Player claims Muswellbrook’s $1.3m Saturday Lotto prize

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

AFTER five days, a NSW Lotteries player has come forward to claim the $1.3m prize from Saturday Lotto $20 Million Superdraw that was won with an entry bought from Muswellbrook’s Southside Newsagency.

The 36-game QuickPick entry won Muswellbrook’s newest millionaire a division one prize of $1,333,333.34.

But, just who exactly landed the windfall will remain a mystery, as the winner has spoken to NSW Lotteries in secret to claim their cash bonanza.

NSW Lotteries spokesperson Matt Hart said while all Saturday Lotto customers dreamt of becoming an overnight millionaire, the winning Muswellbrook ticket had made that dream a reality for another player this week.

“We speak with winners every day and while most winners dream of winning big, many don’t ever expect it will happen to them,” he said.

“In fact since July 1 this year, there have already been 77 division one winning entries purchased by NSW Lotteries customers – that’s a lot of winning smiles on the faces of players.”

The division one winning entry was purchased from Southside Newsagency in Maitland Road.

Southside Newsagency owner Pankaj Monga said the store was excited that it had sold a division one winning ticket.

“Congratulations to the winner! It’s great that our missing millionaire has come forward to claim their prize,” he said.

“We’ve been really busy this week with a lot of people coming into the store to check their tickets because they had heard that we’d sold a division one winning entry.”

NSW Lotteries reminds players of the importance of registering their tickets to a Players Club Card so all of their prizes are secure and they can be contacted directly with the good news of a big win.

Ninja Warriors get a grip in Newcastlevideos, photos

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Ninja Warriors get a grip in Newcastle | videos, photos NEW CHALLENGE: Snowboarder Stephanie Magiros, who competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, races at Ninja Parc Cooks Hill on Thursday night. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

BALANCING ACT: Elite competitor Josh O’Sullivan warms up before Thursday night’s race.

HANGING TOUGH: Newcastle teenager Xanthea Vazey.

Stephanie Magiros

Tommy Leung

April Mutton

Xanthea Vazey

Gemma Rolfe

Elite competitors warm up.

Ryan Phillips

Ben Sillay

Josh O’Sullivan

Elite winner Josh Gray on the podium.

Michael Gleeson

Michael Gleeson

TweetFacebookAmerican Ninja Warrior.

Some of the competitors from that series, including former army fitness instructor Michael Gleeson, flexed their muscles at Ninja Park Cooks Hill, formerly known as Howzat, on Thursday.

14-year-old Xanthea Vazey shows how it’s doneAlso competing was Olympic snowboarder and former gymnast Stephanie Magiros, of Sydney, and Newcastle bouldering youth national titleholder Ben Abel.

But 24-year-old Josh Gray upstaged them all, completing the Ninja Parc in three minutes and 22 seconds.

Also on the podium in the elite category were two bolters from Cardiff, 30-year-old rigger and vegetarian Reuban Keeley and 26-year-old gymnastics and fitness instructor Ryan Phillips.

Kotara High student Xanthea Vazey, 14, who trains six times a week at Pulse Climbing, was second against a field of adult men and women in the open category.

Ninja Parc regular April Mutton was third, behind winner Matt Turner.

Stephanie Magiros conquers an obstacle.“I’ve pushed myself as a snowboarder,I’ve pushed myself as a gymnast, and now I get to push myself as a ninja,” Magiros said.

Gray took home a cheque for $1000 in what Ninja Parc managing director John Pirlo said would be the first of many races at the venue.

Man jailed for 11 months after bashing a kangaroo to death in Bunbury

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

A man was jailed for 11 months after bashing a kangaroo in near Bunbury. Photo: ABC NewsA man who brutally bashed a kangaroo to death with a crowbar with another man near Bunbury will spend almost a year behind bars.

Craig Jamie House and Vance Geoffrey Jarvis, who represented themselves in court, both pleaded guilty in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday to ill-treatment of an animal, according to the ABC.

Mr House was jailed for 11 months’ while Jarvis was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

It’s believed to be the first ever jail sentence for someone charged with animal cruelty in WA.

