How Star Wars is changing things for Boxing Day movies

Go early and beat the rush.
Nanjing Night Net

The Australian tradition of Boxing Day as the biggest cinema-going day of the year is shifting ground as the summer’s big movies are either released or given extensive preview screenings before Christmas.

For the third year in a row, the reignited Star Wars franchise has delivered a new movie two weeks before Christmas. And as with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, The Last Jedi is virtually guaranteed to be the biggest movie of the holidays.

Blockbusters have opened in mid-December before – Titanic and Avatar among them – but all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, plus such Hollywood hits as Frozen and Meet the Fockers, were all held back until Boxing Day.

The industry thinking was that once all the presents had been unwrapped, the festive tables cleared and the celebrations were winding down, Australians were ready to head to the cinema.

After all, anticipation for a new Peter Jackson movie or Disney animation had been building for months. And for many of us, Boxing Day is still the first chance to relax into the holidays.

The movies are also an outing with family or friends. An excuse to get away from the dining table and the wreckage of the lounge room. Sometimes an escape from a stressful family situation. And it can be a holiday treat by splashing out on a premium session such as Hoyts’ Luxe or Gold Class at Event and Village.

But Disney’s acquisition of movie brands – Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm and now 20th Century Fox – is changing the game.

While many of us are struggling to wrap up work, studies and shopping, turning a new Star Wars movie into an event before Christmas means the studio avoids competing against the traditional Disney or Pixar animated family movie out on Boxing Day.

This year Pixar’s Coco is expected to be one of the hits of the holidays.

In art-house cinemas, distributors have taken the tip, too. While the French comedy Just to Be Sure is nominally a Boxing Day release, it is getting two full weekends of advance screenings before it opens.

Publicity and what the industry calls “word of mouth” build up awareness of a film, which helps it find a place among the crowded line-up of new releases.

And it is certainly crowded this year.

With Christmas on Monday, the action comedy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is getting preview screenings on the weekend.

And two other movies that are sure to be popular, the family sequel Paddington 2 and the Oscar-contending American drama The Florida Project, open five days before Boxing Day to beat the rush.

With all the intense competition in entertainment, including the rise of streaming services, the cinema industry is having to be strategic to counter declining ticket sales.

They worked out years ago that premium screenings, including giant screen and 3D sessions, encourage us to spend more each cinema visit.

While the top standard ticket has nudged up to $23 in some multiplexes, other cinemas are discounting prices to attract viewers.

The general manager of entertainment at Event Cinemas, Luke Mackey, thinks the line-up of films will make it “a pretty good Christmas” for cinemas.

But he recognises it has become even more important for films to become “events” to attract an audience.

“People are looking for something special,” Mackey says. “Something unique – making something special and giving people an additional reason to come out is going to become increasingly important.”

Even if it is an exceptional Christmas for ticket sales, annual box office is still expected to be down by 3 to 4 per cent on last year’s record $1.259 billion.

Early this month, it was down 6 per cent on the corresponding period last year, reflecting that Hollywood has delivered some disappointing blockbusters this year, including Transformers: The Last Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Mummy, Baywatch, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Monster Trucks and Justice League.

But with the exception of Beauty and the Beast, even the hits have taken less than would have been expected two years ago.

The managing director of Sony Pictures Australia, Stephen Basil-Jones, believes this shows the impact of streaming services.

“The quality and number of great programs has really signalled that they’re a force to be reckoned with,” he says. “Particularly in the drama area for adults, you have to have something compelling and cinema-worthy to take them on. It’s a new challenge for our industry to compete against.”

While Basil-Jones concedes July to September was “pretty grim”, he is optimistic about the Boxing Day line-up, especially for Jumanji.

“I think it’s going to be terrific,” he says. “There’s a film for everyone.”

Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman.


Director: With a background in visual effects and commercials, Australian Michael Gracey is making his film directing debut.

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron.

The story: After losing his job, P. T. Barnum brings together performers of all descriptions to create the famous Barnum & Bailey circus.

Rating and length: PG, 105 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of Our Hugh, musicals and colourful entertainment.

Buzz: A feelgood musical that is a Hugh Jackman passion project, with music by La La Land’s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.


Director: Lee Unkrich, whose strong track record includes Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2 and 3, with screenwriter-storyboard artist Adrian Molina

Stars: Voices of Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garc??a Bernal

The story: A 12-year-old Mexican boy’s quest to play guitar like his hero, despite his family’s long-time opposition, sees him trapped in the land of the dead.

