Newcastle family Indian restaurant Raj’s Corner support Chinan cricket captain Jason Sangha despite clash of cultures at Under-19 World Cup final

Posted on 12/17/2018

Spiced up Sangha support ALL THE BEST: Sylvia Sangha and Kristy Dobos at popular Indian restaurant Raj’s Corner, showing support for n captain Jason Sangha ahead of Saturday’s Under-19 World Cup final. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebook Sylvia Sangha and Kristy DobosPictures by Jonathan CarrollSylvia Sangha has clocked up some serious kilometres following the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealandwhile Kristy Dobos has watched from afar back home in Newcastle.

Jason Sangha

Either way, the support out of popular Indian restaurant Raj’s Corner has been unwavering for n cricket captain Jason Sangha.

And there will be no divided loyalties at the Beaumont Street premises in Hamiltondespite the clash of cultures in Saturday’s final.

and India will battle it out for the prized trophy, with 18-year-old Novocastrian Jason in the middle atMount Maunganui’s Bay Oval, south west of Auckland on the North Island.

Mrs Sangha said that rivalry wasn’t heightened regardless of the family’s relationship with the two nations, and Raj’s Corner workers were all serving up the same dish.

“Idon’t think so [more rivalry because it’s versusIndia],” Mrs Sangha said.

“All the guys here [at Raj’s] are supporting , don’t worry. They would probably get the sack otherwise.

“They haveasked if they can support India if they play other countries, but not against .The laptop has been going in the kitchen the whole time, watching all the games.”

Long-serving Raj’s Corner employee Kristy Dobos said she has enjoyed keeping track of the tournament.

“One of the guys has Fox Sports on his phone and that’s how we stay up to date,” Miss Dobos said.

“But I always knew he [Jason] would be famous, I’ve been telling him that since he was 14.”

n-born Mrs Sangha and husband Kuldip, raised in the northern Punjab region of India,headacross the Tasman on Friday ahead of the 2018 decider.

Mrs Sangha, who has travelled back and forth several times to watch all five preliminary games since January 14, said it was worthwhile whatever the cost.

“It has been quite expensive, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.

“When they go out for the n anthem, with Jason leading from the front –it’s an incredibly proud moment.”

The couple, who live at Cardiff South, have owned and operated Raj’s Corner since 1998. They also runtwo other take-away outlets, a dine-in restaurant and a spice shop around Newcastle.

More coverage of Under-19 World Cup final in sport

Syria may be making new chemical weapons

Posted on 12/17/2018

The US suspects Syria may have carried out a second chlorine gas attack in rebel-held Ghouta area.The Syrian government may be developing new types of chemical weapons and US President Donald Trump is prepared to consider further military action if necessary to deter chemical attacks, senior US officials say.

President Bashar al-Assad is believed to have secretly kept part of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile despite a US-Russian deal under which Damascus was supposed to have handed over all such weapons for destruction in 2014, the officials said on Thursday.

Assad’s forces have instead “evolved” their chemical weapons and made continued occasional use of them in smaller amounts since a deadly attack last April that drew a US missile strike on a Syrian air base, the officials told reporters in a briefing.

Characteristics of some of those recent attacks suggest that Syria may be developing new weapons and methods for delivering poison chemicals, possibly to make it harder to trace their origin, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A deadly sarin attack on a rebel-held area in April prompted Trump to order a missile strike last year on the Shayrat air base, from which the Syrian operation is said to have been launched.

“We reserve the right to use military force to prevent or deter the use of chemical weapons,” one official said, while declining to specify how serious a chemical attack would have to be to draw a fresh US military response.

A second official said, however, that the Trump administration hopes that stepped-up international sanctions and diplomatic pressure will help rein in Assad’s chemical weapons program.

If the international community does not act quickly to tighten the screws on Assad, Syria’s chemical weapons could spread beyond its borders and possibly even “to US shores,” the second official said.

“It will spread if we don’t do something,” the official warned.

The officials echoed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent accusation that Russia, Assad’s ally in Syria’s multi-sided civil war, bears some responsibility for failing to enforce the chemical weapons ban.

Russia has denied any complicity, and the Syrian government has said it has not carried out any of the attacks.

