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‘Stars are aligning’ for Australia to build high speed rail, says international expert

An artist’s impression by Phil Belbin of the proposed VFT (Very Fast Train) in the 1980s. Photo: Comeng – A History of Commonwealth Engineering.An international expert in high speed rail says the “stars are aligning” for Australia to make a decision on building a line to link Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
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Torkel​ Patterson, vice-chairman of the International High Speed Rail Association, will tell a parliamentary committee in Canberra on Tuesday “it’s time” for Australia to act.

“Australia’s flirted with it for a long time, I think this is the time to make a decision on this,” he told Fairfax Media before his appearance before the House of Representatives standing committee on infrastructure, transport and cities.

Mr Patterson is also a director of the Central Japan Railway Company, operator of the iconic bullet train.

The committee is conducting an inquiry into value-capture mechanisms to sustainably fund transport infrastructure and is looking at international experiences with capturing the value of high speed rail infrastructure, and the impact of high speed rail on urban and regional development.

Committee chairman John Alexander said Japan has had great success with its network of high speed rail corridors over the last 60 years.

With more than 2,300 kilometres of rail track and more than 100 million people using Japan’s high speed rail each year, Australia could learn a lot about the technology behind it and its potential application, he said.

Former trade minister Andrew Robb said this week Australia should grab the opportunity of very low interest rates to build the very fast train now along the east coast.

Mr Patterson said he agreed with Mr Robb’s assessment, saying Japan had successfully used the strategy.

“In Japan, there’s definitely been land price increases, in anticipation [of high speed rail] and after the fact, substantial profit, over and above the normal growth,” he said.

“If you think about Australia’s future, it has been a successful economy based on resources but as you move to a more knowledge-based and services based-economy, the central focus of that is the south east quarter of Australia.

“Whereas in the past Melbourne and Sydney tried to compete with other, really being a competitive global economic nation is the future of Australia.

“Secondly, you have a need to spread the population between these two centres as the population grows and they’re all going to move to Sydney or Melbourne.

“The infrastructure can’t sustain that so you need to spend tens of billions of dollars improving that, such as adding new runways to the airports, or you do something different.

“Also, your countryside is withering as your cities are prospering.

“High speed rail allows a solution to that by connecting Sydney to Melbourne, within two to three hours [travel time] depending on the technology chosen, and you change the dynamic equation for the in-between region.

“Minister Robb said recently that the timing is right given the price [of money] around the world.”

Mr Patterson said he had been following the “ups and downs” of high speed rail in Australia, during the term of the Labor and Coalition Governments.

“I think now there is a lot of open mindedness at the federal level to pursue this so that’s why we’ve made the trip,” he said.

“If you do nothing, the cost of solving the infrastructure problems that the country will have as the population grows, will be greater than the cost now of doing something that would address these issues.

“Given that global interest rates are low or negative, I think it’s a good time to finance that as well.

“Australia is considered a safer haven, Australia is looking very competitive and strong and infrastructure is a good bet.

“People are going to keep coming to Australia, so I think the stars are aligning.”

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

Former Kings Cross drug king pin Bill Bayeh pleads guilty to hindering police

Bill Bayeh leaves Downing Centre courts on September 8, 2015. Photo: Daniel MunozFormer Kings Cross drug king pin Bill Bayeh was found with a piece of paper that appeared to refer to a large quantity of drugs, when he was searched by police last year, court documents reveal.
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On Tuesday Mr Bayeh pleaded guilty to one charge of hindering police over the February 2015 incident, allowing the full facts in the case to be revealed for the first time.

They show that the 56-year-old was sitting at the Five Burroughs Cafe in Potts Point about 7.45pm on February 12 last year when he was approach by police.

Following a series of convictions for commercial drug trafficking which saw him jailed for 15 years, Mr Bayeh was forbidden from entering Kings Cross unless it was for the specific purpose of attending his new business interest, the Love Machine strip club on Darlinghurst Road.

Believing Mr Bayeh was in breach of this condition, police took the 56-year-old aside and undertook a search.

The police facts reveal that, as they did so, Mr Bayeh removed a number of items from his clothing including a piece of paper which contained the words “1 litre to 3 litres” followed by a series of numbers which police said were “similar to a drug code”.

When asked about the words, Mr Bayeh “immediately grabbed hold of the piece of paper and commenced to tear it whilst putting it behind his back”.

“The accused was informed that he was under arrest for hindering police…[he] continued to tear up the piece of paper.”

Mr Bayeh was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and hindering police, declining to be interviewed.

The matter was due to proceed to hearing on Tuesday, but following last-minute discussions between the defence and the prosecution, Mr Bayeh pleaded guilty to one charge of hindering police.

