Children dying in Myanmar because of malnutrition: UN

Rai Seng, 13, works for 4,000 kyat (US$3) per day building and repairing roads, along the Myitkyina-Bhamo, Kachin State, Myanmar, Friday 31 March 2017.In 2017, working with the Government of Myanmar, UNICEF will strive to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable internally displaced children. Myanmar is experiencing three protracted humanitarian crises, each with its own set of complex underlying factors. In Rakhine State, inter-communal violence that erupted in 2012 continues to plague 120,000 internally displaced people spread across 40 camps or informal sites, as well as host communities. Eighty per cent of the displaced are women and children. In Kachin State, armed conflict that reignited in 2011 continues to impact communities caught in the crossfire between an ethnic armed group and the Myanmar army. Nearly 87,000 people remain displaced as a result, including 40 per cent who are in areas outside of government control. An additional 11,000 people remain displaced in northern Shan State, where a similar conflict broke out in 2011. Compounding the protracted crises are issues related to religious and/or ethnic discrimination, exploitation, chronic poverty, vulnerability to natural disasters, statelessness, trafficking and humanitarian access. In addition to the humanitarian crises in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states, Myanmar is impacted by humanitarian situations in other parts of the country, including natural disasters, health emergencies and small-scale displacements. unicefBangkok: The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF has revealed that as many as 150 children under five are dying each day in Myanmar, while 30 per cent suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition.


In a shock report the agency says war, poverty and under-development in remote parts of Myanmar are preventing children from reaping the benefits of reforms since the country began opening to the world in 2010 after half a century of military rule.

“For an estimated 2.2 million children the promise of peace remains unfulfilled, leaving their hopes for a better future blighted by poverty, lack of opportunity and the ever-present fear of violence,” UNICEF says in the just-released report.

The agency says optimism following the signing of a national ceasefire by ethnic armies in 2015 and the election of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in 2016 have been tempered by slower-than-expected progress on economic reforms.

“Even more worrisome is the escalation of several key conflicts in the country’s more remote border areas,” it says.

The report points to opportunities to save children from conflict through a peace conference involving ethnic groups, scheduled for late May, and a burgeoning economy and improving infrastructure.

UNICEF praises Ms Suu Kyi’s government for increased public funding for immunisation programs and education and a draft child law that indicates a stronger commitment to children’s rights.

But it says “there is a risk that many children and their families are excluded. This is especially the case for poorer children living in remote areas or trapped in situations of tension and conflict.”

The agency warns that Rohingya Muslim children in western Rakhine State require urgent assistance, including access to health and education services, and the lifting of religious and other restrictions.

A separate UN report in February accused Myanmar’s security forces of mass murder, rapes and torture against Rohingya in what it said could amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

UNICEF says while international focus has been on the treatment of Rohingya, less-reported conflicts in Kachin, Shan and Kayin states are driving families from their homes.

It says in Kachin State, near the border with China, an estimated 67,000 woman and children are living in 142 camps and sites as an ethnic conflict rages. “The situation for children in neighbouring Shan State is equally fragile,” it adds.

The report calls for lifting restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and an end to the recruitment of children to work in the troubled remote regions.

The report reveals that half of Myanmar’s children reach adulthood with an incomplete education and two out of three children with disabilities do not attend school.

It says nine out of 14 states and regions are contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war, with a new victim of landmines on average every three days. One out of three of those victims is a child.

Coinciding with the report’s release, UNICEF Australia called on the Turnbull government to increase its humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and help settle asylum seeker and refugee children.

The government has pledged $66 million in aid for Myanmar in 2017-18.

Don’t Tell director Tori Garrett to adapt Peggy Frew’s acclaimed novel Hope Farm

Her first film, the impressive drama Don’t Tell, deserved better than the low-key opening it had in Australian cinemas on the weekend.


But director Tori Garrett, who had a cast headed by Jack Thompson, Rachel Griffiths, Aden Young and Sara West for her dramatisation of a landmark sexual abuse case, is already looking ahead to her next film.

The first-time film director, whose background includes such TV series as Wentworth, Wonderland and Hiding, has bought the film rights to what she calls a “beautiful novel” – Peggy Frew’s Stella Prize-winning Hope Farm, about a 13-year-old who moves to a rundown commune in rural Victoria.

“Female protagonists, David versus Goliath against all odds,” Garret says.”They’re the stories I love to tell.”

Australian film classics for streaming service

Good news for fans of Australian cinema history. The Australian movie streaming service Ozflix has added a collection of films from the National Film and Sound Archive that go back to the early days of the country’s film making.

