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Sidelines: Happy return

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Warren Spinks.NEW Cooks Hill United football coach Warren Spink is delighted to be back in the Hunter.
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The Herald reported last week that the former Newcastle Breakers and Socceroos striker would guide Cooks Hill in their first year in Northern NSW Football’s second-tier competition in 2015.

“I absolutely loved it up here,” Spink said of his time at the Breakers in the early 1990s.

“I’d just signed a new two-year contract then the club went down for a year in 1995, so I had to move.

“Otherwise I would have probably never left Newcastle.

“I’ve played and lived in many countries, but Newcastle was always my favourite place.”

IT has been a frustrating start to the summer for Ruben Zadkovich.

The former Jets skipper missed the first six games of the A-League season with his new club, Perth Glory, after pre-season knee surgery and a back complaint.

Then on Friday night, in his debut in Glory colours, the feisty midfielder was shown a straight red card for a sliding tackle on Wellington midfielder Vince Lia in Perth’s 2-1 victory over the Phoenix at nib Stadium.

Coming off the bench in the 61st minute to replace Rostyn Griffiths after Andy Keogh had given the league leaders a 2-0 advantage, Zadkovich was on the field for all of 17 seconds and will now spend at least the next week on the sidelines cooling his heels.

The 17-second dismissal is believed to be an A-League record but, on recent form, the sloppy studs-up challenge was out of character for the one-time bad boy.

Before Friday night, 28-year-old Zadkovich’s last send-off was while playing for Newcastle against Brisbane on September 5, 2010.

WINNING NSW coach Laurie Daley will be in town next month, and he is bringing the State of Origin shield with him to put smiles on the faces of some special young lifesavers.

Daley will be at Cooks Hill Surf Lifesaving Club between 10am and noon on Sunday, December 7, to help good mate John “Choc” Anderson oversee the club’s “Same Waves” nippers program for children with disabilities.

Anderson, who has replaced the late Jock Colley as Country Rugby League chairman, is a Cooks Hill life member and long-time nippers co-ordinator.

“All those kids love their sport and they love their State of Origin footy, and I know they’re going to be excited to see Lozza and the Origin shield,” Anderson said.

WELL travelled Knights forward Clint Newton joined the ranks of Twitter last week and wasted little time taking a swing at the Seven Network for leaving his famous father, Jack, off their commentary team for the Australian Masters at Metropolitan.

“This may be seen as bias, but when there’s Aussie golf on TV @JackNewtonCC should be commentating #bringbackjack,” Clint tweeted from his @c_newton11 Twitter handle.

THE Men of League Foundation’s Upper Hunter committee will hold a fund-raising bowls day on Saturday, December 6, at Scone RSL Club.

“The bowls day is a great way for local league fans to come together to celebrate as we enter the festive season and will also test their bowling arm as we raise funds for Men of League,” Upper Hunter committee president Peter Ford said.

Bookings can be made by contacting Ford (0421 805 235) or Ian Ingle (0416 145 260).

GEORGETOWN heptathlete Sophie Stanwell proved she is more than just a good sport last week when she was awarded the NSW Institute of Sport award for academic excellence.

The 23-year-old multi-sport specialist, who finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year, was recognised at the annual NSWIS awards presented at the Australian Turf Club.

The awards acknowledged the accomplishments of athletes in the categories of academics, career progression, coaching and performance.

Stanwell edged out other world-class athletes including Jo Brigden-Jones (canoe sprint), Jarrod Geddes (track and field), Steven Solomon (track and field) and Matthew Levy (swimming) as the institute’s best academically.

The Rio Olympic aspirant was awarded the University of Newcastle Faculty of Health and Medicine Medal last month, graduating with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics degree.

Apart from finishing fourth in her Commonwealth Games debut, in the past year Stanwell has been named University of Newcastle sportsperson of the year, won her second Australian heptathlon title and represented Australia at the World University Games.

Her next goal is to make the team for the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

WIGAN chairman Dave Whelan will quit the Championship club if the English Football Association punishes him for the controversial comments which led to him being labelled a racist by Cardiff owner Vincent Tan.

Whelan sparked the row in a newspaper interview in which he was defending his decision to hire former Cardiff boss Malky Mackay.

Mackay was recruited by Wigan despite being under investigation by the FA for allegedly sending racist and anti-semitic texts, and Whelan responded to criticism by telling The Guardian: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else.”