Western officials have cast suspicion on the Syrian government for a chlorine gas attack on a rebel-held enclave east of Damascus last week that sickened at least 13 people.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Thursday said the US is “extremely concerned” about reports that Syrian forces had carried out another chlorine gas attack this week in the eastern Ghouta area.

US GOP train braked in fatal crash

Posted on 12/17/2018

One man died when a train carrying US Republican lawmakers hit a garbage truck in Virginia.A chartered Amtrak train carrying US Republican lawmakers was travelling at 98 kilometres per hour when the driver hit the brakes in a fatal crash that struck a garbage truck on the tracks in Crozet, Virginia, investigators say.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a briefing on Thursday that the maximum speed limit at the crossing was 96.6 km/h and that the driver in Wednesday’s crash applied the brakes 20 seconds before the train came to rest, preliminary data shows. Investigations are continuing into whether the train braked prior to impact.

A passenger on the truck, 28-year-old Christopher Foley, was killed and two others on the truck were injured, according to police. The NTSB has not been able to interview the 30-year-old driver of the truck.

No lawmakers were seriously injured but a Minnesota representative, Jason Lewis, was taken to a hospital as a precaution and released.

The train had hundreds of passengers onboard at the time of the accident, NTSB board member Earl Weener said.

The NTSB has not yet downloaded the forward locomotive video camera or event data recorder. The board said that when it reviews the video data it should be able to determine if the signals at the crossing were working or if the truck was moving.

The train was taking lawmakers to the annual retreat in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Amtrak said the collision occurred at 11.18am (local time) in Crozet, a tiny town between the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, and White Sulphur Springs.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said the intersection where the crash occurred had flashing signals and gates to prevent motorists from getting on the tracks as trains approach.

The secret $5 million deal, the regulatory failures, the court case and growing community outrage

Posted on 12/17/2018

Forced out: Former Muswellbrook councillor Christine Phelps and husband Ray on their property at Wybong before they were forced to sell because of coal mining. Mrs Phelps said the MUSWELLBROOK Shire Council has called foran urgent parliamentary inquiry into a secret $5 million coal exploration agreement between the NSW Government and a Hong Kong-based mining company over 7600 hectares of land at Wybong.

The council has called for cross-party support for an inquiry into why the NSW Government failed to prosecute Ridgelands Resources for failingto comply with a condition of consent to establish a $5 million community fund which the company and the government kept secret for nearly five years.

The condition in a 2013 agreement with the government was only revealed in July, 2017 when Ridgelands made anunsolicited offer of $500,000 to Muswellbrook Council and the council initiated Supreme Court action to recover the full $5 million.

The council’s call for an urgent inquiry comes two days after Ridgelands walked away from a meeting with the council and community representatives to finalise projects under the fund.

It also comes only three weeks before Ridgelands’ five year exploration licence over the Wybong land expires, and as the company seeks to renew the licence.

Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush said the council had written to each party holding seats in the NSW Upper House, and had received some preliminary support, for an urgent parliamentary inquiry intothe secret deal and why the NSW Government failed to enforce the condition of consent, or prosecute the company, for five years.

An inquiry should also ask what the minister for resources and energy knew and when, and dealings between the Department of Planning and Ridgelands, including any promises or indications made by the department to renew the Ridgelands licence, Mr Rush said.

The 2013 agreement required Ridgelands to establish a community fund “as soon as reasonably practical” after the exploration licence was granted in February, 2013 and to publicise the fund and guidelines to community groups about how to apply for grants. It also required Ridgelands to provide detailed and regular updates on money spent over the five years of the fund to the minister and department.

When the secret deal was revealed former Wybong resident and former Muswellbrook councillor Christine Phelps described it as “the NSWGovernment and the mining industry in cahoots again to shaft the community”.

Mr Rush said Ridgelands representatives on Wednesday declined to approve any projects for funding after giving community groups one week to apply for grants in November, and deferred any further meeting until April. The five-year exploration licence with the condition for $5 million to be spent during that timeexpires on February 26.

Mr Rushsaid an attemptby the council and two community representatives to hold a meeting next week to finalise funded projects was vetoed by Ridgelands.