Rating and timing: PG, 105 minutes

Who it’s for: Fans of Pixar movies

Buzz: The studio has delivered yet again with a vibrant comic celebration of Mexican culture.

Kristen Wiig plays Audrey Safranek, Matt Damon plays Paul Safranek, Maribeth Monroe plays Carol Johnson and Jason Sudeikis plays Dave Johnson in Downsizing from Paramount Pictures.


Director: Alexander Payne of Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska fame.

Stars: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau.

Rating and timing: M, 135 minutes.

The story: After scientists discover how to shrink people as a solution to over-population, a couple abandon their stressed lives in Omaha to move into a tiny community.

Who it’s for: Fans of adult dramas and Payne’s films.

Buzz: It’s a thought-provoking parable about a modern-day Lilliput.


Director: Andy Serkis, Gollum himself, who is making his film directing debut.

Stars: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, Hugh Bonneville.

The story: Based on the real-life parents of producer Jonathan Cavendish, a love story about adventurous couple who have rich inspiring lives despite a polio diagnosis.

Rating and timing: M, 118 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of romance and inspirational greeting cards.

Buzz: Very British, very sentimental.

Kevin Hart (Franklin “Moose” Finbar), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse) Jack Black (Professor Shelly Oberon) and Dwayne Johnson (Dr. Smolder Bravestone) star in Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle.


Director: Jake Kasdan, best known for the Cameron Diaz comedies Bad Teacher and Sex Tape.

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas.

The story: In an action-fantasy sequel to 1995’s Jumanji, four teenagers discover an old video-game-console and get sucked into a jungle with adult avatars.

Rating and length: PG, 119 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of action comedies, the Rock and Jack Black.

Buzz: It’s had a mixed reception by critics, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it “an enjoyable modernisation” of the Jumanji children’s book and Variety dismissing it as “trash”.


Director: Luca Guadagnino, the Italian director of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash

Stars: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet

The story: A romantic coming-of-age drama – adapted from a novel by Andre Aciman – about a 17-year-old boy’s first love with an American student who stays with his family in Italy in 1983.

Rating and length: M, 132 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of love stories, affecting dramas and LGBTI films.

Buzz: The acclaim has included numerous top 10 lists of the year’s best films and three Golden Globe nominations – for best motion picture drama and the acting of its two stars.


Director: Carine Tardieu, the French director best known for The Dandelions.

Stars: Francois Damiens, Cecile de France, Guy Marchand, Andre Wilms.

The story: Sharp French comedy about lonely 45-year-old bomb disposal expert, a widower who has to deal with a pregnant daughter while searching for his own biological father.

Rating and timing: M, 100 minutes.

Who it’s for: Fans of French films and intelligent comic tales.

Buzz: Well-acted charmer about the complications of families.


Director: Rachel Talalay who has moved into TV – including the Dr Who series – since the films Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Tank Girl.

Stars: Peter Capaldi, Jodie Whittaker, David Bradley.

The story: This Christmas special is the last appearance of Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor – he joins the First Dr on an adventure involving aliens stealing victims from frozen time – before the arrival of Whittaker as number 13.

Rating and timing: M, 103 minutes including two shorts.

Who it’s for: Hardcore Doctor Who fans given it’s also on TV.

Buzz: One British review called it “a surprisingly slight tale”, beefed up by special features celebrating Capaldi’s time as the Dr and Steven Moffat’s as showrunner and lead writer.

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

Payback blamed as Joyce dumps minister

Vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 7 December 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and acting Minister of State Senator Mathias Cormann during a press conference on same sex marriage at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 8 August 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester is set to be dumped in Malcolm Turnbull’s reshuffle, with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce instrumental in the decision to axe the well-regarded cabinet minister.

Mr Joyce is now expected to take over the portfolio of his Nationals’ colleague, and there are suggestions he will keep the Water portfolio but surrender Agriculture.

Rookie Queensland Nationals MP David Littleproud is favourite to take Mr Chester’s cabinet post, in a meteoric rise from the backbench just 18 months after he entered Parliament.

The promotion of Mr Littleproud, who was one of just four MPs to vote against same-sex marriage and called for a division on the issue, would give the Queensland Nationals a second cabinet post, at the expense of Victoria.

