Archive Month: July 2018
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.

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

The Deputy Opposition leader, Julie Bishop, cannot rule out speaking to Ralph Blewitt by telephone last week, only that she never rang him and he never rang her.
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Ms Bishop, the chief inquisitor of Julia Gillard over the AWU slush fund saga, said on Tuesday that she had spoken to Mr Blewitt just once and that was at a face-to-face meeting in Melbourne on Friday last week.

Ms Bishop said the meeting with the self-confessed fraudster and AWU bag man was coincidental, that she was in Melbourne on party business when the former radio host, Michael Smith, rang her.

Ms Bishop said Mr Smith, who has been relentlessy pursuing Ms Gillard over the saga, told her he was with Mr Blewitt and suggested they should meet.

Ms Bishop agreed and they met at a cafe for about 10 minutes.

However, Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that the pair had spoken at least once before – by phone on Wednesday last week when Ms Bishop was in Perth.

This report led to Labor MPs calling for Ms Bishop’s resignation this morning.

”If those media reports are correct, then Julie Bishop has out and out lied,” said the minister, Craig Emerson.

”She should therefore resign or be sacked.”

The Queensland MP, Yvette D’Ath, said Ms Bishop was demanding Ms Gillard recall events from more than 17 years ago ‘‘when Julie Bishop herself can’t even recall what she did last week’’.

Ms Bishop has released a statement not ruling out that the pair spoke by phone.

”Earlier last week Michael Smith called me while I was driving in Perth and said he was at dinner with someone who wanted to speak to me,” she said.

”That person did not identify themselves and said he was pleased that the AWU fraud was being raised in Parliament.

”I said that would continue to be the case and my mobile phone dropped out at that point.

”Michael Smith did not call back and I do not know to whom I spoke.”

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

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

The two shot men were working on this house in Punchbowl. Police at the scene of the shooting.
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Do you know more? Email us, message us on Twitter @smh.Sydney gun crime

A man shot five times from behind in a brazen daytime shooting is in a stable condition and is believed to be talking to detectives.

The man, named Mohammed and aged in his 30s, was one of two workmen hit with a spray of bullets in a targeted shooting in Punchbowl on Tuesday afternoon. The other man died at the scene.

Mohammed, an electrician, and Ali Eid, a tiler, were working on Mr Eid’s unfinished two-storey mansion on Lumeah Street when two masked gunmen dressed all in black fired at least eight shots, then jumped a fence and ran away, according to a witness.

The men were sitting on chairs at the back of the property at the time.

Mr Eid, a father of four who bought the corner property last year with his wife and was building a large family home on it, was found by police dead at the back of the property with three gunshot wounds.

Mohammed may have been shot as he tried to escape. He was found by neighbours on the front lawn with five gunshot wounds to the back of his head, back of his legs and his hands.

He was rushed to St George Hospital in a serious condition but was in a stable condition on Wednesday morning and was visited by two detectives investigating the homicide.

As he lay bleeding on the front lawn of the Lumeah property, he said “they shot us” in Arabic to a neighbour, who was trying to stem the flow of blood until an ambulance arrived.

The two gunmen are still on the run despite large parts of Punchbowl being locked down on Tuesday night as police, dogs and helicopters conducted an “extensive canvass” of the area.

Heavily armed police ordered residents and workers to stay inside and lock their doors.

A nearby worker said a police officer rushed into their business and told them to lock-up because there was a gunman on the loose. “The officer was really quick. He said to lock up, and mentioned a firearm,” the worker said.

One resident in Lumeah Avenue said she heard four gunshots outside a property under construction.

She said she didn’t think anything of it because the construction site was often noisy, but when she later heard sirens in the street she went outside.

A heavily-armed policeman yelled at her: “Go back inside.”

Another neighbour said she ran outside after hearing the shots and saw a young man lying on the ground with blood rushing from his head. She said he looked about 20 years old.

“It was shocking,” she said.

The incident is not thought to be related to a spate of recent gun deaths in Sydney. Earlier this month, Comanchero Faalau Pisu, 23, was shot dead at a wedding reception in Canley Vale, and John Devine, 28, was seriously wounded days later in retaliation.

And two men with bikie links were killed in another shooting at South Wentworthville last month.

