Heavy industry the winner under new carbon trading proposal

A government proposal to allow international carbon credit trading has buoyed the Australian manufacturing industry, but may have little impact on cutting energy sector emissions.
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The manufacturing, smelting and energy sectors – some of the highest carbon-emitting industries in Australia – could look overseas to buy carbon credits to reduce their comparative emission levels without investing in higher-priced domestic carbon credits or lower-emissions technology under a proposal in the Turnbull government’s latest climate change policy review.

The Australian Industry Group has thrown its weight behind the proposal, saying it is a major advance for industrial emissions reductions policy.

“Ai Group has been arguing the merits of allowing international credits for several years,” its chief executive, Innes Willox, said.

Calling it a victory for common sense over ideology, Mr Willox said: “There is simply no reason to waste efforts on higher-cost domestic abatement options when credible, high-quality and less expensive alternatives are available abroad.”

The Australian Aluminium Council also supported the proposal for international credit trading.

“A tonne of CO??? is a tonne of CO???. It’s a global issue,” the council’s executive director, Miles Prosser, said.

He said this provided another emissions reduction option, which, combined with operational efficiency and low emissions technology, allowed for greater choice in slashing carbon dioxide output.

“We support the flexibility of going internationally for permits to reduce emissions at the lowest cost.” Power and policy

International credit trading could also support the government’s national energy guarantee (NEG), but damage future renewables investment.

“It could help energy retailers meet the emissions standards under the NEG, as it may be cheaper for them to buy these credits rather than supplement their energy mix with new wind or solar,” an industry source said.

One Australian energy retailer believed these credits weren’t needed for the electricity industry.

“While there’s a role for them in trade-exposed industries, in terms of energy we have the means and technology to reduce emissions by replacing coal with gas and renewables,” an energy insider said.

“It sends the wrong investment signals, if you want to encourage investment then international credits are the wrong way to go about it.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said the proposal supported the NEG as a process for energy reliability.

“Our perspective is that these permits can be used as a balancing mechanism,” Mr Warren said.

He said it would be a short-term response, and there remained the need for the replacement of old energy generation.

“We’re struggling to see how you can rebuild the grid without evolving the assets and then buy permits for 50 years. They can help, but they shouldn’t be the cure.”

Concerns have also been raised over their ability to actually play a role in reducing wholesale emissions.

“Given that the rules are still being negotiated for the use of international units, we’d be concerned about the efficacy of their use to meet our Paris Agreement commitments,” Market Forces analyst Daniel Gocher said.

“We’d prefer the government focused on the domestic market, particularly reducing land clearing. Permits can also act to delay more meaningful action, particularly in the electricity sector.”

Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said it would have no impact on the NEG, which operates through existing energy market mechanisms and there are “no subsidies or certificates involved in this guarantee and in this sense it does not involve a price or tax on carbon”. Australia’s credit industry

The policy may also be a double-edged sword for Australian carbon abatement companies, as it widens their potential reach beyond Australia’s smaller domestic market, but could also drive them out of business as buyers look overseas for cheaper credits.

“Pollution is going up, we won’t meet even our paltry Paris targets and the government’s only plan is to make things worse by allowing companies to buy dodgy permits from pig farms in China instead of cutting Australia’s emissions,” Greens climate change and energy spokesman Adam Bandt said.

Carbon Farmers of Australia director Louisa Kiely said the review was a mixed bag, which might put the fledgling carbon credit industry at risk.

“International prices for carbon credits are very cheap, and they may or may not be as rigorously verified as they are in Australia,” Ms Kiely said.

“The threat is that these cheaper credits could damage Australia’s highly-monitored and verified industry, and there’s the risk the market may be flooded with these cheaper carbon credits,” she said.

However, she noted there was also the potential for Australian companies to export their more-verified credits.

The policy would also impact indigenous groups that run native land management carbon businesses, such as those facilitated by the Kimberley Land Council.

Since 2014, four North Kimberley native title groups have run carbon farming operations, generating almost half a million Australian Carbon Credit Units through traditional land management and maintenance, providing these carbon offsets to companies such as Qantas.

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Banks overhaul code of conduct in bid to rebuild trust

Banks have vowed to make it easier for customers to cancel their credit cards, they will stop charging statement fees, and borrowers will be alerted when their interest-free period is about to end, as part of a new code of conduct.
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The Australian Bankers’ Association will on Wednesday unveil a swag of changes intended to put a greater focus on ethical behaviour in an industry that has copped a backlash from government.

Changes in the code include a commitment to allow customers to close a credit card online, rather than needing to do so in a branch or over the phone.

Banks also say they will waive or refund “statement fees” for customers without access to electronic statements, and remind customers when a credit card’s interest-free period is about to end.

With more parents acting as guarantors to help their children enter the housing market, the code also includes changes targeted at people guaranteeing the loans of others.