The court was shown confronting video footage of the kangaroos’ death in June 2015, which police found on a computer after raiding a home on an unrelated matter.

The video showed the two men and a dog collaring the kangaroo into a dam before House strikes the roo with a crowbar before dragging the animal’s lifeless body from the dam.

Magistrate Evan Shackleton said House struck the first blow to the kangaroo and instructed Jarvis to join in, according to the ABC.

“Sneak out to it man, as soon as it lunges ‘boosh’, take ya thongs off,” House can be heard yelling to Jarvis.

House told the court he killed the kangaroo for food because he had fallen on hard times and used the metal bar because his gun license was confiscated two years earlier.

“I tried to put out the roo in the most humanely way I could,” House told the court.

The magistrate disagreed with House claiming there were “large elements of animal cruelty”.

“In my view, you were having fun tormenting that kangaroo,” he said.

RSPCA WA chief executive David van Ooran told the ABC it was it was “incredibly rare” for someone to be given a jail term for animal cruelty.

“I can’t think of a time in recent years and decades where this has occurred,” Mr van Ooran said.

“This is a very strong penalty and a very appropriate penalty … it was clearly a horrific and sickening act against a defenceless animal, behaviour like this is completely unacceptable.

“It’s excellent to see that the magistrate in this case has awarded a prison term.”


World’s best beaches for 2017 named in annual TripAdvisor awards

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

may pride itself on its beaches, but we’ve failed to feature in the top 10 in TripAdvisor’s annual list of the world’s best.
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Baia do Sancho is the world’s best beach according to TripAdvisor, with the Brazillian beach earning the top spot in the travel review site’s 2017 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Sancho Bay – the beach’s English name – is often a TripAdvisor favourite. Beautiful and secluded, it is not a beach easily reached, requiring a boat, a hardy trek or a swim to reach.

Last year’s winner, Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos took a slide to second position in 2017. It’s eight kilometres of white sand and turquoise water is lined with swanky but affordable resorts, making it a popular choice for less well-heeled travellers.

It contains the world’s third-largest barrier reef, popular for scuba diving, and is within easy reach from Miami in the US, a 90 minute flight away.

Other worldwide beaches to make the top 10 list include Playa Paraiso in Cuba , La Concha Beach in San Sebastian, Spain and Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. But no n beaches made the top 10.

A new entrant to the top 10 is Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, Florida – where the sand is 99 per cent pure quartz, making it soft and cool to the feet even on the hottest days, rendering it the ‘best sand beach in America’.

Also new to the top 10 is Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Considered the most beautiful beach in Galapagos, you’ll find it on Santa Cruz Island, which is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including sea turtles, sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans, flamingos and lava gulls, commonly found along its shores.

Back at home, the invincible Whitehaven Beach won top spot in TripAdvisor’s list for the fourth year running, a bucket-list item for beach lovers around the world. As one reviewer enthusiastically commented, Whitehaven has the “best beach, purest white sand, and bluest water I have ever seen”. Which probably explains why it is also the most photographed beach in .

See: Why Whitehaven beach is still a mystery to scientists

Sydney’s Bondi Beach missed the cut again, instead it featured Manly – the first beach in to allow daylight swimming and surfing back in 1903, according to TripAdvisor.

Queenland’s beaches proved high-hitting, with six in the top 10, squeezing South n and Victorian beaches right out of the list.

TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards are based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.

