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AFLW: Collingwood v Carltonyour photos

HERstory in the making: Lockout crowd at Game 1 of Women’s AFL @lola_clare: Let’s go ladies! 🏉👱🏻‍♀️ #aflw #womensfooty #herstory
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@sarahonga: Foot is back 🏉🏉 not a bad way to spend a Friday #AFLW

@usconsulatemelb: We found a @richmond_fc supporter at the #aflwbluespies

@danaebosler Heading into history #aflw #collingwood

@cinderso

@the3winesmen: The people have spoken. Woman’s AFL is here to stay, and it’s about time.

@em_sibs: Withnessing history tonight with old rivals #aflw #bluesvspies

@sammyadams85: Witnessin’ history #AFLW #daisypearce

@joseph苏州夜场招聘nnellan: So it begins #afl #wafl

@hlancman: First game in HERSTORY #afl #wafl

@aliston12: First women’s AFL Game!!! 🤗

@silkwoodau: What an awesome turn up! #wafl @afl @carlton_fc

@jayne.darcy: 30 mins till kick off and it’s packed in the stands at Princes Park!

@joseph苏州夜场招聘nnellan: Waiting for history. Womens AFL Ikon Park Stadium in Princess Park, Carlton

@celestepotter: I have never had the slightest desire to attend an AFL match, but here we are- excited to be on our way to witness an historic moment.

@the_sam_e: #wafl

@blueovaljoe C’mon da woods! #cfc #aflw #wafl #magpies #collingwood Go pies!

@veritycampbellcomms: Women’s AFL starts tonight. What an historic moment.

@hannahgraces: Its happening! WAFL first game, history made 3/2/17!

@rbchikan: Cheer squad!! 💙💙🏉 #wafl #gonat #32 #carlton

@elana_monteleone: It’s good to be home. Let’s go Blues! #wafl

@madbart66: Blues V Pies. Wouldn’t matter if it was tiddlywinks #bluesvpies

@elana_monteleone: Waiting for history to be made. #gamechangers

@marksmithbriggs: History beckons #aflw #gopies

@__rounders__: Super excited for #aflw #gopies #aflwbluespies

@latchky: Go blues #carltonfc #aflw

@seanjokane: Here for the inaugural game! Get up Blues! @aflwomens #AFLW

@jane_izzy_design:s Go blues! So excited to watch history in the making!

@francesob: Go blues #footytime #AFLW #carltonfc

@phoeboob: “You play like girls. Really well.” #AFLW #gothepies

@kimberleyandco: AFL WOMENS #afl #aflw

@lord_puffington_iii

@dazzheadspace: At Princess Park with 3 generations of Pies Diehards @collingwood_fc

@sarsyj: #numberonefans #gohutchy #gopies

@madirobinson_: What an incredible moment in sports history to be apart of. Come on @collingwood_fc #AFLW

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Newcastle council begins detailed investigations and deep soil testing at homes above the old gasworks site in Waratah

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Crews drilled at properties in Waratah on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil
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A “detailed” investigationhas begun that will see around 200 samples taken from land believed to have been tainted with toxic chemicals from a former gasworks at Waratah.

An earlyround of testing saw shallow soil sampled from backyards but the second round will see deeper soil examined, along with vapour and groundwater.

The investigations are targeting an area bounded by High Street, Turton Road and Georgetown Road and a council spokesperson said they would provide “a better understanding of the nature and extent of gasworks-related substances, and what mitigation measures, if any, may be needed.”

“The samples will be tested for a wide range of substances associated with gasworks,” he said. “Additional shallow soil sampling will also be undertaken on public land within 500 metresof the gasworks’ footprint.”

People within the investigation area are being told not to eat vegetables or eggs from their properties, avoid having areas of uncovered soil, to minimise exposure to soil during gardening and to raise any sand pits or garden beds above the ground level.

A resident who did not wish to be named said she felt the jury was out until she received the results from the second round of testing.

Initial tests had already shown high levels of at least four toxic chemicals at her property, including lead.

“It’s good that they’ve got the ball rolling because this is all about our children’sfuture at the end of the day. I’ve got a son who was born here and some familieshave been on this street for generations.

“I’m just hoping and praying that it all works out.”

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Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

DOWN AND OUT: Newcastle midfielder Ben Kantarovski receives treatment after injuring his knee against Sydney in December. Picture: Marina NeilHE has played more games for the Newcastle Jets than any other player, but injury-plagued Ben Kantarovski faces an uncertain future as he battles to regain a spot in the team.
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Kantarovski has not played since the round-nine loss to Sydney on December 4, which was his 135thappearance for Newcastle, overtaking former teammate Tarek Elrich’s club record.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery days later to repair torn cartilage in his problematic right knee, which has now required four operations, including a full reconstruction in 2010 when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

Kantarovski has since resumed training, although the club’s website says he will not be available for another week.

But at a frank press conference on Thursday, Jets coach Mark Jones indicatedthe 25-year-old midfielder was no longer a selection priority.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know why Kanta keeps getting brought up,’’ Jones said.

“Kanta is just another one of the squad members.

“He’s played limited game time this year and he’s not a vital link in us playing well or not playing well …that’s the trouble, if you sit out for a long period of time through injuries, you start to drop down the pecking order.’’

Olyroos representative Steven Ugarkovic and experienced Mateo Poljak are seemingly established as Newcastle’s holding midfielders, having each featured in 16 of Newcastle’s 17 games this season.

With Ugarkovic out suspended for Saturday’s clash with Perth, rookie Johnny Koutroumbis gets a chance in his preferred position.

“Johnny Koutrombis has done a magnificent job and I think he’s earned the right to be the next cab off the rank,’’ Jonessaid.

“I’m very keen to see what Johnny does.’’

Koutroumbis and Ugarkovic have both signed two-seasoncontract extensions, while Kantarovski is one of several Newcastle players who are effectively free agents and open to offers.

The dilemma facing Kantarovski is how to state a case for reinstatement, given that he mighthave limited opportunity to gain match fitness in the 10 remaining regular-seasonfixtures before the play-offs.

Players returning from injury often get to stretch their legs in Newcastle’s youth team, but the youth league season is over. Adding to his quandary, each week on the sidelines is unlikely to enhance his bargaining position for a new deal.

A former Young Socceroos skipper who debuted in the A-League at 16, Kantarovski would appear to have reached something of a career crossroads.

His future may well hinge on how successfully the surgeons have been able to patch up his knee, a recurring issue that has sadlyprevented him from reaching the heights many were predicting during his formative years.

His latest setback leaves both the Jets and Kantarovski pondering a tough decision.

Can he become a long-term asset for his home-town club, and possibly a future captain?

Or is it time for a fresh start, in the hope that new surroundsallowhim to realise his potential?

