Ashes 2015: Adam Voges snares unbelievable catch

Freak dismissal: Adam Voges catches a full-blooded pull shot from Alastair Cook.Ashes 2015 scoreboardBaum: more swing, more roundaboutsAustralia skittled for 136Players unhappy at Haddin’s axing
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Australia’s dirty day in at Edgbaston could have been even more putrid had Adam Voges not produced an astonishingly fortuitous catch to remove England captain Alastair Cook.

Cook looked in fine fettle as England started their first innings on day one of the third Ashes Test, having already skittled Australia for 136 in just 36.4 overs.

The struggles of all four of the visitors’ seamers – Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Johnson and all-rounder Mitch Marsh – prompted captain Michael Clarke to turn to Nathan Lyon in the 18th over.

The off-spinner’s second delivery was a short ball that Cook gleefully pulled off the back foot. As the cameraman quickly panned the camera to the outfield, the ball was nowhere to be seen. It was only once the cheers from the Australians could be heard on the stump mic that the TV commentators realised what had occurred.

Voges was stationed at short leg. Rather than turn his back as Cook was about to unleash a full-blooded shot in his direction, as some close fielders prefer, Voges crouched in the hope the ball would pass over him. Instead, his squat was timed so perfectly that it trapped the ball between his right arm and chest, near his armpit. His successful retrieval of the ball left slip fielder Clarke visibly shocked, but delighted.

“No way,” former England captain David Gower remarked on the Sky Sports TV commentary. “He’s caught it without having seen it.”

While the circumstances were highly unusual it was actually the second catch of the day for which Voges was saved by his midriff.

Earlier in the innings he fumbled a chance at first slip that had come to him courtesy of Adam Lyth’s thick edge off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling. Voges juggled the chance, fell to the turf on his back to regain control of the ball only for it to fortuitously land on his stomach, where it remained long enough for the veteran to grab it.

The catches, particularly the latter, meant Voges finished the day better than he started. He had looked assured in a partnership with Chris Rogers that was Australia’s longest, straddling the lunch break, only to fall for 16 as he left his bat too close to a Jimmy Anderson delivery he was attempting to leave and was caught behind.

Mass airport strike plan could mean delays for international travellers next week

International travellers are heading for delays at Melbourne Airport next week when hundreds of immigration and border protection employees plan to walk off the job.
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Workers will take part in mass strikes at Australia’s seven international airports, starting from the Monday morning peak period with a series of rolling four-hour stoppages.

The industrial strife is the latest escalation in a simmering feud between the public sector union and the Abbott government over pay and conditions.

The Community and Public Sector Union said thousands of employees nationwide were now taking part in the wave of workplace unrest, the largest in 30 years, spreading through the federal public service.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said public sector workers at airports deserved better than the government’s “unfair and unworkable” bargaining policy, which links pay rises to productivity gains.

“Public sector workers on our borders undertake important, difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs on behalf of our community,” she said.

“They deserve better than the Abbott government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take-home pay.”

The union said thousands of public sector airport workers faced losing up to $8000 a year, while some specialised officers face even larger pay cuts.

Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said the airport would work closely with the border force to minimise any disruptions to passengers on Monday.

Eric Abetz, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, said it was counterproductive for the CPSU to organise industrial action in support of its claim for a 12 per cent pay rise, which was “utterly unrealistic and would cost the jobs of 10,000 public servants”.

“The public service and the Australian people understand the difficult financial circumstances that we face as a nation and therefore the offers that are on the table are unreasonable in all the circumstances,” Senator Abetz said.

“We are in a very low inflationary environment and I’d encourage the CPSU to take a more responsible stance.”

New Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, released on Wednesday, showed an increase in the cost of living for employee households of 0.9 per cent.

Union members in the Agriculture Department, including quarantine workers, will also be participating in airport industrial action, including work stoppages, starting on Monday.

