Support for new network

Wendouree MP Sharon Knight has thrown her support behind the new Ballarat Bus Network despite a series of complaints around the new timetable and the change to bus stops throughout the system.
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Backing the services: Wendouree MP Sharon Knight, Buninyong MP Geoff Howard and PTV chief executive Jeroen Weimar at the network unveiling in December last year. Picture: Kate Healy.

The new network which was unveiled on January 31 consolidated the region’s 19 bus routes into 15, with services boosted on the remaining lines to provide an average of one bus every half an hour.

In the weeks since the network was unveiled residents from a number of suburbs including Golden Point, Wendouree and Lake Gardens have expressed concern at the new arrangements.

Ms Knight said while there had been some negative feedback in the wake of the roll-out, the reaction was inevitable given the magnitude of the changes. Public Transport Victoria and the state government also added 10 V/Line train services to and from Melbourne.

“There has been a mixed response but it’s a huge changeand the bus system hadn’t been reviewed in a long time so we knew it was going to be a big job,” Ms Knight said.

“We knew we needed to get more trains to thestation for commuters and we need to service that with more buses and there’s whole areas not even being serviced by the existing bus service.”

Ms Knight and Buninyong MP Geoff Howard will meet with PTV on Tuesday to discuss some of the complaints which have been made about the new system.

The Bus stop placement in Humffray Street near the corner of Water Street, connectivity to Central Square and the route connecting Wendouree to Ballarat North were among the issues which had been raised.

Ms Knight said she had been in regular dialogue with PTV and Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan since the service was unveiled at the end of January and was confident some of the faults could be ironed out in the coming months.

“We have already sent through a list of common complaints we are getting and we have also got a meeting with CDC planned because I want the perspective of the bus drivers who are ina great position to help us.”

The changes to the network have led to the creation of 36 new driver jobs due increase in services. Thirteen new buses were also built in Victoria to accommodate for the increase in traffic.

“CDCBallarat has created a significant boost to the local economy through employing 36 new staff to date as a direct result of the Ballarat Bus Network Upgrade,” A CDC spokesperson said. “The spread includes bus drivers, mechanics and operations staff.”

A PTV spokesperson said “The new bus network has been informed in consultation with the Ballarat community who overwhelmingly called for more direct routes with more frequent services and better connections with trains”.

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Tassie’s new side backs in ANL title win

QUICK HANDS: Cavaliers centre Shelby Miller passes off during a training drill in Launceston ahead of the Tasmanian Magpies’ ANL season. Picture: Scott GelstonStar Tasmanian Shelby Miller said the state’s new-look Magpies entity believe they can snare the Australian Netball Leaguepremiership in its inaugural season.
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The Launceston centre said the rookie teamis riding confidence ahead of facing Queensland Fusion after its season openeragainst the seven-time ANL winners.

While all the talk in the national media has been about Collingwood Magpies’ premiership favouritism for the maiden Super Netball title, Tasmania’s new netball side exceededexpectations in their debut appearance.

The state’s Magpies that included five Victorians for Collingwood’s feeder side delivered justVictoria Fury’s second defeatsince 2012.

“We stated at one of our team meetings before we played any games about goal-setting that our goal was all about winning the premiership,” Miller said.

“So I think in every game, no matter who you play, you have to go in expecting to win.If you’re not expecting to win that your mindset is not of a winning team.

“We definitely expected to do well and win that game.”

Miller, while studying year 11, last played ANL for Tassie Spirit in 2014 before heading ona hiatus to focus on study during the side’s last season.

FULL STRETCH: Shelby Miller finding it hard to keep her feet on the ground during training ahead of the Tasmanian Magpies’ ANL season. Picture: Scott Gelston.

Though Tasmanian Magpies dropped their second game the next day against the Fury, Miller said coach Jon Fletcher has convinced the girls of the right mentality before runningout on court.

“We talked about how they were the benchmark team of the competition; now we decided we’ve made ourselves the benchmark team of the competition,” she said.

“We can now build on that and hopefully other teams feel we are the benchmark.”

The Cavaliers 19-year-old said the Magpies shouldbe better prepared for the weekend’s second-leg in Brisbane against theQueenslanders.

Both sides are allowed to bring down unplayed Super Netball players from overnight for Sunday’s game.

“As our coach always says, it’s always two different games on each day; the team can vary a lot like it varied last week,” Miller said.

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PHOTOS| Central west students build their interest in merino industry

Trangie Central School students Jacana Powell, Demi Dunn and Abbie Fraser. Photo: Taylor JurdIncreasing students knowledge of the merino industry and giving them the opportunity to explore the agricultural industrywas the aim of the School Wethers Challenge.
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Held at the Dubbo TAFE campus along Narromine Road, on Monday, February 20, the students and their agricultural teachers were split into four groups which focuses on wool, nutrition, breeding and an industry overview.

Over 200 students from across the central west took part in the challenge.

This was the first time Tullamore Central School have participated in the School Wethers Challenge andagriculture teacher Natasha Shankelton said taking part would give her students a lot more exposure to merino wool and the meat industry.

“It’s our first year in the Challenge and it’s just a great opportunity to be a part of,” she said.

PHOTOS| Central west students build their interest in merino industry Gilgandra High School Ellanorah Matthews, Aysha Tobin, Mitchell Carlow, Matthew Coddington, Rabobank National Merino Show and Sale president. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Gilgandra High School Andrew Dinsey, Connor Whiteman, YR 11. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston.

