Matildas Olympic dreams aren’t realised yet despite dream win over 2015 World Cup finalists

Fresh from one of the most impressive results in Australian women’s football in years – a 3-1 win over Japan in Osaka to open their Olympic qualifying tournament – one could be forgiven for thinking the Matildas were already thinking about booking their tickets to Rio de Janeiro.
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However, with the next match against Vietnam taking place on Wednesday night, just 48 hours after the triumph over the Japanese, and with three more matches to come thereafter, there’s no time for complacency in Alen Stajcic’s squad.

The win over Nadeshiko Japan – the 2011 World Cup winners and 2015 World Cup runners’ up – will be remembered as one of the Matildas’ finest, but goalkeeper Lydia Williams says the team is all too aware it’s only a first step.

“I think being in Canada [last year], with all the hype there about being the group of death and how we’ve progressed, it’s really set us up in our mental ability and strength to this point in this tournament,” she said.

“We all celebrated the victory last night but right now everyone is recovering and getting ready for the next game.

“I think a lot of it will be a mental battle, but I think what we’ve achieved over the past year is really helping us and has created a platform for this tournament.”

Williams praised the players for staying defensively disciplined, repeatedly breaking down the Japanese midfield and not being overwhelmed.

“We’ve had the same game plan in trying to be as aggressive from the front line to defence,” she said.

“From the moment we stepped on the field, we said we can’t let Japan define us, that we had to go out there and give it our all.

“From the very first minute when the whistle blew to the end of game, we just showed we wanted it more and I think that showed in how we played.”

Matildas captain Lisa de Vanna, who scored one goal and set up another, said the team had to right some wrongs from the World Cup, where Japan bundled out Australia in the quarter-finals.

“Our biggest thing was to go out there and believe in ourselves and back ourselves because obviously we’re great footballers, it’s just trying to put that belief into the team,” she said.

“That was probably the reason why we lost to Japan at the World Cup. But we knew we had the ability to take them on, so it’s nice that we got out on the park and believed in ourselves, the process and the plan. Now we’ve beaten Japan in Japan, so it’s a great feeling.”

Many of the heroes from Monday night are unlikely to back up to face the Vietnamese, including De Vanna, who has already ruled herself out – and is looking to ready herself for the subsequent match against South Korea.

“I think “Staj” has a plan for me, obviously being the old girl in the team. Recovery is the biggest thing right now and I think I’ll probably be sitting out the Vietnam game because then I’ll be fresher to play South Korea,” she said.

“Staj might have a different plan but, like some other regular players, not playing could be a tactical move. At this stage I’m available for South Korea but whether I start or come on, it will be up to him.”

Williams said the depth in the squad meant major rotations could occur between each match without too much momentum being lost.

“The good thing is that Staj has built a team of great depth, so we saw girls come on the field last night that started in the World Cup but now can be utilised as a starter or substitute,” she said. “I think that’s going to be a real test to see how we go further on in the tournament.”

While Vietnam are the lowest-ranked team of the five in Japan, De Vanna said their style meant they couldn’t be taken lightly.

“Obviously they’re not a team with a top ranking but they’re dangerous in the fact that they defend pretty well and they sort of park the bus,” she said.

“That’s hard to break through and they can be dangerous at times because they have a couple of pacy players up front who can do some damage.”

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

Universities, schools, businesses join together to educate 4000 Syrian refugees

Refugees students and parents at Mary Mackillop College, Wakeley. [L-R] Lara Al-Khafaji, Saeed Al-Khafaji, Hamsa Al-Duhesi, Tara Al-Khafaji, Sarah ghareeb, Rita Dawod and her daughter Jouliana Alnawaqkil. Photo: Wolter PeetersAt the age of four, Sydney school-girl Tara Al-Khafaji witnessed a decapitation.
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“They cut off someone’s head in front of our house. Tara saw everything,” said her father, Saeed Al-Khafaji. “They were threatening us, they wanted our house. It is something you can’t imagine”.

At the age of 14, Jouliana Alnawaqkil’s school in Syria was bombed. “I didn’t know if she was still alive or dead,” said her mother, Rita Dawod.

This week, more than 12,000 kilometres away from their abandoned homes in Iraq and Syria, the schoolgirls gossiped with their peers, pink tartan uniforms and well-scribbled English textbooks in hand in the leafy courtyard of Mary Mackillop College in Sydney’s west.

Over the next 18 months, NSW will take in thousands more like Jouliana and Tara under Premier Mike Baird’s commitment to take in 4000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the federal government’s pool of 12,000.

The former head of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peter Shergold, has been appointed as the man in charge of the largest single resettlement of Middle Eastern refugees in the state’s history.

Professor Shergold believes almost all of them will need an education like Jouliana and Tara when they arrive on Sydney’s shores.

Last week, more than 20 of the state’s principals committed their schools to taking in thousands of Syrian children. The announcement capped off a busy February for Professor Shergold.

The Chancellor of Western Sydney University has secured the commitment of all major NSW universities to scholarships and upgrading of previous qualifications for refugees, while Clubs NSW will offer training and employment to hundreds of their parents.

