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Seven dead in Indonesian terror raids

THE death toll from the latest anti-terror raids in Indonesia has risen to seven after specialist police unit Densus 88 raided four locations on Wednesday.
Nanjing Night Net

Another 13 suspected terrorists were captured alive, according to the national police spokesman, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar.

It’s the biggest terror cell to have been exposed since 2010 when police shut down a training camp set up by Abu Bakar Bashir in the jungle in Aceh.

Mr Boy said the seven who died had been involved in fire-fights with police.

The raid in a village near Bandung, south-east of Jakarta, yielded four pipe bombs, 200 rounds of .38 calibre ammunition, 80 rounds of 9mm ammunition and about 6 million rupiah ($A600) in cash.

Mr Boy said police were working on mapping the terror network, and anticipated that there would be more raids. He did not comment on what, if any, attacks the group had planned.

The Indonesian police chief, General Timur Pradopo, had earlier defended the high death toll in the police operation, saying the heavily-armed officers had tried negotiating with the men in the Bandung house for 3 1/2 hours, but the reply was “explosions, gunfire and bombs”.

Security expert Johanes Sulaiman told Fairfax Media that the cell was responsible for an attempt last week to plant pipe bombs at the embassy of Myanmar in Jakarta.

Radical preachers including jailed extremist Abu Bakar Bashir have been calling for jihad against Buddhist-majority Myanmar because of the violence there against the Rohingya muslim majority in the country’s east.

Mr Sulaiman told Fairfax Media that the old terror network of the Bali bombings had been fractured by ruthless police work and decimated by arrests. However, their spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, was still influencing young people with his fiery speeches from the jail where he’s serving 15 years for terror-related offences.

Mr Sulaiman said a talented new jihadist preacher, Aman Abdurrahman, who was linked to Bashir, was inspiring a new and widely dispersed generation of young radicals who were “desperate to do jihad”.

“If you look at the strand (of ideology) most comes from Abu Bakar Bashir — but the new terrorists are not part of the old network,” he said.

“The young people got influenced and they figure they must do quick holy war.”

However, they had not so far developed the discipline, training or networks to mount large-scale attacks.

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13/07/2018 南京夜网

Airport’s world-first ‘sleeping pods’ allow private naps for passengers

Abu Dhabi International Airport has installed 20 ‘sleeping pods’ for passengers, with a futher 35 to be fitted later this year. The pods are available for use at $12 an hour and will eventually feature internet access and power sources for electronic devices.
Nanjing Night Net

Abu Dhabi International Airport has installed dozens of bizarre-looking “sleeping pods” that allow passengers to nap in privacy.

The Finnish-designed “GoSleep” chairs, a world-first unveiled on Sunday, feature a sliding door/roof designed to either partially or fully enclose passengers within the pod, shielding them from surrounding noise, light and crowds.

Ten pods now reside in Terminal 3, and 10 more in the Al Dhabi Lounge at Terminal 1, while a further 35 are to be fitted later this year. Once all are installed, the pods will be upgraded to provide internet access, storage space for luggage and other valuables, as well as a power source for laptops, mobiles and other electronic devices.

The pods are currently available at a cost of 45 Dirham ($A12) per hour, payable using a credit card.

They may look unusual, but are a step up from the Ostrich Pillow, which was launched last year. The portable device is placed over your head to “enable power naps anytime, anywhere”.

Design firm Kawamura-Ganjavian claims the device, which includes a mouth hole to allow easier breathing, is ideal for airport lounges, trains and aeroplanes.

Hotels offering compact, short-term accommodation have been popular in Japan for years. The Capsule Inn Osaka was one of the world’s first capsule hotels when it launched in 1979.

Capsule hotels have also reached British shores. The Yotel chain – the brainchild of the founder of the YO! Sushi – now has branches at two London airports – Gatwick and Heathrow. Its single and double cabins offer free wifi and are equipped with flat screen TVs, multiple power outlets, and showers. A Yotel can also be found at Amsterdam Schiphol and in New York City, two blocks from Times Square.