“[There is] nothing that has jumped out in terms of the other shootings,” a police source said on Tuesday night.

The incident was the 128th shooting in Sydney this year, according to the state opposition leader, John Robertson.

With Nick Ralston and Ilya Gridneff

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

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Death mask … Somerton Man was never identified and was buried opposite a pub, the Elephant and Castle Hotel, in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. Hidden meaning … the suspected code found on the last page of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”.
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On November 30, 1948, Mr John Baines Lyons, a jeweller, went for a walk with his wife along Adelaide’s Somerton Beach, as was their habit if the weather was warm. It was the last day of spring and hot, so they were strolling about 7pm when, near the foot of the steps which led down to the beach they saw a man sitting, supported by the sea wall. As they passed, he extended his right arm and then let it fall. They concluded that he was not dead, although possibly dead drunk, and walked on.

Some time later, around 7.30pm, a woman called Olive Constance Neill, a telephonist, saw the seated man from the road above the seafront. It was a warm night and there were other people about, including a man in his 50s, wearing a grey suit and hat, who was looking down, possibly at the man on the beach. Miss Neill directed her companion Gordon’s attention to the seated man and said, “Perhaps he’s dead!” Gordon gave a cursory glance, observed that the man might indeed be dead because he wasn’t reacting to the mosquitos, and they passed on. Possibly with other things on their minds.

At about 6.50am the next morning, the same John Lyons, who must have been a very athletic man, went for an early-morning swim. When he emerged from the sea, he met a friend of his and they noticed men on horses gathered around the man Mr Lyons had seen the night before. On inspection, Mr Lyons affirmed that the man was dead. He went home to call the police and then returned to the scene. Brighton Police Station sent their Constable Moss, who found a body in which rigor mortis was already fully established. The man was lying with his feet toward the sea, still against the sea wall. He was well-dressed but he had no hat. He didn’t appear to have suffered any stab wounds or bullet wounds. No bruises or blood were observed and there was no disturbance of the scene. He seemed to have died, very quietly and peacefully, where he sat. His half-smoked cigarette had fallen out of his mouth and onto his lapel as he slumped, but his chin was not even blistered.

And there you have him. Somerton Man as he is called these days.

My dad told me about him as though he was a myth. In a way, he is. Certainly, he has become an object over which many theories have been laid. But he is also himself, poor man – cold as a stone, slouched on the sand like a marooned sailor, with his last smoke dropping gently out of his mouth – and he deserves his dignity. He was somebody’s son. Somebody, somewhere, missed him and mourned for him. He wasn’t just a mystery. He was a man.

The police ambulance took Somerton Man to the Royal Adel-aide Hospital on North Terrace. There, at 9.40am, the doctor declared that life was extinct, an ancient ritual which must be enacted, even if there is absolutely no chance that life is present.

Life could hardly have been more extinct in Somerton Man. The doctor who declared him dead suggested that he must have had a heart attack and sent him to the morgue for a post-mortem. The body was processed in the usual way, being stripped and tagged and refrigerated. There was nothing odd about a heart attack victim, so no special notice was taken of the half-smoked cigarette, but the contents of his pockets were logged, as follows:

Railway ticket to Henley Beach.Bus ticket to North Glenelg.American metal comb.Packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum.Packet of Army Club cigarettes with seven Kensitas cigarettes inside.Handkerchief.Packet of Bryant & May matches.

My father was convinced that Somerton Man was an American because of his clothes, which he called “sharp”. He was wearing jockey shorts and a singlet, a white shirt with a narrow tie in red, white and blue, fawn trousers, a brown knitted pullover, a brown double-breasted suit coat, socks and highly polished brown, laced shoes. Snazzy.

Somerton Man was a snappy dresser, but it was a hot evening and he was wearing very heavy clothes for the weather, the ensemble of someone who had come from somewhere cold, or who had nowhere to leave a change of clothes, or no lighter clothes into which he could change. On examination of the clothes, it was found that every identifying label had been removed.

Somerton Man had no money in his pockets. If he’d had any, it had gone with his wallet – if he’d had a wallet. And, to complete our survey of his garments, folded up into a tight little wad in his fob pocket, there was a scrap of paper torn out of a book that bore the words “Tamam Shud”. Of which, more later.

