Rodney Hogg talks Australia’s Ashes success at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic

Rodney Hogg talks Australia’s Ashes success at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic SHOT: Former Australian cricketer Rodney Hogg at The Jack on Tuesday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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SWING: Jack Newton in action during round one of his own event at Crowne Hunter Valley. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DRESSED UP: Jack Newton Celebrity Classic defending champion Matt Stieger. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebook Jack Newton Celebrity ClassicPictures: Jonathan CarrollRodney Hogg may not have scored a century at The Jack, but he still delivereda few cheekysledges off the course.

In the wake of Australia regaining the Ashes this week the former Test paceman reckons he strucksomeof his golf shots at Crowne Hunter Valley on Tuesday better than many of the touring English batsman have beenhitting cricket balls.

Throwback: Remember The Jack in 2016?

“Malan’s played alright, Stoneman’s played pretty well, but I probably hit them a bit better than Moeen Ali,” Hogg said with a wry smile at the bar post round one.

It was all in the spirit of the annual Jack Newton Celebrity Classic,in the midst of edition No.39, with Hogg among other past sport stars such as Sir Ian Botham, professional golfers dressed up like pop star-turned-basketballer Jackie Moon, andtournament patron Bob Hawke, whocelebrated his 88thbirthday earlier this month.

Read more:Jack Newton Celebrity Classic results, Day 1

Reflecting on the urn returning Down Under, Jack debutant Hogg said the current bowling attack was one of the best ever to wear the Baggy Green cap while the visitors are struggling.

“Theyhaven’t been up to speed and we’redeveloping into a good side,” Hogg said.

“It’s one of the best attacks we’ve ever had just about. Lyon plus the three quicks [Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins].”

Hogg, who took 41 wickets in the Ashes of 1978-1979, now rates Mitchell Starc as one of the country’s top-three left-arm fast bowlers in history.

He believes the hosts can win bothupcoming Melbourne and Sydney matches and go onto complete the third 5-0 series whitewash against the Poms at home since 2006-2007.

Play at The Jack continues with round two on Wednesday afterthe previous night’s traditional sponsordinner, whichhelps toraise funds for junior golf and diabetes.

Elsewhere andformer US PGA tour player Nick Flanagan went on a birdie blitz to shoot eight-under on Tuesday and the Newcastle golfer sharesthe leadof the final Australasianqualifying school event for 2017.

The 33-year-old posted 10 birdies and two bogeys in the opening round to sitalongside Fijian Sam Lee at Moonah Linksin Melbourne.

Parramatta-based Novocastrian Aaron Townsend (-4) is four strokes back and tied for fifth. Fellow Hunter pair Leigh McKechnie (even) and Nathan Green (+1) were also in the mix at the four-day tournament.

Christian Porter, the country’s new top legal officer

Minister for Social Services Christian Porter with Lachlan and Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer with Olivia pose for photos on the front steps after the swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra on Tuesday 19 July 2016. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Portrait of Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, in his office at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 19 December 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Not so long ago Christian Porter received a wooden spoon from Tony Abbott for his less than record-breaking performance in Pollie Pedal, the former prime minister’s annual event that couples raising money for charity with daily, gruelling 120-kilometre bicycle rides.

But the 47-year-old West Australian is the winner in today’s ministerial reshuffle with his appointment as Attorney-General, a job he inherits from George Brandis, and continues his rapid rise through the ministerial ranks since his election as the member for the Perth seat of Pearce in 2012.

The graduate of the London School of Economics, public prosecutor, Star Wars tragic and one-time contender for Cleo magazine’s eligible bachelor of the year, came to federal politics after serving as treasurer and attorney-general in Liberal premier Colin Barnett’s government.

Until Tuesday Mr Porter was social services minister, a $165-billion-a-year portfolio.

On Wednesday, he will be sworn in as the country’s chief legal officer, albeit over a department that has changed since Peter Dutton successfully pushed for the creation and control of a super security Home Affairs department.

As Attorney-General, Mr Porter will retain power over issuing ASIO warrants as well as responsibility for the government’s foreign interference legislation.