Earlier this year, Moscow installed its first city centre capsule hotel, the Sleepbox Hotel Tverskaya, which features 50 windowless pods that can each accommodate up to three people. Each has internet access, and is soundproof and air conditioned.

Portable ‘modular bedrooms’ were also introduced by the Barcelona-based firm Dream and Fly, at Barcelona’s international airport. The compact ‘Bubbles’ are able to accommodate both individuals and families, and each comes with a bathroom.

The Telegraph, London

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Search and rescue operation underway for missing cruise ship passengers 

AN air and marine search and rescue operation is underway off the coast of Forster for two people missing from a cruise ship.
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About 11.30am (Thursday 9 May 2013), staff from a cruise ship contacted police after they discovered two passengers – a 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman – missing after the ship had docked at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Police attended and conducted a thorough search of the ship, however the pair was not located.

Officers attached to Marine Area Command reviewed CCTV footage and determined the pair had gone overboard about 8.50pm on Wednesday (8 May 2013).

Police and Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) have determined a search area approximately 60Nm east of Forster and have deployed aircraft and marine vessels.

Officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the pair and, in these early stages, are focused on the search efforts.

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Never too late to change the way you think

Exercise? Check. Diet? Check. Mindset? Huh?
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People get stuck on the weight-loss treadmill for years simply because they haven’t changed their mindset towards healthier living.

Life coach and author Jodie Cooper says she is amazed that little is said about the psychology of weight loss.

“Most people go about it the wrong way – they eat less and exercise more but their mindset doesn’t change,” Cooper says.

“It’s like getting ready for a marathon – you need a trainer, the right shoes and the time to train – it’s the big picture.

“Losing weight is the same – you need to look at the big picture.”

Cooper says weight loss is something that is achieved when it becomes less of the focus.

“It’s about choosing to be healthy rather than having to lose weight,” the Warilla mum of two says.

Cooper holds workshops titled Psychology of Weight Loss, often helping those who have tried diets on and off for 20 to 30 years.

“People are so focused on losing weight,” she says.

“They’ve forgotten to tell themselves they are a good person. When you take on a new challenge you need to be in a place where you’re comfortable and confident.”

Cooper says people’s mindsets are often fixed by the age of 30, but it’s never too late to have a go at tweaking the way we think.

Her courses focus on setting people up for success – looking at cutting back stress and other lifestyle factors that influence the decisions we make when it comes to eating and exercise.

People are stressed with work and family, and weight issues are often the result of stress. So it doesn’t help when the stress of trying to lose weight is added to other problems. It becomes a vicious treadmill.

“Rather than setting big, lofty goals, I set small challenges,” she says, adding that individual appointments can also be made.

“Something simple like a challenge of going for a walk today.”

Cooper likens diets to elastic bands, where tension is created when people don’t eat the food they want to. This results in repeated dieting, where people forgo foods for short periods and then snap, returning to eating those foods in even larger portions.

Changing your mindset is not a quick fix, Cooper stresses, but it’s the turning point for many people as it is a complete overhaul of the way they think about their lifestyle.

“When you’re happier you make positive choices,” she says.

For information on the workshops visit www.jodiecooper南京夜网.au.

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16/07/2018 南京夜网

Flamenco in Thirroul: viva the passion step

BANDALUZIA
Nanjing Night Net

Saturday, May 11

Thirroul Community Centre

Tickets: trybooking南京夜网/48042

The first time Damian Wright saw a flamenco performance, it changed his life.

Wright, the musical director and guitarist for Bandaluzia, grew up in a musical household and was exposed to all sorts of music from an early age, but it was that first taste of flamenco that ignited a passion.

“It was a concert my parents took me to see at the Opera House in Sydney of gypsy musicians from all different countries and it had a flamenco contingent,” Wright remembers.

“It was something I thought had the beauty of classical guitar plus the raw rhythmic emotion of a lot of folkloric music from that area of the world.”

The Illawarra gig guide

Wright, who grew up in Newcastle, had been studying guitar since he was six or seven, playing everything from folk and rock to classical and jazz, but switched his focus to flamenco.

