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STABLE TALK: Cheeky filly shows form

CLOSE BOND: Brannickers with track rider Mandy Clenton yesterday. Picture: Darren PatemanSTRIP down the name Brannickers and it becomes very apt for a filly whose career is taking off.
Nanjing Night Net

Her owners registered the name Brannickers, but they, race callers and even punters know her as Bra’n’nickers.

The connections took her sire’s name, Darci Brahma, and mum’s name, Nikki’s Bride, and ended up with Bra’n’nickers, or as she is known in the stud book, Brannickers.

“It’s a play on words and the owners were being a bit cheeky, but it’s a clever name,” trainer Kris Lees said.

Say it however you like, the bottom line for Brannickers is that she can run.

The three-year-old filly has won three and been runner-up twice in eight starts.

Tomorrow, Brannickers attempts to win her way into the group 1 Brisbane Oaks when she runs at Rosehill in a 1900 metres handicap.

Brannickers comes to Rosehill after a strong win over 1600m at Gosford.

“The extra distance is no worry,” Lees said.

“She has been looking out for it. The more ground the better for her.”

Lees already has Express Power as the second favourite for the $400,000 Queensland Oaks over 2400m on June 1.

Brannickers, Soapy Star and Masroora could also be in the race.

“She is qualified and now it is a case of whether Brannickers warrants taking to Brisbane,” Lees said.

“If she runs well on Saturday, she might have one more race before Brisbane.”

Lees will also run Nuptse and Urgent Bells in the 1100m handicap for fillies and mares at Rosehill.

“It is a tricky race for both as they are both backmarkers,” Lees said. “But they are both capable of running nice races.”

■ Newcastle stayer Pirate Bay could take the first step towards the group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) when he runs at Rosehill tomorrow.

The imported galloper contests the $100,000 listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m).

“If he shows he is ready to step up in class, then the Doomben Cup is not out of the question,” Kris Lees said.

“He could go to the McKell Cup and then go north, or if he shows he has had enough, he will spell. He has been up for a fair while now.”

Pirate Bay, which won three times in France, showed his first glimpse of form in Australia when he stepped up last start to 2000m after two runs over 1600m.

“He is going well, but he would want to be as this is a smart staying field,” Lees said.

■ Promising Newcastle three-year-old Harada Bay starts off tomorrow on a journey that may lead to the Melbourne spring.

Harada Bay, which was runner-up at Warwick Farm and Eagle Farm at his last two races in January, resumes at Rosehill over 1200m.

“He will go to Randwick in a fortnight, but the main aim is to get him to Melbourne this spring,” trainer Trevor Bailey said. “I am looking at a race like the Blamey Stakes over a mile and worth around 350 grand.

“He has returned to training looking bigger and stronger and he is going well on the track.

“He ran home nicely in a trial at Newcastle behind She’s A Stalker.

“That has got him up to the mark for his first up assignment.”

■ Master Newcastle trainer Paul Perry describes Empress Milly as an “honest bugger”.

That is indeed what she is, having been second at all three runs this preparation.

Perry hopes she can get into the winner’s circle in the 1100m handicap at Rosehill tomorrow.

“It is frustrating as she just keeps finding one better,” Perry said of Empress Milly.

“But on Saturday she is drawn well [gate 2] and at the weights she looks to get her chance.”

Perry has Hidden Warrior up in distance in the 1350m handicap.

“He is hard to place with this benchmarking system,” Perry said. “He has ability, and I put him in the Stradbroke just in case he hit a purple patch of form.”

Perry also has stayer Southern Skye in the same race and Kirinata in the last.

“Kirinata kicks off, and it might be the right time for him with all the big guns going north for the winter carnival.”

■ Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michael Rodd is hoping for better fortune when he rides in the listed $200,000 Scone Cup next Friday.

Rodd’s last trip to Scone was a couple of years ago when he was unplaced in the Scone Guineas on Delago Bolt for Gary Portelli.

The Victorian jockey will ride Firebolt in the Scone Cup.