The aftermath to the now-concluded royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse will follow Mr Porter from his previous portfolio to his new one.

As social services minister Mr Porter was the architect of the redress scheme for survivors, to which he is trying to get all states, territories and institutions to sign up.

In an interview with Fairfax Media on Tuesday, Mr Porter said he was open to the commission’s recommendation that the seal of confession be broken in cases of child abuse.

“My personal tendency is to favour the protection of children over other values,” Mr Porter told Fairfax Media.

He says although the public’s instinct is the system must be improved, how to improve it is a far more difficult task.

“There was clearly regulatory failure. There were law enforcement issues. There’s a strong leadership role for the Commonwealth but the Commonwealth’s powers are not unlimited,” he says.

“Is it the role of the state or the Commonwealth to legislate? These things would require enormous amounts of time and scrutiny. You have to have that debate in the community because it’s not just members of religious organisations that place value on religious processes.”

Mr Porter wants religious organisations to consider the commission’s recommendations, although comments made by senior Catholic leaders last week indicated they were not prepared to ask the Holy See to make celibacy voluntary for priests or break the seal of confession.

“Trying to get the right balance in decision-making in terms of children is very, very difficult. Clearly we have got that balance very wrong,” he told Fairfax Media.

The Law Council of Australia congratulated Mr Porter on his appointment.

“As a former senior prosecutor for the Western Australian Department of Public Prosecutions, and later state attorney-general, Mr Porter well understands the importance of the rule of law and the steps, which are not always popular, that need to be taken in its defence. We look forward to engaging constructively with Mr Porter on myriad issues in 2018, from legal aid and court resourcing to the careful balancing of important human rights and freedoms,” the council’s president, Fiona McLeod, said.

Mr Porter leaves the social services portfolio just as the 2020 target for the completion of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is rapidly approaching.

His final act as minister is appointing a group of organisations, led by Ernst and Young, to oversee the employment of the estimated 60,000 additional full-time staff who will be needed to provide services under the scheme.

By the time the scheme is fully operational in 2020, it will employ about 162,000 workers.

Mr Porter says disability care is a career young people in particular should consider.

“There’s a moral virtue in caring for someone but if you’ve got a job in care you can be guaranteed work forever – and usually forever,” he said. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeTT’);

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Why you shouldn’t call in the fumigators this summer

Summer in Australia conjures images of long days lounging at the beach, slurping dripping icy-poles, and discovering spiders on the veranda.
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Homeowners’ first instinct may be to pick up the phone and call the fumigators.

But many people are often disappointed to find an army of eight-legged fiends have returned to the battle scene within a few weeks of spraying with insecticide.

Sam Yehia, owner of Sydney Best Pest Control, says that this disappointment is usually due to a lack of information provided to customers.

“Customer service is important. Some technicians turn up to [a customer’s] door and don’t explain to the customer what they are going to do… and afterwards the expectations. It’s pest control, not pest eradication,” Mr Yehia said.

“If you can’t spray a spider, you can’t kill it. When it come to funnel webs, wolf spiders, or mouse spiders – ground spiders – you won’t ever completely get rid of them with just spraying because they roam around hunting.”

Macquarie University post-doctoral researcher Lizzie Lowe says spraying gardens with broad spectrum insecticide destroys the eco-system, allowing only the “hardiest” of pests to flourish with unlimited resources.

“People may want to eradicate everything in the backyard, but you shouldn’t actually want every insect in your garden dead. You want to have the good guys to help control the bad guys… so you don’t have these massive outbreaks of creatures,” Dr Lowe said.

Black house spiders and cockroaches are the most common critters to return after fumigation, according to Dr Lowe.

Both Mr Yehia and Dr Lowe agree that, generally, spiders do more good than harm in the backyard.

“Spiders eat flies, moths and flying insects that could bother you in your garden, or juvenile forms of these bugs like caterpillars who are eating your plants,” Dr Lowe said.

