Why is everyone Googling Eiza Gonzalez?

She’s 23, Mexican, and has just moved to Los Angeles. So, why is Eiza Gonzalez currently trending on Google in Australia?
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Well, Miley Cyrus fans might be able to answer that question.

Yes, Gonzalez is apparently (if you believe a slew of tabloids) dating the US singer’s former beau Liam Hemsworth.

It’s safe to presume that a gaggle of Cyrus followers are hastily Googling Hemsworth’s alleged new flame as the actor, 23, and the pop star, 20, only broke off their engagement early this week.

The Aussie actor was first linked to Gonzalez when they were photographed together at the Encore Resort in Las Vegas on Saturday night, just hours after news of Hemsworth’s split with Cyrus broke.

According to the Daily Mail, Hemsworth was then photographed “passionately kissing” Gonzalez at her Beverly Hills apartment complex after the pair returned from their “wild weekend away in Las Vegas”.

So who is this Eiza Gonzalez? Those teens madly plugging her name into search engines will discover that the 23-year-old moved from Mexico to Los Angeles just weeks ago in a bid to break into the American market. (It must be said that being linked to one of Hollywood’s newest bachelors isn’t a bad way to raise your profile in Tinseltown).

Gonzalez rose to fame at the age of 16 when she starred as lead character Lola in the Mexican telenovela, Lola … Erase una vez (Lola…Once Upon A Time).

She went on to star in five Spanish-language television series, two movies and has released two albums. She gets her excellent genes from her mother, former Mexican model Glenda Reyna (who is a judge on Mexico’s Next Top Model).

In August, Gonzalez announced her split from her boyfriend of two years, Mexican businessman Pepe Diaz, on Twitter, telling her 764,000 followers that she had been single for about a month. She then tweeted that love is “our greatest happiness and pain” in life. “I choose love always!” she wrote.

It would seem that Gonzalez isn’t afraid to discuss her love life on social media. On September 11 she left a cryptic message on her Facebook page:

“It must be very difficult to accept the fact that the person you’re interested in lives in love with someone else #oops #goodluck! #whengoodisgood!.”

As a journo at the Daily Mail mused, “It cannot be clear whether she was taking an apparent dig at Miley or perhaps referring to her own love life.”

But it seems she’s more coy when discussing her (alleged) relationships in real life. When quizzed about her relationship with Hemsworth at a press conference on Friday in Mexico City, Gonzalez responded, “I have nothing to say about that subject.”

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


Newcastle council workers strike: services update

NEWCASTLE City Council employees are out on strike until midnight Friday.
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United Services Union organiser Robert Potter said more than 300 workers voted to stop work immediately during a meeting on Friday morning at Civic Park.

Union officials met with council general manager Ken Gouldthorp on Thursday night over 13 ‘‘areas of concern’’, all but one of which remain unresolved.

Mr Potter said more than 700 union members were involved in the industrial action.

Professional lifeguards were granted union permission to provide ‘‘skeleton coverage’’ at council-designated patrolled beaches.

Any wages paid to those lifeguards today will be donated to the White Ribbon campaign to stop violence against women.

COMMENT FROM COUNCIL

The stopwork meeting at Civic Park on Friday morning. Picture: Darren Pateman

The City of Newcastle General Manager KEN GOULDTHORP says Council is working to restore services to the community as quickly as possible following a resolution this morning by the United Services Union to go on strike until midnight tonight.

“Due to the commitment and dedication of many of our staff, the majority of services remain unaffected. “

Lord Mayor Jeff McCloysays Council is committed to making the changes it decided on in June this year as a result of its poor financial position.

“Some of the matters raised by union members are already before the Industrial Relations Commission for determination and many don’t affect the majority of staff.”

“I am disappointed this action has been taken and I apologise if there is any inconvenience to the community.”

The current status of services is:

Customer Enquiries Counter –The Customer Enquiries Counter and switchboard remain open to take enquiries from the public.

Waste services– Any waste not collected by 10am this morning will be collected in the next few days.

Summerhill Waste Management Centre– Summerhill will be closed and will reopen at 9am tomorrow.

Street cleaning– The Newcastle Mall will be cleaned and minimal street cleaning in other areas will continue.

Branch libraries– All libraries are closed and will reopen as normal tomorrow.

Beaches and pools– Nobbys Beach, Bar Beach and Newcastle Ocean Baths will be patrolled today.

Swimming Centres– Lambton swimming centre will be closed until 5:30am tomorrow. Stockton, Mayfield and Wallsend Swimming Centres will also reopentomorrowfor the start of the swim season.

Parking Stations– The Mall parking station will remain open.

Parks and gardens– There will be minimal impact on parks and gardens.

Public toilets– Some public toilets in high profile areas will remain open. Others will be closed to the public.

Administration– Council is processing invoices and ensuring creditors are paid.

Beresfield Childcare Centre– Operating as normal.

NewcastleArt Gallery– Operating as normal

NewcastleMuseum– Operating as normal.

Blackbutt Reserve– Operating as normal.