It says guarantors who have not received legal advice must have a three-day waiting period before signing up. Guarantors will also be informed if the borrower is struggling financially, it says.

Banks decided to revamp the code last year as political pressure on the industry started to mount following a series of scandals.

“Banks are committed to change and the new code is stronger, broader and written in simple to understand language,” ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said.

“It has been completely rewritten to better meet community expectations and service the needs of customers.”

The code includes an already-announced commitment by banks to no longer have tellers selling “add-on insurance” with credit cards, which is intended to cover consumers if they get sick or lose their job. The corporate regulator has said such insurance is problematic, and many customers end up being ineligible when they attempt to make a claim.

In a sign of the finance sector’s problems with add-on insurance, it was announced on Tuesday that Swann Insurance had refunded $39 million in premiums to 67,960 customers. The refunds covered six types of add-on insurance sold by Swann, owned by Insurance Australia Group.

Separately, the federal government has this year cracked down on the banks’ credit card businesses, including new restrictions on how banks can determine customers’ credit limits. Banks are also being banned from making unsolicited credit card offers to customers.

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Smith and Australians in line for $1 million Ashes bonus

Steve Smith’s Ashes-winning Australian team will collect a bonus of nearly $1 million if they can complete a 5-0 whitewash of England in the final two matches of the Test series in Melbourne and Sydney.
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The Australians left Perth on Tuesday glowing after reaching an unassailable 3-0 lead with a comprehensive victory in the third Test, regaining the title they surrendered on their tour of England in 2015.

The result automatically triggered a $432,000 series-win bonus and the members of the squad stand to pocket further financial reward for winning back possession of the urn.

There is an additional pool of $438,000 available to the Australians for match-win bonuses in the Ashes. They have already secured a majority of that by winning three out of the five matches but can grab the lot if they complete victories in the Boxing Day Test and in the first week of January at the SCG.

The bonuses were thrashed out during the long and bitterly fought pay negotiation between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association that was resolved in August.

Under the terms of the new five-year memorandum of understanding, the players retained their guaranteed share of the game’s revenue, which is at its greatest during a home Ashes summer, and also won a new incentive scheme that offered lucrative reward for major series victories.

The richest of the bonuses under the new structure are available against opposition countries ranked in the top four on the International Cricket Council Test rankings, as England were entering this series. And with match-win bonuses built in on top of players’ retainers and match payments, the five-Test Ashes series provides an even greater opportunity to cash in.

The pending windfall provides more motivation for Smith’s side to clean-sweep the tourists in the final two matches.

They will be feeling driven towards repeating the feat of Michael Clarke’s team in 2013-14, with only Smith, David Warner and Nathan Lyon having experienced that famous whitewash.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann said the team would not be taking its foot off the pedal, but could now approach the rest of the series free from much of the pressure that built in the lead-up to the summer.

“It’s a lot more relaxed, which is a good thing,” Lehmann said. “Ashes cricket is high pressure, everybody is nervous every ball, every session.

“It’s been that way for 15 days so far, so they can go and express themselves a little bit more. We’ll be playing the same brand of cricket but obviously with less pressure on us. It will be interesting to see how we respond to that. Boxing Day and SCG are fantastic Test matches to be a part of.”

The Australians will head to Melbourne after two days’ break, aiming for a 5-0 result but not taking it for granted. Lehmann said Joe Root’s tourists had been closer to the hosts than the final margins – the latest an innings and 41-run defeat – suggested.

“It was extremely satisfying for the lads … they’ve worked so hard over the last few months to get the prep right, the way we played,” Lehmann said.

“The planning came together, so all credit to the players and the support staff were fantastic. The work behind the scenes was great. I’ve loved the way we have gone about it in all three Tests.

“It was a lot closer than what the scores relate to. Certainly in Brisbane they had the upper hand at certain stages, but the captain was brilliant there. Obviously the bowlers were great in the second innings to get the job done.

“Adelaide was close and this one – albeit by an innings – it was still close, it come down to magnificent bowling from our quicks on the last day.”

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The $71 million Opera House upgrades that patrons will never see or hear

THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE UPGRADE- Stage hands bump in one of the sets from the Opera La Traviata on the Dame Joan Sutherland theatre at the Sydney Opera House, they are demenstrating how much easier it is to change sets with the new uprades to back stage technologie and lifts on December 20, 2017. Photo: Jessica Hromas THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE UPGRADE- Stage hands bump in one of the sets from the Opera La Traviata on the Dame Joan Sutherland theatre at the Sydney Opera House, they are demenstrating how much easier it is to change sets with the new uprades to back stage technologie and lifts on December 20, 2017. Photo: Jessica Hromas
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Production manager of Opera Australia, James Wheeler stand on the Joan Sutherland Theatre of the Sydney Opera House, after speaking to media about the changes that audiences will experience when the world-famous venue re-opens on New Year’s Eve, after seven months of renewal works.on 20 December 2017. Photo: Jessica Hromas

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron stands on the Joan Sutherland Theatre of the Sydney Opera House, and speaks to media about the changes that audiences will experience when the world-famous venue re-opens on New Year’s Eve, after seven months of renewal works.on 20 December 2017. Photo: Jessica Hromas

THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE UPGRADE- Builders stand on the Dame Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, as the Sydney Opera Houses renovations are nearly complete, ready for the opening night of the Merry Widow on New Years Eve, on December 20, 2017. Photo: Jessica Hromas

They’re likely the most expensive changes to the Sydney Opera House that patrons will hopefully never hear or see.