Naked and cold, Somerton Man waited for his attending physician, whose task was to determine how he had died. Meanwhile, the police set about trying to find out who he was. Detective Strangway of Glenelg Station and his associates began by checking all the missing persons reports on hand, but Somerton Man fitted none of them. Then they checked his fingerprints, which were not on record.

So far, so inconclusive. Then, on January 14, in response to a police appeal for unclaimed baggage directed to all lodging houses, hotels and railway stations, a suitcase was found in a locker at Adelaide’s Central Railway Station. It had been checked in after 11am on November 30, 1948, the last day of Somerton Man’s life (see “The Contents of the Suitcase”, left).

The most exciting discovery in the suitcase was the sewing kit in which was found orange Barbour thread; it was not sold in Australia. Identical thread had been used to repair the pocket of Somerton Man’s coat. Waxed thread is not usually used to mend clothes: it must have been an emergency repair, intended to last only until he could lay hands on a seamstress. It seemed unlikely that the Barbour thread in the suitcase and the Barbour thread in Somerton Man’s coat were not connected, so the suitcase probably belonged to Somerton Man. Also, the clothes were his size and the slippers would fit his feet.

And some of the garments in the suitcase actually had labels with a name on them. There must have been cautious rejoicing among the exasperated police at that point, although they should have known it was too good to be true. The name, written on a singlet, a laundry bag and a tie, was T. Keane. Or possibly T. Kean. The call went out and a local sailor named Tom Reade was said to be missing. Was Somerton Man perhaps Tom Reade?

But when Tom Reade’s shipmates viewed the body, they all said that it was not their Tom Reade. Meanwhile widespread searches through maritime agencies had revealed that no one was missing a T. Keane or Kean.

The clothes were all examined by experts. The police called in a tailor, Hugh Possa of Gawler Place, who explained that the careful construction of the coat, with feather-stitching done by machine, was definitely American, as only the US garment industry used a feather-stitching machine. So the clothes were very high-value schmutter indeed. Such coats, the police were informed, were not imported. They were made up to a certain stage and then could be quickly tailored to the figure, the sort of thing which might be bought by someone who wasn’t staying long in port, but was willing to pay a high price for a beautifully made, hand-finished suit. From which he then removed the label.

Somerton Man also had very snazzy taste in nightwear. His pyjamas and gown were brightly coloured, and his felt slippers were red. Such things were a mark of a free spirit. Men of the time might have considered these garments to be outrageous, even effeminate.

My father, drawing on his experience as a wharfie, told me that the stencilling brush, the modified knife, the screwdriver, pencils and the scissors found in Somerton Man’s suitcase were all part of a cargo master’s equipment – the stencilling brush for marking cargo and the other items for cutting or replacing seals. Cargoes were more fun back in those days. Instead of containers, which are anonymous and boring, balanced for weight, there were bales and sacks and boxes and crates, all carried by men out of ships and along gangplanks. Hard labour.

Which brings us to the body itself and what everyone made of it.

Somerton Man, in extremis, was 180 centimetres tall. He had grey eyes, also called hazel, and blond to reddish hair, greying at the temples. He was healthy, well-muscled and clean. He was uncircumcised. His toes were unusual, forced into a wedge as though he habitually wore tight, pointed, high-heeled boots, like a stockman or a dancer or a person willing to suffer to be beautiful. His legs were tanned, in the manner of someone who worked in shorts, and he had what they called “bunched” calf muscles, as seen in people who walk a lot, run long distances, dance or bicycle.

His age was estimated as “about 50”. His hands and feet were smooth and well cared for, his nails short and neat, cut and filed. His hair had been neatly cut. He had what the pathologist referred to as a “fine Britisher face”.

Several doctors were involved in the investigation of the cause of death. The first was John Barkley Bennett, a legally qualified medical practitioner (or LQMP), who declared life extinct in the first place. Rigor was established and he thought that death had occurred within eight hours of his examination, at about 2am.

By the time John Matthew Dwyer, LQMP, saw Somerton Man, rigor was intense. The post-mortem lividity behind the ears and neck was deep, indicating the body had not been moved. There was a patch of dried saliva on his cheek, which had run out of his mouth as he slumped to one side and the cigarette fell onto his lapel.

