Archive for April, 2019

Will Genia and Michael Cheika look to Scotland but put England headache on hold

Edinburgh: Wallabies halfback Will Genia is “stoked” to be reunited with his n teammates ahead of their clash with Scotland but, like coach Michael Cheika, is trying not to think about the availability issue that could arise for a possible grand slam finale against England.
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Genia was released by his French club Stade Francais for Saturday’s game against Scotland after having to leave his Wallabies teammates for the final Bledisloe Cup match in Auckland as well as the Wales game in Cardiff to fulfil club commitments.

The upcoming Scotland, France and Ireland games fall inside the international Test window, meaning European clubs are obliged to let their stars go and join their respective national teams for those three fixtures.

The problem, however, lies in the last game of ‘s spring tour against England.

If the grand slam is still alive come the final game at Twickenham, it is likely Cheika will do everything in his power to try to make the Wallaby halfback available.

While acknowledging the goodwill of his club to release him to “chase that dream” of playing for , Genia said the issue of possibly missing the England game was not bothering him at the moment.

“I’m available for three games, that’s all I’ve been told so I’m here for this week, the French week and then Ireland. I’m just doing as I’m told,” Genia said. “Those decisions will get made in time and again it just comes down to whether I get released because the Tests are outside the window but those sort of things, you just worry about when they come around.”

Cheika did not buy into whether or not he would have a fight on his hands, instead opting to put all his focus into this weekend and just being happy Genia was available.

“I think it’s irrelevant because right now the only game where the grand slam is up, is Scotland,” Cheika said. “At the end of the day, that’s the international window. Everyone knows it. We know when we set up Test matches outside the window; you’ve got to live with that.

“He appeared in his little beanie… straight from Paris. It probably hurt him last week not being able to play, but that’s the way we always knew it was going to be. He’s here now and we’ve got a few weeks together.”

Genia praised the form of Nick Phipps, who took the halfback reins in Auckland and Cardiff, and although he was remaining level-headed about his chances of slotting back into his usual position, there is no indication so say that will not happen.

“I’m not expecting anything, the boys played quite well on Saturday,” Genia said. “I don’t expect anything other than the fact that I’ve got to work hard to earn a spot, whether it be my spot being here in the squad full stop or playing in the match day 23.”

Cheika added: “[Genia] had a great Rugby Championship, there’s no doubt about it but Phipps has played well these past two games. That’s exactly what I want to have; these [selection] issues.”

Genia said ‘s 24-point win over Wales, their biggest victory since the time they faced Uruguay at the World Cup, was the confidence booster they needed ahead of an encounter with a Scottish outfit hell-bent on redemption following their heartbreaking 35-34 World Cup quarter-final loss.

“The boys seemed really up,” Genia said. “I came in and you could feel there was a sense of positivity around the group and a good vibe when the guys were doing recovery yesterday. That always happens when you win and you win well. The most important thing though is to park it, leave it behind, and just concentrate on the fact that it starts all again this week. It’s going to be hard, if not harder against a Scotland team that’ll be very well prepared come Saturday.”

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Far north Queensland horsewoman wins China’s premier equestrian event

Hazel Shannon and Clifford glide over a jump on their way to winning ‘s premier equestrian event. Photo Paula Heelan.Farnorth Queensland horsewoman Hazel Shannon is the toast of nequestrianafter winningthe country’s premier event, the International Three Day Event CCI 4* at Adelaide.
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Aboard horse Clifford and in front parents Val and Melanie Shannon, extended family, trainer former Olympian Heath Ryan andClifford’s owner Wendy Ward, Mutchilba-raised Hazeltook the crown.

Her performanceearned her the inauguralEquestrian Eventing Dual Crown for Eventing, while Clifford was also namedbest performed Off The Track Thoroughbred.

The new ‘dual crown’ series was afirst for ’s equestrian competitors and aimed to recognise equestrian events held athighest level in eventing and jumping throughout .

Eventingis an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show jumping. It has two main formats, the one day event (ODE) and the three-day event (3DE).

Hazel, who is based in Newcastle,and Clifford were rankedfirstleading into the showjumping decider after a strong performance in cross country. Theymaintained their composure with aflawless showjumping round to win.