One is The Hero of the Dardanelles, a reconstructed version of a 1915 film once thought to have been lost, that features a re-creation of the Gallipoli landing shot on Sydney’s Tamarama Beach.

Scene from The Hero of the Dardanelles, a 1915 re-creation of the Gallipoli landing. Photo: Ruth Hartmann.

While only two-thirds survives, Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell’s The Woman Suffers (1918), considered Australia’s first feminist film, will also be available. So will one of the great comedies of the silent era, The Kid Stakes (1927), the story of Fatty Finn and his gang that features a famous goat race finale; and Ken G. Hall’s Smithy (1946), a biopic of aviator Charles Kingsford Smith that was Bud Tingwell’s first film.

Teplitzky is back with new film and plans for a Gettin’ Square sequel

Having shot the war dramas The Railway Man and the upcoming Churchill, director Jonathan Teplitzky??? is preparing to shoot a real change of pace on the Gold Coast.

He is teaming up with two former collaborators, Gettin’ Square writer Chris Nyst??? and The Railway Man producer Chris Brown, for the crime comedy Mr Cranky.

David Wenham as “Spit” in the 2003 crime caper Gettin’ Square.

It centres on an underworld debt collector who, with his stripper ex-girlfriend’s precocious seven-year-old daughter, has to stave off bikies, Lebanese hit men, a drug-addicted circus clown and his New Age Laughing Circle therapist to become a better man.

Teplitzky tells Short Cuts he is also looking at a sequel to Gettin’ Square, the 2003 crime caper that memorably starred David Wenham as drug-addled Johnny ‘Spit’ Spiteri.

Churchill, starring Brian Cox as the British PM, opens on June 8.

Twitter @gmaddox

Readers guess income of 15 jobs. How close were they?


How much do politicians, paramedics and taxi drivers earn on average?

Our quiz asked readers to hazard their guesses on how much they thought people doing 15 different jobs could expect to take home each year. (If you’d like to take the quiz, check out this link)

More than 25,000 people took up the challenge, and now we have the results. After averaging out all the responses, we thought it would be interesting to see whether the collective wisdom was on point.

So how accurate were everyone’s guesses?

It turns out we underestimate how much politicians earn on average and have a pretty good grasp of how much paramedics take home, but vastly overestimate what taxi drivers bring in.

If the collective guess came within $10,000 of a job’s average income we have given it the “correct” tick. As you can see, people were pretty accurate when it came to pinpointing what pilots, paramedics, teachers and nurses take home.

But on some of the other jobs the guesses were not nearly so on-the-money, as the graphic below shows. The red marker shows a job’s average income, while the orange marker shows the average guess among readers. For some jobs, there is a wide gulf between the two points. iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#pez_iframe9′); var frame = document.getElementById(“pez_iframe9”);

When it comes to taxi drivers, the collective guess of $57,851 was more than twice the actual average income of $24,707.

It is possible the average income figure – calculated from tax office data – understates the amount. For example, it might be that part-time drivers who only work weekends are driving down the average. And, ultimately, the information the ATO receives is self-reported by those lodging their tax returns, which may not be a reflection of an individual’s true earnings.

But it might not be too far off – a 2011 report into the taxi industry in New South Wales found the average driver took home $29,000 a year. And the move towards more contactless payments in recent years means taxi drivers do not get as many tips.

Taxi driver Afzal Ahmad said unfair competition from ride-sharing app Uber had also been driving down earnings. “Competition is good, but it should be fair,” he said.

He said about $58,000 was what taxi drivers might have earned in a good year before Uber was around. Nowadays, cabbies could expect an annual income between $45,000 and $50,000, he said.

Quiz takers also slightly over-estimated what footballers earn. That may be because of a disparity across the major codes, or the fact that some of their biggest stars can command massive salaries.

But on the flipside, the collective guess thought members of parliament were earning $35,000 less on average than they actually are.

Using this interactive, you can check out the distribution of guesses for a selected job. The green area shows the range that would have roughly been classed as a correct answer in the quiz. <a href=’#’><img alt=’Dashboard 1 ‘ src=’https://public.tableau苏州美甲学校/static/images/qu/quizanswers/Dashboard1/1_rss.png’ style=’border: none’ /></a> var divElement = document.getElementById(‘viz1495518212874’); var vizElement = divElement.getElementsByTagName(‘object’)[0];’324px’;’654px’;’100%’;’629px’;’929px’;*0.75)+’px’; var scriptElement = document.createElement(‘script’); scriptElement.src = ‘https://public.tableau苏州美甲学校/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js’; vizElement.parentNode.insertBefore(scriptElement, vizElement);

Architectural icon for sale in exclusive Perth suburb for under $2m

House styles that have become modern classicsTake a look back at Iwanoff’s Perth masterpiecesAustralian architecture for beginners


A slice of Perth’s history is up for grabs with an Iwan Iwanoff modernist home in Dalkeith listed for sale.

