After a sudden, shocking event, it’s time to connect again

So unspeakably awful. Can a prank call by a couple of commercial radio ”funsters” from Australia really have triggered a woman’s suicide in London? The randomness is shocking. A call that wasn’t supposed to get through gets through. A conversation that wasn’t supposed to happen happens. Radio ratings gold and high-fives all round. Everyone so caught up in the caper that no one imagines what could possibly go wrong. It’s all just a lark, and stunningly effective; global notoriety in five ½ seconds.

Everyone stoked. The British media, deep in the trauma of its post-Leveson funk, suddenly able to sneer at the audacity of the uncouth colonials in the hope it might convince their reading and listening and viewing public there is someone more obnoxious and atrocious than they are.

The uncouth colonials, for their part, had stolen a march on the competition, which is always an objective if not the objective. The Sydney radio scene jumps the shark again, which is its stock-in-trade. Look at me. I’m being outrageous. Isn’t that cool?

Those inclined to fluff feathers in consternation did. Facebook popped with alternating sneers and cheers.

And in London, a nurse meant to be a tiny cameo in the whole episode went off-script and became the story when she didn’t come home. A presumed suicide by a mother and a wife a few weeks shy of Christmas.

Now no one is laughing. And then, when it seemed impossible for the event to become even more abject, the obscenity continued.

A crowd gathered to pronounce upon Jacintha Saldanha’s death, not letting the lack of available facts deter them from their roiling, punishing conjecture. The culture rose collectively to a shriek of assumption. Blame was promptly apportioned. The two presenters were trussed for the bonfire. Media outlets covered it all blow by blow; experts delivered pronouncements; advertisers quivered their discomfiture; media critics went into excoriation mode: a multidimensional circus seemingly untethered from an event solemn and shocking.

The radio station brought in the lawyers and the spinners. A terrible, tight-throated news conference ensued where a 2DayFM manager tried too evidently to straddle the riding instructions of both sets of advisers: concede nothing, project sorrow – and don’t sweat the segue.

Formulation one: ”Nobody could have reasonably foreseen this event.” (Presumably that’s a defence against negligence.) Formulation two: ”We are incredibly saddened for the family.” (Public relations 101, made good with authenticity. Of course they are. How could anyone be otherwise?)

I feel ambivalent about writing this column: sideline remarks on a tragedy. At one level it’s mawkish and obscene – a final violation. I don’t know why this lady ended her life, assuming she did. Did it relate to the shock and humiliation of being swept up unexpectedly into a made-for-promo parlour game concocted by people she’d never met?

It’s terrible, whatever the reason. A woman who cared for sick and vulnerable people taken to despair by such vapidity. The contrast between what mattered and what didn’t in this episode is searing.

This is the great irony of our connected world – it seems to be disconnecting us in stealthy increments from essential nourishment: from kindness and civility and comfort. We feel hurled into a vituperative wasteland of shame and blame, of cavalier brutality – a place where despair can be annihilating. It’s connection without communion, engagement without empathy.

I don’t want this column to be a media seminar. I just want to say this. No one meant for this to happen. There was no malice. There was a palpable absence of malice.

This is a tragedy, plain and simple. I wish I could hug Jacintha Saldanha’s children. I wish I could have told their mother that it was all crap and none of it mattered and it would be gone just as suddenly as it arrived; that nothing adheres any more – we are so addled and over-stimulated we will have forgotten by this time next week.

I also feel very sorry for two Sydney radio employees who won’t be able to forget; who are going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives. I don’t blame them; what reasonable person could? They are components of a system, and we’ve all done something without sufficient regard for the consequences.

But this is a column worth writing for this reason. The media needs to look unflinchingly into the heart of our most difficult year in living memory. We need to wake up. We need to start making connections again. We need to start acting like we are accountable, even if no one actually enforces the accountability. We need to engage, and to prioritise substance over notoriety.

We can stand removed from our community and howl on about our lost world, make excuses, blame our victims, blather among ourselves, indulge our existential nightmares with wanton stunts, and lash out at our critics, because they just don’t ”get” us.

But we will be standing alone, in the make-believe world we’ve constructed. And it will crumble around us.

National affairs correspondent Katharine Murphy will replace Phillip Coorey as a regular columnist.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the King Edward VII hospital where Catherine was treated for extreme morning sickness. Photo by Fred Duval/Getty Images


The sweet solution?

Sweet poison … is stevia the answer to the so-called sugar problem?Stevia has been said, by many, to be the sweet solution to the sugar ‘problem’.

Native to Paraguay, the stevia plant is as much as 300 times sweeter than sugar, but has barely any effect on blood glucose levels and contains no calories.

It’s pitched as the ‘natural’ alternative to artificial sweeteners and is the choice of US physicist and renowned sugar critic, Gary Taubes, who has said that by spiking our insulin levels, sugar, not fat, is responsible for the obesity epidemic and a slew of related illnesses.

In an article for the New York Times, he said stevia “gets my vote as the best noncaloric sweetener, by virtue of being the only one that’s truly ‘natural’… Extracts of the herb have been used as a sweetener for centuries. In Japan, Stevia has been sold widely as a sugar substitute since the early 1970s without any documented ill effects.”

David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison is more coy about it. In his Sweet Poison Quit Plan book, he puts stevia on the ‘your call’ list of sweeteners that he believes need more research.

Indeed, concerns have been raised intermittently about stevia over the years. It was questioned in the 70s at the same time that sugar substitutes such as saccharin were suspected carcinogens. Then, in 2008, when the Bush administration gave it the green light, alarm bells starting ringing.

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest issued a statement at the time, saying stevia was “potentially harmful” and that “it is far too soon to allow this substance in the diet sodas and juice drinks consumed by millions of people.”

But, for the most part, it’s hailed by various health professionals and companies as a natural panacea to sugar’s toxic shock to the system.  Even confectionary companies are getting steamed up over stevia. In September, Schweppes Australia launched Pepsi Next. “The new breed of cola… sweetened naturally with stevia,” they say. “Used around the world for hundreds of years, stevia is a completely natural sweetener.”

But, Dr Alan Barclay, of Diabetes Australia and spokesman for the Dietitians Association of Australia, says stevia may not be quite as natural as the marketing would have us believe.

“There’s a little bit of mythology around it,” he says. “It took a while to get approved [in 2008 in Australia], now it’s the new flavour of the month.”

But, he warns, the herb stevia is different from what we see on the supermarket shelf. While he explains the plant extract itself doesn’t contain calories, we rarely eat it in its pure form.

The powder “is a highly refined extract, blended with sugar alcohol and… bulked up with maltodextrin [a refined starch that breaks down into glucose],” he says. “To get it table-top sweet, it’s bulked out with other carbohydrates which are calorific.”

Despite this, Alice Gibson, dietitian with The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney, sees stevia as a good option for people who are watching their weight or calorie intake.

