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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


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


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


‘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 .


The Review: Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia

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


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 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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


Swimming with hawksbill turtles on a snorkelling trip.


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


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.


Easter Island: The island at the end of the Earth

Easter Island’s staple industry is tourism, which pulls in about 90,000 visitors a year. Around 95 per cent of the island’s known monolithic sculptures (moai) were carved from stone quarried from Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater formed of consolidated volcanic ash, or tuff, located in the Rapa Nui National Park. Photo: iStock
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Crater Volcano Rano Kau in Easter Island.

For ns, Easter Island may well seem a long way to travel for a small Polynesian island bereft of palm trees and luscious stretches of white, powdery beaches, its iconic stone statues so instantly recognisable that it dwarfs all other attractions.

After all, this is the most isolated permanently inhabited place on earth, a speck of volcanic mounds in a vast ocean. To put its 163 square kilometres into perspective, a marathon runner recently sweated his way around the entire island in just one day, our guide assures us.

The nearest island is Pitcairn, almost 2000 kilometres away, and the only entry point for tourists is via Chile – which Easter Island belongs to – or Tahiti, both around five hours’ flight away. Cruise liners occasionally swing by, but the waters are often too rough for passengers to land.

Yet it’s this stark isolation that fuels the mystique of Easter Island, also known by its indigenous name, Rapa Nui, and Spanish name, Isla de Pascua​ (useful information when you’re trying to locate your departure flight in Santiago).

Today, tourism is the island’s staple industry, pulling in around 90,000 visitors a year, nearly a quarter of those cramming the hiking paths, small township and main tourist attractions in the peak season of January/February, reaching a crescendo during the 10-day Tapati cultural festival. Yet it was the feverish building of colossal stone statues, the moai, that occupied the early settlers of Rapa Nui, and it’s these mysterious monoliths that draw in the crowds.

A great starting point for any curious visitor is the little one-room archaeological museum in the island’s only township of Hanga Roa, where most of the population of 8000 live. It answers my burning question of how on earth a band of Polynesian seafarers in canoes even stumbled upon an island so remote, yet alone went on to inhabit it.

It turns out they were extraordinary navigators, using the stars primarily, but also marine currents, wind directions and the travel routes of nesting birds to locate new islands. There’s sketches of the high-sea canoes it’s believed they used to reach Rapa Nui and later colonise it somewhere between 800 and 1200AD – around the same time these seafaring Polynesians were populating New Zealand (800 to 1000AD).

That certainly accounts for the amazing cultural similarities to the maori haka we witnessed when we were placed front row at a traditional show in town. For our delicate, jet-lagged troupe, it was a visceral onslaught – stomping, victorious roars, and men in loin cloths and tribal paint, thrusting batons wide-eyed in front of us.

The museum, of course, also has lots of background on the moai, built by a highly spiritual people to salute their ancestors. Of the 887 known moai, nearly all carved from volcanic rock at the Rano Raraku quarry in the island’s south-east, nearly half remain in the quarry in various stages of completion; 288 were successfully transported and erected on the familiar Ahu stone altars located at coastal spots around the island. The largest one ever erected, called Paro, is nearly 10 metres high and weighs in at a hefty 74 tonnes. But El Gigante, which is still attached to bedrock in the quarry, takes top honours, at 21.6 metres high and an estimated 170 tonnes.

The statue building came to an abrupt end around the 17th century, when tribal war broke out, most likely sparked by environmental carnage and dwindling resources. By the time the first Europeans arrived in 1722, the forests of palm trees were gone, exposing the volcanic soil to erosion and creating the barren landscape you see today.

It’s late April when we visit Rapa Nui: autumn, and the crowds have gone, the hiking trails are blissfully empty and it’s balmy T-shirt weather. Who’d be bothered with high season, I ask myself? At Explora, one of the island’s handful of luxury lodgings, our guide for the four days is trained psychologist Carolina, whose infectious exuberance and detailed knowledge of Easter Island is a product of both her own natural curiosity and Explora’s strict screening and training of their guides, who often rotate between sister Explora properties in Chile’s Atacama Desert (temporarily closed due to a fire) and Patagonia. It’s three months of intensive learning and tests, so there’s no question you can fire at Carolina that doesn’t return a decisive, detailed and colourful explanation.

The hotel is among rare farming land, about 10 minutes’ drive from town, with all 30 rooms enjoying elevated views of the coastline. However, the emphasis – like all Explora properties – is on getting you out and about, so every evening guests gather to choose their outing for the following day.