After seven months and $71 million of work, the Joan Sutherland Theatre will reopen on New Year’s Eve with a performance of Merry Widow.

All patrons are expected to notice is a warm and vibrant sound that does justice to the orchestra, thanks to improvements to the acoustics and the orchestra pit.

Behind the scenes, the improvements include a $45 million upgrade to the theatre machinery including a massive lift built by Austrian firm Waagner-Biro. Unlike the old lift, also built by the same firm, the new one is safer, quieter and 2.5 times faster. It can carry about 20 tonnes of scenery, baritones, sopranos, even elephants and horses to stage level with barely a whisper. The old lift had become unsafe and performers were banned from riding on it.

Above the stage, more than 400 tonnes of wire and steel was removed.

In its place new rigging was installed above the stage managed by a new theatre flying system – that is capable of lifting scenery and cast, even Violetta in La Traviata into the stars – safely and noiselessly.

Previously scene changes were sometimes audible to the audience, making it hard for them to suspend their disbelief.

Opera Australia’s production manager James Wheeler said the changes were designed to provide the best possible performances for singers, dancers, performers and patrons.

“All this work will be happening behind the scenes, as it always has, but less obtrusively, because you won’t hear stuff, everything will work, nothing will break down.”

“We don’t want patrons to know what we are doing, and we don’t want them to see our stuff, unless we are pointing attention, to say, ‘look at this fantastic reveal’,” he said.

The old lift was noisy enough that a member of the Opera House staff swore he could hear it whirring during the overture when watching the simulcast on ABC television.

“What we don’t want is to distract a patron’s attention from what’s happening on stage.

“We don’t want to have someone in the middle of an aria, and suddenly you hear a clunk,” said Mr Wheeler, who started off at the Opera House as a flyman moving rigging. He said he could identify each piece of old rigging by the sound it made during a performance. Now, he hopes to hear nothing.

The improvements to the Joan Sutherland Theatre are the first in the Opera House’s $273 million renewal program, which will include similar improvements to the Concert Hall, changes to the entry foyers and the construction of a new exhibition and performance space under the Opera House stairs.

Inspecting the new changes on Wednesday morning, the Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the improvements “signal a new era for one of the world’s great performance venues and an Australian icon, opening up new possibilities and ensuring it is able to continue to meet the needs and expectations of artists, audiences and visitors for many years to come”.

The changes also include six new toilets for women, improvements in the lighting system and improvements to the air conditioning in the orchestra pit, which previously ranged from freezing to very cold, said a source.

Michael Dixon, a French horn player who has worked in the pit for 12 years, said they worked hard to make a beautiful sound, “rarely achieving anything for the audience other than an echo”.

“I had buried any hope of hearing the warm and vibrant sound that emerged from the section today,” he said after he had tried the new pit.

Now the sound was “truly gorgeous”, he said.

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Jarryd Hayne accused of rape in US while playing for 49ers

Parramatta Eels superstar Jarryd Hayne has been accused of raping a woman while he was in the US playing for the San Francisco 49ers, US court documents reveal.
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Civil lawsuit papers filed in the Santa Clara County court on Tuesday allege Hayne engaged in non-consensual sexual intercourse with a Santa Clara woman identified only as “Ms V” in December 2015.

The civil suit comes more than one year after the case was reviewed and rejected by the District Attorney’s Office, which concluded there was not enough evidence to prove the crime of rape beyond reasonable doubt.

The action filed this week includes claims of sexual battery, gender violence, infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

It is understood Hayne was flying back to Israel when news broke of the allegations.

The league star travelled to Israel earlier this month on a religious holiday, in an effort to strengthen his Christian faith, but returned to Australia halfway through the trip to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday.

Ramy Qutami from Madison Marcus Law Firm issued a statement on behalf of Hayne, who “unequivocally and vehemently” denied the claims.

“Mr Hayne and his management are aware of recent media speculation in relation to a civil complaint filed in the United States of America making certain allegations in relation to an event which allegedly occurred in 2015 whilst playing for the San Francisco 49ers,” Mr Qutami said.

“Mr Hayne has not been served with any proceedings or formal complaint relating to the incident.

“Mr Hayne previously addressed a complaint made to the District Attorney’s office in the County of Santa Clara, California in 2016 and the District Attorney did not proceed any further with the matter due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations. Mr Hayne provided all reasonable assistance to the District Attorney with that investigation.