She suggests buying the plant and picking the leaves for a natural tea sweetener. Having said that, she’s not sure we need a solution to sugar in the first place. “Sugar is not evil,” she says, “if consumed in moderate amounts. If people do consume a lot, they need to look at where it’s coming from – fruit or soft drinks… it’s looking at your diet as a whole.”

She says, as with most foods, the dose makes the poison. “We need sugar, carbs and fat to survive, but above certain levels they are a problem… just because something is naturally derived doesn’t mean it is better for us.”

Les Copeland, a professor of agriculture at the University of Sydney who specialises in food chemistry, agrees. He also says the added maltodextrin in stevia isn’t concerning. “It’s pretty neutral… it’s produced from starch and is very widely used.”

But, stevia is “almost certainly not” a solution to obesity, Copeland says. “There’s no magic bullet. There’s no such thing. It’s taking a holistic approach to diet, looking at portions and also how much you’re working it off.”

Barclay agrees. It’s good to have “consumer choice, so long as people are aware it’s not a miracle cure,” he says. “Not consuming sugar is not going to make our lifestyle problems go away.”

In fact, the move to avoid sugar is creating another set of issues. As with stevia, he says many food producers wanting to appeal to the sugar-fearing public use oligosaccharides (which includes maltodextrin) instead, which do not add nutritional value and can spike a product’s glycemic index.

The concern, he says, is that reduced sugar levels are being replaced with highly refined carbohydrates, which, because of a nutritional labelling loophole, do not have to be brought to consumer attention. “These are invisible carbohydrates,” he says.

To address this issue, Barclay plans to submit a proposal to Food Standards Australia New Zealand in the next week, recommending “that we deal with carbohydrates on the same level as fat.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Arrests after police foil alleged hotel robbery

The Royal Oak Hotel.FOURmen have been arrested after police allegedly foiled another hotel robbery as the suspects armed themselves and were about to enter the Royal Oak Hotel at Cessnock last night.

Three men, all from Hamilton South, were arrested following a 30-minute police pursuit through the Coalfields.

A fourth man was arrested at Cessnock this morning after allegedly escaping from police following the pursuit.

They have all been charged with the attempted robbery of the Cessnock hotel while one of the men has also been charged over the violent hold-up of the Mary Ellen Hotel at Merewether late last month.

Newcastle City crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey said arrestingPolice seized a number of items from the car and located machetes near the Royal Oak Hotel,which appeared to be the same machetes that were used in the Mary Ellen raid.

He said Strike Force Madeira was formed following the Mary Ellen robbery and investigators were able to identify a suspect.

Strike force detectives discovered that another robbery was allegedly being planned on a Newcastle licensed premises on Friday night but wereable to foil it before it took place.

Detective Chief Inspector Humphrey said intensive investigations over the weekend then allegedly uncovered plans for thesuspects to raid another pub, but not the target.

At 11pm last night, the suspects were allegedly seen to put on masks and arm themselves and walk towards the Royal Oak Hotel as it was still trading.

Police attempted to arrest the men but they escaped in a car.

A 30-minute police pursuit continued through the Coalfields until the car was stopped at Gillieston Heights.

Three men were taken into custody.

One man, 19, was later charged with the armed robbery of the Mary Ellen Hotel and the attempted armed robbery of the Royal Oak Hotel.

Two other men, aged 19 and 23, were charged with the Royal Oak Hotel attempted armed robbery.

A fourth suspect, who had allegedly run from police, was arrested at Cessnock this morning.

All men will be refused bail to appear in Maitland Local Court today.


Judd takes a back seat as Carlton embraces new era

Chris Judd’s time as an AFL captain has come to an end.HAVING stood down as captain, Chris Judd has revealed the Blues have adopted a more cautious approach to training under new coach Mick Malthouse.
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Judd, 29, has ended months of speculation by confirming his five years in the top role are over, with him preferring to focus more on his own performance without the added off-field commitments.

The Blues have only recently returned to training at Visy Park after their high-altitude camp in Arizona. Judd noted there was a greater focus on avoiding injuries after a year in which physical setbacks took their toll on the club.

Judd said he and his teammates had embraced Malthouse’s training regime. ”They have taken to the work, training has changed up quite a lot, and so far, so good. We have a lot of numbers on the park,” he said.

The 239-game veteran required shoulder surgery over Christmas last year although former coach Brett Ratten said at the time it was unclear whether Judd had been hurt at training. Ratten also said he had taken a cautious approach with the teams ”A-graders”.

Judd said on Monday that there had been a change in terms of how teammates dealt with each other.

”There has been a really big focus on certainly minimising injuries at training, which is something that we suffered quite a lot in the last couple of years,” he said. ”To see those numbers out on the park is great. I think that will hold us in great stead at the start of the season.”

Judd became captain after joining the Blues from West Coast in late 2007 and said the time was right for change, he having helped to transform a list he felt was ”probably a pretty unprofessional playing group that lacked discipline”.

His future as skipper had been questioned since Malthouse replaced Brett Ratten, with the new coach making it clear even in his 2012 season preview when working as a media commentator that he thought there was too much focus on the dual Brownlow medallist.

There were other instances through the season when he suggested it would be best if Judd was not captain. Judd’s manager, Paul Connors, said the decision had been the player’s alone.

While Judd will continue to lead by example he will not have a role in the leadership group. ”I decided some time ago to step away from a leadership role at the footy club,” Judd said.

”I have been in the leadership group all but my first year of footy, so I have had 10 years in there. I think at my stage of the career I am looking forward to getting back to enjoying the essence of footy and competing and probably not having as much responsibility around the club.

”So, I won’t be pushing any less hard to bring success to this club and will still have an active role around the place.”

Marc Murphy, praised for his leadership last season when Judd was suspended, and fellow onballers Andrew Carrazzo and Kade Simpson are the front-runners to replace the skipper.

The Blues are unlikely to name a replacement until February.

”I guess one of the things as a leader is you want to leave the place in a better place than what you inherited it in,” Judd said. ”Without any disrespect to what things were like five years ago, there weren’t a whole host of players who made obvious leaders as far as that went.

”To be able to step aside from the role and have probably three guys that could step in to the role as captain and do a really good job, and even to mention some of the guys that probably won’t be in the leadership group this year, I think it shows our leadership stocks have come a long way.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.


DJs break their silence

RELATED:Austereo reply to hospital rebuke
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2Day FM radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian are “pretty shattered people” according to Channel Nine’sA Current Affairhost Tracy Grimshaw who has prerecorded an interview with the pair to go to air tonight.

Grimshaw toldFairfax Mediathis afternoon that the prerecorded interview was “very intense” with a lot of people in the room including radio station staff and supporters.

The pair, who have been facing global condemnation after the death of a British nurse targeted in a prank phone call, broke their silence on Monday afternoon in a pair of interviews with Grimshaw and Seven’s Clare Brady fromToday Tonight.

Grimshaw said she felt sympathy for the pair.