Whelan also said he did not view the word “chink”, the term by which Mackay allegedly referred to Tan in a text message, as offensive.

Malaysian businessman Tan, who sacked Mackay in December, told Sky Sports News: “Here we have a racist chairman hiring a racist manager. All the fans in Wigan now think it’s OK to be racist.”

The FA says its investigation into Whelan’s comments will be treated “as a priority”.

Juventus remember injured Jets teenager

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

NICE TOUCH: Josh Barresi with the shirt from Juventus. Picture: Simone De PeakJOSH Barresi’s horror Jets debut finally has a silver lining.
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The midfielder suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a friendly against Juventus during the Italian giants’ Australian visit three months ago.

Barresi, who joined the Jets from Western Sydney Wanderers this season, was collected in a challenge and twisted his knee.

He had reconstructive surgery eight weeks ago and has recently started the strength phase of his eight-month rehab program.

It was hardly the introduction the attacking midfielder had planned.

Nor was it the memory he hoped to take from playing a star-studded Juventus line-up.

At least now he has something to show for it.

As a gesture of goodwill, Juventus sent the 19-year-old an autographed playing shirt last week.

“It was definitely a bittersweet night,” Barresi said of the friendly at Kogarah Oval. “I got a bit of contact in a tackle and it was unlucky the way my foot was positioned.

“[Jets CEO] Robbie Middleby told me that Juventus had been in contact and asked how I was. I didn’t expect a signed shirt. It doesn’t make up for hurting my knee, but it was a nice gesture.”

Barresi is of Italian heritage and has been a Juventus supporter since he was a child.

“I will certainly be getting it framed and putting is somewhere special,” he said.

Barresi is out of a brace but will not return this season.

“Hopefully I will be back in training by May, but I won’t be involved this campaign,” he said. “There is a chance I could play for the youth team in the NPL next season, but that will be up to the coaching staff and physio.”

Bathurst man dies in tragic accident at Chifley Dam

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

TRAGEDY: Chifley Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Andrew Spliet has urged people to be safe on the water. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 112314cops1aA 36-YEAR-OLD Bathurst man died in a tragic accident at Chifley Dam on Saturday night while trying to save the life of his five-year-old daughter.
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The pair were kayaking when their vessel overturned and they both fell into the water, and while the man managed to save his daughter, he failed to resurface.

Paramedic Inspector Rhys Dive, who attended the tragic search, said the man was at the dam along with his family and friends when the “horrible” tragedy occurred.

“[The kayak] upturned and they both ended up in the water and he managed to lift his child onto the boat,” attending paramedic Inspector Dive said. “The first thing he did was save his little girl.”

Inspector Dive was among emergency services personnel called to the scene at 7.14pm to join the frantic search.

“There were already people searching on kayaks and fishing boats and swimming when we arrived,” he said.

Chifley Local Area Command police and Bathurst State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers began a search of the water and the man’s body was discovered just before 9pm.

Police yesterday confirmed the man and his young daughter were not wearing life jackets at the time of the accident.

Inspector Dive has remembered the husband and father of three as a dedicated community member who regularly volunteered with the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church’s Rapid Relief Team.

“We know him, that church group is part of the group that come and feed us at emergencies,” he said.

Plymouth Brethren Christian Church spokesperson John Wells said the deceased man had been a member of the church’s Rapid Relief Team for a number of years.

The team is made up of church members who volunteer their time to provide catering to emergency service personnel during times of crisis.

Chifley Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Andrew Spliet said the man and his daughter were paddling in water that was 3.5 to four metres deep when the incident occurred.

Despite the flat water, and innocuous nature of kayaking, Inspector Spliet said people should still be aware of the risks in deep water, especially if they are not strong swimmers or are with children.

State Emergency Service Central West region controller Craig Ronan said people need to be adequately prepared when undertaking any water-based activities.

“Anybody going on a boat should have a PFD [personal floatation device] on and children and adults should have one for their own safety,” he said.

The cause of the man’s death has not yet been determined, and Inspector Dive said he did not want to speculate, but he said while the upper water level of the dam is quite warm, it is very cold lower down.

Police will now prepare a brief for the coroner.