“If I’m going to do this successfully I have to harness all parts of the NSW economy, which includes business and education,” said Professor Shergold.

“If we are going to make this commitment, let’s try to do it right. We want to have public servants exhibiting leadership and collaborating with the private sector.”

The Principal of Mary Mackillop College, Narelle Archer, said that schools are a key part of that plan.

“I can see a future for schools as being a community hub,” Ms Archer said. “We don’t see it as a burden, we have the skills and the expertise and capacity to do so much more.”

For Ms Archer and Catholic schools re-settlement co-ordinator Virginia Francis, trauma counselling for many of the students like Tara, Jouliana and and their siblings is just the start.

Their staff have their own stories. “We had a lockdown drill, the sirens went off and one of our translators had a post-traumatic reaction to it,” said Ms Archer.

Parents, too, are increasingly seeing schools as their fulcrum, discussing their trauma with other parents and school staff in the classrooms of Sydney’s west.

“We take our parents on school excursions, last week we took them across the harbour bridge, they get an understanding of what we are exposing their girls too,” Ms Archer said.

Among those getting a taste of Sydney life is Tara’s father, Saeed Al-Khafaji.

After he reported that a severed head had been thrown on his doorstep, his house was ransacked and he was kidnapped and bashed by Iraqi insurgents.

Three days later he woke up in a Baghdad emergency room. “Welcome to our life in Iraq,” he said.

His daughters, now all on their way to their HSC are thankful for the sense of safety that the school environment has provided them and their entire family.

“You can’t measure the the difference in our life now, from the ground to the sky, you can’t measure it,” said Mr Al-Khafaji.

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

The priests and brothers who preyed on children

Father Gerald Francis Ridsdale
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Convicted paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale giving evidence at the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse. Picture: Damian White

One Australia’s worst paedophiles, former Ballarat priest Gerald Ridsdale has been convicted of 138 sex offences against children – some as young as four – involving more than 50 victims.

Ridsdale was ordained at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat in 1961. The first complaint about his behaviour towards children was received by the church that same year. Ridsdale would continue to abuse children over the next three decades.

Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns moved Ridsdale to a number of parishes around Victoria and Sydney amid abuse allegations against him over many years before Ridsdale asked him for leave in 1988 “so that I may be removed from the kind of work that has proved to be a temptation and a difficulty to me”.

Cardinal Pell said he accepts no responsibility for Ridsdale’s movements when he was a member of the College of Consultors, which advised the Bishop on movements of parish priests. Cardinal Pell said he was never told about Ridsdale’s offending while he was in Ballarat, including as an adviser to Bishop Mulkearns from 1977.

Cardinal George Pell (right) with now-disgraced priest Gerald Ridsdale in 1993. Photo: Geoff Ampt

Ridsdale and Cardinal Pell lived together at the Presbytery of St Alipius in Ballarat in 1973.

Abuse victim David Ridsdale claimed he told Cardinal Pell about abuse at the hands of his uncle Gerald Ridsdale in 1993 and that the Cardinal tried to bribe him, saying “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.” Cardinal Pell denies that this ever happened.

In 1993, Ridsdale made his first court appearance on child sex offences.

He was accompanied by Cardinal Pell, who later said he regretted doing so.

Ridsdale, who also allegedly abused children in New South Wales and the US, will be eligible for parole in 2019, when he will be almost 85 years old. Monsignor John Day

Monsignor John Day, who died in 1978, never served time in jail for his offences against children.

Mildura sex offender Monsignor John Day was a senior priest in the Diocese of Ballarat. He died in 1978. He never served time in jail for his offences against children.

The royal commission has been told a 1971 police investigation found that the senior priest, who was active until the 1970s, had molested children in Victoria over 13 years.

Cardinal Pell told the commission this week that Monsignor Day’s case made him aware of sexual abuse among clergy, but that he didn’t recognise signs of abuse by Christian Brothers in Ballarat, where he served as assistant parish priest from 1973-83.

The royal commission heard last year that former Mildura policeman Denis Ryan had investigated allegations against  Day of child sexual abuse while under pressure from his superiors to stop.

His superiors later took over the investigation and cleared Day of any wrongdoing. Victoria Police tried to force Mr Ryan to transfer to another station in 1972, and he ultimately resigned from the force.

Victoria Police has since apologised to former detective over the cover-up.

Ryan, who wrote a book about his struggle to bring Day to justice, believes the priest sexually abused more than 100 children.

When Day died, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns said he had “faithfully fulfilled his ministry in God’s name”. Brother Gerald Leo Fitzgerald

Brother Gerald Fitzgerald was appointed as a Christian Brother to East Melbourne in 1921 and held a number of positions around Victoria until the mid-1970s.

In 1962 he became the grade 3 teacher at St Alipius Boys’ School in Ballarat. He was part of the clergy paedophile ring that worked at the primary school. It included Christian Brothers Edward Dowlan, Stephen Farrell and Robert Best, as well as paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, who was the school’s chaplain. All, except Fitzgerald, were later convicted of sex crimes.

