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Another tragic chapter in the war on terror

ALMOST 16 years have passed since the 9/11attacks launched America and its allies –including Australia –into the long and bloody international battle referred to in the West as the War on Terror.
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Largely because the West has a huge advantage when it comes to military power, the various Islamic groups waging jihad have made civilian attacks –by definition, acts of terrorism –their signature calling cards.

They have also succeeded in radicalising worrying numbers of westerners, who have gone on to carry out atrocious acts of mass violence, either as agents of various radical Islamic groups, or as “lone wolves” inspired to kill on their own accounts.

At the time of writing, it is still too early to be definitive about the tragic events that transpired at theAriana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday night, British time, or early on Tuesday morning in Australia. But byTuesday afternoon, British police were describing the tragedy –which killed at least 22 people and injured at least 59more –as the work of a suicide bomber, who died at the scene after detonating an improvised explosive device.

With condolences pouring in from around the globe, British Prime Minister Theresa May and other politicians suspended campaigning for theUnited Kingdom general election, scheduled for Thursday, June 8.

Recent history has shown that even if a radical group of some description does not claim responsibility for Manchester, authorities will be able to use a combination of modern forensic methods and painstaking intelligence gathering to quite quickly hone in on the person or people responsible.

Far harder is the task of preventing further attacks, and far harder, again, is the search for a successful mixture of military and diplomatic means that can somehow bring this lumbering battle –this clash of perhaps ultimately incompatible ideologies –to some sort of detente, if not an honourable end. Those with sympathies towards our foes will point to the numbers of civilian casualties killed or wounded by Allied forces abroad, and as a people, we should always examine our motives when we partake in war. But Western ideology does not tell individuals to strap massive loads of explosives to their backs, and to wade into a crowd of teenagers, intent on causing as much death and disaster as possible.

To all in Manchester, Australia’s thoughts are with you.

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Immigration department ignores Manus Island leak to Andrew Bolt

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The immigration department has declined to investigate how sensitive CCTV footage from Manus Island became known to conservative commentator Andrew Bolt despite the department’s refusal to release it publicly.

A group of asylum seekers, accused of “leading” a boy into the compound on April 9, have urged Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to release CCTV footage of the incident, claiming it would clear them of wrongdoing.

The department refused Fairfax Media’s request to see the footage on Tuesday, despite Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg confirming at Senate estimates it was not classified material.

A spokeswoman said it would be “inappropriate” because the matter had been referred to PNG police.

The footage was the property of contractors Broadspectrum and Wilson Security but was also possessed by the department and Mr Dutton’s office, Mr Quaedvlieg said.

On April 26, Bolt told his Sky News viewers the footage showed the boy was “walked well inside the camp” with one man’s hand “on his shoulder”. The men left the boy outside a dormitory tent, gave him a bag of food and then took a “selfie” with him, Bolt said.

He also referenced the contents of an ABF report on the incident, while Mr Quaedvlieg provided on-the-record quotes to Bolt’s program.

On Tuesday, Mr Quaedvlieg told the estimates hearing it was “in the detriment of the public interest to be commenting on [the video] in public” and said: “I’m not going to discuss it and prejudice a potential criminal investigation.”

Mr Quaedvlieg also said he had not followed Bolt’s commentary but confirmed the apparent leak was not under investigation by the department.

“We’re not investigating,” he said. “I don’t know whether Andrew Bolt actually has possession of the footage. I certainly haven’t shared it with him.”

The department took a different view on leaks of classified material, having last year called in the Australian Federal Police after the ABC’s Lateline program obtained sensitive department documents.

A Fairfax Media story on visas and citizenship also became the subject of an AFP investigation after referral from the Department of Human Services.

Immigration boss Mike Pezzullo told the estimates hearing it was “regrettable” journalists were not required to adhere to the same secrecy provisions as public servants.

“We don’t refer journalists to the Australian Federal Police because they don’t have obligations – unless they’ve broken the law otherwise – to protect official secrecy,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“Which is regrettable at times because it used to be the case that more weight was placed on the protection of official secrecy. But that doesn’t seem to be the fashion.”

Bolt never confirmed whether he had physically seen the CCTV footage or sighted the ABF report. He declined to comment Tuesday.

