SIMON WALKER: Topping off the guru lists

Written by admin on 05/12/2018 Categories: 杭州桑拿

SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive

THERE are certain times in every life when one wonders if one has been successful.

That time might arrive with a glance at one’s superannuation balance, and the dazzling lack of zeroes at the end of it.

Or it might be a glance at one’s waistline and how it’s impeding one’s view of one’s less-than-dazzling super statement. This might not be a bad thing.

Or it may come with a glance at one’s kids, who may or may not get out of juvie within the month.

We’re all different and it’s natural to look for ways to measure up, preferably with a sense of humour, because you might need it.

Inevitably, if you wonder long and hard enough, you’ll end up on the internet reading “guru lists”.

Those scientifically compiled tables of signs, omens, psychopathies arranged in no particular order by people who may have sold pyramid schemes in a former life.

Designed to inform if you are successful “in the now”, or likely to be in the soon-to-be-arriving now – that’s guru talk for “the future” – prior to death, which is a sure indicator you need a new guru.

You know the lists I’m talking about.

Guides like: “10 things you need to stop doing if you are going to be successful”.

I’m always surprised No1 on this type of list is not: Stop taking the piss out of these lists.

Or: “11 things you need to start doing if you are going to be successful.”

Getting off your arse and doing something rarely seems to get spelt out.

Then of course there’s the “12 signs you are successful and simply unaware of it.”

Often cited in the “13 hard-core pieces of evidence you’re in denial” list.

And rarely referred to in the “14.5 sociopathic tendencies of millionaires”.

That’s because millionaires are focused, they think big, they make mistakes (often with other people’s money) before making truckloads of their own.

Based on that standard they may be totally unaware that they are successful, but you’re not, courtesy of the guru lists you might want to copy in your darker moments.

Like when you contemplate your super balance.

Yes, you can get can transported out of your comfort zone reading these lists.

And usually, moving out of your comfort zone is No9 on such lists.

It’s all about manipulating misgivings. I mean, moulding mindsets.

That’s why I warmed to one I stumbled across the other day on a business-type “yeah baby, go for it” website.

It was called “20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires”.

This was a list I could get my teeth into because it combined the idea of being probably not that successful in the now with the possibility of being hopefully a bit more successful sometime in the soon-to-be-arriving now, prior to death.

I noticed early on that chewing your fingernails did not rate a mention as one of the habits.

But I read on anyhow because the suspense was killing me.

According to this particular guru it’s all about “Taking one ray of light and combining them all to become the sun”.

In fact, one was urged to put that concept to one’s 20-year-old self and ask him or her what constitutes success.

Knowing my 20-year-old self, I believe he may well have asked what I’d been smoking. And if I had any spare. But I got the gist of where this list was coming from.

Reverse engineering. Envisioning the end product, you, and working backwards through the process that led to its arrival.

If this process seems alarming, I suggest you refer back to the “12 signs you’re successful but unaware of it” before proceeding.

I did because I was struggling for claret at that moment. I mean clarity.

One trait top of the “20 habits of eventual millionaires” list I found easy to understand was: “Avoid death.”

String that one out as long as possible I would have thought. A little obvious but a good indication of the level of nitty gritty detail this guru was prepared to go into.

Gurus should never get too specific.

Another habit that didn’t seem so self-evident was: “Every day be around people who are kind to you and love you.”

Ironic in a Catch 22 type of way, depending on where you work and how things are going at home.

Which is OK because the next habit is: “Solve difficult gratitude problems.”

Apparently it helps to be grateful for things that really give you the gee willikers.

As the guru outlines, it’s the difference between being scared in a movie and saying, “wait, it’s just a movie”.

Except it’s not a movie.

Speaking of movies, the next habit is a shining light: “Write down 10 ideas a day.”

A great idea, unless that idea you’re writing repeatedly is, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Planting seeds is recommended because, according to my guru, 50 per cent of flowers come from 1 per cent of seeds.

I get lost when it comes to such garden variety mathematics, but I can’t help suspecting it could help when buying a Lotto ticket, and may also have applications regarding my super statement.

Hopefully that’s something I can measure up in the long term and tick off my guru list when it comes to signs of success.

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Refugees in Indonesia go on hunger strike to protest delays in resettlement

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Refugees in Pekanbaru on the Indonesian island of Sumatra go on a hunger strike to protest against delays to their resettlement in a third country. Photo: Supplied The refugees in Pekanbaru come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar. Photo: Supplied

The n government cut its refugee intake from Indonesia last year. Photo: Supplied

Jakarta: A group of 120 refugees stuck in Pekanbaru, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, have gone on a hunger strike to protest their frustration over delays to their resettlement in a third country.

Ahmad Zaki, a Hazara refugee from Pakistan, said the refugees wanted the UN refugee agency to come to Pekanbaru to discuss their resettlement cases and open an office in the Sumatran city.

“We are waiting for our resettlement process from more than one year,” Mr Zaki said. “I want to go to or any other country.”

The men, who are from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar, have been found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR. Their accommodation, medical care and a living stipend is paid for by the International Organisation of Migration.