Forbes High School Tye Stewart, Vanessa Cole, Mitchell Jack, Jack Piercy, Jack Hodges-Lockwood. Photo: Gabrielle Johnstone.

Greg Sawyer, AWN, Condobolin High School Kenny Dodds, Cameron Charles, Clifford Lanyerie, Dave White, teacher Anne Farney. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, Dubbo, Abbey Cusack, Jenni Tink, Angus Bodlan, Brett Cooper, AWN. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Gunnedah High School, left, Haylee Murrell, Lucy Moore, Helena Pease, front right, Philip Tydd, agriculture assistant. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Red Bend Catholic College, Matthew Mitton, Oliver Squire, Clinton Hooper, Hugh Squire, Grace Frazer. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Tullamore Central School Jack Darcy, Angus Porter, Lachlan Curr. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Trangie Central School students Jacana Powell, Demi Dunn and Abbie Fraser. Photo: Taylor Jurd

Gilgandra High Scool students Robyn Holland, Tianna Watt and Shanae Shepherd. Photo: Taylor Jurd

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Travel tips and advice: Hanoi’s new international airport is one of the best new airports in the world

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I’d like to recommend Hanoi’s new international airport, Noi Bai. Quick, clean and efficient, it’s one of the best new airports in the world. From disembarking to meeting our hotel limo driver outside the airport took an amazing seven minutes.

There are no queues at immigration. You don’t have to fill out those ridiculous “entry forms”. Just show your passport and within seconds it is stamped. A word of warning however, Australians need a visa.

You can get one before you leave from the Vietnam Embassy, or you can get one on arrival, however, to do this you will need US dollars to pay for your visa on arrival.

The airport is spotless. Even the toilets have a nice view. Everything you need is within the terminal building and once you leave, a fast new freeway takes you right into Hanoi itself. Airports like Noi Bai make travelling internationally a sheer pleasure.

Congratulations to the people of Hanoi for doing it right.

Alan Bohlsen, Phuket, ThailandCAPE OF GOOD TASTES

Brooke Walker, of Balmain, asked about good food in Cape Town (Tip-o-meter, February 12). Here are two very different places to eat.

Africa Cafe, 108 Shortmarket St. Cape Town ( offers a taste of many different types of food and the decoration of the cafe is great. We went in just for a coffee and went back at night for the dinner. Then there’s the historic Mount Nelson Hotel (belmond南京夜网/mountnelsonhotel) for high tea (book via email from Australia). It’s a wonderful experience of how the other half live!

Margaret Irwin, St Ives, NSWBARGAIN BRIGADE

We belong to the Affordable Travel Club. Based in the US, there are members scattered throughout the world. It costs nothing for an Australian to join. You must be prepared to occasionally host other travellers for a few days and provide breakfast.

The cost is $US20 a night. Members in countries other than the US may charge an additional US$10. Guests are encouraged to be away during the day so as not to interfere in hosts’ day-to-day lives, and hosts to offer local knowledge to the guests. You need to be over the age of 45.

Pam Fichtner, Matraville, NSWCOLOMBO PLAN

When you arrive in Sri Lanka spend the night when you arrive (and before departure) at seaside Negombo near the airport.  Visas are obtainable for the equivalent of $US30 online from Flights are only occurring from 4.30pm to 8.30am until April 6  because of runway repairs (we were told to arrive at the airport five hours before departure but got through in one hour). I easily booked Sri Lankan airline flights through Webjet.

L. Fagg, East Geelong, VIC

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Sayonara, Levi Strauss: How Japan stole the title of world’s best denim jeans from California

Kojima: Home of the Betty Smith Jeans Museum. Photo: JNTO Kojima Jeans Street (an area of the Museum). Photo: JNTO
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If we are in any doubt that we’re entering Japan’s denim capital, it is dispelled the moment we arrive at Kojima train station, in Okayama prefecture on the main island’s west coast.

There are displays of jeans everywhere, including a giant pair affixed to the wall of the entrance hall, beneath which we dutifully pose, fashionista-style. A 10-minute car ride later and we’re outside the two-storey log cabin that houses the Betty Smith Jeans Museum.

I usually have as much interest in garments and fashion as I do in crocheting or being prime minister. I go clothes shopping once a year and it’s over in an hour maximum. So I cannot imagine how this Betty Smith and her jeans are going to arouse anything other than cursory interest in me.  I’ll go in, say “yes nice threads” and then exit to find something more fascinating – like hot coffee – in the branded vending machine outside.

Once inside, there are, you’ve guessed it, jeans, hanging up as exhibits. One of them is even a replica of the prototype for Levi’s 501 range, supplied by the US manufacturer itself.

While several others in my group gaze at the exhibits and chatter excitedly, I drift into an historical dream.

In it I am mining in mid-19th century California, hoping to strike gold and make my fortune.

However, my clothes are too flimsy for the grinding labour or too hot for the West Coast conditions.

What I need is a brand new tough but comfortable fabric to wear.

This is where Levi Strauss, a German-born, San Francisco-based Jewish businessman and Jacob Davis, a Reno-based tailor, come in.

Seeing the gap in the market, they produce the first pairs of jeans, in 1873, made from a canvas-coloured denim.  At first they appear with rivets or buttons for flies, as zips are yet to be invented.