A second charge of resisting a police officer in the execution of his duty was withdrawn.

The 56-year-old will return to court for sentencing on March 10.

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

Former footy star arrested over drugs

Former footy star arrested over drugs Retired Taree rugby league player and local businessman Dean Simpson being led away following his dramatic arrest by Manning-Great Lakes police. Picture: Carl Muxlow.
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Retired Taree rugby league player and local businessman Dean Simpson being led away following his dramatic arrest by Manning-Great Lakes police. Picture: Carl Muxlow.

White powder allegedly seized during the arrest of Dean Simpson. Picture: Carl Muxlow.

TweetFacebook Dramatic arrest of former Taree footballer and well-known businessman Dean SimpsonDEAN Simpson was the epitome of the country town success story.

Arrivingto playfor itsfooty team, the Taree City Bulls, the Manning Valley welcomed the former western Sydney high school student into its foldso quickly that he became the club’s captain-coach andrepresentedthem on the higher stages at Group 3 and North Coast level.

In retirement, Mr Simpson remained a respected and well-liked member of the broader community, continuing to build his haulage company while maintaining a reputation and stature within the Taree and Forster social scenes.

But the 41-year-oldnow stands accused of being one of the town’sdrug dealers, after a significant police operation swooped on the former hooker on Tuesday following an investigation dating back to at least November.

Operation Carpet detectives will allege Mr Simpson supplied methamphetamine, more commonly known as speed, at least70 timesbetween November 23 and his arrest.

They will also allege that he ran the drug operation, using an employee at the haulage drug company to help with other customers, as well as a mate who lived at nearby Diamond Beach.

When they arrested him not far from his business,D & N Haulage, investigators allegedly seized seven grams of thewhite powder, or a quarter of an ounce in the old scale.

Searchwarrants were then doneon his business, hisForster homeand another residence atDiamond Beach.

They allegedly found another four ounces of white powder at Diamond Beach, and later charged a 46-year-old mate of Mr Simpson’s with supplying an indictable quantity of speed, possessing a traffickable quantity and receiving stolen goods.

An employee of Mr Simpson’s was also charged with one count of drug supply, detectives alleging that the 25-year-old assisted in getting rid of the drug when his boss was not available.

Mr Simpson was taken to Taree police station where he was charged with eight counts, including one charge that alleges he made the 70 deals since November, and four counts ofsupplying an indictable amount of speed.

He was refused bail to appear in Forster Local Court on Wednesday.

Mr Simpsonmoved to Taree in 2004 to play with the Bulls before becoming their captain-coach.

He represented Group 3 and North Coast and came second in the Group 3 player of the year awards in 2003.

Manning-Great Lakes crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said the arrest wasa win for public tip-offs on drug activity.

“It’s the culmination of a number of months of hard work,”he said.


A FORMER prominent Taree footballer and well-known businessmanwas in police custody on Tuesday accused of running a significant drug dealing operation across the Manning.

Dean Simpson, who played representative rugby league while leading Taree City Bulls a decade ago, was dramatically arrested near his haulage business in town following a significant police investigation.

Manning-Great Lakes police will allege that Mr Simpson was dealing methamphetamine, commonly known as speed, between November and his arrest.

Police have allegedly seized a quantity of white powder during the arrest.

Search warrants were being conducted on his business,D & N Haulage,Mr Simpson’s home in Forster and another residence in Diamond Beach.

Mr Simpson was taken to Taree police station where he was expected to be charged with at least 70 counts, including supplying an indictable amount of speed.

The arrest and raids have been conducted as a part of Operation Carpet, an initiative by Manning-Great Lakes police which hastargeted illegal drug supply in Taree, Wingham and Forster since November.

The 41-year-old former hooker moved to Taree in 2004 to play with the Bulls before becoming their captain-coach.

He represented Group 3 and North Coast and came second in the Group 3 player of the year awards in 2003.

Mr Simpson remained a prominent figure in the community after his football retirement, and iswell-known in sporting, business and social circles.

Manning-Great Lakes crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said the arrest wasa sign that information from the public was being well-used in the fight against illicit drugs.-

“It’s the culmination of a number of months of hard work,” he said.

Is the Labor left losing ground in the Hunter?

LEFT BEHIND: Labor’s left faction MPs have dominated Hunter politics for decades, but the right is increasing its numbers in parliament. Picture: Simone De Peak
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Done deal: Fitzgibbon avoids rank and file preselection

THERE is no question that the federal redistribution that abolished the seat of Hunter hasdramatically reshaped politics in this region.