“When I was about 18, I started travelling down to Sydney from Newcastle twice a week to study with a flamenco guitarist,” Wright says.

“He recommended I go to Spain to study so a year later, after saving up my pennies, I went off to live in Spain.

“I spent on and off almost five years going back and forward to Spain and living there for years on end.”

In 2010, Wright formed Bandaluzia with dancer Jessica Statham, bass player Steve Hunter and percussionist James Hauptmann. Other musicians, including touring flamenco dancers, guitarists and singers from Spain, occasionally join in.

“Bandaluzia is a way for them to have exposure over here and for us to have amazing artists involved in our projects,” Wright says.

He would love to take Bandaluzia to Spain.

“One of the reasons I would be comfortable about doing that is that we bring our own thing to the table.”

Audiences in Australia have certainly taken to Bandaluzia’s brand of flamenco, sometimes to Wright’s surprise.

“We did a regional tour playing in towns like Young and Cowra,” Wright says.

“We were thinking ‘this will be interesting’ because we had a touring flamenco singer from Spain with some really traditional elements. We thought it maybe wouldn’t gel with people who hadn’t been exposed to it before, but it was the complete opposite – it brought the house down.

“The depth and the passion and the drama are something a lot of people can connect with. People approach it from all different levels, too. We get guys who come to the shows and the main draw is the fact there are virtuoso musicians – they approach it from the intellectual thing of virtuosity and musicality.

“There are people who just love the visual side of the dance and completely ignore the musicians.

“Then there are people who just get moved by the show. We always try and portray that depth of emotion when we are performing, try and give 500 per cent. That’s the goal, anyway.”

Footwork is part of show

Jessica Statham performing with Bandaluzia.Flamenco dancer Jessica Statham performing with Bandaluzia.

In the flamenco tradition, the music and the dancing are deeply entwined.

Bandaluzia guitarist Damian Wright says that in many ways the ensemble’s dancer, Jessica Statham, performs like another musician.

‘‘There is obviously the visual side to the flamenco dancer, but what a lot of people forget is the complexity of the footwork, which is literally like a percussive instrument,’’ he says.

‘‘When the dancer is dancing, she or he is like the conductor, so they can choose to improvise in certain sections and the guitarist has to follow the dancer wherever they want to go.

‘‘The dancer can call a section in and you have to think on the spot.

‘‘When I was first getting into flamenco and found that out it opened up a whole lot of interest for me, because I was like ‘wow, now I can see a whole other thing that is going on’.

‘‘It is not something that is completely composed and choreographed – there is that spontaneity there.

‘‘The dancer, we consider her to be in the band just like another musician.’’

Statham grew up in Sydney and began training as a flamenco dancer from an early age.

In 2004 she moved to Madrid where she spent five years studying intensively at the renowned Amor de Dios academy.

Just as Wright composes all of Bandaluzia’s music, all of the dances are original works choreographed by Statham.

‘‘One hundred percent of the music is my own music and all the choreography is from Jessica,’’ Wright says.

‘‘That is important to us as well – for it to be something entirely of our own creation.’’

Dancer Jessica Statham and guitarist Damian Wright from the flamenco ensemble Bandaluzia. Pictures: MARCO DEL GRANDE

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Meditation classes calming young minds

Jessie, 9, Kanayla, 9, both of Kiama and Angela, 5, of Barrack Heights. Picture: KEN ROBERTSONThere seems to be a misconception that kids have it easy.
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While they might not be worried about work or money, there are plenty of other things that can stress them out – relationships with their friends, bullying, school work and family issues are high up on the list of things children worry about.

Which is where meditation comes in.

It can help kids find a calm place when they feel anxious and help them to become peaceful after spending an afternoon running around the playground.

Lyn-Maree Fredericks started taking her two daughters to a children’s meditation class 18 months ago, after they started asking questions about her own meditation practices.

Although her eldest daughter no longer attends the classes, she still meditates regularly at home to overcome stress around school, while her nine-year-old daughter Jessie still loves meditating with her friends every Tuesday afternoon.