Event management– Events scheduled for the weekend will continue as normal.

Civic Precinct– City Hall and Civic Theatre will remain open as normal.

General Manager and Lord Mayor’s office– As normal.

Environmental Health and Complianceservices– As normal.


Davis Cup on the agenda for Tennis ACT

Canberra teenager Nick Kyrgios made his Davis Cup debut last week and Tennis ACT has ambitions to host Davis Cup matches from 2015.
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Regular professional tennis is set to return to Canberra by the 2014-15 summer, with Tennis ACT poised to launch a new, annual Australian Pro Tour event.

The tournament will debut following the $20million redevelopment at the National Sports Club in Lyneham, due for completion in November 2014.

Canberra hasn’t hosted a regular professional tournament since 2006, when the Canberra Women’s Classic, formerly the Canberra International, went bust.

The women’s event had been an Australian Open preparation tournament between 2001-06 and boasted champions such as Justin Henin and Ana Ivanovic, who went on to become world No.1.

But it eventually became unsustainable due to a lack of sponsorship, crowds and support from Tennis Australia.

Work on the refurbished Lyneham tennis facility is due to start in November and will provide Canberra with a variety of international-standard tennis surfaces, including European clay and hardcourts – indoor and outdoor.

Tennis ACT chief executive Ross Triffitt said it would put Canberra in a strong position to bid for events such as Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties from 2015.

Triffitt also revealed he was in discussions with Tennis Australia, the ACT Government and private sponsors about setting up a new tournament.

The Canberra International could be announced as early as November and would be a mixed tournament, with a men’s and women’s draw.

‘‘The redevelopment of Lyneham will allow us to bring major international events back to Canberra,’’ Triffitt said.

‘‘A marquee tennis event is very important for the growth of the sport … but people need to understand it won’t be an Australian Open series event with [Roger] Federer playing, it’s going to be an event that will feature top international players.

‘‘The Canberra Women’s Classic proved not to be sustainable in the long term, we’re looking for an event we can develop.

‘‘We want to pitch it at a sustainable level and then grow it rather than come in too big and too hard too early.

‘‘There has been a lot of thought about how that might evolve to link into the Asia Pacific Tennis League and the Australian Open series.’’

The Lyneham redevelopment is the centrepiece of Tennis ACT’s strategy to engage more interest in the sport, from elite to  grassroots levels.

A $300,000 development has just been completed at North Woden tennis club, which will enable it to host Asia Pacific Tennis League matches this summer, involving the Canberra Velocity teams, headlined by Kyrgios.

North Woden will also be the site of an ACT-funded pilot program, enabling community players to make court bookings and provide easier access to facilities for recreational players.

Hirers would book and pay online and be given access to entry security codes.

The pilot is being monitored closely by Tennis Australia for the potential roll out across the country.

Registered players in the ACT are up almost 14 per cent this year and Triffitt said the ongoing challenge was having facilities available to meet demand.

‘‘This is really our pilot club for the potential direction of a lot of the community clubs, opening access to facilities through online booking,’’ Triffitt said.

‘‘We’ve already got a lot of interest from other community clubs, so once we go through a proof of concept and iron out a lot of the bugs it will be ready to roll out at other facilities.’’

At one time tennis could have strongly claimed to be Australia’s national sport, but facilities have dwindled over the decades.

Plans to establish a multi-sport facility in the new Canberra suburb of Throsby, incorporating tennis, netball and squash, have been put on hold.

But Triffitt said Tennis ACT was working with ACT Government and private developers to establish more facilities in areas of need.

‘‘Gone are the days when they would establish a new suburb and put in a church and a tennis court,’’ Triffitt said.

‘‘We’ve seen the growth in Gungahlin, prior to that South Tuggeranong and on the horizon Molonglo. These are the areas that are perfect participation bases for a sport like ours and we don’t have facilities in those areas.

‘‘The population is growing and the demand is growing, so we’ve got to find locations for the facilities. We’re working with a private sector as well.’’

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


Should Eagles fans support Dockers?

Eagles, DockersThe argument against
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– Michael Hopkin

“Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies,” Gore Vidal once said. History doesn’t record whether the great philosopher-playwright followed the AFL, but he seemed to have a pretty good grasp on the hardcore footy fan’s mindset.

There are two facets to supporting a football team: hoping your team wins, and hoping with almost equal fervour that the neighbours get stuffed. That way, you get two doses of joy/despair each weekend, instead of one.

But even that is too rational an argument. The simple fact is that sport is about bragging rights. Eagles fans, don’t you enjoy being the only Perth team to have won a flag? Are you really, honestly excited about the prospect of losing that oh-so-precious title?

And Dockers fans, how much sweeter would Grand Final glory be if it really, really annoyed your Eagles-supporting mates?

ABC 720’s Geoff Hutchison got it exactly right when he said on his Facebook page: “There are some of you out there masquerading as Dockers supporters under the “we support WA teams” guise. Bugger off. This isn’t for you. It’s for those who stuck fast.”