It is not clear if Mr Littleproud or Nationals deputy leader, Bridget McKenzie, will pick up the Agriculture portfolio but both will enter cabinet.

Another of Mr Joyce’s political opponents in the Nationals’ party room, Queensland junior minister Keith Pitt, has also been dumped as assistant minister for Trade and Tourism.

The expected decisions to dump Mr Chester and Mr Pitt were a surprise to some in the Nationals party room, and interpreted by several MPs as political payback by the Deputy Prime Minister; both men backed in senator Bridget McKenzie in the recent contest for Nationals deputy leader, rather than Mr Joyce’s pick of senator Matt Canavan.

Demands for Queensland to have a second Nationals’ cabinet minister also played a part in the decision to dump Mr Chester; there are four Nationals MPs from Victoria in Parliament, and eight Nationals-aligned MPs in the Queensland LNP.

Mr Turnbull is also expected to announce Liberals Dan Tehan and Paul Fletcher will move into cabinet later on Tuesday, but it is understood that former cabinet minister Sussan Ley may now miss out on a return.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter will replace George Brandis as Attorney-General, and Senator Brandis will head to London in January to be high commissioner.

Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Arthur Sinodinos – who is battling cancer – is also expected to step down when the reshuffle is announced.

NSW MPs Craig Laundy and Angus Taylor and Queenslanders John McVeigh and Stuart Robert and Karen Andrews are all considered possible promotion candidates for other junior ministry vacancies that will be created.

The other cabinet minister said to be in the running for the job of Attorney-General was Employment Minister Michaelia Cash; however, she has been damaged by the recent resignation of a staffer, who tipped off media about a raid on union offices, and accusations she initially misled Parliament over the matter.

Mr Porter’s expected promotion from Social Services to Attorney-General – he is a former treasurer and attorney-general in the Western Australian Parliament – will trigger further changes to the cabinet, and the outer ministry.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will also be sworn in to the new super portfolio of Home Affairs, which includes Immigration, the Australian Border Force the Australian Federal Police and spy agency ASIO – the last of which was previously in the Attorney-General’s portfolio.

The Prime Minister will also need to fill the outer ministry of Special Minister of State, which was recently vacated by now-Senate president Scott Ryan.

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The Pacific Jewel cruise ship departs Newcastle

The Pacific Jewel cruise ship departs Newcastle Photo: Max Mason-Hubers
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Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Photo: Gillian Cahill

Photo: Deb Regan

Photo: Joanne Nunn

Photo: Shelley Fellows

Photo: Heidi Bush Massie

Photo: Cheryl May

Photo: Grant Cooper

Photo: Heidi Bush Massie

Photo: Kylie Willis

Photo: Katrina Hesketh

Photo: Mike Wilkins

Photo: Renee Conway

Photo: Rachele Holliday

Photo: Shelley Fellows

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DECEMBER: P&O Pacific Jewel cruise ship docked at Carrington in Newcastle harbour. It arrived this morning and will depart this evening. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Ruth and David Johnson of Redhead watch cruise ship The World arrive in Newcastle. Picture by Peter Stoop

Radiance of the Seas in Newcastle on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Shortland ferry passes Rhapsody of the Seas in Newcastle on February 18 2015. Picture by Phil Hearne

Celebrity Solstice entering the port of Newcastle on March 9 2014: Picture by Darren Pateman

Celebrity Solstice visiting Newcastle in March 2014. Picture by Darren Pateman

The view from inside Celebrity Solstice, which was the biggest cruise ship to visit Newcastle when it arrived in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

The Celebrity Solstice’s main dining hall. Picture by Simone De Peak

Staff water the Lawn Club atop Celebrity Solstice in March 2014. Picture by Simone De Peak

An adults-only solarium aboard the Celebrity Solstice. Picture by Simone De Peak

Onlookers farewell Celebrity Solstice as it leaves Newcastle on March 9 2014. Picture by Eddie O’Reilly

Coal ship Ocean Dragon enters Newcastle harbour, where Radiance of the Seas (top left) is docked on January 14 2015. Picture by Peter Stoop

Celebrity Solstice in Newcastle harbour on its second visit to the city on March 13 2015. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Pacific Sun docked in Carrington in February 2012. Picture by Darren Pateman

Spirit of Adventure leaves Newcastle in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Spirit of Adventure off Nobbys in December 2011. Picture by Phil Hearne

Pacific Sun leaving Newcastle on October 28 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Arcadia Vale’s Tony Armstrong and Tighes Hill’s Sharon Oakley watch Crystal Serenity coast out of Newcastle in February 2012. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Dawn Princess passes Stockton on March 7 2010. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

Lani and Sasha Holz and Gabrielle and Amelie Bourke, all of Merewether, farewell the Seven Seas Mariner on March 27 2009. Picture by Natalie Grono

Onlookers at a cafe outside the cruise terminal on September 8 2010. Picture by Stuart Quinn.

