Victory’s Thomas set to return for Roar

Posted on 04/25/2020

An MRI has cleared Melbourne Victory’s Lawrence Thomas after a clash with the Jets’ Andrew Nabbout.Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas has escaped his horrible head clash unscathed and is expected to get up for Brisbane on Friday.
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Thomas was stretchered off the field after colliding with Newcastle’s Andrew Nabbout early in the second half of Saturday’s 2-0 A-League loss at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The nasty clash left Nabbout in visible pain and Thomas in need of several minutes’ medical attention before finally being replaced by Matt Acton.

Though cleared of serious damage by club doctors, the 25-year-old was taken straight to hospital as a precaution.

He was well enough on Sunday to travel back to Melbourne with the rest of the squad, and an MRI later that day showed no signs of structural damage.

In a boost for coach Kevin Muscat, Victory expect their first-choice gloveman should be fine to play at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Saturday’s loss marked a missed opportunity for Victory, whose inability to finish chances saw them slip to fifth with eight rounds remaining.

They now sit 11 points behind the second-placed Jets and will have their work cut out to secure third or fourth and an accompanying home elimination final while contesting the Asian Champions League at the same time.

Muscat will at least have Jason Geria back from suspension at home to the Roar after being forced to play fringe midfielder Matias Sanchez at right-back against the Jets.

Leroy George’s absence through soreness also meant 18-year-old Christian Theoharous made his starting debut on the wing, while central defender James Donachie started his first match in three months.

“I think the group performed remarkably well considering all those things,” Muscat said.

“But ultimately we want to win games of football.

“To start thinking about what’s happening in three, four or six weeks’ time … we’ll just concentrate on preparing well for Brisbane.”

Victorian wife killer to appeal conviction

Posted on 04/25/2020

David Whitelegg is appealing against his conviction and sentence for murdering his wife (file).A former British army major jailed for 18 years for strangling his wife and leaving her body in their Victorian home for days says he will appeal his conviction.
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Murderer David Whitelegg told the Victorian Supreme Court he planned to appeal his conviction for killing 59-year-old Anne Whitelegg in September 2014.

Whitelegg was jailed in 2016 for a minimum 14 years after pleading guilty to her murder, but he told the court on Monday he was unfit to have entered a plea.

He appeared in court via video link during an application for compensation by Ms Whitelegg’s son.

In October, Whitelegg told the court he was feeling “very psychologically fragile” over the anniversary of his former wife’s death and his terminally ill mother.

Whitelegg claimed in 2016 to have killed his wife with his bare hands during an argument.

However experts found her injuries were more consistent with a buckled belt.

The Supreme Court was previously told Whitelegg had been battling mental health issues and his wife had talked about leaving him.

He suffered mental trauma after deployments in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s and early 2000s, and become increasingly delusional in the lead up to the killing.

He murdered his wife on September 18, 2014 and then set about organising his affairs, before trying to take his own life.

Whitelegg phoned a funeral parlour about three days after the killing and said his wife had died unexpectedly.

When police found her body on the kitchen floor of their Wallan home, he told them she had fallen ill.

Justice Jane Dixon is expected to consider the compensation matter on April 27.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

Greens lead early attack on donations bill

Posted on 04/25/2020

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon says electoral donations reforms will unfairly target small parties.The n Greens say Malcolm Turnbull is scamming the n people when it comes to government plans for electoral donations reform.
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The Greens are in discussions with Labor regarding the broad-ranging legislation, which they claim unfairly targets civil society and small parties.

“Clearly it needs to be rejected,” Greens senator Lee Rhiannon told reporters in Canberra on Monday as parliament returned for the first sitting day of the year.

“We need to start again. Political donation reform is urgently needed, but this is a con job.”

The Greens are concerned the legislation, which will allow the establishment of a public register for non-party political actors and prohibit donations from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises, means ns could face 10-year jail terms and massive fines if “they don’t get some paperwork right”.