“I think a lot of people think that every spider is out to get them. In Australia, we have over 8000 species of spider and only two that will kill you, and they haven’t killed anyone in 40 years.

“A lot of people who report spider bites are often misdiagnosed and haven’t actually seen a spider. In the case of the white-tail spider there is no evidence that they have a flesh-eating venom; usually these wounds are bad because of bacterium that comes in afterwards.”

Mr Yehia recommends dealing with spiders without upsetting their natural habitat by cleaning the gutters, and changing white outdoor lights to fluorescent lights to avoid attracting spider-food like moths and mosquitoes.

To keep redback spiders away from children, he suggests putting their toys in a plastic bucket of water overnight. Homing two chickens in the backyard to hunt and eat ground spiders, like funnel webs, also prevents against infestations without disrupting the eco-system.

If you are going to spray for spiders in your home, he says to “avoid spraying bushes or the fence line to avoid [unnecessarily] harming the spider life”.

When it comes to redback spiders, though, Mr Yehia says it’s important to spray for them in newly built homes, as they usually “come from brick work”.

“If you let them build up too much, they can go into the weep holes of the house, up into the roof, and back into the house,” he said.

“The most important thing is that, whoever does the pest control, that the roof gets dusted – most insects, whether they are cockroaches or spiders live in the roof.”

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Turnbull government reverses course on climate change policy

The Turnbull government will reverse course and allow businesses to buy overseas carbon credits to meet Australia’s emissions reduction targets, a policy long questioned by climate experts and once labelled “dodgy” by Tony Abbott.
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Backed by industry and some climate change observers, the move allows big businesses to purchase emissions reductions in other countries – most likely at lower prices – to offset their own carbon production.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday gave “in-principle” support to joining 60 other nations – including Canada, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea – in an international trading market once rules are finalised after 2020.

“Our thinking is to find the lowest-cost abatement,” Mr Frydenberg said on Tuesday. “When it comes to helping the environment, it doesn’t matter if you’ve reduced a tonne of CO2 here in Australia or in another country.”

That differed from the view given by Mr Abbott in 2011, while opposition leader, that overseas permits involved money “going offshore into dodgy carbon farms in Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan”.

Mr Abbott’s views were backed by the Greens on Tuesday, whose climate spokesman Adam Bandt accused the government of “outsourcing” climate policy by allowing firms to buy “dodgy permits from pig farms in China”.

Many climate change campaigners have expressed concern about Australia shirking its domestic obligations in favour of cheaper overseas permits that might be fraudulent or involve double-counting of reductions.

And in a report last week, the independent Climate Change Authority recommended against Australian companies using international credits to meet domestic obligations, arguing it would slow down our transition to a lower-carbon economy. It cited a submission from energy giant AGL stating such a scheme would “effectively defer Australia’s own decarbonisation”.

Kate Mackenzie, a director at the non-profit Climate KIC and research fellow at the Centre for Policy Development, said buying foreign credits was a good idea but should not substitute reducing electricity emissions.

“If it’s seen as being an easier or a cheaper way of meeting our emissions reduction targets, that poses the risk that the really necessary policy work won’t be done,” she told Fairfax Media.

The government will also wait until the market rules of the Paris Agreement are finalised to decide whether other countries can purchase Australia’s mostly land-based carbon credits, fearing it could drive up the cost of domestic abatement. There is no guarantee international negotiations will finish by 2020, however, with talks mired in disagreement about how to link various schemes.

International permits will become particularly important for 140 large Australian businesses with facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Under the “safeguard mechanism”, these operations will need to keep their emissions below baseline levels or offset them using domestic and, now, international credits.

As part of the climate review released Tuesday, the government flagged those baselines could “increase with production, supporting business growth”, and allowing companies to pollute more as long as they produce more.

Tony Wood, energy program director at the Grattan Institute, said the decision to allow international credits “makes an enormous amount of sense” as a way to put a “safety valve” on the price of carbon abatement, at least temporarily. At present, international permits are significantly cheaper than the cost of abatement domestically under the Emissions Reduction Fund, although overseas credits will likely become more expensive as global demand rises.

