Australia posts second hottest start to a year

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Warmer-than-usual seas around Australia are contributing the hot spell. Photo: Dallas KilponenAustralia remains on course to post one of its hottest years on record even as conditions favour above-average rainfall across much of the country, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

In the first six months of 2013, the country’s average daily maximum temperature was 1.05 degrees higher than the long-term norm, placing the period behind only 2005 in terms of unusually warm conditions.

While above-average rainfall across much of south-eastern Australia during June kept a lid on maximum daily temperatures for that period, the increased cloud cover meant minimum temperatures were above normal in all states and territories for the month.

High pressure systems – with the warmer conditions they typically bring – have continued to dominate weather patterns over much of central and southern Australia, said Rob Smalley, a climatologist at the weather bureau’s National Climate Centre.

Air pressure has “been higher than normal, and that would probably [see] less of the frontal activity bringing the cooler conditions through,” Dr Smalley said.

Neutral conditions in the key El Nino Southern Oscillation weather system over the Pacific Ocean suggest that calendar year 2013 is likely to be among Australia’s hottest in records going back more than 100 years.

“If Australia were to maintain an anomaly of at least one degree, or a little higher, we’d actually approach or come close to exceeding the previous mean temperature record,” Dr Smalley said.

Australia has experienced a series of relative heatwaves moving over much of the continent for the past nine months or so.

As a result, Australia’s average maximum temperature for the 12 months to June 30 was the hottest on record, exceeding the previous high set in 2002-03.

The anomaly for 2012-13 is 1.18 degrees compared with the 1.1-degree anomaly for 2002-03, Dr Smalley said.

The bureau’s national temperature outlook suggests cooler-than-normal days for the coming three months, with Tasmania and the south-western tip of WA two of the exceptions. Night-time temperatures, though, should continue to track well-above average for much of the country, including most of Victoria, south-eastern NSW and all of Tasmania.

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Mama Holiday

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Some say the secret to a happy life is to skip having children and go straight to grandchildren.

Certainly, the relationship between grandparents and grandkids is a marvellous, magical, mystical thing to behold.

They share a similar sense of humour, mischief and fun.

Perhaps they get along so well because they have a common enemy: the parents.

Mum or dad is the rule maker; Nan or pop is the rule breaker.

“No, they didn’t have any treats this afternoon,” my mother-in-law Margaret will say, sweetly.

But the kids always give her up: “Nanna gave us two snakes, a packet of chips, and an ice-cream,” my six-year-old daughter Grace will gloat, with a look that says, “And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

This explains the growth of the grandtraveller – baby boomers who take grandchildren away without the parents.

It gives working folk a break during the school holidays. But just imagine what they get up to.

I once caught my eight-year-old son and his 92-year-old great-grandfather giggling like Gerties while having a farting competition.

Later, my grandfather gently took a toy gun out of Taj’s hands and talked to him about the horrors of World War II.

Military and genealogy tourism are popular with grandtravellers, to pass on family stories to the next generation. The website grandparents苏州美甲学校 is full of fascinating ideas, such as visiting castles or cultural sites featured in the kids’ favourite computer games.

For some, it’s a coming of age.

One friend has a family tradition of taking each grandchild on a big trip once he or she reaches double digits.

But a word of warning. As comedian Gene Perret says: “An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly.”

Like Margaret, when we went on a week-long holiday to Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

We spent our days swimming, snorkelling and hiking around this stunning coral cay.

The kids were aged three and five and – ahem – rather active.

They were like Energizer Bunnies, buzzing from dawn until dusk.

We only realised how tired nanna was when she fell asleep and slowly slipped off the couch – thump – onto the floor with a glass of wine in her hand.

She didn’t spill a drop. Go, Marg!

Apparently, the golden age for travelling with grandkids is 6-12: old enough to negotiate with, and young enough to cuddle.

Some internet-savvy kids are filling out forms to apply to their grandparents for “travel grants”. They describe themselves as “your oldest and longest-loved grandchild” or “a kid who has overcome the challenges of middle-child syndrome”, then explain how the trip will strengthen their relationship.

The application also proposes a destination, budget and community partners, such as siblings or cousins, who could come along. Really, it doesn’t matter where you go.

Through grandtravelling, you can see the world through the eyes of a child.DEAL


Paris in summer is a kids’ playground, with puppet theatres, donkey and carousel rides, and duck feeding in the lake of the Tuileries Gardens. Stay nearby, at the luxe Hotel le Meurice, between July 14 and August 29 and pay half price on a deluxe or executive room for the children, including breakfast, room upgrade and $118 dining credit. Costs from €905 ($1286) a night, virtuoso苏州美甲学校.au.