Take a tour of the top 10 around the world and in in the gallery above. TripAdvisor’s top 10 beaches in the world

1. Baia do Sancho – Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

2. Grace Bay – Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

3. Eagle Beach, Aruba

4. Playa Paraiso – Cayo Largo, Cuba

5. Siesta Beach, Florida, US

6. La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain

7. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

8. Radhangar Beach, Havelock Island, India

9. Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece

10. Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador TripAdvisor’s top 10 beaches in

1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, QLD

2. Surfers Paradise Beach, Surfers Paradise, QLD

3. Noosa Main Beach, Noosa, QLD

4. Manly Beach, Sydney, NSW

5. Turquoise Bay, Exmouth, WA

6. Burleigh Heads Beach, Burleigh Heads, QLD

7. Cable Beach, Broome, WA

8. Mooloolaba Beach, Mooloolaba, QLD

9. The Strand, Townsville, QLD

10. Emily Bay, Norfolk Island

Which beach is your favourite? Vote below

See also: 12 of the world’s most beautiful beaches … that you can’t swim at

See also: 10 of ‘s best places to swim beyond the beachesListen: Flight of Fancy – the Traveller苏州夜总会招聘.au podcast with Ben Groundwater

vs the world: Rules and cultural misunderstandings

To subscribe to the Traveller苏州夜总会招聘.au podcast Flight of Fancy on iTunes, click here.  

Expect more foreign fighters to return as coalition forces make gains against Islamic State: Julie Bishop

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

Julie Bishop and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington DC. Photo: SuppliedAuthorities must be prepared for more foreign fighters to seek to return to as advances are made against the Islamic State group in Iraq, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Thursday.
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Following talks with new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, Ms Bishop said gains made by coalition forces in the fight to retake the IS stronghold of Mosul could see more ns in the region attempt to return home.

“That is likely to be the consequence of military success in Iraq, for the example the retaking of Mosul,” Ms Bishop told ABC radio.

“That will mean that a number of foreign terrorist fighters will seek to flee from Iraq and the expectation is a number will seek to return home.

“We need to be prepared for that.”

Ms Bishop said broad discussions with her new American counterpart had included the ongoing 30-day review of the fight against IS by the new Trump administration, and regional security issues in South-East Asia. A day earlier she met with Vice President Mike Pence for the first time.

n forces are involved in the latest large-scale operation to retake Mosul, where coalition forces have come under fire from militants as they move closer to front lines. A number of United States troops have been injured in recent weeks.

As many as 100 ns are believed to have joined groups fighting in the Middle East.

has declared the Mosul district as an area where listed terrorist organisations are engaging in hostile activities, making it a criminal offence for a person to intentionally enter or remain unless for a legitimate purpose.

Ms Bishop said coalition partner governments were optimistic land in the Mosul area would be reclaimed as a result of the fighting.

The deputy Liberal leader said there was “enormous goodwill” between the two governments but no request had been made for more n troops to join ongoing military operations in the Middle East, but any future request would be considered carefully by the Turnbull government.

“We’re talking in terms of ‘s contribution over many years, so we have a particular perspective and insight that we wanted to share with the new administration.”

Ms Bishop confirmed the government has invited Secretary Tillerson, the former boss of international oil giant Exxon Mobil, to visit this year for annual bilateral talks.

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Peter Dutton backs down on Trump refugee swap comments after being corrected by Julie Bishop

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington. Photo: Molly Riley
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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton Photo: Andrew Meares

Peter Dutton has backed down on controversial comments suggesting a quid pro quo with the Trump administration over refugee resettlement plans, after being corrected by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop from Washington on Thursday.

Defending himself on Thursday morning, the Immigration Minister said he was a “frank speaker” who was “not going to get bogged down in nuance and discussion” over the arrangement with the US.

Mr Dutton sparked the confusion on Tuesday during an interview with conservative commentator Andrew Bolt, when he said for the first time that the Turnbull government’s deal with the Obama administration to resettle asylum seekers being held on Manus Island and Nauru was linked to ‘s plan to resettle Central American refugees. He also insisted that transfers to would only take place if US President Donald Trump held up his end of the bargain.

Opponents of the controversial resettlement deal jumped on the comments, which directly contradicted statements made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and senior ministers in recent months.

“We wouldn’t take anyone until we had assurances people were going to go off Nauru and Manus,” Mr Dutton said on Tuesday.

“One of the lessons we’ve learnt from past arrangements, say the Malaysia deal for example that Julia Gillard entered into, we accepted all the people from Malaysia [and] not one person went from .

“So we’re not going to be sucked into that sort of a silly outcome.”