There’s a choice of half-day or full-day excursions. By the time you leave, you will almost definitely have done the compulsory trip to Rano Raraku quarry and nearby Fifteen Moai at Ahu Tongariki​. There’s a half-day hike to the highest point on the island, with spectacular 360-degree views; and a trip to the underground caves where many of the tribes once lived, which takes in petroglyphs, offering a fascinating insight into how the early Rapa Nui lived.

The highlight for me was the 10km half-day hike to the crater lake of Rano Kau on a crystal clear morning, the walk hugging the cliffs up a fairly steady incline that tested the stamina of us mostly middle-aged crew of varying fitness levels. After navigating a rock-strewn path for a couple of hours, I certainly appreciated why walking sticks are handed out so liberally and spares carried by the guides. They’re a godsend for the knees.

Hiking the windswept fringes only seemed to reinforce a liberating sense of isolation.  A blindingly blue sea thunders against craggy cliffs that butt up against vibrant red volcanic earth, much of it exposed by persistent erosion. Scrubland best sums up the rest.

Suddenly Carolina halts us in our tracks. “Close your eyes, hang onto the person in front and follow me.” We gingerly follow orders and stumble forwards. “Okay, open  your eyes!” Here, on the edge of the cliffs, we’re peering down into the one-kilometre-wide Rano Kau crater lake. Windex-blue patches of water pierce through giant clumps of floating plants. It’s utterly spectacular. After the frenzy of camera-clicking ceases, we pause to hear how the tradition of the Birdman was born here after the statue building ceased; the dawn of a new social order. The short version is that a nominated member of each of the island’s tribes would swim out to the islet just offshore each September, when the seabirds migrated here, and whoever secured the first egg would secure his tribal leader ruling rights for the next year.

This islet takes on even greater significance when Carolina assures us there’s visibility of up to 50 metres if you want to snorkel around the rocky outcrop. As an avid lap swimmer, I immediately picture the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool and imagine staring that far into azure blue with perfect visibility.

The expedition concludes with a visit to nearby Orongo, on the lip of the crater, the ceremonial village used by the Rapa Nui people during the Birdman era.

Today, it’s a collection of weathered stone houses and petroglyphs set on a brutally exposed clifftop. A snippet at the information centre brings home the fragility of not just these structures, but all the island’s moai and rock carvings. “In a period of just 97 years, extreme weather has caused deterioration of the petroglyphs … details have disappeared: edgings of the engravings, the borders of every detail … thus we have a clear idea of the damage caused by natural factors.”

It doesn’t augur well for the moai, their features already severely blunted by the elements, clawing lichen and their precarious coastal locations. I feel privileged to have walked among giants that one day will inevitably be reclaimed by nature. TRIP NOTESMORE



southamericatourism苏州夜总会招聘 GET

LAN Airlines operates daily flights between Sydney and Santiago via Auckland. There are flights to Easter Island from Santiago every day except Tuesday. n citizens pay a reciprocity fee of US$117 on arrival in Santiago. latam苏州夜总会招聘. STAY

The Explora Hotel Posada de Mike Rapu Easter Island is an all-inclusive, 30-room hotel (all meals and beverages and daily excursions with bilingual guides are included). Curved, glass-fronted pavilions housing the bar, restaurant and lounging areas offer panoramic ocean views. There’s also a massage room, outdoor pool and spa. Three-night packages from $2538 a person, twin-share.  See explora苏州夜总会招聘. GET AROUND

There is no public transport on Easter Island, probably because nearly everyone lives in town. There’s a sealed road around much of the island and rougher roads lead to less accessible areas. Explora includes free transport to attractions. However, for those who want their own wheels, the hotel has bicycles. Otherwise, there’s a fleet of rental places on the main street of Hanga Roa. Prices aren’t cheap. You can rent a scooter for about 25,000CLP a day (motorcycle licence required); cars start from around 45,000CLP.

Isobel King travelled courtesy of South America Tourism Office and LATAM Airlines.


Tissue-based drama This is Us swollen with the milk of human kindness

An authentic world full of real people: This is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia as Jack. Photo: NBC Once upon a time there was a logic in television that grouped programs into two distinct classes: those that were obvious and unsophisticated, and those that spoke in a more articulate, authentic language. Think Full House for the former. And Love My Way for the latter.
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This Is Us (Wednesdays, 8.30pm, Ten), the buzzy new American series about a bunch of inter-connected, mostly pretty people, sharing personal and professional moments in their otherwise compelling lives, somehow manages to be both.