Levi Strauss and co have struck gold, and in a way that will last far longer than California’s supply of sparkling nuggets.

With its collection of vintage sewing machines and yes, replica jeans, from down the ages, it is this quirky museum in a Japanese town that has induced this daydream.  Not only that but it’s taught me a thing or two.

Such as why Japan adopted the US garment – after James Dean’s appearance in a pair in the movie Rebel Without a Cause in 1955 – and then ran with it at production houses in the traditional textile manufacturing town of Kojima, making them on imported heavy-duty sewing machines from America.

After a slow start in the late 1960s, Japanese denim and the country’s skilled workers made jeans a must-have luxury fashion item, as that ever reliable website, highsnobiety南京夜网, explains:

“In short, Japan’s obsession in recreating the American jeans they crazed over led Japanese denim manufacturers to become the world’s best in terms of knowledge and production. From then on it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on to the craftwork behind Japanese denim.”

Among the Japanese brands that made their mark were Big John, Bobson and Betty Smith. Betty Smith still produces all its jeans by hand, here in Kojima, with French and Italian fashion houses among their customers.

Some of the heavy equipment used in that jeans-making process, including original sewing, cutting and washing machines form another part of the exhibition.

Although the museum has tricked me into showing interest in jeans and how they are made, I draw the line at the second floor salon, where it’s possible to order a pair custom-made from a dizzying array of buttons, zips and different coloured denim.  Apparently, these jeans can be shipped internationally.

Nor am I tempted by the possibility of making myself a mobile-phone strap in the nearby workshop or of making a purchase – while several in my group buy big – from the purses, eco-bags and even denim yukatas (casual kimonos) at the factory outlet shop.

But hey, Betty Smith, whoever you are (or were), you’ve broken down at least part of my fashion resistance and your museum is clearly a hit, attracting 50,000 visitors a year to Kojima in search of the perfect jeans.  TRIP NOTES MORE



Betty Smith Jeans Museum and Village is at 5-2-70 Shimono Town, Kojima, Kurashiki City, Okayama, on the west coast of Japan’s main Honshu island.  It opens 9am-6pm daily, admission free.  TEL- +81 (0)86 473 4460. See

Daniel Scott was a guest of the Japan National Tourist Office 

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Could Nintendo’s Splatoon 2 be the next big esport?

Splatoon 2 is launching this year for the upcoming Nintendo Switch, a machine with much greater competitive potential than the Wii U.A portion of the Nintendo Switch’s reveal trailer showed two esports teams filing into an arena, picking up some Pro controllers and gearing up for a round of Splatoon in front of a roaring crowd. While seemingly fantasy, Splatoon 2 as an esport isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.
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Nintendo of America recently tweeted a surprising announcement: That Splatoon 2 would be able to connect 10 Switch consoles over LAN for a private match, four on each team and two observers able to spectate from player-perspective or an omniscient overhead view. Exciting news for #Splatoon2 fans! Private Battle Spectator View is a new feature allowing up to 2 non-players to spectate a Private Battle. pic.twitter南京夜网/4exL7trO1x— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 11, 2017

These two facts in tandem might indicate a marketing push to try to force “esports” in as a buzzword for a non-endemic game. Most of the best, and biggest, scenes come from grassroots efforts. Street Fighter was born in the fluorescent depths of arcades, Dota 2’s grandaddy was built on the bones of another game and Super Smash Bros. Melee almost revels in being an esport with no real publisher or developer support. Often the esports cart is put before the proverbial horse.

Splatoon isn’t quite the same though. This quirky, ink-based squid-shooter wasn’t pushed as an esports title for its release on the Wii U, and despite being on the Wii U, it gradually garnered a following.

Organisers of Splatoon events faced some of the most significant logistical challenges of any esport. In an AMA a year ago, members of several teams and organisers discussed the competitive scene. The tournament organiser for the Booyah Battle Series, “BestTeaMaker,” described the amount of equipment needed to host just a single competitive match:

“While there’s a whole suite of tools for players to play competitive with in place, there isn’t much from a spectator’s point. LAN events are also very hard and expensive to do due to the number of capture devices and ethernet connections needed”.

Any match in the past needed capture devices and ethernet connections to hook up ten Wii U’s, leaving an observer only 10 player point-of-view cameras to work with for play-by-play. That’s certainly far from ideal, but tournament organisers and teams pushed through to make events happen.

The passion for Splatoon is still alive, though muted. Streamers still play online, and players gather in a Discord server called “The Inkademy” to discuss builds and share strategies. One of the most interesting niches I found was a content creator who goes by “Silver,” who delves into really in-depth game theory topics using Splatoon. This one on whether low accuracy is a boon is really something else:

Though a spot of esports in the Switch’s reveal trailer may be a marketing grab, the reality is that Splatoon already has a passionate following. Users have delved into the game data, charting shots-to-kill and theorycrafting map strategies. Twitch streamers like PKFuzzy, SendouC and Its_Power_ play scrims during the day, streaming high-level play in the Competitive Splatoon community group.

Many games fail to garner a grassroots community, much less one as fervent as Overwatch or Super Smash Bros. But with the right tools in the right place, and on a brand-new system, the stars might be aligning for Splatoon to have a real competitive presence.

