• Jeff McCloy says he still has ‘unfinished business’ on Newcastle City Council


    WOULD HE RUN AGAIN: Former lord mayor Jeff McCloy says that he’s asked if he’d run for mayor ‘almost every day’, and while it might be unlikely, he hasn’t ruled out a return. Picture: Cole BennettsWOULD Jeff McCloy ever return to local politics?
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    Well, the answer’s complicated.

    Mr McCloy, the larger-than-life personality who dramatically won, and then lost, the city’s lord mayoralty between 2012 and 2014, has remained a highly visible figure in Newcastle’s political scene since he resigned in the heat ofthe Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into political donations made before the 2011 state election.

    From interventions about the controversial light rail route, to challenging the ICAC in the High Court of , Mr McCloy has lost none of his famously forthright nature.

    But since the conclusion of ICAC’sOperation Spicer investigation, which found Mr McCloy“acted with the intention”of evading laws about thedisclosure of political donations and the ban on donations from property developers, the question being asked in some circles is:would he ever run again?

    The man himselfsays that he’s onlyan outside chance of putting his hand up in September,but don’t rule him outcompletely.

    “Look when I walk down the street in Newcastle or I’m in the company of certain people, or really just anywhere in the community I almost get asked every day,” Mr McCloy told theNewcastle Herald.

    “It’s difficult. I don’t think so, but it’s still this thought that crosses my mind every now and again because there is just so much unfinished business.

    “I’ll leave it there, for now, I think.”

    Watch this space, then.

    If he was ever tempted back onto the public stage though, the well-resourced independent who managed to match the Labor machine at the 2012 electionwould pose a formidable challenge to the established parties.

    The Liberal Party is still undecided about who their candidate might be, and the city’s current Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, has weathered a tough few months of negative publicity over her council expenses.

    Mr McCloy declined to offer a commentary on the council’s direction since his resignation –saying he would “keep those thoughts private” –but did offer what appeared to be aveiled swipe at Cr Nelmes, saying that he “ran into staff from time to time” but that it was “best not to repeat things”.

    Mr McCloy resigned in 2014 after he admitted to giving donations to three Liberal Party candidates who became MPs in the lead up to the 2012 election, famously telling the inquiry that at times he felt “like a walking ATM”.

    Mr McCloy has previouslytried to overturn the ban on developers donating to politicians in the High Court, and unsuccessfully challenged the ICAC’s conduct in the Supreme Court.

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  • OpinionThe Post Office: our crumbling monument to inertia


    OUTDOOR PERCH: Even the pigeons are fed up with the city’s ‘imploding urinal’.G’DAY whingers.
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    It’s early May and the cold winds of change are blowing through the future jewel-in-the-Asia-Pacific. Gav the NBN weatherman said last Wednesday that it is time to pull out the door sausage and cover up the cracks. I typed “door sausage” straight into the Google machine. I now await the imminent arrival ofA Current Affair and the NSW police.

    I wish the cold winds of change would blow on the Newcastle Post Office. The government’s parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald has provided a $150 000 heritage grant that will go towards “stabilising” the building. Will the gift from NSW taxpayers be repaid if and when its owners – the Awabakal Land Council – manage to flog it off? This whole caper looks more and more like torturous demolition by neglect. A landmark building is now little more than a gaping sore – an imploding urinal that stands as a crumbling monument to inertia, very bad decisions and ongoing buck passing.

    The ALC was put into administration last October after investigations into its governance and financial administration revealed significant problems. ALC boss at the time Richard Green was talking up big overseas investors backing post office redevelopment. Sounded promising. Nothing eventuated.

    Information about the type and scope of allegations against anyone in the ALC have not been revealed nor discussed openly by the government, the opposition or the ALC. It’s certain there was plenty of internal bickering – but that’s par for the course for many organisations – from footy clubs to the UN.Attempts to get a copy of the investigator’s report – under NSW Freedom of Information laws – to then Minister Leslie Williams that resulted in the appointment of an administrator to run the ALC have been refused. Attempts to get a copy of the ALC’s response to the allegations were also refused. The NSW agency responsible, the Department of Education, argued that it is not in the public interest for either report to be made public. An appeal to the Information Commissioner against the agency’s decision to not release the documents resulted in the Commissioner making “no recommendation”.

    One of the reasons given for the refusal to release the reports is that matters relating to alleged fraud, corruption, mismanagement or misappropriation at the ALC may be potentially investigated by the NSW police, ICAC and/or the NSW Ombudsman. Release of the documents could have a prejudicial effect on investigation. Fair enough, but once a decision is made to either charge or not charge persons, that reason for not releasing the documents will dissipate. Prudent document redaction can sort out defamation potentialities if no charges are laid. Remove the door sausage.