Tuesday’s announcement was foreshadowed after the 2015 Paris climate conference, when then environment minister Greg Hunt said international permits would “probably be allowed. Mr Frydenberg, who took over the role after last year’s election, strongly suggested the change would be made when he commissioned the climate change review a year ago.

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler dismissed the review as containing “no significant change” to Mr Abbott’s climate change policies.

Industry groups including the Business Council of Australia welcomed the change-of-heart as a “practical” measure giving businesses flexibility. Peter Castellas, head of the Carbon Market Institute, said it was an “encouraging signal” but there would need to be more input from industry on the detail.

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Australian arrested in Bali on drug charges

Three men arrested on drug charges in Bali, paraded for the media on Tuesday Dec 19. from left Australian, Malaysian and American.Unrelated?? cases.Bali: Australian accountant Isaac Emmanuel Roberts has been arrested after he was allegedly caught with drugs at Bali’s international airport.
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Customs authorities said the 35-year-old from Queensland was arrested after arriving from Bangkok with 19 grams of shabu, a slang term for the drug amphetamine, and ecstasy pills.

Customs officer Husni Syaiful said the Australian would face charges of importing more than five grams of drugs under article 113. Under Indonesian law the maximum punishment is the death penalty and the minimum five years’ jail.

The man and two other foreigners from Malaysia and the US were paraded before the media on Tuesday wearing orange jumpsuits with balaclavas over their heads at Ngurah Rai customs office, near Bali’s international airport. Their arrests were unrelated.

They were flanked by two customs officer dressed in dark blue, their faces also hidden, who were armed with guns.

Roberts, who was born in Toowoomba, was arrested on December 4 and has been detained by police ever since.

As he was escorted out, Roberts told the media the drugs were his but he had been set up.

“I was invited to this country by someone who was working with the customs officer and they knew I was going to bring something,” he said.

“I’m just a f…..g addict, they want to waste their resources on addicts. They want to punish addicts, this is ridiculous. What about the f???..g importers? I wasn’t going to sell it to anyone here, noone was going to use it here.”

Roberts said: “This is an embarrassment for the Indonesian police. They are parading small-time users in front of media for tiny amounts when there are kilos going through this airport. This is ridiculous.”

According to a press release, the Australian, who was referred to using the initials IER, was caught with five packets of clear crystal meth, weighing 19.97 grams and 14 tablets of 6.22 grams. Rapid narcotics tests tested positive to amphetamines and ecstasy.

It said he had hidden the drugs in several packages of contraception inside a clear plastic bag. This was placed in his luggage and backpack.

According to Roberts’ Instagram account he has regularly travelled between Thailand, Brisbane and his hometown of Toowoomba since mid-2015.

He tagged his pictures at various locations throughout Thailand, mainly spending time around the capital Bangkok, and claimed to be working in the country towards the end of 2015.

In November 2015, Roberts was reprimanded by the Professional Conduct Tribunal of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand for failing to reply to letters concerning the completion of his Liability Capping Questionnaire.

He was required to pay a contribution of $3100 towards the cost of the disciplinary action and the tribunal recommended a quality review of his practice, on hold because of the hearing, proceed without further delay.

The death penalty is legal in Indonesia, which has notoriously harsh drug laws.

In 2015 Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who were members of the so-called Bali nine, were executed for their role in attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms out of Indonesia in April 2005.

However Roberts only allegedly imported a relatively small amount of drugs. Previous similar cases have not incurred the death penalty.

Roberts is now being processed by police at Denpasar police station. His case will then be handed over to prosecutors to prepare for trial. It is likely he will soon be transferred to Kerobokan jail.

With Toby Crockford

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First criminal charges in NewSat scandal

Adrian Ballintine, the flamboyant founder of failed Australian satellite company NewSat, has been named in a Melbourne court as a “co-accused” after his former tax adviser and business partner was charged as part of a long-running probe by the nation’s corporate watchdog, ASIC.
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Jason Cullen, who provided tax advice to NewSat and was a shareholder and finance chief of Mr Ballintine’s luxury yacht business, has been charged with two counts of creating false invoices in relation to payments worth $275,000.