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Manchester attack: The morning after

Manchester attack: The morning after Ariana Grande concert attendees Vikki Baker and her daughter Charlotte, aged 13, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after last night’s explosion at Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images
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A Union Flag flies above Victoria Railway Station, close to the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

A man embraces a woman and a teenager as he collects them from the Park Inn Hotel where they were given refuge afterthe explosion at the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

An ambulance arrives as police officers stand at the Miller Street and Corporation Street Crossroads, near the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Police forensic officers arrive at the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Police forensic officers arrive at the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Police officers stand at the Miller Street and Corporation Street Crossroads, in front of the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

A man embraces a woman and a teenager as he collects them from the Park Inn Hotel where they were given refuge after the explosion at the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Police officers stand at the Miller Street and Corporation Street Crossroads, in front of the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Grande concert attendees Vikki Baker and her daughter Charlotte, aged 13, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after the explosion at Manchester Arena . Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Grande concert attendees Karen Moore and her daughter Molly Steed, aged 14, from Derby, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after the explosion at Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

riana Grande concert attendees leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after last nights explosion at Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Police forensic officers arrive at the Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Grande fan Molly Steed, aged 14, from Derby, holds her VIP backstage pass as she leaves the Park Inn where they were given refuge after the explosion at Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Grande concert attendees Karen Moore and her daughter Molly Steed, aged 14, from Derby, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after the explosion at Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Grande fan Molly Steed, aged 14, from Derby, holds her VIP backstage pass as she leaves the Park Inn where they were given refuge after the explosion at Manchester Arena. Photo: Getty Images

TweetFacebook22 confirmed dead in Manchester Arena explosionEntertainers respond to Manchester explosionAt least 22 people were killed and about 50 others were injured in a suspected ‘terrorist incident’ after an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday.

These are the scenes from Manchester the morning after.

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Tinkler, Palmer banned from managing companies

BANNED: Nathan Tinkler cannot run a company for three years under an ASIC ruling. The corporate regulator has bannedNathan Tinklerand two of hisassociates from managing companies for between three years and four years, citing”multiple serious failures” in theirduty asdirectors of companies that include his thoroughbred racing empire and A-League football club, theNewcastle Jets.
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The ASIC statement said Tinkler – who is now bankrupt -and fellow directorsDonna DennisandTroy Palmerwere banned as a result of information contained in reports provided by the liquidators of the failed companies associated with the former billionaire.

“The disqualifications imposed on these directors should highlight the consequences that can follow when companies are poorly managed,”said ASIC commissionerJohn Price. “ASIC will seek to hold company directors accountable if they systemically fail to discharge their obligations when managing companies.”

According to the corporate watchdog, the trio failed to “prevent the companies from trading while insolvent”, didn’tensure thecompanies paidtheir taxes and “allowed one of the companies to deliberately operate at a loss”.

It didn’tidentify the latter company. Nathan Tinkler and Troy Palmer were each barred for three years and nine months, while Donna Dennis was disqualified for three years, the statement said.

Creditors are still owed around $544 million from the collapse of various companies associated with Tinkler.

Those companies include Mr Tinkler’s Patinack Farm thoroughbred business and the Newcastle Jets Football Operations.

Tinkler’s most recent court battle was to allow him to travel overseas for a job interview in New York and visit his family in Hawaii. He won, eventually.

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Spoilt for choice, but bring the ka-ching

RICH PICKINGS: The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is being held at the weekend. DON’T forget your cheque book, credit cards, second mortgage and busker’s hat if you’re visiting Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show on the Gold Coast at the weekend, for there’s a been an invasion of liveaboard boats, motoryachts, passage-makers and trawlers.
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“The marina is full and visitors can expect a massive selection of cruisers in every configuration,” exhibition manager Dominic O’Brien says.

Included are iconic international brands Grand Banks, Fleming, Clipper, Alaska, Integrity, Nordhavn and DeFever in the 50- to 60-foot range, with more noughts than crosses in their price tags.

Retirees looking for the ultimate ocean lifestyle, where they can travel at a fuel-efficient pace and enjoy spacious entertainment areas, are truly being spoilt for choice and the wallet will definitely burn a hole in the white slacks.