    There is no obligation for the ALC to answer inquiries from the media and they have long chosen to engage with the media on their own terms. Media calls and inquiries go unanswered and unreturned. That is their right. Equally, there is no obligation for the media to act as an ALC cheer squad and cover their “announcements” that are self-congratulatory or promise pie-in-the-sky schemes.But given the future of the city’s most iconic building lies chiefly with the ALC, surely the people of Newcastle have some right to know if, when and what sort of shenanigans may have been going on in that organisation.

    Should we hold our collective breath or back the post office’s bulldozing? It’s been 15 bloody years and there’s no end in sight.

    Cold winds indeed.

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  • Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration


    UNCERTAINTY: Newcastle Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson is set to play in reserve grade this weekend after being dropped by coach Nathan Brown. Picture: Getty Images AFTER Newcastle’s round-one loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast last season, Sporting Declaration stopped at Jupiters Casino for a beer and a bite to eat.
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    Pretty much the first person I bumped into was Tyrone Roberts, who was out with his new scrumbase partner, Ashley Taylor.

    I’m not sure if they were having a gamblebut what can be said without doubt, with the benefit of hindsight, is the Titans have backed a winner, albeit by default.

    Roberts and Taylor might never have paired up at the Gold Coast, other than for exceptional circumstances.

    In 2015, Gold Coast thought they had signed Daly Cherry-Evans, only for the former Test half to renege on the deal at the 11thhour to re-sign with Manly.

    In the meantime, the Titans lost five-eighth Aidan Sezer, who agreed to join Canberra.

    That left Gold Coast with one half for 2016, rookie Kane Elgey, and as the season progressed, alternative options were few and far between.

    In August they took a punt on 20-year-old Taylor, who was yet to play an NRL game for Brisbane. A week or so later they signed Roberts, whose two-year-deal was partially subsidised by a $200,000 payout from Newcastle.

    The reason Roberts was available was because, even though he had a year to run on his contract, the Knights had recruited Canterbury and NSW Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson to replace him.

    At the time, signing Hodkinson appeared a wise strategic move. But less than halfway into his three-season deal, the club captain is facing an uncertain future after being dumped to reserve grade by coach Nathan Brown.

    Rewind two years and the Knights could surely never have imagined such a scenario unfolding.

    Hodkinson was considered the best halfback in the state and a player capable of alleviating the pressure building onKnights coach Rick Stone.

    Stone’s halves that season were to be Roberts and Jarrod Mullen, but the latter broke a bone in his foot in round 10 and did not play again that season.

    In his absence, Roberts struggled with the responsibility of taking over as primary playmaker. As the losses mounted, Newcastle reached the conclusion that they needed a more consistent andreliable No.7.

    The two on the market were James Maloney and Hodkinson. Maloney eventually switched from the Roosters to Cronulla, helping them win a premiership in his first season.

    Hodkinson joined the Knights, collecting a wooden spoon straight up.

    The planthat he would form a complementary partnership with Mullen remains sadly unfulfilled.

    In theory theyappeared ideally matched.

    Hodkinson is a right-foot kicker, Mullen left-footed. Hodkinson is an organiser, Mullen’s strength was his running game.

    The Knights were happy to invest more than $3 million in the pair over three years, believing they would provide the stability and organisation around which they could build a successful team.

    If only.

    As it panned out, Hodkinson and Mullenplayed only 14 games together, for one win.

    Stone did not even get to coach his star recruit. He was sacked before Hodkinson hadarrived.

    After an injury-plagued 2016, Mullen tested positive to a banned steroid and is now awaiting a suspension that is expected to end his career.

    And whether Hodkinson appears again in Newcastle’s top team is a matter of conjecture.

    The master plan Newcastle officials hatched two years ago has unravalled spectacularly. Yet to suggest that they should have shown more foresight seems, to me, a tad harsh.

    On reflection, it always seemed strange that Canterbury –a club famed for its solidarity –had not foughtharder to retain their NSW Origin halfback.

    Yet the notion that he arrived in Newcastle with a bung knee, which has since worsened, is not evidenced by his career record.

    In the three seasons before he joined the Knights, Hodkinson played in 20, 25 and 19 games for the Bulldogs –the latter cut short by a dislocated wrist –and six Origins.

    Before he was dropped last week, he had played in 30 of a possible 31 games for Newcastle –more than any of his teammates.

    That does not suggest a player who is a lame duck.

    Moreover, if his on-field performances have come under scrutiny, perhaps it could be noted that in the six seasons before he joined Newcastle, only once did Hodkinson’s teams not make the finals.

