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  • DCC seeking interest in running civic centre

    2018 - 07.03

    EXPRESSIONS of interest to manage the multi-purpose civic centre developed as part of stage one of Living City are being sought by the Devonport City Council.
    Nanjing Night Net

    It’s believed the Devonport Gateway Church has expressed some interest in the management of the centre and will submit a proposal.

    The Gateway Church runs a small facility on Don Road in Devonport called the Don Centre that frequently hosts functions and music acts.

    Comment was sought from the Gateway Church.

    Stage one of the $250 million Living City project includes the construction of the multi-purpose building that will house a civic centre with up to 800 seats.

    It will be run in conjunction and complimentary to the Devonport Entertainment and Convention Centre.

    In addition its understood the multi-purpose building will also house the Devonport City Council chambers, the Devonport LINC and Service Tasmania.

    Stage one also includes the construction of the food market space as well as two storeys of the multi-storey car park.

    Devonport general manager Paul West said the council had received some informal interest in the management of the civic centre and said expressions of interest would involve a two-part process.

    PUTTING OUT FEELERS: Expressions of interest for the management of the Living City multi-purpose civic centre (pictured) are being sought by the Devonport City Council.

    “We have had some informal interest that’s come about as part of the planning phase, ” Mr West said.

    Mr West said advertising for the expressions of interest were likely to be published in Saturday’s Advocate and said the process would run for about three to four weeks.

    Following that, any groups who had expressed interest would be invited to send in a more formal proposal.

    “We will be able to seek any interested parties and assess what they have to offer,” Mr West said.

    “We want to see how they could value add and compliment the existing DECC.”

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

    Man sold guns to buy drugs

    2018 - 07.03

    A SOMERSET ice addict trafficked unregistered guns to fuel his addiction, a court heard yesterday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Benjamin Shane Moran sold a 12-gauge and a .22 rifle to fund his habit, and used Facebook to try to arrange more gun sales.

    Moran pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully trafficking a firearm.

    In the Supreme Court, in Burnie, yesterday, crown prosecutor Jody Dennison told Justice Helen Wood police stopped a car at East Devonport on June 26 last year.

    They searched the car after seeing drug-related items.

    Mr Dennison said they found messages on Moran’s phone and his Facebook account about selling firearms and attempting to arrange more gun deals.

    On Facebook, Moran asked one man: “Wanna buy a 12-gauge shottie?”, meaning a shotgun.

    He offered it for $500 and accepted $450 cash.

    He also sold a .22, and messages were found about other potential sales.

    Defence counsel Steve Wright said Moran had only ever been in possession of two guns; the .22 and the 12-gauge.

    He said Moran was an introverted person who had used drugs, including ice, to try to overcome his shyness and make him more gregarious in social environments.

    Ice use caused significant issues, including the firearms charge, Mr Wright said.

    He said Moran had been seriously addicted to ice and all his money went towards buying the drug.

    Moran was in a haze from ice use, Mr Wright said.

    Moran’s uncle had left a .22 with him and he became aware other people would want it.

    He sold the .22, then took possession of the 12-gauge and sold that too.

    Moran was then approached by people wanting guns and he sent “random postings” to people he thought had them, Mr Wright said.

    Mr Wright said Moran could not now believe he acted the way he did.

    He said Moran had since weaned himself off ice and wanted to work and take care of his partner.

    Mr Wright said the incident “showed the insidious nature of what this particular drug can do to people”.

    Mr Wright said anecdotal evidence suggested ice was highly addictive.

    Moran accepted trafficking illegal firearms was a grave evil, Mr Wright said.

    “The risk of re-offending, on my instructions, is absolutely nil.”

    Justice Wood bailed Moran to next appear tomorrow.

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

    Cats tipped to win flag

    2018 - 07.03

    IT’S official.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Wynyard will claim back-to-back premierships for the first time in their 130-year history, according to an annual poll of the NWFL club coaches.

    COACHES CALL: At yesterday’s NWFL 2015 season launch at the Wynyard Football Club were senior coaches Dale Perry (East Devonport), Ryland Coombe (Smithton assistant coach), Justin Rodman (Ulverstone), Andrew Bacon (Burnie), Errol Bourn (Wynyard), Mark Lowe (Devonport), Wade Anthony (Latrobe) and Peter Templeton (Penguin). Picture: Stuart Wilson.

    League officials and sponsors as well as representatives from the eight clubs gathered in Wynyard last night for the launch of the 2015 NWFL season and the consensus on who were flag favourites was clear-cut.

    All but one of the seven opposition coaches picked the Cats to hold aloft the silverware for a second consecutive year such was the landslide prediction.

    The only man not to do so was Latrobe’s Wade Anthony, who believes Ulverstone will go one step further than last year’s grand final appearance.

    NWFL president Andrew Richardson also thinks the premiership race is far from a one-horse show.

    “Don’t get me wrong I think Wynyard will still be strong but I think it’s wide open,” Richardson said.

    “I think Ulverstone and Penguin would have to be right up there.

    “Both of those clubs are sneaking under the radar a little bit.

    “Latrobe, with Anthony leading the charge, will be a test and then of course no one really knows what the two new clubs, Devonport and Burnie, are going to be like.

