But the social media landscape has changed dramaticallyin the four years since and its impact during a major bushfire emergency is yetto be tested.

Mr Ellis said the CFA would have a strong online presenceduring emergencies to ensure residents could verify the accuracy of informationcirculating on Facebook or Twitter.

“We can never really say social media is solely a help ora hindrance (because) it depends on the circumstances,” Mr Ellis said.

“Social media can inform people… that’s a good thing, butit can also inform with the wrong information so we would hope our own presencewithin the social media sphere will prove to be that point of truth, if youlike.”

A CFA Twitter account that carries officialemergency warnings, incident updates and media releases has more than 8000followers. Its Facebook pagehas more than 100,000 ‘likes’.

Emergency services in other Australian states have alsoembraced social media as a tool to reach thousands.

A University of Western Sydney study into the use ofsocial media during natural disasters recently found it performed a valuablerole inco-ordinating official information, helped isolated people accessassistance and provided ‘psychological first aid’.

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Kelli Underwood has taken voluntary redundancy from Ten after becoming the first woman to call an AFL game on television.INEVITABLY, most of the focus on the recent cuts in Channel Ten’s news department fell on Helen Kapalos. But, at the end of the year, Ten will lose another member of the department who, given Melbourne’s football obsession, has made an even greater impact than the high-profile newsreader.
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Since joining Ten from 3AW in 2007, Kelli Underwood has been an industrious news reporter, occasional presenter and, more recently, formed an engaging partnership behind the microphone with former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis. But it is the 14 AFL games Underwood called for Ten in 2009 and 2010 for which she is remembered.

Actually, that should be ”will be” remembered. Underwood has taken voluntary redundancy from Ten, but will not be lost to the sports media, or football commentary. She will continue to call games for ABC radio next season, co-hosts Grandstand Breakfast with Francis Leach on the ABC’s digital channel two days a week and will work at the Australian Open. So, despite the concerned queries of friends who assume she must be moving back into her childhood bedroom in Adelaide, Underwood will remain a prominent part of the local sporting landscape.

However, statistically minded sports fans love ”firsts”, and Underwood happily acknowledges that, regardless of what she does from now, she will always be known as the first woman to call AFL football on a major television network.

It was a role that found her, rather than one she aggressively sought. Her first call happened in one of Rex Hunt’s moments of spontaneous madness. Bored in the last quarter of a lopsided match, Hunt told Underwood, who was working as a match-day reporter, to have a crack behind the microphone. Later, she called two games for the ABC while other commentators were at the Beijing Olympics.

”Those games only went into Sydney, but I think David Barham [Ten’s head of sport] got wind of it,” she says. ”At the start of 2009, he rung out of the blue and asked if I was interested in doing a pre-season game. I actually said no and hung up. Then I rang back and said, ‘You’re never going to ask me again, are you?’ He said no. So I said I’d give it a go.”

Amid much fanfare, Underwood made her debut calling an Adelaide-Geelong pre-season match at Etihad Stadium. The judgments where swift and, from some fans and media commentators, harsh. More harsh than you might expect for a male – particularly a former player – with similarly limited experience.

”I was pretty well prepared for what would happen,” she says. ”I knew people would have passionate opinions. There was some pretty nasty stuff, especially on the social media networks. But I made a conscious decision to avoid it.”

With Barham adamant Underwood was not a novelty act, she grew in the role. If, in her earliest efforts, she had the radio commentator’s habit of calling too much of what could be seen, rather than adding to the images, she adapted quickly. By the time Ten lost the AFL rights, Underwood was far from the worst commentator. If that assessment seems to damn with faint praise, those who reflexively condemned a woman doing what was supposedly a man’s job never made such comparisons with lesser callers.

Underwood is mostly unaffected by the criticism she received. The support from other commentators was particularly affirming. Among those who rang to offer their encouragement was radio and television doyen Tony Charlton. Contemporaries including Gerard Whateley, James Brayshaw, Tim Lane and Bruce McAvaney offered guidance and reassurance.

After Ten lost the AFL rights, Underwood’s confidence behind the microphone was obvious in her netball partnership with Ellis. For a sport that still struggles to break into the mainstream media, it was particularly important to have two women calling games with clarity and, occasionally, aggression. For women’s sport, almost as empowering as the efforts of the players on the court.

Ten’s failure to renew its commitment to netball, and the other opportunities, prompted Underwood to accept a redundancy from a news room that will lose 10 of its 40 staff. ”I got to do a lot at Ten, travelling with the footy news, calling games,” she says. ”But the timing was right.”

Hopefully, when the media-rights wheel spins again, Underwood will get another crack at calling on television. If not, by taking the first, inevitable blows, she will have made things a bit easier for the next woman who breaks the grass ceiling.