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Personal fire shelters not used in Australia

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Personal fire shelters, used by a team of Arizona firefighters as a “last resort” in a deadly blaze on Sunday, have never been used in Australia despite regular use by firefighters in the United States.

The protective fire shells – folded tents made of heat reflective material – were used by 19 elite firefighters who were killed while battling a fast-moving wildfire that swept through the small town of Yarnell, north-west of Phoenix.

“Our experience is that you need a solid barrier between heat and a person,” said Stuart Ellis, the CEO of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council.

“We don’t use fire shelters locally because we don’t want our firefighters to think that an item like that will protect them.”

The Arizona fire, caused by a lightning strike, spread throughout rocky terrain during soaring heatwave conditions.

“We wouldn’t put firefighters in a situation where there is erratic fire behaviour,” said Mr Ellis. “There are firefighters on the fire line, but they are all vehicle based.”

Fire services in Australia have spent millions of dollars equipping vehicles with a series of protective measures, said Mr Ellis.

A “halo system” spray, a ring around the fire truck that sprays and distributes water around the cabin area, is one of the techniques used to combat wildfires in an emergency.

Fire shelters, which have been used in the United States since the 1970s, are designed to reflect radiant heat and trap breathable air. They are made of aluminum foil, fibreglass and woven silica and are only successful if a firefighter is in a cleared area, away from fuels and high flame contact.

“They look much like a swag,” said Mr Ellis. “Using them is placing a huge reliance on an individual protective measure.”

Australian firefighters use protective clothing – made of treated cotton and heat resistant fibre – and fire blankets.

The 1998 Linton bushfire in western Victoria that killed five firefighters was the “impetus” to introduce a large number of tanker protection systems, said Mr Ellis.

Brendan Doyle from the Rural Fire Service said remote area firefighters used dedicated aircraft, control lines and backburning to fight blazes.

“Being out in the open is the worst case scenario”, said Mr Doyle. “We get firefighters to retreat from the area before a problem starts.”

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North Korea takes over MIFF program

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A still from North Korean film Comrade Kim Goes Flying, which will screen at the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival. Photo: Supplied Australian director Anna Broinowski’s film Aim High In Creation, which was shot in North Korea, will also screen at MIFF. Photo: Wendy McDougall

North Korean film Hong Kil Dong is part of the newly-announced 2013 MIFF program. Photo: Supplied

This year’s Melbourne International Film Festival is up in the air and all at sea, and includes an insight into one of the world’s most rarely seen film cultures.

Artistic director Michelle Carey launched the 2013 MIFF program on Tuesday night. Pedro Almodovar’s in-flight disaster comedy I’m So Excited! had already been named as the festival opener: Carey announced the festival’s closing feature, J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, which she described as a gripping, engaging work. It has a single cast member, Robert Redford, playing a man who runs into trouble during a solo voyage on the Indian ocean.

The movie is being spoken of as an Oscar contender, and it is quite a coup to have it at MIFF, Carey says.

The MIFF program includes a focus on the cinema of North Korea: this consists of two films made by overseas directors working in the country, and a selection of popular North Korean features from the 1970s and ’80s.

Australian director Anna Broinowski’s premieres her new feature, Aim High In Creation!, which includes a film within a film made according to the creative manifesto laid down by the late dictator (and film buff) Kim Jong Il. There’s also an unusual British-Belgian-North Korean co-production, a 2012 screwball comedy called Comrade Kim Goes Flying.

The features in the North Korean retrospective are Centre For-ward, a black-and-white drama about a young aspiring footballer; a Shaw Brothers-style martial arts movie, Hong Kil Dong; a melodrama, A Broad Bell-flower; and The Flower Girl, the adaptation of a popular revolutionary opera.

MIFF programmer Al Cossar says audiences will see unfamiliar methods of storytelling, but will also encounter some surprisingly familiar cinematic elements.

Interviews and introductions have been recorded by some of the key creative figures in these movies, and will be shown at MIFF screenings. There will also be a special panel discussion on North Korean cinema.

Among MIFF’s overseas guests is Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso), who will be presenting his English-language feature, The Best Offer, which is set in the international art market. It stars Geoffrey Rush as the managing director of an auction house who gets caught up in the life of an enigmatic heiress.

MIFF will also be premiering the much-anticipated The Turn-ing, a three-hour feature adaptation of 17 interwoven stories by Tim Winton.