“Mr Hayne unequivocally and vehemently denies the allegations which are the subject of the civil complaint. Mr Hayne will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter.” #jerusalemA post shared by Jarryd Hayne (@jarrydhayne38) on Dec 10, 2017 at 2:30am PSTAngel 1st bday.A post shared by Jarryd Hayne (@jarrydhayne38) on Dec 16, 2017 at 6:29am PSTJarryd Hayne documents by FairfaxPolitics on Scribd

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Homes of the HunterNewcastle WestPhotos

Homes of the Hunter | Newcastle West | Photos TweetFacebookX Files DVDS.
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“I bought the bookshelf from Ikea, and it adds a lot of character to the place,” Mitchell says.

“I don’t want to add colour for no reason. There was a lot of deliberation regarding the cushions on the couch. The black clock was Stephen’s. It’s just there for aesthetics. I took the battery out because the ticking was driving me nuts.”

Mitchell describes his room as being shaped like the Superman emblem, which is nicely complemented by his stand-up bass. Although he does play, he says it’s there for aesthetics. He has the smaller bedroom, but he gets the bigger bathroom.

“I like that there’s the rooftop, that’s sick,” Mitchell says. “Everyone shares that. It’s a nice view of the city, you can see the interchange.”

He’s adjusting to downsizing in space, but he says now it just feels like the whole house is his bedroom. They have a balcony with a view of the city where Ben likes to eat his breakfast. Here he’ll watch people test-riding new bikes as he’s right next to the bike shop.

“I think it works well because I have extremely weird, long, different hours,” Roberts says. “I don’t think my lifestyle would have worked with a 9-5 person. But me and Ben are pretty free-flowing. Last night at 1amBen asked me to buy some laundry detergent on my way home from the Roost.”

Mitchell isn’t just an illustrator, he also creates a comic series called Storm Clouds.

“My whole last comic was about living in a share house, and all the stuff that was really driving that narrative is no longer a part of my life,” Mitchell says.

“There’s nothing that I regret or dislike about that time of my life, but it’s interesting to see it on the page and starting a new chapter of my life with apartment living. In a share house no one feels like they own anything. We never decorated the living room because we’d have to check with everyone. Stephen enjoys anything I do to it. He loves the cushions. He loves the bookshelf.”

Mitchell loves holding rooftop dinner parties. However, when he first moved in, he had a bit of a mishap while cooking and sliced his finger open. Stephen ended up taking him to the hospital.

“If I had done this in my other house I would have died,” Mitchell says.

“Since Ben’s come along it’s added some character to the house,” Roberts says.

The apartment block just became open for residents earlier this year, and the space is a perfect example of modern urban living. Throw in Mitchell and Roberts with their unique personalities and creative endeavors, and Newcastle West becomes a little more interesting.

Have a home that could feature in Weekender? We’d love to see it.Email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

‘Gloopy American schmaltz’: Our review of Titanic, 20 years on

First published in the Sun-Herald on December 21,1997
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Here’s the skinny on the most expensive and possibly most anticipated movie of the year: Titanic doesn’t look like it cost $250 million. It’s half an hour too long, thanks to gloopy American schmaltz.

But, and it’s a big but, there are moments of suspense which will have even the blase digging their nails into the armrest. And the scenes involving the ship’s death throes are some of the most spectacular ever on screen.

So, does the average punter looking for a disaster movie extraordinaire, a 1990s Poseidon Adventure with whizzbang effects, get their money’s worth? Yes, indeedy. With a three hours-plus running time, what you get is almost two movies (romantic drama and action mayhem) in one.

It opens on a 1990s diamond-hunter (Paxton) who explores the wreck of the Titanic 12,000 feet below the North Atlantic’s surface.

That’s mostly an excuse for Aliens director James Cameron to flash some expensive hardware and give audiences some poignant footage of the real ship. (Cameron himself shot the deep-dive footage two years ago as a catalyst for his long-cherished project.)

The story centres on the discovery of well-born Rose, a survivor of the 1912 disaster. She tells the story, of her forbidden romance with a free-spirited artist (DiCaprio). So, cut to Cameron’s depiction of the world’s biggest luxury liner, the “unsinkable” Titanic: 269 metres in length (Cameron duplicated at 236 metres) and carrying 2,223 passengers.

Despite all the money thrown at the screen, the boat sometimes looks touched-up, fuzzy where it hits the water, noticeably round the stern. And the fatal iceberg looks like Styrofoam.

But the way Cameron’s camera roams so intimately round the first class private promenades and boxy third class quarters gives viewers a real sense of being on board.

Indeed, its immediacy, the way the pace steadily increases, the plot’s classic tragedy, makes this a movie which grabs viewers by the scruff of the neck and demands, “What would you do?”