Of course I appreciate the traditional enmity between WA and Victoria when it comes to footy. And, in the scheme of things, the 19 years since the Dockers were born isn’t actually that long in terms of creating a proper, grudging rivalry.

But as a Pom who grew up with the English football culture, I’m a firm believer that crosstown enmity should trump everything.

Try asking a Manchester City fan whether they barrack for Manchester United against foreign opposition. You’d get a lecture about “the real Manchester”, probably peppered with a healthy amount of swearing.

I once terrified my mates by wildly cheering a Barcelona goal in the 2006 Champions League final, which we were watching in a fairly rough London pub full of Arsenal fans.

Yet I was merely doing my duty. As a Tottenham fan, you couldn’t pay me to barrack for Arsenal, even if they were playing against Satan FC. (Wait, they are Satan FC.)

This, incidentally, is one thing that English football commentators routinely get wrong when reporting on Europe-wide competitions. They see their job as involving barracking for the “home” side, when the reality is that a solid 80 per cent of people watching would love to see Chelsea fall on their faces against some semi-professional Albanian journeymen no one’s ever heard of before.

Anyway, I digress. The simple fact is that Eagles fans have no business supporting the Dockers. At the risk of offending many, many people, I’d suggest that cheering Freo this week makes you less of an Eagles fan.

In fact, Fremantle’s possible success represents a handy litmus test for Eagles fans. (Litmus test, purple, see? Ah, never mind.) If you hope the Dockers win, then feel free to refer to yourself as a ‘WA footy fan’. But you’re only allowed to call yourself an Eagles fan if the prospect of a Fremantle flag fills your mouth with acrid bile.

Sure, being a touchy-feely footy fan is all well and good. But the hardcore haters have got it right. After all, isn’t schadenfreude more fun?

As someone with no strong AFL allegiance, I can barrack for whomever I want. Although a Dockers fan once spent an entire evening explaining to me his thesis that Fremantle are “the Tottenham of the AFL”, while the Eagles are like the ever-arrogant Arsenal.

So go the Dockers!

***

The argument for

– Liam Ducey

Full disclosure – I used to be one of those give-no-quarter, one-eyed Eagles supporters. I’d go for West Coast, and whoever was playing the Dockers. Family doesn’t come into it. Mum’s a Docker and East Fremantle, Dad and I are Eagles and East Perth.

If you were a Dockers fan, you were open to ridicule. I’d delight in it. I told myself there was no way I’d ever barrack for those blokes down the road. Fremantle and all its associated delights could sink into the ocean, I’d say, and I wouldn’t even notice. As long as Mojo’s was spared, I’d be OK with that.

In recent weeks, probably the last six, my vernacular has changed when I’m talking about the Dockers.

Instead of ‘they’, I’ve started saying ‘we’. I’ve embraced the Dockers without even realising it.

My best friend, a former WA Student Scientist of the Year was the first to pick up on it. All he asked me was why I’ve changed my core ideology. I couldn’t explain it.  Why was I suddenly, inexplicably supporting the Dockers?

Well, I’ve figured it out. My WAtoday南京夜网.au colleague, Mike Hopkin, lacks a fundamental understanding of the way Australia works. This isn’t town versus town. This is state versus state. The battle lines are fluid in Australia, they can go two ways.

I’d never support the Dockers against the Eagles. It’s just not going to happen. But against those bloody Victorians, against those wise men from the East, against those AFL bureaucrats in Melbourne, team allegiance, at least for me, takes a back seat for the pure and utter contempt every West Australian should have for that mob.

To put it in terms Mike might understand, it’s like mad England fans supporting Ireland in the 1994 World Cup. It’s not their first team of choice, but we’ll be damned if any other club is going to get our support.

This might be lost on a younger generation who may not remember State of Origin and serves as a pretty good argument as to why it needs to come back. But it also points to the type of team the Dockers have become. I would never have admitted this in the past, but they are playing some breathtaking football.

Real AFL fans, as much as they love their own teams, they can acknowledge, and even appreciate, when a team is on a real tear. Champagne football. Call it what you want. Feel free to say I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Feel free to ridicule. But I’ll say for the first time that as a paid up Eagles member, I’m behind the Dockers, and if you’re a proud Western Australian and a proud football fan, you should be too.

At least until next season, all bets are off.

***

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


iPhone 5s, 5c plans released by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone

Decisions: Two new iPhone models were released on Friday. Photo: Getty Images/AFPiOS 7 security flaws uncoveredHackathon to crack fingerprint scanner
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The release of a popular new phone model such as the iPhone provides mobile companies with an opportunity to steal market share by offering consumers the best deal possible and locking them into one- or two-year contracts.

Australia’s three big mobile carriers, Optus, Vodafone and Telstra, have all released their pricing with prices for the new iPhone 5 models, starting at $46 per month on a two-year contract.

Since the introduction of new consumer protection codes, all telcos must release a simple one-page summary of what they are offering, but it still takes a bit of mathematical wizardry to work out the most appropriate plan.