Either way, Sporting Declaration hopes Ben Kantarovski’s best football is still ahead of him.

He’s had a wretched run. That, unfortunately, is part of the game, but nobody would appear more entitled to a change ofluck.

RISKY BUSINESSTHEY are great for fans and the broadcasters, but the annual Auckland Nines and All Stars exhibitions are a recipe for disaster.

Over the next two weekends, the NRL’s most highly paidsuperstars will go hammer and tong in two events that count for nothing on grand final day.

And if anyone gets injured, their clubs are handicapped before a ball has been kicked in the season proper. It’s madness.

Injuries, of course, can happen at any time.

But players, coaches and supporters can probably accept such setbacks as par for the course if two competition points are at stake.

FOOD FOR THOUGHTIT couldn’t happen, could it?

No matter how badly the Knights are travelling, no matter how many wooden spoons they collect or how long they remain without an owner, the NRL needs a team in Newcastle and would never abandon this rugby league stronghold.

Or would they?

News from America might make you think twice. After 56 years in San Diego, the Chargers’ NFL franchise is moving to Los Angeles, basically because the owner has found a bigger stadium. Food for thought as “Our Knights One Chance” organisers rally support for a community-ownership model.

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Man streams Mundine v Green fight through Facebook page

Darren Sharpe streamed the fight through his Facebook page. Photo: Facebook Mr Sharpe has been enjoying internet memes created in his honour Photo: Facebook
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Foxtel plans to take legal action against Darren Sharpe. Photo: Facebook

Darren Sharpe streamed the fight on his Facebook page. Photo: Facebook

Foxtel has signalled it will take legal action against an n man who broadcast the Danny Green v Anthony Mundine fight on his Facebook page on Friday night.

Darren Sharpe’s broadcast allowed tens of thousands of viewers to watch the fight, who would otherwise have had to purchase the fight through Foxtel’s pay-per-view service.

But the subscription service has vowed to fight back, saying in a statement “appropriate legal action will be taken.”

“What occurred last night on Facebook is stealing and it’s harmful to the future of boxing and live sport,” the statement said.

Mr Sharpe appeared to be revelling in his online notoriety on Saturday, appreciating the support of thousands of viewers who had tuned in to his Facebook Live re-broadcast.

And in a video posted to YouTube, Mr Sharpe’s conversation with a Foxtel representative on Friday night telling him to stop the broadcast is apparently recorded.

“I want you to stop streaming it on Facebook,” the representative says.

“Mate I’ve got 78,000 viewers here that aren’t going to be happy with you mate,” Mr Sharpe responds.

“It’s an offence against the Copyright Act of mate,” says the representative.

“I don’t think I can stop streaming mate,” Mr Sharpe says. “There’s people all over the world watching this.”

On his Facebook page, Mr Sharpe has linked to a website to raise funds in case he is sued by Foxtel.

“Please donate in case I end up getting sued haha if not and I Foxtel doesn’t rekt me I’ll donate to cancer council cheers everyone your the best,” the website says.

The fight had a one-off pay-per-view cost of $59.95.

Mr Sharpe, whose online biography says he is a Brisbane mechanic, posted on Facebook on Saturday that he hoped everyone had enjoyed the previous night.

Fiona Phillips, the chief executive officer, of the n Copyright Council, said both Mr Sharpe and Facebook could face penalties over the broadcast.

“The thing to remember is that sports organisations generally fund their sport through broadcast rights,” said Ms Phillips.

Mr Sharpe, she said, could be liable for both civil and criminal sanctions under the Copyright Act. Criminal penalties can include fines or imprisonment.

“The guy would have primary liability but really if I was Foxtel I would be more interested in the platform that was facilitating the distribution of the content,” said Ms Phillips.

Facebook would rely on its terms and conditions that limited its liability for breaches of Copyright. But there would be an argument that the social media platform facilitated the breach.

On Saturday afternoon, Mr Sharpe said he had not expected the broadcast to “blow up” and that he “wouldn’t mind another conversation to settle any issues.”

Matthew Rimmer, a professor in intellectual property at the Queensland University of Technology, said legal conflicts over the broadcasting of sport had a long history in , dating to the 1937 High Court case of Victoria Park Racing & Recreation Grounds v Taylor. In that case, a radio station built a platform outside the grounds from which to see and broadcast a call of the races.

Professor Rimmer said Facebook and other social media intermediaries would be coming under increasing pressure from copyright owners to come up with technical solutions to prevent unauthorised broadcasts.

“It is a perennial battle, and it is a real clash clash of different technological ages,” he said.

“In broadest copyright developed in an age of mass media and enabled very tight geographical and temporal distinctions that enabled broadcasters to cut up when they were showing things.”

Social media, by contrast, breaks down those distinctions.

“In some ways I’m surprised that Foxtel hasn’t taken on the big social media entities like Facebook yet,” Professor Rimmer said.

Sara Delpopolo, the principal of Axis Legal, a firm that focuses on digital media and intellectual property, said Foxtel could find itself in a difficult situation. On the one hand, it could face an online backlash should it pursue Mr Sharpe.

“But there’s a danger that if they don’t take action it’s pretty much opening a floodgate,” said Ms Delpopolo.

“I think that these sorts of issues are just going to become more and more prevalent,” she said.

The Foxtel spokesman said in a statement that the subscriptions to the Green v Mundine match were restricted to individual residential use, and not authorised for rebroadcast.

A spokesman for Facebook referred Fairfax Media to a blog post written last year. The post says that as more people watch and share live video on the platform, Facebook takes steps to ensure its “rights manager” protects live video streams.

“We check every Facebook Live video stream against files in the Rights Manager reference library, and if a match surfaces, we’ll interrupt that live video,” it says.

“Video publishers and media companies can also provide reference streams of live content so that we can check live video on Facebook against those reference streams in real time.”

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Tasmania could be China’s ‘meditation state’

The scientific proof that holistic therapies and meditation can improve health are constantly becoming stronger. Picture: iStockTasmania is famous for its natural beauty, fresh air and quiet lifestyle, so it makes perfect sense that people wanting a calming retreat would rate the destination highly.
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Meditation groups, yoga studios and wellness centres have long been popping up across the state, with a significant increase in the past five years.

With that in mind, Stephanie Legg England, who recently opened Hillwood Road Meditation Skills Centre in North East Tasmania, believes the state could introduce a meditation trail. Other holistic therapists have come on board, saying Tasmania could become known as the “wellness state” or “meditation state.

“Tasmania scores higher than the national average on wellness scores for satisfaction. We also score high for sense of community connection, empowerment, trust and sense of safety.”

Holistic therapists and meditation practitioners say the wellness centres around Tasmania could be linked to form a ‘meditation tourist trail’.

Stephanie’s own story is a good example of the benefits of meditation. She tried it for the first time in 2000 when her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died when theirdaughters were two and three years old.