At itsmost basic, the difference is about the numbers. Instead of fiveseats made up by a majority of Hunter electors-Newcastle,Hunter, Charlton, Shortland and Paterson -we now have four.

It also means that residents in the northern parts of Port Stephens and Upper Huntertowns such asAberdeen and Scone will have to get used to being outlying territories in the National Party seats of Lyne and New England respectively.

But the change is about more than that.

The Hunter has always been a stronghold for Labor, and most of the battles for control are fought within its own ranksbetween the broad left and right factions.

Since at least the start of thiscentury though, with the exception of Jodi McKay’s stint asthe member for Newcastle, it’s theleft that has held most of the important positions in state and federal politics.

In federal parliament Sharon Claydon, Jill Hall and Pat Conroy are all from the left.

InMacquarie Street Sonia Hornery, Tim Crakanthorp, Jodie Harrison and Yasmin Catley are all with the left to varying degrees, while Clayton Barr is unaligned.

But beginning with the election in2015 ofJennyAitchison in Maitland and Kate Washington in Port Stephens, that influence has started totemper.

Ms Washington is a former member of the powerful administrative committee, and herelevation to the shadow ministry meansshe’s nowperhaps the most influential member in the Hunter.

And anyone who heardMsAitchison’s speechat Labor’s state conference last month knows there’sno love lost between her andthe“socialistleft”in Newcastle.

In Canberra things are changing too.

Until nowJoel Fitzgibbon has been the only Hunter MP fromthe party’sright, but the redistribution has made Paterson notionally Labor.

Bob Baldwin will be a difficult target, but the partyis sure to pour resources into a seat they think they can win.

The candidate in Paterson will almost certainly be from the right, and the emergence of Kurri Kurri resident andradio hostMeryl Swanson,who was once a staffer for Mr Fitzgibbon, has the member for Hunter’s fingerprints all over it.

That’s not all, though.

Mr Fitzgibbon’s new patchcovers territorydominated by the left, includingtwo council wardsin Lake Macquarie,the fourth wardin Newcastle, and the state seat of Wallsend.

Mr Fitzgibbon is among the most powerful Labor members of the right faction in this state, and evenif he doesn’t have time to worry aboutthe machinations of local branchpolitics, it giveshis alliesan organising foothold in the left’sown backyard.

The irony is that this is a deal stitched up by the left in Sydney to allowLinda Burney to move to the seat of Barton.

Gig Guide

Quirky: The Lady In The Van stars Alex Jennings as playwright Alan Bennett who develops an unlikely friendship with Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith), a homeless woman who lives in a van in his driveway for the next 15 years. (Wahlberg) arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids.
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Ensemble cast: Kate Winslet [pictured] stars in the heist thriller Triple 9 which opens in cinemas this week.

Deadpool(MA15+) Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool.

Gods of Egypt(M) A common thief joins a mythical god on a quest through Egypt.

Goosebumps(PG) A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland.

Grimsby(MA15+)A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother.Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Penélope Cruz and Rebel Wilson. (Advance screenings at Kotara and Glendale)

Hail, Caesar! (PG) In the Coen brothers’ latest big screen flick, a Hollywood fixer in the 1950’s works to keep the studio’s stars in line. Stars Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Josh Brolin, Jonah Hill and George Clooney.

How To Be Single (M) New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking a match, and what Alice, Robin, Lucy, Meg, Tom and David all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

Queen A Night In Bohemia (CTC) Filmed live on Christmas Eve 1975 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, and bringing to a climax the most eventful and exciting year so far in the band’s career, this ground-breaking concert was transmitted live on BBC Two’s Old Grey Whistle Test and captured the band firing on all cylinders as they performed breakthrough hits like Killer Queen, Liar, Keep Yourself Alive and Now I’m Here, as well as Bohemian Rhapsody. (Kotara)

Ride Along 2 (M) As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer.

Risen (M) Follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer.

Room (M) A modern-day story about the boundless love between mother and child; young Jack knows nothing of the world except for the single room in which he was born and raised.

Spotlight (M) The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Suffragette (M) In early 20th-century Britain, the growing suffragette movement forever changes the life of working wife and mother Maud Watts.

The Boy & The Beast (CTC) The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda. (Avoca)

The Belier Family (M) In the Bélier family, everyone is deaf, except dutiful 16-year-old Paula. She acts as an indispensible interpreter for her parents and younger brother. (Avoca, Tower Cinemas)

The Commitments (M) A feel-good musical celebration made in 1991 about an Irish band whose goal is to bring 1960s soul music to working-class Dublin. (Regal)

The Danish Girl (M) Inspired by the true story of Danish artists Lili Elbe and her wife Gerda, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: what do you do when someone you love wants to change?