    “East [Devonport] won’t be world-beaters but they’ll see improvement as will Smithton.

    “I think it’s going to be an exciting season and one that creates plenty of interest.”

    Richardson said having Burnie and Devonport back in the Coast’s premier football competition made the league complete.

    “Having a city the size of Burnie without any representation at all just wasn’t right so I think with them and the Magpies back in, it just makes us truly Coastal,” he said.

    The poll also forecast Cats on-baller Zane Murphy to win his first Baldock Medal.

    Three club coaches said Murphy would take home the medal.

    Penguin’s Jack Templeton was selected by two coaches for the Baldock, while other players to be chosen were Ulverstone smooth mover Jeremy Soden, Wynyard co-skipper Zac Smith and Robins’ playing-coach Justin Rodman.

    Coaches were not allowed to nominate their own team or players.

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

    need2know: Red start for ASX as Wall St slides

    2019 - 01.21

    Local shares are poised to open lower, dragged by selling on Wall Street after a report on durable goods heightened concern about the surging greenback.
    Nanjing Night Net

    What you need to knowSPI futures down 41 points to 5929$A at US78.35 cents, 93.77 Japanese yen, 71.51 Euro cents and 52.70 British penceIn late trade, S&P 500 -1.2%, Dow -1.6%, Nasdaq -2.1%In Europe, Stoxx 50 -1.3%, FTSE 100 -0.4%, CAC 40 -1.3%, DAX -1.2%Spot gold up $US2.68 or 0.2% to $US1195.96Brent crude up $US1.30 or 2.4% to $US56.41Iron ore slips 0.1% to $US55.81 per tonne 

    Today’s Agenda

    Australian population data, finance and wealth data; Bank of England statement from March 24 meeting; UK retail sales; French 4th-Qtr GDP.

    Stocks to watch

    Canaccord has a ‘buy’ on Osprey Medical. It dropped its price taget to $1.50 a share from $1.70.

    Commonwealth Bank is ‘neutral’ on Kathmandhu Holdings with a $1.55 a share target.

    Deutsche Bank is retaining a ‘buy’ on BlueScope Steel and a price target of $6.32 a share.

    Shares trading ex dividend today: Australian Leaders Fund, Myer Holdings, Watermark Market Neutral Fund.

    Currencies

    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the US currency against 10 major peers, slid less than 0.1% to 1185.54 after tumbling 2.2% last week, the biggest weekly decline since October 2011.

    The greenback has gained against 13 or its 16 major peers this quarter, adding 9.3% versus the euro, as traders speculated on the Fed raising borrowing costs this year. Policy makers last week pushed backs bets on a rise in interest rates any time soon, indicating they were in no rush for the first increase since 2006 and will monitor data for policy direction.

    Deutsche Bank’s CVIX index of implied volatility for nine major currency pairs was at 10.65 percentage points, up from 9 a month earlier and more than double its lowest in at least 14 years of 4.9 reached in July 2014. It’s 10-year average is 10.18.

    Commodities

    Gold’s six-day rally, its longest since August 2012, came after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen sounded a cautious note last week on the US economy and potential interest rate increase.

    “This is a long overdue correction for gold and I think it’s going to continue to hit in the $US1200 level,” said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist for RJO Futures in Chicago. “The market is also eyeing Dr Yellen’s speech Friday.” Yellen is scheduled to speak on Friday at 1945 GMT.

    Zinc was last bid down 0.2% at $US2081 a tonne while lead was last bid 0.3% lower at $US1845. “Zinc and lead plunged to multi-month and multi-year lows recently though …. global supply is extremely tight. We expect to see significantly higher prices of both metals by year’s end,” said Commerzbank in a note.

    Nickel lost 1.9% to end at $US13,680 a tonne after LME inventories rose to a record high of 433,980 tonnes

    United States

    A selloff in biotechnology and chip companies dragged US stocks to a third day of declines, interrupting another run at a record for the Nasdaq Composite Index, after analysts cut ratings on computer suppliers.The Nasdaq headed for its longest slide since January after climbing to within 20 points of its dot-com-era record on Friday.

    The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which rallied 21% in 2015 through Friday, sank 3.2% as some of the quarter’s best performers retreated.

    Orders for durable goods unexpectedly dropped in February. The result reinforced a trend of mixed economic data after the Federal Reserve signaled it will monitor the economy to guide its decision on raising borrowing costs.

    “Some of the hot tech and biotech stocks – the higher- beta names – are taking a hit today,” Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co, which oversees $US2 billion, said in a phone interview. “There’s a little profit taking, which feeds on itself, especially within stocks that have jumped the most recently. We also had durable goods orders that were weaker than expected, which is weighing on sentiment.”

    Europe

    European stock markets have pulled back as worries over Greece offset positive German data, analysts say, with focus also on the aviation sector as more details of the Alps plane crash emerged.

    German business confidence rose to its highest level in eight months in March, as optimism continues to grow about the outlook for Europe’s biggest economy, the Ifo economic institute said Wednesday. The Ifo institute’s closely-watched business climate index rose to 107.9 points this month, its highest level since July 2014, the think tank said in a statement.