Members who have essential national security, counter-terrorism and specialist biosecurity hazard roles in the departments will be exempt from taking action on Monday, the CPSU said.

need2know: Positive sentiment for local open

Local shares are poised to open higher, buoyed by gains on Wall Street and in Europe on mostly strong corporate earnings.
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What you need2know

SPI futures up 34pts at 5607

AUD at 72.91 US cents

On Wall St, S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +0.4%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 +0.6%, FTSE +1.2%, CAC +0.8%, DAX +0.3%

Spot gold up $US2.08 or 0.2% to $US1097.56 an ounce

Brent crude up 32 US cents or 0.6% to $US53.62 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia import and export prices, building approvals, Eurozone consumer confidence, US Federal Reserve meeting, economic growth

Stocks in focus

Hartleys upgraded Saracen Minerals to a “buy” recommendation from “accumulate” with a price target of 68¢. The recent sell down of gold stocks was particularly evident in the SAR share price which currently trades around 20 per cent lower as a result of the 5 per cent fall in the AUD gold price. “We believe now is a good time to purchase one of the better quality AUD gold stocks at a large discount to NAV.”

Deutsche Bank has a “buy” on Iluka Resources with a price target at $8.90 a share.

Craig Swanger at FIIG Securities assesses the impact of falling oil on local companies. “Energy producers such as Woodside, Origin Energy and Santos will struggle to improve earnings in this environment.  Service providers such as Worley Parsons and Ausdrill also face headwinds due to the lack of investment that follows the lower for longer forecast. The winners from a lower for longer oil price are the consumers of oil. Qantas and Virgin are the clear winners, given that around one-third of their cost bases are made up of jet fuel costs.”

Currencies

The greenback rose as the Federal Reserve moved a step closer to raising interest rates amid improvements in the labour market. The US currency gained as policy makers cited “solid job gains and declining unemployment” in a statement after their July meeting concluded Wednesday, without providing a clear signal on the timing of the first interest-rate increase since 2006.

ANZ currency strategist Daniel Been notes that the Australian dollar “continued its downward spiral as commodities continue to weaken and as signals of recovery in manufacturing in China remain elusive”. He says in a report, these factors have offset the more neutral domestic environment, including a signal from the Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens that while further easing is possible, it is not imminent.

“With the AUD now closer to fair value on a number of metrics, the sensitivity of the AUD to these various factors will likely be heightened in both directions. We have lowered our forecasts by US1¢ to US72¢ at the end of 2015. We remain structurally bearish on the AUD, targeting US70¢ by June 2016,” Been said.

Commodities

Iron ore advanced for a third day, taking gains to 25 per cent from a six-year low even as the world’s top shipbroker predicted renewed losses. Ore with 62 per cent content delivered to Qingdao climbed 4.6 per cent to $US55.89 a dry metric ton on Wednesday, according to Metal Bulletin Ltd. That was the biggest increase since July 9. While the gain of more than 20 per cent from the July 8 low met the common definition of a bull market, prices remain 22 per cent lower this year.

Oil advanced the most in three weeks in New York after US crude stockpiles unexpectedly decreased as production and imports declined. Inventories fell 4.2 million barrels last week, Energy Information Administration data show.

Nickel declined for the sixth time in seven sessions as stockpiles increased by the most in two months. Nickel inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange climbed 1.2 percent to 457,890 metric tons, the biggest gain since May 26.  LME nickel for delivery in three months dropped 0.7 per cent to settle at $US11,250 a metric ton.

United States

US stocks rallied for a second day, as earnings topped forecasts and the Federal Reserve said the labor and housing markets are improving.

“Most peoples’ expectations are that we’re going to get a hike by the end of the year, and the Fed [statement] today didn’t do anything to change that narrative,” said Joe Bell, a Cincinnati-based senior equity analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

After the closing bell, Facebook said its second-quarter sales topped estimates, thanks to a robust advertising business and a growing number of mobile users. Shares fell as spending jumped 82 per cent.

Europe

European stocks had their biggest two-day gain in two weeks as companies from Bayer to PSA Peugeot Citroen reported better-than-estimated earnings and deals activity intensified.

Bayer and Peugeot rose more than 3.9 per cent. GlaxoSmithKline climbed 3.5 per cent after the UK’s biggest drug maker posted second-quarter profit that declined less than analysts had estimated. Barclays added 1.8 per cent and Numericable-SFR SAS added 3 per cent as profit rose. Italcementi surged 49 per cent as HeidelbergCement said it will buy it. The German company lost 6.3 per cent.

“EPS and top line beats are quite good,” said Tobias Britsch, who helps oversee about $US30 billion at Meriten Investment Management in Dusseldorf, Germany. “M&A activity will continue. It’s companies making use of high cash piles to buy top-line growth to react to lower organic growth.”