The 1960s-built residence, which was designed by the late Bulgarian-born architect, presents a rare opportunity to own an Iwanoff home, says selling agent Mark Anderson, of Anderson Davies Real Estate.

Set on a 1072-square-metre block, 13 Minora Road, Dalkeith, has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and open, airy living spaces. It is priced at $1.95 million.

There is also a pool and polished timber floors.

Mr Anderson said interest in the home had been strong.

“The house itself is rare in this price range,” he said.

“It is in a beautiful spot on a corner block. I think whoever is going to buy it is going to renovate it.

“The ideal buyer is someone obviously is interested in Iwanoff homes.”

Iwanoff, who died in 1986, became one of Perth’s most famous architects and was renowned for his brutalist style, concrete blockwork, use of timber and other trademark features, including letterboxes that were futuristic looking and designed to be part of the house.

Several homes designed by Iwanoff in the 1960s and 70s can be found in Dianella, City Beach and in Floreat.

One of the most famous is the Marsala House in Dianella, which has a light-up disco floor. It was built in 1976 and restored in the 2000s.

On The Boulevard in Floreat, a labour of love is underway to recreate one of Iwanoff’s most well-known homes, which was gutted by fire in December 2015.

Named Paganin House, the striking home was built in 1965 for a merchant family.

It featured marble privacy panels, wood panelling and stone, a pool, spa, three bars and Palm Spring style gardens.

Town of Cambridge acting chief executive Jason Lyon said a building permit was issued in January and he understood the new building will match as closely as practicable to the previous house, but with some minor changes to comply with current Building Codes of Australia.

Tim Wright, of Wright Feldhusen Architects, has designed the new abode.

“The owner is to be commended for their intent to restore this notable Floreat home, considered by many to be one of the best examples of Iwan Iwanoff’s unique architectural style which, when combined with the Paganin family’s trade in marble and timber, resulted in an iconic example of 1960s architecture in Perth,” Town of Cambridge mayor Keri Shannon said.

Cricket’s pay fight escalates as players take IP rights

Australian cricket’s pay war has escalated, with players set to establish their own image rights company allowing them to sign with rival sponsors and even join entrepreneurial competitions.


With no sign of movement in discussions with Cricket Australia ahead of a June 30 deadline for a new memorandum of understanding, the Australian Cricketers Association on Wednesday unveiled plans to form a new business, The Cricketers Brand.

This business would house the marketing and media rights of players that currently are owned by CA. Under the plan, almost all of Australia’s international male and female players have already agreed to sign over their name, voice, signature, trademarks, images, likeness and even “performance” to the new company run through the ACA by former first-class cricketer, Tim Cruickshank. The company would also run player interviews, appearances and promotions.

This move comes as players prepare to safeguard their earnings if they are locked out and not paid by CA should a new memorandum of understanding, or at least a heads of agreement on the major issues, not be reached by July 1.

ACA chief Alistair Nicholson denied it was a power play by the players fighting to retain the revenue-sharing model that has been in place since 1997. CA wants to largely disband this, prompting suggestions this summer’s Ashes series could be in doubt.

“It’s actually around getting some stability around post-June 30, if that’s what happens. We actually see it as a necessity and a constructive way of trying to stop some of that uncertainty,” Nicholson said.

“It is important for the broadcasters, sponsors and then, obviously, Cricket Australia.”

Nicholson said the company format would be an “interim” position, with image rights returning entirely to CA should that be brokered in a new MOU. However, he said the company was likely to continue after a new agreement but its structure would be different. He said there were similar models used in US sports.

What that means in the short term is that rival sponsors to CA’s official partners and even rival broadcasters to Channel Nine could partner with players until a MOU is secured.

Should the fight drag on, cricketers, for instance, would have the opportunity of even playing in an Australian-based Twenty20 tournament from July – should there be financial backing. Players may have to seek a “no objection” certificate from CA but if they are locked out and not paid by CA, that could be a moot point.