“My youngest has a chromosome disorder, and that means she has multiple disabilities, including a severe intellectual disability and my older daughter was very restless and clingy as a child.”

The plot thickened when her daughters were in primary school, andthe eldestwent from being just restless and clingy to being very anxious and complaining about physical discomfort, including stomach aches and migraines.

“In the end, she was missing so much school that I ended up homeschooling her when she was in high school. A couple of years after starting that, we found out she had a life-threatening brain malformation and needed brain surgery.

“My meditation was fabulous for keeping me going – to raise my spirits everyday, to give me new ideas for how to cope and to just give me some hope that maybe my life was going somewhere.

“So what ended up happening is I became passionate about meditation and decided I wanted to teach it. As soon as I got the opportunity to move to North East Tasmania, I thought, perfect, I’ll set up a meditation centre.”

Stephanie Legg England, from newly opened Hillwood Road Meditation Skills Centre, talks about how to start meditating. pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/1GZsnto25A

— Carly Dolan (@CarlyRdolan) February 3, 2017

Stephanie Legg England, of Hillwood Road Meditation Centre, believes Tasmania is well equipped to create a meditation trail. Picture: Carly Dolan

Stephaniesaid researchers had been exploringthe health benefits of meditation for more than 50 years.

Ben BoyleThe Examiner

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History made as Blues smash Pies in front of ‘overwhelming’ crowdphotos, video

By late in the first quarter, security had stopped letting people into Princes Park.
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Full to capacity, the old Carlton stadium heaved with about 24,500 supporters at the first AFLW match, watching two new teams playing in the colours of the Blues and Pies.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan apologised for the lockout, saying the decision had been made to ensure the safety and security of fans.

“We were a little overwhelmed by the turnout tonight,” he said.

A good problem for the AFL to have, although frustrating for more than 1000 fans who missed out on entry, some of whom complained that a big screen had not been set up for them to watch the match outside.

Public transport providers, too, seemed to have underestimated the public enthusiasm for the match.

There were tram delays along Elizabeth Street and Royal Parade and those that did run were crowded.

But inside the ground, the atmosphere was electric.

History made as Blues smash Pies in front of ‘overwhelming’ crowd | photos, video Lauren Arnell, Madeline Keryk

Bianca Jakobsson, Nicola Stevens.

Alison Brown

Moana Hope, Laura Attard

Bianca Jakobsson, Nicola Stevens

Nat Exon, Madeline Keryk, Lauren Arnell.

Brianna Davey

Bella Ayre, Tilly Lucas-Rodd

Shae Audley, Bree White

Breann Moody, Ruby Schleicher

Wayne Siekman

Brianna Davey

Lauren Brazzale

Nicola Stevens, Darcy Vescio, Lauren Arnell

Gabriella Pound, Madeline Keryk

Danielle Hardiman, Moana Hope

Lauren Arnell, Madeline Keryk

Lauren Arnell, Jessica Kennedy

Lauren Brazzale

Gabriella Pound, Madeline Keryk

TweetFacebook 2017 AFLW Round 01 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at Ikon Park.Photos: Getty Images.Dynamic Carlton marquee player Darcy Vescio was the star of the night, booting four goals to help the home-town team to a healthy 35-point win.

By day a graphic designer at the Blues, Vescio was a class above the rest, showing off her silky skills and ability to find the goals.

After the match, Vescio wore a wide smile and said the crowd had been so loud the players had barely been able to hear each other.

Blues captain Lauren Arnell will hold the honour of AFLW’s first winning captain.

“It’s a great day for women’s footy, and AFL in general,” she said.

Defender Brianna Davey was force in the back half for the Blues, ending the game with 26 disposals.

For the Pies, headline player Moana Hope had a relatively quiet night, unable to lift a Collingwood team that was beaten all over the ground.

Magpie forward Jasmine Garner kicked the first goal of the competition and her team’s only major score of the night.

The women played shortened quarters, a controversial decision by the AFL, but it ensured the game moved along at a fast pace.

There could barely have been a more perfect evening for the historic game.

Golden sunlight bathed supporters as they walked through Princes Park.

Some were die-hard fans of these grand old clubs, dressed in their colours, but there were also members of other clubs, and people who simply cared about sport, or opportunities for women.

In the lead-up to the first ball-up, the crowd cheered it all – every announcement, both teams, the playing of the national anthem.

By the time play got under way, many fans remained standing, unable to get a seat or not yet ready to sit down.

“Collingwood men and women, standing side by side for 125 years,” the Collingwood banner read.

Fans lingered after the match on a memorable night, as the players spread out across the ground thanking them and signing autographs.

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The week in pictures: Fairfax

The week in pictures: February 4, 2017 BALLARAT – White Night with Carla O’Brien
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TAMWORTH Karen McGrady was getting into the swing of things looking to cool down on the banks of the Peel River on Thursday as temperatures again go on the rise. Photo Peter Hardin

WIMMERA: Jye Dolan and Ellita Scollary at Green Lake

BALLARAT – Emme Harbour, 7, was born 14 weeks premature and is having her first day of school.

BALLARAT – Harry Potter festival at the Ballarat Library: Jessica Clark

BALLARAT – Mount Clear College has a long-established female football program and produced about three AFLW players Lily Jones, 13, Kyla Thompson, 13 and Poppy Ball, 14 are excited about the future

BALLARAT – Shannon Noll performing as part of the Red Hot Summer Tour

BEAUDESERT: Alwyn Todd and Cheryl Bizzell are holding a Queensland blue pumpkin, which is said to have developed by the Beaudesert blue pumpkin

CESSNOCK: Gail Hipwell celebrates 40 years’ service at O’Neill’s Tyres Cessnock

CESSNOCK: New bridge on Frame Drive, Abermain open to traffic

COONAMBLE: Recent school graduate Kelsey Shields talking with Coonamble High School agriculture and primary industries teacher Adam MacRae. Photo: Rachael Webb

COOTAMUNDRA: Katrina Hodgkinson with members of the Muttama community, including descendants of those listed on the Muttama Hall Honour Rolls

DIMBOOLA: Prep Sophie Cook on her first day of school

DUBBO: Murray, Andrew and Lachlan Devlin, “Lincoln”, Burroway, near Dubbo, at Dubbo Goat Sale last week. Photo: Mark Griggs

FAIRFIELD – Elisabeth Kidane was awarded Fairfield’s Sports Achiever of the Year PIC Chris Lane

FORBES: Gwendolyn Hopkins with her daughters, Nadia, 11 and Sasha, 8, “Worrongorrah”, Condobolin, checking out the market at the Forbes Sheep sale. Photo: Rachael Webb

FORBES: Kevin Miller, Whitty, Lennon and Co (KMWL), Luke Whitty selling lambs at the Forbes sheep sale. Photo: Rachael Webb