Hazel and Clifford. Photo Paula Heelan.

As a winner inAdelaide,Hazelis among the elite.Adelaideis the only four star event in , the only one held in the southern hemisphere and one of six staged across the world.

Speaking on her way back to Newcastle on Monday, Hazel admittedthe win hadn’t sunk in.

“Asyou would imagine I was so excited to win,” Hazel said.

“I went into my final show jumping round trying only to concentrate on giving Clifford the best ride I could. I didn’t want to get distracted by the other riders show jumping results so I blocked it out and was thrilled to produce a clear show jump round.

“Clifford did a good dressage test on day one putting him into second place. I was hoping to get a score under 50 penalties but didn’t quite get that.

“Once the dressage was done my aim was to add as little amount of penalties to my score as possible.

“I had a great cross country ride adding only 0.4 time penalties to my score. And then a clear show jump round, a great way to finish the competing.”

Hazel Shannon addresses the media on the eve of her equestrian win. Photo Paula Heelan.

Hazel, who was touted as a potential Rio Olympian earlier this year, has her sights set on theWorld Equestrian Games in 2018 and the 2020 Olympic Games.

She praised Clifford’s performance.

“Clifford was unbelievable through out the competition,” Hazel said.

“I couldn’t be happier with him.

“He put in a good performance across all three phases.

“He has pulled up very happy and healthy after a very demanding week.”

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Big Bang squared: Warner Bros moves to replicate hit sitcom with Sheldon-focused prequel

Not so super … the cast of The Big Bang Theory. Photo: Peter Green Sheldon Cooper, lead character of The Big Bang Theory.
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 The US studio Warner Bros has moved to secure the longevity of its most powerful programming asset: the sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

The comedy, which has been a top-rater for the Nine Network in for almost a decade, is one of the most successful television programs in the world.

But it is in its 10th season and the studio has not renewed it past that point.

Instead, they are developing a prequel series which will tell the pre-Big Bang life story of the show’s breakout character, physicist Sheldon Cooper.

The new series will be overseen by The Big Bang Theory’s creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady.

According to US media reports, none of the main cast of The Big Bang Theory would appear in the new series.

The series has, however, introduced members of Sheldon’s family, including his twin sister Missy (Courtney Henggeler) and his mother Mary (Laurie Metcalf).

There is already speculation that Metcalf, who has starred in the sitcoms Roseanne and Getting On, could take a major role in the proposed prequel.

In the narrative of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon’s father died when he was 14-years-old.

The proposed sequel has been described as a variation on Malcolm In The Middle, an earlier hit comedy about an angst-ridden teenage kid in high school.

The series would be offered first to CBS, which airs The Big Bang Theory.

In a departure from The Big Bang Theory’s three-camera “sitcom” format, the prequel would be a single-camera comedy.

The news comes as the studio is in negotiation with cast of The Big Bang Theory for an 11th season and beyond, so it is possible the announcement of the prequel has been timed as a negotiating tactic.

The series stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.

Though the Nine Network has aired the series since its launch, rival Seven acquired repeat rights to the series in 2015.

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NBN helping telcos with marketing costs, pens deal with iSelect

The latest data on NBN connections shows 1.4 million households now have active services. iSelect only refers consumers to nine brands owned by five telcos. Photo: Luis Ascui
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Nationally, just 13 premises have chosen a 1 gigabit per second service. Photo: Glenn Hunt

NBN Co is co-funding telco marketing material to encourage take-up. Photo: Glenn Campbell

NBN Co is matching telcos’ marketing dollars in a bid to increase broadband take up and get more ns using faster speeds.

It has also signed a marketing agreement with listed comparison site iSelect, allowing iSelect to use NBN Co branding on outdoor advertising and email marketing material.

NBN set up a marketing development fund about a year ago, a spokeswoman confirmed.

“The fund is designed to strengthen and encourage our customers’ activities and increase NBN network take-up. It is a discretionary funding agreement allocated on a quarterly basis between NBN and retail service providers, who all have an equal opportunity to participate.”