A Commonwealth prosecutor told the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday that Mr Ballintine was a co-accused in Mr Cullen’s matter. However, it emerged later in the day that charges are still to be served on Mr Ballintine and Fairfax Media understands he may face different charges.

Once a darling of the ASX, NewSat collapsed in 2015 and wiped out $200 million of investor money. Its international financial backers, the US government’s ExIm bank, was owed $280 million and Europe’s COFACE $108 million.

NewSat was hoping to launch Australia’s first privately owned, non-government satellite. It also owned satellite tele-portals which received highly classified US and Australian military communications and were later penetrated by Chinese hackers.

NewSat’s collapse came after Fairfax Media published a series of reports detailing serious alleged governance breaches and conflicts of interest at the company, including controversial payments made to Mr Ballintine’s Gold Coast Cresta Motor Yachts business.

Mr Ballintine, NewSat’s managing director as well as founder, and several other company executives and consultants enjoyed an extravagant jet-setting lifestyle as they travelled the world seeking investor support and contracts.

The firm also had high-level political and diplomatic support, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2012 suggesting the “pretty capable” NewSat could provide satellite services for the NBN Co. Mr Turnbull was shadow communications minister when he made the comment.

Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke was also enlisted as a consultant by NewSat and awarded a generous share package and a healthy monthly retainer. There is no suggestion Mr Hawke was involved in any wrong-doing in relation to NewSat.

A sensational leaked boardroom video captured the increasingly dysfunctional climate at NewSat as it began to run into financial problems. It showed NewSat’s then chairman, Melbourne businessman Richard Green, and then independent director, former Australia Post deputy chairman, Brendan Fleiter, in a heated disagreement which threatened to become physical over the financial management of the company.

Mr Cullen was in court on Tuesday as the charges were filed. He will appear again in March.

Mr Ballintine, a former Richmond Football Club director, and other senior former NewSat executives, are also facing legal action on another front with receivers from McGrathNicol earlier this year filing a damages claim in the Federal Court seeking $270 million.

The McGrathNicol action alleges Mr Ballintine and Mr Green breached their directors’ duties on several occasions.

Fairfax Media’s reports on NewSat revealed how some of the company’s directors, executives and consultants were also deeply involved with Mr Ballintine’s yacht business either as part-owners or senior managers.

In 2014, Mr Ballintine was awarded a bonus of $1.2 million in addition to his $1 million salary and share options worth $1.15 million when they were vested.

It also emerged that Mr Ballintine used his own NewSat shares as collateral for a private loan despite the company being placed in a trading blackout.

NewSat’s former independent directors, Mr Fleiter, former St Kilda Football Club president Andrew Plympton and Mark Fishwick, became so concerned about the company’s expenditure that they hired former BHP vice president Brendan Rudd to investigate.

Mr Rudd’s conclusion was damning: “I have never seen nor heard of more appalling corporate behaviour than at NewSat”.

Mr Ballintine in 2015 rejected many of Mr Rudd’s criticisms in an interview with leading finance commentator Alan Kohler.

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Ashes blame game: Root not sending the ‘right message’

The blame game over England’s Ashes disaster has begun, with a former Test fast bowler taking aim at captain Joe Root and calling for the new-ball pairing of James Anderson and Stuart Broad to be dismantled.
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Martin Bicknell, who played four Tests for England and claimed more than 1000 first-class wickets, has criticised Root for his post-match comments in Perth after the tourists ceded cricket’s little urn and became only the eighth side to have lost a Test by an innings having made 400 or more in their first knock.

Root said his inexperience as captain had not had a negative impact on him, declaring he was only guilty of “trying too hard”. Bicknell said that explanation would not wash.

“I don’t understand how you can try too hard. You are trying or you are not. I don’t think trying too hard is the right message that he should be talking about,” Bicknell told RSN on Tuesday.