For example, the cheapest way to acquire the 5c handset on a two-year plan is through Vodafone for $46 per month. However, this plan has very low call and data inclusions so users might get stung by excess usage charges over the two-year contract.

For heavy data users, Vodafone and Virgin currently offer the most generous allowances, with 5 gigabytes (GB) and 6 GB per month respectively, as long as consumers are willing to pay at least $100 per month.

Meanwhile the new 5s model – the one that comes in gold and silver – starts at $51 per month on Vodafone’s network, $62 per month on Optus, $51 per month with Virgin (which uses the Optus network) or $78 per month on Telstra. The Telstra plan lets customers download 1 GB of data every month, whereas the other carriers’ plans only allow 200 megabytes per month.

FaceTime

But a new feature in Apple’s new iOS 7 operating software, which allows users to make calls using mobile data rather than tradition telephone calls, may mean talk time is much less important in mobile plans than before.

With the option of audio-only calls in the Apple app FaceTime, iPhone users will be able to talk to other iPhone users via Wi-Fi or mobile data. FaceTime over a mobile data connection is available on the iPhone 4S or later and is supported on iPad 2 or later, iPad mini, iPod touch (4th generation) or later, and many Macs.

Before this, users could press the home button while they talked for the video to disappear to save on bandwidth costs. The new method makes this easier.

Contracts

Acquiring a phone through a contract involves complex calculations and weighing up the most suitable phone model against the contract’s long-term cost, included value and the quality of the mobile network.

Consumers could also buy the phone outright from Apple or any other retailer and then pay for access to any network on a month by month basis.

The 5s model costs between $869 and $1129 depending on storage capacity, while the 5c costs between $739 and $869. However, acquiring handsets through long-term contracts has always been popular in Australia because consumers feel they get the handset at a discount – the 5c would cost $30.80 per month if purchased outright and repaid interest-free over two years.

The carriers charge much lower or no handset repayment fees for contracts that cost about $100 per month, so high volume users can acquire a phone without increasing their monthly costs.

A survey by Roy Morgan research over the six months to June found 40 per cent of existing iPhone owners in Australia were in a position to upgrade – 17 per cent were within six months of the end of their contract, and the rest already own their phone outright.

The 5s and 5c both work on the three mobile carriers’ new 4G networks, but consumers should still check network coverage in their area as rollouts have not finished.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Optus’ 5s plans started at $52. In fact they start at $62. 

With Ben Grubb

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


Man jailed for killing best friend in botched drug attack

The house where Khaldoun Abbas went to confront Jui Wei ”Alan” Huang over an unpaid drug debt.It was a “half-baked attempt at gangsterism” that ended with his best mate dead, a baby girl effectively without a father and two families devastated for years to come.
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Khaldoun Abbas was sentenced to at least eight years in prison on Friday for accidentally shooting his childhood friend in 2011 during a botched attempt to recover a $500 drug debt.

Abbas, then 18, had gone to the Rockdale home of small-time drug dealer and addict Jui Wei “Alan” Huang to force him into repaying the money.

Two close friends, 18-year-old Aydin Dogan and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, joined him and together they pinned Huang to the ground and bashed him around the head and legs.

Abbas took out a small, black semi-automatic handgun and held it towards Mr Huang’s legs while trying to slap him.

He ordered Mr Huang to get up but, in the process, was accidentally bumped, causing him to discharge the firearm in the face of the 17-year-old, his childhood friend.

He then dropped the pistol on the ground, accidentally firing it again as he picked it up, before running from the house.

“It was a half-baked attempt at gangsterism that has left his good friend dead, a family devastated, him in prison and his daughter effectively fatherless,” Justice Robert Beech-Jones said as he handed down the sentence for manslaughter, assault and firearm possession.

The bullet travelled through the teenager’s left check and into his brain, causing hypoxic brain damage and a subdural haemorrhage.

The victim’s seven siblings were preparing a Ramadan feast at their home on August 6, 2011, when they received a call from police.

“Instead the evening ended with the siblings assembled at St George Hospital with their brother on life support,” Justice Beech-Jones said.

His parents immediately flew home from Lebanon to be by their son’s side.

Outside court, two of the victim’s brothers said their mother had continued to visit the grave site every day since the death.

Abbas had shown deep remorse and grief at killing his best friend and Justice Beech-Jones accepted that he had no intention to use the firearm during his “escapade of gangsterism”.

After the incident, Abbas told police he had no idea where the gun’s safety catch was.

“I didn’t even know that it was loaded,” he said.

However, Justice Beech-Jones said that “unlike his friend, [Abbas] will have an opportunity to make a life for himself” when he is released.

Abbas’ wife gave birth to a girl 19 months ago while he was in custody and he will be eligible for parole in 2019, when his daughter is seven years old.

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


Hugh Jackman should hang up his claws: Variety report

Are Wolverine’s days numbered? Variety thinks Hugh Jackman is long overdue for a change of screen.Influential Hollywood entertainment magazine Variety says it’s time for Hugh Jackman to hang up his Wolverine claws and focus on other roles.
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The call comes with the release of Jackman’s latest movie, the critically acclaimed Prisoners, directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, Jackman plays a distraught father whose daughter is abducted.