Fellow Melbourne jockey Michael Walker has accepted the ride on Cathay Lady for John Sargent in the cup.

Cathay Lady put together wins at Canterbury (1550m) and Gosford (1600m) last preparation.

Since resuming, the four-year-old mare has been placed third at two of her three runs.

The latest was when placed in the Emancipation Stakes behind Skyerush at Randwick over 1600m on April 27.

Tim Clark will hope to continue his fantastic return to Australian racing in the Scone Cup.

Clark has hit winning form straight away since returning from Hong Kong, taking out the Wagga Cup and the Gold Coast Guineas last week.

He will maintain the ride on Scream Machine, on which he scored in the Wagga Cup.

Scream Machine came from well back to storm home in a deceptive photo in the 2000m Wagga Cup last week.

■ Exciting Newcastle prospect Chewychop will tune up for the $400,000 Scone Guineas (1400m) with a barrier trial on Monday.

Trainer Darren Smith said a good effort in the hitout at Wyong was necessary for Chewychop to go ahead for the Scone Guineas on Saturday, May 18.

“He has got through his win at Warwick Farm in good order,” Smith said. “I feel he needs another good hitout before going to Scone.

“If he goes well in the trial at Wyong, he can have a go at the Scone Guineas.”

Chewychop has had two starts for two wins.

He scored from a wide barrier at Newcastle on January 27 over 1200m.

He resumed and again led all the way when just hanging on to win over 1300m at Warwick Farm on May 1.

■ Newcastle’s old but bold galloper Motspur will try for his third feature sprint win at Scone tomorrow week.

It took a barrier trial win at Newcastle on Monday for Motspur to get a shot at what would be a historic feat.

Motspur is now rising 11 and is aiming at the race, which this year is called the listed Ortensia Sprint (1100m).

Trainer Kris Lees is sticking to a tried and true pattern with Motspur. Before he won the race the past two years he was resuming from a spell.

“The old horse did enough in the trial to say he is ready for another go at the Scone race,” Lees said.

“I am sure he can do well again in a race that he has made his own.”

■ Cessnock trainer Robert “Pud” Davies is keen for Gunnedah rather than Rosehill for his galloper Sandrio. Sandrio is in race five at Rosehill tomorrow and in the Gunnedah Cup on Sunday.

“My preferred option is the Gunnedah Cup,” Davies said.

“I told the owner he would be a bit of a chance at Rosehill, but at Gunnedah he will be real hard to beat. I think I will be getting my way and we will go to the bush rather than town.

“Leanne Henry will ride him in the Gunnedah Cup, and I reckon she rides him better than any other jockey he has had.”

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24/08/2018 南京夜网

FISHING: Shaun hooked after landing dream marlin

FISH OF THE WEEK 10/5/13: DREAM CATCH: Shaun Munro, from Cameron Park, wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 53-kilogram marlin caught recently. Shaun dreamed about catching it the night before.Browse the Herald Fish File here
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TEN-year-old Shaun Munro, from Cameron Park, lived the dream when he caught his first marlin recently.

The night before heading offshore with his dad Shane aboard the Paul Besoff-skippered boat Offshore, Shaun had a dream about catching a beakie.

Next morning around 4am when his old man asked if he wanted to go fishing, Shaun jumped out of bed.

“Normally he’s keen and on this occasion doubly enthusiastic because he reckons he had a dream the night before of catching his first-ever marlin,” Shane said.

“We were heading back to the bay when a striped marlin hit his favourite lure.

“He’d caught a striped tuna beforehand on lighter gear but never a marlin, and he seemed to get it easy.

“We kept backing the boat up to it and it just lay down.

“I told him don’t think it’ll be that easy every time.

“The marlin weighed 53 kilograms and Shaun was one very happy boy and won’t stop talking about catching his next one.”

Plenty of hefty fish

THE Herald Fish File welcomed a raft of new members this week.

Nine-year-old Maddison Barbour, of Eleebana, caught a nice 68-centimetre flathead while fishing with her dad for bream in

Lake Macquarie.