GLOUCESTER Neve OBrien and Dylan Schultz after a big day at the pool Photo by Anne Keen

GRIFFITH: Darrell Fiddler stands in his cotton crop, which has been damaged by spray drift, with agronomist Brendan Wells. PHOTO: Hannah Higgins

GRIFFITH: Firefighters work to extinguish a fire that started in a shed on the outskirts of Griffith during prime fire conditions on Monday

GRIFFITH: Griffith man Jeff Bastianon has saved his beloved fruit trees from fruit fly after strugling with the prevalent pest for many years. PHOTO: Rebecca Hopper

GRIFFITH: Italian born Fabiola Valtolina offers the people of Griffith an important gift – sharing a language

GRIFFITH: John Charles waves his family off as he starts his first day at Lake Wyangan with great great grandmother Norma O’Hara, great aunty Stacey Meredith, great great great uncle David Eade and mum Kiri O’Hara

GRIFFITH: Tammy Hirst encouraged the community to get behind ‘Old Relay Shirt Day’

GRIFFITH: Yenda’s own Casella Family Brands has scored a significant touchdown, securing a spot in the Holy Grail of advertising – half-time at the American Super Bowl

GUNNEDAH Pet-owners urged to keep vaccinations up-to-date. PETstock manager Leslie Baker and new cat owner Sarah Wallis. Photo Gareth Gardner

HAWKESBURY – Yvonne Tuckerman named Hawkesbury citizen of the year PIC Geoff Jones

HORSHAM: New students Tayinn McLean and Skye Walker

HORSHAM: Unsung Hero Melissa Cockroft

HUNTER: Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek with St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead students and Shortland MP Pat Conroy. Ms Plibersek says schools funding should be looked at as a moral issue. Picture: Marina Neil

INVERELL Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall with a cluster of Inverell High School students, taking a selfie. Photo by Simon McCarthy

JUNEE: Peter Neve OAM with his 1915 Hunslet at his private Junee track

KINGAROY: Rob and Chris Patch of the Peanut Van with their Kingaroy Flavoured Peanuts which are being sold in IGA

LAKE MACQUARIE: Morisset Mega Muscle and Classic Car Show at Bonnells Bay raises $3600 for CanTeen. Picture: David Stewart

LAUCESTON: Duo Sundaze (Fletcher Bissett and Taylor Yates) have recently released a debut EP.Picture: Hamish Geale

LAUNCESTON Bridestowe Lavender Estate owner Robert Raven Picture: Phillip Biggs

LAUNCESTON: City of Launceston band plays at City Park: Peter Thompson of Kings Meadows with a euphonium. Picture: Phillip Biggs

LAUNCESTON:Wicked cast members Lucy McDonald , Troy Ridgway and Bella Harper stand behind participants, Rebecca Kelly, with son and event ambassador Ryan Kelly, 5, April, 11, ambassador Ryan, 11, and Campbell Stebbings, 11, with Orla, 8, and Ciara Kelly, 1, in readiness for St Giles event, Walk With Me. Picture: Scott Gelston

MACARTHUR – Rosalie Vine and Carol McVeigh of Macarthur Regional Rose Society PIC Simon Bennett

MAITLAND: Baby Myah died in her mum’s arms on Day

MAITLAND: Alan Todd of Morpeth Museum with one of the model trains in the new Children’s Room

MAITLAND: Ebony Dark of Rutherford puts a thick layer of sunscreen on her nephew Jax Adams before they head out water skiing on the Hunter River at Morpeth. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

MAITLAND: Groovin the Moo Maitland 2017 line-up announced

MAITLAND: Violet, 8, and Banjo Spackman, 10, with their grandmother Caroline Moore’s wandering rescue cat Sheila. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

MOUNT ISA: Smoking Gun Cafe owner Joel Pate, Kael Lovelock, 10, Brynn Lovelock, 4, and Molly Lancashire, from Molly’s Baby Room

MAITLAND: NSW Labor leader Luke Foley in Maitland

MUSWELLBROOK: Enrolment boost in Muswellbrook and Denman schools is welcome news

NAMBUCCA HEADS back to school at Scotts Head Primary are Joel Conway, Ricky Buchanan (School Learning Support Officer) and Conan Evans. Photo by Ute Schulenberg

NEWCASTLE: Crane, B-double block M1 after Brooklyn crash

NEWCASTLE: Former Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan loses battle with brain cancer

NEWCASTLE: Jerry Bowden watches actors Jasmine Ashley and Tim Moran rehearse a scene from his play, Post, which opens at The Lock-Up in Newcastle on February 8. Picture: Marina Neil

NEWCASTLE: Knights star Trent Hodkinson chats with Morpeth Public School students on Tuesday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

NEWCASTLE: New principal Nathan Forbes and wife Adele, who will start teaching at Charlestown South Public, with children Lillian and Lachlan. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

PORT MACQUARIE Legendary barbecue pit master Wes Griffiths with some brisket burgers. Photo by Matt Attard.

PORT STEPHENS: Mia Gundy, of Raymond Terrace, has made the state finals of the Aboriginal Model Search. Pictures: Marina Neil

PORT STEPHENS: Five generations from one family is pretty special. Little Sophia Shafer, 9-and-a-half weeks old, with her mother, Christina Shafer, 19, grandmother Maria Cox, great grandmother Margaret Grey and the matriarch of the family, great, great grandmother Hazel Grey. Picture: Kia Woodmore

REDLAND BAY: Amelia and Kate Smith in the big tent

SANS SOUCI – Jayden Johnston, 17, uses his paycheque to rescue and rehome cats PIC John Veage

SCONE: Scone Public School welcoming new influx of Kindergarten students this week

SCONE: Senior youth worker angry about damaging allegations aimed at Merriwa Youth Centre

SINGLETON: Bunnings’ annual Aussie Day Weekend Fundraiser BBQ assists Goorangoola RFS and the Hunter Valley Operational Support Brigade

TAMWORTH Crawford Roofing and Asbestos Removal’s Jarrad Bradford and Priit Kivivare were all smiles, despite sweating it out on top of a roof in Wednesday’s heat.

TAMWORTH Gusto Cafe co-owner Chloe Morris was one of many local business owners beaming after a busy Country Music Festival. Photo Gareth Gardner

TAMWORTH Tamworth resident Marley has not been impressed with our record number of hot days set to continue through Summer. Photo Gareth Gardner

TAREE Matthew and Ian Budden embark on the restoration of a 73 Charger. Photo by Janine Watson.