    “Despite the latest German Ifo business climate data beating expectations, this good news couldn’t inspire much growth in the DAX, or the rest of the eurozone, with the region appearing to be hampered by the euro taking back some of yesterday’s losses against the dollar alongside more worries about Greece’s financial situation,” said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex trading group.

    What happened yesterday

    The big four banks’ shares continue to rise, up almost 1% on Wednesday despite minimal gains in the wider market.

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

    ASX poised for losses as global markets slide

    2019 - 01.21

    The Australian sharemarket looks set for a rough start on Thursday following heavy falls on Wall Street and in Europe.
    Nanjing Night Net

    After adding very little on Wednesday, SPI futures are down 43 points, indicating the benchmark S&P/ASX200 will start down.

    It comes as Wall Street suffered its third straight losing session, with the S&P 500 down 1.3 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.6 per cent and the Nasdaq tanking 2.2 per cent.

    Part of the reason for the poor performance has been attributed to some disappointing US economic data. US durable goods orders slumped 1.4 per cent in February, expectations had been for a small rise.

    This adds to a string a weak data in the US of late, which may cause the US Federal Reserve to rethink when it begins to raise interest rates.

    European shares also struggled overnight. Germany’s DAX dropped 1.2 per cent, France’s CAC lost 1.3 per cent,  London’s FTSE100 fell 0.4 per cent and the Eurostoxx 50 slumped 1.3 per cent.

    The Australian dollar slipped 0.4 per cent against its US counterpart to US78.44¢. Against the euro, the Aussie slipped 0.9 per cent to 71.48 euro cents.

    “Realistically, the main event in the Australian market today commences at 2:30pm AEDT when Australia take on India in the second semi-final of cricket world cup, at the SCG,” NAB global co-head of FX strategy Ray Attrill said.

    “A match that stops the nation? Perhaps, and certainly there is nothing by way of domestic data or market events to provide any distraction, either in Australia, New Zealand or up in Asia for that matter.”

    Oil enjoyed a strong surge overnight, with Brent crude jumping 2.3 per cent to $US56.38 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate lifted 3.4 per cent to $US49.12 per barrel. Gold inched higher to $US1195.85 an ounce.

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

    Ice use danger

    2019 - 01.21

    RELATED:Crime statistics show Bendigo’s drug burden
    Nanjing Night Net

    FRONTLINE health workers arefacing violence and aggression from ice-affected patients at the region’s health services.

    There were nine reports of violent or aggressive behaviour exhibited towards health workers and security staff at psychiatric treatment facilitythe Alexander Bayne Centrein February.

    Bendigo Health acting director of nursing psychiatric servicesTim Lenten said there was a sharp rise in the severity of incidents that month.

    “There has been a range of physical injuries that have resulted in time off for nurses and security,” he said.

    “It has had an impact on sick leave which we then have to backfill to cover shifts.”

    MrLenten said about 60 per cent of patients to the Alexander Bayne Centre were affected by drugs or alcohol.

    “Patients with substance disorders and addiction or are intoxicated would account for about 25 per cent and those who have substance disorders which coincides with mental illness would be at least another 33 per cent,” he said.

    Staff involved in violent incidents were offered graduated returns to work as well as counselling to ensure they felt safe working in their units, he said.

    “We take itseriously and we’re reviewing our policies to better address aggressive incidents and serve our patients as well,” Mr Lenten said.

    He stressed that most patients to the centre were calm and respectful of staff.

    Ambulance Victoria Loddon group manager Ross Barkla said paramedics also encountered violence and aggression from ice-affected patients.

    “The drug ice is like no other in the way that it can quickly send people out of control.There is a high potential for people affected by ice to be aggressive and violent towards those trying to help them,” he said.

    Mr Barkla said the number of assaults and violence towards paramedics were “unacceptable”.Ambulance Victoria reported there were 314 incidents in 2013/2014.

    “No paramedic in the Bendigo area, or, in fact, anywhere in Victoria, comes to work expecting to be harmed,” Mr Barkla said.

    He gave his approval tothe Victorian government’s newice action plan.

    “Paramedics regularly see both the direct and indirect the impacts of ice in regional communities like Bendigo and we welcome the government plans to tackle the ice problem,” he said.

    Source: Bendigo Advertiser

    My Kitchen Rules 2015 Episode 32 recap: Can Jane and Emma ‘Shake ‘n’ Bake’ the bearded blokes?

    2019 - 01.21

    Rob and Dave’s advantage comes from the phrase “Shake ‘n’ Bake”, which they plan to repeat so many times during the cook-off that Jane and Emma will hurl themselves out a window. Photo: Channel 7It’s a titanic battle on My Kitchen Rules as we finally discover the answer to the age-old question: who is better at food, people with beards or people who are without beards? Yes, it’s bewhiskered blokes Rob and Dave versus vivacious vixens Jane and Emma in a sudden death cook-off, though it should be stressed that the episode will not actually result in the deaths of any contestants: only the deaths of their dreams. It will be a night of narrow squeaks and frantic, sweaty finishes.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Rob thinks he and Dave have a big advantage because they’ve cooked in the kitchen before. Rob is utterly deluded. Their actual advantage comes from the phrase “Shake ‘n’ Bake”, which they plan to repeat so many times during the cook-off that Jane and Emma will hurl themselves out a window.