“Meanwhile, big multinationals, foreign companies, are not captured at all by what the prime minister’s bill will do,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is running a major scam on the n people.”

The Greens are maintaining their call for the establishment of a national corruption watchdog to tackle reform.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said on Monday the government was “open-minded” to the idea of a watchdog, but there needed to be broad public consultation on it.

Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann claimed the bill would not ban or prevent charities from advocating for their stated cause in any way.

He singled out the role of progressive advocacy group GetUp.

“None of the requirements would apply merely to GetUp, but neither should GetUp be able to avoid the disclosure, transparency and reporting requirements,” Mr Cormann said.

“As a very significant political actor, GetUp should clearly be subject to the same transparency and disclosure requirements as other political actors such as political parties.”

Last week, chief advocate of World Vision , Tim Costello, compared the government’s foreign donation legislation with attempts to stifle dissent in Putin’s Russia.

He described the bill as a “very serious infringement” on “what we regard as civil society’s voice”.

The bill has been referred to a Senate committee which is due to report its findings by March 2.

Seoul to meet with N Korea during Games

Posted on 04/25/2020

NKorea plans to send its nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam to the Winter Olympic Games.North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam will go to South Korea this week to attend the Winter Olympics, the most senior official to ever visit the South.
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South Korea’s government also plans to meet with the high-level North Korean delegation attending the Games in Pyeongchang, which start on February 9.

Seoul’s presidential office has welcomed the plan of the visit of a delegation, headed by Kim.

“We believe it reflects North Korea’s determination to improve the South Korea-North Korea relationship and make the Olympic Games successful and that the North has shown sincere and earnest efforts toward such an end,” Seoul’s presidential office spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said at a press briefing on Monday.

Another government spokesperson said South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in is likely meet Kim and he might also hold a bilateral meeting with him on the sidelines of the events at the Games.

After informing Seoul of the members of its delegation a day earlier, Pyongyang on Monday confirmed the plan of sending its “high-level” delegation headed by Kim in a statement published by the North Korean state news agency KCNA.

Three other delegates and 18 support officers will accompany Kim, according to Seoul.

Kim’s visit to South Korea for the Games will coincide with that of the United States Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to arrive on February 8.

A historic agreement was reached in January between the two Koreas – who have technically been at war for more than 65 years – facilitating the participation of the North in the Games and allowing for the two Koreas to march under the same flag at the Games’ opening ceremony.

Besides athletes, North Korea has also agreed to send hundreds of musicians and cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics, which will conclude on February 25.

Seoul believes North Korea’s participation in Pyeongchang 2018 can help to reduce tension and facilitate rapprochement after 2017 was marked by Pyongyang’s missile tests and its exchange of threats with US President Donald Trump.

Bid to station cops in problem Vic schools

Posted on 04/25/2020

The Victorian Opposition plans to embed full-time police officers at problem Victorian schools.Fighting crime in the classroom is the latest election promise by Victoria’s tough-talking would-be premier Matthew Guy.
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The coalition opposition leader wants to station full-time police officers at the state’s most troublesome schools to nip crime in the bud.

The plan would place a full-time officer permanently at 10 Victorian schools in “at risk” areas on a two-year trial basis, Mr Guy said.

“This is about combating crime before it’s a problem, it’s about respect, it’s about tolerance,” the opposition leader said of his latest in a string of changes he would make to crime and education laws.

The n Education Union was quick to slam Mr Guy’s proposal, saying it is proof the coalition is out of touch with the needs of schools.

“Instead of funding a small number of police in less than one per cent of our schools, Matthew Guy must promise not to cut school funding,” union president Meredith Peace said.

But Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt welcomed the plan, saying it had a role in improving the relationship between police and youth.

“The notion of kids engaging with cops can never be a bad thing,” he said, keen to see more detail of the plan.

The metropolitan and regional schools are yet to be selected and it would be up to police command to decide if the officers would be armed.

“The police would be operational and on-duty and of course it would be a matter for the chief commissioner as to what those police would carry on their person,” opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue told reporters.