“We tried to contact UNHCR many times. They make excuses every time. They reached other cities every two to three months regularly,” Mr Zaki said.

About 13,000 asylum seekers and refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia.

Many found to be genuine refugees remain stranded in the archipelago while the UNHCR tries to find a third country in which to resettle them.

In an interview with Fairfax Media last week, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia was not a destination country for refugees.

“So we hope that countries like could take more. But of course I understand the domestic situation,” she said. “Shared responsibility, shared burden is very important. I leave it to the UNCHR to have a discussion with destination countries that belong to the Convention [relating to the Status of Refugees].”

The UNCHR’s Indonesia representative, Thomas Vargas, strongly advised the men against the hunger strike. “It’s not going to solve their problem or have their resettlement cases expedited,” Mr Vargas said.

“It just causes a lot of problems and the possibility of harm to themselves, which we would consider to be terrible.”

Mr Vargas said resettlement was a long process, which could take up to two years in Indonesia due to the limited resettlement places available globally and the various procedures that needed to be completed to comply with requirements made by resettlement countries.

He said the UNHCR regularly visited all locations where refugees were in lndonesia and was about to post a few staff members permanently in Pekanbaru given the high volume.

However he warned this did not mean the resettlement process would move any quicker.

“The UNHCR can’t force countries to take refugees,” Mr Vargas said. He said the Syrian crisis made it even harder to find resettlement options for refugees coming out of Indonesia.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison announced on November 18 last year that would cut its annual intake from Indonesia from 600 people to 450. He said anyone who registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia after July 1, 2014, would  not be eligible to come to . The intention, he said at the time, was to “drain the pool” of asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia.

Mr Vargas said while this had had an impact, he was appreciative that continued to accept refugees who had registered with the UNHCR before July 1 last year.

He said resettlement was only one of a range of protection options.

“We recognise that a very small fraction of the refugee population globally will ever be resettled, which is why we also look at other options and appeal to governments for family reunification, temporary protection and providing labour [programs] for refugees to be able to take care of themselves.”

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The Walk: One man’s extraordinary risks

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Frenchman Philippe Petit walked across a cable that had been illegally strung between Manhattan’s Twin Towers in 1974.THE WALK (PG)

Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Screening: General release

Rating: ★★★

THE true story of Philippe Petit – the Frenchman who kept onlookers enthralled for 45 minutes while he walked, sat and lay on a cable strung between the tops of Manhattan’s Twin Towers in 1974 – was told in James Marsh’s documentary Man on Wire (2008). It was a tale of a phenomenally brave and gifted obsessive, charismatic enough to draw others into helping him fulfil his lofty ambition.

But, like all obsessives, Petit found it hard to be grateful. And when it was all over, these loyal disciples fell to earth with a bump while he gave himself over to being adored by a much larger and louder audience.

Robert Zemeckis’ take on the Frenchman’s great adventure gets some of this right. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Petit is an impish charmer deaf and blind to anybody’s state of mind but his own. He crackles with nervous energy tempered, when necessary, by his mighty powers of concentration. But you get little sense of the hard-headedness that took him through six years of preparation.

Full of Gallic shrugs and merry montages, the early scenes have him as a whimsical clown working the streets of a Paris that looks as if it’s been plucked straight out of Amelie. Here, he meets Ben Kingsley as a circus aerialist extraordinaire and begins to learn from him.

Pretty soon he’s rehearsing for the big event with a wire walk between the spires of Notre Dame, and it’s not long before he’s off to New York with his devoted girlfriend, Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon), and a small team of pals willing to risk jail to help him get to the top of the towers.

I was so pleased to leave behind Zemeckis’ cloying vision of Paris that I didn’t mind the speed of all this. But once we’re in New York, we switch genres with a suddenness that’s a little disorienting.

We’re now in a caper movie, with the shift in worlds signalled by a score reminiscent of The Pink Panther. The group of conspirators take on more recruits, including a couple of stoners who look as if they’d be felled by vertigo if they attempted to stand upright, and a hardware-store salesman whose talents as a fast-talker are to prove indispensable when the time comes for the group to bluff their way into the tower building, disguised as workmen.

Such an enthusiastic embrace of the story’s more farcical elements does toss up some easy laughs but putting the group on a par with the Keystone Cops also limits the degree of sophistication that the script is able to bring to the interplay between their personalities.

And there was plenty to talk about. As Marsh’s documentary revealed, the strains, fears and disagreements within the group constituted a drama within the drama. But Zemeckis glosses them over with caricature. He’s making a fable here and the only person he’s really interested in is its hero.

So it’s basically a one-man show, with Levitt keeping the others entranced with his demands, explosions and propensity for taking extraordinary chances. His practical, methodical side is there, too, but more often than not, it’s upstaged by his theatricality. And, like any case of extreme self-absorption, his soon begins to bore.

But all these irritations fall away once the group get inside the Twin Towers and we’re confronted by the enormity of the task they’ve set themselves. As the buildings are closing for the night, they have to smuggle in their equipment, which includes a 200-kilogram cable, and get it on to the roof. And having done that, they have to evade the security guard while they work with their teammates on the roof of the other building to rig the cable.