“Jessie is in tune with the relaxation side of it. I find the conversations I have with her leaving here are usually very clear, like she can go in concerned with what’s happened at school but come out quite bubbly and relaxed,” Fredericks says.

“She seems to find clarity with life. It means she is clearer in the things she wants to do.”

Jessie says she uses meditation to deal with things she worries about at school and to help calm her mind before she falls asleep.

“I like it because it’s fun and very relaxing to do. I like doing the guided meditation the most. Sometimes it’s hard to do just on your own.”

“I do it at night because it helps me get to sleep and with school and calming down with tests that might be coming up.”

Ursula Laughton runs a children’s meditation class and says most kids tell her it assists them when they are feeling anxious about something at school.

“There’s always pressures, even from age five they’ve already started school, and there’s expectations and responsibilities that they have to experience and deal with everyday, so taking this time out, they get the opportunity to be themselves, reflect on what they need and get to know themselves more,” she says.

“I’ve had comments about children being able to go to school more at ease, relating with their peers with more confidence.”

The difference between teaching a child and an adult how to meditate is the level of intellectual engagement they have with the process.

A typical meditation class begins with the children expressing something they are grateful for, followed by some stretches and breathing exercises to calm them down. Laughton then guides her students through some relaxation exercises before taking them into their imagination using visualisation, which lasts between five and 10 minutes depending how old the children are.

Meditation may help children

Teaching children how to meditate can have benefits in the classroom as well. Primary school teacher Julie Pappas had success using meditation techniques with the classes she was teaching while still completing her studies and released a book and CD to teach children how to meditate.

‘‘For me meditation is two things: it’s a process and a state of being. Generally with primary school students, I use visualisation CDs and some breathing techniques,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s a very simple thing, but it can be a very powerful thing because they will start to self-monitor themselves.’’

She says breathing exercises and visualisations are a great way to help children transition from running around the playground to being back in class and often integrates it into syllabus work for reading, literacy and creative arts.

While Pappas often uses meditation as a behaviour management technique and to create a relaxing classroom environment, she says it can help children deal with a range of problems.

‘‘Children are like sponges. They get stressed about all sorts of things. Bullying is very common, they get stressed about relationships, they have anxiety about parental issues such as separations and divorces. They are human beings, just smaller than us.’’

She uses the same techniques for children from kindergarten to Year 6 and says it is often the younger students who become more taken with meditation because they aren’t afraid of what their friends might think if they lose themselves in the moment.

While they may not fully understand the benefits of meditation, Pappas says the point is to teach children how to be happy within themselves and ways to relax and become calm when they are anxious.

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Internet feeds hunger

With just a click of a little thumbs-up button, people are making a difference.
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Charities and non-profit organisations are harnessing the power of social media to drive awareness about their causes, often equating the number of likes, shares and retweets of their account into tangible donations.

Meals in May is one such cause in Australia, a partnership between recipe and cookbook website myfoodbook and Foodbank, a non-profit organisation that provides meals to the hungry.

For every like on either Facebook page during May, myfoodbook will provide a “meal” to Foodbank in the form of a financial donation.

More than 3000 people took part in the campaign last year, the first time it was run. This year Carolyn Brasher, the founder of myfoodbook and force behind the drive, hopes to provide 10,000 meals to Foodbank.

“Social media is a great way to actually communicate the intent behind the campaign and get people involved,” she says.

While it obviously generates interest in her business as well, Brasher says it is more about making people aware of the work Foodbank does and the help they need.

“The best part about it is there’s potentially 10,000 people who didn’t know about Foodbank that now do.”

Since the start of May, the Facebook profiles of myfoodbook and Foodbank have already received 1000 new likes.

Brasher thinks the ease of taking part in a bigger cause and the easy-to-understand message is what makes campaigns such as Meals in May successful.

“There are many other worthwhile causes that I suppose people can often feel very fatigued,” she says.

“Not that they don’t care, but they can be overwhelmed by the number of causes they are asked to donate to on an ongoing basis, so the reason I think it is successful is because it’s very easy to get the message about Foodbank through a campaign like this.