“We have, obviously, asked to mediate [with CA]. We have got the top players in the world coming out of contract, so we are getting inquiries from broadcasters and sponsors around what happens. So we thought it important we say there is a vehicle here if you want to come and speak to the ACA around accessing players,” he said.

“That is something we have spoken to them about. Again, it’s around trying to get some certainty around what is happening at the moment.”

Players, who remain hopeful CA will agree to mediation, can still broker sponsorship deals directly with their agents.

A CA spokesman said on Tuesday the governing body remained ready to negotiate, having submitted plans for Australia’s top male players to earn several million dollars a year and for international female stars to immediately earn $200,000 a year. State-based players would still earn more than $200,000 a year but be paid from a set pool.

“Cricket Australia remains ready and willing to begin negotiations and remains confident that an agreement can be reached once they begin. The only reason that these talks have not begun is because the ACA is insisting that certain pre-conditions be met. That goes against the basic principle of good-faith negotiations, and could not be used in any mediation,” a CA spokesman said.

“Cricket Australia has placed a ground-breaking offer before the ACA, which will mean cricket is able to offer women the opportunity to have a fully professional sporting career at both international and domestic levels, while the men will continue to be among the country’s best-paid sportsmen. It retains the revenue-share model but provides greater flexibility for Cricket Australia to invest in our grassroots, particularly junior cricket.

“CA has repeatedly explained to the ACA that there is no digital revenue, and their auditors have access to CA’s books on a regular basis.”

CA signed over its digital rights to Channel Nine under the last broadcast rights deal, and claims players have enjoyed a cut of this.

While the players insist they will not budge on ensuring all cricketers enjoy the set-percentage model, Nicholson says there is room for negotiation.

“What is important is the flexibility we have offered underneath that, in regard to talking about downside and upside, and then also a mechanism that if Cricket Australia or the game want to invest in new businesses to grow the game, where that sits. That is similar to what happens in a NFL-type model,” he said.

“The players are not necessarily saying revenue-share and nothing else – it’s this revenue-sharing model with flexibility underneath.”

CA has also threatened to pull its multimillion-dollar funding of the ACA, an issue which will be debated – should negotiations open.

“The position from CA up until now is that they don’t believe that funding should continue. So now it’s important if that doesn’t continue, then we have structures in place which we can fund ourselves,” Nicholson said.

2-metre sea level rise a risk in Newcastle’s inner-city suburbs

LARGE chunks of Newcastle’s inner suburbs could be underwater by the end of the centuryif worst-case scenario sea-level rises come true, new flood prediction modelling shows.


Based on new,more direestimates of “plausible” sea level rises caused by the rapid melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, the modelling predicts large chunks of suburbs like Wickham, Carrington andMaryville could be underwater by 2100.

The modelling, from Coastal Risk Australia, is based on new research by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, whichthis yearreleased updated projectionsfor sea level rises whichreevaluated previous worst-case scenario modelling from a 74-centimetre sea level rise by 2100 to between 2and 2.7 metres.

In Newcastle, the modelling shows that a sea-level rise of 2 metres could see swathes of land in Carrington, Maryville andWickham inundated during high tides, as well as parts of Honeysuckle, Hunter Street and even Newcastle West.

In Lake Macquarie, the mapping shows potential for significant flooding, particularly in eastern suburbs like Belmont,Swansea andBlacksmiths.

The threat of climate change and subsequent sea level rises have not gone unnoticed by Newcastle City Council, which is currently exhibiting a strategic position paper for managing the issue in the “low lying” suburbs ofWickham, Maryville,Carrington andIslington.

It predicts a small number of private properties in those suburbscould face regular inundation as a result of sea level rises of only 0.3 metres, and said rises of 0.8 metres by 2050 –the 2013 “worst case scenario” – without intervention would see floodingincrease across the area and cause permanent waterlogging of particularly low-lying parts”.

The paperdoes not consider the more extreme flood levels included in the latest coastal modelling, however it proposes that the council spend between $45 and $55 million installingflood gates on stormwater outlet pipes and the construction of a levee along the Throsby Creek cycleway that would “protect the entire area from inundation by sea levels up to 2.5 metres”.

Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne, an hydraulic engineer, said it was a “big risk for the area” that the council needed to invest in.

Cr Osborne last week presented at theFloodplain Management Australia National Conference held in Newcastle about best practice for councils in dealing with flood planning, and said local government organisations needed to consider the impacts of flooding because they were the bodies liable for damages.