Source:Western Advocate, Bathurst

Virat Kohli insists Indians will cope with pacy Australian pitches

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Acting India captain Virat Kohli says he and his teammates will cope with the extra pace and bounce that comes with returning to Australia – and facing Mitch Johnson for the first time in his home conditions.
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Johnson, newly crowned as ICC Cricketer of the Year for a second time, bowled only 19 overs in the 2013 away series when Australia was pummeled by India, and missed all of India’s last visit in 2011-12 due to injury.

The only non-tailender Indian batsman to have faced Johnson in Tests in Australia is captain M.S. Dhoni, who will miss the first Test due to injury.

When India played in Australia in 2011-12, they had a total of five days’ match practice before the series and were thumped 4-0. This time they have only four days’ play across two matches, the first of which starts on Monday at Glenelg.

“It should be enough. We don’t have any choice, I guess,” Kohli said on Sunday, after India trained the morning after it arrived in Adelaide. “We’ve got to do whatever we can with those four days of practice games, and the sessions in between.

“I think coming to Australia and playing, it’s more about the mindset rather than getting used to the conditions, because pace and bounce is something which you can get used to. But unless you’re mentally there, there’s no point of any sort of practice.”

India’s opposition, the Cricket Australia XI, boasts only five players with Sheffield Shield experience, with wicketkeeper Ryan Carters accounting for about half of their combined 43 matches. The hosts’ pace depth was severely weakened by the withdrawal of Gurinder Sandhu due to NSW shield duties, with his uncapped state colleague Harry Conway replacing him.

While the CA XI boasts a left-arm paceman in Josh Lalor, he is incomparable to Johnson in terms of pace or bounce.

Kohli said India were “absolutely” capable of withstanding the threat posed by Johnson, who in the past year has dominated against both England and South Africa.

“He’s been bowling really well – everyone knows that. Credit to him for doing all that,” Kohli said. “We are equipped enough to tackle him on these pacy and bouncy wickets. I don’t see any good reason why we can’t come up and put up a good fight.

“It’s all about mentally being there. If you can visualise being in that battle and being on top, I think you’re going to be able to go out there and execute it. I think the guys in our team have the ability to do it … it’s all about being mentally present.”

Until Dhoni returns Kohli will be the only survivor from India’s batting order from their most recent visit to Australia, due to the retirements of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman and omissions of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. The 26-year-old was India’s best batsman in that series and said he would enter this series emboldened by that experience.

“There’s more pace and bounce, so the shot selection becomes very important. That’s what I saw last time – you need a lot more patience compared to back home. You’ve got to pick the right balls to hit in the right areas and figure out with the big fields what are your spots and strengths are – and the areas you should avoid early on with the new Kookaburra because it does quite a bit, especially on these tracks,” he said.

“I think Australia is a great place to bat on, once you get in. The morning session goes through [well for bowlers]. The guys need to realise that and play themselves in. Eventually I experienced that last time as well. It’s a beautiful place to play cricket as a batsman, it’s a lovely place to be when you’re 30 or 40 and the ball gets a bit old.”

On Kohli’s previous visit he was fined for an obscene finger gesture, which he made in response to crowd taunting. On that issue, he said he was “certainly expecting it again”.

“I had quite a bit of it last time, but I loved it. Once you perform in those conditions, the people love you here and they love a good fight,” he said.”We’re here to play aggressive cricket, play the brand of cricket that Australia plays. They can expect a lot of fightbacks on the the bat and there’s going to be more aggression this time around with the whole squad.”

A suggestion from Peter Siddle that Kohli would be daunted leading his country in Tests for the first time was rebuffed with a wry smile.

“Well that’s for me to know and for me to experience, to go out there and know how it is. I’ve played against him, he [Siddle] is quite a competitive guy, so I’m not surprised there’s already some banter starting from that end.

“But I don’t mind all that. I’m here to experience this new stage, this new area for me, captaining in the Test format, and I’m pretty confident of the ability the guys have. It’s up to me how I handle them, how I handle different situations,” he said.

“I love leading the side, I love being captain, I love putting my first foot forward and putting in my [views] throughout the game. I don’t see any issues on why I can’t be up to the challenge. As long as the team backs me and puts in the performances we want, I think I’m going to look good at the end of the day.”

Kohli said little about the potential for Michael Clarke to miss the start of the series, on the basis he was unsure about the severity of the Australia captain’s hamstring injury.