“They’re at a certain point on the food chain. There are other people who made the decision to put it to air, it wasn’t live to air, there was a decision made after that prank call was recorded to put it to air, and virtually all the focus has been on them,” Ms Grimshaw said.

“So I have some sympathy for them in that regard.”

Grimshaw said she was mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile and the interview was a chance for the hosts to say what they wanted to say.

“What has happened with this poor nurse in England is not going to be helped by bullying these two people into some sort of breakdown. I was very mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile, and very mindful of not becoming part of the problem.

“We talked about the process of the prank call, how it came about, what happens after you record something like that, where are the checks and balances, what is the network’s policy on prank calls, where do you draw the line.

“We talked about their future and we talked about whether prank calls should be banned.”

Immediately after Grimshaw’s interview concluded, Nine’s official Twitter account announced: “First interview with the #2dayfm djs just recorded with @TracyGrimshaw. It’s raw & emotional. The full uncut interview at 6.30 tonight #aca9.”

After the interview, Brady and a crew fromToday Tonightmoved in to the studio, to again give the DJs their chance to speak.

Grimshaw sent a message from her Twitter account saying: “Let me say clearly that our interview with the 2Day FM hosts for tonight’sA Current Affairwas NOT paid for. Neither asked nor offered.”

‘A deeply tragic, unforeseen circumstance’

The boss of 2Day FM said on Monday morning that staff from the station had tried at least five times to contact those involved in the prank call.

The station, along with Christian and Greig, are under fire after nurse Jacintha Saldanha died in an apparent suicide after the call gained worldwide notoriety.

The pair had claimed to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, and asked after the condition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who was in the King Edward VII hospital suffering from an acute form of morning sickness.

Mrs Saldanha put the call through to the London hospital ward of the recovering Duchess of Cambridge.

Rhys Holleran, chief executive of 2Day FM’s parent company Austereo, reiterated on Monday that what had occurred was “a deeply tragic, unforseen circumstance” but that he was satisfied that the appropriate checks were conducted before the pre-recorded segment was broadcast.

“It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions. We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions. We did want to speak to them about it,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

Later, he said: “The day prior [to Mrs Saldahna’s death], people took it as a harmless prank in good humour.”

Greig and Christian’s program has been suspended and advertising on the station has been suspended until Wednesday. The station has not yet said when, or if, the presenters will return to the airwaves.

All Austereo staff were called to a meeting on Monday at 9am; employees have been gagged from speaking publicly without permission.

Mr Holleran’s comments come as online vigilante group Anonymous is believed to have threatened the broadcaster in light of Mrs Saldanha’s death.

Using a new account on YouTube with the group’s branding, a person wearing a mask similar to that used by Anonymous members said 2Day FM was “directly responsible” for Mrs Saldanha’s death.

The video, uploaded from an account named An-onym Oz, purports to be from Anonymous but contains a spelling error in its opening titles. ‘‘Hello citizens of the world, we are Anonyomous,’’ it reads.

“We have listened to your excuses. We have heard the word ’prank’ a million times,” the person in the video says, in a digitally altered voice.

“We have studied the facts and found you guilty of murder. You have placed yourself in an untenable position. You have placed your advertisers at risk – their databases, their websites, their online advertising.

“We are Anonymous and hereby demand you terminate the contracts of Mel Greig and Michael Christian. We will not listen to any more excuses. We will not let you escape your responsibility. You have a funeral to pay for. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We are amongst you. Expect us. This is not a prank call; this is no laughing matter. This is your one and only chance to make amends. You have one week to do so.”

In Australia, New South Wales police are now helping Scotland Yard with its investigation into Mrs Saldanha’s death.

Mr Holleran said on Monday that he had not spoken to police “at this point in time”.

He said he did not believe any Australian Communications and Media Authority codes governing radio broadcasts had been breached or that the station’s licence was in jeopardy.

He said the company was happy to discuss the issue with any investigators.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian.

Jacintha Saldanha.

“I’m sure that in the time ahead, there will be questions, and we’re happy to participate in that process, of course we are,” Mr Holleran said.

“We have said we won’t be running that style of call until we do [investigate] … this isn’t a witch-hunt and I don’t intend for it to be that way.

“If it’s appropriate to make changes, we will make changes, make no mistake about that.”

He would not comment on how much the fallout was costing the station financially and rejected suggestions of cultural problems at the station in light of repeated scandals, largely ignited by host Kyle Sandilands.

* Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.



Weaving quits over film festival’s ‘lack of vision’

Canberra’s International Film Festival has lost its Artistic Director with Simon Weaving walking away from the organisation, saying he was unhappy with its strategic direction.
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Mr Weaving, who leaves the festival after four years in the Artistic Director’s job, says he will now set up a screen culture organisation for Canberra that will operate all year round.

Speaking from the NSW south coast on Tuesday, Mr Weaving said that he was proud of the festival’s achievements but he wanted it to be an institution rather than an event and that others in the organisation did not share his vision.

“There are a lot of smaller groups and organisations that are doing stuff on the delivery or the content side of thing so I saw a huge opportunity for the festival organisation to become more than just an event, more than something that happens once a year, that pops and then packs down,” he said

“I felt very strongly that there was an opportunity to establish a more permanent organisation, work with other people and other groups and start delivering programs and engaging with the community all year round.

“For me, the Festival organisation had reached a stage where it was financially sound and the environment was right, but not everyone shared that vision.”

Mr Weaving said he had grown frustrated with the “lack of vision” for the festival.

“All organisations need a strategic plan of where it’s going to be and the organisation has no strategic plan, it just sort of goes from year to year,” he said.

“For me, I’d just become increasingly uncomfortable about the lack of vision.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.


Selling before auction hots up as year ends

7 Lawson Street, Balmain, now the former home of 2GB radio presenter Chris Smith and his wife Ally. Aloha . . . Stefan Ackerie is too busy with his boats to keep a Sydney pad.
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Sydney artist Nafisa Naomi will be moving on from her Waterloo apartment.