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

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Gerry Harvey… retailers are feeling the pinch.Harvey Norman executive chairman Gerry Harvey says industry conditions remain dire and he expects more retailers will go bust next year after the Christmas sales are over.
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”There are more retailers currently under pressure than I’ve ever seen … I’ve been in retail 50 years,” he told reporters after the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

His prediction comes less than a month after the collapse of discount chain operator Retail Adventures, which announced that 32 stores will close and 650 jobs go by the end of this month.

Mr Harvey warned that despite the wave of failures over the past two years, ”there’s plenty more to go because I have them all coming to see me [saying] ‘Will you take us over, will you buy a share in the company’ etc etc.”

He said many of these businesses were hanging on for the Christmas sales but they know the first half of next year will be ”extremely difficult”.

Many of these companies just needed a little push and they would be gone, he said.

”You’ve got so many companies out there in that situation.”

He told investors the long-term plan for Harvey Norman – which is the only retailer backed by a

multibillion-dollar property portfolio – was to outlast the competition.

”If anyone is going to be the last man standing it’s Harvey Norman,” Mr Harvey said.

Looking ahead to Christmas, Mr Harvey expected sales to be up on last year if the hot weather holds.

”If we have a really hot period across Australia and we sell a lot of airconditioners, then we’ll definitely beat last year,” he said. ”If it’s cold … then we’ll battle because airconditioners are a big part of our business in December.”

He defended the amount of financial support the retailer was giving its franchisees to maintain service levels in the lead-up to the crucial Christmas sales.

”Losing staff at this point in time … going into Christmas and going into the new year, is just unacceptable,” he said.

Harvey Norman chief executive Katie Page, who is Mr Harvey’s wife, said: ”We cannot have consumers going into our stores and not getting the best customer service.”

Mr Harvey confirmed that he was a ”passive” investor in Qantas but would not comment on whether he was part of a high-profile group of investors seeking to challenge the strategic direction of the airline.

”I’m not saying anything for, or against, the Qantas organisation,” he said. ”The Qantas share price at the moment is about half its asset backing, and if it’s half its asset backing I look at that and think, that’s a good buy, it could double in price. It’s like Harvey Norman, it’s 20 per cent below its asset backing. That’s a good buy.”

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

IT IS true that Collingwood’s chief executive Gary Pert genuinely believes that illegal drugs have infiltrated football clubs to a dangerous and damaging degree – a degree that the current AFL illicit drugs policy cannot hope to adequately address.

But it is equally true that Pert, his president Eddie McGuire and Magpies coach Nathan Buckley are desperately worried about what is taking place in their own backyard. Pert has been telling friends for weeks that he is tearing his hair out with concern over the behaviour of certain players at his club.

Pert must have known when he delivered his impassioned speech at the end of last week’s chief executives’ meeting on the Gold Coast that he would be putting his club in the spotlight. That he was prepared to take a stand is an indication of how worried he has become about the culture at his club.

Like many club chiefs he has become increasingly frustrated at how powerless the clubs are when it comes to drug abuse. They hear the stories, they ask questions but while anonymity remains the privilege of the out-of-season drug user they cannot hope to prove their suspicions unless a player tests positive three times during the season proper or is caught in a legal sense.

But what Collingwood does have in its favour is that it is a remarkably wealthy club. The Magpies are expected to announce an operating profit of about $5 million any day now. The club is rich, it is successful, it is powerful. Powerful enough to withstand a scandal and powerful enough to take a stand that could damage the team in the short term but help it in the long term.

Which is why Collingwood should seriously consider sacking Dane Swan. If it has not already.

Swan is not the only player at Collingwood who has been a law unto himself during his end-of-season break but he has been a dreadful influence for some time and to take a stand now could prove the correction required as Ray McLean moves in to rebuild the erosion of discipline and dedication and bring together what appears to have become a team divided.

The club has asked Swan whether he has been using drugs and he has denied it. St Kilda has unofficially confronted Sam Fisher with the same question in recent days and he denied it also. So did Ben Cousins for two years at West Coast. Even if Swan is telling the truth about drugs his cavalier behaviour has helped create a culture which is not healthy.

But what Collingwood does know is that Swan is one of its best players who does not want to be a leader. They know he turned up at training a month before the finals disoriented after a heavy night out. They know there have been plenty more heavy nights out over the past six weeks. Very heavy nights. There has also been at least one nasty fight in a public place.

Buckley said after Swan was suspended for two weeks for his transgression in August that the player – who has two years remaining on his contract – was remorseful. The view from Collingwood now is that the opposite seems to be the case. Fairfax Media could not find one senior person at Collingwood this week prepared to defend Swan.

Swan’s teammates with off-field misdemeanours to their name include Alan Didak – whose career is coming to an end, Ben Johnson (ditto) and 2012 Copeland Trophy winner Dayne Beams. Sharrod Wellingham has gone to West Coast with a public good riddance from his football boss Geoff Walsh. Clearly the club is trying to take a stand.