“It wasn’t a people swap deal if that’s the language people want to use [but] I don’t have any problem with that characterisation if people want to put that.”

On Wednesday, he sought to walk back the comments, conceding the two refugee deals were “separate”.

Ms Bishop, who met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson early on Thursday morning n time, moved to correct her cabinet colleague.

“That’s not my understanding of our agreement with the United States and I believe that minister Dutton clarified the comments overnight,” she said on Sky.

“He’s made it quite clear that we have a humanitarian and refugee program; it’s quite separate from the agreement we’ve reached with the United States.

“We accept over 13,000 people claiming humanitarian or refugee status, that’s increasing to about 18,750. As part of a completely separate arrangement, we have requested the United States to assist resettling people who paid people smugglers to seek to come to and are currently detained on Nauru.”

Mr Trump slammed the agreement after a combative phone call with Mr Turnbull on January 28, describing plans for the US to accept up to 1250 refugees from ‘s offshore detention centres, as “dumb” and “the worst deal”.

Mr Dutton said on Thursday the controversy was “a storm in a tea cup” and he doesn’t care how the deal is categorised.

“In the end, people can use whatever language they want, which is the point that I was making, I’m not going to get bogged down in nuance and discussion,” he said on 2GB radio.

“I’m a pretty frank speaker, I’ve been clear that it’s not a people swap, they’re two separate arrangements but in the end what’s most important to us is to get people off Nauru and Manus.”

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Penalty cut is ‘WorkChoices-dangerous’ for PM

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly pledged to ensure that “remains a high-wage, first-world economy” Photo: Andrew MearesAfter laying a decades-long siege to the labour fortress of Sunday penalty rates, employers have finally loosened a few bricks, allowing some to clamber over the wall.
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The Fair Work Commission has partially validated their claims that exorbitant Sunday rates had been a handbrake on investment, jobs, growth, and on choice for consumers.

The decision is a victory for capital’s revised tactical demand for incremental reductions.

Even so, the micro-economic benefits remain contested, the individual effect of the cuts harsh, and the politics therefore, dangerous. How much? For Malcolm Turnbull, think WorkChoices-dangerous.

Hospitality and retail outlets currently not trading seven days due to labour costs could well open on Sundays as a result of this decision. But let’s say they do. How much of their new trade will come from other cafes and shops?

Even among new weekend consumers, some will have merely switched their purchasing from a weekday to a weekend.

For the workers currently employed on Sundays, however, this inherently “retrospective” decision could be severe. The ACTU predicts individual losses up to $6000 annually.

Lower-paid workers tend to spend everything they earn. Reduced spending power for these workers will come straight off demand in other businesses.

This is important. Flat wages growth is now a bigger drag on the economy than the cost of capital or even labour, making this a particularly inopportune moment for a pay cut.

As for a claimed jobs bonanza, those hardest-hit, will probably seek more hours to make up for their depleted incomes.

If the economic impacts are varied and obscure, not so the politics.

Labor immediately wheeled out workers purportedly from the sectors directly affected, with one claiming an immediate $109-a-week pay cut and another at $80 less. It was powerful retail campaigning, although doubts quickly emerged about the first of those claims, reminding us that truth will be an earlier casualty in this new war.

Turnbull has repeatedly pledged to ensure that “remains a high-wage, first-world economy”. Yet his government pointedly declined to make any submission to the Fair Work case despite the risk of a pay cut for the lowest paid.

That has made him own the result.

So, to his already difficult task of selling a company tax cut as good for employee pay packets, has been added an even tougher proposition: that lower pay for casuals will lead to higher living standards.

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Firefighters battle massive factory fire in Chullora

13/10/2019 Posted by admin

A factory has caught fire in Chullora. Photo: Twitter @lunartech Black smoke is seen billowing from the factory fire in Chullora. Photo: Seven News on Periscope
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Smoke from the Chullora factory fire in western Sydney, as seen from Camperdown. Photo: Supplied

Recycling plant fire in Chullora. Photo: Nick Moir

Recycling plant fire in Chullora. Photo: Nick Moir

Firefighters are battling a huge blaze at a waste recycling centre in Sydney’s west that has sent a plume of thick black smoke across the city’s skyline.