“I think the bottom line is that we haven’t played well enough. I think we have had opportunities in matches and we haven’t capitalised and, consequently, if you don’t play decent enough cricket for a long period of time, you get found out and that is what has happened.

“We have run into a perfect storm with Australia having three fit bowlers who bowl 90 miles an hour (145km/hr) and Nathan Lyon who is probably the best spinner in the world at the moment.”

Root, who this year replaced Alastair Cook in the top job, had stressed the added responsibility and focus that comes in such a marquee series had not derailed his batting.

“It’s an experience to have had to deal with it all but I don’t think it has taken away from the way I have prepared in terms of my training and stuff like that. You have just got to learn from it,” Root said.

“The thing with it is, I am not someone who is going to make excuses and hide behind stuff that is irrelevant really in terms of the way I have prepared. Probably the thing that has been my biggest detriment is probably trying too hard.”

Ranked the world’s third-best batsman, Root has only 176 runs at 29.33 in six innings, adding to his woes on the tour here four years ago when he was dropped because of poor form. He made only 20 and 14 and, according to former captain Michael Vaughan, appears a “tired, drained captain”.

Root’s poor form, paired with the troubles of veteran Cook (83 runs at 13.83), who could be in his final series, have compounded the tourists’ woes. There have only been two centuries by England batsmen and the tourists’ average score per wicket is 26.3 compared to Australia’s 46.24.

England coach Trevor Bayliss insists Anderson and Broad, who stepped out in Perth for their 100th Test together, have a future beyond this series but their troubles have highlighted the tourists’ key issue – a lack of pace required in Australian conditions to intimidate the locals. South Africa’s success in Australia last summer was built on a balanced pace attack, with Kagiso Rabada providing the threatening speed.

Broad and Anderson are two greats of the game but neither averages 140km/h, unlike sizzling Australian counterparts Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Broad, after a horror WACA adventure where he finished with 0-142, and Anderson have combined for 17 wickets in the series, two less than Starc.

“The Broad-Anderson partnership, obviously, won’t tour Australia again. They have played a lot of Test matches, bowled a lot of overs, they are just looking a little bit tired at times,” Bicknell said.

“As a partnership it might be time to say: ‘Let’s try someone else with the new ball and Broad slip down to first change’. I think Anderson still takes the new ball, he looks fit and fresh, but Broad has been disappointing – one of the senior players you would expect that would stand up in this series has not even featured.”

Bicknell said England’s problem was that while they did have quicker bowlers at home they were not considered frontline selections, aside from Mark Wood. He was initially overlooked for the tour because of an ankle injury but is now with the squad and could come into the frame in Melbourne, particularly as Craig Overton is in doubt because of a cracked rib.

“It’s very hard for them (selectors) to say to one of those guys you are not playing because we are going to play someone who is not as good as you but bowls quicker. That doesn’t really work,” Bicknell said.

“One of the biggest problems the England selectors faced was the fact they haven’t brought over anybody who could bowl at 90 miles per hour in the squad. I think Mark Wood would have been the obvious choice but his injury record is not great and he probably wasn’t fit at the start of the tour. Bringing over more bowlers like (Chris) Woakes and like Broad hasn’t really worked. When they look back at it, they probably will think they maybe have got the squad wrong.”

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‘We thought it was a brothel’: chainsaw attackers claim self-defence in court

Two men accused of a home invasion where one allegedly used a chainsaw to assault the 63-year-old occupant have claimed they had only entered the Annandale unit because they thought it was a brothel.
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But a prosecutor has questioned the pair’s motives in Newtown Local Court on Tuesday, adding a search of the men found “no means of paying for a prostitute” other than a Coles Myer gift card.

“I’m not sure how successful [they] would have been,” Sergeant Luke Johnston told the court.

Justin Clarke and Jayson Nichols, both 21 from Quakers Hill, will remain behind bars for Christmas after being refused bail following their arrest in a nearby pub on Monday night just hours after the alleged chainsaw attack took place.

Legal Aid solicitor Richard Ikaafu said his clients believed they were entering a brothel when they climbed two sets of stairs before walking into the residence.