    It’s a far tougher proposition playing for –statistically at least –the worst team ofthe NRL era.

    All of which must remind Roberts that being off-loaded by Newcastle was the luckiest break of his career.

    He hasplayed in 29 of the Titans’33games since the start of last season, including the qualifying-final loss to Brisbane.

    This season he’s shown his versatility by playing in the halves, off the bench, hooker and fullback.

    The 25-year-old is heading into the best years of his career, and the Titans are reportedly keen to re-sign him.

    If he had his time over, I doubt he would change a thing. Somehow it’s hard to imagine the Knights expressing similar sentiments.

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  • Breakthrough as Kenya poised to elect first female governors


    Joyce Laboso Kenya’s?deputy parliamentary speaker Photo: Twitter/@DrJoyceLaboso
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    Nairobi:Women are likely to be elected for the first time to some of Kenya’s powerful governor positions after making historic gains in party primaries this week, experts said, heralding a political breakthrough for the patriarchal society.

    Kenya has East Africa’s lowest female representation in parliament – at 19 per cent – and women have struggled to make gains in the face of violence, intimidation and sexism.

    That looks set to change in August’s elections.

    “This time, at least two women are almost guaranteed for the position,” said Macharia Munene, a professor of international relations at Nairobi’s United States International University.

    “They might win because they have proven themselves as capable leaders in previously held positions.”

    Kenyans will vote for their president, parliament and county representatives on August 8.

    The ruling Jubilee party and the opposition National Super Alliance, known by its acronym NASA, both elected women to run as county governors in primaries concluding on Sunday.

    None of Kenya’s 47 counties, which manage local infrastructure, are headed by a female governor, an influential position overseeing budgets worth billions of shillings.





    [Martha Karua, former Kenyan presidential candidate, is running a governor position.]

    Martha Karua, former Kenyan presidential candidate, is running a governor position.Photo: Supplied

    The counties get about 20 per cent of national revenues. They can also raise local taxes. In return, they must provide most health facilities, pre-schools, and local infrastructure.

    Anne Waiguru, who is standing in the Jubilee stronghold of Kirinyaga, some 100 km northeast of the capital Nairobi, has a good chance of victory, Munene said.

    She was the powerful minister for devolution and planning until she resigned in 2015, saying that unsubstantiated corruption allegations had taken a toll on her health.

    Joyce Laboso, the deputy parliamentary speaker, is also well poised to win the western county of Bomet for Jubilee, he said.

    “We have stepped up this year,” Labososaid. “Society must stop thinking that women are mere flower girls.”

    Wavinya Ndeti, who was a member of parliament until 2013, is vying on a NASA ticket, while two of the three women to have stood for the Kenyan presidency – former ministers Martha Karua and Charity Ngilu – are both running under their own parties.

    “Women have proved that they can be good leaders who want to change the lives of their people,” said Ngilu, who was Kenya’s first female presidential candidate in 1997.

    Women usually lack the political clout and money to get nominated by the main players in primaries, where voters choose party candidates, often amid violent clashes.

    “Apart from the physical violence we suffer during campaigns, we are also subjected to a lot of emotional abuse,” said Laboso.

    Female candidates often hire bodyguards after threats of rape and beatings, sexual slurs or curses from elders for violating tradition.

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  • Half arrested in Donald Trump’s immigration raids had traffic convictions or no record


    Washington:About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Donald Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offences, mostly drunken driving, as their most serious crimes, according to data obtained byThe Washington Post.
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    Records provided by congressional aides Friday offered the most detailed look yet at the backgrounds of the individuals rounded up and targeted for deportation in early February by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York.

    Two people had been convicted of homicide, 80 had been convicted of assault, and 57 had convictions for “dangerous drugs.” Many of the most serious criminals were given top billing in ICE news statements about the operation.

    The largest single group – 163 immigrants convicted of traffic offences – was mentioned only briefly. Over 90 percent of those cases involved drunken driving, ICE said Friday. Of those taken into custody in the raids, 177 had no criminal convictions at all, though 66 had charges pending, largely immigration or traffic offences.

    The raids were part of a nationwide immigration roundup dubbed Operation Cross Check, which accounts for a small portion of the 21,362 immigrants the Trump administration took into custody for deportation proceedings from January through mid-March.

    The two-month total represents a 32 per cent increase in deportation arrests over the same period last year. Most are criminals, administration officials have said. But 5,441 were not criminals, double the number of undocumented immigrants arrested for deportation a year earlier. The administration has released a detailed breakdown of the criminal records only of the raids in early February.

    Trump has said that public safety threats are his top priority. Shortly after he was elected, he vowed to first deport serious criminals from the United States.