The fire broke out at the SUEZ Chullora Resource Recovery Park, on Muir Road in Chullora, just before 9.30am on Thursday, and quickly engulfed one of the large buildings on the site.

More than 100 firefighters from 20 fire stations across Sydney are battling the blaze. A section of the building’s roof collapsed just before 10.30am.

Everyone at the centre has been evacuated and accounted for, firefighters said.

The building, measuring 120 by 70 metres, contained highly flammable materials including carpet, plastic, cardboard and paper, Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Ian Krimmer said.

“This is producing enormous amounts of thick black smoke that can be seen right across Sydney,” he said.

“We are monitoring that smoke plume constantly. We’ve established some air-monitoring devices around the site and they will give us any alarm should there be any toxicity to the affected area. At this stage that smoke is going high up into the atmosphere where it’s dissipating safely.”

The plume of smoke was so big it could be seen from as far away as Vaucluse and Watsons Bay in Sydney’s east, more than 25 kilometres away.

John Hassett, the NSW state general manager at SUEZ, confirmed that all the company’s employees had been accounted for and no one was injured.

“We appreciate the very swift response and ongoing work from emergency services and we will continue to work with them and conduct a full investigation,” he said.

A number of factories surrounding the waste recycling centre were initially evacuated due to fears the fire could spread.

Just before 11am, firefighters had contained the blaze to the waste recycling centre, but it was still burning out of control and was expected to continue burning for several hours at least.

Superintendent Krimmer said firefighters could not enter the structure because it had partially collapsed and was unstable.

Firefighters were attacking the blaze from both sides of the building. They were also cooling down a number of large gas cylinders that could be seen at the back of the waste management centre.

The cause of the fire was not known.

A NSW Ambulance spokesman said paramedics were on standby on Muir Road although they had not treated any patients.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority said it was aware of the blaze and had sent officers to the site. Something massive is on fire is south west Sydney pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/Xn3nhph1v3— Mr Tiedt to you (@mrtiedt) February 22, 2017

More to come*/]]>

Man charged with murder over fatal shooting of Bill Panagakos in Petersham

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Police at the scene on Railway Street, Petersham, in 2014. Photo: Nick MoirA man has been charged with murder after an inner-west cafe owner was shot dead in a late-night ambush.

Bill​ Panagakos​ was shot on March 5, 2014, his 45th birthday, and left in a pool of blood on Railway Street, Petersham, just after 11pm.

His business partner Gazi​ Safarjalani​, who lists his job online as the manager of Mr Panagakos’ now-defunct cafe, was arrested on Wednesday night following a three-year investigation.

The 36-year-old did not apply for bail in Burwood Local Court on Thursday.

Mr Panagakos lived in a boarding house in Ashfield and had served time in prison for drug supply several years before he was killed.

He had gone on to open a cafe, Gossip Cafe, in the Top Ryde shopping centre but the parent company stopped trading in 2013.

Mr Panagakos and Mr Safarjalani were both listed as directors of the company, BP & GS Pty Ltd.

Mr Safarjalani, from Lidcombe, described himself online as a hospitality worker who had managed Gossip Cafe since 2009.

Fairfax Media understands that police will allege the killing was drug related.

 Residents in Petersham reported hearing up to five gunshots on the night of Mr Panagakos’ death and ran out onto the street to find him lying on the footpath. He died at the scene.

“It was three shots and then two and then some kind of yelling,” Petersham resident Megan O’Connell said at the time.

“We honestly just thought it was kids mucking around.”

On Thursday, police said witnesses reported seeing two men running from the area, and despite an extensive search, no one was located.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad and Marrickville Local Area Command established Strike Force Arrandale to investigate.

Mr Safarjalani will return to court on May 4.

Conwoman Sanaa Derbas jailed for dating scam targeting lonely men

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Sanaa Derbas appearing in court earlier this month. Photo: Daniel MunozA Sydney conwoman who swindled more than $2 million from lonely men she met through online dating services has been jailed for at least 18 months.