The conference, which heard from flood management experts from across Australia, included a presentation from Daniel Williams, the NSW flood team leader from Broadmeadow-based engineering consultancy firm BMT WBM, about predicting the next major flood on the Hunter River.

Mr Williams told the Newcastle Heraldthat while major floods in the Hunter’s recent past –i.e. 2007 and 2015 – had come from coastal storms caused by an east coast low, the largest previous flood along the Hunter River in 1955 was the result of the remnants of a tropical depression movingwarm moist air across inland Australia andinto the top of the Hunter catchment.

He said future climate change predictions suggested it was possible that more events like that could occur in the future.

“As well as sea level rises, which affectsNewcastle harbour rather than valley, we also look at potential increases in rainfall intensity,” he said.

He said climate change models included predictions of increasing sea surface temperatures, with a greater level of moisture take up, which would make conditions like the 1955 storm “more common”.

“It’s inevitable that there will be more floods like there, but where that uncertainty is, is in how frequently you would expect it to occur,” he said.

“You could be lucky and go 200 or 300 years without a flood,or get unlucky and get two in the next 50 years.”

Budget reduction forced 10 per cent NGA staff cut

Canberra’s national gallery will not reverse a 10 per cent staffing cut despite a budget windfall restoring half its government funding slashed less than two years ago.


The National Gallery of Australia’s director Gerard Vaughan told senators at an estimates hearing on Wednesday it had to shed 20 of its 237 staff after a $3.94 million cut in December 2015.

He said 2016-17 had been a “challenging year” and described the gallery’s restructure, which made $2.2 million in savings, as a “difficult but interesting” process.

“‘Challenging’ concerns the efficiency dividends we’ve needed to take account of,” Dr Vaughan said.

Full-time staff would remain at 217 despite a $1.94 million increase in gallery funding announced in the budget earlier this month, which Dr Vaughan said would go to other purposes.

Tighter finances had also forced the gallery to rotate its collections more slowly, from every six months to between nine and 12 months.

“We’ll essentially do the same things, we’ll just slow it down and take a bit longer to do it,” Dr Vaughan said.

However the gallery would not change its line-up of major exhibitions, which generated money and attracted large crowds.

The gallery had put plans to expand on hold, but was preparing a brief for the project.

National Museum of Australia director Mathew Trinca told senators it had increased staff by six to 223 while losing government funding after increasing its own-source income and starting renewal projects using its capital funds.

Its popular A History of the World in 100 Objects exhibition, a program touring from the British Museum which left Canberra in January, drew 178,000 visitors – double the number expected.

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House director Daryl Karp said two positions would be added to her workforce after additional funding from this year’s federal budget.

The extra funding will bring staff numbers to 72, coming alongside capital works funding of $13.6 million for improvements to lighting, plumbing and “habitable office space”.

Ms Karp said some exhibition spaces at Old Parliament House would be renewed for the first time with the funds.

The National Portrait Gallery reduced its staffing by four after a previous $400,000 budget cut, although it shed three of these positions through natural attrition of departing staff.

It received an additional $150,000 to manage cost pressures this year and funding had been restored, director Angus Trumble said.

The gallery expected visitor numbers to drop this year by 7,000 to 424,000, but Mr Trumble said it was difficult to determine the cause.

Arts Minister Mitch Fifield used the hearing to rule out selling Jackson Pollock’s landmark painting Blue Poles, rejecting the suggestion from Liberal senator James Paterson last year.

Senator Paterson said the government could reduce national debt by selling the painting bought for $1.3 million by the Whitlam government, now valued at more than $350 million.

Senator Fifield said the government wouldn’t be selling the “destination” artwork, noting “decisions about the collection are ones for the council of the gallery”.

Kingsford-Smith Cup: Clearly Innocent form gives trainer Kris Lees confidence

RISING: Clearly Innocent has won all three starts on soft ground. Picture: bradleyphotos苏州美甲学校苏州美甲学校论坛


CLEARLY Innocent was travelling to Queensland on Wednesday night for the $700,000 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300 metres) untested at group 1 level,at Eagle Farm and at weight for age.

But Newcastle trainer Kris Lees was confidentwinning form could give his five-year-old gelding the edge on Saturday in the race formerly known as the BTC Cup.

Clearly Innocent, with Hugh Bowman to ride, was at $5.50 with TAB Fixed Odds, behind only five-time group 1 winner Black Heart Bart ($3.50), after drawing barrier nine. Black Heart Bart drew four.