Could it be at the level of say, the League Championship Series or The International? Probably not. But for passionate folks who have been hooking up dozens of Elgato capture cards and ethernet connections just to host a small tournament, being able to build up the scene without hardware or software limitations might be all they need.

For a community willing to go to that trouble and endure over a year of pushing a Wii U scene as far as it can go, the possibilities with these tools are exciting. celebrates video game culture with news, reviews and long form features.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe all but rules out rate cuts, defends corporate tax cuts

Dr Lowe says cutting rates would make housing affordability even worse. Photo: Jim MaloThe head of the Reserve Bank has dashed hopes of a further cut in interest rates, pleading for people to “focus on other things other than quarter of a per cent moves in the cash rate”.
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Appearing before a parliamentary inquiry in Sydney governor Philip Lowe said the Australian economy was set to rebound as the “headwind from falling commodity prices turned into a gentle tailwind”.

The headwind from falling mining investment “should blow itself out before too long”. Australia was also about get the payoff from large increases in production of liquefied natural gas. There were even “green shoots” of recovery in Western Australia.

The downside risks were much diminished from when he last appeared before the committee in September.

But he was often told that rates should be a bit lower “to try to encourage employment and get inflation up a bit”.

“People on my own staff argue this,” he told the hearing.

“The counter argument is that lower interest rates would mainly work through encouraging people to borrow more.”

“That would probably push up house prices a bit more, because most of the borrowing would be borrowing for housing.”

“While that would have some positive effect on the economy, the issue we are dealing with internally is how that would add to fragility.”

“Household debt is at record levels. Is it really in the national interest to get a little bit more employment in the short term at the expense of encouraging that fragility?”

Central banks in other countries were given more limited mandates, usually to target inflation, and probably would have cut interest rates further were they in Australia’s position. But the Reserve Bank was also charged with ensuring “the general welfare of the Australian people”.

It had to consider other things including real estate prices and household debt. House prices

Dr Lowe offered a “personal perspective” on housing affordability, saying he had two teenage children who would soon need places to live.

“I’ll be okay because I am paid a lot of money,” he said. “But high prices are entrenching inequality. Many people are putting too much of their money into housing. “In the days of higher wage growth it was much easier to pay of home loans. With wage growth now near 2 per cent buyers are forced to bear the burden of high repayments for much longer.”

“We certainly don’t solve the problem of high house prices by adding to demand. We solve it by increasing supply.”

“The things you can do involve transport, zoning and jobs. Most are matters for the states rather than the federal government. The population densities of our biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne not that high by world standards. We’ve got to make them denser, but not everyone likes that.”

Asked about immigration, Dr Lowe said if the only objective was to reduce pressure on house prices, there would be a case for cutting immigration, but he saw the program as a source of strength.

“I am fond of telling visitors 40 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas. I wouldn’t want to give up that kind of advantage just for property prices.”

Asked whether it would help to rein in the so-called negative gearing tax break for investors, he said what was more important was the capital gains tax discount, which made negative gearing attractive. Australian dollar

Although Australia’s present exchange rate of 77 US cents to the dollar was not necessarily overvalued, Dr Lowe “would like it to be lower, if I had the choice”.

“It would be better if it was lower still, but the dollar is hard to forecast. Economists believe the best forecast is where the rate is at the moment, but we can probably expect it to climb with climbing commodity prices and fall when they fall.” Penalty rates

The Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates would not necessarily make the Reserve Bank’s job worse by cutting consumer spending.

“If people have less in their pocket there will be less spending if you look at the individual,” Dr Lowe said. “But if you look overall it might allow more people to have more jobs. And when more people have joss they feel like they have more security and are more willing to spend.” Company tax

While Australia would face increasing tax competition from other countries cutting company tax, it was up to the parliament how it responded.

“Since the global financial crisis other governments have been talking about company tax rates as low as 15 to 20 per cent,” he said.

“I think you could argue that from a global perspective that is not useful. But that’s not the world that we live in. The choice for the parliament is whether to respond. Are we going to say ‘no’ because we’ve got other advantages that mean foreign firms want to move here?”

“Some countries for better or worse have decided to have lower corporate tax rates or less enforcement of the existing legislation as a way of attracting more foreign investment. The issue for us is not so much attracting foreign investment to buy the existing assets, it is foreign investors coming in and creating new assets and new jobs and new growth, and that capital is very mobile.”

“Australia has lots of advantages and firms come here for a lot of reasons, clearly a skilled workforce and the political system and property rights, and the wonderful places we have to live, but tax is a consideration, and I think it you are uncompetitive in the tax race you will probably get a few less dollars of capital formation from foreign firms in the country.

“It’s a choice for the parliament. It’s a decision about foreign investment, because dividend imputation makes a tax cut effectively irrelevant for Australian firms”. President Trump

It was too early to tell whether the policies of the new US president Donald Trump would boost or harm the world economy, Dr Lowe said.

The biggest risk was that he would erect barriers that wound back international trade.

“We will be the big losers if that deteriorates,” Dr Lowe said. “Our ability to sell our minerals, and our services to the rest of the world is critical to our standard of living.

“I suspect in many western societies we have passed the high water mark for public support for open international trading. It’s probably rue in Australia.”

“The idea that we make ourselves wealthier by erecting barriers, it’s crazy.”