    “Time management has always been our downfall,” says Jane, possibly because more than 80 per cent of her cooking time each episode is spent making idiotic comments about Emma being in love with Steve.

    On the beardy side of the wall, Rob and Dave reflect philosophically on how quickly time passes. They both agree that it passes pretty quickly. Life is a puzzle, Rob and Dave agree. Up on the balcony Drasko and Bianca opine on the competing teams, while Rose pretends to be interested in what they’re saying. Rob and Dave become overexcited by the smell of their tomato sauce. Adam thinks Jane and Emma need to focus on their entrée – as a professional tennis player he learnt this lesson years ago.

    Manu says Jane and Emma have to make sure the salad is perfectly dressed and the prawns are perfectly cooked, but in fact they just need to do better than Rob and Dave – Manu is either lying or doesn’t understand the show. Emma declares that the danger in cooking prawns is overcooking them – also untrue, as the danger in cooking prawns is actually having them lay eggs in your brain.

    Meanwhile Rob is browning off his medallions. We’ve all been there, fellas.

    “Ten minutes to go! Show us your passion!” yells Manu, for whom English is a second language, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant to say something that meant something. At this stage Jane and Emma suddenly realise that they have to put food on plates in this round. This comes as quite a shock.

    Judging time, and the six wise monkeys taste the various crustaceans that have been hurled at their mouths. Liz declares that Rob and Dave’s lobster has been poached beautifully, and reports them to Fisheries enforcement officers. Pete is excited by the first dish because the lobsters are unvaccinated. But Jane and Emma’s prawns also go down well, although Shaz preferred the lobster ravioli, but she’s not a judge and should just shut up.

    It’s main time, and Jane and Emma commence pulling out their shanks, while Dave begins pocketing his fish. Jane is making a pea pesto, in line with her self-claimed identity as history’s greatest monster.

    Dave’s pockets are done. Rob compliments him with the phrase “all over that like a fat kid on a Chiko roll”, and is immediately sent to a four-week sensitivity training seminar. Meanwhile Jane explains to Will and Steve how to make donuts, in one of the dullest exchanges human conversation has ever known.

    . Bianca continues to worry about Rob and Dave. Viewers continue to wonder why we have to keep listening to Bianca. As Rob and Dave race against the clock, Emma has separated her pasta. “I can’t stuff this up,” she says, vastly underestimating herself. Both teams are running out of time, as MKR becomes a chilling metaphor for the ephemerality of life.

    In the nick of time, both dishes are plated up. Jane and Emma are slightly disappointed that their main looks like a bowl of cat sick, but Liz “low standards” Egan doesn’t mind that at all. The lamb ragu is the kind of food Colin likes – so finally we know. Disastrously, though, Rob and Dave have overcooked their fish. Except for Pete’s, which he claims is cooked well – but then his tastebuds have been warped by activated almonds and mastodon steak.

    Dessert time, and Jane and Emma’s Italian donuts are pitted against Rob and Dave’s mini-pavlovas with raspberries and passionfruit and probably a few stray beard hairs. As Emma fiddles with her oil, Jane wisely intones, “You can’t rush crème anglais”, a truth that all of civilisation’s greatest leaders have known in their hearts. So focused is she on her non-rushed crème anglais that she can’t come over to help Emma, who is wrestling with one of the fundamental questions of existence: how do you fry a donut? She doesn’t know. I wouldn’t have thought it was that hard – those kids at Krispy Kreme seem to manage OK. We spend so much time watching Jane and Emma’s struggles that you might think Rob and Dave are doing fine, but if there’s one lesson MKR has taught us, it is “NEVER assume that Rob and Dave are doing fine”.

    Dave is happy with what he’s achieved so far: a thin smear of red liquid at the bottom of a saucepan. The mini-pavlovas are, to the shock of onlookers, quite small. “They’ve taken mini to a whole new level,” says Kat, who hates life more and more every day. Meanwhile Jane is stirring custard and sprinkling sugar on donuts AT THE SAME TIME – it’s like she’s some kind of crazy person with two functioning arms or something.

    Judging time, and Liz is impressed with the fruit flavours of Rob and Dave’s dessert, although this is less due to their culinary skill, and more to do with the fact that fruits taste like themselves. The pavlova might be too soft, but then again that might be an outdated attitude to masculinity. On the other hand, the donuts are perfect.

    So with a better main and a better dessert, Jane and Emma have clearly won, but I guess the charade of announcing the scores has to be gone through. And it is. And Jane and Emma win and live to giggle inanely about Steve another day. Deeply depressed, Rob and Dave are forced to give up their food dream and pursue their second love: establishing a global network of beard-topiary franchises. But not before they say “Shake ‘n’ Bake” one last time, to remind us of how little we’ll miss them.

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

    Jeremy Clarkson was a by-product of the system which made him

    2019 - 01.21

    Clarkson’s contract will no be renewed: BBCClarkson’s road to ruinClarkson’s worth to Top GearClarkson hints at sackingClarkson’s costly steak
    Nanjing Night Net

    Three larrikin blokes, standing in the backyard, talking about cars. Few television premises seem so universally relatable, and consequently few television programs have been as successful as Top Gear.