Lees targeted the raceafter Clearly Innocent defended his listed Luskin Star Stakes title in emphatic fashion at Scone. Victory in the Kingsford-Smith Cup secures aplace in the June 10, $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm, a racein which Clearly Innocent is the early favourite.

Black Heart Bart was seventh in the group 1 Goodwood last start, while Clearly Innocent is one of only two last-start winners in the Kingsford-Smith Cupfield.

Lees was taking that as a positive and believed the other last-start victor, Jungle Edge, was the horse to beat.

“He’s not well-placed at weight-for-age level against some of these more credentialled horses, but we’re going there in form,” Lees said of Clearly Innocent.

“There’s horse there that, on their day, are genuine group 1 horses.

“He’s come on well since Scone but he’ll need to because it’s a lot stronger race.

“The horse is in good order and he handles a soft ground, but the Eagle Farm track is the unknown.I just hope the horse runs well.”

The Eagle Farmsurface, a heavy 8 on Wednesday, has been widely criticised. It wasrated heavy on May 3 despite the track not havingrain for 10 days.

Lees was unsure what factorthe draw in nine would have, given the surface’s troubles.

“It’s all up in the air with that track,” he said. “But it’s probably a terrific barrier because you’ve got options.You probablydon’t want to be stuck on the fence or on the outside fence, so that will be enough for Hugh to work things out.”

Meanwhile, Lees accepted forSlow Pace in the McKell Cup at Randwick for Saturday but he was unsure if the nine-year-old will race.

“He probably needs a bit of cut in the ground, to be honest, and I probably won’t run him if it gets too firm,” he said.

“He seems to be going well, but he’s that kind of horse. You wouldn’t want to be having your last on him but he can certainly show up at any time.”

Lees confirmed Guard Of Honour would be gelded after his ninth last Saturday at Rosehill.

Maitland Catholic schools Les Darcy memorial sports day

Les Darcy memorial sports day | PHOTOS, VIDEO FUN: Darcy Mullan, 11, and Isaac Castle, 12.


FUN: Veronica Parra-Mariaca, 10, and Christopher Robertson, 10 from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School.

FUN: Stephanie Redcliffe, 12 and Jack Walch, 10 from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School.

FUN: Charlotte Abdoo, 11, Izzy Procopis, 12 and Sahra Brown, 10, from St Aloysius Primary Catholic School at Chisholm.

FUN: Charlotte Fortune, 10, and Poppy McDonnell, 10, from St John the Baptist Primary School at Maitland.

FUN: Mason Puxty, 12, and Jaxson Stevenson, 10 in Les Darcy pose.

FUN: Sienna D’Angelo, 11 and Gabby Johnson, 11, from St Joseph’s Primary School at East Maitland.

FUN: Campbell Meyn, 12, and Timothy Kerkhof, 12 from St Joseph’s Primary School.

FUN: Bridget Carmody, 11, and Abbey Cant, 12 from St Joseph’s Primary School.

FUN: Harriet Greentree, 10, Caitlin Crawford, 10, and Georgia Simmons-Aspinall, 11.


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappcommentCommentsLes Darcy: Maitland’s fighting spirit | photos, video, interactiveMaitland’s Fighting Spirit | YOUR PHOTOSHundreds of primary school students from across the region have marked the 100thanniversary ofboxing legend Les Darcy’s death with asporting gala day.

Four hundred year 5 and 6 students from Catholic primary schools met at Maitland Park on Wednesday for a series of sporting sessions run byrepresentatives from the NRL, soccer, Rugby Union and hockey.

Former Hockeyroo and dualCommonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Kate Jenner, NRL Development representativeMatt Sharmanand Development Officer of NSW Rugby UnionGeorge Gargoulakis were among the sport stars who helped the students refine their skills.

It is the first time a Darcy memorial sporting gala day has been held. It is one of a number of events being held in Maitland this week to celebrate the boxing star.

Jeremy Watt at the Catholic schools commemorative Les Darcy sports day in Maitland pic.twitter苏州美甲学校/KPCPYfouRX

— MaitlandMercury (@MaitlandMercury) May 24, 2017

‘Normally you’d save for a deposit’: Gen Y fixed on lifestyle spending

Many parents fear their children will never move out of homeNever buying property will mean saving more for retirementWhy young people are starting businesses rather than buying homes


As the financial battle lines between millennials and baby boomers continue to be drawn over brunch, a national survey has shown that when it comes to discretionary spending, the two generations have more in common than they might think.

Young people and middle aged consumers share very similar attitudes about lifestyle spending, the NAB quarterly consumer behaviour survey released on Wednesday found.