You would think that such a tragic occurrence as the death of John McCarthy during an end-of-season bender in Las Vegas would see the penny drop but for some players it hasn’t. Footballers have continued to holiday in Vegas and continue to take unacceptable risks.

You would think that more chief executives would have turned to West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett in a bid to learn from West Coast’s mistakes, its experience and its remedies. But only Pert over recent years has sounded out Nisbett.

You would think that the circumstances surrounding McCarthy’s passing would have been a top-of-agenda item at one of the club chief executives’ meetings since it happened but it has never even been officially raised. Port Adelaide boss Keith Thomas did say that the club would early in 2013 put in place a new policy for post-season trips.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou was correct when he stated that illegal drugs are not simply an AFL issue but an issue for society. But Demetriou must know that the demands of the game when mixed with impressionable or wilful young men with plenty of money is a dangerous cocktail.

So the competition must attempt to show stronger leadership, as it has for two decades now where some social problems are concerned. The AFL players’ union must accept that there is a small but influential group of footballers who do not deserve their protection. And Collingwood, which continues to accept the mantle as a club of influence, should muster its considerable force and take a stand. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

IT’S game-on for our Newcastle geek who will try to outwit rather than erm … out style his way to the prize money on Beauty and the Geek tonight.

The grand final will see four couples, including the former University of Newcastle mechanical engineer student Richard ‘Chard’ Oldfield, compete for cash and a new car.

The winning couple will take home $100,000 to share and a Holden Barina each.

Here’s why Topics thinks Chard deserves to claim geek victory.

1. His nickname is Chard. Rick, Ricky, The Rickster we get. But Chard? That’s a pretty uncool nickname to be stuck with for adult life.

2. His partner in the series, Millie, is a professional bra-fitter and one TV columnist wrote ‘‘logs in the forest are smarter’’. Our man has done some hard yards in the elimination quizzes.

3. He cut his hair for the series. No geek was more attached to his long red locks.

4. All his female acquaintances are ‘‘friends’’. Chard told Topics he has been stuck in the friend zone his whole life. There’s nothing like a reality television title and a bit of cash to spark some female interest.

5. Because all the Novocastrians are doing it. This year the Hunter has taken out reality television titles on Masterchef and The Block. Chard from Whitebridge would be lucky number three.

The 2012 season final screens on Prime7 at 8.30pm.

Herald’s a lifelong habit

JACK McAulay has subscribed to the Newcastle Herald for a lifetime – 80 years to be exact.

Topics put the call out on Saturday to find the Herald’s longest-serving readers. We ran a story thanking two women who have clocked up 60 years and wanted to find more.

Mr McAulay, who is about to turn 92, has read the paper since he was 12.

‘‘I’ve read it ever since I was a kid at school. My parents had it delivered every morning to our Mayfield home,’’ he said.

Mr McAulay, who was the power plant foreman at BHP for a decade, gets the paper delivered to his Waratah West home daily and reads it from cover to cover.

He likes the news and sport, and he’s not too manly to enjoy the wedding pictures on Mondays.

Elsie Turnbull, 93, also gained her love of newspapers from her parents, who were subscribers.

When she married her husband Frederick in 1939 the couple starting getting the paper delivered to their Maitland home. Mrs Turnbull is so dedicated that she still gets the paper delivered to her home in Shoal Bay despite having many operations for macular degeneration.

She was recovering from an operation this week when Topics called.

‘‘Just a day or two and I’ll be back reading my Herald,’’ she told Topics.

Topics has a soft spot for Mrs Turnbull because we are suckers for a bit of flattery.

Her favourite section is ‘‘Topics of course’’.

EARNED VICTORY: Left, Chard does the tough rounds. Right, Chard with his beauty partner Millie.

DEDICATED: Jack McAulay has read the paper for eight decades. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Car of the year winnersIf the automotive landscape of 2012 is remembered for one thing, it will be that the thrill of driving is alive and kicking.

The point was driven home by Drive’s Car of the Year being awarded to the Toyota 86 GT, an unashamedly focused sports car, guaranteed to put a smile on the dial of those lucky enough to find themselves behind its steering wheel.

Anyone who thinks that choosing a sports car as the year’s best is elitist should look at the value-for-money equation.

With a list price of $29,990 the 86 costs less than many mainstream family cars, including the cheapest version of Toyota’s own four-cylinder Camry. In a global economy struggling to shake off the GFC blues, the combination of value and hedonistic driving enjoyment cannot be ignored.

Worried that performance cars are the natural enemy of the environment? Not when they’re powered by a naturally aspirated (not turbocharged), 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine capable of delivering an official 7.8 litres/100km fuel consumption figure.

The Toyota 86 coupe was, of course, developed in conjunction with Subaru. That company not only supplies the horizontally-opposed engine and builds the car in its own plant but also has the mechanically identical – give or take some minor differences in suspension tuning and tyre size – BRZ.