Fitzgerald died in 1987 while being investigated but was never charged.

Data produced to the royal commission shows 15 male victims made a claim of sexual abuse against Fitzgerald for the period of 1950 to 1975. The average age of victims at the time of the abuse was eight.

The data shows the first alleged incident occurred 30 years after he became a priest, at 48 years of age.

A number of former students of St Patrick’s College and St Alipius Boys’ School have given evidence that students and some staff members were aware of the risk of sexual abuse by clergy, including Brother Fitzgerald.

On Fitzgerald, Cardinal Pell told the royal commission this week: “I think it [used to be alleged] when some of the boys were leaving, he’d given them a kiss … The general conviction was it was harmless enough.”

Fitzgerald stayed at St Alipius until he was forced to retire in 1975. An internal Catholic report said he went into the school’s dormitory to play with boys. Brother Edward ‘Ted’ Dowlan

Cardinal Pell said he had heard ‘fleeting references’ to former Christian brother Edward Dowlan which he concluded ‘might be paedophilia activity’. Photo: G. Ampt

Dowlan was jailed in 1996 for sexually abusing 11 boys at four Christian Brothers schools. In 2015, he was jailed again after being convicted of abusing 20 boys. County Court judge Richard Smith said at the time that Dowlan had preyed on vulnerable boys over a 14-year period at six different schools.

Judge Smith said Dowlan had been in a position of authority and trust and believed he had “some right of entitlement” to abuse the boys in appalling circumstances because he had power over them and they were unable to resist him.

The judge described Dowlan’s offending as brazen and said he did not believe he was remorseful.

Dowlan’s first appointment was as a grade 5 teacher at Ballarat’s St Alipius Boys’ School. In the 1970s he worked at St Thomas More Boys’ Regional College in Nunawading and St Patrick’s College in Ballarat. He served as deputy headmaster of Cathedral College in Melbourne and also worked at St Mary’s in Geelong, Catholic Regional College in Geelong, and St Vincent’s Special School.

Data produced to the royal commission shows the average age of Dowlan’s victims was 11. Dowlan was thrown out of the Christian Brothers order in 2008. He changed his name by deed poll to Bales in 2011. Father Paul David Ryan

Father Paul Ryan was shuffled between parishes.

The first allegation of child sex abuse made against Ryan was in 1976, within a week of him being ordained in Ballarat.

He was jailed in 2006, aged 57, after pleading guilty to assaulting an altar boy in his parish house.

The convicted priest told the royal commission last year that former Ballarat Bishop Mulkearns knew about him in 1977 and “buried his head in the sand” about sexual abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

In 2012, the mother of one of Ryan’s victims accused Bishop Mulkearns of shuffling him between parishes where he continued to prey on victims.

Ryan was sent to the US in 1977 and 1979, returning after three child sex abuse allegations emerged. In Victoria, he was sent to Warrnambool, Terang, Penshurst and Ararat.

On Ryan, Cardinal Pell told the royal commission he had an “unusual style”.

“I was never particularly supportive of his vocation,” Cardinal Pell said. Brother CCK

Brother CCK joined Christian Brothers Novitiate in 1960. The first child sex abuse complaint against him was made two years after he took his vows, aged 22.

He is the subject of the highest number of proven complaints against a single Christian Brother in Victoria and/or Tasmania.

The church has paid survivors of 37 child abuse claims $3.5 million in compensation, and three others $350,000 in civil claims. The alleged abuse occurred between 1963 and 1987.

CCK taught at number of schools in Victoria and Tasmania, including St Alipius Boys’ School in Ballarat from 1968 to 1973. Brother Stephen Farrell

The first allegation of child sexual abuse against him was made the year of his vows, aged 20 years old.

He was convicted of nine counts of indecent assault in 1997 against two boys at St Alipius Boys’ School in Ballarat and given a suspended two-year prison sentence.

In 2013, he was sentenced to three months prison for another indecent assault against a boy at the Ballarat school.

He told the royal commission in a private hearing that when Ballarat Superior Brother Paul Nangle raised abuse allegations against him, he gave him a “long cuddle” of support and walked out of the room. Brother BWX

Within two years of his first appointment in Perth in 1958, BWX admitted ordering at least seven boys to undress in his house, where he spoke of the function of genital organs and indecently assaulted them.

BWX worked at St Patrick’s Province in Brunswick, St Joseph’s Christian Brothers College Warrnambool, in the Diocese of Ballarat, and St Kevin’s College in Toorak.

In 1994, Brother BWX was sent to the US for treatment for child abuse incidents.

In 2003, during an interview with Towards Healing, BWX said he was warned seven years earlier by the then principal of St Joseph’s not to “go one to one with boys or touch their genitals”.

Data produced to the royal commission reveals two people have made claims of child sex abuse against Brother BWX, which occurred between 1961 and 1976.

The first allegation refers to a claim against him when he was 22 years old, four years after professing his vows. Brother CCJ

Internal church documents reveal concerns about Brother CCJ’s behaviour dating back to the early 1970s, soon after he began teaching in Victoria.