Sun Princess leaves Nobbys on October 18 2009. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

The Pacific Sun off Nobbys in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Port Stephens in 2006. Picture by Kitty Hill

Pacific Sun at Dyke Point shortly before dawn on September 8 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

Kurri Kurri’s Ji Forbes, 7, fishes as the cruise ship Millennium departs in 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Silver Whisper laves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

Cruise ship Mercury leaves Newcastle on December 21 2007. Picture by Dean Osland

The Pacific Sun leaves Newcastle harbour on September 8 2010. Picture: Stuart Quinn

Pacific Star passes Nobbys on November 27 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Millennium leaves Newcastle harbour in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

The Sun Princess, as seen from Carrington on October 18 2009. Picture by Kitty Hill

Millennium leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Ryan Osland

Onlookers watch The World arrive in Newcastle harbour. Picture by Peter Stoop

Cruise ship Mercury arrives. Picture by David Wicks

Pacific Star visits Newcastle in 2007. Picture by David Wicks

Cruise ship The World enters Newcastle on September 13 2006. Picture by David Wicks

The World’s captain Daj Saevic on the bridge as The World visits Newcastle in March 2003. Picture by Peter Stoop

Volendam in Newcastle harbour in March 2010. Picture by Anita Jones

The Silver Whisper leaves Newcastle in January 2009. Picture by Darren Pateman

Silver Shadow in Newcastle harbour on February 19 2004. Picture by Ryan Osland

Rhapsody of the Seas in February 2013. Picture by Peter Stoop

The Pacific Sun sneaks into Newcastle Harbour at dawn in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Pacific Sun arrives in September 2010. Picture by Darren Pateman

The Radiance of the Seas leaves Newcastle in October 2013. Picture by Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookThe Pacific Jewel arriving in Newcastle on Tuesday morning #cruisepic.twitter南京夜网/HwkBtt0VpH

— Newcastle Herald (@newcastleherald) December 19, 2017CRUISING INTO NEWCASTLEIn recent years, the Hunter has established itselfas a regular stop for floating palaces.

Newcastle has become the doorway to the Hunter for travellers arriving by sea –but less than a decade ago, ships were lingering in Port Stephens rather than berthing in Newcastle itself.

The Celebrity Solstice’s first visit in 2014 was one for the ages,as the Herald reported at the time.

Then lord mayor Jeff McCloy donned his robes to welcome passengers into the region as onlookers flocked to the harbour’s edge.

‘‘It was bloody amazing,’’ Mr McCloy said at the time.

‘‘I couldn’t believe the amount of locals along the foreshore who came out to welcome the ship in, and I couldn’t believe the reception we got from the passengers.

‘‘I think I posed for about 300 photos with [passengers]. They were really delighted with the reception we gave them.

“I met people from all over the world who said they never got that sort of reception in Brisbane or in Sydney.’’

The warm welcome worked –Celebrity Solstice returned to the Hunter.

​What are your best memories of cruise ships in the Hunter?

Public pools worth $2.8b in health benefits, so why are some under threat?

Photograph shows Blue Mountains residents opposed to the planned closure of Katoomba swimming pool. From left to right , David Tobin of Lawson, Lyndell Fairleigh of Blackheath, Margot McKay of Katoomba, John Tognolini of Katoomba and Kirsty McKenzie of Katoomba. Plus general images of children swimming. Photographs by Dean Sewell. Taken Monday 18th December 2017.John Tognolini’s father, Vic, taught his sons the importance of swimming from an early age, encouraging them to complete 10 laps each of freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke every day.
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“My dad was a World War II veteran and he actually swum out during the evacuation of Crete with two blokes tied to him on a rope,” Mr Tognolini said. “They got to a small boat and got taken up by a British warship.”