    But critics say immigration agents instead have also targeted students, parents of US citizens who do not have serious criminal records and minor offenders.

    “That makes me so angry,” said Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, which is organising demonstrations Monday to protest Trump’s immigration policies. She said that many of the DUI convictions are years-old and that the data “confirms our worst fears, which is that this administration is really trying to deport as many as possible regardless of whether they have a criminal record.”

    President Barack Obama also deported thousands of people who never committed crimes, but toward the end of his administration, he imposed strict new rules that prioritised the arrest of criminals.

    The Trump administration has said the current president also wants to prioritise deporting criminals. But officials add that anyone in the United States illegally could be detained and deported.

    “As Secretary Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” said ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea, referring to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. “All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

    ICE arrested immigrants across the United States in February as part of Operation Cross Check, an initiative that seeks to detain immigrants that also occurred during the Obama administration.

    Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Centre for Immigration Studies, which favours limits on immigration, said ICE is properly enforcing immigration laws by arresting criminals and people in the United States without papers.

    “Those are legitimate reasons to remove people,” she said. “ICE officers are no longer operating under the restraints imposed by the Obama administration. They’re not forced to look the other way when they encounter people who are removable.”

    Congressional aides said the information from ICE follows months of frustration from lawmakers that the agency is not responding fast enough to requests for information.

    After initially being supportive of Kelly, many Democrats have turned on him, believing he is being less than forthcoming about his sprawling department’s moves to implement Trump’s immigration policy.

    Kelly, a retired Marine general, shot back at congressional critics last week in a speech at George Washington University.

    “If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce, then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws,” Kelly said. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

    That kind of approach “wasn’t a constructive way to deal with Congress,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said in an interview Friday. Democrats, he said, are frustrated by Trump’s immigration policies but are unable to change laws because they don’t currently control Congress.

    “That kind of language ought to be jettisoned,” Hoyer said.

    The Washington Post

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  • Chinan news headlines: April 29, 2017


    Need anational newssnapshot first thing?Well, we have you covered.
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    ​Regional news:► QUEENSLAND:THEY may be the largest irrigated cotton farm in the Southern Hemisphere but not even Cubbie Station were left unscathed by this season’s dry hot summer.

    ► DARWIN, NT:An n woman is fighting for life after becoming the first local victim of a global airbag recall crisis that has left drivers with gruesome injuries and affected millions of car owners.Read more.

    ►WAGGA WAGGA, NSW:A Wagga resident has called for large dog ownersto consider using a muzzlein the wake of avicious dog attack which left afamily forced to watch their cat die in their arms.Read more.

    ►BENDIGO:“Imagine what it is like to be told you can’t have this choice [to go out after 10pm] because you are disabled, and make no mistake this is what it says. This is our government forcing our disabled citizens to be out of sight, out of mind. This is discrimination.” Read more.

    Harry Styles is heading to for his first solo world tour. But just over 4000 fans will be able to see him perform here. Read more.

    Eye on the weatherWhat does it look like in your neck of the woods today?

    National news:► The head of the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad recently warned a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into human trafficking that exploited overseas workers were slipping through the cracks because there was now no way to identify – or stop – underground brothels.Read more.

    ►Labor has referred Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to Queensland authorities amid claims the party has breached electoral rules. Read more.

    ►Multinational gas companies will soon sell an annual $50 billion worth of n liquefied natural gas to foreign markets, but the nation will have to wait more than a decade for any revenue boost and some projects will never pay a cent in tax for the resources they extract.​ Read more.

    World news:► North Korea unsuccessfully test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday from a region north of its capital, Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, defying intense pressure from the United States and the reclusive state’s main ally, China. Read more.

    ►Nairobi:Women are likely to be elected for the first time to some of Kenya’s powerful governor positions after making historic gains in party primaries this week, experts said, heralding a political breakthrough for the patriarchal society. Read more.

    ►About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Donald Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offences, mostly drunken driving, as their most serious crimes, according to data obtained byThe Washington Post.Read more.

    Faces of Jeff McCloy, the larger-than-life personality who dramatically won, and then lost, Newcastle’s lord mayoralty between 2012 and 2014, has remained a highly visible figure in the city’s political scene since he resigned in the heat ofthe Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into political donations made before the 2011 state election.

    From interventions about the controversial light rail route, to challenging the ICAC in the High Court of , Mr McCloy has lost none of his famously forthright nature.

    But since the conclusion of ICAC’sOperation Spicer investigation, which found Mr McCloy“acted with the intention”of evading laws about thedisclosure of political donations and the ban on donations from property developers, the question being asked in some circles is:would he ever run again? Read more.