Given the vast similarities between the 86 and BRZ, the latter was unlucky not to win the award but that’s the way our Car of the Year awards work. The pair were both included in the Performance Car Under $60,000 category which the 86 won, largely because it is available at a cheaper price thanks to a reduced standard equipment list on the GT version.

Only a category winner can go on to take the major prize, so the BRZ missed out.

Take it from us though, the Subaru is every bit as thrilling to drive and those who want the BRZ’s higher equipment levels, do the sums and buy it will not be disappointed.

The Toyota won its category by scoring heavily in each judging criteria. Its engine might not have the outright horsepower of some performance cars, but it provides the perfect amount to exploit the 86’s nimble, rear-drive chassis.

It can be driven quietly and comfortably as a commuter car, albeit one with a stiffer than normal ride. On the track it can be easily provoked into lurid tail slides with its electronic stability control switched off, or remain commendably stable with it left on.

Equipment levels are not luxurious, but are more than adequate given the design goal of a low price and low weight for maximum performance. In terms of practicality, the rear seat is good for short trips (or shorter adults) and the folding rear seat means larger loads than a shallow boot would otherwise tolerate can be accommodated.

Five-star NCAP crash-worthiness indicates a safe structure, as does a full complement of seven airbags.

The Toyota 86 held its own over five days of gruelling driving and judging covering every available road condition.

Every car was taken around a road loop that distilled a wide variety of real-world conditions into something accessible for the judging panel, with its combined total of many decades of road-testing experience.

They included 100km/h highway driving, urban traffic conditions with suburban streets, traffic lights and school zones and pot-holed, low-speed, country roads.

The race track component wasn’t just a chance to cut high-speed laps. It gave a safe and controlled environment to explore steering and handling limits, but also included disciplines such as a swerve-and-recover lane change exercise, a slalom between traffic cones and a hard braking stop from 100km/h.

All the time, judges were noting the minute details of each car’s equipment levels, comfort, build quality, noise levels and all the other ponderables that determine category and overall winners. From all that, the 86 deserved to come up trumps.

The final vote between category winners to determine the overall winner was not a unanimous win for the 86 GT, however. Mazda’s CX-5 received three of the nine judges’ votes thanks largely to its brilliant diesel engine, sparkling dynamics and low fuel use.

The other two finalists that were debated heavily were the Kia Sorento SLi and Toyota Camry Hybrid H. Each were standouts and rounded out what was arguably the most impressive quartet of finalists for the coveted overall gong.

The Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI that took out last year’s Car of the Year and again won the Best Luxury Car Under $80,000 category in 2012 failed to make it to the final four – just.

Speaking of votes, there were a few interesting statistics to come out of the overall testing. For instance, eight of the category winners were carryover champions from last year, indicating that on the whole, a good car can remain difficult to beat.

The five new category winners were the Kia Sorento, Porsche 911, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Mazda CX-5 and, of course, the Toyota 86.

The Camry Hybrid’s win as Best Family Car made it the first hybrid champion, and also meant that along with Volkswagen and Mazda, Toyota had two category winners.

In technical terms, nine of the 13 category winners had four-cylinder engines, nine had turbocharged engines and seven were either diesel or hybrid powered.

The spread of dollar value for the 13 winners could hardly have been greater. They ranged from the $18,990 VW Polo 77TSI to the $262,600 Porsche 911 Carrera S.

And last, the 86 GT was the first Toyota to win the Car of the Year gong in the award’s seven-year history, and only the second non-German one at that.

So take a bow Toyota 86. You were the right car at the right time, and an almost perfectly executed sports car at that. Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Reg Kermonde, chief executive and chairman of Cabcharge, made his views of the two-strike system clear, as the company received its second strike against its executive remuneration report at today’s annual meeting.

More than 38 per cent of shares vote against adoption of the report, triggering a vote to spill the board.

But shareholders overwhemingly voted against the spill, with more than 86 per cent voting down the resolution.

“That’s not democracy,’’ Mr Kermode said of the two strike system. ‘‘And it’s not in the interest of any companies in this country.

‘‘Shareholder democracy is always about the majority, and not the loudest voice. That is the problem with the strike system, all it measures is [the] minority.’’

A board spill has to be called if more than 25 per cent of shareholders vote against the remuneration report two years in a row.

A representative from the Australian Shareholders’ Associtiation, Allan Goldin, voted against executive remuneration but was not in favour of a board spill.

‘‘We worry about the affect [the legislation] has on the company and the reputations of the directors. It is not something that is taken lightly,’’ he said.

Mr Kermonde also addressed concern over recent Reserve Bank criticism of its 10 per cent surcharge on taxi fares paid by card.

‘‘Suggestions that our industry could survive on 5 per cent because of some as-yet unaccepted draft report to the Victorian government on the Victorian taxi industry are not realistic and are likely to be met with significant resistance,’’ he said.

