CARL Stevenson, being a fan of all sport I strongly believe that traditions should be respected therefore Olympic athletes should all compete naked. I just hope this doesn’t inspire a Matt Shirvington come back.
Steve Barnett,Fingal BayTHE proposed development at the old Store building looks great. It will totally revitalise the west end. I just hope and pray the Awabakal land council doesn’t try to acquire the site.
Stephen Paynter,New LambtonAbsolutely disgusting!Not only does he dive, but it seems Billy Slatercan knock on and still be rewarded. In my eyes he is a disgrace to the wonderful game of rugby league. However, the bunker has a lot to answer too. Is it any wonder AFL is fast overtaking crowd and player numbers in our state? I for one turned to another channel last Friday night as I am sick to death of overpaid players and administrators.
Matt McAlary,WaratahTHERE werea couple of glaring issues while watching the Broncos vs. Storm game.A40/20 kick which was a bit dodgy, and then a kick through by Billy Slater that in the referee’s opinion was a drop kick and therefore awarded a try. The only time I’ve seen a drop kick to be deemed legal is an attempted field goal or a kick-off. Even Billy Slater indicated he dropped itin the process of kicking the ball through. While it appears to be a referring error, there needto be 40/20 posts to determine more accurate kicks in general play.
Neil Meyers,Warners BayIS THAT the same Michael Cotts that worked at Big Harry’s Place? Good to see you haven’t changed, still a character.
Darren Duffy,Bobs FarmANDREW Whitbread-Brown (Short Takes 24/4):global coal production was7200m tonnes in 2016, double what it was 40 years previously. It is estimated that coal production will continue to increase out to 2040 at least. Coal is so this century.
Peter Devey,MerewetherANDREW Constance has ruined Newcastle for the people in the Hunter.We did not want to get off the train at Wickham, like the Maitland people and go a very short trip to Newcastle on a Bus. Can not put bikes and others on a bus or one day a light Rail. The people that have shops in Hunter Street are suffering. The money should have been spent on the beach wall at Stockton, Hospitals & Schools. He knows how to waste money.
George Tattersell,New LambtonFANCY putting a main road in the middle of an industrial centre. Munibung Road will be a black spot for accidents with all the trucks and couriers in and out of business driveways. Wake up to yourself, Lake Macquarie Council, before someone gets hurt.
Ross Jurd,EdgeworthTHE Greens want to drop the voting age to 16. The reason is simple enough: only people with undeveloped, juvenile brains vote green, a quick fix to the downturn of green support.
Steve Barnett,Fingal Bay
A Supreme Court judge said Senior Constable Colin Randall killed his baby in a “horrendous attack”.Senior Constable Colin David Randall was so frustrated a work transfer was refused that when he was left alone with his baby son for the first time, he punched him to death.
Then 37, he struck his 10-week-old baby Kye in the stomach with such force it “pulped” his liver, ruptured organs and bruised the boy’s lower back.
For three-and-a-half years after killing his son he lied to his wife, medical staff and investigators, but his ruse came undone when he pleaded guilty to manslaughter last Friday.
After Kye died in hospital in June 2014, Randall pretended it was due to injuries caused when he had incorrectly performed CPR.
His story was that he had put Kye in a swing and set about vacuuming his home, only to find him limp and unresponsive.
And for a while Randall’s wife Debbra Chambers believed him.
“For 18 solid months after Kye died, I was lied to, manipulated, deceived by the man who I was married to, believing Kye’s death was a tragic accident somehow and all his father did was try and save him,” she told Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“I believed everything you said. I trusted you being my husband, my closest partner, the father of my children and a serving police officer.”
What really happened between Randall and Kye was revealed in court as preparations were made to sentence him for manslaughter, following the plea that came one week before he was due to face trial charged with murder.
Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said the day had started much the same as any other.
The usual routines were undertaken until Ms Chambers popped out to nearby shops.
She left Randall alone with their boy for the first time, unaware of how frustrated he had become.
The court heard Randall, a former science teacher, had been having an affair with a police administrative worker from Hervey Bay and was fixated on moving his family there.
After making arrangements to relocate, his plans were dashed when police knocked back his transfer request.
This led to an act of extreme violence, in which he lashed out and killed his son.
“It’s just an horrendous attack on a 10-week-old baby,” Justice Peter Davis said.
It left the boy with severe internal injuries, from which he never recovered.
“The child went into cardiac arrest because of the trauma,” Mr McCarthy said.
He was taken to hospital and for two-and-a-half hours unsuccessful attempts were made to resuscitate him.
Mr McCarthy told the court Randall should be given a sentence comparable to Heidi Strbak.