Mr Tognolini passed on a passion for swimming to his daughter Rachael, who was three years old when she first splashed about in the outdoor pools at Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre.

But Mr Tognolini, who at the age of 59 swims up to four times a week, fears some children may be denied the opportunity to learn to swim under a proposal by the Blue Mountains City Council to close some of its aquatic facilities.

“All the outdoor pools are well loved and valued by the community as beautiful, peaceful outdoor neighbourhood spaces where they can bring their families to both relax and exercise,” Mr Tognolini said.

The council’s draftOpen Space and Recreation Strategic Plan, which is on public exhibition until January 15, proposes the closure of some swimming pools at the Katoomba, Lawson and Blackheath aquatic facilities.

A council spokeswoman said the Blue Mountains had more public swimming pools than many other councils, with aquatic facilities also at Springwood and Glenbrook.

She said the pools were ageing and did not meet modern standards.

“It is proposed that we maximise the use of pools in good condition and retire assets in an aged condition,” she said.

“This approach would retain the five swim centres, however offer less individual pools in each location. It also looks at creating additional indoor facilities, extending the pool season, heating pools, as well as creating other water play spaces like splash pads.”

But Mr Tognolini, a high school teacher and spokesman for the Save Katoomba Pool group, said: “Increasing the distance and cost travelling to affordable resources amplifies economic and social inequality. Unnecessary burden will be placed on those who can afford it least.”

Kirsty McKenzie, a member of the Katoomba RSL Swimming Club, said the closure of the outdoor 50-metre pool in Katoomba threatened the viability of the club.

David Tobin, the president of the Lawson Amateur Swimming Club, said the smaller swimming pools threatened with closure were vital for helping non-swimmers to overcome a fear of the water.

“Of particular concern to me is the impact the proposed closures will have on teaching kids how to swim – both formal swimming instruction and also on giving kids an opportunity to familiarise with the water in shallower depths before they take to the big pool,” he said.

The council’s proposal to close some of its aquatic facilities comes as a report by the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia found that a single visit to a public pool leads to health benefits worth nearly $27 per person.

The Economic Benefits of Australia’s Public Aquatic Facilities also found that public swimming pools produce $2.8 billion in health benefits each year in addition to their value as places of recreation, community and aquatic education.

Almost 40 per cent of Australians classed as “physically inactive”, meaning they do less than 60 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

But the report suggests an extra visit to a public swimming pool each week would shift most “inactive” Australians to “low activity”, cutting their risk of lifestyle-related disease by 16 per cent and saving more than $4500 per person in the form of better health, reduced medical costs and improved work attendance each year.

“We knew going in, that swimming was a great way of keeping active, but we were shocked to find out just how effective even a single weekly swimming pool visit can be in cutting the costs of physical inactivity,” said the report’s author Dr Paul Barnsley.

“Now we need to make sure that everyone is in a position to take advantage of those benefits – if we don’t find the money for pools we’ll end up paying for it via the health system.”

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AFP investigating itself after arrest details accidentally broadcast

The Australian Federal Police is investigating itself after details of an operation to arrest an alleged North Korean agent were accidentally broadcast on social media.
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AFP officers arrested a 59-year-old Sydney man on Sunday and charged him, alleging he had tried to arrange the sale of North Korean missile parts.

But days before the man’s arrest, the AFP’s media team broadcast a minute-long discussion on live-video streaming app Periscope of how they would manage media surrounding the event.

The Periscope clip was recorded by The West Australian – whose report included details on the timing of the arrest, and whether Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or opposition leader Bill Shorten would need to be briefed.

In the audio, an officer was heard saying AFP officers were “not going in all guns blazing, it’s only half-a-dozen people and a forensic van”.

Another AFP officer can be heard saying they needed to take into account what politicians would need to know.

“We just need to recognise that the PM will be standing up at some time on Sunday to talk about Bennelong [by-election], as will Shorten.”

According to the newspaper, the broadcast remained on the AFP Periscope page until they notified media officers it was still there.

An AFP spokesman confirmed part of an office conversation was accidentally broadcast via their Periscope account on Wednesday, December 13.

“The incident occurred when testing a piece of social media broadcasting equipment,” the spokesman said.

“Steps have been taken to ensure such incidents will not occur again.

“The matter has been referred to the AFP’s Security area for review. As such, no further comment will be made at this time.”