Research compiled by Deutsche Bank pointed to a possible bright side for Cabcharge if it were to be forced to reduce its surcharge.

‘‘A 5 per cent cap would affect smaller competitors disproportionately. We believe that this will see some players forced out of the industry and the consolidation of market share among the larger players.’’

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Guy Sebastian, Gotye, The Temper Trap and 360 are up for ARIAs.AUSTRALIAN music’s night of nights is upon us again.

The 26th annual ARIA Awards will screen on GO! Thursday from 7.30pm.

The Border Mail music writer JAMIE HORNE casts his eye over the nominees and comes up with his picks for the awards.

Use the YouTubeplayers to listen and watch some of the top chances in each category (not available on iPhone).

Breakthrough Artist Release

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Alpine – A Is For Alpine

• Lanie Lane – To the Horses

• Matt Corby – Brother

• San Cisco – Awkward

The Winner: 360. It’s certainly belated but lock ‘Sixty’ in for this one on what might be a quiet night (awards-wise, at least) for the polarising Melbourne rapper.

Could steal it: Matt Corby

Best Independent Release

• Dappled Cities – Lake Air

• Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp – Songs of the Southern Skies

• San Cisco – Awkward

• The Bamboos – Medicine Man

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

The Winner: The Jezebels. It’s a notoriously hard category to pick, but the momentum built by ‘The Jez’ last year should see them in good stead for this award.

Could steal it: Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp

Best Adult Contemporary Album

• Darren Hayes – Secret Codes and Battleships

• Husky – Forever So

• Josh Pyke – Only Sparrows

• Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp – Songs of the Southern Skies

• Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

The Winner: Husky. Almost the ‘you’re past it as a pop artist’ category but these guys won’t care. Brilliant harmonies, superb soundscape, check ‘em out if you haven’t already.

Could steal it: Darren Hayes

Best Pop Release

• Gotye – Making Mirrors

• Guy Sebastian – Battle Scars

• Jessica Mauboy – Gotcha

• Kimbra – Vows

• San Cisco – Awkward

The Winner: Gotye. Called him music’s equivalent of Black Caviar in this column last year and, guess what, Nelly’s still unbeaten. A shoo-in, sorry Guy.

Could steal it: Guy Sebastian

Best Rock Album

• Children Collide – Monument

• Cold Chisel – No Plans

• Oh Mercy – Deep Heat

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

• The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap

The Winner: The Temper Trap. The heart says Chisel here, the head says Dougy Mandagi and the boys. On fire in 2012, having just played to more than 200,000 people on the Coldplay tour.

Could steal it: Cold Chisel

Best Urban Album

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Hilltop Hoods – Drinking From the Sun

• Katalyst – Deep Impressions

• The Bamboos – Medicine Man

• The Herd – Future Shade

The Winner: Hilltop Hoods. 360 will be the favourite but the Adelaide superstars have NEVER been beaten in this category. The streak will continue.

Could steal it: 360

Best Country Album

• Beccy Cole – Songs and Pictures

• Catherine Britt – Always Never Enough

• McAlister Kemp – Country Proud

• The McClymonts – Two Worlds Collide

• Troy Cassar-Daley – Home

The Winner: Troy Cassar-Daley. Tough to split TCD and those sexy McClymont sisters. Cassar-Daley’s Home was straight from the heart after his Fernvale farm was swamped in the 2011 Queensland floods.

Could steal it: The McClymonts

Best Dance Release

• Havana Brown – When the Lights Go Out

• Hermitude – Hyperparadise

• Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl featuring Georgi Kay – In My Mind

• Knife Party – Rage Valley

• Sneaky Sound System – From Here to Anywhere

The Winner: Havana Brown. Sneaky’s CD was a ripper, but Havana has been an international sensation, topping the US dance charts with We Run The Night and becoming besties with Pitbull along the way.

Could steal it: Sneaky Sound System

Best Male Artist

• 360

• Angus Stone

• Gotye

• Guy Sebastian

• Keith Urban

• Matt Corby

The Winner: Guy Sebastian. Could 2012 be the year an ‘Idol’ finally wins a non-sales based ARIA? As Gough Whitlam said “It’s time”. Will clean up in 2013.

Could steal it: Gotye

Best Female Artist

• Jessica Mauboy

• Kimbra

• Lanie Lane

• Missy Higgins

• Washington

The Winner: Missy Higgins. Tough one again. Kimbra won it last year, Jess gets no ARIA love and Washington’s CD was too emo. Missy almost gave music away altogether — great choice sister!

Could steal it: Lanie Lane

Best Group

• Boy & Bear

• Cold Chisel

• Hilltop Hoods

• The Jezabels

• The Temper Trap

The Winner: Cold Chisel. Here’s where the old guard gets one back over the newbies, if only for nostalgia’s sake. After losing founding member Steve Prestwich to a brain tumor last year, this would be a fitting result.