As the market winds down to the end of the year, many agents are stitching up deals on properties before auction. At Zetland, the modern two-storey home of Di Henry, who was general manager of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay, has sold for $985,000 – 10 days before it was scheduled for auction through BHR agents Reece Coleman and Daniel Baran. It’s a good result for the four-bedroom terrace in Hansard Street, which was listed with price hopes of more than $900,000.Brush with fame

A Waterloo apartment, which is the home of artist Nafisa Naomi, has sold for $647,000 – two days before it was to go to auction through Scott Aggett and Matt Bognar of Belle Property Surry Hills. During the marketing campaign three contracts were issued and the agents negotiated with two parties before sealing the deal with a first-home buyer from Bronte. A short walk from Danks Street’s shops, cafes and restaurants, the two-bedroom apartment is in a pet-friendly security building with a swimming pool and gym. Naomi, born in India, and educated in Hong Kong and Sydney, won the 2010 Archibald Packers’ Prize for her portrait of rock historian Glenn A. Baker. In 2003 her portrait of entertainer Maria Venuti was selected for the Archibald Salon des Refuses.Radio presenter’s news

At Balmain, the 2GB radio presenter Chris Smith and his wife Ally sold their home before its auction through Rebecca Fearon and Karl Howard of McGrath Balmain. Although the price of the Lawson Street house is not disclosed, it’s understood to have fetched more than $1.95 million, which is the price guide quoted by the agents during the marketing campaign. Named Woodroffe, the three-bedroom residence stands on a 300 sqm block that is footsteps from vibrant Darling Street. It last sold for $1.4 million in 2003. Chris Smith won a NSW government award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting for an expose on waste dumping.Snip offer from hairdresser

A Woolloomooloo apartment owned by the flamboyant Brisbane hairdressing mogul Stefan Ackerie is expected to sell for more than $800,000 at auction through Nic Krasnostein, a BresicWhitney agent. Earlier this year Queensland-based Ackerie paid $810,000 for the 73 sqm two-bedroom apartment (on the fifth floor of the Finger Wharf complex), which he intended to use when visiting Sydney. But since his foray into leisure-boat retailing with the opening of Stefan Boating World on the Gold Coast in November, Ackerie won’t spend much time in Sydney – so he’s decided to sell the apartment. A champion offshore powerboat racer, Ackerie has been part of the Australian boating scene for more than four decades. During the past 18 months he has been overseeing the development of the Razar Cat, a 4.1 metre boat that combines the best features of a jet-ski and an inflatable boat.No bids, so on the market

A Mosman property owned by Scott Barton, director of Blake Entertainment, is on the market at more than $2.8 million through McGrath Mosman agent John Welch. The Royalist Road residence was passed in at its auction after there were no bids. The four-bedroom house, an investment property of Barton’s, has been renovated since it last traded for $2,125,000 in 2007.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.


Raymond’s nut allergy tragedy: system failed boy who died after eating biscuit, inquest told

Nut allergy … Raymond Cho died after eating a walnut biscuit at school.A 16-year-old boy with a nut allergy who died after eating a walnut biscuit at a Sydney school was tragically let down by the NSW education department systems meant to protect him, an inquest has heard.
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Raymond Cho went into anaphylactic shock after he ate the biscuit baked by other students in a cooking class at Ashfield Boys’ High School on May 19, 2011.

He was taken to hospital, but died after he was taken off life support on May 24.

At the Glebe Coroner’s Court on Monday, State Coroner Mary Jerram was told the education department and staff were aware that Raymond suffered from anaphylaxis and asthma.

But other students shared the biscuits they had baked in a cooking class, the inquest heard.

Raymond fell ill later in a maths class and went into anaphylactic shock. He was was treated by the use of two epipens, which are used to quickly inject a dose of adrenaline.

Michael Fordham SC, representing the NSW Department of Education and Communities, read Raymond’s family an apology from the department’s director-general, Michele Bruniges.

“Dr Michele Bruniges … was deeply saddened when she learnt of Raymond’s tragic death. She wishes to unreservedly apologise on her own behalf and on behalf of the many people working in public education for the unimaginable hurt and anguish you and your family have suffered as a result of his loss,” the statement from Dr Bruniges said.

“It was believed prior to Raymond’s death that the department had in place proper systems to keep children with anaphylaxis safe, but this was wrong.

“These systems failed Raymond, the people at the school that day who tried to save him and yourselves.

“It will be small consolation to hear that the department has reviewed its systems and has made a number of significant changes since Raymond’s death.”

Those changes included compulsory training in anaphylaxis and emergency care for all school staff and a requirement that every school run CPR courses on an annual basis.

The department is also continuing to look at how it can improve safety and well-being of students with anaphylaxis.

“The director-general hopes that this inquest helps your family, and other families who have children with anaphylaxis, by identifying where things went wrong, examining what has been done to date in response and considering whether anything further can be done to reduce the chance of another tragedy like Raymond’s death occurring in the future.”

Raymond’s family are at the inquest, holding pictures of the schoolboy.

The inquest, which will look into the school’s policies and the use of epipens, continues.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.


2Day FM outrage: people power trumps regulators

The massive community backlash from the so-called royal prank-gone-wrong by two shock jocks on 2Day FM says a lot about the power of the people rather than the power of a company’s board or the regulators.

So powerful was the community outcry when news spread that the prank had tragically culminated in the death of a nurse at King Edward VII Hospital that advertisers started to withdraw their advertising from the show and the company was forced to suspend it.

It was a similar community reaction to the comments made a few weeks ago by Alan Jones about the Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father with suggestions that he had died of shame.

The regulator did nothing but consumers took to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, attacking the advertisers until they buckled under the pressure and withdrew their advertising. It also prompted Macquarie Radio Network to announce the temporary suspension of all advertising in its breakfast show and called it “21st century censorship via cyber bullying”.

In like fashion, the prospect of suspending the 2Day FM show along with the desertion of advertisers extended to the sharemarket, with the listed entity’s stock Southern Cross Media Group falling 6 per cent, as investors punted that the loss of advertisers would have a significant impact on the bottom line.

It is part of Australia’s culture to crack jokes but this time the joke turned from black comedy to a nightmare for all concerned.

It is yet another example of the power of social media to exert huge pressure on companies rather than the ineffectual regulators.

Just last week, Starbucks bowed to public pressure and pledged to pay taxes in the UK, despite regulators not being able to sanction the company for avoiding tax in the past three years as it was technically operating within the law. However, the consumer backlash – including people protesting outside its stores and the potentially huge damage to the brand – led to the company “volunteering” to pay 20 million pounds in tax.

Starbucks issued a statement that was gobsmacking but spoke volumes about the power of consumer and community backlashes. It said “it would pay a significant amount of tax during 2013 and 2014 regardless of whether the company is profitable during these years”.

Starbucks told the BBC the company had “listened to our customers” and was “making a number of changes in our business to ensure we pay corporation tax in the UK” – something it urged UK Uncut and other concerned parties to “carefully consider”.

There is no arguing that the 2Day FM prank was in poor taste but the tragedy that followed could never have been imagined. Nor do we know the background to it.

What we do know is the culture at Southern Cross Media Group is nasty and allows shock jocks to pull pranks all the time. The idea of a joke is everyone laughs, rather than it being at some unsuspecting person’s expense.

The board sets values for a company and if management takes decisions that are in contravention of the company’s values then something has to be done. Investors and directors of Southern Cross Media need to look at those values to see where they are falling short.

In this case the company has come out and said every attempt was made to ask for approval to run the pre-recorded tape but time ran out and it went to air and received lots of attention, which the station would have loved, until it all went horribly wrong.

What does it say about the brand? Does it put the quest for top ratings ahead of values?