At the time of the arrest on Sunday, AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said the case was an Australian first.

He said the AFP allege the man had been acting “to serve some higher patriotic purpose” to raise funds for North Korea, and could have raised tens of millions of dollars if successful.

“This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australian soil,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

The man, named as Chan Han Choi, is understood to have been born in South Korea but has lived in Australia for three decades as a naturalised citizen.

He was charged with offences relating to being a broker and economic agent for the North Korean regime, including two under Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995.

The man is expected to appear in Central Local Court next week.

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Car parks a battlefield during Christmas

ONE in three people who have a collision with aparked car do not leave their details, newdata released ahead of the Christmas shopping rush reveals.
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Insurance company Youireleased the research on the eve of the Christmas shopping frenzy to warn drivers of the increaseddangerin shopping centre car parks during thefestive season.

“Unfortunately, many drivers returning to their cars often find it damaged and the offender has not left their contact details,” Youi CEO Frank Costigan said.

The research also revealed up to 14 per cent of all motor insurance claims occur when cars aresitting stationary.

The average cost of each claim from a parked car collision is over $2000.

Mr Costigan outlined the need to take extra care when navigating the congestedshopping centre spaces.

“Unfamiliar car parks can be difficult places to safely navigate and when combined with large numbers of stressed-out drivers looking for scarce available spaces it’s a perfect scenario for increased numbers of collisions,” Mr Costigan said.

“The intense competition for space often means drivers try to squeeze into tight spots. People trying to get out of their car also often knock their door into other vehicles, with many cars bearing the trademark nick on the side.”

The stress of shopping at Christmas isn’t just restricted to the car park, asthe Heraldrevealed on Tuesday with details of abuse aimed at customer service workers.

The ‘No One Deserves a Serve’ campaign aims toend abuse and violence towardsretail staff, particularly during the Christmas period.

Asurvey of 6000 workers was conducted by the SDA union which revealed over 85 per cent of respondents had been verbally abused in the past 12 months.

This is why you should never throw a New Year’s Eve party

You’ve decided to have a New Year’s party. Yeah, you’re going to have it at your house and invite all your dearest friends to welcome in the new year with a night of laughter and dancing and joyous revelry, you massive massive idiot.
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So you send out a text to everyone that says “Heyyyyy, I’m having a New Year’s par-tayyyyyyyy! Come along and bring a drink (or several!) PLS RSVP ASAP THX (phewwww!!!)” – the kooky comical tone giving people a little preview of the hilarity and good times they are sure to enjoy.

Then you sit back and wait for the replies to flood in.

A day passes, two days, a week, you hear nothing. That’s because all your dearest friends are waiting to get a better offer before they commit to yours.

There is all kinds of desperate stuff going on behind the scenes that you have no idea about: late-night calls, clandestine discussions, crisis negotiations. It’s intense.

You are not discouraged by the lack of replies. You figure that everyone must be too busy to text back immediately, or maybe there are mobile-tower outages across town – yeah that must be it – so you carry on with your party plans, you poor, deluded buffoon.

You go out and buy a fire pit to create a summery backyard ambience: it’s a big rust-toned one but all the colour comes off on your shirt when you carry it to the car and turns out, it’s just an enormous chef’s mixing bowl painted with insta-rust.

You also go into your shed and get out your festoon lights for glamorous outdoor mood lighting, but they’re all tangled together in a big lewd clump, all the sticky-outy bulbs snagged on each other. Related: Everyone is renovating and it’s pushed me to the brinkRelated: An ode to all the unfinished jobs around my houseRelated: Australia’s affinity with the backyard

After two hours of untangling, you give up and throw the festoon lights back in the shed, close the door, and let them carry on with whatever they were doing in the dark.

You won’t let yourself be defeated by these setbacks. You prepare the house for partying by cleaning the bathroom, tidying the garden, and stocking up on plenty of food and beverages.

You even put together a party playlist: you want to be up to date so you throw in a few songs from your So Fresh: The Hits of Summer 2005 CD. And you fill it out with heaps of classic funky dance tracks: 10cc, Karen Carpenter, and selections from Miss Saigon for after midnight, when the dance floor really heats up.

Your New Year’s party goes ahead, but it doesn’t turn out quite like you had hoped. Not everyone shows up. Just the old Korean couple from next door, who pop around for 15 minutes. And your brother and sister-in-law who bring their three kids, a dog, and a six-pack of beer with two beers missing.