This is what Zemeckis has been waiting for. His hallmark as a director is his passion for visual effects and his use of CGI and 3D is dazzling. I’m pleased to report there’s no hint of the religious in the sense of sublime you feel in Petit’s kinship with space, air and the slender cable beneath his feet. Even so, it is as if he’s consorting with angels.

The last shot is a homage to the lost towers, standing burnished by sunlight, and there’s a certain poignancy in it. But it’s Petit you’re thinking about.

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Voters ready for change under new PM Malcolm Turnbull, poll finds

Written by admin on 07/08/2019 Categories: 杭州桑拿

A new poll finds voters are seeking policy changes from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government. Photo: Andrew Meares Across all voters, poll results suggest Malcolm Turnbull would have majority public support for progressive policy changes. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Turnbull can afford to dump the Abbott script

Voters are hungry for progress on a range of social and environmental issues in the wake of the combative Abbott government period, and they expect Malcolm Turnbull to deliver.

That is the clear message from a nationwide issues poll conducted by Research Now for the left-leaning Institute.

The 1407-strong online survey found that even those voters who identified as Liberal supporters mostly want to see Mr Turnbull overcome a reluctant party room to enact more humane asylum seeker policies, get going on marriage equality, strengthen the response to climate change and the take-up of renewable energy and to lift funding to schools.

Across all voters, the results suggest Mr Turnbull would have majority public support for progressive policy changes, even where internally he would encounter major, potentially career-limiting problems from changing course.

Asked if he should take “stronger action” even in the face of internal opposition, 55 per cent of voters said yes to more humane asylum seeker policies, and 76 per cent backed improved schools funding.

And on the two signature issues on which Mr Turnbull had reassured colleagues there would be no significant change if he replaced Mr Abbott – climate change and marriage equality – the results were also stark. Sixty-one per cent of voters say he should defy his conservative colleagues to achieve progress on marriage equality and 67 per cent say they want tough action on climate change than the government’s “direct action” policy.

Mr Turnbull is well known to favour a market-based emissions trading scheme model to mitigate global warming and has publicly supported the legalising of same sex marriage, even though he promised he will not accelerate the Abbott time-table to put that question to a national plebiscite during the next term if the Coalition is re-elected.

“The research shows that Malcolm Turnbull has considerable support both in the wider community and the Coalition voter base to do more on issues like renewables, refugees, equal marriage, and Gonski school funding,” said the Institute’s executive director, Ben Oquist.

“The results also probably indicate that Tony Abbott and the hard-right in the Coalition had got increasingly out of touch on these issues.”

Eighty-one percent of voters back stronger policy on renewable energy. Even among Coalition voters, this figure is 75 per cent.

Earlier this year, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced Labor would set a target of achieving 50 per cent renewable energy production by 2030. The poll reflects the popularity of that with 90 per cent of Labor voters backing it.

Support for refugees is highest among young voters aged between 18-24 and lowest among those over 65.

While 52 per cent of Liberal voters want faster progress on marriage equality, the figure jumps to 71 per cent among Labor voters and 84 per cent for Greens.

While the first Abbott/Hockey budget proudly trumpeted its decision to slash $80 billion from future schools and hospitals funding to the states over a decade, the poll shows no one else thought much of it with support for more money staying firmly above 70 per cent across all age groups, including those aged between 45-54 of whom 80 per cent backed stronger action.

Unsurprisingly, support for marriage equality is lowest among older voters with less than half of those over 65 (46 per cent) calling for Mr Turnbull to push ahead.

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Labor pledges to restore some of Coalition’s foreign aid cuts

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Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek, pictured in Parliament on Thursday, will announce a $30 million boost to local aid organisations. Photo: Andrew MearesA Labor government would give n aid organisations a boost of $30 million a year to make up for cuts by the Coalition but is  staying tight-lipped on whether it will restore billions more cut from the broader aid budget.
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Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek will announce on Friday that the spending promise “begins a process that will repair the n overseas aid budget following record cuts by the Liberals”.

Coming in the wake of the Coalition’s record-breaking $11.3 billion in total aid cuts, Labor’s pledge would lift funding to groups such as Oxfam , World Vision and the Fred Hollows Foundation.

“An additional $30 million a year will go to n NGOs working in developing countries to deliver critical projects like maternal and child health, schooling, better water and sanitation,” Ms Plibersek told Fairfax Media.

Such funding to local organisations currently totals about $130 million a year, or about 3 per cent of the total annual aid budget of $4 billion.

But it is regarded as highly effective, in part because the non-government organisations match each dollar of government funding. An August assessment by the Department of Foreign Affairs found that the NGO program “delivers strongly on results” and made up 18 per cent of the department’s total development results.

Under the Coalition, about $30 million has been withdrawn from n NGOs over the past three financial years compared with the funding level set by the previous Labor government.

But Labor is declining to say whether it will restore all the aid cuts made by the Coalition.

“Overseas aid funding more broadly will be considered in the lead up to the next election,” Ms Plibersek said.

“First we need to see if the Liberals plan to cut the aid budget further, so we can be clear about just how big the task of repair will be.”