It’s nice also to be given two characters whom you can unreservedly cheer on. As the cloistered 17-year-old, stifled by her upcoming wedding to a wealthy prat (Billy Zane), gorgeously gowned English rose Winslet is a beautiful rebel in traditional head-tossing mode.

Marvin’s Room drama genius DiCaprio occasionally takes the easy-smirking option but his impish approach (“This is bad”) is a shrewd link to younger viewers. Older viewers, if they’re not hooked by the lavish historical detail and rich gallery of characters, can enjoy arch performers like Kathy Bates as showgirl Molly Brown. Plus a story which perfectly captures the grim reality that in the 20th century, nothing in life – or technology – is certain.

Rating: M

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton

Critic’s Warning: Language, gunplay, mass fatalities.

Critic’s Rating: 8 out of 10.

First published in the Sun-Herald on December 21, 1997

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Genial bear still has plenty of charm

PADDINGTON 2 ??????????? G, 103 minutes, now showing in general release
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Director Paul King and the producers of the Paddington movies select their villains with great care.

In the first film, it was an implacable Nicole Kidman as a museum curator out to add Paddington’s hide to her collection. This time, it’s a monstrously vain Hugh Grant as Phoenix Buchanan, a once-celebrated actor reduced to starring in dog food commercials.

Valiantly displaying his willingness to play the fool in a good cause, Grant prances through the part as if born to it, assisted by an extensive assortment of props. Phoenix fancies himself a master of disguise, so he’s permitted fancy dress, false whiskers and silly walks.

This is actually meant to be Pooh Bear’s year. Now 91, he’s been honoured with an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum and a bio-pic of his creator, A. A. Milne, and his son, Christopher Robin.

But fans of Pooh’s friendly rival, Paddington, haven’t got the message and they’re sticking with their favourite. Paddington 2’s British box-office exceeded that of the original during its opening weekend and the reviewers have been equally enthusiastic.

It starts with a flashback recalling Paddington’s beginnings in the Peruvian jungle with his beloved Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo. Then it sets us down in London’s Windsor Gardens, where the bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is still enjoying life as part of the Brown family.

It’s a London we see only in fairytales – a perennially sunny village full of people who look as if they’re about to launch into a song-and-dance number. And all the regulars are back although there are one or two changes.

Hugh Bonneville is looking a little more harassed as Henry, the patriarch, who has missed out on an expected job promotion, and Sally Hawkins as Mary, his wife, is cherishing an unlikely ambition to swim the English Channel.

But Paddington is more popular than ever among all the Windsor Gardens residents. His only enemy is a crabby Peter Capaldi, the neighbourhood xenophobe, who would only be happy if everybody looked and behaved like him.

Things start to go awry when Paddington decides to give Aunt Lucy an expensive 100th birthday present – an antique pop-up book he’s found in the local antique shop. To raise the money, he takes an ill-fated job as a barber’s assistant, followed by a stint as a window cleaner.

And both supply the opportunity for a couple of gently choreographed slapstick routines, their appeal rooted in Paddington’s well-meaning disposition and his unfailing ingenuity.

Whishaw’s voice is perfect for him. There’s no cuteness in it. Nor is there any hint of the pumped up jollity that Disney likes to give its cartoon animals. It catches Paddington’s fragility and his stoicism, along with his determination. Best of all, he never says too much.

It’s at this point that Phoenix begins to screw things up, breaking into the antique shop and stealing the pop-up book. Paddington is blamed and sent to gaol, where we meet a new cast of characters, led by Brendan Gleeson as the fearsome Nuckles, the prison cook, who takes to Paddington after getting a taste of one of his marmalade sandwiches.

The performances are all pitch-perfect but even the sorry sight of Paddington languishing in a prison cell can’t disguise the fact that the story needs more tension. Kidman was genuinely scary but Grant’s mugging – accomplished as it is – fails to drum-up the slightest hint of menace.

Nor is it meant to. Action is the thing here. The denouement is a slapstick marathon scaled up to take in two steam trains and a sea plane, and although it’s as cleverly put together as you’d expect, it doesn’t set the pulse racing.

At least, the pulse of an adult who has seen hero and villain battle on the roof of a speeding train in countless other movies.

Young children, however, may see it differently and Paddington, who must have the most expressive eyes ever seen on a CGI animal, has such durable charm that the film’s shortcomings are overridden by its good-natured spirit.

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Church leadership denies any knowledge of predatory offender

Church leadership denies any knowledge of predatory offender Questions: Australian Christian Churches-affiliated Generation City Church at Hamilton where jailed child sex offender Christopher Bridge was a congregation member and former youth worker.
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History: Child sex offender Christopher Bridge moved to Newcastle and joined the Generation City Church after child sex allegations were reported to an affiliated church in Dubbo.

Conflict: Leading Australian Christian Churches and Hillsong church pastor Brian Houston leaving the royal commission after giving evidence about allegations against his father.