The headline act comes from Grand Banks Yachts, which is staging the world launch of its highly anticipated GB60 at the show. Grand Banks CEO Mark Richards, better known as the skipper of Wild Oats XI and Palm Beach Motor Yachts, rates it as a serious long-range cruising motoryacht.

“The GB60 is taking Grand Banks in a whole new direction in terms of appearance, performance and construction techniques,” Richards said. “We are particularly excited because this is the first collaboration effort between the design teams of both Grand Banks and Palm Beach.

ANTICIPATION: Grand Banks Yachts will stage the world launch of its GB60 at the show.

“The result is a better-performing yacht with a fresh appearance.”

Palm Beach is displaying the PB65 and PB42 – the largest and the smallest models in its range.

Australian-based Clipper Motor Yachts has a 14-berth display on A-arm boasting the new Marlow 53 cruising motoryacht – which is 59 feet in length and valued at more than $3 million.

“The Marlow 53 is in the same vein as a Fleming or a Grand Banks,” director Brett Thurley said.

“Our first one features three luxury cabins, including a full-beam king size master suite, crew quarters, gyro, utility room, hydraulic swim platform and a luxurious fit-out and finish that has to be seen to be appreciated.”

Nearby are a Clipper Cordova 60 and Clipper Explorer 50 (a ‘bargain’ at $1.15 million) but, if you don’t have bank shares, their entry level offering is the Hudson Bay 36 priced at $299,000.

Thurley’s display also includes Jeanneau Merry Fisher models such as the 695, 795, 895 and, for the first time in Australia, a Cap Cammarat 10.5 WA.The latter is an incredibly versatile design, encapsulating a day boat, centre console family entertainer and overnighter. With twin outboards, it will be equally at home when fishing offshore or cruising the lake.

Queensland dealer Leigh-Smith Yachts is showcasing Alaska, Hampton and Endurance to suit those who love to cruise home waters in style then maybe head to the Whitsundays for months at a time. A 47-foot Alaska and 72-foot Hampton motor yacht are among its $14 million display.

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Batkovic yet to make call on Opals future

Batkovic yet to make call on Opals future TIME OUT: Suzy Batkovic is enjoying being at home in Newcastle. The Olympian is unsure about a return to the Opals. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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TweetFacebook Suzy Batkovic and Katie EbzeryPictures: Fairfax photographers and Getty ImagesTHREE-TIME Olympian Suzy Batkovic has not ruledout a return to the Australian Opals despite making herself unavailable for the Asia Cup.

Batkovic, who is back in Newcastle playing for the Hunters in between Women National Basketball League seasons, wasnot in a squad of 21 named on Wednesday for a selection camp in the US next month.

Fellow Novocastrian Katie Ebzery, who has just returned home from a season with Russian club Dynamo Moscow, is one of six Rio Olympians in the group.

Batkovic was controversially left out the Opals squad which bowed out in the quarter finals in Rio –the first time Australia has returned home without a medal since 1992.

Coach Brendan Joyce, who made the call to dump Batkovic, has been replaced by former Opal Sandy Brondello.

Batkovic, 36, who has re-signed with WNBL powerhouse Townsville, was in March named the league’s most valuable player for a record fifth straight year.

“I’m unavailable for this camp for different reasons,” Batkovic said.“At the moment, where my life is at, I am just calling a bit of time out.”

Asked if she had called full-time on her international career, Batkovic said: “I’m not sure at this stage.”

Batkovic averaged 21.3 points and 10.7 boards for Townsville last season and was one of only two players to average a double-double.

For now she is enjoying being back in her home town and helping a young Hunters squad. She scored 41 points, pulled down 14 reboundsandhanded off four assists in the Hunters most recent win over Manly.

The Asia Cup, being held in Bangalore, India, is the first step on the way to the 2018 FIBA World Cup. Each semi-finalist gains automatic qualification for Spain.

Australia have been drawn into Group B where they will face Korea, Philippines and Japan.

With Brondello unavailable for the Asia Cup due to WNBA commitments, the team will be led by assistant coaches Paul Goriss and Cheryl Chambers.

“The aim of the camp is to introduce the players to the concepts and game style that Sandy will install into the Opals program,” Goriss said.“It also gives the coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate the players’ skill set that will help the team be successful in Bangalore.