By the 2016-17 financial year, aid as a proportion of gross national income will fall to 0.22 per cent, which is the least generous level since the aid program began and a fraction of the 0.7 per cent committed to by the former Howard government under the 2000 Millennium Development Goals.

It also means that , despite being the eighth largest economy in the OECD, will be the 19th most generous OECD donor.

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Fourteen speeding fines sent to NSW family after car stolen in Canberra

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Penny Bradley had her car stolen in the ACT two months ago, but has since had 14 speeding notices, one for over 160km/h. Photo: Jay Cronan Some of the speeding fines Penny has accumulated. Photo: Jay Cronan
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Penny Bradley has received 14 speeding fines in the mail since mid-August, with one alleging her stationwagon reached more than 160km/h on a Canberra road.

But the mother-of-two, who lives north of Yass in NSW, has a fair reason for returning the notices back unpaid: her car was stolen 20 minutes before it was first snapped on a speed camera.

Ms Bradley has been given a rare insight into the movements of her car’s apparent thief, thanks to the fines detailing the time and locations it has been captured speeding.

She was visiting her in-laws in August when she last saw the Volkswagen Passat, parking it on their Latham driveway overnight.

When she woke up the next morning, the car was gone, along with an iPad and two child seats inside. The only item since recovered was Ms Bradley’s licence, which was dumped in Kingston about a week later.

A few weeks later, Ms Bradley received the first fine in the mail. It showed the car was captured speeding on Hindmarsh Drive at 9.20pm on the night of the theft, just 20 minutes after Ms Bradley last saw it parked outside.

“It was very ballsy; we would have been home, the lights would have been on and the car was stolen from the driveway,” she said.

“They knocked over a tree on the way out.”

Since then, the speeding fines have continued to stream through, mostly from the area between Tuggeranong and Woden.

The majority were recorded on cameras along Hindmarsh Drive and the Tuggeranong Parkway in the early morning between 2.30am and 6.30am.

“It’s almost like this person is using it to go to work, or at least using it on a regular basis, on a regular route,” Ms Bradley said.

One photo requested from the moment of a speed camera capture shows the driver wearing a hood, but their sex has not been confirmed.

Ms Bradley and her family have borrowed a car since the theft, but she said she was starting to look for a new car rather than waiting for the old one to be returned.

“Had we got it back in the first week I would have been rejoicing,” she said.

“Now you feel there’s something unsettling about driving a car and putting your children in a car where you don’t know what’s happened or whether it’s still safe. Has it been driven in a reckless way? Could it break down?”

While she said her “heart sinks” upon receiving another fine in the mail, Ms Bradley wanted to continue to receive them out of curiosity about her car’s location.

“The mind boggles that someone will steal your car and continue to use it in a very illegal way; it’s like something from the movies,” she said.

“I would like it back, but I’d more like people to be aware that it’s around.”

The white 2011 model Volkswagen Passat has NSW registration CEQ18H.

Police are investigating the theft, with radars capable of identifying whether a car has been reported stolen.

Anyone with information that could help the investigation can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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The secret document that decided Belconnen’s future

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More public service newsFinance pulls the pinTuggeranong? One couldn’t possibly
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The Finance Department used a secret report in the past few weeks to decide the future of Belconnen’s largest public service occupant, the Immigration Department.

Despite the intense public and commercial interest around the future of Immigration in the northern town centre, the department is determined to maintain a cloak of secrecy over the report, claiming it is “commercial in confidence”.

The Finance Department is using the same justification to keep the public in the dark about details of its own upcoming move to high-end accommodation in Canberra’s leafy inner-south, which will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the lifetime of the lease.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has backed his department’s stance to keep the Belconnen information from taxpayers, who paid $27,000 for it to be compiled by accounting giant Deloitte.

But Finance is set to come under pressure to release the information when its bosses appears before a Senate Estimates Committee next week as ACT Labor politicians push for it to be made public.

Much of Canberra’s commercial property sector was left fuming last month when the Finance Department announced it was cancelling the tender to provide new offices for DIBP.

Several local and national property outfits, which each spent hundreds of thousands of dollars putting bids together for deal, have had to say goodbye to their money as a result of the decision.The same players were left out of pocket a year ago when a requirement for a new building for the Customs agency was abandoned after the announcement that Customs would merge with Immigration and form the n Border Force.

The decision came after more than 12 months of lobbying and jockeying for position among powerful property interests keen on securing the signature of the large government tenants.

Senator Cormann agreed to the local impact requirement after lobbying by the ACT’s federal politicians, most notably Liberal senator Zed Seselja.

Commonwealth property acquisition rules have also been changed to include a local impact test and requiring the minister to sign off on any deals worth more than $30 million.

Fraser MP Andrew Leigh said the refusal to release the report could reflect a desire to keep Canberra residents in the dark.

“Is the government hiding this local impact assessment because they don’t want Canberrans to know the very real economic harm caused by shrinking or moving our public service agencies?” Dr Leigh asked.

“This decision comes as they are planning the pointless move of up to 600 public servants to Gosford to work in a white elephant office block.