What happened yesterday

Australian shares rode a wave of improved global sentiment on Wednesday, with all sectors finishing in positive territory, as investors prepare for next week’s earnings season.

The Ashes 2015: more swing, more roundabouts

Chris Rogers is struck by a delivery from Steven Finn. Photo: Michael SteeleAshes 2015 scoreboardBatting woes for AustraliaPlayers unhappy Haddin left outVoges snares unbelievable catch
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Here was the English pitch both sides said they had been looking for. Here was an archetypal English day, all murk and muck and brollies periodically and sweaters from first ball to last. And here was England’s day, their best of the series yet, to follow their worst day, the last at Lord’s. It is becoming that sort of Ashes rubber, not so much a series as a sequence of random happenings.

Day-long cloud made for non-stop swing. Rain every two hours spritzed the pitch, covers might have added a film of sweat. But Alastair Cook would have batted on it, and Michael Clarke did. Both sides were surprised to find such a lively surface, but the stoic Chris Rogers, speaking on behalf of Australia at day’s end, did not second-guess the decision to bat. It was not a batting pitch, but it was a battable pitch, as England would demonstrate before the day was out.

But it awakened in Australia an old phobia about squaring up to the moving ball. And it became another instance of how in this age of instant cricketing gratification, few teams have the necessary doughtiness to arrest a collapse once it has begun. Australia did not last even as long as England at Lord’s.

Credit where it’s due: Jimmy Anderson was bewitching. Lord’s had yielded him nothing, which gave rise to a false impression that he had nothing left. The Australians found his bowling this day as impossible to track and pin down as the golden snitch of Harry Potter fame. Every ball was different, one swinging in, another out, one straightening off the seam, the next jagging away, the best of them curving one way and cutting the other. One of these did for David Warner to start the rout. Warner is not enjoying the English game of having to wait with tea and scones until the ball arrives. He prefers to ride out to meet it.

Anderson produced extravagant movement, but within a tight range, a deceptively difficult discipline. Steve Finn and Stuart Broad also had their sights finely calibrated, and the Australians always in them. All fell to full or full-ish balls, seven missing or edging, two trying not to play at all. The fullest of all, an old-fashioned yorker from the revitalised Finn, bowled Clarke. Finn, two years out of Test cricket, began the day by punching the Australian flag as he jogged onto the ground, and the rest of his work had the same exuberant stamp.

As for Clarke, it is symptomatic of the batsman in decline that their starts become more faltering. Through the grille of his new helmet, he is staring mortality in the face.

Anderson needed a total of 11 balls to dispose of Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill and Mitch Johnson. For Marsh, it was inswinger, straight ball, away swinger, catch. For Nevill, the in-ducker. For Johnson, around the wicket, straightening, gully catch. It was such a professional job it was a wonder Anderson was not seen afterwards detaching his bowling arm, cleaning it and packing it away in its case.

Only one man resisted meaningfully. Rogers was born (a long time ago) to see off great bowling. Adopted by the English, he learned to see off great England bowling. Against nearly every delivery, he delays his shot until he looks more to be absorbing the ball than playing it, then – ever the clinician – studies the scoreboard replay. Thwarted, the bowlers try a little harder to penetrate, and suddenly he has a half-volley to drive through covers or pick to leg. He rarely misses.

He was more troubled this day by movement behind the bowler’s arm than movement through the air or off the pitch. He batted for two-and-a-half hours, the rest of the Australians only three between them. To think he might not have played this match at all. To think that he might not play the next series.

Australia’s bowlers fell for the three-card trick England avoided. They bowled both sides of the wicket, and a metre too short, and if they did pitch up, pitched wide. England scooted along at five an over and within an hour-and-a-half had all but cleared the deficit.

Australia’s gains were incidentals, albeit gratefully accepted. Adam Voges nearly dropped one catch at first slip and took another without knowing it, Cook’s full-blooded pull at off-spinner Nathan Lyon lodging in his bread basket at short leg. Johnson did not take a wicket, and when an outfield ball escaped him and skidded on for four and the crowd got on his case, suddenly it was 2010-11 all over again.

Australia this day was third in a two-horse race, behind England and the pitch.  “We’ve got to find a method and we’ve got to find it quickly,” said Rogers, “because I’ve got a feeling we’re going to get a lot more of these.” And that. Warned Anderson: “I can bowl better than that. We can bowl better than that.”