The Finest Hours (PG) In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.

The Good Dinosaur (PG) After a traumatic event unsettles a lively Apatosaurus named Arlo, he sets out on a remarkable journey, gaining an unlikely companion along the way – a human boy.

The Lady in the Van (M) A man forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her car that’s parked in his driveway. Stars Maggie Smith, Dominic Cooper and James Corden.

The Lion King (G) Embark on an extraordinary coming-of-age adventure as Simba, a lion cub who cannot wait to be king, searches for his destiny in the great Circle of Life.From the stunningly beautiful opening sequence over African vistas, to the hilarious escapades of Hakuna Matatawith Timon and Pumbaa, to the awe-inspiring moment when Simba takes his rightful place atop Pride Rock.

The Met Opera: Les Pecheurs De Perles (E)Bizet’s gorgeous opera of lust and longing set in the Far East returns to the Met stage for the first time in 100 years. Soprano Diana Damrau stars as Leïla, the beautiful Hindu priestess pursued by rival pearl divers competing for her hand. Her suitors are tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who sing the lilting duet Au fond du temple saint,which opera fans know and adore. (Tower Cinemas)

​The Revenant (M) A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

Three Wise Cousins (PG) Adam is a 22 year old New Zealand born Samoan guy who falls in love with a girl called Mary. On a ‘chance’ encounter he learns that Mary only wants to go out with a ‘real island guy’ – not a plastic one. Adam seeks the advice and guidence of his two cousins to get rid of his ‘plastic’ ways and impress Mary, he’ll have to travel to Samoa and have his cousins teach him how to be a real island guy. (Kotara)

Triple 9 (MA15+)A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town. Stars Norman Reedus, Kate Winslet and Teresa Palmer.

Trumbo (M) The successful career of Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, comes to an end when he’s blacklisted in the 1940s for being a Communist.

Zoolander 2 (M) In 2001 Derek Zoolander was the world’s top male supermodel. Fifteen years later, Derek, Hansel and Mugatu are back. Stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

THEATREA Way Back to Then Rachelle Schmidt Adnum and Dan Wilson draw on their experiences in taking a funny look in song and story at breaking life’s rules. Lizotte’s Newcastle, Lambton. Thursday and Friday, meals from 6pm, show at 7.30pm. 4956 2066.

The Addams Family Musical comedy that looks at members of the family from the popular TV series trying to keep secrets from each other. Gosford Musical Society, at Laycock Street Community Theatre, Gosford. Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, until March 19, plus Sunday, March 13, at 2pm, and Thursday, March 17, at 8pm. 4323 3233.

Hello, Stranger Newcastle’s Paper Cut Collective talked to people about their meetings with strangers and put the experiences into this amusing and sometimes scary show. Audience joins bus at Civic Station at 7.30pm to go to an undisclosed Newcastle CBD venue. Friday and Saturday (final shows). 梧桐夜网papercutpresents南京夜网.

Punk Rock Seven high-achieving students preparing for exams in a school library increasingly are involved in bullying and romance; comedy-drama by Simon Stephens. Stooged Theatre, at the Civic Playhouse. Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, then nightly from Wednesday until Saturday, March 12, at 8pm. 4929 1977.

Thunderbelly – The Musical Gangs and brothel keepers compete in the 1920s to be powerful in Sydney; tongue-in-cheek musical by Newcastle’s Maureen O’Brien based on real events. Maureen O’Brien Productions, at Merewether Uniting Church Hall. Friday and Saturday at 8pm, until March 19, plus Saturday matinees March 12 and 19 at 2.30pm; dinner option at Saturday evening shows. 梧桐夜网ticketebo南京夜网419论坛/thunderbelly.

MaynardaramaComedian Maynard looks this month at the Spice Girls; which was the best? The Royal Exchange, Newcastle. Saturday, at 8pm. 4929 4969.

Death and the Maiden A woman tortured by a doctor while a political prisoner believes she recognises his voice when a stranger visits her husband; tense drama by Ariel Dorfman.Newcastle Theatre Company, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton. Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm, then Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, until March 19, plus 2pm Saturday matinee March 12. 4952 4958.

Raise the Roof – The Young Champions of 2016 Young musical performers show their skills in a lively concert. Lake Macquarie Music Society, at Charlestown Uniting Church. Sunday, at 2pm. 4948 9898.

Evita Musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice looking at the colourful life of Eva Peron, the popular wife of an Argentine president. The National Theatre Company, at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle. Opens Wednesday and plays nightly to Saturday, March 12, at 8pm, plus 2pm Saturday matinee. 4929 1977.