“Finance should release this local impact assessment now so we can see exactly how much public service agencies contribute to Canberra’s local economies.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Seselja said the former Canberra Liberals leader understood why the public was not to be allowed access to the document.

“Senator Seselja understands the decision made by the Department of Finance,” the spokeswoman said.

“He understands legal advice has recommended the report not be released due to being commercial in confidence.

“What is important is that local impacts were considered and the Department of Immigration will continue to have an office presence in Belconnen.

“This is a great outcome for the town centre, local businesses, staff and residents.”

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Gang-gang: Wildlife and Botanical Artists (WABA) online art gallery opens

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Stephen Harrison’s sea-mine sculpture. Photo: Rohan Thomson Janet Matthews’ painting ‘Whatcha looking at?’ Photo: Janet Matthews
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Our only regret about ignoring this year’s just-completed Floriade (we find boycotting Floriade one of the joys of Spring) is that we didn’t see the Wildlife and Botanical Artists (WABA) exhibition there.

But the virtual gallery of the works can now be strolled through online, without suffering an ordeal by massed tulips, at waba上海龙凤论坛.au/floriade-2015-products, And it includes (pictured here) Janet Matthews’ engaging Magpies – Whatcha lookin’ at?

The only fault we can find with this little masterpiece is that the artist may have defamed the famously intelligent species by implying that a magpie wouldn’t know that its reflection is just that, only its reflection, and not another magpie. Those readers with bird baths in their gardens will have noticed how magpies pause pre-plunge on the bath’s edge but only to check out their reflected appearance in the same self-conscious way in which a woman checks the state of her lipstick and a man the symmetry of his moustache.

We were alerted to the WABA exhibition by sculptor Stephen Harrison (his works much praised in this column). He reports that his most famous and notorious work, his sinister-looking effigy of a deadly World War II sea mine (we have portrayed it here before and have reported how its installation on a South Coast beach agitated some locals) was there at Floriade.

A famous work installed at times in all sorts of public spots in Canberra, at Floriade it was installed in a pond, appearing to float there (like a sea mine in the sea). He laughs to report that at Floriade the mine was a major attraction, albeit not so much for people as for birds.

He says that birds flocked to it and perched on it and covered it with bird poo, which he thinks may have meant that “they were being my harshest critics” and showing what they thought of that artwork.

Mention of bird poo and our earlier mention of suburban birds, magpies, brings us to the vexed question of the peacocks of Narrabundah. Allow me a moment as I mount a hobby horse.

Wadda some Canberrans want? Utter silence. When do they want it? Now.

We can all look forward to such a superabundance of restful, utter silence after we are dead (some of us expect it to last for ever while the Bible tells believers it will last until an angel tootles on a trumpet), that the way some Canberrans insist on having it now seems unreasonable. Now the city’s silence-demanding fogeys have had yet another triumph, their zillionth, in the ACT government’s removal of the Narrabundah peacocks after some locals’ complaints about the noise (and to a lesser extent the poo) the birds make.

Locals who have never found the peacocks’ noises a nuisance and who think the birds’ company fun are again (this is an issue we have covered before) cranky with those locals who have made successful complaints about the fowls.

In this column’s long campaign against Canberra fogeydom the issue of real and imagined urban and suburban noisiness comes up again and again. How it knots the knickers of some if they can pick up, through their ear trumpets pointed at EPIC and when the breeze is in the right direction, the slightest sound from distant, only-for-a-few-days-every-year Summernats.

There are Canberrans who somehow expect to live in a city as silent as the grave and who expect governments to furnish that, when, surely, it is ridiculous to expect a metropolis not to give off some yodels, buzzes, squeals, clicks, rumbles, trills and roars. But those Canberrans who want this city to be as supernaturally still as the Wagga-Wagga of the 1950s (their greatest triumph being the way in which Lake Burley Griffin is kept as artificially dreary as death by never having motor-powered things allowed on it) somehow get listened to and indulged by governments.

True citizens, those of us who love cities, expect to hear them humming and even giving the occasional shout of joy. We want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep.

Alighting from our hobby horse and ushering him back into his top paddock, we return to our reference to the trumpet call that the Bible, that powerful work of journalism, says will raise the dead.

Handel’s setting of the Biblical promise “A trumpet shall sound” in his Messiah is one of the great oratorio’s thrilling, goosebump-raising passages. In the unlikely event of there being a God it won’t surprise if He insists that it’s Handel’s trumpet solo from the Messiah that the angel plays on that great waking-the-dead day.

Yes, Canberra is a very secular city and we are living in post-Christian times and yet whenever (every two years) the Canberra Choral Society invites Canberrans to apply to join in the Come and Sing Messiah the response is enormous. Funny little Canberra! This season the response has been even more enormouserer than ever.

The CCS’s Kelly Corner told us on Thursday that “We’ve had a great response, significantly more applications than we’ve ever had before, so much so that we won’t be able to accept them all. We anticipate lots of energy and excitement when we start rehearsals on 2 November”.

Christmas without going to a Messiah is unthinkable and this performance, using the heavenly, angelic acoustics of the Llewellyn Hall, is on December 12.