If England director of cricket Andrew Strauss did not send an email before the series specifying pitch preparation, as alleged on the weekend, he will surely send one to the Edgbaston groundstaff now, with vouchers attached and kisses at the bottom.

Farmer savings climb towards $5 billion

The rise suggests that 2014-15 was a lucrative year for at least some Australian farmers.Australian farmers have more money stashed away in special savings accounts designed exclusively for farmers, more than $4.6 billion, than ever before.
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The cash reserves are an important buffer against drought, failed crops and other bad times. They are also a crucial savings base for farmers with plans to expand or invest in new infrastructure, machinery or stock.

The June figure of $4.6 billion, held between 48,487 farmers, is almost $500 million higher than the same time 12 months ago.

The rise during the 2014-15 financial year was easily the biggest annual surge in aggregate value of Farm Management Deposits over the past decade.

In the 2000s, the value of such FMDs was often static from year to year, and sometimes went backwards.

The rise suggests that 2014-15 was a lucrative year for at least some Australian farmers, particularly for those able to capitalise on a surge in commodity prices.

Cattle prices have repeatedly smashed records over the past six months, while wool prices surged unexpectedly to a four-year high in June.

Lamb and cotton prices, major planks of agriculture in eastern Australia, have also been strong.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce welcomed the record figures. The FMD accounts were an important tool for Australian farmers, he said.

“FMDs allow farmers to put pre-tax income aside in good years to build up cash reserves for use in low-income years,” he said.

“Having money set aside in an FMD to draw on in lean years can help farmers bring their businesses back to profitability when conditions improve,” he said.

Changes to the scheme, which come into effect in July next year, could lure more money into FMDs.

The changes include an increase in the cap on funds allowed to be held in an individual account, which will double to $800,000, and legislative changes that will allow FMD account funds to be used to offset a loan.

Brent Finlay, president of the National Farmers Federation, said farm management deposits were “such an important instrument” for farmers.

“They’re putting it away for the day when it doesn’t rain … or a day when they need access to funds, whether that’s changing their production systems or modifying production systems,” he said. “So it’s all the things that farmers need large amounts of capital for, it could be for when times are tough.

“What we’re trying to do in Australia is build resilience into our farm businesses, so here is a really important tool,” he said.

The FMD scheme was introduced in 1999 by the then Howard government.

Under the scheme’s rules, farmers can bank pre-tax farm income in seasons when returns are strong. These savings can be called upon in years when earnings are weaker.

Income deposited into one of these accounts is tax deductible in the financial year the deposit is made; it is treated as taxable income in the financial year it is pulled out.

Former bikie boss’s $60,000 escape to South Pacific thwarted by police

NCH NEWS. Supporters of comancheros motorcycle gang leader Mark Buddle leave Newcastle Court. 29th July 2015. NCH. NEWCASTLE. Pic by MAX MASON-HUBERS MMHIT was meant to be a dream South Pacific getaway highlighted by a surprise marriage proposal.
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But instead of a beach in Noumea, the former national president of the Comancheros bikie gang will spend at least the next five days in a Hunter jail cell after he was allegedly caught with more than $60,000 in cash on board a private aircraft trying to leave Australia.

Mark Douglas Buddle, 30, waved and blew kisses to his partner Melanie Ter Wisscha and the couple’s four-year-old daughter during a protracted bail application in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday. The former bikie, who gave an address in South Yarra, was charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime and taking more than $10,000 out of Australia without reporting it.

But his solicitor, Avni Djemal, told the court his client had been given the money by a number of friends “as a sort of reward” for completing rehabilitation for alcohol and substance abuse issues. Mr Djemal said the money was for a trip away, where Mr Buddle was going to surprise his long-term partner by proposing.

He said Customs officers had found an engagement ring on board the aircraft.

After serving more than a year in custody for his role in a Melbourne strip club brawl in December 2011 – and with subsequent strict parole conditions concluding on Saturday – Mr Buddle boarded a privately chartered twin-engine BE20 King Air aircraft at Essendon Airport on Tuesday bound for New Caledonia, according to police facts tendered to court. Police estimated the chartered flight would cost between $50,000 and $60,000.

On board with him were his partner, Ms Ter Wisscha, the couple’s daughter and a fully licensed pilot. About 9.20am, the aircraft landed at Newcastle Airport to be refuelled and allow passengers to clear Customs.

Comanchero president Mark Buddle.