CA XI (from): Ashton Turner (c – WA), Ryan Carters (NSW), Harry Conway (NSW), Alex Gregory (SA), Sam Grimwade (Vic), Seb Gotch (Vic), Josh Lalor (NSW), David Moody (WA), Jonte Pattison (NSW), Matt Short (Vic), Kelvin Smith (SA), Nick Stevens (Qld).INDIA (from): Virat Kohli (c), Varun Aaron, Ravi Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Naman Ojha, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Karn Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav.

Mixed emotions about a life spent at the smelter

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Please enable Javascript to watch this video►Toxic Truth: More stories
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THE Pasminco smelter closed more than a decade ago but Barry Bradley’s mind hasn’t quite moved on.

‘‘I still wake up at night and think I’ve got to start my shift in an hour,’’ he said.

It was with mixed emotions that the 38-year smelter veteran walked out the gate with 319 other workers for the last time in 2003.

The industry’s economic benefits could not be disputed; it had provided secure employment to thousands of men for more than a century.

In Mr Bradley’s case it had allowed him to buy a comfortable brick house in Fifth Street, Boolaroo, in which to raise his family.


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His income later allowed him to support them through university.

His career at the smelter started in 1965 – when he was 20 years old.

‘‘I moved up from Sydney and got a job as a plant operator. My job was to prepare charges to go into the furnace,’’ Mr Bradley said.

‘‘It was pretty horrendous in those early days, everything was hands on.’’

Although the pollution and safety standards gradually became tighter, the health and environmental effects remained a lingering concern.

‘‘In the early days there was a lot of lead dust and slag around. The slag was put into a lot of the footpaths and used as fill,’’ he said.

‘‘They spent millions and millions trying to upgrade the place over the years but it just ended up getting run back into the ground because they weren’t prepared to put the money in there.’’

Former Pasminco worker Barry Bradley. At his home in Boolaroo. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Remarkably, the 70-year-old doesn’t have any obvious ill-health effects from his four decades at the smelter. But he knows many others weren’t as lucky.

‘‘When I started working there it was a job and you didn’t think about it. In the ’90s they brought the [blood] lead level down to 30 parts per million. When I first started there anything up to 70 was acceptable,’’ said.

‘‘I would like to see an independent review done to test people who worked there for a long time, just to see what the [healthy/unhealthy] ratio is.’’

Like many others, Mr Bradley has questions about the remediation work done following the smelter’s closure.

‘‘When they came up and tested all the houses they said everything was all right. But I have very grave doubts about it.’’

Overall he likes what he sees when he walks around the town today – the new businesses and younger families that have moved in over the past decade make him particularly happy.

‘‘I’d like to think there will come a day when the smelter is completely forgotten,’’ he said.

NSW Fire and Rescue is responding to incidents relating to a storm in the Lake Macquarie area

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

10,000 homes blacked out, gas leak in Stockton, fires in Dungog Just thought we would share this picture my 16yr old daughter, Emma-Lee Webster from Blackalls Park, took whilst she was visiting at Cameron Park on Sunday afternoon.
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Lightning strike at Broadmeadow. Pic by Craig Smith, Twitter.

Merewether. Pic by Sally Ryan.

Lightning strike at Carrington. Pic by Jane Bourke-HuntCarrington

Maitland. Pic by Graham Harrison.

Newcastle, pic by JackNewtonCC.

Lightening strike over Pulbah Island. Pic David Jones.

Pic by Jay Small.

Pic by Justin Martin.

Pic by Darren Pateman.

Pic by Darren Pateman.

Pic by Darren Pateman.

Pic by Darren Pateman.

Merewether Baths. Pic by Dayne Steggles.

Pic by Alister Cant.

Pic by Alister Cant.

Pic by Michelle Faithful.

Pic by Jackie Sidney.

TweetFacebookUPDATE:A high pressure gas main is leaking at Stockton Hospital. HAZMAT and firefighters are in attendance. There are no evacuations.

In Dungog, 15 hectares are alight at Sugarloaf Rd, after a lightning strike. The Rural Fire Service is in attendance.

Rain has bucketed down in Newcastle between 7pm and 8pm Sunday.

Wallsend Bowling Club recorded 17mm, Macquarie College 19mm, Lookout Rd 15mm, Lambton Rd 16mm and Merewether pump station 12mm.

A severe weather warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology has been cancelled.

8pm:AUSGRIDhas confirmed that power has been cut to about 10,000 homes and businesses in the Hunter. Emergency crews are working to get supply back.