The pilot episode introduces you to a jumble of characters whose connections are not immediately obvious, though a more experienced viewer can probably take a wild but accurate guess. They include Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia).

By the end of episode one, assuming you’re not speed-dialling your therapist to unload all of your trigger-issues, you will have one of those “oh, right, that’s how they’re all connected” moments, which somehow seems to be both inventively unexpected and coming right at you with all the delicacy of a gorilla in ballet shoes.

Dan Fogelman has crafted here are nicely authentic world, full of characters who speak like real people, unlike their traditional television cousins who speak like television characters. At the same time he’s cranking hard on the pedal-o-issue machine, perhaps with a ferocity not seen since the giddy old days of ’80s medical masterpiece St Elsewhere.

In that sense, it has all of the elegance of Love My Way, but somehow lacks the brilliance. That show, a trail-blazing drama from Foxtel in the early noughties, found a rare balance that allowed it to deeply mine human drama without ever falling victim to the schmaltz within it.

It wouldn’t be fair to This Is Us to say that it fails entirely on that front, but being American, it seems to sit on the precipice.

And the fact that the biggest existential crisis in the pilot episode is the terrifying prospect of turning 36 suggests there is indeed a new generation of television writers coming through the ranks with a very interesting notion of what constitutes a mid-life calamity.

The immediate touchstones for a show like This Is Us are the ’80s high-collar-and-mussed-hair classic Thirtysomething, and its ’90s stepchild, the heavily sentimental Once and Again. Chuck in some touches of Modern Family and even Everwood and you’ve got a palette with a fairly accurate set of colours.

But there is something wholly deliberate about This Is Us that undermines its brilliance, a sense of artful deliberacy to its moments of unexpected tenderness than leaves you bothered that your emotions are being played with, and weeping into a box of tissues, usually in the same moment.

Even Thirtysomething, which seemed to milk its emotions hard, had the virtue of making it all look effortless.

Ventimiglia is the show’s strongest suit but, thanks to a quirk of the storytelling, he’s not deployed across the whole ensemble. Which leaves too many scenes more reminiscent of a teen drama, and full of Hollywood meta-references and things that only feel substantial because they’re written as though they are.

As the first season’s narrative unfurls, This Is Us starts swimming in more stable water. And the writing is rock solid, even if the show’s tendency to dip into more treacly emotions is not.


Flight Test: Air Canada

Onboard the Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Brian Losito/Air CanadaOur rating: 4/5
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Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner


New York (Newark) to Vancouver


Air Canada Altitude, part of Star Alliance.


Economy class, seat 25K.


Five hours, 40 minutes.


Air Canada offers one direct daily flight from New York (Newark) to Vancouver, leaving at 7pm and getting in at 9.40pm. If you’re prepared to endure a multi-hour layover, there are numerous earlier flights via Toronto.


Economy features a 3-3-3 configuration of pleasantly comfortable seats which squeak and spring like a new sofa. Each seat is 43.9cm wide (17 inches) with up to a 78.7-cm pitch (31 inches), depending on the row. The seats recline 12.7cm, which, combined with the ample leg space, is just enough for me to stretch out my 1.8 metre body without causing a commotion.


Air Canada charges CAD$25 for the first checked bag of up to 23 kilograms, and CAD$35 for the second. Unless this flight is part of a longer international journey, as mine is, in which case two checked bags are free.


There are several features about this plane that draw more of my attention than they usually would. The first is ventilation, which is excellent. I never feel stuffy or dry – two conditions that plague me on many long-distance flights. The windows are also remarkable, some 65 per cent larger than standard airplane windows. There are no shutters. Instead, electrified gel sandwiched under the glass brightens or dims on command, like a pair of smart sunglasses. I am obsessed.


The seatback touchscreen is big, clear, and responsive. Written material boasts some 600 hours of film, TV, and music, though the selection feels a little more limited in practice, particularly when it comes to current movies. A nice touch is the 2016 Air Canada enRoute Film Festival, though, which offers a variety of Canadian films from three to 17 minutes in length. Each display has a USB port for charging your own devices.


Have you ever met an unfriendly Canadian? Not on an Air Canada flight, at any rate. The crew members are chatty and smiley; one woman spies my neighbour reading sheet music and engages her in a length conversation about Bach; another distributes activity books for kids with all the jolly benevolence of Santa.


Air Canada Cafe tantalises you with art-directed pictures of its food on the touchscreen display. Nothing ever looks this good, of course, and also it costs money – a surprise on a nearly six-hour flight across an international border. After realising there are no free snacks (not even a pretzel), I cave and purchase a sriracha chicken wrap for $CAD7.50; it is thin and of questionable texture. Alcohol also costs money – another death blow.