She was jailed five months ago for a minimum four years for killing her four-year-old son.
Randall remains suspended from the police force and is expected to be dismissed after being sentenced in the coming weeks.
Australian Associated Press
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Coal wagons being loaded for shipment to Newcastle before use by Aurizon to haul coal for mining company MACH EnergyNEIGHBOURING Hunter coal mines Bengalla and Mount Pleasant have ended a court dispute brought by Bengalla in April last year.
Under the agreement, Mount Pleasant’s owner MACH Energy has agreed to remove infrastructure it had put up on land that Bengalla argued would hinder its future development.
MACH had disputed Bengalla’s assertion,but after settling their differences, MACH has until the end of October 2022 to pull down the disputed rail infrastructure and Bengalla will provide it with an alternative site.
Bengalla has also agreed to pay MACH $12 million in instalments.
The Mount Pleasant mine was proposed for many years by Coal & Allied, which sold it to MACH for $220 million in 2016.
MACH began building infrastructure soon after, and last month, theQueensland-based rail company Aurizon announced the arrival of 32 coal wagons in Newcastle it said weredestined for MACH Energy, as part of a larger consignment of 284 wagons.
“The new wagons will enter service for our newest customers, AGL Macquarie andMACHEnergy, demonstrating the strong growth we have seen in our New South Wales Coal haulage operations since we started in 2005,” Aurizon NSW manager Catherine Baxter said.
MACH energy criticised the Bengalla court action from the start, saying it was entitled to build the infrastructure where it had.
The Bengalla action was brought by shareholder New Hope Corporation, which said that under Mount Pleasant’s 1999 development approval, the mine owners were required toconsultwith Bengalla over access and coal-carrying infrastructure.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the two parties said the proceedings wereto be discontinued, with each party bearing its own costs.
The statement said Bengalla wouldsupport the two applications lodged by MACH to modify the Mount Pleasant development consent, to extend the life of the Mount Pleasant Mine from 2020 to 2026 and to construct its long-term rail and associated infrastructure.
It said Bengalla would provide land to MACH to buildits long-term rail and associated infrastructure.
MACH had agreed to remove its existing, short-term rail and other infrastructure, which waslocated south of Wybong Road, Muswellbrook, by October 31, 2022, in order to make way for continuation of Bengalla’s mining operations south of Wybong Road.
MACH would transfer the contested land to Bengalla by the same date.
Bengalla would pay$12 million to MACH, by instalments.
“The relocation of MACH’s Infrastructure from Bengalla’s approved expansion area was always intended under each mine’s relevant approvals and will allow operations at both mines to continue unimpeded,” the joint statement said.
“The continued operation of both mines will generate significant employment opportunities and economic benefits for the local community and the state of NSW.”
A former police officer has been named as a serial killer in California in the 1970s and 80s.After a 42-year investigation that included leads stretching as far away as Australia, US authorities have announced they have captured the rapist and serial killer dubbed the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist.
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr, a 72-year-old former police officer, was arrested in a dawn raid in California’s capital, Sacramento, on Wednesday.
DeAngelo Jr’s alleged reign of terror began in 1976 and appears to have ended in 1986.
Horrifying violent crimes took place across California from Oakland in the north to Orange County in the south.
He allegedly broke into homes, threatened his victims with guns or knives and committed 51 rapes of women and 12 murders.
The serial killer and rapist would wear a mask and during attacks where he confronted a husband and wife he sometimes tied the man up, put dishes on his back and raped the wife in another room.
If the dishes fell he would know the husband was attempting to escape.
The serial killer also allegedly would stay at the crime scene after committing the rape or murder, go to the victim’s kitchen and make himself a sandwich or other snack before leaving.
Authorities said they were unable to identify him until a major breakthrough just six days ago using DNA.
Before that DeAngelo Jr’s name never came up in their four decade long investigation.
“We all knew as part of this team that we were looking for a needle in a haystack,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert told reporters.
“But we also all knew the needle was there.”
Authorities were tight-lipped about giving away details, but they said they began a surveillance operation on DeAngelo Jr’s house in recent days, noted his movements and habits and collected a “discarded DNA sample”.
After they allegedly matched his DNA, a team of authorities set a trap and on Wednesday morning when he came out of his Sacramento home they arrested him.
There was renewed interest in the case when true-crime journalist Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was released in February and topped the New York Times bestseller list.
Ms McNamara died in 2016, but her actor-comedian husband Patton Oswalt helped finish the book.
Authorities said the book did not help them catch DeAngelo Jr, which led Oswalt to react on Twitter.