In addition to the trial, there will be 100 new police officers employed to work as ‘school resource officers’. Together the program is expected to cost $50 million over four years.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said Victoria Police has not sought 100 extra officers, or for officers to be embedded in schools.

“When we went to Victoria Police and said ‘what else do you need to tackle youth offending in this state?’ They said ‘well we’ve got about 100 youth resource workers now, we’d like 42 more,’ and that’s what we funded,” she said.

Police work with schools and the community “every single day” and most young people who are responsible for serious youth offences are not attending classes, the minister added.

Mr Guy’s proposal follows his recent bid to change school curriculum priorities to focus on “the principles of Western enlightenment”, namely, literacy, numeracy and writing skills.

Stolen freedoms and a long, stony silence after failed Senate motion on Williamtown contamination

Posted on 04/25/2020

Freedom and the liberty of the individual. These were, arguably, the central themes of Liberal Senator James McGrath’s maiden speech to parliament in 2014.
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“Freedom and liberty are not abstract concepts,” Senator McGrath enthused to the chamber at the time. “You either have freedom or you are not free.”

So residents living around the Williamtown RAAF base could attest. Indeed, it’s been a savage lesson for 750 households, unceremoniously stripped of their freedomsby the same organisation that was designated with defending them.

The plume of per- and poly- fluoroalkyl [PFAS] contamination leaching from the RAAF base has stolen their right to buy and sell their properties, to live where they please. To swim in their dams and enjoy the yield from their vegetable gardens.

Read more:

Senate silence on Williamtown motion slammedSenate passes motion for please explain on Williamtown crisisClamour for answers on toxic scandalToxic buyout hope dashedWilliamtown motion a political “stunt”But the more subtle – and perhaps most significant – freedom lost is the ability to live without fear an agent in their environment could be endangering their health.

After news of the contamination broke in late 2015, the expectation was that these freedoms would be swiftly – and rightly – restored. These hopes were buoyed by a visit to the region by Senator McGrath and Defence Minister Marise Payne last May.

Senator McGrath, the head of the federal government’s PFAS taskforce, declared he would find a “solution” to the crisis.

But in a disgraceful failure of leadership, all that has followed has been deafening silence. Residents have been left to languish in unconscionable conditions, while Defence spending ballooned six per cent to $34.6 billion this financial year.

The silence was not brokenon Monday night, as a deadline passedfor the government to respond to a Senate motion, demanding it clarify its position on compensation. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, who pushed the motion through with Labor’s support, described it as the “deepest insult”.

Any belated compensation package offered by the Turnbull government now should not be viewed as an act of generosity. It would only restore the fundamental freedoms that all members of this first-world country should expect to enjoy.

“My life has not been about the pursuit or gain of power but to confiscate power back from the government to free people,” Senator McGrath said in his speech in 2014.

The time has arrived for Senator McGrath to deliver on his words.

Issue: 38,716.

State government will investigate buying back Mambo Wanda Wetlands

Posted on 04/25/2020

Next step: Recently elected Port Stephens councillor Jaimie Abbott has been credited for calling for the state government to intervene. She said she was “ashamed” at it’s delay to act. Picture: Max Mason-HubersCONFIRMATION the state government is investigatingbuying back six hectares of the Mambo Wanda Wetlands has divided Port Stephens, with mayor Ryan Palmer praising it as a “breakthrough” and local member Kate Washington describing the announcement as “meaningless words dressed up as progress”.
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Cr Palmer said he had receivedwritten confirmation from Premier Gladys Berejiklian that Minister for PlanningAnthony Roberts had instructed his department to investigate the feasibility of purchasing the Salamander Bay site through the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme.

“News of the Minister for Planning stepping in to see if he can initiate a buyback is positive for council, as land acquisitions are an onerous process,” Cr Palmer said.

“This is a huge and positive step forward and we are now on the pathway to resolving this issue.

“While I recognise that this process is in its early stages and details are yet to be finalised, it’s still a breakthrough for the community to finally have the NSW Government on the same page.”