As of late last year, even transiting through Canada requires an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), at a cost of $CAD7. The ludicrous formality must be processed in advance, a fact that has been poorly publicised by Air Canada to its customers, many of whom (like me) have found themselves frantically applying on their mobile phones at the airport. Be careful: incorrect information locks you out for 72 hours.


A gorgeous plane and gracious service is let down by the frugality of air travel in North America, where even minor comforts (a snack) come with a price tag. But if you’re travelling onwards to , never fear: All is corrected in the next leg, where wine flows freely all the way to Brisbane.

Lance Richardson paid for his own flight.


Siren song of the Amalfi Coast

Terrace of the oyster bar at Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano.From Naples the road slinks improbably around the coastline, skirting past Sorrento and heaving over a headland before corkscrewing above a blue sea. Positano is jammed into a fold in the cliffs, and looks as if it could easily slide down with a clatter onto its beach far below. There is only space for a one-way road, and it plunges halfway down the town before surging up again, scraping by cafe chairs, postcard racks and wayside statues of the Virgin Mary.
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Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is for visitors with a head for heights and who are confident behind the steering wheel. With relief I leave my car with Le Sirenuse’s bellboy. Where it goes is anyone’s guess; flat land for car parks is as rare as reindeer here. Mostly, in this cliff-clinging town, I tumble down steps and huff-puff back up again on foot, alternatively enclosed in canyon-like streets or propelled onto pocket-sized terraces with views over vertiginous rooftops to shockingly blue-green water.

Le Sirenuse opened in 1951 in a converted aristocratic house, and is still owned by the same family. Somehow it has found room to expand, oozing like calcium deposits down the cliff and taking over neighbouring buildings. The result is a warren-like hotel over eight floors, crammed with art works and antiques. Every cranny is mopped and polished. Prints and family oil portraits line the walls, pillows are plump, restaurant tablecloths starched as a pope’s robes. The candlelit, Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant features fish sprinkled with zucchini flowers and Mediterranean lamb encrusted with rosemary. The pool terrace, shaded by lemon trees, is surely one of the world’s best.

Guestrooms have swallow’s nest balconies entwined in vines and bougainvillea, and Positano’s finest outlooks. The peacock sea far below gets more beautiful as the day progresses. At sunset, after the day-tripper boats have departed, the silvery water is scribbled over by the wakes of the odd speedboat. I feel like leaping off my balcony, like the cliff-divers of Acapulco, and into its limpid loveliness.

The views are everything in Positano, and Le Sirenuse knows it. The hotel does everything superlatively but always accepts that its service and luxuries are second fiddle to the landscape. It’s rather lovely that staff gardeners take you on a tour of the rare flowering plants that grace the hotel terraces, but my attention constantly drifts away to the Mediterranean. And though the breakfast spread isp first-class, its terrace location is so fabulous you’d hardly notice if you were served sawdust.

Actually, you’re served a banquet to delight Nero that, in the Italian style, features a temptation of cakes. I assuage my guilt by walking off my indulgences with a 2000-step haul up to Nocelle, a cloud-enveloped village surrounded by terraces of tomato vines and lemon trees.

Later I explore Positano itself. It’s an old town, once part of the medieval Amalfi maritime republic that rivalled Venice for trade, now jammed with shops selling ceramics and art works. I climb past an old watchtower on a track lined with cactus and bougainvillea to Spiaggia del Fornillo, a quiet cove where striped parasols lean in the sand.

There’s a lot you can do on the Amalfi Coast. I spend a day driving hairpin bends along the coast to Amalfi town. A hydrofoil will whisk you from Positano to Capri for the day, and Pompeii is a drive away. Le Sirenuse offers complimentary activities that change daily: a visit to a limoncello producer, olive-oil tasting, a trip to the seafood market with its chef.

The best is a trip along the coast in the hotel’s gleaming vintage wooden boat Sant’Antonio. The perspective of the Amalfi Coast from the water is quite different from on land, and you can go swimming. The boat stops in a cove and its passengers leap overboard into the big blue. Afterwards the captain hands out bellini cocktails and we sail back to Positano, sleepy with sun, salt and the good life. TRIP NOTESMORE



Emirates flies from Sydney and Melbourne to Dubai (14.5 hours) with connections to Rome (six hours). Phone 1300 303 777, see emirates苏州夜总会招聘/auDRIVE

Leading n self-drive specialist DriveAway Holidays offers car hire in Italy from about $30 a day for a mid-sized vehicle. Phone 1300 723 972, see driveaway苏州夜总会招聘.auSTAY

Le Sirenuse is a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World brand. Rooms from $858, including boat excursion and other activities. Phone 02 9377 8444, see lhw苏州夜总会招聘

Brian Johnston was a guest of Leading Hotels of the World and DriveAway Holidays, but paid for his own flights.