After the sentence was delivered, Sanaa Derbas, 42, looked from the dock at her family, broke into tears and cried, “My kids please … please.”

Inconsolable, she yelled out, “I love you”, repeatedly to agitated and tearful family members before she was led away by Correctional Services officers.

The mother-of-four adopted multiple aliases and fabricated stories about being too poor to eat, her children dying and medical emergencies to drain the bank accounts of the men.

Maintaining the rort for several years, she kept elaborate diaries with the contact numbers of hundreds of men and the bogus details she had given them about herself.

In the Downing Centre District Court on Thursday, Judge Paul Conlon said that Derbas had used “calculated cunning and guile” in preying on the benevolence of her victims.

Judge Conlon said she had shown an “unwavering determination” to “bleed them dry” over a considerable period of time.

“Those she targeted were lonely, vulnerable people. Vulnerable because each was craving companionship,” Judge Conlon said.

Derbas pleaded guilty in August last year to 11 counts, relating to seven men, of dishonestly obtaining money by deception.

She befriended each of her victims through mobile phone-based dating services, Lavalife, Clique and Meeting Point, tricking them into thinking they were in some form of relationship before she asked to borrow money from them.

After sharing a coffee and dinner, Derbas stole more than $1.7 million from one man.

She told the man, 69, she needed the money to pay her mortgage and later claimed she could not repay it because her son had died of swine flu.

“Seeing my mum last night and feeling her cold body did something to me that I couldn’t shake. Baby please don’t leave me,” she messaged another of her victims.

“No matter what you think, I do love you. For some beautiful reason I look forward to spending every day for the rest of me life with you … I just wish mum had met you,” she wrote to another.

As well as concocting intricate back stories, Derbas would call the men from different phones assuming different identities to justify why her alias could not repay the money to them.

Police found 15 mobile phones during a search of her home, and exchanges with 20 men other than those connected to the charges for which she was sentenced.

For some of the men, her rort started when she asked them to deposit money into her bank account so she could book an expensive hotel for them in the city.

One victim, who transferred Derbas a total of $93,523, ended up questioning her legitimacy after she told him that her mother had died and she needed money for funeral costs.

When he told her that he was going to police, Derbas responded by saying, “How is borrowing money a fraud?”

The man later said to her: “I really hope u don’t have kids that might have to pay a huge price when u get caught.”

The court has heard that Derbas has now sold all her assets – including her house in south-western Sydney and three cars – in a bid to pay the money back. Reparation of $745,000 has so far been made.

She told a psychiatrist that her fraudulent behaviour started as a result of a drug debt and cocaine habit which caused her to spend $10,000 to $12,000 a week.

But Judge Conlon said her rort continued out of greed and, to use Derbas’ own words, “became her new business”.

Derbas was sentenced to a maximum of 3½ years’ jail.

She will be eligible for parole in August 2018.

Ron Medich ‘distraught’ when firebombing charges against McGurk dropped

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Ron Medich was said to be ‘distraught’ that charges against McGurk had been dropped. Photo: Jessica HromasIn the hours before Michael McGurk was murdered, property developer Ron Medich had an emotional phone conversation with a police officer in which he expressed his distress that firebombing charges against his former business partner had been dropped.

“The bastard’s at the Chop House restaurant celebrating as we speak,” Mr Medich told Senior Constable Ray Hetherington.

Giving evidence at Mr Medich’s murder trial, Detective Hetherington said it caught him by surprise to hear how “distraught” Mr Medich was.

On the evening of September 3, 2009, within hours of the call, Detective Hetherington was informed that 45-year-old McGurk had been shot in the back of the head outside his Cremorne home.

Detective Hetherington said that he had arrested McGurk in January 2009 over the firebombing of the Beaconsfield house of valuer Stewart Rowan as well as the Point Piper home of Adam Tilley.