Cr Palmer thanked Cr JaimieAbbott, who put forward a notice of motion in December seeking government funding for the council to acquire the site to ensure ratepayers would not be required to pay to buy back the land – and pursue compulsory acquisition if negotiations for a voluntary sale were unsuccessful.

Cr Palmer then wrote to Ms Berejiklianasking for the government to provide financial support.

He said the council was keen to ensure the best possible outcome for the site and wouldpotentially serveas trustee when it was back in public ownership.

As previously reported, the government sold the former Department of Education land in an online auction in 2016 for$250,000 to developer Paul Unicomb, who has submitted an application tobuild housing on the site.

The parcel of land zoned E2 environmental conservationis a habitat for the endangered koala population.

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said the government’sannouncement was “embarrassing” .

She said it had previously suggested it was looking at options to acquirethe land.

“But it’s now obvious nothing has been happening,” she said.

“What we need is for them to announce a buy back. [Parliamentary Secretary for theHunter] Scot MacDonaldsaid 18 months ago the salewas a mistake –so why on earth have they not done anything in that time to correct that mistake?

“I can’t help but think the government is treating this as a joke.

“It’s time for them to stop this farce and fix their mess.

“We want action, not meaningless words dressed up as progress.”

Shesaid she would table apetition of 13,000 signatures on Tuesday and expected it to be debated in Parliament next week.

“Every step of the way the community has been voicing opposition to any development on the site,” she said.

“We’ll keep fighting until it’s back with us and remain confident we’re heading in the right direction.”

Salt a solution for frogs with the deadly Chytrid disease, Newcastle University research shows

Posted on 04/25/2020

Salt can halt heart attacks for frogs with infectious disease Home stretch: The research team will now team up with scientists in Ecuador. If the salt strategy works as well there, it could help declining frogs everywhere.
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Pass the salt: The n Green and Golden bell frog, considered to be under high risk of extinction in NSW, was selected for the University of Newcastle study.

Change: The Green and Golden Bell frog had a 70 per cent increased survival rate when moved into habitats where small amounts of salt were added to the water.

TweetFacebookSIMPLE poolsalt may be the answer to a “devastating” disease driving more than 100 species of frogs to extinction, a University of Newcastle researcher says.

Dr Simon Clulowled a study looking into a treatment for thehighly infectious chytrid disease, which has sentmore than a third of the world’s frog species into decline.

“Chytrid disease is incredibly prevalent world-wide,” he said. “It has devastated frog populations in , the Americas, Africa and Europe.

RELATED:How learning to listen to frogscan help save them

“Chytrid is probably the main driver of current frog extinctions and until now we haven’t been able to develop effective controls, especially for wild populations.”

Dr Clulow said thetreatment requiredthe use of pool salt, which meant it could be implemented quickly and easily to change the “worrying trajectory” for many frog species.

Chytrid isa type of fungus that transmits infection by releasing small“zoospores” thatattackthe keratin in a frog’s skin. This disrupts the flow of electrolytes, and effectively gives frogsa heart attack.

RELATED:Allen’s brings back green frog lollies

Sculpture unveiled at Inglis Riverside Stables at Warwick Farm the work of Newcastle artist Tanya Bartlett

Posted on 04/25/2020

Dark horse: Artist Tanya Bartlett, of Maryland, with racing legend John Tapp at the unveiling of her sculpture, The Yearling and the Leader. NORMALLY it would take Maryland artist Tanya Bartlett about 18 months to create asculpture the size of the bronze piece unveiled at the opening of the Inglis Riverside Stables complex on Monday.
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But for the past four months,it had been “action stations” for everyone involved in the creation of The Yearling and the Leader.

“It is based on the yearlings coming into the sale ring,” Ms Bartlett, also the creator of theLes Darcy monument in Maitland, told the Newcastle Herald.

“I was first approached to do it in August, and I knew that we would be really pushing it for time.