“You see the campaign, you understand it pretty quickly, and then it’s very easy to say ‘I like that idea’, go bang and you’re done and there’s a contribution attached to it.”

Brasher could just donate a sum of money to the organisation, but she says getting people interested in the work Foodbank does is the main aim of Meals in May.

Though some users will just like the page and not give it any further thought, she says the campaign is designed for people to easily get more information by clicking through to Foodbank’s website.

“Ultimately, it ends up in the result we want which is us being able to make that financial donation, but from what we see, when we see people sharing it, people are writing posts, writing messages on the Foodbank page saying that it’s a great idea, so you know people actually have to think about it and they do get the message,” she says.

“I think people don’t just like for the sake of liking, they want to know what it results in.

“I strongly believe they understand what Foodbank does as a result of this campaign.”

Carolyn Brasher, founder of website myfoodbook.

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New no-fault system in green slip overhaul

Maximum weekly benefits for injured motorists will be halved and all medical benefits cut off after five years under changes to the green slip insurance scheme that the NSW government says will deliver a 15 per cent discount on premiums.
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After reviewing the system, Finance and Services Minister Greg Pearce said on Wednesday the government had decided to introduce a no-fault system similar to the one in Victoria.

However, unlike the Victorian scheme, which is underwritten by the government, the NSW system will be underwritten by the private sector.

The changes will be introduced as legislation in Parliament this week.

Mr Pearce said the no-fault scheme would give injured workers quicker access to benefits by reducing long and costly legal disputes. He said significant claims take on average four years to determine.

He said maximum weekly benefits would drop from about $4000 to $2000, which is comparable to workers’ compensation entitlements. People on incomes above $100,000 would be expected to take out income protection insurance.

Only people with more than 10 per cent whole person impairment would continue to have access to lump sum payments through the courts.

The expected 15 per cent discount on annual compulsory third party insurance premiums follows a 10 per cent increase last year. This would shave a net 5 per cent off the average premium of $550.

Mr Pearce said insurance companies would no longer have access to super profits and motorists would start seeing reductions in the cost of the green slip renewals from later this year.

”At the moment the scheme is nothing more than a lawyers’ picnic,” he said.

”The scheme requires that someone is found at fault. By removing that we will be able to remove a large part of the administration cost and disputation cost that is currently bedevilling this scheme.

”That will not mean that hoons or people acting criminally or uninsured people will be covered by the scheme. We won’t be removing common law rights for those who are more seriously injured.”

Michael Tidball, chief executive of the Law Society NSW, said the changes were ”bad news” for NSW motorists and their families.

He said the new no-fault scheme would result in a larger number of people claiming on the scheme and substantial cuts in benefits.

Negligent motorists will now be able to apply for claims, which will significantly raise their number. ”The effect of this on injured motorists and their families will mean they end up on the Centrelink queue by virtue of these changes,” Mr Tidball said.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said there were no winners as a result of the government’s changes because they would reduce benefits and not deliver a significant reduction in the premiums.

”NSW motorists are still going to be paying some of the highest premiums for green slips in the country,” he said.

”This is a government who is best friends with the insurance companies. [It] increased premiums last year by 15 per cent and has given them a massive windfall on the back of that.

”Now he [Greg Pearce] says he will bring premiums back to somewhere where they were last year, but in doing so he is also cutting benefits to people and weekly payments will be halved as a result of these changes.

”The first thing the government should be doing is bringing the insurance companies in and holding them to account, getting them to open up the books and see the profits they are making on the back of green slips.”

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Rockin’ result for Wollongong Bon Jovi fans

A father and daughter’s shared passion for Bon Jovi has resulted in an international tourism coup for the Illawarra.
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The band’s official fan club has decided to bring up to 250 international fans to Wollongong in December during Bon Jovi’s Australian tour.

And it’s all thanks to Symbio Wildlife Park owner John Radnidge and his daughter, Michelle Aldred.

The Helensburgh zoo is already being featured on the band’s official global website and Symbio’s owners have secured four of the 52 front-row seats for the band’s Sydney concert.