Investigation: The late Frank Houston who sexually abused a young church member.

TweetFacebook Australian Christian Churches denies knowledge of Hunter child sex offenderPentecostal church criticised in royal commission final report days after congregation member jailed AUSTRALIA’S largest Pentecostal Christian church has denied any knowledge of child sex allegations against a predatory church youth leader who was jailed only days before the churchwas criticised in the child abuse royal commission final report.

Christopher Laban Bridge, 69, of Yarramalong –a prominent member of the Generation City Church at Hamilton -was jailed on December 13 for sexually assaulting four boys at Assemblies of God churches in Dubbo and the Hunter in the 1970s and 1980s.

He moved to theHamilton church in the mid 1970s after a Dubbo victim’sparents reported Bridge’s sexual assaults to Dubbo Assemblies of God pastor, the late Jack Allsopp. No action was taken after the report, a court was told.

Australian Christian Churches (the former Assemblies of God) said it had no record of any child sexual abuse allegations against Bridge until 2014, despite a Hunter victim’s mother saying she told a senior church pastor in the early 1980s about her son’s description of explicit sex acts committed by Bridge.

“The first time the ACC movement was made aware of Christopher Bridge’s paedophile activities in the 1970s and 1980s was when a victim spoke of his experiences to an ACC pastor in October 2014,” a church spokesperson said on Wednesday.

But a Hunter victim backed his mother’s account, saying the failure of the senior church pastor to act had devastating consequences for him and his family.

“Bridge denied it andthe pastor said he didn’t believe my brother. I felt I had no choice but to move on and pretend the abuse against menever happened because nobody would believe us. It wrecked my relationship with my brother,” the Hunter victim said.

His brother abused serious drugs, was jailed for a drug-related assault and died only days before their 30thbirthday.

“My brother died and I suffered in silence for 30 years until I got a phone call from a detective,because we knew we wouldn’t be believed,” the victim said.

“It tears me to pieces that I didn’t speak back then. It’s still a huge regret of my life.”

He is outraged by a Federal Government proposal to deny compensation under the royal commission’s national redress scheme to child sex victims who have been jailed.

“That’s just another way ofsaying child sexual abuse doesn’t matter and doesn’t have consequences,” he said.

The victim and his mother were angry that Bridge was jailed for just three years for serious child sex offences because the court was required to sentence him according to the standards ofthe time.

In its statement the ACC said it had “rigorous policies and procedures in place” and was “committed to ensure that protection of children and youth is of highest priority”.

But the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse final report was critical of the ACC’s structure and procedures, after a public hearing into the handling of child sex allegations involving ACC’s flagship Hillsong Church.

The royal commission criticised the ACC’s grievance proceduring requiring child sex complaints to be made in writing, a process the commission found “gave priority to the protection of pastors over the safety of children”.

While the ACC had implemented a child protection policy and required adherence if churches wanted to remain affiliated, the commission found there was no formal audit process to check if churches and pastors were compliant.

The royal commission also heard the ACC had “no formal role in investigating” child sex allegations “because of the autonomy of local churches”.

It relied on local churches to take “appropriate action”.

The royal commission found the ACC, Hillsong Church andits pastor Brian Houston did not report child sex allegations against Mr Houston’s father, Frank Houston, to police or the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People as required by legislation.

The royal commission found the child sexual abuse occurred.

Frank Houston’s victim told the commission he received “absolutely no support, counselling, apology or acknowledgement of the abuse”.

“I believe that Brian Houston and the other elders of Hillsong Church kept Pastor Frank’s history as quiet as they could and they have not been held accountable for how they handled my allegation,” the victim told the royal commission.

It found “inadequate” responses by ACC to child sex allegations because of “concern for reputation and avoidance of scandal, the autonomous nature of Pentecostal churches, the role of pastors in Pentecostal churches and the existence of conflicts of interest in Pentecostal churches”.

“Perhaps the most significant factor that affected institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse was the autonomous nature of Pentecostal churches, which meant that senior pastors had discretion about whether to adopt child protection policies, including in relation to the training, supervision and discipline of staff,” the royal commission found in its final report released two days after Christopher Bridge was sentenced.

Generation City Church Pastor Marty McCrindle said he was “shocked and saddened” when his former business partner, whom he met at a Hunter Christian cafe in 1979, was being investigated for child sexual abuse.

He said his church had“solid policies and procedures when it comes to the protection of children and young people”.

“I cannot comment on how such policies and procedures were followed by the church leadership when the said offences occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s as it appears that no documentation was made or kept by the then leadership of our church regarding Bridge,” Mr McCrindle said.

Man jailed for 20 years over acid attack on Newcastle sisters

INJURED: Isobella Fraser, 22, suffered burns to her arm and back after her top melted into her skin. Her sister, Prue, suffered injuries to her arm.
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A MAN has been jailed for 20 years after carrying out a brutal acid attack that injured 16 people – including two sisters from Newcastle – in a packed London nightclub.