    On this day …

    ►311Roman Emperor Galerius issues Edict of Toleration, ending persercution of Christians in the Roman Empire

    ►1789George Washingtonis inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America

    ► 1859 Charles Dickens'”A Tale Of Two Cities” is first published in literary periodical “All the Year Round” (weekly installments until Nov 26).

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  • NRL: Newcastle Knights beaten by Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadiumphotos


    Knights crash to seventh straight loss | photos TweetFacebook Knights v Titans on Gold CoastPictures by Getty ImagesThe Newcastle Knights suffered their seventh straight loss on Saturday afterthe Gold Coast Titans scored 32 unanswered pointsin the second half.
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    The visitors were beaten 38-8 in front of10,511 spectators at CbusSuperStadium after leading 8-6 at the break, but remaining scoreless on the run home.

    This result keeps the Knights (two points)anchored to the bottom of the NRL competition ladder, now four behind the Titans (6) and two arrears of the Penrith Panthers (4).

    Newcastle started the round nine fixturewith much promise,Knights skipper Sione Mata’utai produced a try-saving tackle over the lineknocking the ball free from the arms of Titans hooker Nathan Peats in the sixth minute.

    After being held up next to the posts and forcing a repeat set, Newcastlethen made the most ofextra possession with second-rower Sam Stone latching onto a short ball from hooker Danny Levi and swiveling past Jarryd Hayne to open the scoring in the 13th minute. Brock Lamb added the extras for a 6-0 lead.

    Lamb made it 8-0 with a penalty goal four minutes later, shortly after Knights prop Daniel Saifiti made a 50 metre break in midfield.

    The Titans reduced the margin to two in the 24thminute when Hayne, who received a penalty 10m out, took a quick tap and crashed over. Gold Coast halfback Ash Taylor converted to make it 8-6.

    The Knights managed to hold the Titans enterprising attack at bayjust before the break and took the same lead into half-time.

    Gold Coast crossed twice in the space of six minutes shortly after the main stoppage to first reachthe frontvia five-eighth Kane Elgey and then double their advantage to 16-8 courtesy of Hayne’s second for the afternoon.

    Just shy of the hour mark Titans centre Konrad Hurrell dived full stretch and caught a clever chip kick from Taylor to extend the home side’s advantage to 20-8.

    The Titans kept on coming and tries in the 68th,73rd and 77th minutes put the result beyond the Knights’ reach.

    Gold Coast replacement Jon Greenwood produced a one-on-one strip from Lamb just 10m out and nabbed a four-pointer, Hurrell crunched Knights halfback Jaelen Feeney in a tackle to force a turnover and then crashed over him for his double before Titans captain Ryan James was also addedto the score sheet.

    Meanwhile, in late team changes before kick-offJosh King made his first appearance for the Knights this season, the 13thof his career, starting at lock with Luke Yates shifting back to the bench. Anthony Tupou dropped out of the squad.

    For the Titans the main shufflesawHayne moving to the centres and Tyrone Roberts going to fullback. Elgey was elevated to No.6and Morgan Boyle became one of four interchange players.

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  • NSW Country rugby union: Newcastle beat Illawarra to lift Caldwell Cup


    Newcastle reclaim country rugby crown TweetFacebookAll weekend, both games, they were top-class.
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    Stu Pinkerton

    “There’s a few good stories,” Pinkerton said.

    “Josh Stewart’s played Country for different provinces for six or seven years but has never held the Caldwell Cup. He’s been captain of Country.

    “Ben Ham, in colts and seniors, has been here six times and never won.

    “Potentially Jay Strachan and Steve Lamont this was a last opportunity to play for Newcastle.

    “I think they’re thinking about not representing this year. It was great for them because they’ve been stalwarts in the team. It was great to see them with the trophy.

    “And then there’s 11 debutants in the team as well, so it’s great for the future to see so many young guys be part of the team that wins.”

    Newcastle’s only blemish in the final was an intercept try just on half-time.

    “We got out to 17-0. I thought we were the better side. We were comfortable,” Pinkerton said.

    “In the second half we kept them scoreless. Our defence really held them in check and when we had the opportunity to score our backs were really slick. All weekend, both games, they were top-class.”

    The coach also praised his physios and trainers for keeping the players fresh across the weekend.

    “Yesterday was really hot. We’ve only played two or three club games. It’s a high standard. It’s a hard thing to do. It’s the team that can manage that the best, too,” he said.

    “It was a great off-field effort as well.”

    Newcastle flyhalf and goal-kicker Dane Sherratt was named playerof the tournament.

    The Newcastle under-19s lost their final 14-8 against Central Coast, but halfback Gus Locke was namedplayer of the colts tournament.

    The Hunter’s women won their sevens semi-final over Mid North Coast 17-0 but lost the final 19-10 to Central West.