Follow Peter Martin on Twitter and Facebook

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Sydney woman Margaret Goodwin struck by lightning in Bowral dies in hospital

Margaret Goodwin died in hospital, five days after she was struck by lightning. Photo: Rockdale Uniting ChurchA Sydney woman who was struck by lightning while sitting on a park bench with her two sisters has died in hospital, five days after a series of severe thunderstorms battered parts of NSW.
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Friends have remembered Margaret Goodwin, 61, as a dedicated member of the Rockdale Uniting Church, who “always thought of others’ needs before her own”.

Mrs Goodwin, the wife of the church’s minister, the Reverend Martin Goodwin, died peacefully in Royal North Shore Hospital on Thursday morning, after her life support was switched off.

Her sisters, twins Pam and Heather, survived the lightning strike.

Ms Goodwin and her sisters were in Corbett Gardens in Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands, about 3pm on Saturday when severe thunderstorms hit the area.

The sisters sought shelter from the storm under a large tree, on one of the park’s benches. It’s understood one of the sisters was holding an umbrella when lightning struck the women.

Police said a witness alerted police at Bowral police station, and an officer ran to the gardens and began performing CPR on Mrs Goodwin, who was the most seriously injured.

She was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition.

Mrs Goodwin’s sisters – aged 60, and from Mulgoa and Canberra – were treated at Concord Hospital and have since been released.

A friend said the sisters had met in Bowral, a half-way point between their homes, and spent a lovely day together before tragedy struck.

Rockdale Uniting Church confirmed in a statement that Mrs Goodwin had “passed away peacefully”.

“While we grieve the loss of Margaret, we also know that God was the love of Margaret’s life. She lived her life seeking to model her actions on her Saviour,” the church said.

“She acted with grace and love, and when provoked forgave.

“She always thought of others’ needs before her own.

“We give thanks to God for the precious time we have known her.”

One church member, Mark, wrote: “Words cannot express our sadness at the unexpected loss of Margaret. Such a wonderful lady who will be with us always in our hearts.”

Another member of the congregation, Dorothy, said: “Dear Margaret touched our lives in so many ways.

“She was a vital part of Rockdale congregation and it has been a privilege to know her. She will be sadly missed. Loving sympathy and prayers to Martin and family.”

Mrs Goodwin’s death comes two weeks after a young farmer was killed by a lightning strike in central western NSW while he was trying to protect his family’s livestock from several grassfires sparked by a storm.

Cameron Cox, 22, died on his family’s property in Moolarben, about 40 kilometres north-east of Mudgee, on February 7.

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Woman critically injured as car crashes onto footpath, hits pram in Chatswood

A woman has been critically injured after a car mounted the footpath and struck her in Chatswood. Photo: TNV A woman has been critically injured after a car mounted the footpath and struck her in Chatswood. Photo: TNV
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A woman walking along a footpath on Sydney’s north shore has been struck by an out-of-control car and critically injured, police say.

Police said the Toyota sedan was travelling along Victoria Avenue near Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre in Chatswood just before 8.30am on Friday when it left the road.

It first struck a pram, before hitting the woman who was walking nearby along the footpath.

The vehicle then crashed into a pole, hit a motorbike and flipped onto its side, coming to rest on the footpath outside a Chinese restaurant.

Remarkably, the child in the pram was not injured but has been taken to a medical centre for precautionary checks.

The injured woman has no connection to the child, police said.

NSW Ambulance paramedics and CareFlight’s medical team treated the woman, aged in her early 30s, for head injuries before taking her to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition.

A witness, Oubie Elrish, was on Victoria Avenue getting coffee with his brother when the crash occurred in front of him.

“All we know is that he [the driver] mounted that curb, lady was walking that way, [the car] collected her, collected the second lady,” Mr Elrish said.

“The second lady was alright, but the first lady was all bloodied and bruised. It wasn’t a good sight.

“We just had her in our arms, and she wasn’t too well.”

He said it was “very lucky” only one person was injured, given how busy the shopping strip usually is.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said police had been told that the child in the pram was not injured and was taken by family to a medical centre to be checked as a precaution.

“Police are yet to confirm the child’s age or sex,” the spokeswoman said.

Police are understood to be investigating whether the 67-year-old male driver of the vehicle suffered a medical episode before crashing.

The driver was treated at the scene for minor injuries. He was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing, police said. Pedestrian knocked over by a car at Chatswood which has veered off the road and onto the footpath @9NewsSydpic.twitter南京夜网/Ywn7agFQh3— Laura Tunstall (@LauraTunstall9) February 23, 2017

Police from North Shore Local Area Command and the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit are at the crash scene and have closed Victoria Avenue in both directions between Neridah and Archer streets.

“Motorists are strongly advised to delay travel or avoid the area where possible,” police said. \n”,colour:”green”, title:”Crash”, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap2017124103323);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/]]>

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Oscars 2017: How Brad Pitt went from Hollywood hunk to movie mogul

David Oyewolo as Martin Luther King in Selma. Pitt starred in baseball movie Moneyball.
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Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave, for which Pitt won an Oscar as producer.

If you want to dazzle your friends on Monday with your depth of Oscar-related trivia, you might casually mention that Brad Pitt has been nominated for six Academy Awards, with one win so far. But if you really want to impress them, you’ll need to remember the role for which he collected that little gold man.

Was it as the teeth-tapping madman Jeffrey Goines in 12 Monkeys, for which he was nominated as best supporting actor in 1996? Or as a man who lives his life in reverse in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (best actor 2009)? Or maybe as the number-crunching baseball team manager Billy Beane in Moneyball (best actor again, 2012)?