“With the Olympic experience of players such as [Belinda] Snell, [Erin] Phillips and [Laura] Hodges alongside WNBA and European players in [Rachel] Jarry, [Jenna] O’Hea and [Natalie] Hurst, it will be a very tough and competitive camp.”

The camp will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, for nine days from June 25.

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Woolworths’ Marvel Super Discs are making parents Hulk-angry

Parents Australia-wide are being left feeling frustrated and angry at the perceived rarity of the latest Woolworths giveaway promotion.
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‘Woolworths Marvel Super Discs’. The exclusive, superhero-branded, notched plastic discs, shaped not unlike Tazosare the latest in a series of promotional items the supermarket giant has given out to loyal shoppers.

In a short blurb on their website, Woolworths describes them as such:

Woolworths Marvel Super Discs are a connectable 12 prong plastic ‘disc’, with a total of 42 to collect. Each disc features an action shot of a Marvel character and also details their levels of strength – which will be used in the game play. There are seven teams of characters to collect; each group has its own colour with six different characters. Marvel Super Discs can also be used to build fun shapes and structures.

Much like the Pixar-branded dominoes in 2015, the demand for thecollectable plastic discs has reached a fever pitch, and the rarity of some discs has essentially created an online‘Marvel Disc economy’ and left many parents angry and frustrated and kids feeling disappointed.

Just watched a guy spend $1300 at Woolworths and take 93 of those Marvel spinner things.Bloody white people.

— Wade (@Pablo__durr) May 23, 2017Scalpers rejoiceYou can almost guarantee that when there’s a hot new item to be had, there will be re-sellers on ebay to take advantage of desperate parents looking for that one elusive item to complete their collection.

Marvel Super Discs are no different, a search for ‘woolworths marvel disc’ on ebay reveals over 5,000 items for sale or auction with some particularly ‘rare’ discs being listed for up to $800. While it’s dubious anyone would be willing to pay that much for a ‘#10 Giant-Man’ collectable disc, it hasn’t stopped optimistic sellers from trying, however some complete sets are being bid on for over $100, so there is indeed hot demand.

Angry parentsThe perceived rarity of some discs in particular, along with Woolworths’ message of ‘collect them all’ has left many parents fuming at the idea that something that issupposed to be fun for their kids being turned into an exhausting and potentially expensive search for the missing pieces to a set.

Woolworths’ official Facebook page has been inundated with posts from parents angry and frustrated at the lengths they’re expected to go to find rare discs.

While there has been no official word on the discs rarity, many posts online seem to suggest that numbers,6, 12, 18, 24, 36 and 42 of the set are the hardest to come by, with many suggesting that discs were manufactured with this artificial scarcity in mind.

Trish Medlin in one post wrote,

‘I am done with you Woolies and Iknow so many parents in the same position.

We have collected your tokens for our children, YES CHILDREN.

We have begrudgingly encouraged it because the last time was so much fun.

But we are done with your promotions.

Coincidence my [email protected] that the majority of people on all the swap pages are after No.s 6, 12, 18, 24, 36 and 42.’

Kris Waight‎ in another post likened the discussions children were having on the playground to the same ones that would occur in a betting agency.

Some are even claiming that they’ve received packets of discs only to find them empty.

Desperate timesWoolworths did hold a‘swap day’ at many of its stores on May 20, for collectors to meet, share and trade with each other to hopefully help complete their sets, but it appears this wasn’t enough to satiate demand.

Pages and groups are popping up all over Facebook solely dedicated to swapping and finding Marvel discs. While pages like this cropped up during the Pixar domino era and other similar promotions, the posts on some of these pages are becoming more desperate as the window for collecting a full set seems to be closing.

A search for Marvel Discs on Facebook returns over 60separate groups, not to mention endless posts to local ‘buy, swap and sell’ pages.

The largest of the public groups, with over 1,700 members to date is full of collectors looking for discs to complete their collections with the same few numbers appearing in many of the posts.