Police allege they were confronted by the residents before the two accused and a third unknown man retreated out into a laneway.

A bystander caught the ensuing melee on film, with Clarke claiming in court he was acting in self-defence when he armed himself with the chainsaw from a nearby garage and began striking the alleged victim.

The chainsaw was not turned on, however the 63-year-old was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital after suffering a laceration to the head.

Mr Ikaafu said Clarke claimed he had only armed himself with the chainsaw to defend himself after he was “pushed and kicked” out of the unit and chased along the laneway.

Both men have been charged with aggravated enter dwelling with intent and common assault while Clarke also faces charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company and use an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence.

The melee occurred in Albion Lane about 5.30pm on Monday after the occupants confronted the three men and asked what they were doing.

Footage obtained by the Seven Network shows the confrontation before the chainsaw was grabbed.

Both men had applied to be released on bail.

Sergeant Johnston opposed the application, citing a history of violence and property offences on both men’s criminal records as well as the strength of the case against them.

Magistrate Margaret Quinn agreed the prosecution case appeared strong and remanded the pair in custody.

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Sydney cancer scientist’s work on research fraud lands her top accolade

She’s the Sydney cancer geneticist who uncovered widespread research fraud.
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And now she’s been named by Nature as one of the 10 people who mattered in science this year.

Others on the list include Chinese physicist Pan Jianwei for a quantum teleport, Astronomer Marica Branchesi for working on gravitational waves, and Khaled Toukan, who helped guide the completion of the Middle East’s first synchrotron.

“These diverse individuals have left an indelible mark on science in 2017 … and they will no doubt continue to make an impact,” says Brendan Maher, acting chief news features editor at Nature.

“From quantum communications and genome editing to the threat of a nuclear crisis and the dismantling of environmental protections in the United States, this list covers the highs and lows for science and scientists in 2017.”

Professor Jennifer Byrne was named one of Nature’s 10 for 2017. Photo: Wolter Peeters

It was a gut feeling that had Professor Byrne flipping open her computer on a Saturday night and firing up the medical equivalent of a Google search.

What she found made her sick to her stomach.

The children’s cancer expert had stumbled upon what appeared to be potentially widespread research fraud.

In a world of fake news, where opinion is given as much weight as empirical evidence, and scientists as much consideration as shock jocks, research fraud is a damaging tinderbox for truth.

“I was just horrified. I thought, ‘My God, what have I found’,” said Professor Byrne, head of the Children’s Cancer Research Unit at the Children’s Hospital Westmead and University of Sydney academic.

The professor of molecular oncology had turned science sleuth, identifying a total of 48 papers published in scientific journals sharing uncanny similarities, flaws and mismatched data all by independent researchers in China.

Professor Byrne first noticed something was amiss in 2015 when a few too many papers were popping up purporting to study a gene she was very familiar with – LPD52L2 (L2) – having been the first to identify it almost 20 years ago.

“At first I thought it was the same paper, they were so similar. But then I realised there were five of them,” she said.

L2 is something of an “orphan” gene with an unknown function that could have implications for cancer treatment, but it doesn’t attract a lot of attention.

The way the papers reported their findings and the flaws in their sequences were strikingly similar, Professor Byrne found.

Their poor English and grammar, almost identical references and their seemingly superficial experiments set off alarm bells.

Professor Byrne dug deeper, finding the same sequences were being used for completely different purposes: a sequence used as a positive control in one research paper was used as a negative control in another.

“You don’t have to be a scientist to know that’s a major logical flaw,” Professor Byrne said.

“In many cases it was highly unlikely or impossible that they could have obtained the results they obtained,” she said.

She wrote to the four journals that had published the papers. Two journals investigated and one issued a retraction. The authors of the paper admitted they had obtained their data from a commercial biotechnology company without disclosing this partnership.

This was just the tip of the iceberg.

Professor Byrne’s Saturday night search on the medical research aggregation site PubMed led to the discovery of another 43 papers that shared highly dubious similarities.

The papers all described single gene knockdowns – a technique used to modify a gene using RNA.