Each segment has a different director, some of whom go behind the camera for the first time: they include actors Mia Wasikowska, David Wenham and Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Stephen Page.

Different actors play the same characters across the stories. “It’s a labyrinth,” says Carey, “a network of talent”.

The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from July 25 to August 11 The full program will be available with The Age on Friday. The Age is a festival sponsor.


Mistaken For StrangersOn the road with The National, through the eyes of director-roadie Tom Berninger, brother of the band’slead singer.The Act Of KillingJoshua Oppenheimer’s documentary revisits, in a remarkable fashion, the activities of Indonesian death squads of the 1960s.Persons Of InterestHaydn Keenan explores the ASIO files of various “persons of interest”, including Gary Foley and FrankHardy.BastardsFrench filmmaker Claire Denis tackles a film noir premise of revenge in her own singular way.A Touch Of SinA drama about four characters under pressure from Chinese director Jia Zhangke, festival guest.

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Ousted Cowan open to landing new spot in batting order

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Evicted from the opening position where he has played all his Tests and all but 17 of his first-class innings, Ed Cowan began his search for a new home convinced he has the game to fit in somewhere else.

Chris Rogers is moving into Cowan’s old place, and the deposed opener had no choice but to swallow his disappointment and get his head around the need to scrap for one of the three other batting spots up for grabs for the Ashes.

The most natural of those would be No.3, where he was expected to bat against Worcestershire in the tour game starting on Tuesday, but Cowan felt confident after toughing out a gruelling series against India’s spinners that he could combat England’s charismatic off-spinner Graeme Swann if he was moved further down the order.

Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, David Warner and Steve Smith are all competing for batting spots.

”I’ve always said if you can open the batting you can bat anywhere. And particularly now, having been through four Tests in India, if I was to come in in the middle order against spin then I really feel comfortable doing that. I don’t know if I could have said that not having been through that,” Cowan said.

”So if you can open the batting against the new ball, you can certainly come in against the older ball. It’s hard to go the other way.”

Cowan started his career for NSW at No.5 but hasn’t been anything other than an opener in the Sheffield Shield since 2008-09. Still, he bats at three in one-day cricket for Tasmania and shuffled down to five when Ricky Ponting was in town last summer.

”So I’ve had some experience if selected and I’m not opening,” Cowan said.  ”That will be the biggest challenge, finding a way to distract yourself until it’s time to bat because one thing about opening the batting is you start preparing when they’re eight or nine down, you’ve got 10 minutes to put your pads on and away you go.

”If it’s in the middle order, do you relax, do you stay up, don’t waste too much energy, all those little things. That will be a challenge but it’s something I’m just going to have to deal with.”

In 17 matches as Australia’s Test opener, Cowan averages 32, and hasn’t been able to shrug off the impression that he was squatting in the position rather than owning it. He could not have predicted he would lose it to a 35-year-old who has toiled for even longer than him. Cowan was grateful, at least, to be told where he stood, in keeping with new coach Darren Lehmann’s honesty policy.  ”All sportsmen can deal with honest information. Whether that impacts you negatively or positively, you know where you stand, you know what you have to do even if it’s not what you want to hear,” he said.

Australian selectors were hailed for their decisiveness in making the Rogers decision a week out from the first Test. The 35-year-old’s ””’lack of international experience is countered by his wealth of experience in England, against Englishbowlers, facing an English ball, and he is set to be thrust into an unofficial leadership role among the batsmen when the series starts next Wednesday at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

”The Dukes ball is different. I think you need to get a real feel for it, particularly as an opening batsman. The ball is going to do some crazy things at times. With my experience I can be fairly comfortable with my knowledge of that. It’s still going to be a huge challenge because I think the English bowlers are exceptional. If I do well then I can be very satisfied,” Rogers said.

”I think the character I am, too, I can pass on these kinds of things. This first Test is still going to be a bit of an unknown for me and I have to deal with those things. But I do see my role as passing on some information to the young guys. I enjoy that.”

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Four people missing from property found 

Written by admin on 10/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美甲学校

FOUR people who had been missing for more than seven hours from a property near Paterson have been located safe and well.

A young man and three children had left the property on Keppies Road about 10am and had not returned as night fell. The alarm was raised at dusk, with police on foot and on trail bikes joining locals in the search.

The Hunter Westpac Rescue helicopter located the four safe and well about 5.15pm.