Dwyer said, “His pupils were smaller and unusual, uneven in outline and about the same size. Certain drugs may be associated with a contraction in the pupils. Even barbiturates may do it, but it is by no means a distinguishing point.”

He added in his notes: “There was congestion of the pharynx, and the gullet was covered with a whitening of the superficial layers of the mucosa with a patch of ulceration in the middle of it. The stomach was deeply congested, and there was a superficial redness, most marked in the upper half. Small haemorrhages were present beneath the mucosa. There was congestion in the second half of the duodenum continuing through the third part. There was blood mixed with the food in the stomach.

“There was food in the stomach. I would say that food had been in the stomach for up to three or four hours before death. It is difficult to give an opinion on that because if the person is in a state of anxiety, then digestion may be suspended.

“The blood in the stomach suggested some irritant poison, but on the other hand nothing detectable in the food to my naked eye to make a finding, so I sent specimens of the stomach and its contents, blood and urine for analysis.”

What the learned doctor appears to be saying is that there was some poison present but that he observed no poisonous matter – leaves, herbs, toadstools, berries, dyes, ground glass – in the stomach contents. Those contents are interesting precisely because they are there. Irritant poisons, even alcohol, usually announce themselves by violent vomiting, until the person has thrown up the entire contents of their stomach and is just vomiting bile.

The final verdict was that he died of heart failure, which is like saying “he died because his heart stopped”. This was said to be caused by poison – whether self-administered or given with homicidal intent by another person or persons unknown could not be determined. Having said as much (or as little), the Coroner adjourned the inquest sine die – that is, for another day, when hopefully someone might be able to tell him something helpful.

And so matters rested, with the overworked Adelaide police force receiving answers to their requests for information from all over the world. J. Edgar Hoover wrote back to say that Somerton Man’s fingerprints were not on record with the FBI, and no one at Scotland Yard identified them. Somerton Man was entirely, as police parlance says now, “off the grid”.

More can now be guessed about the movements of Somerton Man after he arrived at Central Station on November 30. He bought a ticket for the Henley train. He then requested a wash and a shave and was told that the station amenities were closed and he would need to go to the City Baths, which housed not only a swimming pool but an actual set of bath tubs for travellers who needed a wash. This detour would have caused him to miss the train, so when he returned to Central and checked his suitcase, all shaved and clean, he decided to take a bus. Both tickets in his pocket are now explained.

Somerton Man took the bus to Glenelg and would have arrived there by noon. He was next seen sitting on the beach and – probably – dying at 7pm on a hot night, wearing lots of clothes. His shoes were still highly polished.

Where had he been in the interim? Somewhere along the way someone gave him supper – a pastie, which was still in his stomach. And in his watch pocket, folded up very small, was the last page of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the words “Tamam Shud”, which means, in effect, the end.

The police began a vigorous rummage through public libraries and bookshops hoping to find the actual book from which the page was torn. Amazingly, on July 22, a Mr Ronald Francis recalled seeing a copy of The Rubaiyat in the glovebox of his brother-in-law’s Hillman Minx. When Mr Francis called to inquire, his brother-in-law told him he had discovered the book lying in the back of his unlocked car. On November 30, the car had been parked in Moseley Street, the street above Somerton Beach.

The next day, Mr Francis took the book to the police. The torn-out page matched the book and, what’s more, the book contained a code and a telephone number written in pencil. The case had just become even more complicated.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was a free – some say unduly free – translation of a Persian poet’s series of verses and, from the moment it hit the bookshops in London in 1859, it was a success. It is a collection of quatrains expressing an unsentimental yet lyrical and definitively alcoholic view of the universe, which quite captured the Victorian imagination. They were a serious people and here was a reprobate old poet who cared for no one, with no philosophy and no religion, apart from wine, women and song. The Rubaiyat is exotic, positively reeking of the mysterious Orient, with towers and minarets and bulbul, but familiar enough in its sentiments to be easily applicable to everyday life.

The copy of the book found in the car near to Somerton Man was a first edition, published in 1859 by Whitcombe and Tombs. This is curious in itself. If Somerton Man or his colleagues wanted a throwaway book to use for a book code, one would have thought that they would have chosen one of the commonly available editions. In fact, there are substantial differences between the editions of 1859, 1868 and 1872 which could have an effect on the decryption of the code.