Two Australian Border Force officers met aircraft VH ZMP on the tarmac and collected all passengers’ passports and departure cards, police said. “All the departure cards had been completed with the declaration that they were not taking more than $10,000 in Australian or foreign currency out of Australia,” the police stated.

It was when the officers asked to inspect the passenger’s luggage that both Mr Buddle and Ms Ter Wisscha admitted there was “significant amounts of cash” in their bags, police stated.

Officers found bundles of cash in a bum bag allegedly belonging to Mr Buddle totaling $29,045. They also found $30,000 in cash in a black suitcase allegedly belonging to Ms Ter Wisscha.

As police were being called, Port Stephens police Detective Inspector George Radmore and Acting Superintendent Guy Flaherty were at the airport on another matter.

Police facts stated Mr Buddle approached police and said: “My wife filled out the cards, I only had 10 and she had the rest”.

Mr Buddle was later searched and handed over $1095 in a money clip and $145 in a wallet. He was arrested and taken to Raymond Terrace police station where he refused to take part in an interview, provide details about the source of the cash or divulge who organised and paid for the private charter flight.

He later told police he was self-employed and drove a fruit delivery truck for a friend – earning “thousands of dollars each week” – but was unable to identify the company in Melbourne he was driving for, police facts stated.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Maree Maynard opposed bail, labelling the accused an “unacceptable flight risk”. She said Mr Buddle had only been out of jail for a month and had no legitimate means by which he could have acquired $60,000 in cash. Ms Maynard said Mr Buddle had limited ties in NSW and had a long history of failing to appear in court.

But Mr Djemal said Mr Buddle and his partner intended to live in NSW now his Victorian jail term was complete and had enrolled their daughter in a Sydney school.

He said his client had completed strict parole conditions “without a blemish” and had not committed an offence since 2012.

He also said Ms Ter Wisscha had filled out the declaration forms and upon learning of her mistake sought to amend them. “He might have signed it, but whether he understood what he signed is a live issue as to his culpability and liability in this case,” Mr Djemal said.

“There is no doubt money was found, there is no issue there.

“But the money was left by numerous people as a sort of reward for his coming through rehab.

“It was for a trip away and there is no dispute an engagement ring was found.

“This was meant to be a surprise, he was going to propose to her.

“It was supposed to be a trip away and back, otherwise they wouldn’t have enrolled their daughter in school here, but it has become something quite sour.”

Magistrate Ian Cheetham adjourned the matter until Tuesday to make a judgment on bail. Until then, Mr Buddle was remanded in custody.

Ms Ter Wisscha was not arrested but was told she was likely to face similar charges.

Story from the Newcastle Herald

Michael Sheen returns to sex it up again

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex.Through the first two seasons of Masters Of Sex, interpreting human intimacy had always been something William Masters had been able to do through the prism of academia.
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This season, everything changes when his children grow up and suddenly the question of human sexuality becomes a very real and present issue.

For Michael Sheen, the 46-year-old Welsh actor tasked with bringing him to life, the dilemma is particularly intriguing. “I think the idea of sexuality, which requires a loss of control, which requires you to give yourself up to something, is very frightening to him,” Sheen says.

“The idea of keeping it academic and scientific and ordered and structured is very helpful to him, but it’s not his true nature,” Sheen says. “I think that’s a big part of what fascinated me about Bill from the beginning, was seeing a man who has created a kind of illusion of order.”

Masters of Sex was based on the book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love, by Thomas Maier. It was adapted for television by Michelle Ashford and is now entering its third season.

With growing children, Sheen notes, “the challenges of parenting are slightly changing. Now I have to deal with my own son who’s older and he’s now around the age that [my character] was being abused by my father. That presses a lot of buttons, I think.”

One of the key reasons Masters was drawn to his scientific work, Sheen says, is because he feels he is someone unworthy of love. “If he can get recognition through his work then that sort of gives him a validation that he doesn’t feel is open to him in life.”

That issue becomes even more complicated as Masters and Johnson’s work is revealed to the public, a turning point in the story reached as the second season drew to its conclusion.

“Once you become a public figure, obviously, it’s not just about work; it’s not just through the medical establishment, it’s the world,” Sheen says. “It’s about how people respond to you and I think that absolutely terrifies him because I think he sort of sees himself as a monster. [He thinks] if people see who he really is they will see him for the monster that he really is.”