Actually, it was none of those.

Brad Pitt’s sole Oscar win has come in the role for which he has garnered least notice to date – as a movie producer.

When 12 Years a Slave collected the best picture Oscar in 2014, Pitt was one of the five producers who took home a statuette (the best picture award is given to the producers, not the director, of the film). His co-winners were Steve McQueen, who also directed, independent producer Anthony Katagas, and Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, the co-presidents of Plan B, Pitt’s production company.

This year, his Plan B will be among the contenders again, with Moonlight up for eight Academy Awards, including best picture.

It is the fourth year straight the company has had a best picture nominee, after 12 Years… (2014), Selma (2015) and The Big Short (2016). In a relatively short space of time, it has emerged as a major-minor player, racking up receipts (global box office of more than $US2.1 billion), favourable notices, and award nominations, an uncommon trifecta in the movie business.

Pitt launched Plan B in 2001 with his then wife Jennifer Aniston and Hollywood executive Brad Grey. Grey exited soon after, when he was appointed top dog at Paramount (a job from which he has just been dumped, following a $US450 million loss for the studio last financial year).

When he and Aniston divorced, Pitt assumed sole ownership of the company, which had been around in name since 1996, passing through a few sets of hands before reaching the glamour couple.

The first film produced by Plan B was Troy, in 2004. It gave us the memorable sight of Pitt in a leather skirt, and was a reasonable success in commercial terms (taking about $US500 million worldwide, on a budget of $US175 million), but the sword-and-sandals epic gave little indication of the direction Plan B would head in years to come.

It didn’t take long for this boutique production house to start mixing it with the big boys. In 2006, the firm produced Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which won four Oscars the following February, including best picture (including, finally, a best director award for Scorsese, who had been nominated and overlooked five times before that).

Pitt is listed in the movie’s credits as one of that film’s four producers. But only one of them, Englishman Graham King, received an Oscar.

That was down to the Academy’s guidelines on who is eligible, which state in part: “The nominees will be those three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions.” The rules are rubbery, though. Producing teams can sometimes be treated as a single producer, and producers ruled out can appeal, and sometimes be ruled back in.

At any rate, the Academy ruled in the case of The Departed that neither Pitt nor Grey was eligible. Nor will Pitt be invited onto the winners’ podium should Moonlight win best picture next week – the nominated producers are Plan B’s Gardner and Kleiner and independent producer Adele Romanski, who initiated the project with writer-director Barry Jenkins in 2013.

But while Gardner and Kleiner are clearly the driving forces in Plan B, Pitt isn’t just a nominal producer. There are films on which he takes an executive producer credit – a sure sign that his involvement isn’t very hands-on – but on plenty of Plan B’s titles he is credited as one of a small number of producers. Indeed, on some of the company’s forthcoming pictures (many of which will undoubtedly fall by the wayside) he is the only credited producer.

Hollywood is of course full of producers, some of whom might never have even been on a movie set. On Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, for instance, 23 people get a producer credit of some stripe (Pitt is one of seven listed as a producer proper).

The Producers Guild of America draws a distinction between those who have merely traded cash for cache or been cogs in a machine and those who have been genuinely instrumental in getting a film conceived, financed and/or distributed. The Academy largely follows suit when it comes to Oscar eligibility. It hasn’t entirely stopped the stampede to the stage on awards night, but it has at least cut down on the work of those who engrave the names on the statuettes.

At 53, it seems Pitt is easing himself into a future where he will inevitably seem less viable as a leading man. He has 42 producer credits on imdb南京夜网. On about half of those he is listed as a producer – one of the people who actually make the thing happen – rather than an executive producer (someone who makes sure they make it happen, usually on behalf of a studio or other financial backer).

True, he also appears in many of the films he has a producer credit on, but it’s often no more than a cameo or small role – just enough to help make the project more appealing to those who will bankroll, distribute or screen it.

It’s a smart way to leverage on-screen appeal to build an off-screen business, but ultimately Plan B will have to outgrow its owner’s star power if it is to go the distance. And that’s where projects such as Moonlight and the Netflix TV series The OA matter so much. Their success owes nothing to Pitt onscreen.

Indeed, it’s highly likely that at some point Plan B will become Pitt’s plan A. Maybe that is already starting to happen.

The company has four films slated for release in the near future; Pitt is a producer of two, an EP of the other two, and appears in only one of them, War Machine, a satire about the military campaign in Afghanistan directed by Australian David Michod (Animal Kingdom).

Since 2010, Pitt has acted in 10 movies and produced 10. He has also produced two TV series. There have been big-budget blockbusters such as World War Z (with a sequel in the works, allegedly to be directed by David Fincher) and Fury, as well as quirky smaller films such as Moneyball and Kick-Ass.

And of course there have been the critical darlings.

To date, Plan B has notched up 36 Oscar nominations since its first (for costume design), in 2005, for Troy. It has won nine, and if the predictions hold true, Moonlight looks set to add to that tally come Monday.