Tim from Hi-5 now calls Newie home

Take Five: Tim Harding (left) with his fellow performers from Hi-5.
Nanjing Night Net

Remember Tim from Hi-5?

He’s moved to Newcastle.

Not only that, there’s talk of a collaboration with his old Hi-5 mate, Nathan.

Tim’s living here with his wife and their four-year-old daughter.

“We spent the last year travelling,” Tim, 38, said.

“My wife and I decided for our own sanity and the benefit of our daughter that we’d take a year off and go travelling.”

Along the way, they spent four weeks in Adamstown.

“We met some lovely people and really liked the area,” he said.

“If there was one thing we decided while we were away, it was that we didn’t want to go back and live in Sydney.”

As for Newie, they“loved the beachielifestyle”.

“If I’m honest, there’s a pretty happening music scene here,” he said.

“I kind of like that idea.”

Former Hi-5 performer Tim Harding, singing with Soultraders.

Tim Harding spent nine years in Hi-5,until amotorcycle accident in 2007 left him with horrific injuries.

He fractured his back and broke and dislocated seven of his toes.A surgeon spent about six hours operating on his feet.

“He said it was like putting a jigsaw puzzle back together,” Tim said.

“My feet still aren’t right – I still can’t bend my toes particularly well.

“I can still run and surf – that’s the main thing.”

Tim lived on the Central Coast until he was nine, before the family moved to Sydney.

Nowadays he fronts a soul and funk band called Soultraders.

He’s planning to do gigs in the Hunter, as well asweighing up other opportunities.

“There’s a few options available and we’re pretty excited about some of them, but we’ll have to see where everything goes,” he said.

“Nathan is just down the road – he lives on the Central Coast.

“We’ve talked about the possibility of maybe getting together and doing something, but Iguess everyone will have to wait and see.”

The pair were “into the same kind of music”.

Tim looked back on his Hi-5 days with “a tremendous amount of affection”.

“That whole period of my life was amazing,” he said.

“We travelled the world and performed on stages in front of thousands of people.”

Sometimes he missed performing for kids.

“You will probably never find a more appreciative and enthusiastic audience,” he said.

Have a HeartAs you know, theNewcastle Heraldhas been quite heavily involved in the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

We thought it would be unjust to ignore thecampaign attheshovel南京夜网419论坛to “help usraise funds to buy George Pell a heart”.

“Most of us take our heart for granted. For those born without one, like Cardinal George Pell, life can be a daily struggle,” the appeal said, on the satirical news website.

“For George, everyday taskslike showing compassion or looking out for othersare harder. Showing empathy can be excruciating. And accepting responsibility is a constant challenge.

“Even simple things like getting on a first class flight to attend a royal commission hearing can seem out of reach.While George bravely refers to his condition as simply ‘heart problems’, the truth ishe doesn’t have one at all.

“With your help, we can buy George the heart he’s always needed.Please give what you can by sending money to The George Pell Heart Foundation, c/o Vatican City.”

Novocastrian CrankinessRoss Greig, of New Lambton, is annoyed by theNewcastle habit of backing one infrastructure project over another.

A recentletter to the editor said the community wouldreceive a greater benefit from $20 million being spent on the extension of Newcastle Art Gallery, rather than a cruise terminal at Dyke Point.

“We shouldn’t be putting one against the other,” Ross said.

Ross reckons local pollies should be hounding the government to get at least six big infrastructure projects for Newcastle,with the proceeds of the port privatisation.He conceded his opinion reflected“a bit ofNovocastrian crankinesscoming out”.

Piper the wonder dog is the coolest airport employee in the US

Piper, reporting for duty. Photo: airportk9.org Piper is a runway patrol dog in Michigan. Photo: airportk9.org
Nanjing Night Net

A border collie named Piper is one of the most important employees at an airport in the US.

Birds have been known to lurk on runways and then strike aircraft, potential causing damage to the plane – therefore all airports are required to have some kind of plan to rid runways of wildlife.

Most usually engage more traditional, technological methods such as traps, sirens or pyrotechnics.

But not in Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport, in Michigan.

That duty falls on Piper, who, as a border collie, is highly skilled in the very important business of chasing birds and other wildlife from areas they do not belong.   It’s #workingdogwednesday! Pipe’s hot on the heels of a chipmunk during a routine patrol at @uscg #airstatvc. That fence… Photo © Jason Lome #airportk9 #airport #airportops #aviation #k9 #k9team #workingdog #rexspecs #rexspecsk9 #uscg #uscoastguard #military #usmilitary #bordercollie #bordercollies #bordercolliesoftheworld #bordercolliesofinstagram #dog #dogstagram #dogoftheday #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #traversecity #tcmi #puremichiganA photo posted by K-9 Piper (@airportk9) on Jul 15, 2015 at 10:39am PDT

Dressed in ski mask and boots, Piper has been trained to become accustomed to airport noise and wears specially designed doggy earmuffs to protect his hearing.