Maddison landed it on four-pound line using a Berkley shrimp rigged on a ounce jig head.

Andrew Linton caught a 10-kilogram jew in Lake Macquarie chasing bream.

“I played him for approximately 20 minutes on the six-pound bream gear – an awesome way to catch a fish of this size,” Andrew reported.

Twelve-year-old Benny Carey got his dad Dean to send in a photo of him with a 72-centimetre barra.

Dean, Benny and nine-year-old Lachlan were shouted a barra trip to Arnhem Land by their 84-year-old great grandfather, Boy Bradstreet.

“Good old grandad was outfished by his great-grandson Benny when he landed the 72-centimetre barra in a hot session where the boys caught 104 barra for the day,” Dean reported.

Robert Depares caught a 3.4-kilogram mulloway in Lake Macquarie on a vibe using six-pound braid with six-pound leader.

Dave Gilmour managed to hook a John Dory last weekend in Lake Macquarie around Wangi Wangi in 12 feet of water.

“It took a Gulp three-inch shrimp in banana prawn,” Dave said.

Adam Moss got his first-ever yellowfin tuna weighing in at eight kilograms on a recent father-and-son weekend away with his dad Mick at Head Hat.

“The yellowfin was the highlight of his trip as this was his first and it was caught in only eight metres of water trolling small bonito as skip baits on six-kilogram line,” Mick reported.

Sammy Johnson earned the nickname Sammy “The Salmonater” from her boyfriend Brock Herbert after landing a two-kilogram Australian salmon at Carey Bay.

“The fight was priceless,” Brock reported.

“I took her out to catch tailor and Sammy caught the salmon on a Silver Spoon lure.

“It’s the second fish Sammy has ever caught and the biggest. Well done Sammy girl, I say.

“By the way, the first salmon I saw caught at the start of the cooler months was caught on May 1, 2013.”

Check out the photos at theherald南京夜网.au/story/1302075/multi-media-herald-fish-file/

Restrictions proposed

THE Department of Primary Industries Review of NSW Recreational Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing Rules discussion paper released this week has provided some food for thought.

The department is proposing to reduce recreational bag limits on all flathead (other than dusky), yellowfin and black bream, tailor blue swimmer crab, trevally and luderick from 20 to 10; and dusky flathead, snapper, mowong and mahi mahi from 10 to five.

Bag limits on yellowtail kingfish, cobia, deep sea species like blue-eye trevalla, banded rock cod, hapuku, bass groper and gemfish, Spanish and spotted mackerel, wahoo, mangrove jack and teraglin are flagged to drop from five to two.

The department pointed out the use of technology such as electric reels, GPS and sounders since the last survey was a concern.

Three options are proposed for billfish (marlin, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish): one billfish per person/day; a combined species group bag limit of one and boat limit of two; group limit of one and boat limit of one.

Other areas up for discussion include miscellaneous bag limit options including a total combined daily catch limit for recreational fishers of 20 or 30 finfish per person per day, and reducing the default bag limit from 20 to 10 for species that do not have a prescribed bag limit.

Anglers may be restricted to one mahi mahi over 110 centimetres.

Freshwater fishing bag limits, size limits and spawning closures for murray cod, Australian bass and estuary perch, and trout are up for discussion, as are fishing gear and methods for nets and traps.

The closing date for submissions is July 31.

For more information visit dpi.nsw.gov.au/reviews/fishingrules.

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Tigers set outto rekindle their season

TIGER TIME: Rovers Nicklaus Becker attempts to bring Tigers’ Mitchell Godfrey to the ground.TIGERS’ utility Greg Warren has admitted his side will be without key personnel as they look to get their Mount Isa AFL season back on track when they face the Buffaloes at Legend Oval tomorrow. After succumbing to the Buffaloes by 75 points last time, the Tigers will be looking for a more competitive effort. But the Buffaloes will have an improved showing on their mind after blowing a five-goal lead in last week’s loss to Rovers.
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Following a heart-breaking loss last week, Buffaloes will be determined to get back in the winner’s circle when they meet Tigers at Legend Oval tomorrow.

