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.
Nanjing Night Net

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.

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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.
Nanjing Night Net

”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.”

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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.”

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Mark Bowyer, second right, and teammate Duncan Miller with the cast of The Block All Stars.Production of Channel Nine’s reality series The Block All Stars has been disrupted after a contestant collapsed at the show’s Bondi building site and was rushed to hospital.

Mark Bowyer, 55, who with best mate Duncan Miller formed the team known as ‘The Two Fat Tradies’ in The Block’s third season, had been at one of the new homes when he started feeling ill, a series insider said.

An ambulance was called and he was taken to Prince Of Wales hospital for examination.

“Block All-Star (contestant) Mark Bowyer, who was conducting an interview early on Monday morning, complained of dizziness and feeling “not quite right”,” a spokesman for Nine confirmed.

“Immediately, foreman Keith (trained in first aid) saw to him and ordered an ambulance.

“Minutes later he was taken to hospital where they performed a series of tests. He was released that afternoon with orders to rest.”

Bowyer and Miller became instant fan favourites when they took part in The Block in 2010 – marking the show’s return after a six-year absence – for their laid-back attitude and the fact they brought a pie warmer with them into their Vaucluse unit.

During the series the pair often complained of the stressful workload brought on by the hectic pace of 24/7 restoration, amplified by the fact they were older than most other contestants.

They eventually came third in the competition when their unit sold for $907,000, from a reserve of $860,000.

Since then, they had used their fame to promote a footpath safety campaign for Guide Dogs Australia, offered renovation tips on Nine’s website and were part of the construction team that built XXXX Island, a mini-resort on a small island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a promotion for the eponymous brewers.

Filming of The Block’s sixth season, the tenth anniversary of the renovation franchise, began on October 12 with Bowyer leaving 45 days into the shoot.

In his absence the show’s host and experienced builder Scott Cam has stepped in to assist Miller with their current rebuild, as has Jenny, Miller’s wife.

Nine has said that if possible, father of four Bowyer will not be permanently replaced if possible.

“We are of course first and foremost concerned about his health and are waiting to see if and when the doctors say he can come back to the show,” a spokesman said.

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Legal first … Philip Leung has been found guilty after three trials.Sydney jeweller Phillip Leung has been found guilty of killing his male partner after three trials spanning four years – a first in NSW’s legal history.

Leung, 51, sobbed uncontrollably in the dock as the jury found he was guilty of manslaughter over the death of his long-term partner Mario Guzzetti – a crime for which he had previously been acquitted.

“This is wrong, just wrong,” Leung said, through tears.

The trial in the NSW Supreme Court had heard that on the morning of April 7, 2007, a row erupted between the couple over a tiler’s bag of cement that was obstructing access at their home in Alexandria.

About the same time, neighbours heard a loud noise, like a shelf falling. After several minutes’ silence, Mr Leung was heard wailing hysterically.

The first witnesses at the scene found him at the foot of the stairs, rocking back and forth while cradling his blood-stained partner, who had sustained head injuries. Mr Guzzetti, 72, had stopped breathing by the time ambulance officers arrived.

At his original trial in 2009, Mr Leung was acquitted of murder after a judge directed the jury to find him not guilty.

The Crown, however, used NSW’s controversial double jeopardy laws, introduced in 2006, to have the verdict quashed.

Mr Leung then faced court on a manslaughter charge last April, but became the first person in Australian legal history to be acquitted twice by a judge’s directed verdict. As he left court that day, he said he was “finally free” to move on.

He was wrong.

In March this year, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal upheld a second appeal by the Crown and ordered that Mr Leung again be tried for manslaughter.

Leung appeared to be in a state of shock as the jury foreman delivered the verdict today after two days of deliberations, shaking his head slowly before breaking down. At least one member of the jury also appeared to be crying.

Leung’s barrister, Winston Terracini, SC, made a last ditch effort to keep his client out of jail, asking that he be granted bail.

But Justice Derek Price refused bail, telling court sherrifs to “take the offender into custody”.

Leung, still protesting his innocence, removed his jewellery and his glasses and descended the stairs to the cells below.

Mr Leung, 51, is the first person in NSW legal history to be tried three times over the same homicide investigation.

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Holden Entertainment SystemThe new iPhone 5 and the Holden Commodore aren’t speaking.

But Holden says it is working to fix a communication problem between its Commodore and the latest iPhone, one of the best-selling handsets in Australia.

Hyundai has also received complaints from customers about iPhone connectivity.

Melbourne resident Ashley Hall says he bought an iPhone 5 in November but the handset “failed every time” to connect in his Commodore.

“I am unable to receive calls, everything goes silent when I take a call,” Mr Hall said. “The best-selling phone and one of the best-selling cars in Australia … [and the companies] are unable to sort this out.”

Mr Hall says his dealer told him it could be 12 months before a fix is found.

The glitch has created heated discussion in various forums online, with users raising the issue on Apple discussion boards as well as the Australian Whirlpool and Mactalk sites.

Owners with various makes of car say they are having problems connecting to the new phone.

Holden says car manufacturers and phone companies have to work together. “When new phones come on to the market they need validation to ensure compatibility with existing in car systems,” a Holden spokeswoman said.

“We now need to undertake that validation to see where the iPhone 5 and new operating system are not compatible with the HoldenIQ system.

“This is an area where car companies and phone companies need to work more closely together and something we are focused on.”

Holden engineers are examining why the handsets can’t talk to its IQ touchscreen infotainment system, she said.

The company says next year’s Barina Spark and VF Commodore will work with Siri, the voice-activated assistant in all new iPhones.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the problem, and would say only that “both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S support Bluetooth 4.0”.

Manufacturers looking to woo tech-savvy buyers are all too aware that they expect their phones to work flawlessly with in-car entertainment and communication systems.