His specially designed vest allows him to be easily lifted and to keep him in check in the face of an interloper (he’s still a dog, after all).

It also carries his identification and a beacon so he can be seen, plus an emergency trauma kit – just in case.

Boots protect Piper’s paws from hot pavement and rocks and keeps snow and ice at bay during winter.   Certified #badass. # #airportk9 #airport #aviation #k9 #k9team #k9storm #spikesk9fund #tactical #thetacticspage #rexspecs #rexspecsk9 #muttmuffs #ruffwear #bordercollie #bordercolliesofinstagram #bordercolliesoftheworld #dog #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #traversecity #tcmi #puremichigan @rexspecsk9 @k9storminc @dogsoffreedom @dogsofinstagram @thetacticspage @spikes_k9_fund @becausebadass @ruffwearA photo posted by K-9 Piper (@airportk9) on Oct 5, 2015 at 2:19pm PDT

The seven-year-old border collie works four 10-hour shifts a week, (with plenty of breaks, we’re assured). To date he’s chased 2450 birds away, and patrolled over 960 kilometres of airport turf.

Piper has a list of duties (we’re not sure if they come with a set of KPIs) which include checks for wildlife holes under the perimeter fence; to keep employees, tenants and visitors smiling; to respond to reports of wildlife; and to detect rodents and small mammals before birds of prey do.

Airport operations staff claim that using a dog to chase wildlife away is more effective as creatures such as the snowy owl who remember Piper don’t return.

However, every job does have its drawbacks, as Piper discovered last year when he suffered a fracture after chasing away a snowy owl.

His foot was placed in a cast and he was reassigned to a temporary position as Chief Morale Officer.   PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT There is a Lady Killer on the loose. He’s dashing, charming and charismatic. He is considered casted and dangerous. He’s so brash, he advertises his Lady Killer ways on his cast! Here is a photograph of the Airport’s administration ladies he slayed today. Ladies of the world, you’ve been warned ❤️ # #airportk9 #airport #k9 #k9team #k9storm #aviation #ladies #ladiesman #ladykiller #love #bordercollie #bordercolliesofinstagram #proudbordercollies #dog #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #workingdog #puremichigan @dogsofinstagram @proudbordercollies @collieloversA photo posted by K-9 Piper (@airportk9) on Feb 5, 2016 at 4:26pm PST

You can follow Piper’s progress on social media – Facebook , Instagram @airportk9 and online at 梧桐夜网airportk9.org/

See also: Cat cafe versus dog cafe – they’re very different experiences

See also: Mystery dog sitting in plane’s exit row baffles internet

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

Fiji after Cyclone Winston: Why Australians should still head to Fiji

Castaway Island, Fiji. Photo: SuppliedI know Fiji is probably the last place you want to holiday right now, but now is the perfect time to go. As the country struggles to get back on its feet after the most powerful cyclone in the Pacific nation’s history, Fiji needs Australian travellers (its No. 1 market) more than ever.
Nanjing Night Net

Today as the dust slowly settles after Cyclone Winston, a category five super storm that hit on February 21, it’s business as usual for most of Fiji. While many resorts face a big job ahead cleaning up and rebuilding, most have reopened for business. “The best way for Australians and New Zealanders, in particular, to support Fiji through this crisis is to keep visiting us,” said Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

To encourage Aussies to head over as soon as possible, Fiji’s national carrier Fiji Airways on Wednesday released special sale fares for immediate travel to the island nation. The airline has donated $FJD1m to the Prime Minister’s National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund to assist those affected by Cyclone Winston, while also providing free carriage of relief supplies domestically and inbound through the National Disaster Management Office. All Fiji Airways flights to and from Australia resumed normal service last Tuesday, while its domestic carrier Fiji Link, is operating on schedule.

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort reopened quickly after the cyclone, while its sister property Castaway Island will reopen on June 1. General manager Peter Hopgood said tourists can assist Fiji’s recovery by continuing to support it as a holiday destination and helping the local economy.

Vomo Island Resort in the Mamanuca Island group is closed until May after sustaining damage in the cyclone. “It’s great to watch the global community get behind Fiji and assist both financially and physically when they need it most,” said Vomo’s director of sales and marketing Karen Marvell.