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Investigation into 2Day FM prank saga now for the courts

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Going to Federal Court .. 2dayFM claims ACMA has not the power to investigate an allegation that it used its broadcasting service ‘in the commission of an offence’. Photo: Daniel MunozThe stoush between 2Day FM and the broadcasting watchdog over the “royal prank call” investigation will go to the Federal Court in September.

Last month, 2Day FM took legal action against the Australian Communications and Media Authority in an extraordinary attempt to quash its investigation into the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who committed suicide after being pranked by two of its DJs.

The station is arguing that ACMA does not have power to determine if it broke the law by recording and broadcasting the hoax call without permission.

The move came after ACMA told 2Day FM what its preliminary findings were on June 20.

The station is at risk of losing its licence or being suspended if found to have used its broadcasting service “in the commission of an offence”.

2Day’s FM’s aggressive legal action and its statement to media suggest that ACMA, in its preliminary report, found it did break the law.

While ACMA also had the option to specify a licence cancellation or suspension in its report, it is unlikely to have done so. In bigger matters, the watchdog tends to impose such penalties after it delivers its findings.

Yet 2Day FM was spurred into action even without a specific penalty.

“If ACMA found they had breached their licence, that’d be enough for them to go to court,” says one source. “Put it this way: an adverse finding from a government regulator doesn’t help in regards to any future lawsuits.

“But ACMA is unlikely to cancel 2Day FM’s licence. That’s just too drastic. A suspension, on the other hand, is more likely – especially in light of all their other controversies.

“It’s fair to say that when it comes to breaches of taste and ethics, 2Day FM has form.”

The station’s many previous controversies include:

■ A 14-year-old revealing on a lie detector, after being asked about sex, that she had been raped;

■ A contest police claim encouraged dangerous driving;

■ A competition in which a woman was flown from the US and forced to cry and beg on her knees to meet a relative;

■ A prank call in which a DJ impersonated a school official and told a top-ranking student her score was wrong, reducing her to tears;

■ A presenter being offered $50 each time she made a listener cry;

■ Listeners being tricked into believing a popular presenter was dead;

■ A promotion called “Heartless Hotline” in which a parent of a disabled child was forced to argue with another caller to get Easter Show tickets;

■ A promotion in which the parents of a disabled child claimed they did not receive the full amount pledged to them on air;

■ Kyle Sandilands making fun of a disabled baby;

■ Sandilands suggesting Magda Szubanski be “put in a concentration camp” to lose weight;

■ Sandilands calling a female journalist a “fat slag” and threatening to “hunt her down”;

■ A competition in which women were lined up behind two panels – exposing only their vaginas – and requiring a man to identify his girlfriend by her genitals;

■ A competition to find Sydney’s smallest penis;

■ A competition in which a prize was hidden in the body rolls of an obese woman who was branded a “pig”, with footage streamed online;

■ A stunt in which employees competed to see who could masturbate the fastest and produce the highest sperm count;

■ And an intended stunt in which female listeners would compete to impregnate themselves with the sperm of a local celebrity.

The matter will be heard in the Federal Court on September 19.

Even if the court accepts 2Day FM’s argument that ACMA has no authority to determine if it broke the law, the watchdog will still have the power to decide if the station breached the codes of practice.

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Revenge killing a possibility: police

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Police say there are many reasons why someone may have wanted Scott Hammond dead and are not ruling out a revenge killing after he used his pit bull terriers to attack and wound four people in 2011.

Mr Hammond was found savagely beaten to death in his house on the outskirts of south-western Sydney along with a paralysed pit bull on Monday afternoon.

Police said they found the 48-year-old on the lounge room floor of an Ibbotson Street house at Tahmoor after a friend called concerned for his welfare.

Camden police Acting Superintendent Danny Doherty said homicide detectives were treating the death as a targeted attack and had many motives to sift through.

”It appears that the incident was a targeted attack and we have other motives that have to be looked at,” Acting Superintendent Doherty said. ”There are a number of lines of inquiry including the man’s history in relation to previous dog attacks.”

Mr Hammond pleaded guilty to using his pit bull terriers, Chocka and Girlie, to attack and wound four people in separate incidents at Tahmoor in 2011.

He was given a seven-month suspended sentence, ordered to pay $14,336 and destroy both dogs.

Several items were seized from the house but police would not comment on the suspected weapon used to inflict serious head injuries.

Police were waiting on the results of an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

”But it appears he has sustained significant injuries, substantial head injuries,” Acting Superintendent Doherty said.

Mr Hammond had been unemployed and living by himself.

Police removed two dogs from the house and are checking to see if evidence, such as DNA, was transferred to them during the attack.