“Ridgelands haswritten the fund rules to give ita veto over every aspect of the fund’s operation and hasset a date of April for the next meeting, with no guarantee that itwill consider projects on that date either,” Mr Rush said.

“The community is in this position because the State Government has failed to regulate Ridgelands for more than five years. The Minister for Resources and Energy has been on notice of this issue since at least November last year.

“It is utterly reprehensible that Ridgelands Coal has been allowed to set up a community fund in such a way that it can essentially defeat the condition of its licence by exercising a veto on every decision it doesn’t like.”

NSW Greens planning and Hunter spokesperson David Shoebridge said the planning system in NSW pretendedto regulate mining developments but “when push comes to shove there’s no one in the NSW government that has the guts or resources to take on the mining industry”.

“Time after time conditionson developments that are meant to serve the community or protect the environmentare just ignored by the mining industry. They act as though they are above the law, and the fact is, most of the time they are,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Upper House Opposition leader and shadow resources minister Adam Searle said Labor will pursue a parliamentary inquiry into the Ridgelands case which is “a very serious issue of non-compliance with a condition placed on a mining company and an unexplained failure by regulators to enforce it”.

“It threatens the integrity of the whole system of mining conditions. When did mining companies get to pick and choose which lawful conditions to meet?” Mr Searle said.

“No explanation for this has come from the Berejiklian Government. Absent a satisfactory explanation, Labor will pursue a Parliamentary inquiry into these issues.”

Hunter Shooters, Fishers and Farmers spokesman John Preston said resources being exploited “belong to the people of NSW and we expect nothing other than full compliance with all agreements and conditions of exploration and mining”.

“These resources can only be dug up and sold once. A deal is a deal,” Mr Preston said.

“The people of the Hunter pay a heavy price for operating mines and whilst we support the mining industry, our first duty is to the people of the Hunter” who receive “a pittance” of the money paid to the state in royalties, he said.

Ridgelands was contacted for comment.

The NSW Department of Planning and the NSW Department of Resources and Energy were contacted for comment. In August, 2017 the Department of Planning said it had referred the Ridgelands case to theNSW Resources Regulator after Muswellbrook Council initiated its Supreme Court action.

Calls to add driver education to school lessons

Posted on 12/17/2018

QUESTIONS RAISED: Wagga driving instructor Glen Gaudron has raised concerns about a proposal to have driver education taught in state high schools. Picture: Les SmithWagga opinion is divided on whether driver education should be taught in NSW high schools.

The Confederation of n Motor Sport (CAMS) is “in discussions” with state governments to introduce driver education into the school curriculum.

CAMS president Andrew Papadopoulos has said his group developed a proposed syllabus for high schools, which includes five three-hour lessons for up to 30 students at a time.

He said a pilot program for 20 schools consisting of theory and practical driving lessons would cost an estimated $100,000.

NSW Member for Coffs HarbourAndrew Fraser has backed to idea and is publicly calling for Nationals Leader John Barilaro’s support.

Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire said his parliamentary colleague’s suggestion was “a reflection of the general public’s frustration with the road trauma”.

“Nothing has been put forward to the party room, but good healthy discussion is a positive thing,” Mr Maguire said.

“I think when it comes to driver education more emphasis could be a positive thing in a controlled environment, but I wouldn’t like to see 12-year-olds on the road behind the wheel.”

Wagga Rod and Custom Car Club president Alan White has long been a proponent of driver education in schools.

Mr White said he began teaching his own children driving and maintenance skills when they were quite young.

“It concerns me that kids are growing up playing Xbox where games show cars crashing and then fixing themselves,” he said.

“I’ve got four kids, two boys and two girls and I taught them how to maintain their vehicles,” Mr White said.

“It’s a bit hard for parents to teach their children.I have a mechanic background –some parents wouldn’t know what to teach their kids.”

Mr White said he wanted to see children taught to understand cars and shown that “things can go wrong”.

Wagga driving instructor Glen Gaudron, a former teacher, expressed concerns about the impact of trying to shoehorn even more requirements into an already packed school curriculum.

Mr Gaudron, from the Able Driving School, also questioned who would be teaching the lessons.