Arthur Collins, 25, hurled the corrosive substance over a crowd on the dancefloor at Mangle E8, in East London, on April 17.

Sixteen people were injured and three were temporarily blinded.

RELATED: Hunter pair in nightclub acid attack

Newcastle’s Isobella and Prue Fraser, both aged in their 20s, were among those who suffered chemical burns.

Collins, the father of UK reality TV-star Ferne McCann’s baby daughter Sunday, had told the trial he did not know the bottle contained acid, believing it to contain a liquid date rape drug, which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl’s drink.

But the jury at London’s Wood Green Crown Court convicted him of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm last month.

Judge Noel Lucas branded Collins “an accomplished and calculated liar” who had shown “not a shred of remorse”, telling him: “This was a despicable act.

“You knew precisely what strong acid would do to human skin.

“Having thrown the acid over the club you slunk away and hid in the rear and pretended to be nothing to do with the mayhem you had caused.”

The burns to Isobella Fraser.

“In my judgement it was deliberate and calculated and you were intent on causing really serious harm to your victims.”

Collins looked pale but did not react as his sentence was read out, and winked at his family as he was led to the cells.

The sisters told theNewcastle Heraldat the time they had been enjoyinga night out with friends at the East London nightclub when a fight broke out nearby and they attempted to retreat.

“It all happened so quickly; I was thrown over this fence and onto my stomach and then felt this horrible pain on my arm,’’ Prue said in April.

“It took a couple of seconds to realise what was happening and I thought it was some kind of attack.

“I just looked for my sister.’’

Isobella, visiting her Chelsea-based sister who had been working in the UK for seven months, said she had turned her back to get away as the fight, involving people they did not know, broke out.

“I felt what I thought was all this water down my back, like someone had spilt a drink,and then I couldn’t breathe,’’ Isobellasaid.

“I could smell something, like a cleaning product, and I thought what is happening, are we in the middle of a terrorist attack.’’

Isobella said the “water” began to burn on her back and someone started yelling they had been hit with acid.

“My whole top had melted onto my back,’’ she said.

– with Dan Proudman, Matt Carr

Man shot in leg avoids jail

Newcastle courthouse. A MAN who had his left leg blown off during a bungled break-in at a remote property at Teralba has avoided a jail term due to the“considerable extra-curial punishment”and lifelong injuries he suffered.
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Benjamin Rhodes, 32, of Booragul, who now requires a wheelchair to get around, was sentenced for his role in the 2016 break-in in Newcastle District Court last week, with Judge Roy Ellis placing him on a one-year and nine month intensive corrections order (ICO), which is a form of custodial sentence served in the community.

His mate and co-offender, Ryan Graham Jewell, wassentenced to a maximum of three years in jail, with a non-parole period of two years in the same court in October.

The pair were confronted by a homeowner while breaking into a farm shed on The Weir Road in the early hours of May 14, 2016 – the second time in a few hours that the pair had broken into the property in search of power tools and firearms.

Rhodes was shot in the leg at close range, while Jewell sprinted across the property, shots ringing out over his head, and jumped into Cockle Creek.

After he was shot, Rhodes went to run, but he could only crawl.

He was eventually found by a police dog lying in long grass in a ditch, bleeding profusely from a serious wound to his leg.

He had lost so much blood he was considered critical and was in a coma when he arrived at hospital.

Rhodeshad to have his left leg amputated and now requires a wheelchair to get around, the court heard.

The homeowner has not been charged over the incident.

Rhodes had served four months in custody before being granted bail, a factor Judge Ellis took into account during sentencing.

The charge the pair pleaded guilty to – aggravated enter dwelling with intent – carries a maximum of 14 years in jail.

But Judge Ellis said the fact Rhodes had lost his leg was a considerable futuredeterrent.

“When you’re thinking about robbing a rural property, you might want to think twice,” Judge Ellis said in October.

Judge Roy Ellis.

“I think the loss of a leg is … it’s not something that just relates to now,” Judge Ellis said to DPP solicitor Geoff Kidd.”Not that we’re joking, but one could say you’ve already got your pound of flesh.”

‘No bloody mischief at all’: How Westpac’s ‘the Rat’ reassured the RBA

Westpac’s star trader Colin “the Rat” Roden told a Reserve Bank official the bank was up to “no bloody mischief at all” in the bank bill swap rate market, during the period in which it stands accused of trying to rig the key benchmark interest rate.
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The federal court on Tuesday released a series of transcripts of taped conversations in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s landmark case against the bank, after hearings in the trial concluded this month in Melbourne.

Alongside talk about the markets, the transcripts also show one conversation in which Mr Roden asked another trader, Sophie Johnson, if a meal out she had with a female friend and another woman was a “threesome”.