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  • Darwin woman almost killed by faulty Takata airbag subjected to worldwide recall


    The Takata airbag in a RAV4 SUV responsible for injuring a 21-year-old Darwin woman on Monday. Photo: NT Police
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    An n woman is fighting for life after becoming the first local victim of a global airbag recall crisis that has left drivers with gruesome injuries and affected millions of car owners.

    The 21-year-old Darwin woman was struck in the head by metal shrapnel propelled from her faulty airbag during a low-speed crash on Monday.

    The Takata airbag in her Toyota RAV4 SUV was one of about 100 million worldwide, including 2.1 million in , to be recalled.

    It’s believed tens of thousands of ns may be driving death trap cars capable of decapitating passengers by sending shrapnel flying through their car during crashes that may only be minor.

    Takata airbags have been attributed to 16 deaths worldwide including the near decapitation of American manCarlos Solis, who had​a piece of metal fly into his neck when the airbag in his 2002 Honda Accord deployed after a minor bingle in Texas.

    Florida driver Corey Burdicklost an eye when he crashedhis 2001 Honda Civic into another car at just 24 km/hr.

    Takata, a Japanese auto parts company,was fined $1.3 billion in Februaryfor deliberately hiding evidence that its airbag inflaters could explode with too much force, sending shrapnel flying.

    It has led to the biggest recall in automotive history.

    However, many n owners who have received recallnotices have also reported that local dealerships are out ofreplacementparts, with somepredictionsthat it willtake five years to complete the global recall.

    On Friday, Northern Territory police issueda warning following the near-death of the 21-year-old woman.

    Police said shewas driving a Toyota RAV4 SUV when another car turned across her path on a suburban street, resulting in a low speed collision.

    It is understood the woman was not at fault.

    She received serious head injuries and remains in Royal Darwin Hospital.

    Sergeant Mark Casey, a crash investigator with NT emergency services, said in a statement that “this type of crash, in normal circumstances, would not have caused this level of injury”.

    “Investigations have revealed the vehicle was the subject of a worldwide recall for faulty airbag manufacture in 2015,” he said.

    “The recall involved approximately 100 million vehicles around the world, including 2.1 million vehicles in .”

    Police have urged people to check theRecalls websiteto see if their car is affected, and to make sure vehicles with the issue are rectified as soon as possible.

    Toyota and Honda lead the local recall count, which includes 13 manufacturers and models ranging from city hatchbacks to four-wheel-drives and top-end Ferraris.

    A spokesman for Toyota said this is the first Takata-related injury in , and that the manufacturer is “cooperating with Northern Territory Police in their investigation”.

    Ammonium nitrate airbag inflators supplied by Takata are susceptible to moisture damage that can make them explode in an uncontrolled fashion, turning dashboard trim into lethal shrapnel.

    Fiat Chrysler Automobilies has stopped using ammonium nitrate airbags in its cars.

    n drivers frustrated by lengthy delays to airbag repairs have previously contactedDriveto say it is “wrong for us to be expected to drive potentially dangerous cars” while waiting for replacement components.

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  • Wary owner calls for muzzle use after vicious dog attack


    MUZZLE UP: Elvis, a 14-week-old staghound-cross, and Cathy Southwell, who believes pet owners with large dogs should consider using muzzles. Picture: Les Smith A Wagga resident has called for large dog ownersto consider using a muzzlein the wake of a vicious dog attack which left afamily forced to watch their cat die in their arms.
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    Council’s manager of environment and city compliance Mark Gardiner revealed on Thursday there had been29 dog attacks in Wagga in the past three months, with an average of 150 dog attacks per year, ranging from small bites to full scale attacks.

    Owner of a 14-week-old staghound-cross, Cathy Southwell, said she intends on using a soft muzzle on her dog, having previously used one on her great dane.

    “You never know exactly what is going to trigger an animal to behave in a certain way,” Ms Southwell said.

    “Someone looking at a dog and making them feel threatened could be enough and that someone could be a three-year-old child.”

    Ms Southwell said she “couldn’t live with herself” if her dog attackeda child, after her great dane uncharacteristically bit her partner.

    “We took our previous dog to trainers, dog school and had specialists working with her,” Ms Southwell said.

    “She was a beautiful dog but you just never know.”

    Dog trainer Brydie Charlesworth, who services the Wagga area, said muzzles were a good management technique for fixing dogs behaviour, but not as a stand alone treatment.

    “There is no possible way a dogcan bite through a muzzle so it does keep the public safe,” Ms Charlesworth said.

    “It can be a great tool but must be used in conjunction with behaviourmodification.”

    Ms Charlesworth saidthe use of muzzels was becoming more prominent among dog owners.