“Also, the cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case. But every time they said #GoldenStateKiller they credited the work of #MichelleMcNamara and #IllBeGoneInTheDark,” he wrote.
US authorities were so keen to catch the killer they investigated a theory he moved to Australia and committed rapes on young girls in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s.
That rapist earned an Australian moniker – Mr Cruel.
Victorian Police investigated the potential link between Mr Cruel and California’s Golden State Killer and ruled it out.
US authorities at Wednesday’s press conference in Sacramento also dismissed a trans-Pacific connection.
“We have no information the person was linked to Australia,” Ms Schubert said.
DeAngelo, according to media reports, was fired from California’s Auburn Police Department in 1979 after he was arrested for stealing a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drug store.
Australian Associated Press
Stephen Kearney says his side will have to learn fast from their crushing defeat by Melbourne.The Warriors will take some lessons out of their crushing defeat by NRL champions Melbourne, according to coach Stephen Kearney.
With only one loss against their name heading into the Anzac Day match, the high-flying Warriors were blasted off AAMI Park in the first half with the Storm scoring six tries before posting a 50-10 victory.
“It’s a good lesson for us,” Kearney said.
“I guess they highlighted a couple of areas where we need to be better so that’s a lesson.
“For us it’s about making those subtle little adjustments as we know we’ve got a couple of key things that work for us so we’ve got to get back to that.”
Kearney said he was encouraged by the way his team came out in the second half and responded with two tries to burly winger David Fusitu’a.
“I thought the way the guys came back at them in the second half …it would have been very easy for us to find a way right out of the contest but they didn’t do that,” he said.
The Warriors’ cause wasn’t helped losing star hooker Issac Luke for the match midway through the half with a knee injury.
But Kearney was hopeful it wasn’t serious. The Warriors have well-earned break before they next face Wests Tigers in Auckland on May 5.
“We need to wait for scans but he may miss a week, but we will wait to get that confirmed,” Kearney said.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith said it was uncharted territory being up the top of the ladder for many of the Warriors players and it would take its toll.
“A lot of their players haven’t dealt before with the position they are in – being on top of the ladder – every team is aiming up against them and it takes a lot of effort week by week to stay up,” Smith said.
Australian Associated Press
Ford denies allegations of unreasonable dealings over faulty Focus (pictured), Fiesta and EcoSport models. Picture: Supplied Ford has been fined $10 million after admitting unreasonable dealings with customers.
Lawyers for car maker Ford are due in court where they are expected to deny allegations of unreasonable dealings with customers who bought lemons.
The consumer watchdog claims Ford dealers refused to provide a refund or replacement car to customers who bought faulty vehicles that shuddered, jerked or lost power.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has previously outlined complaints concerning Ford’s Focus, Fiesta and EcoSport models sold in Australia between 2011 and 2016.
The 11-day trial is listed for the Federal Court in Melbourne, starting Thursday.
Ford’s defence counsel has previously told the court the company denies the allegations.
Australian Associated Press
Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr enhanced his NSW credentials with a star showing against the Warriors.Queensland skipper Cameron Smith says the prospect of lining up against Melbourne Storm teammate Josh Addo-Carr in a NSW jersey is a “scary thought”.
Addo-Carr scored twice in the Storm’s 50-10 demolition job on the Warriors with the first try an effort that would be sure to make Blues coach Brad Fittler take notice.
The 22-year-old winger was ankle tapped and bounced off defenders but still showed blistering speed to race 80 metres, and then stood up Kiwi Test fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to score.
“There’s not many guys in the comp who could do that,” Smith said.
“That’s a pretty special talent that he’s got and if he gets the chance to play for the Blues, that’s a scary thought for Queensland.
“You wouldn’t like to see him get the ball in any kind of open space … the ability he has to find points.”
Smith said that Addo-Carr had a few “loose ends” when he arrived in Melbourne last year from Wests Tigers, but had worked hard to fit in with the club.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said he couldn’t recall seeing a try scored like Addo-Carr’s first half effort.
“That was one hell of a try,” Bellamy said.
“He got ankle tapped and pushed off balance and to be able to regain his balance and then go around Roger, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a try like that scored.
“His last three weeks have been outstanding.”
Australian Associated Press
Federal government funding will try to link the spread of the Buruli ulcer to mosquitoes.Australia must use its research muscle to help stop the spread of a mysterious flesh-eating disease, the academic tasked with a multi-million project into its transmission in the southeast says.
University of Melbourne professor Tim Stinear will lead a two-year $3 million research project into Buruli ulcer which is believed to be linked to mosquitoes in spreading the bacteria to humans.