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Parramatta shooting arrest: terror suspect lashed out at perceived war on Islam

Written by admin on 07/07/2019 Categories: 杭州桑拿

Screen grabs of Raban Alou Photo: Fairfax MediaTwo men charged with terrorism offences over Curtis Cheng death

A teenage terror suspect accused of assisting with the killing of police accountant Curtis Cheng had previously spoken of his “anger” at a perceived war on Islam in .

Raban Alou, 18, spoke to Fairfax Media last year when his family’s Wentworthville home was raided and his older brother, Kawa, was detained as part of a terrorism operation.

“I dunno, I got a lot of anger,” he said at the time. “It’s a war on Islam just because we grow our beards. They want to label us as a terrorist, or supporters of IS [Islamic State], whatever, that’s up to you.”

Mr Alou said he was angry that police had targeted his older brother and several of his friends, who he admitted were being watched by ASIO.

He said his brother, Kawa, had recently served three years in jail for a violent assault and hung around with “hot heads”.

The Alous’ home was raided again last week in connection to the murder of Mr Cheng outside Parramatta police headquarters on October 2.

Mr Alou was detained and charged on Thursday night with the Commonwealth offence of aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of a terrorist act.

It is alleged he gave schoolboy Farhad Jabar a gun and spent two hours with him in Parramatta Mosque on October 2, before Jabar shot Mr Cheng outside Parramatta police headquarters.

A family friend, 22-year-old Talal Alameddine, was charged on Thursday with supplying the gun to Mr Alou.

Last year, Mr Alou told Fairfax Media that police had come to their Wentworthville home looking for material relating to al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

“They [the police] said it was something to do with terrorist activity. I was like, relax,” he said at the time. “They are searching now but there is nothing to find.”

Hours before the second raid on their home last week, older brother Kawa lashed out at Fairfax Media, saying the killing of Muslims around the world was more important than Mr Cheng’s death.

“Why don’t you do something useful?” he said via Facebook. “And talk about real events occurring in Palestine. The killing of Muslims all ova the world [sic]. The oppressions in Burma, Palestine.”

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Rugby World Cup 2015: All Blacks name team for quarter-final showdown with France

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Wing spot: Nehe Milner-Skudder will start for the All Blacks against France in Cardiff. Photo: Reuters Wing spot: Nehe Milner-Skudder will start for the All Blacks against France in Cardiff. Photo: Reuters

Wing spot: Nehe Milner-Skudder will start for the All Blacks against France in Cardiff. Photo: Reuters

Wing spot: Nehe Milner-Skudder will start for the All Blacks against France in Cardiff. Photo: Reuters

RWC Schedule: When is the Rugby World Cup final?Rugby World Cup interactive: your guide to every teamFull coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

Nehe Milner-Skudder’s sharp feet have danced their way onto the much-debated right wing for the All Blacks’ quarterfinal showdown with France at the Rugby World Cup in Cardiff on Sunday morning (AEST).

Milner-Skudder’s selection comes as no major surprise. He’s been a revelation since bursting onto the New Zealand provincial scene with Manawatu; frequently breezing past defenders in his rookie season with the Hurricanes before making the step up to Test level with aplomb, scoring two tries on debut against the Wallabies.

His first match at the Rugby World Cup hit a road bump. Shelling a Sonny Bill Williams offload with the line open against Argentina wasn’t ideal, but he quickly shook off that set back and has been rewarded with a start in the biggest match of his career.

Waisake Naholo was the other option, but his comeback from a fractured leg hasn’t materialised as hoped. After an 11-week layoff Naholo was hesitant and appeared to lack confidence in his two starts at the World Cup – one on each wing.

In the end Milner-Skudder’s form was simply irresistible; his six tries in five Tests and overall enthusiasm leaving Steve Hansen no choice in the only genuine selection debate of the starting XV.

Milner-Skudder will link with Julian Savea, who returns on the left wing after being rested from the final pool win over Tonga last week.

Elsewhere, Richie McCaw returns from injury to lead the team, pushing Sam Cane to the bench, and Brodie Retallick is back to partner Sam Whitelock at lock, with Luke Romano dropping out of the squad.

In the final of four starting tweaks, Wyatt Crockett replaces veteran loosehead Tony Woodcock, who is out of the tournament with a hamstring tear.

On the bench Hansen sprung a surprise by promoting Joe Moody over Ben Franks. The Canterbury prop arrived in Wales four days ago and is now preparing for a World Cup knockout match.

Hansen has again preferred two loose forwards – Victor Vito and Cane – over specialist locking cover, suggesting mobility is a focus against a big French pack. Charlie Faumuina also returns from a hamstring issue, while Williams and Beauden Barrett are two super-subs in waiting.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow gets the jump on TJ Perenara, confirming his elevation in the halfback pecking order.

“We’re exactly where we want to be — playing a quarterfinal at Millennium Stadium,” Hansen said. “It’s finals footy and we’re hugely excited by that. We’re a team that enjoys a challenge, we’ve had a great week’s preparation and it’s now about putting it out on the park.