Currently NBN Co is co-funding marketing campaigns to activate consumers’ NBN connection before Christmas, and to encourage people to buy faster speeds.

BusinessDay understands hundreds of thousands of dollars are available to each company.

NBN Co is also trialling a marketing project with iSelect.

“NBN works with iSelect and other comparison sites to help educate end users about the NBN network. These are marketing partnerships, not commercial relationships,” the NBN spokeswoman said.

Similar agreements are under way with comparison sites Finder and WhistleOut, she added.

iSelect is believed to be running an outdoor campaign and sending 12,000 emails customers who live in “ready for service” areas.

Controversially, iSelect only refers consumers to nine brands owned by five telcos. These telcos pay a commission to iSelect for each referral. These include Telstra and its subsidiary Belong, Optus, MyNetFone, and Vocus subsidiaries Club Telco, Dodo, Eftel and iPrimus.

“We have undertaken some co-branded marketing activities with NBN Co, however these have all been 100D per cent funded by iSelect. We do not receive any payments or commissions from NBN Co,” an iSelect spokeswoman told BusinessDay.

A spokesman for iSelect confirmed it does not have any access to NBN Co’s internal information, but uses publicly available maps of areas ready for service to contact people on its database.

Angus Kidman, editor in chief at Finder, confirmed NBN Co had been speaking with all the comparison sites, but had not offered any internal information that would help with marketing.

NBN Co will reveal its first quarter results on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile the latest data on NBN connections, published by the competition watchdog, shows 1.4 million households now have active services.

The majority of households with fixed NBN connections, 54 per cent, have selected a 25 Megabit per second [Mbps] service, while 28 per cent have chosen the slowest speed of 12 Mbps.

The next most popular speed is 100 Mbps with 11.3 per cent of households choosing this speed. Just 3.5 per cent opt for the middle tier of 50 Mbps.

Nationally, just 13 premises have chosen a 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) service.

The report also shows that between July and September 145,748 households were connected to NBN Co’s fibre to the node service, more than doubling the total number of fibre to the node connections to 248,041.

Of those new connections, 58 per cent are with Telstra and 22 per cent are with the next biggest provider, TPG.

Telstra also claimed 47 per cent of new fibre to the premises services. Telstra has a 49.6 per cent market share of all fixed connections.

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Hunter BreakfastTuesday, November 8, 2016

MORNING SHOT: INSTA @ingab78 Had a lovely evening walk at #nobbysbeach yesterday! Fantastic sunset….but thinking of those dealing with bushfires from the smoke haze ☺️🙏🏻 #newcastlensw #hunterriver #sunrise_sunsets_aroundworldHunter roads: All Hunter roads are clear this morning.
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Hunter trains: There is a good service on the Central Coast and Newcastle line and the Hunter line.

Hunter weather: Mostly sunny day with a high chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon Newcastle (30 degrees), sunny day with a high chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon for Raymond Terrace (28 degrees), sunny day with a high chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening in Maitland (36 degrees) and a high chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon but a mostly sunny day in Scone (33 degrees).

Hunter beachwatch:We’ll see a bit of cloud and there’s the chance of a shower later but it will be a great start to the day beachside. The wind will be north west early before heading south to southeast while the swell has dropped right off and will only be around half to one metre from the south. The cleaner waves will be found during the morning. Around town try the Cowrie Hole, Newcastle, Bar Reef, The Cliff, Merewether and Redhead. Down south try Hams, Catho and Frazer Park. At port Stephens try Samurai and One Mile. Most beaches will be good for a swim but stick to the flagged ares. The water temperature is 18 degrees.

►The Nomads clubhouse in Chinchen Street, Islingtonhas been raided by police on Monday morning, with officers from Strike Force Raptor and the Newcastle Local Area Command emptying the buildings of their contents. More here.

►POLICE say they will need to work closely with organisers of This That Festival if the event is to be held in Newcastle again after more than 100 people had to be treated by paramedics and 46 were caught with drugs on Saturday. More here.

►NSW RFS spokesperson John Redman said a southerly change was expected today, which was good news, but its arrival could bring less than ideal conditions. More here.