Could steal it: The Temper Trap

Album of the Year

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Gotye – Making Mirrors

• Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

• The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap

The Winner: Gotye. Gets another shot and, unfortunately for standouts 360 and The Temper Trap, will add another pointy trophy to his growing collection. Next stop, Grammys.

Could steal it: Missy Higgins

ARIA Song of the Year (Publicly voted)

• 360 feat. Gossling – Boys Like You

• Delta Goodrem – Sitting On Top Of the World

• Guy Sebastian – Don’t Worry Be Happy

• Hilltop Hoods Featuring Sia – I Love It

• Jessica Mauboy & Stan Walker – Galaxy

• Justice Crew – Boom Boom

• Matt Corby – Brother

• Reece Mastin – Good Night

• Ricki-Lee – Do It Like That

• Timomatic – Set It Off

The Winner: Reece Mastin. The ‘Little Rockers’ will get Reecey over the line. It’s a popularity contest, this one, with the nominees based on sales performance. A shame Guy isn’t nominated for Battle Scars, he’d smack this one out of the ballpark. Matt Corby’s Brother is the BEST song of this lot but his fanbase might not be strong enough.

Could steal it: Guy Sebastian

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

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

Days after being unfit to roll his arm over at all Shane Watson is readying himself to take up the slack and contribute even more with the ball than he usually would in Perth to assist tired Australian pacemen Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.

An injury scratching for the first two Tests against South Africa the all-rounder and vice-captain all of sudden is a key bowling asset, particularly if Australia decide to enter Friday’s third and final Test at the WACA with only three fast bowlers.

Watson, missing with a calf strain in Brisbane and Adelaide, returned to bowling in the training nets during the second Test and sent down six overs in practice on Tuesday before flying to Perth. Given the physical ordeals Siddle in particular and Hilfenhaus put themselves through in the Adelaide draw Watson is prepared to be more than simply a support act for captain Michael Clarke if the recuperating pair of fast bowlers are retained.

“Absolutely, I understand that could be a possibility and at the moment that’s the biggest challenge for Ben and Peter for their mammoth effort in second innings to be able to freshen up as quick as they can,” Watson said.

“I do understand there will be a possibility of me bowling as many overs as I need to to be able to help the team hopefully win, but in the end my body is on the condition to be able to do it, so I’m certainly fresh over the past couple of weeks compared to some of the other guys that have been out there so my body should be right.

“I’m certainly going to be up to bowling as many overs as Michael wants and probably the normal sort of workload really that I bowl in a Test match, things have progressed really well over the past week so ready to go.”

Barring any last-minute mishaps the series decider – which doubles as a unofficial world championship play-off, with the winner to walk away as the world No.1 – will be Watson’s first Test at home since the forgettable Ashes of 2010/11.

A hamstring tear, then a more serious calf injury, put a line through him for the entire home calendar against New Zealand and India last summer. His latest setback has not proved as problematic, yet the 31-year-old has still be the subject of calls for him to give bowling away.

Watson, however, is not straying from his long-term stance on the subject. “Not unless something goes very horribly wrong, I wouldn’t want to give up on bowling,” he said. “[It’s] one part I love of the game – I know it puts more pressure on my body to be able to play consistently but it’s something I just love so much and have loved doing since I was an all-rounder since I was a young kid. That’s the ultimate enjoyment for me is to play as an all-rounder. Mentally, the injury setbacks are frustrating at times, but it doesn’t take away the love of being able to contribute with bat and ball.”

Watson insists there is no relationship between his bowling output and where he lines up in the batting order. The additional rest time since his move from opener has been beneficial, too, he argues. “The amount of overs compared to where I bat I don’t think they have an correlation at all,” he said. “In the end when I was opening the amount of overs I bowl was going to be similar to me batting at three anyway…more so batting at No.3 gives me a bit more opportunity to be able to freshen up mentally or physically.”

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

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

True or false? Irish whiskey is practically the same as Scottish whisky. Did you answer true? You lose. Their rich shades of amber are about the same, but in tradition and taste, the two couldn’t be more different.

And I have to admit, I didn’t know that either, until I embarked on a journey to Ireland, a country I’ve had a romantic fascination with since I was a child.

I didn’t visit just for the whiskey, of course, but for its legendary beauty, architecture and culture. Still, it was the whiskey that held the most intrigue.

This tiny island is surrounded by the cold waters and salty mist of the North Atlantic and the Irish Sea. Rain is often and plentiful. This pure, sweet water is the base of Irish whiskey. And while it may be true that the Irish like their Guinness, it’s even truer they like a drop of the hard stuff.

Irish whiskey, relatively speaking, hasn’t been around long.

The process of distilling dates back to about AD500, to the Arabs who extracted oil from plants to make perfume. Thus began the unique process of evaporation and condensation that is essential to whiskey-making today.