“This team has always been about making its own history. We’ve known for a long time that this match-up may be a possibility and we’re really looking forward to it. There are not many better places to play than a packed Millennium Stadium.

“All Blacks-French Tests are always intense affairs and we expect this weekend to be no different. The French will be very physical and both teams have plenty to play for. We’re at the time in the tournament where the big boys have to step up to the plate and the team that does this the best will move through to the next round. It’s as simple as that. We can’t wait.”

All Blacks: Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Joe Moody, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.


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Nick Kyrgios happy to continue his turbulent year, and for Lleyton Hewitt to take over Davis Cup

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Nick Kyrgios says he is not quite ready for his tumultuous season to finish, but primed for Lleyton Hewitt to assume the Davis Cup captaincy, as his strong support for the former world No.1 also served to deliver a parting back-hander to outgoing caretaker Wally Masur.

Kyrgios said Hewitt deserved the position for 2016 that he was first awarded in January, only for Tennis to respond to criticism of the closed-shop process by opening up the job to outside applicants. But with Masur electing not to seek an extension, Hewitt is considered a near-certainty to move straight from a playing role into the captain’s chair after his retirement at Melbourne Park in January.

“I think he deserves it,” said Kyrgios, who was left out of the semi-final team that lost 3-2 to Britain in Glasgow in September. “He’s probably the one guy I would probably point my finger to if I had to choose a captain.

“I’m just glad he’s taking over, to be honest. Yeah, I’m going to feel a lot more comfortable playing Davis Cup while he’s in charge.”

Meanwhile, another Hewitt disciple, n No.1 Bernard Tomic, also endorsed the dual grand slam champion’s claims, despite some reservations elsewhere that the 34-year-old would benefit from spending a kind of “gap year” transitioning from one tennis career to the next.

“I want him there, Nick wants him there, we all want him there and I think he deserves the opportunity to be the Davis Cup captain next year,” Tomic told Fairfax Media before his third-round match at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. “I know we have the tie against the USA at home [in March], so that would be a huge launch for him obviously if he was there in the chair, but we’re going to find out very shortly.”

For Kyrgios, the post-script to his typically eventful singles debut at Asia’s Masters 1000 event was to be the post-match review of his most recent code violation, which would determine any fine to add to the US$1500 he was slugged for uttering an audible obscenity in the opening round. Kyrgios was warned for unsportsmanlike conduct after hitting a ball that narrowly missed a line judge after serving a fault in the last game of the second set against Kei Nishikori on Wednesday.

Yet while world No.1 Novak Djokovic believes Kyrgios needs to focus on maintaining his concentration during matches if he is to break into the game’s top echelon, sixth-seeded Nishikori said he did not consider that a major factor in Wednesday’s match.

“I thought he was staying tough all the time,” said Nishikori, who recovered to win 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. “Even [though] he lost the second set, especially he was doing really well in the first set, he didn’t give me any easy shots. I mean, I heard little bit, arguing little bit. But I tried to stay calm and concentrate what I have to do.”

Having lost a close encounter in the second round of the doubles with Tomic, the next stop for Kyrgios is a brief break back home in Canberra before signing off on his tournament season at indoor events in Valencia and Paris. He will return to Asia for a reprise of his IPTL involvement with the Singapore Slammers, but said his pre-season and early-January plans remain unclear.

“I mean, I’m actually feeling pretty good,” he said. “I got told this time of the year’s tough for all the players – [that] everyone’s looking forward to just finishing.

“I’m actually feeling surprisingly pretty good. I’m actually a bit disappointed that the season’s coming to an end. I think I’m starting to play some really good tennis.”

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ROLLING WONDER: Fearnley leader of the pack again as big finish looms

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Kurt Fearnley at Merewether Beach on Thursday. Picture: Peter StoopWINNING no longer comes easily to wheelchair-racing world-beater Kurt Fearnley.

The three-time Paralympic gold medallist inspired the pack of wheelchair racers who now challenge him on the road and track, and they in turn have pushed him to train and compete even harder in his final full season on the international circuit.

Which is why Fearnley’s fifth Chicago Marathon win on Sunday was so significant.

Chicago was the first milestone on his road to the Rio Paralympic Games next September. He flies out on Friday for the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Doha, where he will contest the 1500m and 5000m track races, then on to the US for his New York Marathon defence on November 1.

“That was a big confidence boost,” he said on Thursday as he soaked up some sun at Merewether.

“To jump away by a couple of seconds in the last 400 metres was a handy way to finish, and traditionally, when I have a good Chicago, I have a good New York. So when you get on that roll, you’re hard to beat.”

Having won in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and last year, 34-year-old Fearnley is chasing a sixth bite of the Big Apple. His Chicago victory followed wins in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

“There were a few years there where wins were easy,” he said.

‘‘I remember knocking out 10 marathon wins in a year, but it’s not like that any more.

‘‘You look at the world wheelchair majors over the past three years, no-one would have won two.

‘‘We traditionally have four major marathons and every single one of those have been won by a different athlete over a 12-month period.

‘‘So I’m a little bit grateful that I’ve already got that win up for this year, and also still pretty confident about how I’m feeling about New York.’’