Also someone named Ivy shows up; she says she’s a friend of Alice’s but you don’t know anyone named Alice, so it’s all a bit of a mystery.

But still you make the most of it and have a great New Year’s party, laughing and dancing and revelling until dawn. All by yourself.

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

Mayfield, Medowie lead container deposit scheme

The ‘Return and Earn’ scheme has been popular in Newcastle. Picture: Daniel MunozMAYFIELD and Medowie have been the Hunter’s most popular collection points in the state’s fledgling container deposit scheme, data shows.
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Two weeks after the program began on December 1,theHeraldcan reveal Hunter residents have returned over 490,000 containers across the region’s set of reverse vending machines (RVM).

Mayfield and Medowie have proved to be the most utilised, each havingover 150,000 containers deposited through their RVMs.

A total of over fivemillion containers were collected across NSW in the first two weeks.

Are you wondering which containers are eligible and which containers aren’t? Our video below is a quick-stop guide, but full guidelines can be located on our website: ♻️ pic.twitter南京夜网/gQiH7SdXYi

— Return and Earn (@NSWGovCDS) December 14, 2017

The scheme’s rollout has been widely criticisedbythe Opposition, with many areas of the state unable to access collection points.

Reverse vending machines are in place nearWoolworths stores inMayfield, Jesmond, Mount Hutton, Medowie, Salamander Bay and Singleton.

Read more:Mayfield reverse vending machine one of state’s first

Over-the-counter collection points are also operatingin Tenambit, Morisset andMcDougalls Hill, but have restrictions in operating hours and volumes that can be returned.

State Member for WallsendSonia Hornery MPcriticisedthe government over itsfailure to deliver the promised 800 RVMs at over 500 collection points across the state, believing more needed to be established in the Hunter.

“All 80,000 Wallsend residents now have only one site where they can go and get a refund on their bottles and cans,” Ms Hornery said.

“This is totally unfair to local residents, businesses and their staff across Wallsend.”

Read more: Recycling Scheme Pays Out

An EPA spokesperson said Hunter residents had “participated enthusiastically” in the new scheme and suggested their had been minimal issues for the scheme’s operator in the Hunter thus far.

“[Scheme operators] TOMRA Cleanaway are electronically notified immediately when a reverse vending machine is full, or requires technical assistance, and dispatch technicians as required,” the EPA spokesperson said.

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Hughesy and Kate prove KIIS FM’s loss is 2DayFM’s gain

Even with another disappointing showing in the year’s final Sydney radio survey, the beleaguered bosses over at 2DayFM will be rubbing their hands with glee over 2018’s potential.
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The station, which has sputtered through 2017, has a welcome head start heading into the new year thanks to incoming drive hosts Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek.

Hughesy and Kate, in their last showing for KIIS FM, topped the drive ratings for the second consecutive survey, building 0.2 points to expand their audience share to 10.8 per cent.

The pair were spectacularly poached by 2DayFM’s Southern Cross Austereo in October after KIIS’s Australian Radio Network stuttered on their contract renewals, and are set to debut on the station in a new national show in January.

The duo will be taking over from the retiring Hamish and Andy, while little-known Perth personalities Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw will host KIIS’s new national drive show.

The other drive results remained steady, with Nova 96.9’s Kate, Tim and Marty in second place with a 10.3 per cent audience share (up 0.4) and 2GB’s Ben Fordham at 9.4 per cent (down 0.3 per cent).

The breakfast results remain, as always, with 2GB’s Alan Jones.

The veteran broadcaster ended another year on top with a 13.3 per cent audience share (down 0.5), ahead of KIIS 106.5’s Kyle and Jackie O, who’ve mounted a challenge heading into 2018 with a 1.0 point jump to a 12.1 per cent audience share.

WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda’s solid year sees them close out with a 10 per cent audience share (down 0.7 per cent), while Jones’ 2GB officemate Ray Hadley rules the later morning slot with a 14.9 per cent share.

Another dismal showing for Em Rusciano’s ballyhooed breakfast show underscores 2DayFM’s troubled year, dropping 0.1 points to a 2.8 per cent audience share, its lowest in the slot since Maz Compton and Dan Debuf bottomed at 2.4 in January 2015.