VICTORIA POINT: YMCA Victoria Point gymnast Jayde Beutel has been selected for Gymnastics Queensland’s senior state squad

WAGGA: Four-year-old Libby Evans is full of life and has decided to conquer the world, thanks to the “robo-hand” that was kindly made for her

WAGGA: Jack Manning with some of the trophies he’s donated to the Wagga Greyhound Club plus the new trophy for his Appreciation Stakes at Wagga on Friday

WAGGA: Mater Dei Catholic College principal Val Thomas with Year Nine students Caitlin Rusconi and Annaleise Knight, who use online technology as part of their schoolwork

WAGGA: Station officer Chad Kennis gave three-year-old Jeremiah Wheeler-Bright a tour of the Turvey Park Fire Station on Thursday

WAGGA: Karen Podmore, with two-year-old Eddie Benecke, has been nominated as edcuator of the year

WAGGA: Wagga High School students Edward Prescott and Tynan Matthews took part in a digital technology summer-school

WAGGA: Wagga’s John and Marie Laughton are happily celebrating their wedding anniversary after 70 years together

WARRACKMABEAL: Warracknabeal Primary School prep Hayley Anderson

WAUCHOPE Auctioneer John O’Brien from Wauchope Stock and Estate Agents says prices are through the roof. Photo by Letitia Fitzpatrick.

WEST WYALONG: Elders, Auctioneer, Greg Roberts selling at West Wyalong store sheep sale. Photo: Rachael Webb

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Insider tells all about failed youth prison system

Teens captured by media inside the Malmsbury youth detention centre. Picture: Darren HoweThey’ve been dubbed uncontrollable thugs and Victoria’s worst teen criminals.
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But a systematic failure of the youth justice system is turning offending teenagers into hardened, lifelong criminals and endangering the safety of communities across Victoria.

Cuts to critical education and rehabilitation programs for young offenders have resulted in them spiralling out of control, while a toxic culture of fear and intimidation has disempowered the youth justice workforce, a senior prison insider says.

It comes after a mass escape of 15 inmates from the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre in central Victoria last week.

The youths were all caught within 24 hours, including one in the Ballarat suburb ofRedan, but had allegedly committed a string of serious crimes including carjackings, a home invasion, street robberies and an aggravated burglary.

The whistleblower who spoke exclusively toThe Courieron the condition of anonymity said there was a critical need for increased funding for rehabilitation programs for high risk youth and mandatory attendance as part of sentencing.

The source said to fix the serious problems within Victoria’s troubledyouth justice system, a complete overhaul of legislation was needed, including tightening the state’s dual track sentencing system which allowed some of the most dangerous and worst offending youths to repeatedly be put into youth detention centres.

This week, it was revealed a new high-security youth justice centre will be built by the state government in Werribee South following the violent uprisings, escapes and several damning reviews of existing facilities at Malmsbury and Parkville.

The government is expected to announce the 250-bed youth detention centre in a desperate bid to staunch the crisis that has plagued Victoria’s youth justice system and threatens the government’s re-election prospects.

But the insidersaid it was a “reactive” response by the government failing to address the endemic core issues fuelling the present crisis.

Poor top tier management and Department of Human Services directives to cut educational and rehabilitation service providers has seen youth become disengaged and bored while in custody.

Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre inmates scaled a roof last year. Picture: Channel 9

Added to this, was a lock-down regime anddangerous, inciting individuals whichcreateda pressure cooker atmosphere where riots wereinevitable.

“This boredom creates all sorts of issues,” the source said.

“We have massive rates of returnees and it seems to get worse and worse.We are paroling young people who aren’t addressing their offending behaviour, one of the critical reasons why they come into youth justice, so once they are released they go on to re-offended.

They remain a huge risk to communities.”

In the lead up to a violent crime spree earlier this monthinvolving 15 escapees, staff at the Malmsbury and Parkville youth detention centres struggled to control riots and violent rampages involving large groups of inmates.

In one terrifying ordeal, teenagers took over their unit in the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre keeping guards at bay for three hours, brandishing makeshift weapons and smashing windows and fittings.

“We’ve had a build up to all this because we’ve had a series of riots across the two precincts,” the insider said. “The boys feed into it and the media report it all of the time.

“We have young people in the 15 to 17-year-old demographic who developmentally don’t make very good decisions and they get reinforcement from their peers and it continues to fuel it.

“This notoriety issue is a big deal for them.”

Ringleaders involved in violent uprisings in Parkville were transferred to Malmsbury in the weeks leading up to the jailbreak.

Officials have said a guard was overpowered,bashedand had his swipe card and keys stolen at the Malmsbury youth detention centre before the youths allegedly stole a ute and escapedon January 25.

“It’s been extremely difficult for staff because they’ve never had to deal with this type of client before,” the source said.

“They don’t listen to the staff, they’re out of control, they don’t follow direction. The common attitude is well “what can you do, I’m under 18, you can’t transfer me to prison anyway.”

“They feel like they’ve got nothing to lose.”

In the aftermath of the crime spree, a number of extra corrections staff have been put on site.

Police are seen during riots at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre on January 25. Picture: Paul Jeffers, Fairfax Media

But staff feared it would only be a matter of time before there was another violent riot if nothing changed.

Retaining staff at the centre wasdifficult.

“Since September last year, we have had monthly inductions for people coming to work across the youth precinct,” the insider said.

“But we can’t keep up, we can’t even staff the units given that we’ve had that many recruitment because we can’t retain staff.

Something needs to be done in terms of making the workplace safe so we can retain the staff and do the work with the boys that we need to do.”

Tougher sentencing was also needed for for repeat offenders in the 18 to 21 age group, the source said.

Victoria’s unique dual track system under the Sentencing Act 1991 allows adult courts to sentence young offenders (aged under 21 years) to serve custodial sentences in youth detention instead of adult prison.

For a young offender to qualify for youth detention, the court must be convinced they have reasonable prospects of rehabilitation, or they are particularly impressionable, immature, or likely to be subjected to undesirable influences in an adult prison.

While legislation does allow the Youth Parole Board to transfer dangerous detainees to adult prisons, they are reluctant to do so despite them posing a serious risk to the lives of other inmates and staff, the insider said.

“The process of getting to the point of application is extremely difficult and generally means the client commits a number of offences in custody that endanger staff, other clients and the environment before this will occur.”

The insider said magistrates also needed to make directions during sentencing which made itmandatory for young offenders to participate in offence rehabilitation programs while they were custody.

At the moment, young offenders, including those with a history of drug and alcohol-fuelled offending, are able to reject rehabilitation programs aimed at helping them, the source said.

The state Ombudsman has also weighed in over Victoria’syouth justice crisis, preparing to table yet another critical report about problems in the system.

The director of prisonschoolsBrendan Murray wasalso forced to take leave while the government conducts a secret investigation into his actions.

His sidelining came after youth justice system chiefIan Lanyon was pushed from his role.

The Andrews Government has been plagued by continual rioting, escapes and violent episodes at its current sites at Malmsbury and Parkville.