Variety film editor Ramin Setoodeh argues that Jackman’s career has never been in better shape but he risks being typecast by the Wolverine/X-Men series, in which he recently had his sixth outing.

The Golden Globe winner is also due to reprise the role next year in X-Men Days of Future Past, despite less than stellar box office taking for this year’s The Wolverine.

“All of which leads to a bigger question: Is Wolverine now a liability for Hugh Jackman’s career?” asks Setoodeh.

“Wolverine has been both a blessing and curse for Jackman. The Marvel comic book character was the role that put the unknown Australian actor on the map … but it also typecast him.”

Jackman has spent more time playing Wolverine than Daniel Radcliffe devoted to the role of Harry Potter.

“Unlike Batman or Superman, Wolverine just isn’t that deep. Jackman has already explored all the various depths — and more — with the character,” says Setoodeh.

“It’s time to retire those claws.”

Meanwhile, Jackman is set to received a lifetime achievement award at the San Sebastian film festival, which opens today.

The 44-year-old will collect the Spanish festival’s Donostia Award – the Basque name for the coastal city San Sebastian – on Friday just before Prisoners is screened.

In announcing the award, festival directors called Jackman “one of the most versatile actors of our time.”

Past winners of the award include Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffmann.

With AFP

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


States must unite for GST reform

So it begins. WA Premier Colin Barnett has started a political process that will inevitably lead to significant tax reform, including his desired increase in the GST’s scope and/or rate. How long the process takes will depend upon the integrity of our state and federal politicians. Yes, it is likely to be many years.
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Barnett called for leadership on the GST issue from Tony Abbott, but it’s not the federal government that needs tax reform, let alone the political cost of broken promises and scare campaigns. The “leadership” is going to have to come from those who most urgently require it – the states. Only when the states unite in demanding change will Abbott be able to wash his hands of it, pointing out as his treasurer already has that the GST is the states’ tax merely administered by the commonwealth.

One of the achievements of the 2011 tax summit (that the then-opposition childishly snubbed), was to spell out that the states are all hurtling at varying speeds towards a fiscal brick wall. They’ve trashed their own tax bases and show little inclination to take politically unpopular decisions to fix their inequitable and damaging revenue sources, but they’re all facing soaring health, education and infrastructure needs. Which is why it has been argued here before that we’ll only get serious about changing the system when the states demand it.

Barnett is the first to make the demand. If his remains a lone voice, he will be ignored by Canberra. As usual, our pollies are more interested in keeping the better-paying jobs of government than acting first and foremost in the best interests of the nation. If the WA premier can build consensus among his peers though, the game changes.

While that’s happening the premiers are far from powerless. A small example of Barnett’s own weakness – the sort of thing that catches a ratings agency’s eye – was his backdown on reforming WA’s over-the-top solar power feed-in tariff. Like similar stupid and inequitable schemes in other states, the majority end up subsidising a minority to little purpose – a bit like the motor vehicle FBT/novated lease lurk.

The bigger and more beneficial potential reform that’s already in the states’ own hands is to move from reliance on economically and socially damaging real-estate stamp duty to a broad land tax without exceptions. It was all spelt out in the Henry Review, but only the ACT government has had the integrity to do something about it. Why would any premier expect the Abbott family to risk years of comfortable living in Kirribilli House when the states aren’t first prepared to help themselves?

The encouraging aspect of Abbott’s budget reply speech this year and his pre-pre-election policy was to genuinely entertain tax reform, including an examination of GST changes. Maybe the promise that “we won’t change the GST” left wriggle room to mean “we won’t change the GST, but it’s the states’ tax so if they want to change it, we won’t stand in their way”. That spreads the political pain.

I’ve long argued significant tax reform requires three things:

1. Genuine political leadership. (No sign of that.)

2. A responsible opposition. (We only have a GST thanks to Meg Lees’ Australian Democrats being responsible opposition in the Senate. After the last three years, there’s not much chance of the current main opposition parties behaving responsibly for the Abbott government.)

3. Failing the above, or as well as – a crisis.

We will see financial crises soon enough at the state government level if governments attempt to provide the infrastructure and services their electors demand. WA losing one notch of its credit rating is nothing like a crisis, just a slight political embarrassment in the general scheme of things. The current crop of premiers might well figure that they’ll be gone before their states get to the crisis stage, when full hospitals and growing aged-care scandals and creaking infrastructure enforce change. History will record them as cowards and failures if they do so.

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

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


AFL steps in to fix infighting at Lions

Former Lions coach Michael Voss and club chairman Angus Johnson. Photo: Chris Hyde Leigh Matthews Photo: Getty.
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The AFL has stepped in to try and fix the mess that is the Brisbane Lions board, scheduling a mediation meeting between the warring parties in Melbourne next week.

With the Lions remaining locked in a Mexican standoff following a boardroom coup lead by Paul Williams, Mick Power and former coach Leigh Matthews, AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said there was a need for “high-level intervention” from the code’s governing body.