In a response to a customer’s complaint on Facebook,Woolworths dispelled the idea that some discs are “rarer”than others.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the popularity of our Marvel Heroes promotion to date. The discs that have been reported as being ‘rare’ are actually more plentiful than you think – each has over 1 million in circulation! We encourage you to keep collecting while stocks last and swapping with family, friends and even other Facebook swap groups, of which there are many. We do take the selling of these discs and merchandise on eBay very seriously and we are making every effort to investigate this, however we are not able to stop the selling of these at this stage. We’ll be sharing your comments with our team to take into consideration in future promotions.”

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Bulldogs skipper says being the hunted is true … and hard

Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy has denied his teammates are suffering a premiership letdown, saying the Dogs’ best football is still as good as anyone’s and that player rotations were part of having a strong list.
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Murphy conceded that stars such as Tom Liberatore had been down on form, but said he had been suffering from a concussion and backed him to bounce back.

“I think with the players being dropped, I think a lot of sides will say ‘oh, we’ve got great depth’ but we hang our hat on that,” Murphy said on SEN radio when asked about eight premiership players being dropped so far this year. Zaine Cordy, Toby Mclean, Fletcher Roberts, Caleb Daniel, Tory Dickson, Shane Biggs and Clay Smith are the players have been dropped along with Liberatore.

“We don’t have many stars but our list runs pretty deep. So I’m not so surprised that we have whipped through a few changes, but we are still really young. We’ve got a few really old, but our list is really young. So a guy like Libba, he is still, he is 24 I think, and he has gone through a flat patch. So I don’t necessarily buy into the ‘oh, that’s because of last year’.”

Murphy said the suggestion that Liberatore had not been working as hard on his fitness was unexpected.

“That caught me by surprise, the ‘he wasn’t fit enough’. He might not have come back in absolutely tip-top nick, but by this stage I would have thought that he was fit enough.”

The skipper also said the football wisdom about the reigning premiers turning from hunter to hunted, was true, and difficult to overcome.

“It’s a hard one because if we are talking about last year it has probably affected different players in different ways. So for me to pass comment, it is dangerous … Before the season started I remember at the captain’s day I was asked about 15 times ‘how is it going to be, to be the hunted?’ It was all about the hunted. And what that essentially means is that every week you probably get the best of each side. They come ready for a proper fight and we’ve had that this year.

“Have a look at the weekend, the Cats have been down for a little while and they were always going to be fired up and they played some of their best footy for the year and that’s been a bit of a trend for the year. But that’s not something that we shy away from, that’s what gets us out of bed every day to try and get better.

“Some weeks we’ve stood up to that better than others, but I think the frustration for us, and probably a lot of sides, our best has been pretty good but the gap between our best and our not so good, we have kind of seen in game most weeks.”

Murphy said he was particularly flat after the Geelong game because he felt the Dogs were in a strong position to win the game having struggled early.

“It was probably our best footy for the year. Third quarter, I was really excited about the last quarter and that we could get over the top of them. I was really flat after the game because of that three-quarter-time thought. Not … ‘we’re home’, but we finally got it to click and it left us just as quickly – that was the really disappointing bit.

“It’s the balance. I still think we are one of the best sides in the comp because we show up every week and while we have little [bad] patches, we play it and we play it right to the line. Our best is as good as anyone’s, but we are built with that inherent wariness that we are five and four and we have got a lot of work to do. We need to start winning some games.”

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Escape the everyday this winter

TAKE A LOOK AROUND: There’s never been a better time to get away from it all and behold the natural wonders of NSW at some of the state’s most iconic holiday locations. MAGIC MOMENTS: Switch off and share an everlasting holiday experience with those who mean the most at NSW Holiday Parks.
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There’s a time and place for everything. Remember walking along the beach collecting sea treasures? Or toasting a marshmallow on the end of stick over the campfire?

Sharing natural experiences creates timeless holiday memories, and NSW Holiday Park’s collection of idyllic NSW holiday destinations is waiting for you to enjoy this winter.

CAMPING SAFARI: For a cabin escape that captures the imagination, try locations like the fabulous Jimmys Beach on Nelson Bay.

Make your memories on the incredible North Coast.

From little known seaside towns to iconic tourist destinations, you’ll fall in love with this pristine slice of coastline.

Be reminded of a time when the days were long and the stresses were few.

While away the hours dolphin or whale watching, or simply relax by the river with fish and chips.

Unspoilt and serene, striking natural attractions are in abundance on the South Coast.