The second odd thing is that The Rubaiyat is the only thing in Somerton Man’s possession which is not strictly utilitarian. It was his only extraneous possession, probably an expensive one. Which he treated with such disdain that he – or someone else – wrote telephone numbers and a code in pencil on the end page. The code is as follows:

W [or possibly M] RGOABABDMLIAOIWTBIMPANETP MLIABO AIAIQC ITTMTSAMSTGAB

Extensive efforts have been made by Adelaide University to break the Tamam Shud code, using as a base the idea that it is a “one-time pad” encryption algorithm, but they need a copy of the first edition of The Rubaiyat and so far have not been able to find one [the Adelaide police threw out the copy found in the car].

A retired detective, Gerald Feltus, who has written an excellent book on Somerton Man called The Unknown Man, believes that the code is a series of capitals which refer to the first letters of words, in the same way as SWALK means “sealed with a loving kiss”. For example, the final line of the code could mean “It’s Time To Move To South Australia Moseley Street”.

Meanwhile, it is time to remind you that there was a telephone number pencilled on the back page of Somerton Man’s Rubaiyat, as well as the code. The telephone number was unlisted and belonged to a nurse called Teresa Powell or Johnson. She lived in Moseley Street, Glenelg, just above Somerton Beach. And here the story gets very interesting. The police questioned Teresa, who said she was not at home on November 30, but her neighbour mentioned that a strange man had called at the house.

When Teresa was shown the body cast of Somerton Man, the police officer who exhibited it said “she was completely taken aback, to the point of giving the appearance that she was about to faint”. An odd reaction, perhaps. Nurses are, regrettably, used to death and Somerton Man’s face had been extensively plastered across the newspapers. Teresa must have already known that he was dead. If she knew him at all, that is.

When asked about the phone number in The Rubaiyat, she volunteered that she had once owned a copy while she was working at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, but in 1945 she had given it to Alfred Boxall, who was a soldier [and rumoured to have worked in an intelligence unit]. This, as the alert reader will have noticed, is not an answer to the question. But she also said that the body cast was not of anyone she knew.

The police decided to find Alf Boxall, hoping that this mystery would finally be marked “closed”. But Boxall was not Somerton Man. He was alive and well, living in Randwick and working in bus maintenance.

Boxall was unable to identify Somerton Man and what’s more, he produced his copy of The Rubaiyat, complete with its last words, “Tamam Shud”. The copy given to him by Teresa was the 1924 Sydney edition. When Teresa pleaded that she was now married and such exposure would damage her reputation, the police acceded to her plea that they shouldn’t allow her name to be publicly known. She was instead referred to as “Jestyn”, which was the name by which she signed Alf Boxall’s copy of The Rubaiyat, until her real name was accidentally disclosed years later.

Teresa herself is an intriguing person. In 1945 she was nursing at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, where she was known as Jestyn and unmarried. Then she moved back to her mother’s house in Melbourne, had a baby and moved to Adelaide. When she told the police that she was now married, it was not true. She had taken the name of her future husband, Prestige Johnson, whom she would marry when his divorce came through in early 1950.

When Teresa was interviewed by the indefatigable Gerald Feltus, he found her evasive and unwilling to talk about The Rubaiyat and Boxall, insisting that “she didn’t know anything then, and she did not know anything now”. Feltus came to the conclusion that Teresa knew the identity of Somerton Man.

Researchers may have hoped that after her husband died she would reveal something interesting, such as that Somerton Man was her lover, but they were disappointed. Teresa, who died in 2007, has taken her secret, if she had a secret, to the grave.

Edited extract from Tamam Shud: The Somerton Man Mystery by Kerry Greenwood, published by NewSouth Books on December 1.

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

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Parents have spoken of their frustration at the closure of a Coptic Christian school in Melbourne’s outer south-east.
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Parents were notified last night that St Anthony’s Coptic Orthodox College in Frankston North was being closed amid a financial crisis, leaving more than 200 students in the lurch.

It has become the third independent school in Victoria to go bust this year.

Hawaida Issa said she would need to find another school for her son, who was about to finish prep.

“I like the idea of a prep to Year 12 school. It’s a small school, it’s like a family,” she said.