“I have to ask who will be doing it,” he said.

“If kids are not being taught properly, it is really easy for them to pick up bad habits.”

Mr Gaudron said he would also be concerned if lessons were offered to students as young as 12, the age of many when they enter Year 7.

“Some are going to be just too young and silly to take the lessons seriously,” he said.

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Three first grade players cop one-match suspensions in space of two rounds

Posted on 12/17/2018

OUT: Hamwicks all-rounder Matt Webber will be sidelined for one match, starting Saturday, because of suspension. University’s Nathan Hudson has the same punishment while Stockton Raymond Terrace bowler Bryan Warren returns after a game away. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNewcastle first XI all-rounders Matt Webber and Nathan Hudson will be sidelined with suspension for round 12while opening bowler Bryan Warren returns after a week off.

The three players copped one-matchpunishments from January fixtures with Webber and Hudson missing for Hamilton-Wickhamand University respectively while Warren’s back for Stockton-Raymond Terrace.

Webber won’t line-up forHamwicks in aseason-defining two-day clash with Belmont at Miller Field starting Saturday. He was sanctioned this week for hitting hisstumps after being dismissedin a 22-run win over Waratah-Mayfield last start.

Hudson’s out against former club Toronto at University Ovalafter also beingreprimanded midweek for talking back with umpires in a vital three-wicket victory over frontrunners Merewether.

And Warren has been named for Stockton against Newcastle City at Lynn Oval from Saturday after being a notable absentee froma 59-run defeat by Toronto. If followsa send off delivered a game earlier versus Cardiff-Boolaroo.

They are the first suspensionshanded down in thetop grade for 2017-2018.

Compounding the loss of Webber for Hamwicks,injured paceman Andrew Maher (back) is alsounavailable for the upcoming encounter.

However, the defending champions welcome back skipper Josh Trappel, who was away for round 11, and he knows the importance of claiming competition points with only one separating third to fifth.

“It’s a big game for us, we need to win it,” Trappel said.

Trappel did not want to comment on the first suspension of Webber’s career.

Elsewhere and the minor premiership will be up for grabs between Wests and Merewether at Harker Oval, Charlestown regain the services of Sri Lankan first-class importSaliya Salan against Waratah at Kahibah Oval while Cardiff-Boolaroo are aiming for back-to-back triumphs when they travel to meet Wallsend.

Meanwhile,former n under-17 representative Greg Hunt returns to Belmont from Sydney for rounds two and three of theNCC Summer Bash on Sunday.The Whips host the Black Roses (Cardiff), minus marqueeNick Watkins,and Sabres (City) at Miller Field.

OPEN: Greg Hunt returns to Belmont from Sydney for Sunday’s T20 fixtures. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

First-up T20 winners the Magpies (Charlestown)and Rosellas (Wests) meet at Kahibah Oval along with the Seagulls (Stockton).The Tigers (Wallsend) are without skipper Nathan Price against the Sea Dragons (University) and Kookaburras (Toronto) at Ron Hill Oval.The Lions (Merewether), Pumas (Hamwicks) and Waratahs (Waratah) are at Townson Oval.

David Hogg tells jury he did not sexually assault a school girl with him for work experience

Posted on 12/17/2018

DENIALS: Newcastle figure David Hogg, centre, with supporters and members of his legal team including lawyer Hugo Aston, right, leaving the Downing Centre courts in Sydney on Friday.LIFESTYLE Solutions founder David Hogg has given his version of an evening in July 1988 that has led to him facing the District Court charged with a single count of sexual intercourse without consent.

Facing a jury of 10 men and two women, Mr Hogg agreedhe took a Year 11 schoolgirl on a Friday night drive to talk with her and to “counsel” her over her problems, but denieddriving to the Harbour Bridge, and parking there as the prosecution alleges was the case.

Mr Hogg, who was a married Baptist minister in his early 30s at the time, deniedtouching the complainant in any way, or confronting her at her school, Carlingford High, early the following week.

He acknowledges being rung by the head of Carlingford Baptist Church in late 1988 or early 1989 after the church was contacted by the principal of the school, but he believed it was because he had allegedly “made a pass at one of the students”.