The Buffaloes surrendered a five-goal lead in the third quarter, ultimately falling four-points short thanks to a stirring Rovers fight back.

This week, their assignment comes in the form of the rested Tigers, who sat out last weekend’s round of matches due to Lake Nash taking part in a representative carnival.

Tigers’ utility Greg Warren admitted his side may be hampered by work commitments.

“There’s a 14-day shutdown on site today, so we’ve got six blokes who’ve got work but also a couple of injuries,” he said.

Despite the absence of several players, Warren was adamant the team would be no walkovers.

“We’ll be all right, we’ll certainly be competitive,” he said.

“We want to get out on the park and have a really good hit out with them (Buffaloes).”

Last time the teams faced off was Julia Creek Dirt N Dust weekend, which saw both teams affected by player availability.

Warren said it was frustrating his side wasn’t able to field a full strength team against Buffaloes, but was confident of building continuity as the season wore on.

“We should be able to build up a bit over the coming weeks,” he said.

“Hopefully next time around everyone’s available.”

In the round’s other fixture, Rovers tackle Lake Nash Young Guns in their first meeting of the season.

Remarkably, Lake Nash have played just one game this season following a string of forfeits.

Rovers will be looking to keep their undefeated season intact, and move to four wins from four starts.

Mount Isa AFL Association round five fixture

12.30pm Tigers v Buffaloes

2.30pm Rovers v Lake Nash Young Guns

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Yes vote fits the bill for council at next election

ORANGE City Council spokesman Allan Reeder has urged electors to vote yes in a referendum to recognise local government in the Australian constitution.
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The government announced the referendum to be held alongside September’s federal election yesterday after years of lobbying from local government groups.

Mr Reeder said the exclusion from the constitution was an oversight that needed to be fixed to secure the future of the federal government handing money directly to local councils.

“The local government sector has become a vital part of the way Australia is managed,” he said.

“It’s a loophole exposed by a court case that raised questions as to whether the federal government can directly fund local government activities.”

In recent years Orange has benefited from millions in federal government money paid directly to council including $10 million for the north Orange bypass, $3.6 million for the indoor aquatic centre, $1.6 million for the PCYC at Anzac Park and 1.3 million for cancer care at Western Care Lodge.

The federal government has also committed $4.9 million towards the airport upgrades and $20 million to the Macquarie pipeline if it is approved.

Mr Reeder said the direct funding of local government had the benefit of cutting out extra costs when money was passed on second hand.

The push to write local government into the constitution came after a successful high court challenge to the national school chaplaincy program, which set a legal precedent leaving the federal funding of local government exposed.

Mr Reeder said the local government sector would begin a public awareness campaign ahead of September’s election.

“Unless there’s bipartisan support the referendum has a snowball’s chance in hell,” he said.

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ORANGE City Council spokesman Allan Reeder has urged electors to vote yes in a referendum to recognise local government in the Australian constitution.

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Mate against mates, Johns must tell the truth

Andrew Johns”The spirit which has made Australia,” the great ABC correspondent Chester Wilmot wrote in WWII, “is the spirit which has held Tobruk.
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The inspiring and binding force in Australian life isn’t tradition or nationalism or social revolution. It’s quite a simple thing. Henry Lawson called it MATESHIP . . . the spirit which makes men stick together. In Australia by sticking together, men have defied drought, bushfire and flood. In Tobruk they’ve scorned hardship, danger and death, because no Digger would ever let his cobbers down. In Tobruk for the first time in this war the Germans were thrust back by a spirit that even tanks and dive-bombers could not conquer.”

Oh, stop your sneering, trendy dickheads up the back. For it is bloody well true, and when fired up properly by an outstanding leader, the spirit of mateship really can be a binding and inspiring force, capable of holding off armies. But . . . and it is a big but . . . when misused, it can result in a godawful mess. I refer to the ASADA saga as it pertains to rugby league, and the Waterhouse/Singleton/Johns imbroglio.