But the dysfunction set in long before the government was elected with successive governments neglecting and taking the wrong approach to the state’s youth crime endemic, the insider said.

TAFE programs have been cut by the DHHSand outsourced toless effective models, the source said.

Qualified youth workers arebeing used to supervise classrooms rather than utilising their skills.

Staff who supervise reported inmates aren’t completing workthey get signed off for and results werefudged by the educational providers, the source said.

“Ifthey had specialised programs which motivated or interested the boysthey would be engaged in learning.The key to breaking the cycle of offending is intervention, proper rehabilitation and education.”

The source said staff are intimidated and threatened on a daily basis by highly violent inmates but are too afraid to psychically restrain young offenders due to a high number of internal investigations which left staff “demoralised and broken”.

“Physical force is always a last resort,” the source said.“Butwhat happens now isincidents escalate into a much higher level when it could be prevented if the youth was moved away from the situation.”

A DHHS spokesman said the department understood the pressures facing the system.

“That’s why we’re getting on with overhauling it,” he said.

“You cannot rehabilitate anyone in an unsafe and unsecure facility. The government is building a new, fit-for-purpose youth justice facility to keep young offenders secure and the community safe.”

Forty more highly trainedadult prison staff will also move to secure Malmsbury and Parkville youth centres in the wake of the riots.

The government said all sentenced and remand clients receive education, rehabilitation, and mental and physical health services while in custody.

It said on admission to a youth justice custodial centre, all young people – those on remand and on sentence -receive a health screening that considers any immediate medical, physical, psychological needs and formulates the basis of an immediate needs plan.

A review ofVictoria’s youth justice system is also underway to replace the current 16-year-old policy framework.

Department of Education and Training program spokesman Craig Simon said young people inyouth detention centres can access a range of vocational certificates while in custody.

The government did not confirm whether these programs or rehabilitation programs were compulsory for inmates.

He said the Parkville College Integrated Education Model was introduced in 2012 and 2013 following an Ombudsman’s report which was critical of the lack of education within youth justice.

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NSW man battling Ross River fever symptoms a year after a mosquito bite

ONGOING: Graham Solomons of Aberglasslyn is still suffering from Ross River fever symptoms a year after he was bitten by a mosquito.It’s been a year since Graham Solomons was bitten by a mosquito and caught Ross River fever, and he’s still battling the debilitating symptoms.
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The rash he suffered early in his illness is less extensive, but it still reappears, and the fatigue frequently comes back and forces him toswaphis love of lawn bowls for the couch.

Mr Solomons is urging people to cover up and use insect repellent after NSW Health revealedthere has been a five-fold increase in the number of Ross River fever reports across NSW between November and December.

Mostvictims are men between the age of 39 and 69, and women between the age of 35 and 64.

Some people who have the virus never develop symptoms, while others can have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains, muscle and joint pain.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” he said.“I have my good days and bad days, some days I feel tired and fatigued and I don’t want to do anything.

“At times I get breathless easily, which is one of the symptoms. Some days I wake up and I don’t want to eat.”

Mr Solomons said his symptoms often disappeared for a few weeks and then returned.

“When I first got it I didn’t eat for eight days …There’s no cure for it, it stays in your blood stream.”

Mr Solomons said he was bitten in his backyard.

“I was pruning a bush late in the afternoon and I think that’s when I was bitten on my wrist,” hesaid.”A few days later I had aches and pains, a small red dot on my wrist which was sore rather thanitchy.”

Opposition spokesman for health Walt Secord urged the state government to step up public education campaigns in a bid to help prevent the virus.

“Make no mistake, we are in the middle of aRossRiversurge in NSW,” he said.

The Maitland Mercury

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A former open cut coal miner is NSW’s first case of ‘black lung’ disease in more than than 40 years

The NSW Department of Industry Resources Regulator confirmed it has been notified of a case of Mixed Dust Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis also known as ‘black lung’ disease.
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This is the first case of pneumoconiosis reported in a NSW coal mine worker since the 1970s. The person affected worked in a number of NSW open cut mines before leaving the industry in 2014.

“Even though this insidious disease has not been confirmed in NSW for decades, one case of pneumoconiosis is one case too many,” said Resources Regulator Chief Compliance Officer Lee Shearer.

“The priority is to ensure the worker is getting the best possible level of support and care, and as part of this process I ask that we respect the worker’s request to maintain their absolute privacy.

“Further, the Major Investigation Unit of the Resources Regulator is investigating how this case has happened and if there have been any breaches of the work health and safety laws.

“If breaches of the work health and safety laws are identified, enforcement action will be taken. This investigation can also determine if there are learnings or changes to our practices that will reduce the chance of further cases developing.”

Queensland miners and union members protest for workers rights and the treatment of victims of Black Lung disease on April 20, 2016 in Brisbane.There have been more recent cases of black lung disease in that state. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Fairfax Media)

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Coal Services Lucy Flemming said while there is no indication of any other coal worker pneumoconiosis cases in NSW, coal mine workers past and present can contact Coal Services Health on 02 6571 9900 if they have any questions or concerns or to arrange a medical. Ms Shearer said NSW has a stringent regime to protect workers in the coal mining industry.

“Our approach is a combination of the most rigorous coal dust exposure limits in , legislated requirements for achieving minimum standards of ventilation, monitoring of airborne contaminants in the worker environment and prescribed worker health monitoring regimes for exposure to airborne dust.

“Workers receive periodic health surveillance every three years. Outside of the placement, medical assessments are undertaken for all coal mine workers prior to commencing employment and ongoing assessments are offered to workers after they leave the industry.

“Workers’ health is the absolute priority and this latest news only serves to demonstrate the utmost importance of such strict regulations.”

NSW has a comprehensive regulatory scheme in place under the Department of Industry’s Resources Regulator, the industry body Coal Services and specific health and safety legislation for mining.

NSW has a long-standing tripartite approach to addressing health and safety issues, led by the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council, a ministerially appointed council that comprises representation from government, mining industry employers, unions and independent experts. The council has also established an airborne contaminants sub-committee to look at issues involving dust.

Mixed Dust Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis may have a rapid onset and is caused by prolonged and close exposure to respirable crystalline silica and respirable coal mine dust.

“Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis is a preventable disease if appropriate dust control, atmospheric monitoring and worker monitoring measures are in place at mines,” Ms Shearer said.

“The NSW model of prevention, detection, enforcement and education is essential in protecting workers in the NSW coal industry from harm in the future. Controlling dust exposure, monitoring and ongoing health surveillance are vital components of the prevention and detection strategies that are in place and enforced in NSW.”

Ms Flemming stressed the importance of regular health surveillance for all current and former NSW coal mine workers.