“I said something around the words ‘leave it to me and I’ll see the principal and sort it out’,” Mr Hogg told the court.

He said the allegation “wasn’t true”.

Asked if he understood the allegation at the time to be one of sexual assault, Mr Hogg said: “Absolutely not.”

The third day of the trial opened on Friday with Mr Hogg being cross-examined by the Crown over evidence he had given on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Hogg said he had driven around the “local area” with the complainant but could not remember where.

The Crown alleged Mr Hogg confronted the complainant the following Monday or Tuesday and that it “backfired” because he made her so nervous that other people noticed.

“I didn’t go back there,” Mr Hogg said.

Asked about the phone call from the Carlingford minister, Mr Hogg said he “made an assumption” that the allegation had been made by the complainant because he had only taken two girls on work experience: he knew the other girl well and was a friend of her family’s. He denied being told he had been banned from visiting the school. He said he’d been told the “student didn’t want to take it any further”. The school had also been contacted by a parent. The trial resumes on Monday.

Hunter Hurricanes’ overseas imports ready for Chinan Water Polo League season opener

Posted on 12/17/2018

RECRUITS: Hunter Hurricanes imports Sarah Logan (US), Rachel Fattal (US) and Chayma Hlanadif (Canada) at Lambton Pool ahead of this weekend’s n Water Polo League season openers. Picture: Josh Callinan Vegemite, extreme weather and strange bird noises have been part of the n experience so far, but Hunter Hurricanes imports Sarah Logan, Rachel Fattal and Chayma Hlanadif will be back in more familiar territory this weekend.

The North American trio will return to the pool on Saturday and Sunday, helping launch their new team’s n Water Polo League campaign for 2018.

Hunterwomen’s and men’s squadstravel to Sydney for a double header, first against the Drummoyne Devils beforebacking up to play the UTS Balmain Tigers.

Californian 23-year-old goalkeeperLogan, who arrived via the University of Hawaii after another grueling US College campaign, said she feels refreshed and ready to get back in the water.

“I’m just looking forward to playingagain,” Logan said.

“In college there’s huge pressure –school work and trying to win a championship. Here, we want to do as well as we can but there’s also that ease of playing for fun.”

Canadian 19-year-old centre forward Hlanadif, from the Quebec city of Montreal, is returning from a stint on the sidelines forced by a shoulder injury.

“It’s been a while between games for mebecause I’ve been out injured,”Hlanadif said.

“I’ve heard there’s a lot of good n players so I’m looking forward to that.”

RECRUITS: Hunter Hurricanes imports Sarah Logan (US), Rachel Fattal (US) and Chayma Hlanadif (Canada) at Lambton Pool ahead of this weekend’s n Water Polo League season openers. Picture: Josh Callinan

Both overseas recruits were excited about the prospect of linking up with fellow international andRio gold medalist Fattal, 24 years of age from University of California, Los Angeles.

“She [Fattal] brings a lot of knowledge,” Hlanadif said.

“She really helps us in the water, we have the coach telling us something and she backs it up.

“Even if she’s not a centre forward she makes me more aware of other things.”

Logan felt the combination of Fattal and Jane Moran, who clinched Olympic bronze with at London 2012, have worked well during training throughout January.

“We have Janeas well so you’ve got the n Olympic version and the US Olympic version in the same pool,” Logan said.

“So sometimes methods clash, but in the end they all work out and you can learn so much from their skill sets.”

Hurricanes women’s coach Mitch Baird said hewill be without local product Julia Barton, who played in last year’s national squad, for the entire season because of a shoulder injury while Montana Perkins remains overseas.

The revamped Hunter men’s side isat full strength.

Call for parties to come clean on pokies

Posted on 12/17/2018

Tim Costello has called for a ban on undisclosed political donations from the pokie industry (File).The NSW Greens are calling on both major parties to disclose all donations they have received from the pokies industry after the state was identified as the “epicentre” of the problem.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform said the current disclosure cap for political donations was providing a “secret veil” for the gambling industry to pedal influence.

Political parties have to disclose donations worth more than $13,200 under commonwealth laws and that, the AGR said, meant smaller donations fly under the radar.