Among the dozens of transcripts is a call between Mr Roden and RBA official Matt Boge, from June 9, 2010, in which Mr Roden points to “nefarious activity” from a rival, National Australia Bank.

ASIC has accused Westpac traders of trying to manipulate the bank bill swap rate (BBSW), a key interest rate that influences the rate paid on business loans. on various occasions between April 2010 and June 2012. Westpac has defended the behaviour of its traders.

In the call, Mr Boge asks Mr Roden “What have you guys been up to?,” to which Mr Roden replies “Mate, no bloody mischief at all.”

“I know, ah, someone rang through earlier on just wanted to know what happened this morning, whether we were involved in some nefarious… some nefarious activity, that 500 offer, because someone asked, that was the NAB,” Mr Roden said.

In the conversation, Mr Boge also questions Mr Roden about the volume of bank bills being traded in the market. In recent years the RBA has repeatedly raised concerns about the low volumes of bills being traded when BBSW is measured each morning.

Mr Roden tells Mr Boge the offshore funding markets have “bloody closed”, and that futures markets and bank bill markets are “completely out of whack”.

He also reveals RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle, who at the time had oversight of financial markets, had made contact with Westpac Treasurer Curt Zuber and was “hassling” him about funding.

“Curt’s f—ing hassling me ’cause Guy Debelle has been giving him shit,” Mr Roden said.

The conversation was one of many released by Federal Court Justice Jonathan Beach on Tuesday, following requests from media outlets.

In another, on April 8 2010, Westpac trader Sophie Johnson tells Mr Roden she had dinner with a friend and another woman on the previous night.

Mr Roden replies; “Was it a threesome, you know what I mean?”

Ms Johnson laughs in reply, saying “ah, not quite”.

Shortly after, Mr Roden asks: “Did the friend give you the kiss on both lips or just the big one on both cheeks or the big one on the lips?” Ms Johnson replies: “No, two cheeks.”

In the high-profile case, ASIC has alleged that Westpac tried to manipulate the “rate set”, a five-minute window between 9.55am and 10.00am in which BBSW was set by commercial banks.

In another conversation that was central to ASIC’s case, Mr Roden and Ms Johnson (dubbed the “the perfumed steamroller”), discuss the rate set.

Mr Roden says “I knew it was completely wrong but I thought f— it, I may as well f— it.” In the case, Westpac’s lawyers argued Mr Roden was commenting on where interest rates at the time, not trying to rig the rate.

The same conversation shows Mr Roden referring to Goldman Sachs as “f—ers” and NAB as “scum” and “deadshits”.

In a sign of the profits being made in the dealing room, Mr Roden tells Ms Johnson earlier that the bank had made $12 million that day from BBSW trading, which he describes as “a good day”.

ASIC had also alleged traders from National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank tried to rig BBSW, but these banks each settled for $50 million, admitting that their traders engaged in attempted unconscionable conduct.

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

Quite the experience

Flying high: Brett and Louise Dann at their company Hunter Travel Group’s new headquarters in Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil. HUNTER Travel Group managing director BrettDann has been in the travel industry for 33 years and although he does fewer consultations with customers these days due to his executive role, he knows how he likes to do business.
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Which explains why the swank reception of HTG’s new multi-million dollar headquarters in Hunter Street is a far cry froma typical travel agency. Clients can sit at a bar serving coffee and refreshments, in a booth, on a lounge or at a table – wherever takes their fancy.

Corporate chic: Brett and Louise Dann in one of the five luxury levels at Hunter Travel Group’s new headquarters in Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

“Typical travel agencies are to me are like banks; here we are trying to do something very different,” says Mr Dann. “For us it’s not just a transaction but getting to know people and whatever their needs are –we are not pushy,we’re about forming long-term relationships.”

Likening HTG’s reception to a luxury hotel lobby, Mr Dann says the travel group, which operates 14 Helloworld Travel stores and 11 Helloworld associate stores in Australia – is keen to attract business from students at the NeW Space campus across the road.

“Student travellers are so different to what they were 20 years ago, many are looking for luxury trips,” he says.

Mr Dann got his start at 17 as an apprentice at“the original” Jayes Travel Service in Hunter Street in 1984. In 1999 he set up his own company, HTG Pty Ltd, and with a business partner opened Jayes/Traveland in Toronto.

Mr Dann’s wife Louise later joined the business–she is HTG’s retail general manager and a director ofDann Family Travel Group Pty Ltd, the major shareholder in HTG. Mr Dann and HTG general manager and fellow directorShaun Houstonoversee 150 staff.The Danns’ children, Nicholas and Madeleine, are both managers of HTG-owned Cruise Travel Centres in Kotara and Greenhills respectively.

Above HTG’s reception spread out over three storeys are a business travel section, a groups/product/marketing section, an administration, finance and sales level and the “Explorer Lounge” level,modelled on a first class airport lounge used by thegroup to host events and available to clients and for the business community.