In 1981, he was recorded as spending a “considerable amount of time counselling the boys” and the following year he was moved to St Patrick’s College in Ballarat.

In 2005, Brother CCJ pleaded guilty to 10 charges of indecent assault against students at Trinity College in Brunswick in the 1970s.

Data produced to the royal commission shows 17 people made a claim of child sexual abuse against him for the period from 1971 to 1983 (94 per cent were male, 6 per cent female).

The first allegation relates to abuse that occurred two years after he professed his vows, aged 22. Father Kevin O’Donnell

Father Kevin O’Donnell.

O’Donnell is subject to the largest number of complaints to the church’s internal compensation scheme, Melbourne Response. O’Donnell is a former parish priest at Sacred Heart Primary School in Oakleigh.

All 50 complaints against O’Donnell – relating to abuse between 1944 to 1992 – were upheld. The Melbourne Response has paid about $2.2 million in compensation and counselling costs to O’Donnell’s survivors as of March 2014.

Other complaints against O’Donnell were settled outside the Melbourne Response.

He was charged with 49 child sex offences in 1995 and pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to 39 months’ imprisonment.

O’Donnell died in March 1997, about four months’ after his release from prison.

Two of his victims, Emma and Katie Foster, were repeatedly abused by O’Donnell at primary school. Emma later took her own life, and Katie is in a wheelchair after being hit by a car.

They are the children of prominent survivors’ advocates Chrissie and Anthony Foster. Father Peter Searson

Peter Searson died in 2009 before facing any child sex charges.

There were complaints about paedophile Peter Searson’s behaviour for more than a decade while he was parish priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Sunbury and at Holy Family in Doveton.

Complaints ranged from carrying a handgun at school, animal cruelty, showing a body in a coffin to children and unnecessary sexualised conduct with students and frequenting the boys toilets.

The royal commission heard that children would sit on his knee and he would tape the “hot” confessions.

Victim Julie Stewart testified to the royal commission that Searson abused her on numerous occasions in the confessional when she was nine years old in the mid-1980s.

During her last confession she said Searson lifted her onto his lap and pushed her against his erect penis while telling her she was forgiven for her sins.

“He whispered in my ear: ‘You are a good girl. The Lord forgives you’,” she said.

In 1993, Searson admitted holding a large knife to a child’s chest. The Catholic Education Office failed to take the matter further despite receiving legal advice that it should investigate the incident.

Searson’s faculties as a priest were removed in 1998.

Data produced to the royal commission shows the church paid compensation to four people who were sexually abused as children by Searson in Kew, Sunbury and Doveton between 1974 and 1985.

Searson died in 2009 before facing any child sex charges. The church has paid out almost $300,000 to his victims. Father Nazareno Fasciale

Fasciale was an assistant priest at various parishes including Geelong and North Fitzroy.

He went on extended leave to his native Italy in 1960 after church officials were made aware of allegations that he had molested three girls.

He returned to Australia and was appointed parish priest at Yarraville in 1973, but was sent for treatment by then Archbishop James Knox after concerns were raised about his conduct with young boys.

In the early 1990s, more complaints were made against him from the 50s and 60s, to then Melbourne Vicar-General Monsignor Cudmore.

The commission was told Fasciale admitted his criminal actions to Monsignor Cudmore and asked not to be stripped of his faculties.

He was allowed to resign for health reasons in 1993 ​and died three years later while due to face multiple child abuse charges.

Despite the controversy at the time, his funeral was attended by 60 priests and bishops, including future archbishops of Melbourne George Pell and Denis Hart.

Data produced to the royal commission shows 20 people claimed sexual child abuse at the hands of Fasciale between 1953 and 1985 at multiple schools and parishes.

The church paid out $753,000 to 19 victims. Father Ronald Pickering

Father Ronald Pickering [L] with choir. Photo: Supplied

Pickering has been linked to multiple suicides of victims he allegedly abused as children. He was moved to parishes around Melbourne before fleeing to Britain.

A victim testified that Pickering sexually abused him while he was an assistant priest at St Mary’s Parish and chaplain of St Mary’s Boys School in St Kilda East.

During confession with another paedophile priest, Wilfred Baker, from a neighbouring church, the victim reported abuse at the hands of Pickering.

Baker broke the seal of confession and told Pickering about the complaint.

The victim continued to be abused by Pickering until he was 23 years old.

Pickering’s faculties as a priest were removed in 1994.

The Melbourne archdiocese has previously acknowledged in writing Pickering’s “proclivity for child abuse” and has financially compensated several victims.

Data produced to the royal commission shows 19 people claimed child sexual abuse at the hands of Pickering between 1960 and 1989 at 14 institutions.

Sixteen victims who went through the church’s Melbourne Response program shared in $881,000.

Pickering died overseas in 2012 having never been charged. Father Wilfred “Billy” Baker

Former priest Wilfred Baker was jailed for multiple counts of indecent assault in 1999. Photo: Ken Irwin

Baker worked was a priest at Gladstone Park and St James Parish in North Richmond, and as an assistant priest at various other parishes in Melbourne.