In NRL circles, there is a strong view abroad, pushed by the commentators, that ASADA is the enemy in the piece, that the players have got to stick together, refuse to dob in their mates, and tell the outsidersnothing!Sorry? Can those commentators get a grip? ASADA’s sole role is to rid Australian sport of drugs, so we can have a clean competition peopled by healthy players, and they are doing their best to weed out CHEATS. That’sit!

Refusal to co-operate with that investigation, and encouraging that refusal – frequently through a misguided sense of mateship – can only result in a corruption of the sport’s soul. If you seriously love league, and you dinkum want it to be clean you have only one option: you treat ASADA as a positive agent of change, and help them. You take on the short-term pain – including if necessary, dobbing in a mate who also happens to be a CHEAT – for the long-term gain of playing in a healthy clean sport where neither your teammates or your opponents have an unnatural advantage through engaging in dangerous practices. In the miasma of conflicting loyalties, of differing consequences, history has shown that telling thetruthis always a good start to sorting things out, and at least you don’t have to lie awake at night wondering which version of the lie to tell.

Which brings us to the position of Andrew Johns giving a whole new meaning to an arena in which he has previously excelled: “Mate against Mate.” What happened last Friday week, starting in the corporate box at Brookvale Oval?

(We interrupt this column for a brief musical interlude, from Bing Crosby: “The owner told Clarence the Clocker, the Clocker told Jockey Magee, the jockey, of course, passed it on to the horse, and the horse told me . . .” We now return to normal programming.)

There are two broad scenarios:

1.Andrew Johns’ mate, Tom Waterhouse, told the Immortal footballer, as a “mate”, that More Joyous, was “off”. Tom denies telling Johns anything like this but, hey, this is only a scenario. Johns, is so stunned by the news he tells his other mates, Eddie Hayson and Allan Robinson, and finally calls his most powerful mate of all, John Singleton, who, as we knows goes ballistic, most particularly when More Joyous runs like the horse that you and I always get in the Melbourne Cup sweep – coming second-last by a long stretch, the worst performance of its career.

2.Tom Waterhouse told Andrew Johns no such thing. With no inside knowledge whatsoever from his mother Gai, he merely offered an opinion that he wasn’t convinced that More Joyous was good value, and Johns got the wrong end of the stick. From there he “embellished” his remark and told Singleton things he knew not to be true. He even went so far as to “mis-speak” on Sunday morning, when he told the Sunday morning sports panel on Channel Nine that Tom Waterhouse had told him the horse was “off”. Under this scenario it is merely a stupendous coincidence that the horse ran as if it really was “off”. But ultimately, the whole thing is Johns’ fault, as he has repeated falsehoods that have placed him right in the middle of a mate minefield, with one wrong step in any direction threatening to blow up, first a friendship, and secondly – by his own claim, strongly denied by the network – his professional livelihood with Channel Nine.

Which of these two options is correct? I don’t know. But that Johns is right in the middle of the mate minefield is entirely beyond dispute. The fact that he didn’t want to make a step anywhere was evidenced by his statement on Monday, declining to appear before the tribunal even as he scrambled to do anything but incriminateanyone.

But now fuelled by SOMEONE telling massive lies – we just don’t know who – the pressure has inevitably risen to the point that he is going to appear. And he can’t just stand still. As noted by one commentator yesterday, who is close to Johns, “Whatever he says he is going to anger one of his mates.” Exactly.

So how does he get out of it?

It is very simple Andrew. Just tell the truth, in every tiny detail. Word for word, whathappened. Without fear or favour, step by step, say what happened, and don’t leave anything out – the truth will set you free. No, you won’t come out with your mateship intact, but that is gone anyway. And at least you will regain respect for the fact that – as in days of yore – you are made for the big occasion, that when the whole thing is going to hell in a handcart, you are the one to look to, to triumph in the end. Just tell the truth. Do it.

Twitter – @Peter_Fitz

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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
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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.
Nanjing Night Net

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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