Michelle started following Bon Jovi in 1990 and at the age of 12, took her dad along to an unforgettable concert at Eastern Creek where a hailstorm hit before the show and part of the stage collapsed, leaving them knee deep in water.

But that allowed them to move into the front row, so close to Jon Bon Jovi they were able to reach out and touch him, she recalled.

Since then, father and daughter have attended a concert on every Australian tour of the world famous band. Michelle once caught a rose Jon Bon Jovi threw off stage at Sydney Entertainment Centre but it has always been a dream to officially meet the singer.

John Radnidge and daughter Michelle Aldred. Picture: GREG ELLIS.Now, because of her tenacity and generous offer to host a fan club tour the day before the Sydney concert in December, that dream of a private meeting with the star will come true for her, her family and three close friends.

Runaway Tours organises fan club activities around Bon Jovi’s concerts and is promoting Symbio on the Bon Jovi website as offering “a private up close experience with Australian native animals”.

“When I found out about Runaway Tours I did my research. They offer trips called Jovications,” Michelle said.

“I sent off an invitation to the guys, whether it be the band, the road crew, or the fans on the tour to come to Symbio to experience the unique encounters we can offer,” she said.

“I never in my wildest dreams expected to hear back from them. But a week later they said Bon Jovi’s management had reviewed our offer and were absolutely keen to take us up on it.

“They asked what could they do to make it happen. I said all we wanted in return was the chance to meet Jon Bon Jovi. I told them it was a lifelong dream my dad and I had shared. We have this incredible special father and daughter bond and Bon Jovi is a part of that.”

Dad John is amazed by the international exposure his daughter has managed to achieve for the Helensburgh zoo and Wollongong.

“To pull this off is just an amazing coup,” he said.

“When it comes to Bon Jovi nothing will hold her back.”

Michelle is just as excited.

“This is a dream come true for both of us,” she said.

Rocker Bon Jovi.

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Bat to the future at Bradman’s Bowral home

The Bowral property where Australia’s most famous cricketer honed his batting skills has gained acclaim of another kind.
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The restoration of Don Bradman’s childhood home – including the water tank where he practised his technique with a stump and golf ball – was among the winners of the NSW National Trust heritage awards on Wednesday.

The Shepherd Street address, the Southern Highlands’ home to the Bradmans between 1911 to 1924, will hold particular appeal to cricket buffs. Visitors will be able to stay in the Don’s old room and practise in his backyard when the private property opens as a guest house.

The tank as it appears today following the house’s restoration.Photo: Eric Sierins of Max Dupain and Associates

The judges praised its owners, who bought the Victorian era home in 2008, and its architectural team for giving people ”the opportunity to step in Bradman’s footprints, making this a key component in the Bradman memorabilia in Bowral”.

Its heritage architect Ian Stapleton, of Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners, said the project was a good way to make the attraction semi-public without the need for it to be run – and require funding – as a museum.

”While the builders were there, every day people would turn up to have a look at it, including lots of overseas tourists, people from India and Sri Lanka,” he said.

Bradman practising at the water tank at his home in Bowral.Mr Stapleton said the building was suffering a ”death of a thousand cuts” due to the effects of age and water damage, before the restoration, which was undertaken with Lenarduzzi Builders.

Its kitchen and bathrooms have been updated, but other areas have been restored to how they would have appeared when the Bradmans owned the property.

This includes the extensions built by Bradman’s father George, such as the cricketer’s bedroom and the water tank, the stumps of which were found under paving.

”We’ve done a very accurate reconstruction so it looks exactly like it does in the Cinesound newsreel,” Mr Stapleton said.

The 1932 footage of the tank – shot when Bradman returned during the height of his career – will be among the historical material available to visitors, particularly those hoping to refine their technique.

”We’ve got stumps and golf balls there for visitors to try it out,” Mr Stapleton said.

Projects spanning built, natural and cultural heritage picked up awards at Wednesday’s event, including the restoration of wetlands in the Hunter Valley and a ”sand library” to assist with mortar repointing.