With the power of social media growing exponentially, the debate is just about to begin.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


If I’d known then what I know now …

“If you don’t have peers with pint-sized spit-bubble blowers, make mates that do. If at first your mothers’ group does not succeed, try again with another” … Melanie HearseAs Amy Corderoy reported earlier in the week, a new survey commissioned by the Mental Health Association NSW revealed that 42 per cent of mothers found the experience of parenthood much more stressful than they expected. And the twist in the tale? It’s the younger mothers who are most likely to be affected, with nearly a third reporting that they felt like other people were coping better than them, or experienced excessive worry and sadness.

I’m not going to rehash the study. Instead, I’m going to rehash my own experience as a young mum that found parenthood much harder and more stressful than expected – so much so that by the time my first son was 15 months old, I was hospitalized with severe anxiety and depression. Before you switch off, it has a happy ending – perhaps the happiest part being that with baby number two, everything I learned from my experiences with number one made for a more enjoyable and relaxed ride.

The first few months as a new mum were okay. But I remember that when my hubby went to pick up takeaway on our first night back home, I ran away from my son as the thought ran through my mind that I could ‘squash him like a bug’. There was another moment, months later, where Max bounced face first off a coffee table in his bouncer, and I was terrified that if I told anyone they would take him away from me. But they were the only standout negative moments.

Then, when Max was about 10 months old, I stopped sleeping. I would have maybe two hours a night on a good night, but often I had none. After a month of this passed, I was a zombie. I was terrified and unhappy, and my mum and mother-in-law had to take it in shifts to take me to my doctor each day to report the same thing: still no change. I went on antidepressants, but I couldn’t shake the black dog.

At 2am, four weeks into the no-sleep regime, I called a cab, left a note for my husband, then set off for the emergency room to check myself in. My mum told me later how terrified she was to find out I was in the psych ward, and how brave she thought I was. But I wasn’t brave, I was determined – I had a son I’d previously adored who I was now afraid to be near, scared I’d become the star of one of those stories of a mum ‘flipping’ and hurting her kid.

With the support I had, I was able to be admitted as an outpatient, so I could go in and be checked out by day, see the counselors, and then go home to my parents’ house at night. I started to sleep again and the world slowly took on colour as my mum and I went for walks and talks. My husband bought my son to visit, and it makes me cry to say he barely felt like part of me – this is a kid I now consider a soul mate, we’re so in tune and alike.

One of the main things that moved my life forward was when my mum took Max and I to Ngala, a support service for families. I spilled my guts on the anxieties, the worries, the fears … everything that was becoming a new parent. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, so I had no one else to look and to see that what I was going through was all normal, and not at all the way I thought it would be. Without being too glib, the counsellor looked at me, almost puzzled, and said, “Well, all mums feel that way. It’s normal and it’s going to be okay.” And she helped me see how distorted my view of what parenthood ‘should’ look like really was.

Recalling that session reminds me of the funny photo doing the rounds at the moment. Snap one shows a mum and baby sleeping serenely side by side, captioned ‘perception’. Snap two, aptly captioned ‘reality’, shows a mum asleep with her toddler stretched across the bed, one foot planted over her mum’s face. The universal appeal of that meme tells us something – we all identify with having whole heartedly believed the top picture was what we were going to get, only to realize, after biting the apple, that picture two was the real deal.

So this is the happy part of my tale – the stuff that if I’d known then would have helped me enjoy little Max so much more (and why my experience with my second son, Sam, was light-years apart). The funny thing is that it has been almost seven years ago to the day that I first stopped sleeping, and therefore a month off the day I went to hospital. It goes to show that a lot can happen in seven years when you have lots of support!

Here’s my cheat sheet:Get as much professional advice and support as you can as a new parent, especially if you don’t have a huge and happy haven of girlfriends going through the same journey. Don’t ever feel afraid that what you’re going through is too weird, or too ‘not-fixable’ to share. Nothing is going to make you feel as normal (or as sheepish at your own anxieties/expectations) as another mum whacking you on the arm and hooting, ‘Oh my god, I thought it was just me!’ Accept help. Even if your sister, friend, mum or mother-in-law dish out unsolicited advice, or want to do things differently to you, grab their offers of help with both hands. You should have seen me go with baby number two – he was palmed off all over the place, even with his bachelor uncle. The kid is now confident, happy and sociable. You are not, as your mummy guilt might tell you, letting the team down by accepting a hand.If you are feeling like things are getting on top of you, visit your GP. Early intervention makes a difference – talking to them doesn’t mean you’ll ‘have’ to take medication, but they may refer you to a psychologist and set you up on the Medicare rebate plan.If you don’t have peers with pint-sized spit-bubble blowers, make mates that do. If at first your mothers’ group does not succeed, do try again with another. If your friend has a friend with a new bub, ignore any shyness or ‘can’t be bothered’-ness and catch up with her. Sharing war stories, poo jokes and special moments with someone going through the same thing is very reassuring. And if their house seems more pristine and ordered than yours … demand the house cleaner’s phone number.

To chat with other parents 24/7, visit the Essential Baby forums. To learn more about postnatal depression and anxiety, visit the PANDA website.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Chill-out zone: in the trenches with Melbourne Ice

Shannon Swan and Jason McFadyen turned their love of ice hockey into a compelling warts and all documentary.Some of the most compelling reality TV programs follow “ordinary” people in their extraordinary occupations. Goldminers in the Bering Sea; truckers in the Arctic; fishermen in the wildest waters of the Atlantic and Southern oceans; policing in fearsome urban jungles – shows that highlight such jobs are now a successful TV staple.

Professional sports have remained one of the few realms to resist this trend, most clubs determined to protect and control how they are portrayed.

It took two Australians, following an amateur ice hockey team, to deliver a truly captivating “access all areas” sports documentary.

The Ice: Road to Three-Peat depicts Melbourne Ice in its 10th anniversary season as it strives to become the first team in the history of the Australian Ice Hockey League to win three successive titles.

The footage is not so much “behind the scenes” as embedded in the midst of them, the cameras mingling with coaches and players as they despair and exult, fight and score. For Resolution Media’s hockey-mad Shannon Swan and Jason McFadyen, it was a labour of love that blessed them with a surfeit of material.

In a remarkably eventful season, the club endured two major suspensions to key players, a form slump that tested their self-belief and team cohesion, and a near amputation to its star player, among many other dramas en route to a thrilling finals series.

Swan says the show worked because of trust and love.

“Deep down inside – we didn’t realise it at the time – but we’d fallen in love with the team and all the people involved.

“It’s a really weird thing because a lot of people say they were conscious of you having the camera around, and they were at the start, until we showed them the first episode – then we had their trust. And then it was almost like a cloak of invisibility: you could be in a room with a camera and no one would bat an eyelid. No one would even notice you were there, and that’s why we got all those shots.”

Swan and McFadyen believe that quickly winning the trust of the participants is vital to the success of such “workplace” documentaries. But they have further advice for those who would follow in their footsteps.

“Follow something that you love because you know it. And you’re going to spend a lot of time doing it so make sure you enjoy it.