Later on, Celtic Christian monks, who travelled throughout Europe spreading the gospel, used those same principles to creatively distil local ingredients into alcohol.

In France, for example, grapes were distilled for eau de vie, the cognac and brandy of today. Scandinavian countries produced aqua vit, while in Ireland barley yielded uisce beatha. All of these romantic-sounding words simply translate to “water of life”.

In the late 1400s, the first accounts of grain distilling appeared in Scotland. To distinguish themselves from their Irish cousins, the Scots left the “e” out of whiskey.

The first official license for distilling was granted in 1608. And here begins our journey.

Our tour group began its whiskey education in Dublin, touring narrow flower-lined streets resplendent with statues, churches, shops and pubs. Lots of pubs, where the whiskey pairs well with local dishes like corned beef and fish pie.

The Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin was where we teamed up with Emer, our bubbly, happy guide.

“We take whiskey-making seriously here at Jameson,” she said, before missing a significant beat, then adding with a wink, “but we also take drinking it seriously”.

As we toured the distillery, which dates back to 1780 but closed as a working distillery in the 1970s when operations were moved to Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Emer explained that the biggest differences between Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky is that the Irish version is triple-distilled and doesn’t have the smoky, peaty taste that is the hallmark of scotch.

She then took us through the complicated process of making whiskey, which begins with barley that’s malted in a kiln – the Gaelic word for oven – before it is milled to a flour-like coarseness.

Next, it is mixed with pure Irish water in the mash-tun to produce wort – it sounds nasty but is actually sweet – which is then fermented to convert the sugar into alcohol. From there it is distilled to separate the water from the alcohol before being placed in handmade barrels for maturation.

With whiskey information overload, we finished our tour at the visitor’s centre, where a quarter of a million people come each year, before heading south to Cork to visit the Old Middleton Distillery at the Jameson Heritage Centre.

While you can’t tour the working distillery, you can take an educational and historical tour of the superbly preserved former distillery to learn more of Jameson’s time-honed craft, have lunch at the Malt House Restaurant and browse the gift shop.

“We hold on to the traditions of the past,” says master distiller Barry Crockett as he shows off the world’s largest pot still and a “ye-olden-days” waterwheel that once powered all of the machinery in the distillery.

Crockett confirms that Irish whiskey is triple distilled, declaring the final product is “cleaner, more pure, and sweeter in taste, like apples, pears, and peaches”.

Following an afternoon stop at the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, our group, heads filled with a cornucopia of fruity images, travelled to County Westmeath to Kilbeggan to visit another gorgeously restored working distillery.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Kilbeggan, which dates back to 1757 and draws about 45,000 visitors annually, was its amalgamation of unusual sounds, from the rhythmic ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom of mechanical gears grinding together to the flip-flipping of waterwheels and the gurgling of bubbling streams.

Andrina Fitzgerald, who at 24-years-old is one of the youngest whiskey distillers in Ireland, showed us a 185-year-old pot still. (Funny, it didn’t look a day over a hundred.)

Northern Ireland was next in our sights, and the village of Bushmills in County Antrim.

As we drove north, I sighed contentedly as the lush scenery of Ireland’s pastures and craggy cliffs sauntered past. It’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing, and the serene countryside is punctuated by the bones of ancient castles, pastoral stone fences, and masses of fat, happy sheep and cattle.

Finally arriving in Bushmills after a stop at the mythical Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we found a quiet village crammed with taverns, shops, and restaurants. From our accommodations at Bushmills Inn, the distillery, was less than a half-mile walk.

“Bushmills is the heart of the Irish whiskey industry,” said Robert Galbraith, our guide and Bushmills ambassador, before explaining that its distilling process really hasn’t changed in the more than 400 years since King James granted the first license to distil in 1608.

We had booked a premium tour, so Galbraith took us to a comfortable tasting room. Before us sat glasses of whiskey, shimmering like gold in the light pouring in through the windows.

The whiskey went down smoothly as we sipped our way through several centuries of whiskey-making traditions. Quietly I raised a glass and cheered “slainte” silently to King James.


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

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

Hilarious, chaotic, sunburnt bliss is what writer Kathy Lette looks forward to each summer with family when they make their annual pilgrimage to Gerringong on the NSW south coast.

Gerringong, NSW, is my favourite place. The joy of living in London is its proximity to everywhere else. I’ve been lucky enough to explore the world from Moscow to the Maldives (place-dropping, a new art form!). But my happiest holidays are at my grandma’s beachside shack in that little town south of Sydney.

Every school holiday my family would snake our way down the coast in our overladen Chevy. My sisters and I would explode from the car like champagne from a shaken bottle, squealing with delight as we raced for that golden beach.