”This is about our future, as much as our past, and what has been saved for the next generation is truly remarkable,” the trust’s chief executive Brian Scarsbrick said.

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The tank as it appears today following the house’s restoration. Pictures: Eric Sierins of Max Dupain and Associates

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Karts back in action

TEARING UP THE TRACK: Mark Ezzy takes on the TAG 100 in the Northern Queensland Sprint Kart Titles in Townsville. Picture: DENNIS LIANGLAGOON Park Speedway will come to life again this weekend for round four of the Adlee Construction Go Kart Championships.
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First up on Saturday night will be the cadets (7-11 years), with karts capable of reaching speeds in excess of 70km/h the cadets promises to be one to watch.

After a dominant first few rounds, Allisa Sidnell will look to use experience gained recently from the Northern Queensland Sprint Titles in Townsville to hold out rivals Matthew Bishop and Lochlan Dew, also returning from a successful trip.

Looking to join Allisa, Matthew and Lochlan amongst the front will be Liam Wise and Tara Sidnell.

Close racing will be expected in the rookies class, with Bradley Leonard, Anthony English and Jordan Dew all vying for a position at the top of the ladder.

Junior national light features the return of Paul Thirwall, adding to the already tense action up front.

Class front runners Kaille Whitehead, Daniel Watt and Anthony Rowsell will line up along side Thirwall with all four guaranteed to be fighting it out for the top step on the podium.

The fasted class of the night is expected to be clubman light, headlined by gun drivers Matthew Whitehead and Thomas Glasson.

Cem Yucel and Greg Bostock join the pair in clubman light and speeds well in excess of 100km/h are expected.

Jack Lowe will be looking to build on his success from the previous round to continue his rise up the pack.

Clubman heavy and Tag 100 are expected to produce some adrenaline packed racing in the two biggest fields of the night.

Trevor Hollyman and Paul White will be looking to build on the success of their first meet in clubman heavy.

Mastering the class will be no easy feat, with Ryan Mackenzie, James Hay and Anthony Leonard all capable of taking the win.

Tag 100 looks set for another cracker night of racing, with Mark Ezzy the man to beat after placing second in the Northern Queensland Titles.

Eli Vincent, Morgan Skinner and Shaun English will also be looking to get in amongst the action up front.

Racing begins at 3pm on Saturday at Lagoon Park Raceway.

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Cobb backs Abbott’s parental leave plan

Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave plan will be a big incentive for women in the workforce to have children, according to member for Calare John Cobb.
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The opposition leader’s scheme offers 26 weeks of paid leave at the new mother’s current rate of pay, up to a salary of $150,000.

To be funded by a levy on the nation’s biggest businesses, the scheme is significantly more generous than the Gillard government’s 18 weeks of maternity leave, paid at the minimum wage.

Mr Cobb said the opposition’s scheme would provide an incentive to women who might not consider having a family at all.

“So many women feel they have to establish a career because of financial pressure, then they find they can’t afford to stop working to have children,” he said.

“It will provide them with the opportunity to have children once they are settled into their careers.

“It will also provide an opportunity to have children early on, work for a while, then maybe have one or two more.

“Modern life is about two parents going out to work, maybe that’s because our expectations are too high, I don’t know.”

There has been a lot of criticism about the inequity of the plan, which sees highly paid women receiving considerably more money than women who earn very little.

But Mr Cobb thinks women on lower wages will still welcome it.

“I think you would be surprised how many women in this community are all for it,” he said.

“Those women who are not working at all still get the baby bonus, and those who work part-time will still get minimum wage for six weeks.”

Mr Abbott’s scheme, which is already being opposed by big business, is set to be funded by a 1.5 per cent levy on about 3200 of the biggest companies – those with a taxable income of more than $5 million.

The government’s scheme is funded by the taxpayer.

Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave plan will be a big incentive for women in the workforce to have children, according to member for Calare John Cobb.

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

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Eric Roozendaal calls it quits

Former treasurer and Minister for the IllawarraEric Roozendaal has described his time as a NSW MP as “a roller coaster ride” while announcing his resignation from state parliament after nine years.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Roozendaal has been an MP since 2004 and served as treasurer, roads minister and ports minister in the former Labor government. He was previously general secretary of the NSW Labor party.