Whether that happens of not, it’s fair to say Pitt’s plan B is working out just fine. For now at least, successful producer is a role he appears to have nailed. Plan B at the Oscars

Troy 1 nomination, 2005. No producer credit for Pitt

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 1 nomination, 2006. No producer credit for Pitt

The Departed 5 nominations, 4 wins, 2007. No Oscar for Pitt, despite being one of four credited producers

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 2 nominations, 2008. Pitt was one of five producers

The Tree of Life 3 nominations, 2012. Pitt was one of six named producers

12 Years a Slave 9 nominations, 3 wins, 2014. Pitt was one of five eligible producers

Selma 2 nominations, 1 win, 2015. No producer credit for Pitt

The Big Short 5 nominations, 1 win, 2016. Pitt was one of four producers

Moonlight 8 nominations 2017. No producer credit for Pitt

Karl Quinn is on Facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on Twitter @karlkwin

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

Civil war as Abbott lights up against Turnbull and Shorten sits back

Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull on the day of the Liberal leadership spill, in September 2015. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Tony Abbott listens to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the party room at Parliament House in November. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Burwood, Sydney on Friday. Photo: Janie Barrett

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull depart at the end of Question Time, just before a leadership spill was call, at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 14 September 2015. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

An uncivil war has broken out in the federal parliamentary Liberal Party, within the government of Australia.

Exaggeration? A livid Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t seem to think so, judging by his demeanour.

And there’s no exaggerating the anger of moderates Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne, and even Abbott’s old mate and right wing fellow traveller, Mathias Cormann.

The normally reserved, ultra-cautious, philosophically conservative Finance Minister, who stuck with Tony Abbott to the bitter end, has angrily cut the tag.

Admitting to being “flabbergasted”, Cormann described Abbott’s extraordinary interview on Sky News on Thursday evening as “completely unacceptable”. And he went on, branding it deliberately unhelpful, hypocritical, and plain wrong.

‘He’s not helping our cause, he’s not helping our country, he’s not helping himself, much of what he says is either wrong or inconsistent with what he did,’ Cormann responded via the same network on Friday morning.

Shades of 2012 when Wayne Swan, Nicola Roxon, Tony Burke et al, went on breakfast TV to reveal what they really thought about Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership. We know where that all led.

Abbott of course, had promised not to become a wrecker – a now explosively broken pledge to add to those he shattered while at the helm of a government unparalleled for its dogma, its ludicrous inconsistencies (remember its gold-plated paid parental leave scheme), and its political tin ear.

Now, wounded and unpredictable, Abbott has obviously concluded he has nothing left to lose. In this guise he is an existential threat to the unity of the Coalition, its leadership, and its capacity to maintain public confidence.

Displaying a selective memory and no hint of responsibility for a government that slipped into negative territory quicker than any in polling history, Abbott accuses Turnbull’s government of being “Labor light” and of drifting to defeat.

Actually, that “defeat” had been a virtual certainty under his leadership. And yet his prescription is be more like me.

The right is fracturing and it is doing it live on television. Its main institutional pillar, the Liberal Party, is riven with divisions. Abbott remains inside the tent where his presence portends catastrophic disunity. Others hold the same view and could wreak further havoc.

Just weeks ago Cory Bernardi legged it, taking his Senate sinecure with him while claiming the true conservative mantle. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation nips at the Coalition’s right flank, sending Nationals into paroxysms.

Danger abounds. Bernardi says Abbott still believes he can return. Right wingers who agree, grumble that Turnbull is still planning to revive gay marriage reforms and warn this would be the trigger. A pall of hate and suspicion has replaced the sunny optimism that accompanied Turnbull’s arrival.

And a baying right wing media facilitates all of this, virtue signalling a “true” conservatism while delivering nothing but unproductive anger and of course, an electoral windfall to Bill Shorten.

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

Abbott calls it; Turnbull won’t be provoked. Not half . . .

Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s unspoken sixth point in his plan is that he must be returned as gang leader. Photo: Stefan PostlesIf the Liberal Party were a schoolyard – and really, it is, isn’t it? – there’d be excitable kids rushing about, yelling that oldest of rallying cries: “Fight, fight, fight.”
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Here’s Tony Abbott squaring off with his five-point plan for victory, neglecting only to shout the as-yet unspoken sixth, which is that he must be returned as gang leader.

And here’s Malcolm Turnbull drawing a new line with his toe, a metre back from the one he drew before, and muttering “I won’t be provoked.”

Which sounds like a fellow whose alert level has just moved from agitated to adrenally disturbed.

Meanwhile, Christopher Pyne is dancing around, throwing shadow jabs and getting himself in a frightful lather of excitement. How dare Abbott, who Christopher once adored, nettle Malcolm, who Christopher has really, really come to cherish since the Adelaide $50 billion subs thing?

Lurking in the shadows, Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews, the geriatrics from grade 13, are almost weeing themselves at the prospect that their champion bruiser might actually step across that line. Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison shift nervously, fearful that something could actually come of this madness and Abbott could beat them to the prize.

Abbott, once so scatter-brained he chose Prince Philip of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl??cksburg as his knight defender, has clearly been working on his timing.

Pauline Hanson has been seeding ever-spreading broad-acre paddocks with a new anti-immigration strain. Jump on that tractor and call it a housing policy. Tick.

Turnbull and his own ministers have been questioning renewable energy and talking up coal in fear of increased energy costs. Get on that message and soup it up. Tick.

The Human Rights Commission? Its only remaining friends are lefties. Elite bullies who don’t like freedom of speech, even if it’s only to call little kids names. This is 2017, the year of Trump. Malcolm doesn’t much like the commission any more, so he can’t argue. Scrap it. Tick.