“Southeast Australia is one of the few places outside of west Africa where Buruli ulcer is prevalent,” he told the Doherty Institute on Thursday.
“This gives us an obligation, in fact, where we are well resourced, to study and try to understand this disease. It gives us a responsibility to do something about it.”
In one of the first investigations of its kind in the world to study the transmission of the Buruli ulcer, the study will use the funds to conduct a cull of the mosquitoes in coastal Victoria.
The federal government announced on Thursday it would invest $1.5 million to research the ulcer, which has spread throughout Victoria and far north Queensland.
Most commonly found in west or central Africa and usually associated with stagnant water, it can have devastating impacts on sufferers, including long-term disability and deformity.
In Victoria, the number of people contracting the disease has increased, with 182 new cases in 2016, 275 in 2017 and 30 so far in 2018 – and experts say there is potential for the disease to affect thousands in the state each year.
An additional $1.5 million will come from partnership funding including $250,000 from the Victorian government.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the nation had a genuine pathway to stop what can be an agonising and disfiguring condition while giving hope to others they may never have to endure it.
“This research money is about saving lives and protecting lives,” Mr Hunt said.
“Tim and his team already have a strong hypothesis about mosquito-borne transmission and if they can confirm that, then we can eradicate hotspots. We will be on our way, not just to providing a solution for Victoria and Australia, but for the world.”
More than $3 million has already been spent by state and federal governments in the past decade on researching the ulcer.
Australian Associated Press
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson stood by the decision to take a shot at goal when trailing 6-0.Sydney Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner has stood by coach Trent Robinson’s decision to kick a penalty while trailing early in their Anzac Day loss to St George Illawarra.
The Roosters had the best part of six sets on the Dragons’ line between the 14th and 22nd minute on Wednesday while trailing 6-0, before they ultimately made the decision to take the two points after three consecutive penalties.
The decision to take the shot at goal came from Robinson, and resulted in Dragons players fist pumping and celebrating having survived the attack without conceding a try.
But Cordner said the decision remained the right one.
“Sometimes when you’re down on their line and plays aren’t going well and you’re not executing and getting the tackle breaks or tries it is good to take the two points and reassess,” Cordner said.
“I thought our yardage sets were going well for us.”
Robinson also defended the call after the Roosters finished the game with 34 tackles in the Dragons’ red-zone for just one try.
“I just thought they were getting stuck on the line there and it was a good option to take the two and get back into our yardage sets,” Robinson said.
“I thought we were pretty dominant for most of that first half in the end. I thought the teams were going toe to toe there.
“There weren’t many opportunities today in that area. It would have been better to execute there. It’s a work in progress.”
Privately, coaches are beginning to think it’s easier to take shots at goal to work back into matches and attempt to stop the constant flow of penalties close to the line, which are often aimed at stifling the attack.
The Dragons fell into the same problem in Auckland last week, where they were awarded 10 first-half penalties but struggled to find momentum amongst the stoppages in their only loss of the year.
Regardless but, Dragons coach Paul McGregor admitted his team grew in confidence out of the decision while second-rower Tariq Sims took it as a win.
“When you’re out there just tackling and repeatedly getting smashed on the line and then to turn them away and turn them away and for them to turn around and take the two was a huge win mentally for us,” Sims said.
Australian Associated Press
Empowering people to make healthier choices, like moves at Pyrenees community pools, will drastically curb thirst for sugary drinks, Cancer Council Victoria’s chief says.
Cancer Council findings released on Thursday showed a nine per cent drop in Victorians who consumed four or more cups of sugary drinks each week after a targeted six-week campaign linking sugary drinks with toxic belly fat.
The study, published inBritish Medical Journal,found no consumption change in South Australia where the campaign did not air.
Cancer Council Victoria chief executive officer Todd Harper said the difference was largely in providing people with information to make healthier diet choices, whether this be via a campaign or product presentation, like at Pyrenees pools, or product price.
Avoca, Beaufort and Landsborough pools avoided 40 kilograms of sugar in the first summer of a phased approach to more prominently present healthier options.
This started with water and lightly flavoured water and last summer expanded to snacks at the YMCA-operated pools.
Ballarat’s thirst for sugary drinks is well-documented with almost one in seven consuming high-sugar beverages daily, according to a study last year.
In parts of regional Victoria, one in four adults is quenching their sweet tooth daily.
Mr Harper supported a much-hyped sugar tax on drinks, saying money raised could be invested into community health awareness.
“(Cancer Council’s)campaign was not only found to be effective in changing behaviour but was also great value for money,” Mr Harper said.
“(A study)showed the same campaign duplicated four times a year for three years would cost $9.8 million but save more than $51 million in health costs.