Detectives are yet to establish whether the paralysed pit bull was injured before or during the attack.

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Watch out when passing the buck

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Credit card holders are using an increasing number of additional credit cards to shift debt, a survey has found.

Of more than 2000 Australians surveyed by creditcard苏州美甲学校.au, one in five said they had credit card debt of more than $8000, and of these 68 per cent are forced to hunt down new credit cards to transfer debt.

Balance transfer cards come with 0 per cent interest for a limited time, offering debt-strapped cardholders an escape from crushing interest rates.

But creditcard苏州美甲学校.au founder and chief executive Roland Bleyer says it is now common for people to constantly shift from one balance transfer credit card to another.

”That’s what people are doing – bouncing around from one 0 per cent balance transfer card to another,” Bleyer says.

”I received an email recently from someone who said they had avoided paying their credit card for five years thanks to these cards.”

Playing credit card musical chairs is an effective way of delaying debt repayments, but what happens when the music stops?

Bleyer says many consumers are lulled into a false sense of security and don’t take advantage of 0 per cent interest rates.

”Balance-transfer cards are definitely recommended and they’re definitely a good deal, but the problem is people are being slack and not paying off their debt in the interest-free period,” he says.

”They also have to be careful about their credit ratings. If people are moving their debt and continually applying for new credit cards, it’s going to ring alarm bells.”

Banks have cottoned on to the rising popularity of balance-transfer cards, with more than 30 such cards currently on offer. A year ago there were no more than nine 0 per cent interest balance-transfer cards on the market.

Bleyer says the cards are used by banks as a way of luring customers away from other financial institutions.

To do this, banks are beginning to increase the average nine-month 0 per cent interest period to 12 months.

They are also reaping a profit from those who fall for the trap of failing to close old credit cards after signing up for a new one.

Another trap is waiting for those who aren’t prepared for the steep interest rates once the promotional interest-free period ends, particularly on gold or platinum cards.

”These cards have a higher annual fee, plus a higher interest rate,” Bleyer says.

”Failure to either pay the balance off in time or achieve another balance transfer is a nice bonus, giving banks the opportunity to make much more money than they would from issuing a lower-rate card.”

The 2013 Credit Card Landscape Survey also found 45 per cent of credit card users don’t pay the minimum monthly repayments.

Bleyer advised that it’s best for people to use 0 per cent interest balance-transfer cards to pay off debt quickly and avoid racking up years of repayments.

”People need to make better financial decisions to pay down their debt,” he says.

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No guarantee of higher wages

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No guaranteeThe superannuation guarantee rose from 9 per cent to 9.25 per cent on Monday, but not everyone will be better off from the increase in compulsory super. Some employers will reduce their employees’ pay by the same amount as the increase so their employees are no better off.

Both Labor and the Coalition are committed to increasing the guarantee over the next few years until it reaches 12 per cent, though each has a different timetable for reaching the 12 per cent.

While all employers have to pay the increase in super for this financial year, as it is the law, some employees are going to have to negotiate with their employers if they want to get the benefit. That is because some employees, usually senior staff, are on ”total remuneration” packages. And it is quite possible these staff, while receiving the higher superannuation guarantee, will have a cut to their pay to keep the total remuneration package the same.

The other category of workers who may be no better off is those whose employers pay a premium or margin above the guarantee. These employers may decide to reduce the premium they pay on super by the same amount as the increase in the guarantee.

Most workers will receive the higher guarantee with no change in their pay because they are covered by industrial awards and agreements.

But those on packages that are subject to individual pay negotiations are well advised to find out what the employer intends to do about the rise in super now, rather than waiting until the next pay review. It may come down to wording of the employment contract over how the super is treated.

A survey late last year by human-resources consultant Aon Hewitt found about 30 per cent of employers pay more than the guarantee. Of these employers surveyed, only about one in 10 indicated that they intended to maintain the same margin when the guarantee started rising. The rest said they intended to decrease the margin as the guarantee rose, absorb the rises in the guarantee until they were paying the legal minimum, or that it depended on the outcome of enterprise bargaining.

Some employers follow the letter of the law but not its spirit, by calculating the guarantee on the employees’ ordinary weekly earnings, less the pay that the employee sacrifices. There is nothing illegal about this. The anomaly could be fixed by a change in the wording of the law to restrict the definition of salary for the guarantee so that it is ”salary plus any salary sacrificed”. But anyone thinking of sacrificing should ask their pay office whether sacrificing means they receive less compulsory super.

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