The show will relaunch with new co-hosts Ed Kavalee (Have You Been Paying Attention?) and Grant Denyer (Family Feud) in January.

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

Easy and budget-friendly DIY jobs to do over the summer holidays

It’s somewhere around the summer holidays that people begin to notice all the things around their homes that need fixing.
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But that doesn’t mean you have to call in the professionals. Many projects are easy to DIY and just require a little time and elbow grease.

Tackling one or more of these projects will go a long way towards refreshing your home over the holidays. Interior painting

Photo: Stocksy

Just about anyone is capable of this one. Assuming your surfaces only need a light prep and you are painting them yourself, you can expect the cost of paint to average out about $50-$100 per room.

You will also have the expense of rollers, brushes and masking tape, as well as sugar soap or whatever you decide to clean your walls with.

If you have wallpaper to remove, or there are little nicks or gouges in the wall, you will need to fix them first. Allow as much time for preparing the surfaces as for painting them. You will need to patch the imperfections, sand, clean then mask any areas you aren’t painting, around windows, door handles and ceilings, before you start the actual painting.

Typically prep and painting will take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours per room, but sometimes more. This includes prepping and painting the trims which can sometimes take longer than the walls. Related: The jobs you really need the experts forRelated: Tips to tackle a budget apartment renovationRelated: 5 DIY renovations you can do in a weekendLandscaping

Photo: Stocksy

Fixing up an entertaining area or improving the street appeal of your property is an ideal holiday project.

On a budget? Simply transplant plants and cuttings that friends and family are happy to hand off. If you’ve got some money to spend, buy a range of plants and style your backyard accordingly. Allow around $800 for an average front yard; this will give you a pretty solid look.

While it can be difficult to estimate the time frame of a landscaping job, I’d allow a small job to be done in a day. If there are pavers to lay or a lot of landscaping needed, you are looking at three or four days of solid work. Door Handles

Replacing outdated door handles can do a lot to refresh the look and feel of a house. There are lots of videos on YouTube that will show you what handle to look for and how to put it together properly. Allow between $30 and $50 per set of handles.

A expert will usually take 20-40 minutes per door to install handles, so if it’s your first time, it will probably be double this – at least for the first few doors. Timber floors

Photo: Stocksy

If you’re a reasonably confident DIYer, you might want to have a go at redoing your timber floors. A quick sand and a new coat of clear varnish will have the floors looking brand new.

Many of my clients have successfully tackled this job themselves. Take a look at a few YouTube videos first to make sure you know what you are doing, and test your skills in an area that is seen less often, like under a bed or in the office.

You can hire a floor sander for about $150-$200 a day. It should take you about three or four days to do the whole job. Curtains

Photo: Luigi Rosselli Architects/ Houzz Australia

This is a relatively simple job and a great way to improve the aesthetics of your home. If you’ve already got tracks in place, then it’s just a case of replacing the curtains.

The different styles of hooks can be confusing, so take photos of tracks, or take them into a curtain shop so the staff can help you work out what you need.

Ready-made curtains can cost as little as $50 a set and can be installed in a matter of hours. Retiling the kitchen splashback

Photo: Hommemaker

If you’re quite handy, you might want to have a go at updating the kitchen splashback by retiling it. However, this is one job where you’ll want to weigh up your experience level, and the type of tiles you are going to use, before you dive straight in. Some tiles are trickier to align and won’t look good if done by somebody who is not experienced.

Again, YouTube is a great place to gather info, get tips and watch how the professionals do it.

Before you start, make sure you consider the knock-on effect so it doesn’t turn into a mountain of a job. For example, if your tiles sit behind the benchtops, it will become a much more complex task.

Cost to DIY a new tile splash-back? Anywhere from $100-$500 for your materials (plus tools). Refreshing surfaces

Simple tasks like water blasting driveways and cleaning gutters are jobs many homeowners can tackle. They are labour-intensive, but are not too expensive and can make a huge difference to the outside appeal of your home.

The only costs involved are your water blaster, which can be hired for about $100-$200 a day, and any chemicals that might be needed. A job like this will take you anywhere from half a day to a few days depending on how big and how dirty your property is.

Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s leading home renovation and interior design experts. She is an award-winning interior designer with more than 25 years’ experience designing the interiors and exteriors of homes, specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces.

Contact Jane at [email protected]南京夜网 or via her website.

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