Bankstown terror teen tried to join Islamic State on family holiday, court hears

The two teenagers were allegedly arrested with two bayonet knives and a note pledging allegiance to Islamic State. Photo: 7 News One of the M-9 bayonet knives for sale at Bankstown Gun Shop.
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One of the 16-year-old boys, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was filmed abusing police as he sat handcuffed in Adnum Lane on October 12. Photo: 7 News

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

Police guard the laneway where the two boys were arrested in October. Photo: Christopher Pearce

The boy on the street in Bankstown before his arrest. Photo: Channel 7

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.

Nine months after returning to , the boy was one of two youths who was arrested in Bankstown last year, allegedly moments away from an Islamic State-inspired knife attack.

Chilling details of the Bankstown plot can be revealed for the first time following a court hearing in which the boy’s father painted a sad picture of his son’s descent into radicalisation.

The two 16-year-old school friends, who cannot be named due to their age, were arrested in October outside a laneway prayer hall and charged with preparing for a terrorist act and membership of a terrorist organisation.

They allegedly had a backpack containing a torch, a knife sharpener, two camouflage-print neck gaiters, a handwritten Arabic note pledging allegiance to the caliphate and two hunting knives bought earlier that day from the Bankstown Gun Shop.

The second boy, the stepson of a convicted extremist and a counter-terrorism target since the age of 12, had a video on his phone in which he held down a sheep as its neck was slashed with a knife, Parramatta Children’s Court heard this week.

During an unsuccessful bail application this week, it was revealed that the first boy was detained in Egypt for a month after trying to escape a family holiday to join Islamic militants in the Sinai region.

He returned to in January 2016 with the help of the n ambassador to Egypt. His father said his son was tortured in detention and spiralled downward after his return.

“Since Egypt, he’s having a hard time,” he told the court. “I said I would send him to a psychologist and everything would be all right.”

Among the items found on his phone on his return were internet searches on “going jihad when parents are alive” and “Sinai ISIS” and an article titled “Jihadi John’s journey from schoolboy to executioner”, according to police allegations.

During 2016, the boy dropped out of school, ran away from home several times, was the subject of several police “child at risk” reports, slept rough at Central station for a week and had an AVO out against him to protect his mother after he allegedly punched a glass cabinet at home.

After the family’s Parramatta home was raided in February, he said he wanted to be homeless, his father said.

Both boys have been on counter-terrorism radars for years and were being followed by police on the day of their arrest.

They both left their high school in 2014 due to an incident and the second boy turned to distance education while the first boy’s father tried to get him into several schools, eventually enrolling him in an inner west high school in 2016.

The second boy was intercepted on the phone in 2015 telling his mother he wanted to “outdo” the shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng.

Last year, he was observed to be among a small group of attendees at a Friday prayer session run by well-known counter-terrorism target Wissam Haddad.

In a recording played by prosecutors during the bail application, he was filmed abusing police as he sat handcuffed in Adnum Lane, Bankstown on October 12.

“Whatever Allah orders me to do I’m going to do it,” he said.

“Anyone who works with the police is an apostate dog … youse are nothing but a bunch of pigs and we are going to rule this earth by sharia … all you pigs, inshallah, I will see you burn alive in hellfire.”

The pair had allegedly bought two bayonet knives earlier that day. Unable to find a bag to conceal them, the first boy was seen chucking his school books, pencil case and calculator in a bin and putting the knives in his backpack.

The pair then caught a bus to the Adnum Lane prayer hall for what police allege were their final prayers and ablution.

In the police recording taken in the laneway, the second boy said he bought the knives to go hunting.

He also said popular youth leader Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman and ‘s Grand Mufti were “apostate dogs” because they worked with the government and he told the police that their children and wives would become slaves when Islam takes over.

The boys’ barrister, Geoffrey Foster, said the case contained “a lot of circumstantial fluff” and content intended to “besmirch their character” and invent a “sinister plot”.

However Magistrate Katherine Thompson denied bail, saying the first boy had a track record of disobeying authority while the second boy showed contempt for government and police, making it unlikely they would show up for future appearances.

An application to suppress Tuesday’s bail application was dismissed on Friday.


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