“The other thing is they [the subjects] have got to have buy-in themselves. You can’t be continually trying to talk them in to doing something. They knew that they wanted to do it and why it was important.”

Ice president Andy Lamrock and coach Paul “Jaffa” Watson immediately grasped the impact the six-part series could have on their team, and the sport in Australia. But they could not have reasonably expected that it would be not only picked up and aired by Foxtel, but become the subject of international interest from documentary festivals and even US and Canadian broadcasters.

The producers say Watson was a “huge driver” of the show – calling the camera crew in when he knew something was going to happen.

“They realised what we were doing and that was when they saw the first episode they saw that we weren’t out to exploit them, that we had their back, we wanted to tell their story and promote the game.”

Despite its affection for the sport and the players, the production had to keep its distance.”Just observe the zoo, don’t be a part of the zoo,” Swan says. But that was a tough challenge.

“You’ve got to let the drama unfold in front of you. I found that probably the most difficult aspect of it, because they were all good blokes and we’re now friends with most of them.

“We had to make sure we weren’t censoring anything because we knew the guys . . . we definitely left a space for the audience to make up their minds. We didn’t sugarcoat any of the issues which happened . . . we had to stay neutral.”

That included keeping the cameras running when teammates were calling each other to account, or team captain Vinnie Hughes was involved in a controversial fight.

Swan and McFadyen were originally inspired to embark on a sports documentary in part by HBO’s acclaimed 24/7 series, which follows two professional ice hockey teams in the weeks leading up to the annual outdoors “Winter Classic” game.

However, the NHL teams involved in 24/7 remain commercial entities, the players wary, experienced media performers, and the production a commitment to just a slice of a long season.

Resolution considered doing the same for AFL, basketball or cricket in Australia, but found “they were all too censored and they were all too controlled”.

The best subject was right under their hockey-loving noses.

“People go on Big Brother to get something out of it, they want to be famous,” Swan says. “These guys were involved because they loved what they do, not because they wanted to be famous out of it, not because they wanted money but because . . . they loved what they do and they wanted to show off what they do. That’s why it was successful and people were themselves.”

Melbourne Ice players train and prepare as intently as many professional sportspeople, and the organisation, volunteer-run, has grown five-fold in three years since moving to the Icehouse in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The balance of the amateur and professional is precarious for Australian ice hockey, and its portrayal broadens the appeal of the series.

“They’re a minority sport, they’re amateurs, they don’t have to worry about sponsors, they don’t have to worry about a public profile yet – even though it’s on the verge of that,” Swan says.

“So they could be themselves. They didn’t have anything to lose, really, because they don’t have anything. So it was that opportunistic thing of their sport isn’t censored at this stage, there’s no public profile . . . So what you got was something that was really raw and it was real. So I think that’s why the results were so good and they were themselves.

“It did perfectly line up for us, the season they had, how down they got, even when they were two-nil down in the final. The story almost told itself, we were just lucky to be part of it.”

Swan and McFadyen enjoy all manner of documentaries – “Anything that gives an insight into what you just don’t get to see,” as McFadyen puts it. But they remain most in love with sport.

“I’ve always said that sport is the best reality TV,” Swan says. “A guy breaks his leg on the MCG on a Friday night and it’s everywhere. Someone on Big Brother does something and nobody cares, because it’s all set up.”

And they both loved making Road to Three-Peat so much that they are suffering withdrawal – it is hard to replicate that love they felt.

Detailing proposed follow-ups with Ice and the AIHL, McFadyen says they will miss “being part of the team and part of the club”.

“I don’t think we can handle not having any hockey around.”

But Swan says whatever the duo takes on next, it will never be the same as the extraordinary six months they spent with Melbourne Ice.

“That’s the hardest thing. Because even if we go on a road trip next year you’re not in the locker room, you’re not part of it, you’re in the crowd, you’re a fan again. So as much as you might have a couple of beers afterwards, you’re not in the trenches feeling every blow.”

Official site: The Ice: Road To Threepeat

The Age’s report on the AIHL 2012 grand final – click here

Melbourne Ice -click here

Melbourne Mustangs -click here

AIHL -click here

Melbourne Icehouse – click here

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


‘This is going to be a fortune’: investors wanted Obeids out of coal deal, inquiry told

“Why would we leave?” … Moses Obeid. Ian Macdonald.

“They’ve looked down our throats and up our arses and they haven’t found anything,” was Moses Obeid’s angry reaction on being told that his family’s reputation would damage a coal deal and that the other investors wanted them out.

Mining magnate Travers Duncan told the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday that in 2010, when he was informed the family of controversial Labor MP Eddie Obeid had a 25 per cent shareholding in Cascade Coal, he wanted them out.

The commission is inquiring into whether Cascade Coal was corruptly awarded a coal exploration licence in 2009 by the then NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald.

The Obeid family and their associates bought up key farms in the Mount Penny area in advance of Mr Macdonald announcing that the area would be part of a coal tender.

They also managed to negotiate a 25 per cent stake in the winning bidder Cascade Coal.

Mr Duncan, who the commission has revealed dined regularly with Mr Macdonald throughout 2009, was one of a group of seven prominent businessmen who invested in Cascade Coal. Mr Duncan, 80, has denied receiving confidential government information from Mr Macdonald in relation to the tender.

The commission has heard that Mr Duncan was “quite surprised” when he found that a third party had a 25 per cent stake in Cascade in 2009. He said that he was informed by either investment banker Richard Poole or fellow mining magnate John McGuigan, both of whom were major investors in Cascade Coal.

However, Mr Duncan has claimed that it was not until early 2010 that he learned that the Obeids had the 25 per cent. “You’ve got to fix it,” Mr Duncan said he told Mr Poole.

“I don’t wish to repeat the language,” said Mr Duncan of Eddie Obeid’s son Moses’s expressed reluctance to leave the deal.

“Why would we go? This is going to be a fortune,” Mr Obeid is alleged to have said about the amount of coal that lay under their farms at Mount Penny.

Mr Duncan said he told them they should go then and there or they would be left with nothing. “I will out-spend you and you [your shareholding] will be diluted,” he threatened Moses Obeid.

In February 2010, Mr Poole’s investment bank Arthur Phillip prepared a document called Project Phoenix which was aimed at finding a way for White Energy, a public company which had five of the seven Cascade investors on its board, to buy Cascade. Part of that document referred to the “Sanitisation of Cascade” which was a code for getting rid of the Obeids in preparation for the sale.

The proposed $500 million sale later collapsed after the Australian Stock Exchange made inquiries about the identity of some of the Cascade shareholders and a mysterious $28 million payment which has now been revealed to have been part of the Obeids’ buyout.

Mr Duncan will be followed in the witness box by fellow millionaire Brian Flannery. Mr Duncan and Mr Flannery made more than $500 million each in 2009 when they sold their mining company Felix Resources to a Chinese conglomerate.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Buying into friendship and community

Ties that bind… the living area. Vendors Corinne Smith and Amara Jarrat.