Ms Issa said she had looked at other independent schools in which to enrol her son last year but they had been about twice the cost of St Anthony’s.

She said her son was doing well at the school and she was concerned about making the move into Grade 1 at another school.

“He was very comfortable and happy.”

Another parent, James Kuok, said he was very concerned about the closure and where his six children would continue their education.

One student said that the school director, Father Athanasius Attia told the school community of the college’s debt problem at a speech night last week.

“Father Athanasius reached out and asked all parents to make any donations and [for] unpaid fees to be paid,” the student said.

“He also mentioned that he tried to get in contact with the government to push a school budget forward about a week so that the debts could be paid before they fell due. Students have been in speculation about the school closing down for two years now and we pretty much knew it was close to an end.”

Most of the students who attended St Anthony’s Coptic Orthodox College came from Middle Eastern and African Coptic Christian communities and some were refugees.

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

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

ARIES: Powerful forces are operating in your life during November 28, 29, to the extent that you may be forced to defend your own position. Ethics and money form important factors.
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TAURUS: November 28, 29 is a time of action as you pursue your dreams for a better life. Part of this path means eliminating problems you’ve experienced in the past.

GEMINI: There’s a fair bit of wheeling and dealing going on during November 28, 29 as you seek to change and reinforce your work and financial position. Health issues play a role.

CANCER: Cancerians seem to be at the mercy of another individual during November 28, 29, bowing to pressure; consideration as to what is best for all plays a role in this steam of events.

LEO: High energy levels devoted to work and health interests underlie the activities of November 28, 29. You want to get things done and are not prepared to muck around.

VIRGO: Passionate thoughts and feelings dictate events in Virgoan lives during November 28, 29, as they strive to implement plans that bring a better way of life.

LIBRA: It is hard to resist the powerful forces at play in your life during November 28, 29, dictating an overhaul of living conditions and family ties. You’ll be in control of a situation that must change.

SCORPIO: You’ll be steamrolling your way through life during November 28, 29, and won’t be particularly interested in alternative ideas and work practices other than your own.

SAGITTARIUS: The power of money speaks loudly and clearly during November 28, 29, determining the actions of Sagittarian natives. You’ll be successfully addressing some problems.

CAPRICORN: Wednesday and Thursday is a period of high achievement that has profound effects. Capricorn people know where they are going and adjust everything to suit.

AQUARIUS: November 28, 29 is a challenging time for Aquarius and you need time to thoroughly review your options and seek solutions. You’ll come up with a plan.

PISCES: The power of the Piscean mind is behind the events in your social circle and life during November 28, 29. Once you’ve made up your mind, there’s no stopping you.

LUCKY NUMBERS: Aries: 1, 3, 4, 9; Taurus: 5, 8; Gemini: 6, 7; Cancer: 3, 4, 7, 9; Leo: 1, 3, 4, 9; Virgo: 6, 8; Libra: 5, 7; Scorpio: 2, 3, 7, 9; Sagittarius: 1, 3, 4, 9; Capricorn: 5, 6; Aquarius: 5, 6; Pisces: 2, 4, 7.

Read Astrologer Alison Moroney’s daily stars.

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Australia’s own Spice Girl, Christine Manfield, is known for her love of fragrance and bold flavours, and for her technically challenging, architectural desserts. Universal in Sydney’s Darlinghurst is her fourth successful restaurant venture in Australia and she ran the acclaimed [email protected] in London’s Covent Garden from 2003 to 2005. She travels regularly, seeking inspiration as well as conducting spice tours with small groups. She has developed a range of spice pastes and written seven cookbooks. She shares her apartment in harbourside Elizabeth Bay with her partner, Margie Harris, a personal trainer.
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I’m cooking

Last dinner at home We had grilled snapper, spiced beetroot and coconut salad. That’s pretty typical of what we eat at home – a bit of protein, salad. I’m not carb-phobic but I never eat carbs at night. If we have people over, which we do fairly regularly on the weekend, the food is served family style, never plated up in the kitchen. Secret vice Salted butter caramels from La Maison d’Armorine but I rarely eat them. Food discovery Cedar Street haloumi from Maleny in Queensland. We get it direct from the farm; it’s a very small production. It’s handmade with buffalo milk and it has the most perfect silky texture and creamy taste.