Federal and Queensland Labor recently voluntarily dropped their own disclosure threshold to $1000 but other states are still following the Commonwealth rules.

Alliance director Tim Costello called for a nationwide ban on political donations from the pokies industry.

Mr Costello argued political donations from gambling outfits were a problem wide but the biggest issue is in NSW.

The state was the most “pokies-captured jurisdiction,” he said, adding he was deeply suspicious that further undisclosed donations – below the threshold – were also coming from pokies interests.

Greens MP Justin Field said both the Liberal and Labor parties should disclose all gambling donations.

“We have seen the industry’s access to politicians, the revolving door between gaming-related ministers and gambling companies and real resistance against stronger protections,” Mr Field said in a statement on Friday.

“The undue influence of this toxic industry and its impacts on people and communities must be kept in check.”

A NSW Liberal Party spokesman told AAP in a statement that the party “fully complies with our obligations under the Commonwealth electoral law”.

Labor Opposition leader Luke Foley said he didn’t know how much the ALP in NSW received in poker machine donations but that he was open to discussing further restrictions.

“These things should always be looked at (and) I’m on the record as supportive of very strict caps on donations to ensure that we don’t go down the American road of big money politics,” Mr Foley told reporters on Friday.

“Any arguments for policy change I’ll deal with on their merits, and whether someone has donated a brass razoo to the Labor party or not is not something I care the slightest about.”

The biggest gambling donators identified by the Alliance for Gambling Reform for 2016/17 were Ros Packer ($500,000), Crown Resorts ($209,000), Clubs NSW and Clubs ($170,000).

Vic court throws out pokies complaint

Posted on 12/17/2018

Shonica Guy has lost her court case against Crown Casino and Dolphin Treasure poker machines (file).A former gambling addict has failed in her Federal Court bid to find Melbourne’s Crown Casino and its Dolphin Treasure poker machines are misleading.

Justice Debbie Mortimer said the case by Shonica Guy against the casino and Dolphin Treasure manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies failed to show consumer laws were breached.

“I did not find anything in the conduct of Crown or Aristocrat that could be found as unconscionable,” the judge ruled in the landmark case on Friday.

Ms Guy alleged the casino’s 38 Dolphin Treasure machines duped players about their chances of winning.

Crown and Aristocrat denied all allegations.

Ms Guy claimed the machine’s player information display also misled gamblers about what they could expect as a return, as an individual.

Justice Mortimer conceded that information may cause confusion, but it was not misleading or deceptive under law.

She said a lack of specific evidence from people claiming to have been exploited or victimised based on the identified features of the machine, substantially affected the strength of Ms Guy’s case.

Further, Crown and Aristocrat’s compliance with comprehensive regulations, including around the fairness of how the game operates, was an important factor in her decision.

Ms Guy had not sought any financial compensation and said outside court she took on the case to show ns that poker machines and their design played a big part in gambling addictions.

“I hope this can lead to a better way forward and a better industry so no one has to go through what I’ve gone through,” she said.

Justice Mortimer noted Ms Guy’s courage in pursuing the case publicly and said her findings did not diminish the tragedies caused by problem gambling.

But it was the court’s task to consider issues of law and not rule on the ethics of gambling.

She also noted that although the allegations were not proven, research into the possible relationship between a machine’s design and gambling addiction was a new field being explored.

Aristocrat welcomed the finding, saying it took its regulatory obligations seriously.

The company said it continued to support “balanced and fact-based harm minimisation initiatives” and would do more where it could, recognising the issues were complex and required collaboration across industry, regulators and the community.

The Gaming Technologies Association also welcomed the decision, saying it should end the “myth and misinformation” waged against the industry.

Ms Guy’s lawyer Jennifer Kanis said the outcome was disappointing and more research was needed to show the connection between machines and addiction, so it’s clear to regulators.

“I don’t think the gaming industry can say they’re vindicated,” she said.

Monash University Public Health lecturer Dr Charles Livingstone believes poker machines are on “borrowed time in their current form” as more research is undertaken.

“Sooner or later we will realise (the harm) and regulate this business properly,” he said.

The case returns to court next week to determine costs.