Renters from a new residential development in Erskineville became owners on Saturday, splashing $758,000 on a two-bedroom apartment.

The top-level apartment 3417 on 2/Nassau Lane had many features to offer, but the most valuable asset was something money can’t buy; the community feeling.

It was therefore no surprise for vendors Corinne Smith and Amara Jarrat when the winning bidder turned out to be their neighbour.

While the new owner wanted to remain anonymous, he had competition from two other renting parties of the block.

”You get a sense of friendship and community here that stays with you even when you move out,” Ms Smith said.

Although the development is only three years old, residents in the ”Motto 2” building have developed close ties.

”I think we bonded so well, because we all moved in at the same time in 2009. That night most of us went to a nearby pub and we have been on good terms ever since,” Ms Jarrat said.

The building has a large outdoor pool, a landscaped garden, and there’s plenty of space for visitors parking.

Designed by award-winning architects Allen Jack+Cottier, the building seems to have the right mix of public and private amenities.

The unit is split over two levels, with the master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a 33 square metre entertainer’s terrace and the entrance upstairs on level four. The large south-facing terrace is tiled and partly covered.

Downstairs is the main living area with an open-plan kitchen, a second bathroom with bath tub and two balconies adjacent to the large living and dining room with city views and the second bedroom.

The property has 129 square metres of combined indoor and outdoor living space, single security parking and a handy nine-square-metre storage space.

Real estate agent Ercan Ersan recorded 92 inspections in the past four weeks and issued 16 contracts, with six registered bidders present at the auction.

Progressing in increments of $20,000 to $30,000, the auction was driven by four active bidders, three of them residents of the building.

After the reserve price of $725,000 was met, increments were reduced to $5000 and further reduced to $2000 and $1000 before the hammer fell at $758,000.

The vendors are moving to Earlwood, where they have purchased a house with plans to start a family. They had paid $695,000 in 2009.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Shed as cladding a true vision

What is it that makes wonderful buildings speak to us? The sense of shelter promised? Memories evoked? Innovative revealed? The possibility of heritage lost, or futures held? Or, simple, is it beauty calling? When they speak, how do we respond?

A wonderful old dilapidated structure in inner-city Sydney spoke so strongly to then architecture student Raffaello Rosselli he dared to dream – of his first commission, and of celebrating a classic example of the Australian shed.

The two-storey corrugated iron building from the 1940s sat at the back of an ordinary block in Redfern.

Originally used as a workshop,it was in disrepair. The block’s new owner was approaching architects to replace or repair.

At this stage Rosselli did something that still surprises him – he cold-called the owner, putting a passionate case for saving.

“I’d been cycling past for years, and loved it,” he says. “I’d dreamt of working on it.”

Despite being a student with no built works, Rosselli’s passion, idealism, youthful enthusiasm and solid approach won him the job.

His plan was simple: to “celebrate something typically Australia” by deconstructing the shed piece-by- piece, keeping all materials, building a timber-framed two-storey structure with the same footprint and then re-using the old to create new.

It now looks as close to the original as possible, with carefully resolved changes to meet the client’s brief.

While light and air previously flooded the building in an unplanned and unfettered way (from gaps in the roof and walls), Rosselli inserted evocative and appropriate corten steel-framed window boxes to the south and east, opening the structure to its location and light.

Responding to the client’s request for a contemporary western-facing wall, he designed “a simple, curved modern fibre-cement face”, inserting window boxes upstairs and sliding doors downstairs.

Internally, the program of spaces and materials are simple to maximise the allusion of spaciousness in what is, in reality , a very small footprint. Downstairs is one bathroom and large studio space. Upstairs, self-contained guest accommodation. Balancing the richness of the exterior walls, inside is a cool sea of white plasterboard.

“This building is really all about the exterior. What’s so beautiful is the patchwork of green, grey, rust, and silver iron, which highlights each of the building’s stages and its history. We had to add a very few newer pieces, but we kept these tucked behind the patchwork of older iron.”

I can’t think of a better Christmas story. Idealism rewarded, a building saved, and beauty of the raw form celebrated.

The Drawing Board will return on Sunday January 13. We wish you a cheerful and safe holiday season.

[email protected]杭州夜网m

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Good soil, food, water and a haircut can make your gardenias best in the street

Gardenia… one of Sydney’s most loved plants.A good garden should reflect your lifestyle.

A great garden can improve it!

One of the most-loved plants in Sydney is the gardenia, and the most-asked question in the past 20 years is: how do I stop my gardenia leaves from going yellow? Second to that is: why don’t my gardenias flower?

Well it’s not that hard to have amazing gardenias. It’s a bit like a having a pet dog. If you start with some simple training, your dog is a lot easier to look after and then more enjoyable, which in turn means you spend more time with it and then it becomes easier.

Then you have a dog that everyone loves. It’s the same with gardenias. If you plant them in a well-drained fertile soil with a nice organic mulch, feed then, water them and give them a hair cut after flowering, your friends and family will think you are a guru in the garden.

What gardenias love

They are subtropical so they love the sun for six hours a day. If you can protect them from hot afternoon sun, even better.

Moist, well-drained soil.

Add Dynamic Lifter to the bottom of the hole when planting.

Mulch well, about 50mm deep around the plant. It helps with keeping the roots cool in summer and warmer in winter. Don’t build the mulch up around the trunk – this can cause rot.

Remove spent flowers. This will encourage a second and third flush. Just nip the buds off or you can pinch them of with your fingers.

After flowering has completely finished, you can reduce the size of the whole plant to whatever size you like to keep it compact.

Yes, you can cut them back hard, even to a stump.

If there are a few yellow leaves it’s nothing, just old age, but if the new growth looks yellowy rather than bright, happy lime green you’re in need of a complete fertiliser. I use Dynamic Lifter in spring and summer and give them a real boost with a liquid feed every couple of weeks with Yates Uplift.

As far as pests and diseases go, scale, mealy bug and sooty mould can be a problem but the presence of these insects would lead me to think the plant is in the wrong spot or under stress from lack of food and water.

Gardenias are a great plant for boarders and small hedges, and can grow and thrive in pots with good water supply.

I love my gardenias and get the maximum reward by planting them as a boarder to my front door. They fill the area from late spring to early autumn with the sweet smell of summer. When they are happy flowering and filling the area with perfume, I fall in love with my garden just a little bit more.

I love nothing more than cutting some flowers off at the bush and laying them in a large bowl of water. It looks great, but the free air-freshener when you walk in the door is amazing.

Jason Hodges is a presenter on Channel Seven’s Better Homes and Gardens. He talks landscaping on Mix 106.5.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Kimmorley sees Raiders as a ‘good challenge’

Canberra Raiders new assistant Coach Brett Kimmorley Canberra Raiders new assistant Coach Brett Kimmorley says the new role presents a “good challenge”.