► AFTER struggling through years of bullying, the suicides of two colleaguesand haunting memories of murders, car crashes, assaults, dead babies and a near stabbing, police officer Rebecca* said she made the decision to end her nearly 20-year career,by askingfor help. More here.

►SALLY Fitzgibbons would love to emulate Rebecca Woods and Pam Burridge and become a three-time winner of Surfest. And thanks to the Newcastle business community rallying around a crowd-funding campaign for a second consecutive year, Fitzgibbons will get that chance next year. More here.

►Jets striker Aleksandr Kokko will get achance to make good on his pre-season challenge to Melbourne City star Tim Cahill on Thursday night at AAMI Park. More here.

►FAMILIES at a Lake Macquarie school who spent the past year collecting chippackets, supermarket shopping bags and newspaper wrap have had their efforts rewarded, with a new bench made from 35,000 pieces of their previously non-recyclable plastic. More here.

►THINK TANK The Newcastle Institute is set to dissect the controversy surrounding the Awabakal Land Council and the rundown former Newcastle post office. More here.

►KEN Sio has no desire to be compared to the man he is likely to replace on the end of Newcastle’s backline, Akuila Uate. More here.

►NEWCASTLE’S historic Victoria Theatre is a step closer to being revived as a grand entertainment hub as clean up work begins on the heritage-listed site. More here.

►MACQUARIE College students have chosen volunteering in Vanuatu over the glitter of the Gold Coastfor their end-of-year schoolies trip, which will involve sleeping outside in tents and helping to rebuild a village school. More here.

►DOG owners are being urged to keep their pets in their yards, and to keep them on a lead when out on walks, as concerns grow about a deadly spate of poisonings. More here.

►The Pourhouse has made the list of top 15 regional craft beer venues in . The Maitland craft beer barjust squeezed in to the rankings, as number 15 on the list behind Newcastle’s The Grain Store, which was ranked number one. More here.

►WHEN Casandra Robinson almost missed hersister’s birthday earlier this year – too scared to make the flight to the Gold Coast- she knew it was time to act. More here.

►When you’ve had a moustache for more than 37years, it would take something pretty specialto shave it off. For two local blokes, it took a good cause such as prostate cancer researchto lose their lip rugs. More here.

► THE Celebration of Words festival returns to Port Stephens for only the second time. More here.

►AFTER 30 years of cat rescue work in Lake Macquarie, Joanne Hawkenis winding down her operation at Mirrabooka –but not before vowing to allow her final intake of 50 troubled cats to live out their lives in comfort. More here.

►THE foreshore at Toronto has always been an enticing places for lunch –provided you were prepared to balance your lunch in your lap, or take your chances sitting on the grass. More here.

►A CLINIC destined for Tomaree Library once a month will assess children and adults for scotopic sensitivity, otherwise known as Irlen syndrome. For sufferers, the tell-tale signs are varied when reading, from words jiggling and swirling on the page –sometimes disappearing entirely. More here.

State of the nationNeed anational newssnapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.

►HUNTER: Bushfires continue to burn in a number of locations across the Hunter region in New South Wales. More here.

► NEWCASTLE:Afterstruggling through years of bullying, the suicides of two colleaguesand haunting memories of murders, car crashes, assaults, dead babies and a near stabbing, police officer Rebecca* said she made the decision to end her nearly 20-year career,by askingfor help.More here.

►LAVINGTON:A 43-year-old man has been arrested in relation to a fatal stabbing in Lavington on Sunday night.Albury police Inspector David Cottee said the man was in custody, but the interview process had just begun and no charges had been laid as yet.More here.

Firefighters battle the Lone Pine blaze from Medowie Road. Picture: Brodie Owen

► BATHURST:Donatedgoods left ransacked and strewn across the roadway haveleft Vinnies volunteers pleading with the community to only leave items during opening hours.More here.

A group of former Hunter Region police officers have spoken out about what they say is a toxic culture, where officers suffering psychological injuries are afraid of seeking help through official channels.

► KIAMA:When Mia Wingrove discovered surgery for cancermay leave her sisterunable to carry a child, she didn’t hesitate to offer to be hersurrogate.More here.