Fearnley’s American friend and arch rival Josh George lives and trains with him in Newcastle during the n summer, and George returned the favour in Chicago.

George pipped him by one second to win in the Windy City last year but he turned the tables on his host last Sunday to win in a time of one hour, 30 minutes and 46 seconds.

That was two seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and George, and another two seconds in front of South Africa’s Ernst Van Dyk.

‘‘I don’t know whether I’ve seen Huggy lose on the road without some sort of a technical issue for a couple of years, so he’s been in bloody good shape, and Ernst is rolling in a $30,000 carbon fibre wheelchair, so the boys are trying to go that next step,’’ he said.

‘‘Midway through that race, there were 12 other guys in the pack, we were going at a good pace, and I had this feeling that I was going to win. I felt really strong, and aggressive, and confident, and that’s such a good feeling, so I’m still loving that. It’s a good gig.’’

Fearnley covets the prestige and financial rewards that accompany success on the streets of New York, and is just as keen to test himself on the track in Doha to provide a Rio form guide.

‘‘The world champs will be a good way for me to see what the rest of the world are doing on the track,’’ he said.

‘‘I haven’t seen a lot of these wheelchair racers since London, so if I want to have a crack at multiple medals in Rio, I need to see what the best in the world are doing right now.’’

He will allow himself a short break of seven to 10 days at home for Christmas before climbing back into the saddle and competing at the Tokyo Marathon in February, then he will train and prepare in Europe and the United States in the middle of next year in the lead-up to Rio.

‘‘If you have three weeks off, it takes six weeks to get back. I can’t afford that any more,’’ he said.

Fearnley stayed at George’s house in the week leading up to the race last week, because he lives a couple of hours out of Chicago, and they shared some reflective moments.

‘‘I was telling him I’m going to miss everything,’’ Fearnley said.

‘‘I’m going to miss the nerves – I’m going to miss everything – so there’s so many parts of it that I have to enjoy now because I’ve only got this limited window.’’

But international competition comes at the high cost of time away from his wife, Sheridan, and their 18-month-old son Harry.

That’s why he squeezed in three days at home in Newcastle before heading to Doha.

‘‘Six weeks away from home, it’s not happening any more,’’ said Fearnley, who is in the final months of his reign as Newcastle’s Citizen of the Year.

‘‘They allow me to do it, but I don’t want it, and that makes what I do possible.’’

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The Bachelorette China 2015: Sam Frost sends Alex Cameron home after family visits

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Alex believes in love now. Sam shows Michael up on the soccer field.

Frosty rips some waves.

Kitchen grilling from Richie’s family.

Sasha’s mum had questions for Sam.

A farewell kiss from Sash.

Recap: Sam Frost sends Dave home and smooches Sasha again

Reserved Englishman Alex Cameron made an emotional departure from The Bachelorette on Thursday’s episode.

​”I’m not afraid to say I can see potential with her,” said the only man who didn’t say he was in love with Sam during the course of the episode. “It’s gut wrenching to leave this way,” he said.

The rose ceremony came at the end of an episode of carrying flowers to people’s front doors, also known as home visits.

First was a trip to Brisbane for Michael Turnbull who took Sam to the soccer field (where they played and Sam won) and then family dinner.

In a one-on-one chat with David, Michael’s father, Sam confided she previously wasn’t sure if she was good enough for Michael. For his part, David was smitten and enjoyed playing host. “They say eyes are the windows to the soul, would you like to see the windows to the Southbank?” he joked.

As they parted Michael revealed his palm to Sam which read “I heart Sam xoxo”.

Alex Cameron took Sam to Avoca beach, which isn’t his hometown but a place he loves surfing. The pair “ripped some waves” and then retired to what seemed to be a relaxing solo date…but ended up being a surprise visit from Alex’s sister, Helen.

“I’ve got a couple of minutes to find my words and wrap my head around the fact it’s not just Alex and me anymore.”

Alex assures Sam she doesn’t need to be too worried. The music immediately became menacing, Helen’s questions began and just didn’t stop. Kids, family, age difference were all put under the spotlight. The date ended with Alex saying he can’t “give it all away” at this point.

The third home visit is with Richie Strahan​ in Perth. The day begins with a hand in hand walk at Kings Park and followed by a BBQ dinner. On the guestlist were Richie’s mum and sister as well as his four closest friends too.

Asked whether she was over last year, Sam said the early part of the show was when she was feeling fragile.

“I was really really surprised, she seemed like such a nice girl,” said Richie’s mum. However the date ended in a question mark as Sam realised she might need to move to Perth, not something she was 100 per cent sure of.

Sasha Mielczarek took Sam to his family’s farm in regional NSW and treated Sam to a serenade from a musician friend of his, revealing he’s also in love with her through the medium of custom-written song.

Sasha also prefaced the family dinner by saying the main woman in his life is his mother and showing Sam the many photos of him at his mother’s house.

The grilling was an intense one, but Sam easily handled seemingly scripted topics of grandchildren, commitment and the break up with Blake Garvey.

Before the rose ceremony, Sam revealed two of the four guys had left questions in her mind. Who the other one is we’ll have to wait til next Wednesday for.

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