As toddlers, we lolled about in the lagoon, attempting to bridge the yawning chasm between us and buoyancy. Later, Dad taught us to bodysurf. The first time I followed my father into the swell the waves slapped my face repeatedly. As a sheer cliff of green water reared up (what my sisters and I called a “vomit comet”), I realised that “bodysurfer” is just a euphemism for “organ donor”.

But my father simply picked me up and hurled me shoreward like a human javelin. Before I had time to have a heart attack, I realised I was actually aloft on the crest. It would have been a total triumph, if only my bikini bottoms hadn’t caught a different wave.

Now I have children, every December we emerge into the searing sunshine at Sydney Airport, blinking like field mice, then head straight down the coast. My sisters and I ride boogie boards, holding hands as we surf to shore like deranged Gidgets. We go rockpooling and bushwalking with the kids and eat mangoes so succulent you have to be hosed down afterwards, then play charades all night. It’s hilarious, chaotic, sunburnt bliss and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Kathy Lette’s new best-seller is The Boy Who Fell To Earth.

This series of articles produced with support from Tourism Australia.

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

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

The first major overhaul of controversial NSW bail laws in 34 years will abolish all presumptions against awarding and denying bail.

The NSW government has rejected the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission to introduce a universal presumption in favour of bail, and additional applications for bail for adults.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, flanked by Attorney General Greg Smith and Police Minister Mike Gallacher, said the government would introduce a “simpler” Bail Act by removing complexities such as the presumptions scheme, which has confounded the community.

“We have all been left scratching our heads from time to time about the inconsistency in which the current bail law is applied,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Accused criminals who pose a serious risk to community safety or are likely to commit further crimes will not get bail under this model.

“Under the current law, decisions about bail are made based on the offence a person has been charged with – not the risk they pose to the community. Our reforms will ensure the risk to the community is the first thing taken into account.”

Mr O’Farrell said under the new laws, the police and courts would consider whether a person posed an unacceptable risk of endangering community safety, committing a serious offence, interfering with witnesses, or absconding.

Mr Smith said the Bail Act had been amended 85 times since its introduction 34 years ago, making it inconsistent and overly complex.

“The current system of presumptions is inconsistent, resulting in bail decisions which sometimes don’t seem to make sense.”

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione also welcomed the changes.

However, bail reform advocates were concerned that the removal of a presumption in favour of bail would undermine the legal principle of a presumption of innocence.

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

Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano model the Brumbies’ 2013 playing kit. SPORT: L-R Brumbies players, Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano wearing the Brumbies 2013 playing jersey that includes the centenary logo at Canberra Stadium, Bruce.

The ACT Brumbies’ on-field resurgence has delivered the richest playing kit in the club’s history with $1.8 million of sponsorship unveiled on their new strip on Wednesday.

In a big financial boost less than a year after the Brumbies were searching for a naming rights sponsor on the eve of the season, the two-time Super Rugby champions have declared their lucrative strip an ”historic milestone” in their rebuilding.

The club plans to celebrate the capital’s centenary with a one-off 100th birthday playing jersey for their match against the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium in March.

A design for the jersey is being finalised and they will be auctioned off after the match against the Brumbies’ arch-rivals.

It is expected to feature the centenary colours and have a ”strong alignment” with the celebrations planned by the ACT Government.

The Brumbies have broken with tradition by removing the ACT Coat of Arms and replacing it with the centenary logo.

But it is the addition of car company Land Rover to the sleeve of the jerseys which has given the Brumbies’ financial coffers a boost.

Land Rover’s deal is for the next two years and part of the $1.8 million sponsorship which is largely made up of the University of Canberra’s contribution with two other shirt and shorts partners.

”The jersey and the shorts as a package are worth as much as we have ever had,” Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.

”It’s a great thing that it’s worth more than it has been in the history of the organisation and reflects the standing we have here in Canberra and the Brumbies brand internationally.”

The Canberra Raiders have also secured one of their most lucrative jersey sponsorships.

A year ago the Brumbies risked starting the Jake White era without a major backer when Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei pulled out of a deal.

But the club linked with the University of Canberra and has secured a deal to move its base to the Bruce campus at the end of the 2013 season.

The university, the Brumbies and the ACT government will build a new $15 million base next year with designs expected to be finalised in the coming months.

White has transformed the team on the field, lifting it to within one game of ending an eight-year finals drought.

Fagan said the Brumbies had a responsibility to ”keep our fans engaged” with strong results on the field.

And White is confident his developing team can deliver with the experience of last season adding depth for the 2013 campaign.

”Having the most money on our jersey sends a statement to everyone,” White said.

”We are the younger brother in the community and to get a sponsorship like this and the money and everyone wants to be a part of the Brumbies, you know you’re selling the right product.

”I concentrate on the rugby and if the rugby is right, then all these other things fall into place … there’s been a massive change and the people in Canberra are loving that the Brumbies are back.”

They will begin the season against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on February 16. There are only slight changes to the playing kit with the Brumbies to wear white shorts with their alternate strip.

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