The Senate. Enough said. Drives people crazy. Been useful driving Malcolm crazy, of course, but wouldn’t want that to continue under a sensible new leader. Reform it, whatever that means. Tick.

Oh, yes. And STOP THE SPENDING. Makes no actual sense, but you know, three-word slogans. They work. Tick.

A five-point plan. With a sixth to come.

“I won’t be provoked,” says Malcolm. Not half. He’s already been provoked. Better sharpen the toe to draw another line.

Problem is, every kid knows that once a challenge is made in a schoolyard, there’s no stepping away from it. You can hear the chant growing, and Bill Shorten’s voice is joining in, loud with delight.

“Fight, fight, fight.”

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

In a time of hot, angry air, simple pleasures rule

Punch and Judy came out to play. Photo: Damian White Trip back in time: Brianna, 14, and Colby, 15, Wilksch get ready for a ride on Andrew Duyvestyn’s reproduction coach. Photo: Katrina Lovell
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Mason Galpin, of Penola, won the supreme exhibit with his limousin cow at the Tyrendarra Show. Photo: Katrina Lovell

I attended a country show a couple of weeks ago.

It was one of those shows where chooks are awarded ribbons and there are tables groaning with scones and fruit cakes and creations with fancy icing and cooks eyeing off the competition; where shining horses prance about a show ring which doubles for a footy oval in winter and triples as a cricket ground in summer; and where you can still find a pavilion for a sit-down luncheon served by the good ladies of the district.

Burly blokes in singlets hefted pitchforks and hurled wheat bags stuffed with three and a half kilograms of oaten hay, their faces getting redder as they laboured to lob their sheaves over a bar that rose higher and higher during the heat of the day.

This was the 100th annual Tyrendarra Pastoral and Agricultural Show, or it would have been if they hadn’t called it off in 1942 and 1943 because just about all the men in that far-west Victorian district had trooped off to war.

It is lore that a member of my father’s family has been at every one of these shows since they began. With my dad gone, I was left to carry on the observance, accompanied by a daughter. I remembered my childhood when grandparents took me along and laid out a picnic in front of the highland dancing stage.

Family is a big thing at country shows – this year cousins cleaned up the first prizes in the produce section with their artistic arrangements of fruit and vegetables, won plaudits for their flowers and an aunt got a ribbon for her chutney.

There were no sideshow alley whirly rides.

There was, however, an old-time Punch and Judy puppet booth, and little kids squealed at it goggle-eyed as if TV and video games had never been invented.

Yes, and there was a wombat that escaped its enclosure, causing much leaping and carry-on as it hurtled among the feet of show-goers.

And I kept running into people I hadn’t seen for years and swapping stories about our lives and those of our families.

The sun shone and the rest of the world seemed a long way away.

If that day at the show put me in mind of the infinite worth of simple pleasures, the idea was reinforced a couple of days ago when I opened up my Facebook account.

There is something of a dread in this process these days, where rants about Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson, Jacqui??? Lambie or Yassmin??? Abdel-Magied are becoming about as common as the daily requirement to send some old or new friend a birthday wish.

A distant friend posted that “I’m getting a bit tired of Facebook. It’s all about news stories and they are all a bit the same – plus I’ve read them already. I want to know what’s going on in my friends’ lives.”

It was as if she had opened a gate to a crowd that had been milling outside, starved.

Messages of the small, lovely things of life poured in. From everywhere.

“My homegrown tomatoes,” someone wrote along with a photo of a bowl of the fruit. “I’m just so proud I had to share it with you.”

“Here’s my daughter in a bag,” wrote another, supplying a picture of a baby peering out from a little cloth playpen.

“I am writing a book while looking after a friend’s chickens and huge fruit and vegie garden and pondering a shift to the mountains and wondering if I will ever work full-time again,” offered another.

And there was the woman who wrote that she had just received a phone call “that made my heart squeeze”.

“Doctor phoned to let me know that Gracie girl does not have a torn ligament in her knee, nor any other nasties and will now be free to dominate at softball in a week or so.”

“I’m in the Solomon Islands meeting award-winning local cocoa farmers who are now teaching others to improve their growing and processing techniques to access global markets, benefiting entire communities” revealed some fellow. “Inspiring.” And a photographer announced she was on location in Germany, working on an exhibition to be called “Walking in Wiesbaden”.

There was a little tale of a christening (the baby wore “her great-great aunt’s christening dress which is 100+ years old”), of a broken wrist just as a house was being prepared for sale, of children born and kitchens renovated, of a son who confessed to being surprised at how easy it was to live without a phone after losing his in a mugging, of a grandmother who had just been married (with photo), and the news from someone else that “oh, and I cooked a chook the other night”.

On and on went the small stories of lives being lived.”My son caught a bus from an unfamiliar suburb to another unfamiliar suburb all by himself (if you don’t count a few frantic text messages),” informed a mother, with an update: “HOME AT LAST.”

And this: “Well, I went to the Kangaroo Valley Show on Saturday”, accompanied by an amusing picture of a blow-up shark jumping castle.

In a time that seems often to have surrendered to the shouted insult and where antagonists insist we take a side, it is worth knowing that much of it is wasted breath, and that true value resides in the small, universal and often unspoken things: simple pleasures.

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