The first complaint against him, about his relationship with a teenage boy, was made in 1978. More complaints were made to the church in the early 1990s about his serious drinking problem and his rude and unprofessional conduct.

Senior Catholic education officials warned a Melbourne principal that children were not safe to be left alone with Baker before he moved to St James Parish in mid-1992.

Former St James Primary School principal Patricia Taylor took her concerns about Baker to her regional bishop Peter Connors, who she said told her “once a paedophile always a paedophile”.

The royal commission has heard she did not hear from the bishop again and that Baker was appointed to the parish a short time later.

A victim testified that he was sexually abused by Baker on multiple occasions from 1976 while he was an altar boy at Gladstone Park.

When he was 12 years old, he said Baker took him to his parents’ house in Maryborough and sexually abused him in a bedroom after his parents were asleep.

Baker was put on administrative leave by then Archbishop Pell on the recommendation of Independent Commissioner Peter O’Callaghan, QC.

In 1999 Baker was jailed for multiple counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency against eight boys aged 10 to 12 spanning two decades.

In court proceedings at the time it was heard that Baker was moved from one suburb to another after former Archbishop Frank Little was made aware of allegations against him.

Data produced to the royal commission shows 21 people claimed child sexual abuse at the hands of Baker between 1960 and 1985 at 15 institutions, mostly parishes and schools.

Three victims lodged civil claims and shared in $501,000 compensation.

Sixteen of the remaining 18 victims went through the church’s Melbourne Response program shared in $555,000.

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

Journey of a lifetime

TALKING toBen Lee is a cerebral workout. He is intelligent and articulate and pleasantly, even soothingly, verbose. He makes you think.
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Lee is a far cry from the 14-year-old punk rocker in Noise Addict and the solo artist who becamea household name with the release of his single Cigarettes Will Kill You.The married father-of-onespeaks quietly, with a slight American accent, about the bigger picture.

I ask him what he thinks the universe will throw at him in 2016:“I see a lotof expansion, of opening up to more possibilities.Reminding myself thatthis is never just about the music or success in some kind of limited form, it is about making some form of contribution to a revolution of consciousness –getting really grounded in that, and trying to inspire myself and others.”

Lee describes his music as a soundtrack to an ongoing journey of discovery where he is still at “the tip of the iceberg”.

“For me,everything is an experiment.There is a wonderful experience in constantly challenging yourself andstepping into the new –because that’s where the juice is, that’s where the action is.”

Lee has experimented, musically, but returned to pop on last year’sLove Is The Great Rebellion.

“You kind of think why fight it? Imake these catchy songs that people like.This isa framework that I canwork in and it’s nice.”

And there’s always the added bonus of reaching a broader audience with a catchy hook. Of connecting with people without them realising.

“Yes.By working with an accessible medium, like a pop song, you can kind of Trojan horse some interesting material into people’s minds,” he said.

“The hook is important. Itcan’t replace the content but the hook has to be there in order for people to listen.”

Life is busy for Lee, who will be presenting keynote addresses and“breathwork” programs while on tour.

“To tell you the truth my life is so full, it is kind of moment to moment.I am just grateful for still having a dialogue, and being able to share my vision of art and consciousness.”

ON TOUR: Ben Lee plays at Lizotte’s New Lambton on March 17 and 18. Dinner and show $98; show only $45 (newcastle.lizottes南京夜网419论坛).

Another look at evil

REVISIT: TAFE acting students Jayden Gobbe-Bezzina, Bradley Hall, Joel Mews, Jackson Vaughan and Leanne Sewell will star in the show.WHEN Hunter TAFE’s Regional Institute of Performing Arts staged in 2014 The Laramie Project, the story of an American town’s reaction to a gross murder, audiences sat in stunned silence at its end.
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The work, based largely on more than 200 interviews the original staging group, Tectonic Theatre Project, did with residents of Laramie, in Wyoming, looked at the slaying of openly gay 21-year-old university student Matthew Shepard by two men around his own age who he met in a hotel bar in October 1998.

When he asked if they could give him a lift home, they took him to a rural property outside the town, tied him to a fence and savagely beat him with a gun butt, then left him there in the freezing night.While Shepard was taken down by a passerby 18 hours later, he died after five days in hospital.

The Laramie Project, which premiered in 2000, has beenstaged worldwide since, and audience reactions to the show led the Tectonic Theatre team to return to Wyoming in 2008, 10 years after Shepard was murdered, and look at the responses of the townspeople in that decade.

The sequel, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, has repeated the success of the first work, and RIPA is staging a production at the Civic Playhouse from March 17 to 19.

The show, again directed by TAFE acting teacher David Brown, features the five members of this year’s Advanced Diploma of Arts (Acting) course – Jayden Gobbe-Bezzina, Bradley Hall, Joel Mews, Leanne Sewell and Jackson Vaughan – playing more than 40 people who feature in the story.

The two most prominent figures are the murderers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, whom the development team were able to interview in jail.The writers were unable to talk to them for The Laramie Project and had to use their words in court transcripts. So they now revealmore about their feelings and actions on the night of the crime.