Young people are no more willing to cut back lifestyle spending than middle-aged consumers and their spending behaviours typically mirrored those of middle-aged consumers.

“We were not expecting that result,” NAB chief economist Alan Oster said. “Normally in economics, in your 20s and 30s you’re saving up for deposit and as you get older, you change your spending spending patterns. But that doesn’t seem to be happening at present.

“Maybe they’ve given up, but we don’t know that,” he said.

The median house price in Sydney has increased to a record $1,151,565, according to Domain Group data, while Melbourne house prices are sitting at a record $843,674

Australians consumers were asked to rate the extent to which they would cut back lifestyle spending to have more money for savings, housing and retirement. Interestingly, the survey showed millennials and baby boomers mirrored each others’ habits.

When asked whether what they were prepared to spend much less on, most Australians were likely to cut back on taxis and Uber (47 per cent), takeaway food (42 per cent), fitness (41 per cent) and alcohol (41 per cent). They were least inclined to cut back on the internet (14 per cent) and mobile phones (19 per cent).

But about four in 10 Australians also said they did not want to cut lifestyle spending because “life was too short” (14 per cent) or they “couldn’t see the point as they’d never be able to afford a home” (5 per cent).

“It was very interesting that these attitudes were quite consistent across all age groups – and that young people in particular shared very similar attitudes to lifestyle spending to middle aged consumers,” the survey said.

It comes after a national obsession about the corelation between house prices and young people’s spending habits, including comments made by BRW Rich List-er Tim Gurner about cutting back on smashed avocado and coffee. Interestingly, nearly a third (32 per cent) of all respondents said they would make no change to their spending habits on coffee. Combing two of Melbourne’s obsessions – lattes and avo

A post shared by Truman Cafe (@trumancafealbertpark) on May 11, 2017 at 2:02pm PDT

Lindt cafe siege inquest: police waited too long: coroner

Lindt Chocolat Cafe Siege timeline: 02.18.20 am Police Rescue officers carry injured hostage Marcia Mikhael in Martin Place Tuesday 16 December 2014. Photo: Andrew MearesCoroner walks fine line in delivering findings


Police waited too long to enter the Lindt cafe stronghold in their attempt to rescue hostages from the gunman Man Haron Monis, NSW Coroner Michael Barnes said in a finding endorsed by Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.

Commanders relied on “flawed advice” from negotiators and a police psychiatrist that underplayed the risk Monis posed and overestimated their chances of a peaceful resolution, the coroner found.

Storming the cafe in a surprise assault to end the terrorist attack would have been safer. But having hung back, preparing for an emergency, police should have then pounced when Monis first fired his shotgun at escaping hostages.

These were among the findings in a 600-page report into the handling of the siege, handed down on Wednesday morning.

But Mr Barnes said he could not “stress too heavily” that the deaths of hostages Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson were not the fault of police.

“All of the blame for those rests on the shoulders of Man Monis. He created the intensely dangerous situation. He maliciously executed Tori Johnson. He barricaded himself into a corner of the cafe and his actions forced police to enter the cafe in circumstances where the risk of hostages being wounded or killed was very high.”

The coroner commended the “inspiring” bravery of the officers who entered the cafe, believing Monis could have detonated an improvised explosive device. He emphasised it was not his role to assign blame but to make findings of fact and recommendations.

Among his key recommendations were: an overhaul of police negotiator trainingthe creation of a specialist cadre of counter-terrorism negotiatorsa reconsideration of the entrenched philosophy of “contain and negotiate”a clarification of snipers’ legal power to shoota review of the the threshold for calling out the Australian Defence Force in domestic terrorism situationsthe sharing of criminal bail histories among all Australian jurisdictionsmore collaboration between NSW Health and NSW Police to identify “fixated” offendersan overhaul of the ASIO triage system for tip-offs

Mr Barnes found police commanders were wrong not to have approved or considered an earlier intervention in a so-called “deliberate action” plan.

A decision “to enter the stronghold at a time of their choosing would have increased the chance of surprising the hostage taker and thus reducing the risk to the hostages”.

This view has been echoed by Mr Fuller in an interview released by the ABC’s Four Corners, in which he blamed “poor advice”.

“In hindsight, as with everything, we know we should have gone in earlier,” he said. “Clearly a deliberate action is a much more professional action and a lower risk.”

Monis, an Iranian refugee who assumed “wildly different guises” in Australia, was not psychotic but may have suffered from a personality disorder when he took the eight cafe staff members and 10 customers hostage on December 15, 2014, the coroner found.