Hire a bike and cycle your way around the quaint Coastal towns, or drop a line in the lake and let your worries disappear as you share it with the people who mean the most.

The call of the wild from Country NSW is hard to resist with our waterside inland destinations offering a quintessential Australian holiday.

Spend the days exploring breathtaking bushwalks and NSW’s best fishing locations.

Spend the nights under an uninterrupted starry sky, soaking up the warmth of a campfire.

You’re guaranteed to lose the stresses of city life as the serenity of the Country overtakes you.

Head to 梧桐夜网nswchptoffers南京夜网419论坛 to find a Cabin escape that captures your imagination from as little as $89 a night.

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Watchdog investigates misuse of funds at ANU school of music

NewsDate: February 2 2016The Canberra TimesPhoto: Elesa KurtzProfessor Andrew Podger will be heading a review into the School of Music at the ANUA government watchdog has agreed to investigate alleged nepotism and misuse of public funds inside the Australian National University School of Music.
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The investigation, by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, is in response to a complaint made under public interest disclosure laws by a former head of the school, Professor Peter Tregear, who resigned in 2015.

The allegations to be investigated were outlined in a letter to the professor from the Ombudsman’s office dated February 13 this year.

They include a possible conflict of interest, the promotion and preferential treatment of staff, and claims an academic’s salary was paid for from an account connected with an ACT government grant.

Other allegations to be addressed include that when staff raised concerns no action was taken by ANU senior management and also claims the head of school was unable to access budget information, despite repeated requests.

“I am reasonably satisfied that the information provided tends to show instances of disclosable conduct, namely, conduct that constitutes maladministration and conduct which if proved would be grounds for disciplinary action and/or conduct which is in breach of a law,” the letter said.

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The school has sought to rebuild itself after a troubled few years culminating in an independent review in 2016 by Professor Andrew Podger, who concluded the school was not delivering the excellence in teaching required of a top university.

Following Professor Podger’s report ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt announced a $12 million investment, and on Tuesday the school opened a $1 million “state of the art” recording studio.

Professor Podger had also recommended a moratorium on action initiated by the university to pursue instances of mismanagement or misbehaviour.

On Wednesday, Professor Tregear told Fairfax Media he did not invoke the powers of the public interest disclosure laws lightly but as a matter of conscience.

“I am sure the ANU and I share a desire to move on from the recent difficult few years. But we also have an overriding responsibility to uphold the integrity of the positions we hold and thus preserve the broader trust that the public vests in us,” he said.

“I also confess that I disagree with the Podger Report’s recommendation of a blanket moratorium for the ANU’s treatment of the school and its students and staff over the past few years. There is indeed truth to that old adage that ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'”

The public interest disclosure laws, introduced in 2013, protect from reprisal public officials who blow the whistle, and make them immune from civil, criminal or administrative liability after disclosing information deemed to be in the public interest.

There are strict rules around who can disclose what and what makes the information in the public interest.

A spokesman for the ANU said it was unaware of any investigation. It strongly rejected claims of a conflict of interest at the school and any impropriety in the use of public funds.

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How did Roger Moore rank as the best James Bond?

Roger Moore was well into his 80s – still tanned, debonair and doted on by his Swedish socialite wife – when he reflected on the best and worst thing about playing James Bond.
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“The best of it is you know you’re going to be well-served, because they’ve got you and you’re their Bond and they’re going to do everything to make you look good,” he said. “The worst is the aches and pains.”

From all the stunts? “No, chasing the girls.”

As he proved at yet another Bond gig – the launch of all the 007 movies on Blu-ray in 2012 – Moore’s wit never left him. Asked whether he considered himself the best Bond, his cheerful response was “Only in the eyes of my wife.”

For fans who discovered suave secret agent when Moore was playing him for a record 12 years, he defined the role.

But his death at 89 raises the age-old question: who really is the best Bond?

For years, the answer for many fans was Sean Connery, whose good looks, roguish charm and physical presence established the character with Dr No (1962). He battled some of the best villains, had some of the most memorable female companions, employed the best gadgets and was in one of the best Bond movies in Goldfinger.