The uniformities were as glaring as the authors’ choice of title, the data, descriptions, images, table layouts, even the font and bolding of specific annotations.

Often, the papers’ text wouldn’t match the data in the tables, again suggesting the authors had obtained their data form a third party, most likely an undisclosed biotechnology company.

Professor Byrne and her colleague computer scientist Cyril Labbe at the University of Grenoble Alpes, France, published their findings in Scientometrics.

“I think we also have to recognise that until we actually prove the origins that we discuss in the paper I guess the authors have a right to be presumed innocent to an extent,” Professor Byrne said,

“I’m hoping that at least some of these papers will prove to have been performed by the authors as they described in their papers.”

But she suspected there were hundreds of papers with similar flaws.

Under-investigated genes that attracted little attention could be fertile ground for researchers under overwhelming pressure to “publish or perish”, Professor Byrne said.

Career security can hinge on the number of published works a scientist has produced. Chinese researchers may be especially vulnerable, with many institutions setting strict quotas for their scientists.

The papers were also published in journals that are fairly low down on the list of prestigious titles, and may have lower standards for publication.

The damage done by research fraud cannot be understated, Professor Byrne said.

“Science runs on brainpower and funding but also trust,” she said.

“I need to believe the researchers are doing what they say they’re doing. I’m not in their lab staring over their shoulders, and if I can’t be confident that what I’m reading is correct I may as well go and work at my local shopping centre.

“The public needs to trust what we do. Governments need to trust what we do, especially in this ‘post truth’ world where experts are shot down and dismissed so easily,” she said.

The papers, like the bulk of published research, urges others to continue their work.

Researchers who are waylaid by trying to replicate faulty data could have been working towards findings that may have had a real impact on the lives of patients.

“They could be following up complete rubbish. It violates everything you’re working towards,” Professor Byrne said.

Professor Byrne and Labb?? have since launched an online program called Seek & Blastn to help automatically detect similar errors and potential fraud in cancer papers containing gene sequences.

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

Revitalisation plans must attract business

Premier Gladys Berejiklian answering questions at the Wickham Interchange on Tuesday.IT’S an unwritten law of politics in regional areas that no leader worth their salt turns up without having a funding announcement of some sort to make.
Nanjing Night Net

After all, it’s not that often that premiers find their way into tiger country, and so they usually try to make it worth their while.

With Premier Gladys Berejiklian in town, Tuesday did turn out to be jackpot day for the Hunter,with the Newcastle Knights securing $10 million to go towards their rugby league centre of excellence to be built at Broadmeadow.

But the funny thing was, it wasn’t the premier who announced it. That job was left to Sport Minister Stuart Ayres, with the$10 million doled out to the Knights being the biggest amount received by the five clubs who shared in the spoils.Unofficially, the Newcastle Herald was told that the centre of excellence details weren’t finalised until mid-afternoon, making it too late for the premier to unveil the Knights’ good fortune. We realise there is controversy over sports funding at the moment, thanks to the government’s $2.5-billion stadium building plan, but it seems something of a missedopportunity for the premier to come all the way to Newcastle on the day her government is giving $10 million to the Knights, and to notsay anything about it either at her interchange press conference or at the lunch.

Regardless, however, sports fans will thank the government for its vote of support in the Knights, as will the club itself.

As it happens, the premier did have one funding announcement to make, but it was not until she had departed Newcastle for Williamtown that we learned about it: a $50,000 extension of the “STEMship” pre-employment program –STEM being science, technology, engineering and maths –that was launched in the Hunter in August 2016. Ms Berejiklian said the funding would ensureensure “a continued pipeline of skilled workers” for the defence industry.

Of course the the Herald acknowledges that the Coalition state government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in Newcastle at the moment. On that, Ms Berejiklian says she “couldn’t be more pleased” with the revitalisation plans, which meant that “businesses are champing at the bit to have their offices to set up space here”.

And that, in the end, will be the test. Apartment blocks are one thing, but the inner cityneedsto be a central business district, and not justa central residential district, if Newcastleis to properly thrive.

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