There is also evidence in the sequel of greater acceptance of gay people in the USA as a result of Matthew Shepard’s slaying, with a gay female lecturer at the university in Laramie being elected to Wyoming’s state’s legislature.

Audience members won’t have to be familiar with The Laramie Project to become caught up in the sequel. The opening repeats the main facts associated with Shepard’s death, and projections of photos of the town and its people in the 1998-2008 period will help to establish the setting.

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later plays nightly at the Civic Playhouse from March 17, to March 19, at 7.30pm. Tickets: $22, concession $18. Bookings: Civic Ticketek, 4929 1977.

Defence silent on calls

WILLIAMTOWN residents are angry –and the Department of Defence is silent –after Defence lawyers approached at least two businesses in the water contamination red zone and allegedly asked one business owner if she was planning to sue the department.
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Residents rallied behind the businesswoman, who did not want to be identified because her business hasbeen seriously affected by the Williamtown RAAF Base contamination scandal, after she was phoned without warning by Defence two weeks ago and asked for a meeting several days later.

The woman, who hadonly just returned to work after months tackling a severe and debilitating conditionand was still heavily medicated, said she was mystified why Defence contacted her “out of the blue” because she had not taken part in any community action after the contamination scandal became public in September.

Object: Williamtown residents (from left) Brian and Julie Curry, Mel Marshall, Julie Bailey and Rhianna and Cain Gorfine are angry with Defence. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

She was concerned after two of the three Defence personnel identified themselves as Defence lawyers and notes were taken of the meeting. She wasconfused about why she would have been asked “So you’re not going to sue us?”, after Defence earlier advised her no fire fighting foam contaminants were found in bores and dams on her property.

The woman said she did not have a lawyer with her, despite Defence telling her in the initial phone call thatshe could have a lawyer.

“I had no reason to think I needed legal representation, but now l’m thinking, what the hell is going on?” the businesswoman said.

The businesswoman raised a serious noise complaint with Defence about four or five years ago after an incident involving jet noise.

A second businesswoman in the red zone confirmed she had also received an unexpected phone call from Defence, and met with Defence lawyers two weeks ago who asked questions about her business.

Williamtown and Surrounds Residents’ Action Group,which is considering a class action against the Department of Defence over the impact of the contamination scandal, responded angrily to the Defence move.

“Defence should not be approaching people out of the blue and arriving with lawyers,” spokeswoman Rhianna Gorfine said.

Defence has not responded to questions sent one week ago, or acknowledged questions sent by text message to one of the Defence lawyers involved.

University is adapting fine arts to support its students

For decades, The University of Newcastle (UON) has been graduating students from a diverse range of creative disciplines including music, creative writing, performing arts, fine art, communication, design and natural history illustration. We have graduated many artists who have gone on to contribute to the creative vitality of our region.
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We are fortunate to live and work in a region that has been such a significant creative hub, across theatre, all forms of visual art, music and cultural festivals, and more recently as a centre of design, audio-visual production and new media. Hunter communities are strong supporters of the creative arts and industries, adding vibrancy to our region’s social, cultural and economic landscape, and contributing to our sense of wellbeing and social inclusion.

OPPORTUNITY: Hunter communities are strong supporters of the creative arts, adding vibrancy to our region’s social, cultural and economic landscape. Picture: Marina Neil

Creative industries are often micro businesses or small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that focus on local markets, but can also develop into powerful economic clusters, helping to drive economic growth. As our region transitions from a resources-based economy, the creative industries can be significant players in developing a new identity and leveraging the unique position of Newcastle and the Hunter in Australia’s contemporary visual, performing and creative arts scene.

The key trends in creative arts education are toward graduates that are creative and visionary but are also adaptable and skilled across the spectrum of creative professions. Creative people today want both artistic and financial freedom. Many desire to turn their creative ideas into experiences, products and services that add to our lives in meaningful ways.

As a result, the University has launched a strategy to ensure that future generations of students across the creative sectors graduate with the skills they need to succeed in the new innovation-based economy.

From 2017, UON will be offering new degrees in the creative industries at Bachelor and Masters level. As part of this journey of reinvention, Fine Art will now be taught from within the Bachelor of Creative Industries, which will open up a range of options for students that are in demand.

Our new degrees will offer students the choice to specialise in a chosen field of individual creative interest, such as visual art, performing arts, music, design, IT or communication and media, or the option of study across this wide range of disciplines. This choice of breadth or depth will be built around a core of critical courses in entrepreneurship, business skills, digital capabilities and social innovation, all within the creative context, and designed to help our students succeed in their chosen field.

Unlike any other degrees previously offered in this area, students will now have the opportunity to develop professional networks, work with a range of stakeholders and audiences, and develop sought-after skills for future employment and entrepreneurial possibilities.

Whether students pursue a solo artistic career, or aspire to be part of a start-up, or aim to work for an established corporation, the range of skills delivered by our new degrees will allow them to sustainably shape their own future and their social and cultural environments.

The University is proud to lead this creative industries enterprise by offering a unique combination of education, research and innovation activity that will build on our community’s creative heritage.