Current chairman Angus Johnson has refused to step down and the matter had seemed destined for a fiery extraordinary general meeting. But Fitzpatrick wants the matter sorted in a far shorter time period.

“The AFL’s preference was for this matter to be resolved internally through negotiation and compromise but this hope appears to have receded in recent times,” Fitzpatrick said.

“It is crucial that the club’s leadership and direction is settled as quickly as possible to provide the Lions with stability at a time when it is actively planning for the 2014 season and beyond, including the appointment of a senior coach and the development of new facilities.

“As the Lions sign or re-sign key players, recruit members and seek out corporate support, they need a board that is pursuing a clear and united vision for the club.”

Brisbane are in the middle of trying to find a head coach to replace sacked mentor Michael Voss and are also fighting to retain players, with a number of youngsters, including Jared Polec, already leaving the club.

Fitzpatrick said the AFL didn’t want to see the matter end up in front of members at a special meeting, which would be held to decide the fate of the current board.

“It is pleasing to note that the club’s regular operations are continuing as normal, as is the process to identify a new senior coach for the Lions,” Fitzpatrick said.

“But it is the AFL’s belief that the interests of Lions members and supporters are best served by resolving the board dispute as quickly as possible to enable the Lions’ sole focus to be on strengthening the club and its prospects for success, both on and off the field.”

In a statement, the Lions welcomed the move from the AFL and recognised “the importance of stability and is keen to see the matter resolved ASAP”.

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


Warm spring to stoke early-season fire risks

Fires threatened Sydney’s outskirts on September 10. Photo: Nick MoirThe exceptionally warm start to spring for south-eastern Australia is likely to extend well into October, breaking more records and exacerbating early-season fire risks, according to Weatherzone.
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Both Sydney and Melbourne – and much of the nation – are well on course to set record temperatures for September with weather models indicating next month will also be unusually hot, said Weatherzone meteorologist Ben McBurney.

“Our fortnightly models indicate it’s going to be a very warm end to September, so it’s very likely we’re going to see the warmest September on record for Sydney at least,” Mr McBurney said.

Sydney’s maximums this month are running at about 23.6 degrees, well above the long-term norm of 20 degrees, and eclipsing the previous record of 23.3 degrees in 1980. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts days will average about 24 degrees over the next week. Minimum temperatures are also well above previous records.

Melbourne’s maximums are running at about 19.5 degrees, just shy of the 2006 record of 19.7 degrees, but the mercury is likely to reach an average of about 21 degrees or more for the next week. “There’s a good chance they’re also going to break their [September] record as well,” Mr McBurney said.

Central heating

The Bureau of Meteorology said it was possible September would see more monthly records fall.

“The area of most-abnormal warmth has been inland central and eastern Australia,” said Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the bureau. “A lot of that area has been 4-6 degrees above normal for September to date.”

Alice Springs is running at about 3 degrees above the previous record for September. “It’s just been ridiculous,” Mr McBurney said.

Australia’s record heat over the past year has surprised climate experts, not least because it has occurred in a period without an El Nino weather pattern over the Pacific Ocean, the conditions that typically see national temperatures spike.

Outgoing chief climate commissioner Tim Flannery also highlighted the unusual heat and the early start to the fire season around Sydney on Thursday when he disclosed that the new Abbott government had axed the commission.

Dr Flannery said it remains important that the public continues to get “a reliable, apolitical source of facts” on climate change, a task he said was made harder by the commission’s demise.

Fire worries

Weatherzone’s Mr McBurney said weather models indicate the potential for more early-season fires remains high, particularly in NSW.

“September has been quite hot and our models suggest October will also be very hot,” Mr McBurney said. “The early part of the fire season could be quite bad.”

There could be more potentially bad fire days by the middle of next week, with temperatures likely to approach 30 degrees. “Those westerlies will come in and dry things out again,” he said.

There’s also little sign of rain over the next fortnight for the Sydney region. Melbourne can expect close to average rainfall for September “but the further north you go, it’s pretty dry”, he said.

Melbourne has received about 44 millimetres of rain so far in September, a month that typically sees about 58 millimetres for the city. Sydney’s rain tally of 35.8 millimetres is about half the long-run average of 68.6 millimetres.

As of Friday afternoon, the Rural Fire Service was reporting 19 active fires across NSW with just two of them uncontained.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

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


Sydney auction market braces for big weekend

Antony Lawes’s Hot Auctions: 88 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, About $550,000. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 0 car spaces. There should be at least eight paddles being waved for this unrenovated terrace, which is on the market for the first time in nearly 50 years. Agent: Ray White Surry Hills, 0438 332 088. Auction: 9am. Antony Lawes’s Hot Auctions: 357 Catherine Street, Lilyfield $1.1 million+. 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 car spaces. It’s likely there will be more than five bidders for this double-fronted cottage close to the light-rail station. Agent: Pilcher Residential, 0425 216 043. Inspect: 9.30am. Auction: 9.45am.
Nanjing Night Net

Antony Lawes’s Hot Auctions: 28 Westcott Street, Eastlakes $890,000+. 3 bedrooms, 1 bathoom, 1 car space. About eight bidders are expected for this bungalow in a quiet, convenient location. Agent McGrath Coogee, 0415 647 111. Inspect 11am. Auction 1.30pm.