He was the first of six actors to play Bond in the 24 “official” movies in the series. But as to whether he’s still the best, let’s count them down …

George Lazenby as 007. Photo: ScreenSound Australia

6. GEORGE LAZENBY

The only Australian to play 007 admitted in an Australian Q&A session a while back that he was a car salesman who talked his way into On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969.

But Lazenby fell out with director Peter Hunt so badly that the filmmaker wouldn’t talk to him on set. He admitted that Hunt even left his own birthday party when the actor arrived, so Lazenby kept the fur coat he was planning to give him.

Lazenby left playing Bond believing there were better movies in store. It’s fair to say there weren’t.

Timothy Dalton as James Bond in 1987.

5. TIMOTHY DALTON

He shot just two Bond movies ??? The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989).

A dark, troubled Bond – a stark contrast to Roger Moore’s earlier flippancy – Dalton could definitely act but he brought nowhere near the warmth nor the wit that the best Bonds brought to the role.

Roger Moore as James Bond and Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me. Photo: Supplied

4. ROGER MOORE

He took over from Sean Connery for Live and Let Die (1973) and shot seven movies with more comedy than any other 007.

In Octopussy (1983), he had one of the great mid-air action scenes – chasing a villain on horseback, he jumped on the tail of a taxi-ing plane, climbed on the roof as it took off, dispatched the villain, clambered inside the plane then jumped to safety with the kidnapped Octopussy before it crashed.

But the same movie also pushed the series into ludicrous camp, when Bond defused a nuclear bomb while wearing a clown suit.

While Moore had warm charm and wit in spades, his romance with Grace Jones in A View to a Kill (1985) was not exactly convincing. At the time the debonair actor looked more ready to go to bed with a hot cocoa.

Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike in Sydney to promote the James Bond film Die Another Day. Photo: Dean Lewins

3. PIERCE BROSNAN

From Goldeneye (1995) to Die Another Day (2002) Brosnan’s four Bond movies expanded the series to modern blockbuster scale.

While the action was sometimes outlandish, Brosnan brought a suave charm to the role.

Tomorrow Never Dies had two classic action scenes – Bond firstly stealing a jet carrying nuclear weapons from a terrorist arms bazaar then steering his BMW by remote control during a chase through a car park.

But when he launched Die Another Day in Sydney, it was clear there had been tension with the producers when Brosnan said he had been “blindsided” by all the product placement in GoldenEye.

“Certain discussions were had around tables and certain agreements were agreed … now I’ve got one big fat lawyer in Los Angeles who sits there like a rottweiler. [I say] ‘Get ’em,’ and that helps,” he said.

But it only helped so much. Negotiations for Brosnan to make a fifth movie collapsed.

Sean Connery in Dr No.

2. SEAN CONNERY

As well as being first actor to play the role, many fans still consider him the definitive Bond.

Dressed in a suave tux, he introduced himself to a glamorous brunette across a casino table in Dr No with a line that has become iconic. “Bond,” he said, cigarette dangling from his mouth. “James Bond.”

Connery shot six movies and has been the only actor to have a strong career after stepping aside from the role – even winning an Oscar for The Untouchables (1987).

He featured in one of the great scenes in the scenes, when Bond was strapped down with a laser about to slice him in half in Goldfinger. “Do you expect me to talk?” he asked. Fans all know Auric Goldfinger’s response: “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

For a witty riposte or a knowing look, there was no one better. Until recently.

Daniel Craig is the most recent actor to tackle the role.

1. DANIEL CRAIG

Before winning the role, Craig was best known for playing the poet Ted Hughes opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia, Angelina Jolie’s rival in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and a cocaine dealer in the crime thriller Layer Cake.

But his first movie as 007, Casino Royale (2006) is arguably the best in the series for action, wit, energy, glamour and entertaining story.

Craig was a convincing cold-blooded killer who could carry off a parkour chase, wear a tuxedo and banter brilliantly with Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. “Skewered,” he admitted. “One sympathises.” He was charismatic, bristling with physicality and darkly brooding.

Reflecting the impact of an new generation movie spy with a similar name – Jason Bourne – the series became grittier, with more realistic action and emotion. For once, the blood and bruises from all those fights and near-fatal scrapes looked real.

Follow-up Quantum of Solace (2008) was a major disappointment. But the scale and character development in Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015) have confirmed Craig has become the definitive Bond.