“We mucked around with concepts for a few weeks, but by the end of September we knew what we were doing and it was action stations.”

Ms Bartlett worked on scaffolding and ladders in her father-in-law’s shed to sculpt the modelout of plasticine. The larger than life-sized sculpture depictsa spirited colt andits handler at the sale yards.

“It was huge, my studio couldn’t accommodate it,” she said. “It is three metres high because the horse is rearing up slightly.”

After creating the model, she worked with n Bronze, a Sydney-based foundry, that completed the casting and bronzing process.

“They were amazing, they worked through Christmas. They lived and breathed it like I did,” Ms Bartlett said.

There was no room for error due to the tight time frame.

“The unveiling was going to coincide with the Inglis’ first big sale on Saturday, but they were really hopingwe would have it ready for the official opening of the hotel and the whole complex,” Ms Bartlett said. “And we did.

“The horse is made up of about20 differentpieces. It islike a big three dimensional jigsaw puzzle…it was abig job for everyone.

“I love that there isthis beautiful connection with the handler and the horse. He is a little bit frolicky because of the environment he is in,but all is in control.”

Ms Bartlett was the sculptor behindthe Sir Donald Bradman and Mary Poppins statues in Bowral, as well as a depiction of Redoute’s Choice at Arrowfield Stud in Scone, among others.

n racing legend John Tapp unveiled thestatue at the front of The William Inglis Hotel in western Sydney on Monday.

The new luxury hotel is part of the $140 million Riverside Stables complex, which is also home to an equine auction house and a purpose-built event centre.

“The colt is about 10 per cent larger than life sized,” Ms Bartlett said.

“We made him quite muscled. He is quite well-formed for a yearling.

“But itneeded to have that impact, because the hotel behind it isbig. You come in through the gates and there it is. So we beefed him up.

“The complex is beautiful.”

Ex-China paceman Bollinger retires

Posted on 04/25/2020

Former NSW and paceman Doug Bollinger has retired.Left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger has called time on a successful cricketing career in which he represented across all three formats and developed into one of the game’s great characters.
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NSW quick Bollinger, 36, played 12 Tests, 39 one-day internationals and nine T20s in an international career spanning 2009-2014.

He bagged 50 Test wickets at an average of 25.92, 62 ODI wickets at an average of 23.9 and nine T20 scalps at 27,66.

Capable of generating significant pace, Bollinger took five-wicket hauls against New Zealand in Wellington and West Indies in Perth and his Test scalps came at a very good strike rate of every 48 balls.

Cricket CEO James Sutherland described Bollinger’s career as fantastic.

“He was a fierce competitor on the field who gave his all every time he represented his country,” Sutherland said.

“He was a skilful bowler who claimed more than 100 international wickets and enjoyed success against the best in the world.”

Bollinger made his first-class class debut back in 2002-03.

“My first captain for NSW was Steve Waugh, which was unbelievable,” Bollinger said.

“I played under some great captains and players for NSW and including Steve, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting.

“To play for 15 or 16 seasons with the SCG as my home ground has been amazing.”

Bollinger will also be remembered for his personality and his changing hairlines.

After losing his hair as a young man he was christened Doug the Rug after undergoing hair replacement work, but in the latter stages of his career he proudly reverted to a clean dome.

“Doug was a larger than life presence on and off the field,” Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones said.

“Finishing his career as ninth on the list of NSW first-class wicket takers and playing all three forms of the game for is a remarkable achievement given he did not play cricket until he was 15.”

Bollinger played for NSW in Sheffield Shield and one-day games this season and had his last hitout in interstate cricket for the Sydney Sixers in a BBL match just before Christmas last year.

He was a genuine batting bunny, averaging 8,82 across 124 first-class matches with a top score of 41 not out.

Five other fast bowlers were named on Monday in the Blues squad for the Shield match against WA starting in Perth on Thursday.

n representatives Trent Copeland and Gurinder Sandhu were listed, along with Harry Conway and uncapped duo Mickey Edwards and Charlie Stobo.