The jury has heard that Mr Medich previously owned Mr Tilley’s house and lent him money to purchase it. When the Tilleys fell behind with their repayments, Mr Medich organised for McGurk to deal with the matter.

Mr Medich initially posted the $100,000 surety for McGurk’s bail. Mr Medich later withdrew and another property developer Bob Ell put up the money, the court heard.

Mr Hetherington said he thought the police case was strong and he was disappointed when the DPP decided to drop the charges against McGurk on August 20, 2009.

The detective said he had been in regular contact with Mr Medich over the matter as he was to be a witness. In his lunchtime call with Mr Medich he said he advised him to concentrate on the civil matters against McGurk.

The court has heard that the pair were embroiled in a string of legal battles, which were costing Mr Medich a fortune.

In other evidence Ron Mason, a former member of an Aboriginal land council at Narooma, said that several months before McGurk’s murder, Mr Medich’s then close friend Lucky Gattellari asked Mr Mason if he knew any dying Aboriginal people who might like to do a murder.

Mr Mason, 72, said he had business dealings with Gattellari and Mr Medich over land deals near Narooma and an Aboriginal funeral business for which Mr Mason said he sourced clients.

Gattellari told Mr Mason he needed someone “bumped off” straight away as the unnamed person was costing Mr Medich $100,000 a week.

Mr Mason said he made arrangements to introduce his daughter’s father-in-law Harry (also known as Danny) Landini, whom Mr Mason said was known “round the traps” as a hitman.

Mr Mason said he understood Mr Landini planned to ask for $50,000 and then “rip off” Gattellari.

The court heard that Gattellari’s driver Senad Kaminic met Mr Landini at the Malabar RSL club. The meeting appeared not to be a success as Gattellari subsequently complained to Mr Mason about “the imbeciles” Mr Mason was introducing as potential hitmen.

Mr Mason said he had no conversations with Mr Medich about the plans to find a hitman and that his dealings on the matter were solely with Gattellari.

Gattellari received a substantial discount on his sentence in return for giving evidence against Mr Medich, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett launch Orange Sky Digital

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Mobile laundry founders, Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett’s latest initiative is a vehicle filled with folding chairs and a large screen equipped with mobile and internet technology. Photo: Wolter Peeters “Overwhelmingly what people who are experiencing homelessness want is a safe, permanent, affordable home”: acting chief executive of the Council to Homeless Persons, Kate Colvin. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi’s mobile laundry service attracted $1.47 million in donations and reported a profit of $1.16 million in 2016. Photo: Paul Harris

They have provided a laundry on wheels and mobile showers.

But Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett’s latest initiative to assist people who are homeless is hi-tech – an orange hatchback filled with folding chairs and a large screen equipped with mobile and internet technology.

The duo, both 22, described their new service, Orange Sky Digital, as a vehicle to create positive conversations and foster a sense of community.

“Essentially what we can do with this vehicle is play – it might be – pictures, video and or music, which sparks up a conversation,” Mr Patchett said.

It will also provide information about crisis accommodation, food, employment and mental health services.

“There are so many great community services available but many of those who experience homelessness, they just don’t know how to access support,” Mr Patchett said in a statement.

But their efforts with the digital project and Orange Sky Laundry – for which they were named Young ns of the Year in 2016 – have been criticised as ineffective and undermining the dignity of people who are homeless.

“I think they are doing something to try and help but their intentions don’t match the outcomes. They’re wrong,” said Dr Cameron Parsell, a senior researcher at the University of Queensland’s Institute of Social Science Research.

“Just because what people are doing is in the name of benevolence, it doesn’t mean it’s right.”

Mr Marchesi said: “A washing machine, a shower and Orange Sky Digital won’t put a roof over someone’s head. But that’s not our core mission. Our mission is to positively connect people.”

The Brisbane-based duo relied on their “homeless friends” for advice: “Lucas and I are two young blokes who are volunteers and by no means are we experts in the homelessness sector.”

Through their new venture, homeless people will also be able to create content about services.