    “I’m seeing an increase in people being responsible and using muzzles,” Ms Charlesworth said.

    “I guess people are becoming aware of the damage dogs can do when they’re not trained appropriately.”

    Both Ms Southwell and Ms Charlesworth emphasised that using a muzzle on a dog was not cruel.

    “I think dog attacks in Wagga are getting worse with people letting their dogs roam,” Ms Southwell said.

    “People are getting bigger dogs that they can’t control andthey need to understand not everyone likes dogs or feels comfortable with them.”

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  • Wheelchair users ‘lost’ in taxi industry deregulation


    Empowering: Alex Reimers says she would be “lost” without Bendigo Taxis’ wheelchair accessible vehicles, which provide her with access to her community. Picture: NONI HYETT“Imagine if you were told you were not allowed out after 10pm on certain nights of the week.”
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    That is the situation facing Helen Reimers’ “engaging and wonderful”daughter, Alex, for whom she acts as unpaid carer, and whose freedom she says will be restricted by Bendigo Taxis decision to no longer offer its wheelchair accessible services after 10pm between Sunday and Thursday.

    But Ms Reimers does not believe the blame lies with the taxi operator, whose drivers she says provide “an amazing service”, without which she and Alex, who relies on an electric wheelchair for mobility, wouldbe“completely lost”.

    “There are so many Bendigo residents who rely on the Bendigo Taxi Association and their maxi-taxi service to enable them to have access to our community, the deregulation of the hire car industry is making it impossible for them to offer the necessary services for them to do so and it is only going to get worse,” she says.

    “Imagine what it is like to be told you can’t have this choice [to go out after 10pm] because you are disabled, and make no mistake this is what it says. This is our government forcing our disabled citizens to be out of sight, out of mind. This is discrimination.”

    Taxis Associated of Bendigo Co-Operative Limited manager Colin Wells agrees, saying deregulation has left the organisation with no choice but to reduce the hours the maxi-taxis operatein order to preserve the life of the aging fleet. He says the organisation can no longer afford to replacethree of itseight wheelchair-accessible taxis, now approaching the end of their life.

    “One of our vans hasblown a motor so that’s12,000odd dollars to repair it,” he says.

    “You wouldn’t bother putting anew motor in a vehiclethat’s got 750,000 kilometreson it when the gear box and everything else in it is exhausted. You’re better off putting thatmoney into a new van butwe don’thave the wherewithalto find the $80,000that we’d need to get another van on the road.”

    Mr Wells saysderegulation has meantrevenue from sedan taxis is no longer sufficient to subside the wheelchair fleet, putting in jeopardy the decades-old trade off industry players made between the profit-based sedan taxi services and the “essential service” of providing affordable transport for people with disabilities, which he says runsat a loss.

    “We want to providethe service, we just don’t have the capital funds to do so,” he says.

    “The whole crux of is it is we are being repeatedly and consistently told by the government that ours is not an essential service, we are merely commercial operators, that’sall we are, so they are saying ifa service is not viable then stop providing it.

    “I believe theyare 100 per centwrong, theycould not be more wrong,particularly withthe wheelchair fleet.”

    Mr Wells saysthe government’s changes have also meant the value of the association’staxi fleet as an asset hasbeen reduced, leaving it unable to borrow against it to pay for repairs to the wheelchair-accessiblevans.

    “If you can imagine we had $900,000worth of licences to run our wheelchair fleet, we’re going to get a $200,000payment for that, so therefore,when we go to the bank, the bank willseewe madea $700,000loss last year with the right down of the asset value so of course no one, in that situation, in their right mind is going to lend for that,” he said.

    “They’ve taken away our ability to borrow,they’vetaken away our ability to cross-subsidise, sothere’s nothing left but to shut services down and go off the road.”

    MsReimers believes the service provided by Bendigo Taxis is an essential one as “the only safe, accessible transport service”for wheelchair users in Bendigo which, for Alex, means the difference between playing an active role in her community and social isolation.

    “Living with significant disability presents her with economic and social barriers that already make social inclusion and achieving a reasonable quality of life more challenging than it is for the average [person],” she says.

    “If her only means of transport in and around Bendigo is taken away, then socially she will be completely exiled from her own community, from our community.”

    Mr Wells says the “unambiguous message” coming from the government is that taxi operators are not providers of “essential services” and should be moving towards an entirely commercial model –but he believes thatwill inevitably lead to higher prices.

    “The government has been warnedsinceAugust, 2015 if they got the deregulation incorrect it would have a massive impact on the wheelchair fleet,” he said.

    “Theykeeptelling me that commercial forces will dictate that someone will come in and replace us. Well they won’t – or theonly only way they will isifthey double the price.”