Bartholomew Simpson, general manager of Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Island Resort, agreed. While the five-star eco resort at Savusavu on Vanua Levu is closed for repairs, the local village Nukubalavu, where most of the staff live, was almost completely flattened. Twenty-four homes were destroyed; another 21 badly damaged along with a brand new kindergarten. “The people of Fiji astound me with their strength during this time of great adversity. They are strong, but they also need to protect their livelihood through employment. If ever Fiji was in need it is now,” Simpson said.

The best thing Australians can do to help Fiji get through this time, he said, is to book a holiday. “Despite Cyclone Winston, Fiji is ready to receive all guests with the same happy hearts and bula smiles as before.”

Many Australian travellers, including me, have had a long and enduring love affair with Fiji, returning again and again for its beautiful beaches, clear, fish-filled waters and its balmy Pacific charm. But it’s the Fijian people themselves that most travellers love most about the destination. Many of our Fijian friends have become like family so it’s particularly devastating to see those that already have so little, endure such dramatic loss.

So I’m taking my own advice. My husband and a group of four Australian guys are heading over this week to help start the job of rebuilding Nukubalavu Village.

Aside from crowd funding to raise money for the village rebuild (gofundme南京夜网/bnrr34us ), I’m planning my next holiday to Fiji. Because when the going gets tough, that’s what friends do: they drop everything and are there for you.

Sale fares with Fiji Airways to Nadi from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are on sale from Wednesday, March 2, from $199 for adults and $91 for children (one way) until March 16, for travel from March 4-June 16, 2016. Terms and conditions apply. See 梧桐夜网fijiairways南京夜网

For updates on Fiji following Cyclone Winston see twitter南京夜网/TourismFiji

International donations to the National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund can be made through ANZ. Donors will not be charged any fees, including overseas transactions.

Bank: Australia New Zealand Banking Corporation

Account Number: 12628523

Account Name: Prime Minister’s National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation: Cyclone Winston
 Swift Code: ANZ BFJFX
BSB: 010 890.

Those wishing to donate to Sheriden Rhodes’ crowd-funding campaign for the rebuilding of Nukubalavu Village can do so at gofundme南京夜网/bnrr34us .

See also: Twenty reason to visit Fiji

See also: Paradise, for adults only

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

Matildas face gruelling schedule as Guus Hiddink warns of player burnout

Imagine Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and the Socceroos being tasked with beating Germany on a Monday night, and then two evenings later being asked to meet Northern Ireland, before facing Brazil and then Croatia in quick succession before taking on a resurgent Wales in their final game of a crucial qualifying tournament.
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And all within the space of 10 days.

It simply wouldn’t happen.

But that’s the case for the Matildas, in Japan at the moment looking to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

The women’s game is still developing internationally, and female players’ terms and conditions still lag behind those of their male counterparts by some way, if for some understandable commercial reasons.

But the physical task being asked of the six teams qualifying for the two Asian spots for the Rio Olympics women’s soccer tournament would put even the best prepared male athlete to shame.

Five games in 10 days is a huge ask, one which will test not just the quality of each country’s starting line-up, but the strength in depth of the entire playing group.

OK, in the women’s game Australia are not exactly minnows. They are ranked No.9 in the world at the moment, the spot occupied on the men’s ladder by England – and all the equivalent men’s team parallels drawn above are where those respective countries currently stand on the latest FIFA ranking, published on February 4.

Still, playing so many tough competitive games in such a short period does pose risks – as former Socceroos boss Guus Hiddink, now the Chelsea manager, has pointed out.

Hiddink has urged doctors at the Football Association (FA) and Premier League clubs to protest against the tough English and European fixture list and ask for more breaks for players being pushed to the edge of their athletic limits.

Chelsea have to play four games in 12 days across three competitions after the club’s sixth round FA Cup tie with Everton was scheduled for March 12.

The Premier League champions visit Norwich City on Tuesday and host Stoke City on Saturday, before their Champions League last 16 second-leg tie at home to Paris Saint-Germain the following Wednesday and the FA Cup tie three days later.

“Hopefully the PSG game doesn’t go into extra time because players need time when the intensity of the league is like it is. The medical people at the FA and the Premier League should make this known. Every club has medical departments. The doctors should stand up and say: ‘FA, television, whoever … hey’,” Hiddink said.

His comments will surely be noted by the Matildas with wry interest.

On seedings the Australians came into this qualifying tournament, being staged in Osaka, ranked in third place with Japan (ranked No.4) and North Korea (ranked No.6) ahead of them.

But with China, South Korea and Vietnam ranked 17, 18 and 29 respectively, Alen Stajcic and his squad can leave nothing to chance.

So a 3-1 win against the hosts in front of their own crowd was a perfect start on this sprint towards Rio. Australia had not beaten Japan in six previous attempts, and this victory was a measure of compensation for a defeat in the quarter finals of the womens world Cup in Canada last year


Lisa De Vanna, a W-League winner this season with Melbourne City, gave the Matildas a lead with a powerful header midway through the first half.