“There are powerful learnings from this and hopefully this will give governments the confidence to invest in these types of prevention campaigns.”
Mr Harper said there was low general awareness thatsugary drinks consumption and weight gain heightened cancer risk.
Plus, awareness of healthier diet was important in cancer recovery.
Treasurer Scott Morrison says increased revenue means he won’t need to hike the Medicare levy.Paralympian Kurt Fearnley is leading the charge for furious disability rights advocates angry at the Turnbull government’s decision to abandon a Medicare levy hike to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The groups, now anxious about the future of the NDIS, are demanding a secure, long-term funding source.
“We continue to play politics and kick the can down the road (in terms of securing stable funding). This move will not go quietly,” Mr Fearnley said on Thursday.
READ MORE: ‘Won’t go quietly’: Kurt Fearnley hits out at reversal on disability funding
People with Disability Australia co-chief executive Therese Sands said her members felt “stunned, betrayed and ambushed” after the key 2017 federal budget measure was dropped.
“The Medicare levy increase was intended to guarantee fundingAustralian Associated Press
STEEL Street will link Hunter Street and Honeysuckle Drive when works due to begin next week are complete.
The state government has announced it will allow drivers to cross the light rail tracks at Steel Street between the two major thoroughfares, as well as establishing a right-turn lane for northbound traffic onto Honeysuckle Drive.
A westbound turn lane onto Steel Street is designed to increase the capacity of that intersection.
Work will also include pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and pedestrian islands.
The upgrade is expected to take three months and will begin on Tuesday, weather permitting.
Trees on Honeysuckle Drive and one on Steel Street will be removed as part of the project. Off-road workswill be carried out between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 6pm on Saturdays.
“To minimise traffic disruption, most road work will be carried out at night between 7pm and 7am from Sunday to Thursday, subject to approval,” the government said in a statement.
Former federal Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella is suing a newspaper and its editor for defamation.Former Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella felt “sick to her stomach” when she read an article wrongly accusing her of pushing an opponent during a photo opportunity while campaigning for the 2016 federal election.
Ms Mirabella is suing weekly newspaper The Benalla Ensign and its editor Libby Price in the Victorian County Court over an April 2016 article about an encounter with Indi member Cathy McGowan.
Ms Mirabella, who lost the seat to Ms McGowan in 2013, says the article defamed her by falsely claiming she pushed the incumbent MP out of the way of a photograph for her own political benefit.
Barrister Georgina Schoff QC said the newspaper admits the article, which had the headline “Awkward encounter”, was wrong.
“One of the strange things about this case is that there is no dispute that the defendants got this wrong,” she told a jury of six people in Wangaratta on Thursday.
Ms Schoff said The Benalla Ensign admits Ms Mirabella did not push Ms McGowan.
“That article was fake news,” the barrister said.
The offending article was published five days after then-aged care minister Ken Wyatt visited a Benalla facility on April 15, 2016 for the opening of a new wing.
Ms McGowan was also present and requested a photo with Mr Wyatt.
But a Liberal Party staffer and Ms Mirabella wanted to avoid “giving her legitimacy” with Liberal voters.
Mr Wyatt subsequently made an excuse about not having enough time, and Ms McGowan asked Ms Mirabella “you don’t mind, do you?”
The Liberal candidate replied: “If you wanted to have promotional material with a Liberal minister, you should have run as a Liberal candidate”.
Five days later, The Benalla Ensign ran its article claiming Ms Mirabella had “publicly pushed” Ms McGowan.
Ms Price did not witness the encounter, instead relying on four sources, Ms Schoff said.
Six months later, after the federal election, The Benalla Ensign acknowledged Ms McGowan was not pushed.
But by then Ms Mirabella knew the story would never go away.
“The paper got it wrong and she needs you to tell the whole world that the paper got it wrong,” Ms Schoff said.
Counsel for Ms Price and the newspaper, David Gilbertson QC, said the article was substantially true.
“The article wasn’t ‘fake news’ at all,” he told the jury of five men and one woman.
Saying someone had pushed someone out of the way “is a figure of speech”, he said.
Mr Gilbertson also said Mr Wyatt will give evidence Ms Mirabella had put her hands on his chest to prevent him turning and having his photo taken.
“It is substantially true that Ms Mirabella pushed a politician to prevent him from having a photo being taken with Ms McGowan,” he said.
Ms Mirabella appeared emotional as she described her entry into politics and her family background from the witness box on Thursday afternoon.
She is due to continue giving evidence on Friday.
Mr Wyatt and Ms McGowan are scheduled to appear next week.
Australian Associated Press