It is trying to restore power to homes but said because there was a total fire ban in place they would be required to patrol the entire length of power lines.This is to make sure everything is completely safe before the power is turned back on.

The SES has responded to 22 calls for assistance, mostly relating to leaking roofs.

Blackout breakdown

Swansea 3000 homes without power

Thornton 1000

Caves Beach 1700

Marks Point 900

Nords Wharfs 400

Pelican 400

7.15pm:A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman says firefighters are “flat out” in the Hunter responding to small fires from lightning strikes, including at Minmi, Tomago and Tarro.

They are en route to reports of a power pole which has caught alight in Shortland.

More to come

OPINION: Craig Wilson say businesses must go online or risk failure

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

A RECENT survey conducted by the Hunter Research Foundation shows that only 57per cent of companies questioned have a dedicated website, while just 37per cent of companies use social media to market their business.
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Despite more than 70per cent of the companies surveyed using the internet to conduct business-related research and to buy goods and services, companies are still failing to use this same technology to enhance their own business.

In 2015 the need to have a serious digital marketing strategy will be more crucial than ever. Here are seven things you need to do now to compete and thrive.

1. Get serious about online

Your customers start their search for a product or service online. They want the best information available immediately. If they can buy or inquire online, they will. If they need to physically visit your location to do business with you, then:

a. You’d better hope your competitors are in the same boat.

b. You must give them enough information online to ensure they make it to your fine establishment, or your competitors will.

Unless you get really serious about online and make it central to your plans, you can start considering new career options.

2. Create great content

Potential customers aren’t looking for you; they’re looking for answers and solutions. They don’t Google “your name”, they search for “the solution your service or product provides”.

They also trust the word-of-mouth effect of social media and are more likely to visit a site recommended to them by a “friend” online.

The key to all this is producing good content.

Good content offers solutions. It’s helpful and useful. Its not about your business, it’s about your customer’s potential needs. Good content gets shared online. It becomes popular. It tends to rank higher in search results. It speaks to the customer.

You need to produce good content on your website regularly. Static websites don’t deliver business.

3. Use social networks

Australians spend more time on social networks than any other country in the world. We like to share good information and social networks have made it easier than ever to share information at the click of a button.

At the very least, you should enable sharing buttons on your website so that visitors can easily share that great content you are hopefully producing.

To really get social, you need to set up accounts and dedicated pages for your business with Facebook, Twitter and probably LinkedIn. Then you have to work those accounts. There’s no escaping this … it has to be done.

4. Optimise your website for search

Being found online in search engines is not just a luxury, it is a necessity. You need to immediately start optimising multiple pages of your website for important industry search terms. The more they address needs and solutions the better. In my experience, search engine optimisation has been the single greatest contributor to business growth in the past decade and can provide a significant advantage over competitors.

5. Track conversion

Attracting traffic to your website is nice, but converting traffic into fans, inquiries and sales is even nicer. PDF downloads, newsletter subscriptions, inquiry forms, free trials … these can all work to help turn visitors into customers. But it only happens if you provide the right call to action. What are you doing to convert your traffic?

6. Think mobile

The smartphone is now ubiquitous. You need to pay serious consideration to how your business will compete with the growth of the mobile consumer. Is your website mobile friendly? Should you build apps? Is there a particular aspect of your business that is more suited to mobile that you can build upon?

7. Learn about inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is about attracting visitors and converting them to customers rather than the old advertising approach of blasting everyone with the hope of hitting some potentially interested buyers. Inbound leads to higher conversion rates and better use of your marketing budget. The more you think “inbound”, the more you will be acting like a modern web marketer.

Craig Wilson is managing director of digital marketing agency Sticky and co-founder of the DiG Festival.

Twitter: @mediahunter

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Sydney’s heatwave nears record highs before rain brings relief

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Sea fog descends on Maroubra beach on Sunday. Photo: James AlcockParts of NSW sweltered through record high temperatures and severe fire danger on Sunday, with the hot weather lasting well into the afternoon.
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Most parts of the state will be in for a reprieve on Monday, although some parts of western Sydney and broader NSW can expect to continue suffering through the heat.

By mid-afternoon many parts of NSW were still suffering under temperatures that were getting close to hitting the November record of 46.6 degrees Celsius, before rain provided some relief.

Some children’s sports matches were cancelled as the high temperatures proved too much.

Richmond reached its highest November temperature since records began in 1939 about 3:30 pm, hitting 45.3 degrees.