“Prevention and education is the key – mine operators must have strong dust elimination and mitigation controls in place, workers should wear personal protective equipment and attend medicals even after they leave the industry.”

Ms Flemming reiterated the work Coal Services has been doing with all key stakeholders to strengthen the NSW model to ensure best practice and focus on prevention through education programs, rigorous health surveillance and research.

“Our primary focus for the immediate future is working together to provide the appropriate care, support and best possible medical attention to the affected worker,” she said.

The Singleton Argus

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STATE OF THE NATIONSaturday, February 4, 2017

State of the nationNeed a national news snapshot first thing –well, we have you covered.
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​►SYDNEY:It was supposed to be a family holiday to discover his homeland of Egypt.

But when a Sydney teenager was detained and tortured after he allegedly ran away to join Islamic militants during the disastrous trip, the holiday led to a mental breakdown, his father claims. Read on.

One of the boys, in white, uploaded videos of him converting other young people to Islam. Photo: Facebook

​►BATHURST:Adopted Bathurst local Grant Denyer has so far been impressed with the calibre of cars and drivers from around the world that hasbeen ondisplay at Mount Panorama, as he prepares to drive in the Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race on Sunday.

Mr Denyer, who is a part of Keltic Racing alongside Anthony and Klark Quinn, will be driving a McLaren 650 GT3.

He said the race is becoming a “must attend” event for some of the world’sbiggest and best drivers. Read on.

Bathurst 12 Hour. Photo: Nathan Wong.

​►MUDGEE:A NSW school bus driver is appealing against the severity of his penalty after two pre-schoolers wereleft on a school bus in the NSW central west for six hours.

Themother of one of the boyssaid her four-year-old sonwas left traumatised and covered in his own sweat and urine after he became trapped on the bus in Mudgeefor the entireschool day. More here.

One of the two pre-schoolers with his mother, who was left on a bus for six hours. Both mother and son cannot be named for legal reasons. Photo: Supplied

​►SCONE: Horsetrainer Greg Bennett will hand in his trainer’s licence after The Championship in April and take up a position atAquis Farm in Queensland.

Bennett, who won the Country Championship with Clearly Innocent last year, is looking forward to a new challenge, where he will oversee the education of Aquis’racing stock.

ON THE MOVE: Scone trainer Greg Bennett will leave the area after The Championship in April. Pic: Katrina Partridge Photography

His Scone stable will be taken over by Albury trainer Brett Cavanough. More here.

​►MOWBRAY:Tasmania Police have charged two men with the murder of missing Mowbray man Bradley Breward.

Mr Breward was last seen by friends on New Year’s Eve and was reported missing to Tasmania Police on January 17.

Bradley Breward.

Investigations into his disappearance resulted in the arrest of 25-year-old Ricky John Izard, of South Launceston, and 41-year-old Mark Rodney Jones, of West Launceston. Read on.

​►NEWCASTLE: A “detailed” investigationhas begun that will see around 200 samples taken from land believed to have been tainted with toxic chemicals from a former gasworks at Waratah. Read on.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Crews drilling at a property on Turton Road in Waratah on Friday. The homes have been contaminated by the old gasworks. Picture: Marina Neil

National news►Liberal Party MPs who support same-sex marriage will push to abandon the government’s plebiscite policy over the next fortnight in favour of a free vote on the floor of Parliament, in a move that could divide the Coalition and create a fresh political headache for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Rainbow Families opposed to a plebiscite on same sex marriage outside Parliament House in Canberra in September 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares

Fairfax Media understands Liberal MPs including Dean Smith, Warren Entsch, Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman, Trevor Evans and Melissa Price are among those leading discussions on how to advance the issue. More here.

► Lucky Gattellari, the Crown’s star witness, sat in the witness box with a fixed smile on his face, twirling his reading glasses around with some vigour.

He had just listened to a phone tap. It was October 8, 2010 and Ron Medich’s son Peter was heard apologising to Gattellari that his father wasn’t going to be able to meet up at the Babylon massage parlour in Haymarket as arranged.

Ron Medich allegedly baulked at spending $300,000 on a contract killing. Photo: Nick Moir

Gattellari explained to a Supreme Court jury hearing Mr Medich’s murder trial that he and Mr Medich needed to talk in person as they were sure their phone calls were being recorded

National weather radarInternational news►USA:US President Donald Trump says his conversation with Malcolm Turnbull was “very civil”, after news of an adversarial phone call between the allies hit headlines around the world.

On Thursday, theWashington Postbroke news of the tense call, with White House sources saying Mr Trump labelled a refugee deal between the US and “the worst deal ever”.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the White House on February 2.

He also complained the call was “the worst by far” of any world leader that day, before abruptly ending the conversation 25 minutes into the scheduled hour, sources said. Read the full report.

►INDIA:Ansuya Deshmukh recently realised her dream – to write her name. The name she has had her entire life but could not write because she never went to school. At 90, she’s relieved she has managed it.

Deshmukh, a widow, has lived in Phangane, a village in India’s Maharashtra state, ever since she was married.Her two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren live with her. It’s her youngest granddaughter who escorts her to school every morning.

80-year-old Ramabai Ganpat Khandakle is one of 30 elderly women who are going to school for the first time in their life in the Thane district, India. Photo: Allison Joyce/Newslions

Deshmukh attends a School for Grannies (Aajibaichi Shala), probably the only one of its kind in India.

This day in history211:Roman EmperorSeptimius Severusdies, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta

960:Coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of the Song, initiating three centuries of Song Dynasty dominance in southern China

1789:1st US electoral college choosesGeorge Washingtonas President and John Adams as Vice-President

1859:The Codex Sinaiticus is discovered in Egypt.

1969:The Palestine National Congress appointsYasser Arafatchairman of the PLO

Source: Onthisday

Faces of :Sophia ShaferSophia Shafer is surrounded by love.

Her birth makes herthe fifth living generationunder family matriarchHazel Grey.

“When I first heard my great granddaughter Christina was pregnant, I thought oh my goodness, I’m now a great, great grandmother!

“I never thought I would be around to see the fifth generation of my family, it’s just wonderful. It was such a joyous time when Sophia came into the world,” Mrs Grey, 84,said. Read on.

FAMILY LOVE: Five generations from one family is pretty special. Little Sophia Shafer, 9-and-a-half weeks old, with her mother, Christina Shafer, 19, grandmother Maria Cox, great grandmother Margaret Grey and the matriarch of the family, great, great grandmother Hazel Grey. Picture: Kia Woodmore

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‘Prime Minister Trunbull’: Sean Spicer gets PM’s name wrong again

New York: The Trump White House has given its clearest public acknowledgement yet that it will honour a refugee agreement made with , even as the president’s official spokesman got the name of ‘s prime minister wrong for the second day in a row.
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Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about a visit to the White House by the n ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, as well as the status of the deal during his daily press briefing on Friday.