In all Australian states, using hand-held mobile phones while driving is illegal – but using a hands-free mobile is allowed.

In NSW, loudspeaker features on phones cannot be used unless the phone is in a secure cradle.

Drive tested the hands-free and music functions of an iPhone 5 with the latest software updates this week and found it worked flawlessly with new cars made by Audi, Kia, Mazda, Peugeot and Toyota.

Ford says there have been no reported problems between its new electronic Sync system and the iPhone 5.

But a spokesman for Hyundai said that some customers had experienced smartphone connection problems.

Some contributors to online forums say they have solved hands-free problems with the iPhone 5 by upgrading to Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 6.01, but Ashley Hall tried this, with no success. “It definitely won’t work,” he said.

Apple sold more than 2 million iPhones worldwide each day in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung’s Galaxy S III outsold Apple’s iPhone 5 globally in the same period, but Apple is expected to retake first place in the sales race by the end of the year.

Analysts have predicted that the iPhone 5 will be the best-selling gadget in history.  Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Buyers are walking away from sales and losing their deposits.Melbourne’s outer-suburban property market is facing a serious slump as distressed buyers and builders cancel one in every three new home purchases.

The collapse in sales could have serious repercussions for the state economy and the building industry, which employs more than 250,000 Victorians.

“We’ve never seen this before, so it’s a very strong signal that the fundamentals are wrong,” said Colin Keane, director of analyst group Research4, who compiled the new research.

He said the current cancellation rate of more than 30 per cent compared to an average two years ago of about 5 per cent.

Developers have had nearly 1800 lots returned to them this year as buyers have aborted plans to build homes in the city’s housing estates, according to the National Land Survey Program.

While buyers who walk away from sales are losing their deposits, developers are left trying to re-sell the land as demand wanes.

The cancellation rate on land deals hit more than 30 per cent in the September quarter, up from an average of 5 per cent before the 2009-2010 property boom ended. It had been averaging about 23 per cent over the past year.

Driving the problem were sales policies that allowed buyers to put down only a $500 or $1000 “holding deposit” on a block, industry operators say.

“It’s the developers who were taking these holding deposits that are really experiencing the problem,” said Rory Costelloe of Villawood Properties.

“It also doesn’t help that the prices being charged for the land rose way too high, too fast when these blocks were being sold 12 or 18 months ago.”

Others buyers have had to walk away from settlements – and much larger deposits worth up to 5 per cent of the purchase price – after failing to get financing on blocks of land that have lost 10 to 20 per cent of their value since they signed the contract.

The problem has worsened despite some developers reportedly offering big cash hand-outs in a bid to help buyers make up the difference between what they initially agreed to pay and the land’s current value when qualifying for a loan.

“The developers are basically trying to buy their settlement. It’s easier to pay them the difference than to try to sell the block again,” said a valuer, who asked to remain anonymous.

Mr Keane said builders were also having to return land to developers when buyers backed out, and it became clear they couldn’t settle on the house and land packages they were selling.

“The dramatic increase in lots being returned to developers highlights the pressure the Melbourne new home building industry is currently under,” he said.

Housing estates in the city’s west and north are experiencing the highest cancellation rate, the research shows.

Melbourne’s new-home market has been weathering a downturn since late 2010, which has seen construction activity and land sales fall well below historic averages.

The value of residential building is expected to fall by 20 per cent this financial year, shedding $4 billion worth of construction spending, according to the Australian Construction Industry Forum.

Developers have been frantically trying to prime the pump with hefty buyer incentives that include cash rebates, cars, and furniture and landscaping packages.

Industry lobby groups have also been calling for a boost to the First Home Owners Grant for new homes, which was slashed from $20,000 to $7000 in July.Comment at BusinessDay

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Mar 29 , 2019 / By :

Conspiracy theorists might believe otherwise, but AFL boss Andrew Demetriou stresses that the major football code in the country did not attempt to scupper Australian efforts to bring the major football code in the world Down Under.
Nanjing Night Net

It could be equated to Daniel stepping into the lions den but Demetriou did not bat an eyelid as he took centre stage at a Melbourne Victory In Business lunch at Crown, in which he fronted over 900 corporate supporters of the FFA’s biggest club.

And he moved quickly to assure some of his biggest critics that the AFL had not schemed to undermine Australia’s bid to bring the World Cup to these shores as it recognised the sporting and economic value of bringing the world’s biggest event here.

“We were not popping champagne corks. We were as disappointed as everyone else that this country and this state was not going to be able to host games,” he said.

Demetriou said that as a young man he had always tuned in to television coverage of the English game in pre-Premiership days, marvelling at the intensity of the Liverpool-Manchester United clashes and at the skills of players like Leeds winger Eddie Gray and Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish.

Given that his background was Greek-Cypriot he had always kicked a round ball as well as an oval ball around the yard behind his parents fish and chip shop in Coburg “or in Woolies car park”, he reminisced.

But the former North Melbourne Australian rules winger who has since made his reputation on the back of some of Australian sport’s biggest TV deals admitted that if anyone had told him that one day the Premiership “would be worth over $7.5 billion to broadcasters I would have told you you were mad”.

Demetriou praised Victory for the inroads it had made on the social, business and sporting landscape and suggested that competition — from within and from rival codes — was good for a sport. The advent of West Sydney Wanderers had pushed the AFL’s Giants to lift its efforts in that region, he said.

Any sport or business that rested on its laurels was doomed and the AFL embraced all new challenges and opportunities, Demetriou said.

“If it ain’t broke, then fix it anyway,” was the organisation’s motto, he said.

And purists in the room would have been delighted to note that the AFL supremo referred to his own code as “Aussie rules” and the round ball game as football.

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