“A homeless friend might shoot a video about the Wayside Chapel or about a rehab clinic in town,” Mr Marchesi said. “I guess more informed homeless friends and more informed volunteers mean that we can positively connect our homeless friends better.”

A registered charity, Orange Sky reported a profit of $1.16 million in the 2015-16 financial year.

“Any money we make is reinvested into our charity,” Mr Marchesi said.

Experts in the homeless sector, however, argue that attention and money should be directed at ending homelessness, not providing temporary “comfort measures”.

Dr Parsell said services such as mobile laundry and shower facilities undermined the dignity of people who are homeless.

“Not only is it ineffective, it really undermines any dignity person may feel having to shower and wash in public spaces, particularly when we know ending their homelessness is possible and cost-effective,” he said.

“It constitutes a failure to come up with any kind of just and innovative solution that focuses on housing.”

Dr Parsell said his research, published last year in the British Journal of Social Work, showed it cost the taxpayer more to keep a person chronically homeless ($48,217 each) than to provide permanent housing ($35,117).

“It would be much better as a society to redirect that goodwill to provide housing.”

The acting chief executive of the Council to Homeless Persons, Kate Colvin, said more public and community housing would provide vulnerable people with options beyond “dodgy” rooming houses, caravan parks and crisis accommodation.

“Philanthropists and organisations need to consider where to channel their energy and funding,” she said. “And the reality is that ending homelessness starts with boosting affordable housing, not providing comfort measures.”

The chief executive of the Mercy Foundation, Felicity Reynolds, said providing amenities such as laundry and showers normalises homelessness.

“I’d be careful about criticising other people’s well-meant efforts,” she said. “But I think we should end homelessness and not endlessly service it.”

The n Bureau of Statistics counted more than 100,000 people as homeless in 2011, but only 6 per cent were living on the streets, according to Ms Reynolds.

George Clooney slings ‘Hollywood elitist’ label back at Donald Trump

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Actor George Clooney has singled out a fundamental hypocrisy of Donald Trump’s administration: they’re part of the “Hollywood elite” that their supporters supposedly reject.

The label, a sure-bet on conservative blogs and alt-right Twitter, has become a regular throwaway among Trump’s supporters, so often levelled at outspoken celebrities as a way of deriding their largely liberal views.

Appearing on the French TV program Recontres de Cinema, Clooney – who publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton at the 2016 US election ­– flipped the accusation while defending Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump acceptance speech at last month’s Golden Globes.

“This is the part that makes me a little crazy. When Meryl spoke, everyone on that one side was like, ‘Well, Hollywood elitist, Hollywood speaking’,” he said.

“Donald Trump has 22 acting credits,” Clooney said, referencing the president’s cameos on everything from Home Alone 2 to The Nanny and Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

“He collects $US120,000 ($156,000) a year from a Screen Actor’s Guild pension fund. He is a Hollywood elitist.”

“Steve Bannon is a failed film writer and director. That’s the truth, that’s what he’s done,” he added, turning his attention to Trump’s controversial chief strategist.

Bannon’s pre-political forays into Hollywood are well documented. Before directing documentaries on conservative heroes like Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, he was producing festival-bait like Julie Taymor’s Titus and The Indian Runner by that other famous liberal “Hollywood elite”, Sean Penn.

“[Bannon] wrote a Shakespearean rap musical about the LA riots that he couldn’t get made, you know, which is a shock,” Clooney mocked.

“He made a lot of money off Seinfeld. He’s elitist – Hollywood. That’s the reality, if you want to look at it that way.”

“So I look at when people say Meryl shouldn’t speak up – of course she should speak up,” he added, defending his Fantastic Mr Fox co-star.

“She has every right to speak up. She’s an American citizen, and she was an American citizen long before she was an icon.”

It’s not the first time that Clooney – who’s currently directing the crime thriller Suburbicon, starring Matt Damon – has hit back at Trump and his administration.

“I didn’t vote for him, I don’t support him, and I don’t think he’s the right choice,” the actor said when asked to comment following Trump’s infamous “over-rated” Twitter quip at Streep. Rencontres de cinéma du 19/02 – Spécial césar