Mr Hockey met with Mr Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus on Thursday to affirm relations between the two long-time allies after an unusually tense and uncertain couple of days.

Tensions arose after revelations on Wednesday about a heated phone conversation between Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Trump over an agreement struck by the Obama administration for the US to resettle over a thousand refugees being held in offshore detention centres – a deal Mr Trump went on to describe as a “dumb deal” in a Twitter spray on Wednesday night.

Mr Spicer said though the meeting with Mr Hockey had been productive.

“They did have a very productive and candid conversation,” Mr Spicer said during the daily White House briefing on Friday.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for the people of , for Prime Minister Trunbull.”

​It was the second day in a row Mr Spicer has incorrectly named the n leader.

Mr Spicer went on to say in the clearest terms yet that they would honour the agreement to vet 1250 refugees being held on Manus Island and Nauru, though he made no commitment about resettlement.

“We’re going to honour the commitments that we’ve made in some way, meaning that we are going to vet these people in accordance with the agreement that happened and we’ll continue to have further updates as we do.”

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Mr Trump cut short his phone conversation with Mr Turnbull over the weekend, telling him it was his “worst call yet” and accusing him of trying to send the next “Boston bombers” to the US. Suggesting that refugees, particularly from Syria, posed a security threat to the US was a cornerstone of Mr Trump’s election campaign, and as president he has issued a hardline and controversial executive order suspending his country’s refugee program and temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Mr Turnbull did not confirm the details of The Post’s report in the wake of the story, saying such conversations were conducted “candidly, frankly, privately.”

Mr Trump himself defended his “tough” phone calls on Thursday morning but by the evening described the call as “very civil” on Twitter.

“Thank you to Prime Minister of for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!” he wrote.

A number of Republican senators, including former presidential candidate John McCain, had called Mr Hockey in the wake of the phone call controversy to affirm their support and friendship for .

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The Review: Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia

Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia. Photo: SuppliedTHE PLACE
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Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia

LOCATION

The east coast of Malaysia a beautifully rustic area, rich with rainforests, long beaches and traditional Malay culture. It is often overlooked by holidaymakers in favour of the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur in the west.

Tanjong Jara sits on a crescent-shaped beach in sleepy Dungun, a coastal district of the Terengganu state. There is little else surrounding the resort but palm trees, jungle and the odd fishing hut. The sense of seclusion is high.

THE SPACE

The resort is super-chilled, with 100 rooms spread out across 17 hectares of grass, sand and trees. The architecture is designed to reflect the elegance of 17th century Istanas, the timber palaces of Malay sultans, and it’s gorgeous. These are the kind of buildings that make you want to kick your shoes off and start meditating.

Two swimming pools are available for lounging and dipping. The beachside option is best for families and sun-lovers and a free-form pool closer to the lobby surrounded by lush ferns, is  targeted towards grown-ups keen to drink a negroni with their toes in the water. Both have bars, deck chairs, towels and a snack menu.

The beach is suited for frolicking rather than surfing, and lined with canopy beds perfect for yoga in the morning and paperback-reading in the afternoon. There are tennis courts if you feel inclined (the gift shop will sort you out for rackets and balls) and a very attractive spa you should definitely visit for a facial treatment or traditional Malay massage or both. (Probably both.)

Monkeys, squirrels and peacocks enjoy the resort too. One morning I even see a lumbering old monitor lizard swanning around in the river. Tanjong Jara also manages a turtle conservation project and you might be fortunate enough to witness the release of baby turtles into the wild.

THE ROOM

Every room has a view of the South China Sea. Keen to meditate in your dressing gown and watch the sun wake up? That can happen.

I’m in a Bumbung room (55 square metres) on the top floor of a two-storey unit. A spacious bathroom has a double vanity and oversized bath for mood-lit soaking and the king-sized bed is perfect for deep sleeping and post-beach napping. There’s also a daybed, but my suitcase spends more time on it than I do. All rooms have a writing desk, safe, mini-bar and ornate timber ceiling fan best left in the slowly rotating resort setting I like to call “Hemingway speed”. There’s a flat-screen TV but I never feel the need to turn it on.

The semi-detached, single-storey Anjung rooms are a couple of price-points above and feature all the mod Malay cons plus an outdoor bath, private courtyard and canopied verandah overlooking turquoise sea. Honeymooners, take note.

THE FOOD

There are three main dining spaces that change offerings throughout the day and Di Atas Sungei is the largest of these. Malay for “Above the River” (because it is), this indoor/outdoor dining room is where you head for breakfast, an atypical resort buffet catering all Western and Asian tastes. Dinner here is a no-menu affair. Rather, a waiter or chef will talk you through what ingredients are the most delicious that day and suggest authentic Malay dishes that best showcase the fresh flavours. Maximum taste, minimum waste.

The beach-facing Nelayan restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and cocktails with Malay and Western dishes on the day menu (try the signature curry of mackerel simmered in coconut milk with tamarind and tomatoes) giving way to a more seafood-focused menu at night. Over by the grown-ups pool at Teratai Terrace, guests can cook their own dinner via Korean steamboat in the evening.

Private dining options are many, from a sand-between-your-toes table on the beach to silverware and champagne under a princely canopy. The best spot for romance is a secluded table on the rocks where you can dine surrounded by waves and seaspray. (You’ll likely need to book the rock table in advance so honeymooners, again, take note.)

STEPPING OUT

A fair number of activities are available to suit all levels of enthusiasm. A stay of three or more nights warrants an all-day snorkelling trip to pristine Tenggol Island, about a half-hour boat ride from the coast. You might be lucky enough to spot a hawksbill turtle gliding through crystal water, but schools of darting tropical fish are guaranteed. A jungle trek to the base of Chemerong waterfall is another all day adventure where you can enjoy a packed lunch and refreshing swim, and an easy-going afternoon bike ride is rewarded with waves from local children and light-as-air roti at a nearby fishing village.

Dungun town comes alive on Thursday evenings when the night markets open for trade. Tanjong Jara runs a return service to the markets (about 10 minutes’ drive), worth visiting for the sights, smells and tastes of Malay street food. Go hard on the dessert pancakes.

THE VERDICT

With its secluded west coast location, beyond-the-call-of-duty service and elegant design rooted in Malay culture, Tanjong Jara is wonderful to place to escape the world and leave your cares at the door.

HIGHLIGHT

Swimming with hawksbill turtles on a snorkelling trip.

LOWLIGHT

Not applying enough sunscreen to the back of my legs on said snorkelling trip.

ESSENTIALS

Tanjong Jara Resort, Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun, 23000 Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia. Rooms start from $190 plus taxes a night. See tanjongjararesort苏州夜总会招聘

Rating 4.5/5

Callan Boys was a guest of YTL Hotels.

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