Sydney is set for another big weekend of auctions, with 565 properties scheduled to go under the hammer.

Though slightly below last weekend’s post-election bumper day, when 637 homes went to auction, this weekend remains well above the same Saturday a year ago, when 504 auctions were scheduled.

Despite the high listing number last weekend, the Sydney weekend home auction market recorded yet another extraordinary result, with a clearance rate of 84.1 per cent.

Sydney’s weekend clearance rate has now exceeded 80 per cent on nine of the past 10 weekends – a rate of 79 per cent was recorded on August 24.

This Saturday, Sydney’s upper north shore is the most popular region for auctions, with 89 scheduled, followed by the inner west with 82, the south with 72 and the city and east region with 71.

Paddington in the eastern suburbs will offer the most properties for sale of any Sydney suburb – eight homes are scheduled to go under the hammer.

A number of suburbs have seven auctions listed, including Strathfield and Marrickville in the inner west, Coogee in the east, St Ives on the upper north shore and Kogarah in the south.

The most popular Sydney suburbs this weekend for unit auctions are Coogee with six, and Randwick and Paddington with five each.

The solid listings numbers again this weekend will present the Sydney spring selling season with yet another stiff test.

However, buyer demand shows no sign of abating so expect more sellers to take advantage of the strongest auction market in 10 years.

Dr Andrew Wilson is senior economist for Fairfax Media-owned Australian Property Monitors.

Twitter: @DocAndrewWilson

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


Michael Mosley’s five biggest health myths

No need to slog it out at the gym: Michael Mosley discovers the benefits of the fast fix. Photo: act\karen.hardyMichael Mosley is arguably the most famous human-health guinea pig on the planet.
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The BBC journalist, doctor and author of the best-selling 5:2 diet has been studying health and the human body for the past 20 years.

But for all his knowledge and self-experimentation, the self-confessed “sugar addict” has not been particularly healthy.

“I needed to be told I was diabetic to change, despite everything I knew,” he says.

Instead of resorting to medication, Mosley decided to get drastic with his diet and see whether he could effect any change.

Turns out he could.

Through intermittent fasting, upping his greens and shifting the way he exercises, he has lost 12 kilograms and his blood sugar has returned to normal. “I can fit into a dinner jacket I haven’t worn since I was 25 and I’m enjoying life,” says Mosley, who was in Australia this week to promote the release of his book in Australia as well as his new BBC documentary series, What’s Your Body Hiding.

The basic concept of intermittent fasting, where for two days of the week you restrict your calorie intake to about 2500 kilojoules a day, is that it gives your body a break from processing food and a period where your blood is not filled with glucose.

The diet, which Mosley insists he was initially sceptical about, is not the only interesting discovery he has made through his research for the series.

Some of the others relate to fairly common knowledge, for instance, that we have to drink two litres of water a day or that eggs raise your cholesterol: “Now we know that’s absolute rubbish,” he says.

Other discoveries are more surprising.

We need five small meals a day

This is “completely, awfully, terribly false,” Mosley says.

The idea behind eating regularly is that we speed up our metabolic rate and prevent the body from going into starvation mode. But the body does the opposite, he says.

The origins of this myth come from a study done in the 1950s, when a group of young men survived on approximately half their normal calories for six months.

They lost significant amounts of weight, but while their body fat went down to 5 per cent they also started to experience significant problems.

Relatively short periods of going without food, however, is a different story, Mosley says, and can have a positive effect on us – physiologically and psychologically.

Doctors know it all

While he was studying to become a doctor, Mosley was surprised to hear that, within 15 years of completing his six-year degree, half of what he had learnt would be out of date.

For this reason, he says, exempting those who are specialists or make a concerted effort to keep abreast of the latest science, many doctors lack knowledge in certain areas.

Nutrition and weight loss is one. In fact, he says during his years of training he was required to attend just one class on nutrition.

Despite this, and although some doctors are open-minded about the latest research, “some are happy to pontificate about subjects they know nothing about”.

He mentions one study comparing various methods of weight reduction where the group who received advice from their GP actually put on weight.

Sugar is the devil in disguise

In a media briefing this week, Mosley said he disagreed with the stance of I Quit Sugar author and host of the event, Sarah Wilson.

“Sugar is one of my greatest addictions,” he acknowledges. “Pretty much every tooth in my mouth has been drilled and replaced. If there’s chocolate or biscuits in the house, I’ll eat them.”

In this sense, he says: “I do generally agree that we eat far too much of it.”

That said, he feels sugar has become a “massive thing” and is wary of being “evangelical” about it.

“Do we know that fructose is as demonising as we say? No, the evidence is contradictory.”