    But for much of Top Gear’s life, one larrikin bloke stood taller and louder than the other two: Jeremy Clarkson, the 54-year-old star of the show, who has finally fallen victim to his own misbehaviour and been stood down.

    Depending on who you listen to, he will be cast now as either a racist and homophobe who deserved to lose his job after a decade of embarrassing gaffes, or a white, male victim of political correctness gone mad.

    In truth he is neither. In the final accounting, he is simply a fool whose inability to keep his language, and ultimately his behaviour, in check cost him his job. It happens every day. In all industries, not just TV.

    As television programs go, Top Gear is almost flawless, with Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May translating the dialect of motor vehicle mechanics into a sort of television Esperanto.

    As a high-profile celebrity, however, Clarkson has fallen well short of the mark.

    There is no need to repeat his list of sins here, they have been reported ad nauseum. If you don’t know them, Google will easily fill in the gaps.

    But a quick summary of them would be this: unless you’re white, male and straight, then Clarkson has a tendency to be a bit free with his words when it comes to ethnicity, gender or sexuality.

    In person, he’s a charming man. And he doesn’t speak with malice. But few people enjoy being the butt of a joke, particularly crass ones.

    And as with many such “scandals” it is not Top Gear’s core constituency who are overly upset, but rather the community at large, and the media, through whose prism the community is so often left to interpret events.

    Like many a TV host who has gone down before him, very little seemed to be asked of Clarkson. And curtailing one’s tendency to oafish language isn’t a big trade off for a salary counted in the many, many millions.

    Which brings us to the inevitable truth: Clarkson is a by-product of the system which made him.

    The television industry, like much of the broader “showbiz” world, has always struggled to manage the egos of those placed on pedestals within it.

    Appalling behaviour is never genuinely discouraged because ordinary mortals in positions of power are surrounded by enablers, cowed into silence by a collective fear of losing their own importance-by-proxy.

    It doesn’t excuse him. Nor does it shift the blame. There can be no question, Clarkson alone stands as the architect of his own downfall.

    But in the broader context, he is a cog in a powerful commercial machine.

    The more larrikin his antics, it seemed, the more successful he became. The more outlandish the stunts and spectacles, the more successful Top Gear became.

    As it stands now, Top Gear is not just one of the BBC’s most successful programs, it is one of the most lucrative for the broadcaster’s content sales arm, BBC Worldwide.

    They sell the program itself, the format (which allows local versions to be made), licences for official merchandise including DVDs and even stage live events around the world tied to the Top Gear brand.

    All have poured gold into the BBC’s pots.

    In that sense, the BBC has been betting on Clarkson’s good behaviour for a long time, too afraid to sack him lest they destroy their golden goose, hoping perhaps that if he could be pulled into line internally, the chorus of disapproval might dissipate.

    And in the end, like many such bets, it proved a dud.

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

    Opera on Sydney Harbour: Big wigs overshadowed by Aida’s Egyptian queen

    2018 - 12.21

    Rehearsals of Opera on Sydney Harbour’s production of Aida have weathered rain and shine. Photo: Dominic LorrimerAida’s High Priestess comes out of the wings for Handa Opera on Sydney HarbourKardashians inspire Opera on Sydney Harbour costumesVerdi’s Aida the next Opera on Sydney Harbour
    Nanjing Night Net

    It takes a big head to dwarf the big wigs of opera and politics.

    However, Queen Nefertiti’s 15-tonne noggin, even with an eye missing and what appears to be severe acne, easily overshadowed the powers behind Opera on Sydney Harbour.

    The 18-metre-tall head, which is deliberately in a state of decay, is the centrepiece of this year’s outdoor production of Verdi’s Aida.

    However, she will have to compete for attention with fireworks, camels and a group of scantily clad muscular dancers, whose arrival at Wednesday’s media call prompted Opera Australia’s artistic director, Lyndon Terracini, to ask if Mardi Gras was still on.

    Terracini said the cast, featuring US soprano Latonia Moore, had some of the greatest opera singers in the world.

    “This is an extraordinary production by [director] Gale Edwards,” he said. “It has so many layers, incredibly spectacular, but it also has a real purpose to it.”

    The production costs about $10 million and receives funding from Destination NSW, the state government’s tourism and events agency, and Haruhisa Handa, a Japanese businessman and Shinto priest. Handa’s multimillion-dollar donation kicked off the outdoor shows in 2012.

    Yet, Handa has never seen the outdoor show live.

    “Well, he says he’s coming, but then again he says he’s coming every year,” Terracini said. “But he said to me that he’s going to try his utmost to be here on the last night.”

    Opera Australia has also sought to allay safety concerns raised by the union representing performers, including the angle of raked stages, issues associated with wet weather and working in direct sunlight.

    Terracini said the stage was less steep than last year’s production of Madama Butterfly.

    “I think people, once they get used to the fact you’re outdoors, that it’s [a] different performing sensation, that’s how you adapt.”

    Equity director Zoe Angus said: “Equity takes seriously the obligation of employers to ensure the safety of all workers, and the need to be especially vigilant when working in non-typical environments away from usual rehearsal and performance venues.”