Professor John Germov,Pro Vice-Chancellor,Faculty of Education and Arts

‘Problem’ emerges in plan to enlist Margaret Cunneen in Eddie Obeid’s ICAC battle

Eddie Obeid outside the Supreme Court in Darlinghurst in February. Photo: Edwina Pickles.Cunneen may be enlisted in Obeid’s ICAC battle
Nanjing Night Net

A “problem” has emerged in Eddie Obeid’s plan to enlist controversial Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen in his lawsuit against the corruption watchdog, the Supreme Court has heard.

Mr Obeid, 72, and three of the former NSW Labor minister’s five sons are suing the ICAC for damages over the watchdog’s pursuit of the family in an inquiry into a lucrative coal deal.

The Supreme Court heard last year that one of the witnesses the Obeids may seek to call is Ms Cunneen, SC, who successfully challenged the watchdog’s power to investigate her over allegations of perverting the course of justice.

Her evidence could be relevant to whether the ICAC had a tendency to “knowingly ignore the law in the execution of search warrants”, the Obeids’ barrister, Robert Newlinds, SC, told the court in December.

Justice David Davies said at the time it was “somewhat unusual” for tendency evidence to be raised in a civil rather than criminal case.

Neil Williams, SC, who is acting for two ICAC investigators who are being sued as part of the case, told the court on Tuesday there was a question about whether “tendency evidence was admissible at all” and it might need to be “agitated at some point”.

“The witness statement of Ms Cunneen is the one that particularly concerns my clients,” he said.

“If she has refused to sign an affidavit this should be made clear to the court.”

A witness statement sets out the oral evidence a party in a court case intends to elicit from a witness in the box.

Court rules provide that witness statements should be “signed by the intended witness unless the signature of the witness cannot be procured or the court orders otherwise”.

“Is Ms Cunneen still the problem in terms of the signing?” Justice Davies asked on Tuesday.

“I think so,” Mr Newlinds said.

But Mr Newlinds said he understood Ms Cunneen had said “yes, she’ll come [and give evidence] if subpoenaed”.

He agreed her evidence was “tendency evidence if anything” and said a decision had not yet been made “about whether we go down that path”.

The Obeids allege the ICAC falsely claimed to have obtained damning evidence against them during a raid on the family’s Birkenhead Point offices. The watchdog has denied the claim.

Allegations the commission failed to comply with search warrant procedures in the ill-fated Cunneen inquiry have also been made. ICAC Inspector David Levine, QC, said in a report in December that the agency had unlawfully seized the mobile phones of Ms Cunneen and others.

The watchdog’s head, former Supreme Court judge Megan Latham, has said the report is “so fundamentally flawed” it should be withdrawn or rejected.

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

Sydney FC v Guangzhou Evergrande – The Lowdown

One to watch: Guangzhou striker Jackson Martinez will attract plenty of attention. Photo: James AlcockAsian Champions League, Group Stage: Sydney FC v Guangzhou Evergrande
Nanjing Night Net

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 8pm AET

TV Broadcast: Live on Fox Sports

Odds: Sydney FC $4.33, Guangzhou Evergrande $1.75, Draw $3.60 (Ladbrokes)

Twitter: #SYDvGUA


Sydney FC (4-2-3-1): Janjetovic; Grant, Jurman, Anderson, Ryall; Dimitrijevic, Tavares; Carney, Ninkovic, Hoole; Smeltz.

Guangzhou Evergrande (4-2-3-1): Cheng: Li, Kim, Feng, Zhang; Paulinho, Zheng; Rong, Goulart, Zheng; Martinez


1. David Carney (Sydney FC)

Scored a magnificent equaliser for the Sky Blues against Melbourne Victory last weekend but then foolishly picked up a yellow card, ruling him out of this weekend’s clash with Melbourne City. He can make up for his domestic absence by running amok here.

2. Jackson Martinez (Guangzhou Evergrande)

Stop the presses: Martinez is the most important signing in the history of Asian football – and certainly the most expensive. At $65 million, that transfer puts China behind only England, Spain, Italy and France as the nations with the most expensive transfer fees. Will he score his first competitive goal for the club in Sydney?

3. Shane Smeltz (Sydney FC)

Led the line without luck last week in Tokyo against Urawa and with Matt Simon and Alex Brosque both injured, will almost certainly do so again. It’s been a lean year for the Kiwi forward but he’ll get ample opportunities in the coming weeks to prove he’s still capable at this level.

4. Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande)

Didn’t set the world on fire as expected at Tottenham Hotspur and when there was an opening for the Brazilian to leave, Guangzhou pounced. He produced a brilliant first season in China and should control the midfield from the opening whistle.

5. Vedran Janjetovic (Sydney FC)

Managed to restrict the Victory to just a solitary goal and that should give him some confidence after a difficult run between the posts. He’ll know Guangzhou’s attack will be out to make his night as busy as possible.