Besides, he believes it’s not about completely avoiding foods, but forgiving yourself when you do falter, being aware of the impact of certain foods and “knowing you’ll be constantly tempted and finding strategies around it”.

Mosley’s strategy involves no longer keeping biscuits or chocolate in the house.

Exercise is the best way to lose weight

“Exercise is a bad form of weight loss,” Mosley says, pointing to research on compensatory eating and relaxing, where “basically you’re knackered, so you sit down” for the rest of the day.

The problem with people believing that exercise is a good way to lose weight is that they get disenchanted and stop doing it, he explains.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exercise.

According to Mosley, the real benefits are the effect exercise has on insulin sensitivity and aerobic fitness. “Which means a longer and healthier life,” he says.

There’s “preliminary” research that high-intensity interval training burns more fat, so “you will look more gorgeous at the beach”.

But for those who don’t do the recommended daily amount of exercise – about 80 per cent of Australians – Mosley wanted to know “what’s the least you can probably do”.

“One of the gurus I spoke to said you can get most of the benefits from three minutes a week,” he says. “I was absolutely sceptical about it.”

Mosley now does a short, sharp workout, pushing as hard as he can for 20 seconds, taking a break and repeating. The entire thing takes him a measly four minutes.

The effects of these quick hits of exercise persist for up to 36 hours after, he says.

Mosley has also increased his incidental activity. Just taking the stairs and getting up regularly has a surprising impact on fat and blood sugar levels.

“We need to move every 30 minutes,” he says. “Get off your arse and go for a short stroll.”

Everyone needs to eat breakfast

Not true, Mosley says.

He mentions studies where some people, when they are forced to eat breakfast, actually put on weight. “It depends on what your body likes to do,” he says.

Which is why Mosley ultimately believes in becoming your own guinea pig. Depending on our own physical make-up and routine, we reap benefits differently. It’s a matter of absorbing the information and trying it on for size.

But if you’re making a change or trying to break a bad habit, don’t expect to be transformed within 21 days.

“That’s completely made up,” Mosley says. “I’ve looked into it.”

What’s Your Body Hiding? season, from October 6 on BBC Knowledge

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


‘Remember what happened to Skase’

In happier times: John Hancock with his mother Gina and sister Ginia Rinehart. Photo: Supplied A hard man to track down: Christopher Skase fled to Majorca after his business empire crashed. Photo: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

One of Gina Rinehart’s closest lieutenants in the Hancock Prospecting empire warned her son he would be hunted down like Christopher Skase unless he ceded control of the family’s multibillion-dollar trust to his mother.

Hancock Prospecting chief financial officer Jay Newby sent a series of explosive emails to John Hancock a day after the mining magnate warned her four children they would be bankrupted if the trust was allowed to vest.

In one email, Mr Newby wrote: ”Remember what happened to Skase when he tried to escape being brought back to Australia when bankrupt. The government simply doesn’t let people off for not paying due taxation.”

Christopher Skase became a fugitive when he fled Australia for Spain in 1991 after his business empire collapsed.

In the same email Mr Newby says: ”Please don’t think for one second this means you can enjoy your Thai palace should a court-appointed designate be appointed for your bankruptcy.”

Mr Hancock later received a private binding ruling from the Australian Tax Office that said no capital gains tax was payable by the beneficiaries on vesting of the trust.

Mr Hancock had been living with his family in Thailand in a house he helped build using a loan from Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL), which is partly owned by the family trust. HPPL holds the title deed.

In a bitter court dispute, Mr Hancock and one of his three sisters, Bianca Rinehart, are applying to remove their mother as trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, alleging she has acted ”deceitfully” and with ”gross dishonesty”.

A trial is set for October 8, unless they reach a settlement beforehand.

The trust was set up in 1988 by Gina Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock, with her children as beneficiaries.

It was due to vest on September 6, 2011, when the youngest child turned 25, giving them financial independence.

Three days before, Mrs Rinehart wrote a letter to each of her children warning them they would face a capital gains tax bill that would bankrupt them if the trust was allowed to vest.

Mr Hancock questioned whether the beneficiaries would face a tax bill. He wrote to Mr Newby: ”Nothing I’ve heard makes me believe the CGT fabrication.”

Mr Newby said: ”We don’t take any chances with tax – the stakes are simply too high. You cannot take positions in tax based on incomplete information – the advice considers all relevant matters … The tax position presented in the trustee’s letter is absolutely correct, and is not a basis for negotiation.”

In court this week it emerged that Mr Newby told PwC to prepare two versions of its advice. In one version he requested they remove any reference to the possibility that shares in the family company, which were to be distributed to the children, could be pre-capital gains tax.

In an email sent on September 2, 2011, Mr Newby told PwC: ”I would like the ‘sanitised’ version signed and sent please.” According to an internal email from PwC, this version was ”for provision to the children”.

Mrs Rinehart failed in a last-ditch attempt to stop the trial and send the matter to private arbitration. The attempt to derail the trial came days after Mr Hancock was given access to hundreds of pages of documents between Mr Newby and PwC.

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