    Former NSW arts minister George Souris, who was dumped from cabinet last year by Premier Mike Baird, said Opera on Sydney Harbour was “one of the great things the NSW government has done”.

    He said the outdoor show, now in its fourth year, had attracted more than 11,000 international visitors to Sydney and brought new people to opera “in their thousands”.

    The opera company’s chief executive, Craig Hassall, said 40,000 tickets had been sold for Aida so far; more than for the entire season of Madama Butterfly last year.

    “I’m very happy to say the sales are tremendous, that’s what keeps me calm and happy,” he said.

    However, with 78,000 seats to fill over a longer four-week run and a sales target of 50,000, Hassall said there were many more tickets to sell.

    Hassall estimated three-quarters of the show’s budget went on logistics and the rest was spent on the cast, creative team and the manufacture of the set and costumes.

    “It’s fairer to say it covers its costs for us,” he said. “The costs are high. You can see, if you look around, there’s a lot you have to spend to create this entire site.”

    Opera on Sydney Harbour 2015: Aida is on from March 27 to April 26.

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

    Pete Evans’ baby paleo book scandal could jeopardise My Kitchen Rules ratings

    2018 - 12.21

    Preaching for paleo: Pete Evans’ bone broth for babies is causing a stir. Photo: James Brickwood
    Nanjing Night Net

    Preaching for paleo: Pete Evans’ bone broth for babies is causing a stir. Photo: James Brickwood

    Preaching for paleo: Pete Evans’ bone broth for babies is causing a stir. Photo: James Brickwood

    Is the biggest risk to My Kitchen Rules’ oversized success one of the show’s own judges? Pete Evans, along with fellow chef Manu Feildel, has been the face of the Channel Seven’s reality cooking competition since it was launched in 2010, but recently his profile has begun to diverge from the feel-good or taste-bad culinary drama that the series so smartly maintains. Evans has been a punchline previously – activated almonds, anyone? – but there’s nothing funny about what’s happening now.

    Television hits and their hosts have a curious and co-dependent relationship: did the program make the host a star, or did the host make the program a hit? Equally, however, they can weaken each other if there’s friction between what the viewing public know and expect from their small-screen favourite and what eventuates outside the immaculately edited world of broadcast television.

    A fortnight ago publisher Pan MacMillan announced that it would no longer be publishing Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way, a paleo diet book for babies co-authored by Evans, nutritionist Helen Padarin and blogger Charlotte Carr. The book had been publicly criticised by doctors and dieticians for recommending a baby milk formula based on liver and bone broth, and the condemnation was tied to Evans’ very public profile as an advocate for the paleo diet, which is based on unprocessed foods from humanity’s hunter-gatherer beginnings.

    “In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” Professor Heather Yeatman, the president of the Public Health Association of Australia, told the Australian Women’s Weekly, while the federal Health Department confirmed it was investigating the book due to, “the inadequate nutritional values of some of the foods”.

    Sam Newman, for example, may have had his moments away from The Footy Show, but I am reasonably certain the words “a baby may die” have never been directed his way. Evans and Channel Seven were lucky that another food-based scandal – the fake cancer survival claims and charitable misdeeds of app developer Belle Gibson – was broken by Fairfax Media at the same time. They dodged a bullet.

    Evans, however, is unrepentant. The celebrity chef and his co-authors announced they were self-publishing digitally and he sarcastically thanked the media for covering an obviously relevant story – “keep up the great work promoting paleo,” he snarked. In the past months he’s also alluded to opposition to the paleo diet, being marshalled by multinational food corporations, and there have also been remarks connecting a modern processed diet with a growth in autism.

    The paleo diet has many satisfied devotees, but at what point does Evans’ advocacy start to intrude on My Kitchen Rules? Tom Cruise’s lustre as a film star dimmed when Scientology overtook his fictional roles, and the more Evans defends the paleo diet the more people are going to wonder whether he actually likes, or even approves of, the food that he’s judging several nights a week on Australia’s reality television juggernaut.

    Some of these issues bubbling under here are already playing out in Britain, where Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from the show following a “fracas” with a producer over catering that may have involved a punch. The vehicle-based series is a huge success worldwide for the BBC and the divisive Clarkson – contrarian hero to some, prat to others – is integral to the show.

    But generally Clarkson’s activities away from the Top Gear studio have segued with the tone of sardonic bemusement he has made his trademark. On air or off he winds people up, whereas on My Kitchen Rules Peter Evans is clean-cut and relentlessly on message. He wears a suit well, smiles and generally talks about the food contestants prepare for him with concise positivity.

    Pete Evans is currently concluding a 26-date tour of Australia and New Zealand that promotes the paleo way, so any doubts at Channel Seven aren’t about to disappear. Of course all networks have the “utmost confidence” in their talent until the precise moment they don’t, but then again it’s not as if My Kitchen Rules has just two hosts that are indispensable. Based on the newly prominent profile of Irish chef Colin Fassnidge, the show now has three hosts.