At the same time, Penrith hit 44.9, and Cessnock Airport 44.5.

A spokesman for the Rural Fire Service said more than six water-bombing aircraft were used throughout the day to fight fires across the state, with three remaining at “watch and act” status by Sunday afternoon, but no property losses.

“Certainly, the temperatures have been way up there, along with the winds,” he said.

But while Sunday had seen seven total fire bans in place and a number of severe fire danger warnings, Monday was expected to have only one total fire ban, in the Dubbo area.

“Things are looking to back-off a little, and on the coastal areas things won’t be so hot,” he said.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Peter Zmijewski said  the top temperature in the state was in the Wanaaring area, which reached 46 degrees.

“We won’t be seeing those widespread, very high temperatures [on Monday], although it will remain hot in some parts of the north-east of the state, around the north-west slopes and plains and the upper-Hunter,” he said.

On Monday, Sydney is expected to see a top of 30 degrees, with a 70 per cent chance of rain. Tuesday and Wednesday will see tops in the mid-20s, with a medium chance of rain.

Although parts of western Sydney would still see temperatures in the early to mid 30s, he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology had revised earlier predictions that inner and coastal Sydney would be hit with unusually high November temperatures on Sunday.

But people swimming in the eastern suburbs beaches were treated to another unusual sight – a strange sea fog that moved around the Coogee area for much of the day.

Mr Zmijewski said it was hard to know what was causing the fog, as it would usually occur further out to sea where it was not closely observed.

“Most of the time it is what we call a ‘steaming fog’, in other words some warm, moist air moving over cooler water,” he said. “It could also be caused by cold currents coming through”.

Edison Bayas, an under-13s coach for the Sydney Falcons, said some children’s soccer matches had been cancelled.

“It certainly was tough out there for the boys who played,” he said. “There were lots of ice-bucket challenges on the side-lines… but you can’t push it – it’s about the welfare of the children”. He said the rubber in the pitches made them easier to use in rain, but heated them up by several degrees in the heat.

Eric Myatt, the executive officer for the NSW District Cricket Association, said he had not heard of any children’s cricket matches being cancelled.

“We manage the games and just keep the drinks flowing,” he said. Umpires at each ground would call off matches if it got to hot, as well as using techniques such as spraying players on the field with water, he said.

Abbott’s $7 Medicare co-payment is on hold amid Senate ructions

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Not heard anything: Independent Senator Nick Xenophon assumes that the proposed Medicare co-payment is “on the backburner”. Photo: Quinn RooneyThe Abbott government’s $7 Medicare co-payment appears to be on hold, with crossbench senators saying they’ve had no recent discussions with the government about the controversial budget measure.
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With Parliament starting its final sitting fortnight of the year on Monday, the government is under pressure to snatch a legislative victory before Christmas, with its higher education reforms tipped to be the likeliest contender.

Cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss the year ahead. But the Abbott government faces perhaps even greater headaches getting legislation through the Upper House with Senator Jacqui Lambie expected to announce she will split from the Palmer United Party.

On the proposed $7 Medicare co-payment, key crossbench Senators Nick Xenophon, David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day all said they had not heard from the government lately on the issue.

“I just assume it’s on the backburner,” Senator Xenophon told Fairfax Media.

Senator Day likewise said he’d “not had any discussions lately”, while Senator Leyonhjelm told ABC’s Insiders program: “I haven’t had any discussions with [Health Minister] Peter Dutton’s office on that for quite a while now.”

A spokesman for Mr Dutton said that talks with the crossbenchers were “ongoing” but the government would “not provide a running commentary on these discussions”.

Labor on Sunday called on the government to rule out trying to push the co-payment through by regulation rather than legislation – a move it used to resume indexation on fuel excise and for its “future of financial advice” reforms before a last-ditch reversal by Senator Lambie and Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir.

Shadow Health Minister Catherine King said she wrote to Treasurer Joe Hockey last week demanding the government rule out “trying to sneak its GP tax in via the back door”.

Coalition sources meanwhile said there was concern in the ranks that Prime Minister Tony Abbott had not done enough to personally reach out to crossbenchers to win their support for contentious bills.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott retorted that “while we don’t comment on specifics of the Prime Minister’s schedule, discussions with crossbench senators are ongoing”.