Richardo Goulart (Guangzhou Evergrande) v Mickael Tavares (Sydney FC)

Arnold has lost faith with Tavares of late but with Guangzhou’s brilliant foreign attackers in a class of their own, the Senegalese holding midfielder probably has to come in. Goulart is a freakish No.10, scoring 19 goals in 27 league games last year. He was Brazilian league player of the year in 2014. Enough said.


Graham Arnold (Sydney FC)

Arnold loves nothing more than sharing the dugout with the biggest names in the game – testing his own strategies and beliefs. His Sydney side meets Guangzhou having gone winless in six A-League games and having been defeated in their last ACL game. If nothing else, it would be a memorable night to stop the rot.

Luiz Felipe Scolari (Guangzhou Evergrande)

Call him what you like – Phil Scolari, Big Phil or Filipao – the 67-year-old is known worldwide as one of the game’s most charismatic figures. He’s a World Cup-winning coach who has worked in nations as diverse as England, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal and Uzbekistan. After guiding Brazil to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, he’s won the league and ACL double last year with Guangzhou.

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

Iran’s voters back nuclear deal and their president despite roadblocks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves to media after casting his vote in Tehran, Iran, on Friday. Photo: Handout/AP Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his ballot in Tehran, Iran, on Friday. Photo: Handout/AP
Nanjing Night Net

Ultraconservative Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardian Council, Iran’s top electoral oversight body, was re-elected. Photo: AP/File

Vote heralds most crucial choice in 30 years

Washington: The Iranian parliament is not a repository of great power. Yet in terms of the signal sent to the country’s powerbrokers and to the world, the votes cast by millions at the weekend amounted to a political thunderclap – in going to the polls, Iranians didn’t get substantive change, but that they said they wanted change was substantive.

The ranks of the hardliners who controlled the national parliament were slashed dramatically – down from 112 to 68. It was reformists and so-called moderate-conservative factions that walked away with control – between them, they captured 158 seats in the 290-seat parliament, which included a clean sweep of all 30 seats representing the capital.

The elections – for the parliament and separately for Assembly of Experts, which appoints Iran’s Supreme Leader – were seen as a referendum on reformist President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected in 2013; and on a deal that he championed, by which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of Western economic sanctions.

Nearly every hardline candidate who voiced criticism of the nuclear deal was defeated.

In the 88-strong Assembly of Experts, the coalition of reformists and moderate conservatives that won out in the parliament captured almost two-thirds of the seats.

Rouhani will face less criticism in the new parliament and he will probably be more cordial to the West. But power in Iran continues to rest with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the religious and security establishment.

And while it is they who make the big decisions on foreign and economic, social and religious policy, the February 26 votes are an expression of the people’s will that might inform their decision-making in the face of calls by Rouhani for greater liberalisation.

Khamenei is an arch-critic of the US – and in his only public comment on the elections, he praised the 60-plus per cent voter turnout, not the outcome.

But despite his harsh rhetoric, some analysts insist that Khamenei is conscious of Iranian public opinion and that, at age 76 and in poor health, he is concerned about a legacy that would be greater than having merely preserved the Islamic Revolution – hence his support for the nuclear deal and the economic benefits it might bring.

Rouhani, on the other hand, faces re-election in 2017. And in pushing for reforms that might please voters, he runs the risk of a backlash from vested interests – be they the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which reputedly controls as much as two-thirds of the economy, or the religious hardliners who justify their own existence by insisting on conservative social policies.

“This election can be a turning point in the history of the Islamic Republic,” according to an editorial in the reformist newspaper Mardom-Salari. “The biggest achievement of this election is the return of reformists to the ruling system … so they won’t be called seditionists or infiltrators anymore.”

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of the conservative, Khamenei-aligned Kayhan newspaper, claimed that the reformists were attempting to create “an illusion of victory”.

Quoted by Reuters, he said: “The structure of Iran’s ruling system is such that no political faction can change the main policies rooted in its core principles.”

In the circumstances of politics Iran-style, the election outcome was remarkable. Hardliners and revolution diehards used their grip on the levers of non-parliamentary power to thwart voices for change – thousands of reformist election candidates were disqualified by an unelected Guardian Council; activists were detained; opposition campaigns were ignored by powerful state media outlets; and rallies and other political events were curtailed.

But in a matter of days, what could be described as the more centrist forces on the very narrow and conservative Iranian political spectrum turned to social media and word of mouth to get Iranians to coalesce behind a slate of candidates, dubbed “the list of hope”, of whom they knew very little.

When the bulk of would-be reformist candidates were excluded, the reformists were obliged to fall back on little-known second and third-tier reformists and on a carefully selected crop of conservatives, variously described as “moderate”, “pragmatic” and “centrist”, who they believed would be prepared to work with them on some – if not all – issues.

Shervin Malekzadeh, a visiting professor at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, saw irony in the vote.

“Iran is becoming more democratic in spite of itself,” he wrote in The Washington Post.

“If the line against radicalism holds, as it already appears to have held … the story of these elections will be of how, in one of the great ironies of Iran’s post-revolutionary political development, the intransigence of the Guardian Council helped provide the necessary basis for the formation of a more tolerant and pluralist politics in Iran.”

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