Kimmorley wasted no time taking up the appointment, joining the Raiders for training this morning.

Brett Kimmorley left the Canterbury Bulldogs to begin a “new chapter” in his coaching career and believes he can help instil a steely attitude in the Canberra Raiders in an attempt to end their inconsistent finals appearances.

Kimmorley wasted no time joining the Raiders, fronting for his first training session on Monday morning just days after signing a two-year deal to be David Furner’s assistant.

He was part of Des Hasler’s coaching team at the Bulldogs last season and helped the team into the NRL grand final.

But the chance to take on more responsibility convinced Kimmorley it was time to move to the capital and try something new.

“I’m very excited, it’s a new chapter and a good challenge for me,” Kimmorley said.

“The club [Canberra] is in a very good position at the moment … to be given the opportunity to be one of the assistant coaches is a great career move for myself.

“I was considered more of a specialist [halves] coach at Canterbury. The offer Dave gave me is great … it was just an opportunity for me to grow and have a shot.

“I feel like I’ve done a good apprenticeship, played for a number of years and last year taught me a lot working with Des for 12 months.

“It’s an interesting part of my own journey to develop … I hope it’s going to be a wonderful career move.”

Kimmorley will be with the Raiders full-time for the next two seasons.

However, his family will remain in Sydney and he will still be able to complete some of his duties working at Fox Sports when it slots in with the Raiders’ training and playing schedule.

Kimmorley played more than 300 games in the NRL and helped guide the Melbourne Storm to a premiership in 1999.

He represented Australia 20 times and NSW in 10 State of Origins.

His arrival in Canberra provides a big boost to the Green Machine, who have undergone a backroom overhaul despite finishing sixth on the ladder.

Head coach Furner has employed two new assistants – Kimmorley and former under-20s mentor Andrew Dunemann – to replace Andrew McFadden and Justin Morgan.

He has a new strength and conditioning coach and is still searching to add a sport scientist to his staff.

After a woeful start to their 2012 campaign, they fired in the back half of the season to earn a home semi final before losing to South Sydney.

But the Raiders haven’t been able to make the finals in consecutive seasons in almost a decade.

To break the pattern of making the finals one year and missing them the next, Kimmorley said the coaches needed to be strict to ensure there was an improved attitude.

“I think attitude is a big part of it and from the first training session I’ve seen, the players are certainly very accountable and all you can ask is they put the hard work in now,” Kimmorley said.

“In the end it’s up to the players how much they buy into their own pride and some of the excitement they would have got from the end of last season.

“It was a fair journey into the semis and it’s about getting that going from the start of the year.

“It’s a wonderful job to be offered and I hope I can do the best I can with some good times around the corner.”

Furner tried to recruit Kimmorley as a player at the end of 2010, but the champion halfback declined and decided to retire instead.

Meanwhile, Canberra captain David Shillington returned to training for the first time on Monday after being given an extended break because of his duties with the Australian team.

Shillington is the Raiders’ representative on the Rugby League Players Association, which is trying to negotiate an increase in the salary cap.

There will be another meeting in Sydney on Tuesday where the RLPA hopes its request will be granted.

But if negotiations stall, Shillington conceded a boycott of games was possible despite it not being his preferred option.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Dispute with PGA resolved, says Palmer

The first of Clive Palmer’s dinosaurs looms over his Coolum resort.Billionaire Clive Palmer reportedly locked PGA officials out of his resort over the weekend but has released a statement, saying issues with the golf tournament have been “resolved amicably”.

The PGA is due to tee off at the resort on Thursday, a week after it was revealed the golfing body was looking for a new home for next year’s event because negotiations to host it at the resort had reached a stalemate.

Mr Palmer also placed signs around the Palmer Coolum Resort advertising his project Titanic II in the past few days, much to the chagrin of the organisers of the PGA golf tournament.

Last night he released a statement saying “issues” had been resolved, but he did not specify what the issues were.

“We had some issues with the PGA of Australia which have now been resolved amicably,” he said.

“The Australian PGA championship has been held at Coolum since 2002 and last year’s event saw more than 36,000 spectators come to Palmer Coolum Resort with at least a similar number expected this time around.

“We are very much looking forward to this year’s tournament.”

Mr Palmer said his resort – which was the Hyatt Regency before he bought it in February – had a “premier” golf course.

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported Mr Palmer locked PGA organisers out of his Coolum resort and told them they could not hold their tournament on his course after a dispute over signage.

Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia, confirmed the organisation had “signage concerns” with the resort however he did not address allegations Mr Palmer wanted to display Titanic II signs during the event.

“I’m pleased to say that the issues have been resolved this afternoon and the tournament will remain unaffected,” Mr Thorburn said in a statement yesterday.

Since buying and rebranding the resort Mr Palmer has faced a range of issues, including criticism of his plans to erect 150 replica dinosaurs at the resort.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Tourists stranded in searing heat as Apple Maps fails

Source: The Age

Motorists beware: use the new Apple Maps at your peril.

Police are “extremely concerned” at a large snafu in the program – tourists who use the new operating system iOS 6 to get to Mildura, on the Victorian-NSW border,are actually being sent 70 kilometres away to a national park.

Several motorists have become stranded in the Murray-Sunset National Park, where the mercury has recently risen to 46 degrees.

“Police are extremely concerned, as there is no water supply within the park … making this a potentially life-threatening issue,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

“Some of the motorists located by police have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception.”

Police tests on the mapping system confirm that it identifies Mildura as being in the middle of the park.

Officers have contacted Apple and hope to have the problems resolved soon.

The spokeswoman said that anyone travelling within Victoria “should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified”.

Apple has been contacted for comment.

A screengrab of the Apple Maps directions to Mildura. Source: Victoria Police

Uluru, bottom right, as seen on Apple Maps. Apple’s pin for it is not in the right spot.

The Twofold Bay Motor Inn in Eden, NSW appears to have relocated to Penshurst.

Geelong’s gone black and white.

Auckland in Apple Maps.

What Australia looks like when viewed from China in Apple Maps.

North Paramatta appears to have been renamed Baulkham Hills.

Is that a mountain or Lake Burley Griffin?

Another shot of Lake Burley Griffin.

The Three Sisters in Blue Mountains NSW looks somewhat eroded on Apple Maps.

There must not be too much around Singleton in NSW.

This Tamworth picture framing shop is depicted as being located in Sydney’s Ultimo.

Toowoomba QLD in Apple Maps, left, and Google Maps, right.

Cairns has been moved inland on Apple Maps.

“Lithgow” in NSW on Apple Maps, left, and on Google Maps, right. Apple Maps lists it in the wrong place.

River Derwent in Hobart shown on Apple Maps, left, and right on Google Maps. Apple Maps disconnects the river using land (it is not disconnected).

What Uluru looks like on Apple Maps.

Where Apple Maps think Kiama is located in NSW. Kiama is a coastal town.