Senate leader Eric Abetz will hold a briefing session for the crossbenchers on Monday morning to outline the government’s agenda for the final fortnight.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has indicated a willingness to compromise on his higher education reforms, though Senator Xenophon said on Sunday he could not see any breakthrough at present.

Among other changes, the reforms include the controversial abolition of caps on the fees universities can charge students.

On Monday, peak body Universities Australia will launch an advertising campaign to urge crossbench Senators to pass the reforms with amendments including reducing the cut to taxpayer funding to universities, keeping student loans at the low interest rate of inflation, and help for rural and poor students.

Complicating the task for the government, Senator Lambie is expected to quit the PUP after her spectacular falling out with leader Clive Palmer.

A spokesman said Senator Lambie would decide after consulting with “family friend and Tasmanian barrister” Glynn Williams, whom she was expecting to meet with late on Monday. Mr Williams is president of Poppy Growers Tasmania, which Senator Lambie supports, the spokesman said.

Hesitant buyers see properties passed in at auction

04/12/2018 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

10/88 Alt Street Ashfield, didn’t go to auction. 279 Chalmers Street, Redfern, sold $90,000 over reserve for $1.19 million.
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2/225 Wardell Road in Dulwich Hill sold for $765,000.

Searing heat failed to thaw buyers’ cold feet in Sydney’s auction market at the weekend.

While some auctions were red hot, a noticeable chunk of the 870 Sydney homes listed to go under the hammer sold prior due to lack of buyer competition, with some auctions being postponed, passed-in or withdrawn.

Lack lustre registrations forced a last-minute auction cancellation of a basic, 45-square-metre unit at 10/88 Alt Street Ashfield. Despite the one-bedder needing minor cosmetic work, having a common balcony and being accessed by four flights of stairs, it was expected to sell because of the low price guide of $350,000 – $370,000.

Two first-home buyers due to register for the modest home pulled out just before 11am proceedings. Raine and Horne Ashfield agent Tony Andreacchio said the last time he cancelled an auction on the day was a decade ago.

“I was surprised with the no-shows,” he said.

“There were legitimate circumstances for the potential buyers to not participate; one was financial, the other was concern over the looming expiry lease.

“But surprisingly for this low-end, bargain price of the inner west market, we got very average numbers through with 21 group inspections and nine contracts issued.

“We’ve had other properties go through the roof but this one should still sell easily in the next two weeks because of the low price, parking and location, being a 10 minute walk to Ashfield Station.”

He said the vendors, who bought it in 2007 for $193,000, will relist the property on Monday morning for $375,000. After a minor cosmetic lift, the property would fetch between $375-$385 in rental return.

Many agents Domain spoke to during the week reported to selling prior or potentially postponing or cancelling auctions due to less competition.

Busy independent auctioneer Tom Panos blamed the recent drop in clearance rates on timing and too much choice.

“There are plenty of buyers and they are usually pickier during the year but now it’s all about getting their weekends back and some are waiting until next year to buy,” he said.

“The properties that tick all the boxes are doing exceptionally well but properties that only tick a few boxes only have one or two interested parties and not enough competition.

“Vendors are selling for less prior to auction because they are eager to get out before the year finishes.

“Normally my personal clearance rate is 90-95 per cent but this weekend I had two auctions in a row that didn’t sell which is very rare.

“Less people were attending open houses about seven weeks ago and now we are seeing more withdrawn auctions, properties being sold prior and auctions that are sold with the real estate agents grinding out a sale with just one bidder.

“This appears to be purely a result of demand and supply. Agents and vendors are all hopeful that when we restart auctions in February, the market will have the buoyancy of September and October of this year.”

Cooley Auctions head auctioneer Damien Cooley said he is also seeing this trend.

“No doubt the average number of bidders registering has reduced since winter due to the volume of property that has come on the market in November,” he said.

“Some suburbs have doubled, and some have tripled the number of properties on offer and buyers are spoiled for choice.

“There’s less likelihood more property will come on the market by the end of the year.

“The current stock has four to five weeks to sell but if they don’t they run the risk of being on the market in late January.”

While some properties struggled, there were solid performers too. A four-bedroom Victorian terrace at 279 Chalmers Street Redfern that sold $90,000 over reserve for $1.19 million and had seven registrations via Charles Touma of Belle Property Surry Hills.

A one bedroom, art-deco apartment at 2/225 Wardell Road in Dulwich Hill sold for $765,000 and had 18 bidders register via Ben Ayres of Raine and Horne Marrickville.