    For her part, Alex Reimers says the freedom afforded to her by the taxi service means “the world” and its loss would cost her her cherished independence and adversely impact her mental health.

    “I find it really empowering to be able to have choice in what I do and when. To be able to go out and about without my mother always having to be by my side has built my confidence. I couldn’t do this without the maxi-taxi service,” she says.

    “The maxi-taxis provide me with access to the community, events, education, appointments, shopping and socialising. I’d belost without them.”

    Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan saidthe government wasoffering the biggest industry assistance package in and helping wheelchair taxi operatorsby increasing the lifting fee and providing up to $40,000 for each new piece of equipment purchased.

    “Ultimately, these reforms will improve services to people with disabilities, by reducing the cost of operating a wheelchair taxi and encouraging new operators to offer accessible services,” she said.

    But Mr Wells says while five of the association’s eight maxi-taxis still have years of life left in them, if nothing changes it will only be a matter of time before the wheelchair accessible service disappears entirely.

    “We need help and we need help now and all I’m doing is recommendingthat all of our passengers who are impacted by this contact their local member and say ‘Hey listen, if they’re not an essential service, what essential services is the government providing to ensure that I can be transported around?’,” he says.

    “Idon’t think that’s an unreasonable question because in my mind we are an essential service.”

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  • Two crunch A-League semi-finals to be played this weekend


    Grand final spots on the line Alex Brosque (left) and Bobo of Sydney FC pose ahead of their semi final match against the Perth Glory. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images
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    Sydney FC are presented with the A-League Premier’s Plate after the round 27 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets on April 15. Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

    Rhyan Grant of Sydney FC crosses the ball during the round 27 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium. Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

    Joshua Risdon of the Glory greets fans after Perth’s A-League elimination final win over Melbourne City FC last week AAMI Park. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

    Osama Malik of Melbourne City and Andy Keogh of Perth Glory contest the ball during the A-League elimination final last week. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

    Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas dives to make a save during a training session at Gosch’s Paddock on Thursday. Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

    James Troisi and James Donachie pose with the Hyundai A-League Championship yrophy during a Melbourne Victory A-League media opportunity at AAMI Park. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

    Roar fans cheer during the A-League elimination final match between the Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium. Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

    TweetFacebookGAME DAY | It’s @ALeague semi-final day!!! Be at @AllianzStadium and back your Premiers! KO 7:50pm… #SydneyIsSkyBlue#SYDvPER#ALFinalspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/FYkPp1JDSq

    — Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) April 28, [email protected] are undefeated at home this season and Alex Brosque has credited much of that success to their fans. 🎫: https://t苏州夜场招聘/Te7nA1950Rpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/JbDQHqX5gD

    — Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) April 25, 2017We face the @ALeague Premiers this Saturday night.We go again. 💪💪#GloryIsOurspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/5y18xy8j7C

    — Perth Glory FC (@PerthGloryFC) April 23, 2017Tomorrow at @AAMIPark! An #ALeagueGF berth is up for grabs when we host @brisbaneroar. Preview: https://t苏州夜场招聘/DfWFxprGzl#MVCvBRIpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/fYD9zqVdTY

    — Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) April 29, 2017

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  • Harry Styles heading to China


    Harry Styles performs at the American Music Awards. Photo: MATT SAYLESHarry Styles is heading to for his first solo world tour. But just over 4000 fans will be able to see him perform here.
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    The singer, and former One Direction member, announced the 30-date global tour on hisTwitter pageovernight, citing concerts in Sydney at the relatively small Enmore Theatre andthe Forum Theatre in Melbourne on November 26 and 30 respectively.

    The tour, which begins in San Francisco in September and also includesCanada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan, has ignited social media in two ways.

    Fans are thrilled, with many a swooning meme uploaded to social media, butire is highin countries the singer is not visiting.

    Styles’ devoteesin Poland, Brazil, Russia, South America,the Middle East and Africa posted images of flags and maps of their home countriesin response.

    His surprise choice of smaller venues in continues a trendfor big name actsperforming at “intimate” theatres.

    The Enmore Theatre has a capacity of2200 in concert mode in contrast to stadium venue Qudos Bank Arena at Homebush which has a total capacity of 21,000.

    In 2014Coldplayplayed a one-off show at theEnmore andBobDylanplayedthe 800-seat Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane. In2003the Rolling Stones also picked the Enmore Theatre for a performance.

    Styles, whoreleases his debut solo album on May 12, also makes his big screen debut in upcomingfilmDunkirk, which recreates the historic evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk in France.

    Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film features Styles as Alex, asoldier, alongside actors such as Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy and James D’Arcy.

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