Forensics officers and detectives spent the morning examining the property where a fatal stabbing occurred. Pictures: JAMES WILTSHIRE

►WARRNAMBOOL:Threepeople have been committed to stand trial for the murder of Hamilton man Joshua Kane at Mount Eccles National Park in January.More here.

St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers Ron Roberts and Tim Benal were left with a huge clean up on Monday morning. Photo: NADINE MORTON

► BENDIGO:Homeless people could be denied lifesaving supports if the state and federal governments cannot overcome a funding impasse, the city’s social service providers have said.More here.

Tisha Greaves and Mia Wingrove have always shared a close bond, and are now starting their surrogacy journey. Picture: Adam McLean

►MOUNT ISA:RobbieKatteris furiousat’s largest communications providerafter Gulf of Carpentaria residents were cut off from phone services for overa week.More here.

►MANDURAH:Although many had hoped Pauline Hanson would remain a note in the margins of n political history, a group of true believers in Mandurah have been keeping a candle burning for their controversial leader since the 1990s.More here.

► PORT MACQUARIE:Jordy Beeckmans and Kathleen Luyckx took a unique approach when announcing to son Seppe that he would be a big brother.The 10-year-old found out by way of a sand drawing at Lighthouse Beach – and it was all captured on camera for their family back home.More here.

Robbie Katter is furious that Gulf residents were left without Telstra coverage for over a week.

National news Athol Chester and John Emmott have dusted off their old Pauline Hanson campaign posters ahead of a meeting in Mandurah on November 14. Photo: Nathan Hondros.

► The Turnbull government’s proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage has formally been killed off by the Senate, where it was defeated 29-33 in a late-night vote on Monday, amid a warning the decision would delay marriage equality “for years”.More here.

Unique surprise: Jordy Beeckmans and Kathleen Luyckx took a unique approach when announcing to son Seppe that he would be a big brother.

► Federal police are hunting a lone-wolf radio hoaxer who made 15 illegal transmissions to air-traffic controllers and domestic passenger pilots last month – including one telling a Virgin pilot to abort a landing.More here.

► n couples wishing to adopt children from overseas still face a lengthy wait despite a federal government push to make the process easier.More here.

The Senate votes on the same-sex marriage plebiscite bill on Monday night. Photo: Andrew Meares

► Record hot years such as last year’s global scorcher will become the norm before 2030 unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed,a new study by n researchershas found.More here.

Virgin ‘s losses widened in the first quarter on subdued trading. Photo: Tian Law

National weather radar Deborra-lee Furness, pictured with husband Hugh Jackman and children Oscar and Ava, is the founder of Adopt Change.

International news ‘s climate extremes are bad enough without further changes, researchers say. Photo: NSWRFS

► BEIJING:China’s top legislative body has ruled that Hong Kong politicians advocating independence are ineligible to hold public office, effectively barring two young rebel lawmakers.More here.

► JAKARTA:This city’s embattled governor was interrogated by police over alleged blasphemy on Monday, amid fears that opponents of the government are deliberately fomenting unrest to destabilise Indonesian President Joko Widodo.More here.

► BALI: In 2014 a mentally ill Irishman known only as Sean was found wandering the streets of Bali, dazed and confused, with horrific leg wounds from a motorcycle accident.More here.

Newly elected Hong Kong lawmaker Yau Wai-ching at Sunday’s protest. Photo: Kin Cheung

On this day Thousands protest against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama in Jakarta on Friday. Photo: Roni Bintang

The faces of :KhyleahMagnus The widow of Wayan Sudarsa, Ketut Arsini, and her son Kadek Toni, hold a portrait of the police officer who was killed on Kuta beach. Photo: Alan Putra

Transplant recipient KhyleahMagnus is embracing hersecond chance at life.The Port Macquarie mother had a kidney and pancreas transplant in early 2014 at Westmead Hospital.

She will never forget the phone call that delivered the news about the organ match.“This is what I imagine winning the lotto is like,” she said.“It was an amazing feeling.”Read more here.

Port Macquarie mother Khyleah Magnus raises awareness about organ donation after receiving a kidney and pancreas transplant. Khyleah, who is on the search for a job, says she is ready to get on with life.

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