“The terror they endured could fairly be described as torture. Monis oscillated between feigning regard for their welfare and threatening to blow them apart with shotgun blasts or a bomb.

“They had entered a familiar environment only to find it transformed into a prison run by a vicious maniac. Public recognition of their suffering and the extraordinary courage some demonstrated is warranted.”

Throughout the day, senior police said negotiators were working with Monis. But the coroner found negotiators made no progress and did not undertake a “structural assessment” of their prospects. A consultant police psychiatrist overstepped his role, providing “erroneous” advice that went beyond his expertise.

“Police commanders underestimated the threat Monis posed,” the coroner found.

The negotiators and the consultant psychiatrist had told them “negotiations were progressing, that the stronghold was calm, that Monis’ behaviour was not consistent with Islamic State methodology – he was merely “grandstanding”, and, towards the end of the night, [Monis] was beginning to “settle”.

The coroner made no adverse findings against Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn and former commissioner Andrew Scipione, although he found Mr Scipione at one point strayed beyond his remit into operational matters. The two police shooters on the night, Officers A and B, did not fire excessively nor indiscriminately.

But Mr Barnes concluded that emergency action ought to have been initiated when Monis first fired his shotgun at a group of escaping hostages at 2.03am.

“The 10 minutes that elapsed without decisive action by police was too long.”

Mr Johnson was executed at 2.13am while police were still deciding whether to enter.

Ms Dawson’s parents, Alexander and Jane, and her brothers, Angus and Sandy, were in court for the findings. So, too, was Mr Johnson’s partner, Thomas Zinn, and his parents, Ken Johnson and Rosie Connellan.

Lindt hostages Louisa Hope, her mother Robin, and Paolo Vassallo were also present.

Submissions from the families will be made available on Monday but the families have publicly condemned police for not entering the cafe earlier.

Mr Zinn said during the inquest “one shocking discovery followed the next”.

“Soon it became apparent that we were not simply fighting for the truth of the circumstances of Tori and Katrina’s deaths,” he said.

“Rather, we were confronted with systematic failures of various authorities who, at times, were confused, ill-informed, unprepared and under resourced to deal with Monis.”

Business feature: Key hole surgery has significantly changed the prospect of going under the knife

Dr Mitch Hansen is an Australian trained paediatric and adult neurosurgeon and is a consultant neurosurgeon at several private hospitals across the Hunter region.


Anyone who has suffered ongoing back pain and sciatica will know how debilitating it can be,with even the simplest of day to day functions often posing a degree of challenge.

For triathleteDavid Robins, 75, enduring 15 months of back and associated nerve pain became too much.

Having been unable to compete ina season of triathlons due to his condition, David’s specialist referred him to Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon Dr Mitch Hansen in Newcastle.

With 2 worn discs and a pinched nerve, Dr Hansen recommended that David undergo key hole surgery in his spine.

“I was unable to stand for any period of time and really couldn’t walk much more than 300 meters without having to stop. At that point I was ready, I’d had enough and so thought right let’s go, let’s do it,” saidDavid.

David was admitted to Newcastle Private Hospital a few months later and within the space of one week had undergone 2 key hole operations.

The procedures involved the first operation to fuse two discs and the second to effectively pin his spine back together with a series of screws and bolts.

While back surgery has traditionally triggered much hesitation among patients, withnoise around recovery rates and levels of success, revolutionary key hole surgery has essentially given patients a positive and less invasive route to better back health.

It is about causing less damage to the tissues to get to the problem to fix it – not just small holes. This helps get people moving much quicker and obviously back to work faster or their normal activities.

Dr Hansen explains that this minimal access surgery can be done in all parts of the spine,neck and back, whether it isfor trauma, tumour ordegenerative conditions.

“The ability to do disc surgery means thatpeople are usually home within 24 hours and in some cases back to sport within a couple of weeks,” began Hansen.

“It is about causing less damage to the tissues to get to the problem to fix it – not just small holes. This helps get people moving much quicker and obviously get back to work or their normal activities faster,” he added.

Just 4 days after his surgeries, David was back on a bike again and has since completed 5 triathlons in the 12 months since, notching up his 257thtriathlon completed since he began in 1984.

“I’ve had no problems at all, the healing has been very quick, with such small incisions there really wasn’t too much discomfort at all. I’ve come full circle and I’m back enjoying competitions again which is great” said David.

While DrHansen says that there is stilla time and place for major open surgery, there are options of minimal access surgery that people can discuss with their surgeon.