Most memorable meal

I went to Michel Bras in Laguiole in France last year. The attention to detail is extraordinary – it’s considered, unpretentious and ever so stylish. It’s also a fabulous place to stay. We had an all-day lunch, which was a vegetable-based degustation. He has been foraging for 25 years, so he put that trend on the map.

I’m drinking

Marco Polo Vert or Kusmi Vert Bouquet are my favourite green teas. I don’t do coffee any more; naturopath’s advice, it was too acidic. But I still stand by the coffee machine and inhale. Saturday night tipple Negroni is my perennial favourite, before or after dinner, I’ve always loved them. Aperol Spritz in the summer is the perfect thirst quencher. Having said that, I’m on a bit of a gin junket at the moment and really like Nolet’s, which I discovered a couple of years ago in the States. We’re expanding the range of handmade boutique gins at work. Vintage champagne is perfect for a celebration. My attitude to alcohol is if it’s not fabulous, don’t waste your time. It’s got to be totally worth it or I’d have water.

Inspiration

Books, books and more books. Nothing beats the tactility of a book and flicking through pages.

The Staples

My pantry We’re pretty healthy but if we have chocolate at home, it’s generally Valrhona. My partner Margie likes milk chocolate, so there’s Jivara and Caramelia, and I like dark, which is the Manjari one. I’ve tried a lot of mueslis but my favourite is Sonoma Honey Spice. Nolans Road olive oil is fruity and robust. And I have all my spice pastes. My fridge There’s lots of vegetables and fruit for making juice every morning – beetroot, celery, kale, carrot, green apple and kiwifruit. There are also mangoes, peaches and blueberries for snacks and yoghurt.

My tool kit

Glassware is Riedel O series stemless. I have a SodaStream for making sparkling water, a KitchenAid mixer and a Le Creuset braising pot. Favourite I can’t live without my juicer and my Japanese knives.

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

Jul 27 , 2018 / By :

Twitter has been flooded with teen angst after news that One Direction’s Australian tour next year collides with end of year exams for high school students.
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The UK boy band, who have been nothing short of a sensation among female teens worldwide, was originally scheduled to tour Australia in September, but fans woke up to the news yesterday that a scheduling conflict has pushed back the concerts by one month, placing it in direct conflict with HSC and VCE exams.

Rather than kicking off their Australian tour on September 11, 2013, One Direction’s concerts will now begin in mid-October, only two days after the HSC written exams begin in NSW.

Fans of the band, which comprises Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, have taken to Twitter to express their dismay in stereotypical teen style. The sheer number of tweets has made “HSC” a trending topic in Australia.

Not to put too fine a point on the drama, one girl pointed out that lives will be “ruined” as a result.

In a tweet to Ticketek and One Direction a fan called Mrs Malik, and under the Twitter handle ‘OzLovesID’, said: “Did you even think how many lives you’ve ruined as its [sic] during the HSC and VCE exams?!”

Another female fan, who goes by “Harry” on Twitter, said: “You’re all I ever wanted uoire[sic] giving me a heart attack because HSC”.

Succinctly summing up the problem now facing these fans, @heavenlyharries tweeted: “Two whole years come down to 5 exams. If 1D come and therefore distract us. WHAT IF WE FAIL? No uni, no future.”

The NSW Board of Studies hasn’t yet confirmed the exact exam dates for next year’s Higher School Certificate, except to say they will definitely begin on Monday, October 14 and finish no later than Friday, November 8.

One Direction begins their tour in Melbourne on October 16, continuing on to Brisbane and Sydney before finishing up back in Melbourne on October 26.

Some of Victoria’s VCE exams (the state’s HSC equivalent) are also scheduled to be conducted during the band’s Melbourne concerts, but the main written exams won’t start until October 30, after the tour is over.

A spokesperson for Sony said efforts were made to avoid a conflict with the exams but it was unfortunately unavoidable due to the band’s tight schedule. Ticket holders have until the end of the year to claim a refund if the new dates are unsuitable.

New dates for One Direction’s Australian tour:

Melbourne: October 16-17

Brisbane: October 19-20

Sydney: October 23-26

Melbourne: October 28-29

Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Picture: Harrison Saragossi

Picture: Harrison Saragossi

Picture: Harrison Saragossi

One Direction

One Direction