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

    Sydney Royal Easter Show farmers rope in social media marketing

    2018 - 12.21

    Show time: The country’s best axemen will compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Photo: Brendan Esposito Show time: The country’s best axemen will compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Photo: Brendan Esposito
    Nanjing Night Net

    Show time: The country’s best axemen will compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Photo: Brendan Esposito

    Show time: The country’s best axemen will compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Photo: Brendan Esposito

    Volunteer Grant Frank works at ensuring the display, which includes giant poppies, is finished by the opening of the Royal Easter Show on Thursday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

    Family ties: The Reids still working to finish their Northern District produce display. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

    The Reid family has been designing and making the northern districts’ exhibition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for six years, but this year’s Anzac tribute is ripped from the pages of the family’s album.

    Made with local fruit, vegetables and ingenuity, the district’s diorama pays homage to the family’s three great great uncles, Willy, Don and Ozzie, who were killed in the Great War when they were much the same age as the latest generation of young Reid men.

    The Reids have recreated photos – using local seeds as ink – of their three relatives who were killed, devastating their small country town of Woodenbong (population 500), south of the Queensland border. Three soldiers – wearing digger’s hats donated from district locals and powered by an old engine – pop out of a trench to fire at the enemy. Crosses represent the burials of unknown soldiers like these young men.

    On Wednesday, five members of the Reid family were rushing to complete the district’s sad diorama with the words, “It turned farmers into soldiers, and boys into men,” before the 193rd show opened on Thursday. “Ours is probably a bit more morbid than most of them,” said Michelle Reid, a preschool teacher who has been designing the district’s exhibit for six years.

    While this year’s show and exhibits pay tribute to the Anzacs and mark the centenary of Gallipoli, it is using new technology and channels to reach the growing number of visitors who might have never milked a cow or visited a farm. To attract some of the 900,000 visitors expected through the gates, it will use Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.

    Visitors will be encouraged to post Felfies (that’s a farm version of a selfie) online.

    In recognition of the growing reach of small websites and blogs, “mummy” bloggers  (with their children) such as MummyToTwins, The Mummy Project and Together We Roam, were given their own media preview. The show has a new instagram account where visitors will be able to post their Felfies (farmyard animal selfies), and it has an active Twitter account @Eastershow using the hashtag #Eastershow and Facebook page.

    Showing the female bloggers and their children around the farmyard nursery, where an eight-week-old alpaca cria (pup) jumped in the air like a cartoon character, the RAS’ general manager of agriculture Murray Wilton said the show had to use the same technology as its visitors.

    “It’s another way to tell the story of agriculture. My kids are all over social media, so we have to use that to educate kids in a way they feel comfortable.”

    As the number of people in farming shrinks, the organisers of the district exhibits  – perhaps the oldest and most loved part of the show – are finding it hard to find new recruits for the labour-intensive job. Many volunteers, like Mrs Reid, take two to three weeks leave to set up the display, working 18-hour days to finish and prepare the produce for judging.

    Craig Taylor and his wife Wendy have designed the central districts display for 26 years, becoming family with a group of volunteers who have  endured each other’s marriages, births and deaths.

    Sometimes it seemed like too much work, until the public arrived on opening day.

    “It sounds corny but when you see the reaction of the public, it is all worthwhile. These are the iconic elements of the show, and they aren’t done on anything like this scale anywhere else in the world,”  Mr Taylor said.

    The region’s exhibit pays homage to the poppies that flowered in the battlefields in World War 1.

    “We didn’t want to show battle scenes or glorify war,” he said. “The poppy is seen as the symbol of remembrance.”

    193rd Sydney Royal Easter Show

    Runs from Thursday 26 March to Wednesday 8 April, 2015 and is open from 9am until late every day.

    Where: Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park

    Cost: eastershow南京夜网.au/tickets/

    Showlink tickets, including public transport, range from Adult $39.50, Child $24.00 to Family $114.20.

     

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

    Chinese power giant eyeing NSW electricity in corruption probe

    2018 - 12.21

    Premier Mike Baird: “My job is to encourage investment into NSW.” Photo: Brendan Esposito Premier Mike Baird: “My job is to encourage investment into NSW.” Photo: Brendan Esposito
    Nanjing Night Net

    Premier Mike Baird: “My job is to encourage investment into NSW.” Photo: Brendan Esposito

    Premier Mike Baird: “My job is to encourage investment into NSW.” Photo: Brendan Esposito

    A Chinese government-owned energy company that is a potential buyer of NSW electricity assets, State Grid Corp, was the subject of a “major” state audit last year which uncovered allegations of corruption amounting to more than $1 billion.

    As Premier Mike Baird on Wednesday was asked more questions about the company and its dealings with the NSW government it has emerged that State Grid Corp’s president, Liu Zhenya, was named as a key focus of the probe.

    Mr Baird’s office confirmed that a State Grid Corp executive, Shu Yinbiao, was one of those present at a business roundtable addressed by Mr Baird during his trip to China in September, not its president Mr Liu as previously advised.

    In May the South China Morning Post reported the “massive audit” was in response to authorities receiving letters “alleging financial problems and accusing the power company’s management of potential corruption”.

    The newspaper said the audit would last “at least until October”, raising the prospect the company remained under investigation when Mr Baird addressed the roundtable hosted by the Australian ambassador.

    Reuters reported last June that State Grid confirmed the audit – involving 1000 investigators – but dismissed it as “routine”.