Michelle Heyman then took full advantage of a fortunate rebound off the referee to round Japan goalkeeper Erina Yamane and finish off well after De Vanna’s pass had put her through.

Japan pulled one goal back just before the interval when Yuki Ogimi struck, but Australia’s two goal cushion was restored in the second period with a header by Katrina Gorry, who took full advantage of the space that was afforded her to score off the post.

“We know they’re a world class opponent and we’ve prepared over the past four weeks to play this match and play it at a tempo and a rhythm that we wanted to rather than how we played the World Cup match against them six months ago,” said Stajcic.

“I thought we did that very well and compared to six months ago I thought we controlled better patches of the game and even though Japan created quite a few chances I think we were a threat and a lot more positive than we were in that game six months ago.”

“We executed a lot better than that day and I think we thoroughly deserved the win.”

“It’s the first time we’ve beaten Japan in Japan and from my living memory I think it’s the first time we’ve beaten a world champion team in a major tournament rather than in a friendly so there’s lots of history attached to the result but we’re not close to qualifying at all yet,” said Stajcic.

“It’s just one game, there are four more tough matches. This is a tournament where any team can beat any team…so we’ll enjoy this win for an hour and then we’re focusing on our next match because if we think this is enough we won’t qualify.””

The Matildas next face Vietnam, who lost 2-0 to China, on Wednesday.

The result in the other game favoured them as the two Koreas drew 1-1.

With agencies

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

ASX shrugs off the latest Shanghai slump

The movements in Shanghai and Sydney have started to diverge this year.Investors are increasingly shrugging off the gyrations of China’s volatile sharemarket, a departure from last year when a sudden plunge sent global markets reeling, but its policy moves remain at the forefront of investor fears on China, economists say.
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China’s famously retail investor-dominated market, and its daily swings in the order of 5 or 6 per cent are beginning to have less effect on sentiment, Capital Economics’ Julian Jessop said.

The observation follows a particularly savage Monday last week, when the Shanghai Composite Index slumped 6.4 per cent. In previous months, this would have had disastrous effects in developed markets, yet major indices, including the S&P/ASX 200, actually rose.

Mr Jessop said this was because investors are becoming more immune to the relative volatility of China’s market.

“Viewed in its latest context, the latest slump in Shanghai is nothing exceptional,” he said.

But fears about China’s economy also appear to be fading, he said.

“The words and action of the PBoC [People’s Bank of China] in keeping the renminbi broadly stable against a basket of currencies have eased worries about a substantial devaluation.

“There has also been a lack of further bad news about the economy,” he said, although this may be due to a seasonal lull following the Lunar New Year.

Yet a bad day on China’s sharemarket can still weigh on regional sentiment.

The Shanghai Composite Index on Monday plunged 5 per cent, partly due to the lack of stimulus resulting from the G20 summit over the weekend, helping to erase virtually all of the gains on the S&P/ASX 200 by the end of trade. Policy fears

Losses were however markedly less than in previous sessions when the Shanghai market moved by a similar amount.

Investors may be beginning to reduce their expectations for China’s growth, but main driver of fear is not its capital markets or economy, it is its policy making, Vanguard’s Hong Kong-based senior economist Qian Wang said.

“China is an emerging market, you are supposed to see this huge volatility, we see that in Brazil, we see that in Russia,” she said at a Vanguard adviser briefing in Melbourne.

That it is the world’s second biggest economy means its gyrations are headline grabbing, but beyond the sentiment, the fundamentals indicated slower growth, in the order of 5 to 6 per cent and not a hard landing, she said.

Surprises from China’s policy makers remain frequent, including as recently as Monday, when the People’s Bank of China cut the amount of capital banks must put aside by 0.5 per cent, effectively allowing banks to lend as much as 689 billion yuan ($147 billion).

China’s policy moves and their rationale came to the forefront of investor fears in the middle of 2015 when a series of measures to stop its crashing markets, and a large one-off cut in the value of its currency, sent global markets into a tailspin.

Global investors are still cautious about a mass devaluation as China moves to a more liberalised currency, but its central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said last week there was “no basis for persistent RMB [yuan] devaluation”.

Investors need not fear the implications of China’s policy moves: it has deep pockets, including $3.2 trillion in foreign reserves, and is willing to dip into them to stabilise the economy as it moves away from its manufacturing and construction economy, Dr Wang said.

But she said the markets would remain volatile as they adjusted to a lower growth, low inflation and a low return environment, describing the prevailing sentiment as “frustratingly fragile”.

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