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

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Let it snow these holidays

SEEK SNOW: If you have never been to the snow before I’m sure the task has found a very comfortable place on your never-ending list of must sees. Take the chance to cross it off this winter.WHETHER it’s sitting with a cuppa by the warmth of the fire, watching television wrapped up under a blanket, or soaking in a hot bathtub with a book, many of us use winter as a time to escape from the outside world.
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But why hibernate through the months of June, July and August when there’s so much to see and do outdoors? There’s no better time then the present to dig out your thermals and change the stereotype that summer holidays are the perfect time for getaways.

Here’s a few ideas for you:

SEEK THE SNOW If you have never been to the snow before I’m sure the task has found a very comfortable place on your never- ending list of must sees.

Australian ski fields are renowned for being some of the most beautiful, offering unbelievable views and exhilarating experiences.

While Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory are widely known for their range of ski resorts, other states have been lucky enough to experience minor snow falls in recent years.

If that’s happens again near you this year, pull on your boots and head outdoors to see what all the fuss is about.

BEAT THE CROWDS Winter is perfect time to take advantage of special travel offers and beat the unattractive crowds peak-seasons attract.

While you may have to lug your umbrella around everywhere you go, it’ll all be made worth it when you get to skip the long queues.

Places such as Margaret River, in Western Australia, and even the Gold Coast, in Queensland, thrive in warmer months but become a little more secluded when the skies turn grey.

Plus, you may even get lucky with some sunny weather too.

SEARCH FOR SUMMER If you insist you hate the cold, wet weather and that winter is not for you, then maybe a tropical holiday is on the cards.

You can seek the sun in many north eastern parts of Australia – including the picturesque Port Douglas, Whitsundays and Cairns – or if your wallet permits, you could spread your wings even further and experience a European summer.

Why not sail your way around the Greek Islands, attempt to find true love in Paris, or eat your way through Rome.

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Ardent considers developing part of Dreamworld precinct

Ardent Leisure will consider developing land surrounding Dreamworld as profits slump in the wake of the tragedy that claimed four lives at the Gold Coast theme park last year.
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The company announced on Wednesday morning it had begun the process of reviewing its 2015 master plan for its Dreamworld precinct, which it stated was located on “prime real estate”.

The precinct covers about 60 hectares, of which the theme park takes up about 35 hectares.

The remaining land, about 25 hectares, was the focus of the review, Ardent Leisure’s chief executive Deborah Thomas said.

“We started looking at this back in 2015 with a master pan in light of (the development of) Coomera town centre adjacent to our land,” she said.

“We looked at a range of options, everything including retail precinct, restaurants, hotels, other attractions … really what is possible to enhance that precinct given the location of that land and the expansion of the Gold Coast.

“It is an exercise in understanding the potential – we haven’t got a plan to move in there tomorrow.”

Credit Suisse analysts have valued the land, including Dreamworld theme park, at about $225 million. Dreamworld’s 35 hectares was valued at about $70 million.

“In the case of Dreamworld, a partial development, without compromising the integrity of the theme park, makes sense given a strong market and a large Westfield being built nearby,” the Credit Suisse analysts said.

In February Ms Thomas, who announced she would stand down from her CEO position in July, had dismissed speculation the land on which the theme park was built could be sold off for residential developments.

There were no plans to close the park or redevelop it into residential buildings, she said.

“At the moment the zoning is parks and entertainment. Obviously, different zoning such as residential and commercial could increase that value quite significantly, but at the moment, the highest and best use is certainly as a theme park,” she said.

The review was to consider a range of factors including the impact of the October 25, 2016, Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy.

The company said the review would analyse Dreamworld’s existing “footprint” to find future opportunities for “unlocking value”.

A town planner had been appointed to undertake the feasibility assessments.

Ardent Leisure also announced it would continue to engage with third party developers regarding possible development opportunities within the precinct.

The company assured it would continue to invest in Dreamworld to help its recovery and “ensure it remains one of the Gold Coast’s key tourist attractions”.

In a May trading update, the company posted its theme parks visitations were down 36.7 per cent for the combined months of March and April.

Ardent Leisure estimated a loss of up to $4 million in its theme park division for the 12 months ending June 30 this year.

-with Carolyn Cummins

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