Due to his time as a minister, Mr Roozendaal will leave parliament on an annual lifetime taxpayer-funded pension of about $120,000.

The Labor party has the right to replace Mr Roozendaal, whose term was not due to expire until 2019, in the NSW upper house.

Front runners are the deputy mayor of Burwood, Ernest Wong, and Daniel Mookhey, a former chief of staff at the Transport Workers Union who is now with the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

In a valedictory speech on Thursday morning, he reflected on his time as a minister, his stewardship of the controversial privatisation of electricity assets, his recent appearance before a corruption inquiry and the future of the party.

Mr Roozendaal told parliament it was “time to embark on a new journey to embrace a new, fresh direction and a new part of my life”.

But he did not give an indication of whether he has secured work outside of politics.

“It would be fair to say that my time in parliament has been a bit of a roller coaster ride,” Mr Roozendaal said.

“There’s been some great high points and there’s been a few low points. But anyone who embarks on public life can expect no different. That is what we sign up for.”

He said that since his student politics days he has always believed “that if you want to make a difference you need to step up and not be afraid to do so”.

Mr Roozendaal, a member of the Labor right faction, has been a controversial figure within the party.

As general secretary he was credited with accelerating the culture of donations to the party from the property development industry.

But he was also campaign director of then Premier Bob Carr’s election victory in 2003 which delivered the party one of its best ever results.

In 2004, Mr Roozendaal was chosen by the Labor party to take the upper house position of Tony Burke, who left to enter federal parliament and is now environment minister.

As roads minister, Mr Roozendaal’s ministerial car was caught driving illegally in a bus lane. As treasurer he presided over the last minute sale of a section of the state’s electricity assets, shortly before the 2011 state election.

Along with then premier Kristina Keneally, Mr Roozendaal was also involved in the decision to prorogue the NSW parliament to avoid a parliamentary inquiry into the sale process.

Last November, Mr Roozendaal appeared at the Independent Commission Against Corruption which held hearings into Mr Roozendaal’s purchase of a car when he was roads minister in 2007.

It heard evidence that the purchase price was $44,800, but Mr Roozendaal paid $10,800 less and the difference was paid by the family of former Labor powerbroker and minister Eddie Obeid.

The commission was told the arrangement was a “sham” to conceal the fact that Mr Roozendaal had obtained a financial benefit through Mr Obeid’s son Moses.

Mr Roozendaal and the Obeids denied this was the case.

Following the hearings, Mr Roozendaal was suspended from the Labor party at the request of the Opposition Leader John Robertson.

The suspension has meant Mr Roozendaal – who is a former general secretary of NSW Labor – has been banned from Labor caucus meetings, although the party has still expected him to vote with it in parliament.

In February, Mr Roozendaal put his North Bondi home on the market. In a statement he said he had separated from his wife, Amanda, after 15 years.

During his speech, Mr Roozendaal said the inquiry was “a bruising and tough process, especially for my family”.

He claimed the inquiry, which has yet to issue its findings into the matter, “did not produce any evidence that any favours were provided to anyone while I was a minister of the Crown”.

Reflecting on Labor’s difficulties over the issue of electricity privatisation, which led to former Premier Morris Iemma resigning, Mr Roozendaal took aim at a “strict 1960s dogmatic view in sections of the ALP that any form of privatisation is bad and the self interest playing out with the energy unions”.

Mr Robertson opposes any further sale of electricity assets, but Mr Roozendaal said: “It is in the best interests of the people of NSW to unlock the value in the energy assets to fund other economic infrastructure.”

Mr Roozendaal said he was “tired of the internal party navel gazing” within Labor.

“There is a saying: when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” he said. “In the ALP it seems when the going gets tough, the ALP blames itself.”

He urged the party to “again undertake the hard work of modernisation”.

In a statement, Mr Robertson wished Mr Roozendaal and his family “all the best”.

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Eric Roozendaal Photo: Kate Geraghty

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

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