    However, the Wall Street Journal said in June the audit, which also involved another state-owned electricity company, China Southern Power Grid Company, focused on contracts for a west-to-east electricity transmission system.

    The newspaper said China’s national audit agency alleged that “more than $1 billion was misappropriated in less than four months [during 2013] in the construction and running of portions of a major electricity grid system”.

    Asked if Mr Baird knew about the revelations before his China visit, his office said it had “no further comment”.

    Fairfax Media can reveal that State Grid Corp’s attendance at a roundtable addressed by Mr Baird was omitted from an official report on his trade trip to China last year.

    Mr Baird on Wednesday repeatedly refused to detail meetings held during the trip to China last September, which aimed to drum up interest in NSW infrastructure projects.

    The Coalition government’s plan to partially lease the electricity “poles and wires” and spend the proceeds on infrastructure is the centrepiece of its re-election campaign.

    The unions and Labor have questioned the appropriateness of a foreign power owning NSW electricity businesses, a deal which some fear would have national security implications.

    Under Mr Baird’s reforms to political lobbying, ministers are required to publish details of external meetings.

    But on Wednesday Mr Baird said the rules did not apply to trips abroad, saying “there’s a different process for international trips, that’s well established”.

    A spokesman for Mr Baird later said the Department of Premier and Cabinet had been advised that details of ministers’ meetings on official overseas missions “should not be disclosed through the ministerial diary process as there is appropriate disclosure of such meetings through mission reports”.

    However the mission report from Mr Baird’s China trip does not mention a meeting with State Grid Corp.

    Asked later on Wednesday why the meeting was omitted, Mr Baird said he had complied with disclosure obligations for overseas trips.

    At the news conference he declined to say who else was at the September roundtable meeting.

    “I am not going to go into individual meetings. As Treasurer and Premier I met with hundreds if not thousands [of potential investors]. My job is to encourage investment into NSW,” he said,

    Opposition leader Luke Foley said Mr Baird was “trying to skate through to Saturday without facing the scrutiny his privatisation policy deserves”.

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

    Massive population growth ignored

    2018 - 12.21

    Bidders: Rapid population growth in Sydney is putting pressure on housing stock and property prices. Photo: Fiona Morris Bidders: Rapid population growth in Sydney is putting pressure on housing stock and property prices. Photo: Fiona Morris
    Nanjing Night Net

    Bidders: Rapid population growth in Sydney is putting pressure on housing stock and property prices. Photo: Fiona Morris

    Bidders: Rapid population growth in Sydney is putting pressure on housing stock and property prices. Photo: Fiona Morris

    RBA sounds warning on house prices

    NSW faces one big challenge that has hardly rated a mention in the election campaign: population growth.

    The population of NSW will increase by about half a million during the next term of parliament – that’s roughly equivalent to adding another Newcastle. But neither major party has a detailed policy on how to respond to the projected increase.

    Analysis by the Australia Institute shows that strong population growth means real budget spending per person in NSW will decline during the next term of government, no matter who wins Saturday’s poll. Despite a torrent of election promises, the institute estimates state budget spending per capita will fall from $9000 this financial year to $8700 per person by 2017-18, after adjusting for inflation.

    Dr Richard Denniss, the Executive Director of the Australia Institute, said there had been no acknowledgement of the implications of population growth during the election campaign. And he warned that the big-ticket infrastructure promises won’t do much to reduce traffic jams and crowded trains.

    “Mike Baird and Luke Foley have both claimed they want to deal with congestion,” Dr Denniss said. “But population growth means that, at best, the big infrastructure projects being promised will only slow the rate at which congestion gets worse. They won’t reduce congestion.”

    The projected fall in state spending per person will put more stress on health and education services. An Australia Institute report released today shows the number of hospital beds per capita has already declined since the middle of last decade in urban, rural and remote areas of the state. Transport services are also under strain – the report says travel on NSW trains has grown consistently over the past decade, with 55 million more journeys per year now than in 2004, an increase of 18 per cent.

    “Announcements of big new infrastructure spending in Sydney need to be put in the context of the population growth – because if you factor that in, it equates to a cut in services,” Dr Denniss said.

    He said government budget papers should publish figures on spending per person in major portfolios to provide a more accurate picture of the resources available for services such as health and education.

    Population growth has two drivers – by natural increase, when there are more births than deaths, and by net overseas migration, when more people immigrate than emigrate.

    Australia has the fastest population growth rates among major developed countries, mainly due to a high rate of migration. The Bureau of Statistics projects that our population, now 23.8 million will grow to around 40 million in 2061, based on current trends.

    “Despite our rapid population growth being at historic rates and among the highest in the world, it is all too rarely discussed,” said the report, titled Population Growth in Australia.

    Dr Denniss said that since the 2000 Olympics the population of Australia had grown 25 per cent.

    “In fact, since the Sydney Olympics, Australia’s population has grown more than the entire population of Sydney at that time,” he said.

    Population growth in Australia has been consistently highest in major capital cities. By 2060 Sydney and Melbourne are forecast to have populations greater than the whole of Australia in 1950.

    “Overcrowding and under-resourcing has put huge pressure on our cities,” Dr Denniss said.

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