The third season opens with a jump in time that places the series’ narrative in the middle of the 1960s. But Sheen is cautious about trying to interpret events through the prism of the sexual revolution which, to some extent, defined that decade.

“You have to remember we’re in St Louis,” he says. “It’s true, the sexual revolution happened in California and New York. It was different [in St Louis]. In terms of when you talk about the sexual revolution there’s lots of different versions of that going on. I think it was a slower change for the majority.”

Though the series began its narrative in the 1950s, there are powerful statements contained within it which reflect on modern society and modern sexuality. Though Sheen is cautious about making those observations from the perspective of someone working on the show.

“That’s not for me to say, really, that’s for the people who are watching it to say.  I think from working on it, it certainly feels like what we’re working on is not some sort of period piece. It’s not just resigned to the past. It feels very resonant to our lives today, certainly to my life today.”

As an actor, he says, he has no interest in playing  in a museum piece. “What was exciting about the project in the first place was to be able to do something through the lens of history that actually is about now, is about what we’re going through now,” he says.

Sheen has never seen his career  as “work”, with diverse portrayals, from a trilogy of projects as former British prime minister Tony Blair (2003’s The Deal, 2006’s The Queen and 2010’s The Special Relationship), as the comedian Kenneth Williams in 2006’s Fantabulosa! and as David Frost on stage in 2006’s Frost/Nixon, and in 2008, in the film adaptation of the play.

“It’s what I love doing, it’s how I navigate my way through the world, it’s how I understand things about myself and about the environment I’m in,” he says. “I’ve never really seen it as work. I’ve been very fortunate. I think you start to see it as work once you don’t have it.”

Through the show’s lifespan, Sheen has added the role of a co-producer to his bow, saying the collaborative aspect of the series is perhaps the most satisfying for him.

“When you’re working on a film you get the script and there’s a certain amount that you can work on that and change things and bring things into it,” he says. “With this, which is ongoing, I actually get to be able to work out story lines for Bill, to say maybe we can do this, [or] I’d really love to explore this aspect of him now.  That’s been the most exciting aspect of doing this.”

Masters of Sex, Thursday, SBS, 9.30pm

Feeling the heat: Adam Goodes racism furore highlights ‘ignorance’

Adam Goodes celebrates a goal during an AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at SCG in May. Picture: GETTY IMAGESMark Simon only remembers copping a racial taunt once on the footy field and the culprit apologised quick smart.
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But he understands why Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes is feeling the heat.

‘‘The negative comments affect people in different ways, some more than others,”the Port Kembla rugby league captain-coach said this week.

‘‘Things are said in the heat of battle, that happens they slip out, but it’s disappointing. It’s hard to say what’s happening to Adam right now is a racial thing, I think it’s just ignorance,’’ Simon said.

The National Parks Aboriginal Heritage Conservation Officer believes the Goodes controversy is ‘‘going overboard’’ and nobody should be criticised for being proud of their Aboriginal heritage.

Port Kembla rugby league captain-coach Mark Simon, with his son Taj, and other members of the Under 9 team he coached in 2013. Simon only remembers copping a racial taunt once on the footy field but understands why Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes is feeling the heat. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Goodes, a dual Brownlow medallist, is reportedly considering retiring from AFL after being subjected to a torrent of abuse this season.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has thrown his support behind the Swans legend and Australian of the Year, saying: ‘‘You should play – I’m confident Crows fans will treat you with respect this weekend and you’re welcome in SA anytime’’.

Simon, who comes from a family of rugby league stars – his brothers John and Craig played in the National Rugby League – said it was a shame Goodes performing an Aboriginal dance on the footy field could raise such controversy.

‘‘It’s unfortunate it takes something like this to get people talking,’’ he said. ‘‘To me it’s just being proud of your Aboriginal heritage.’’

‘‘New Zealand they have the Haka and the entire nation embraces that. It’s in the mainstream.

‘‘I suppose now someone like Adam with his personality, he’s seeing this as an opportunity to get our heritage out there.

‘‘We do have a strong cultural heritage and over the years a lot of its been lost.’’

Simon said Aboriginal people were just trying to get the message out to the general population.

‘‘Our culture has always been there. We just don’t pay enough attention.’’

Story from the Illawarra Mercury

Gruen star Russell Howcroft’s book should be a hit at Ten

Todd Sampson, Wil Anderson and Russell Howcroft from The Gruen Transfer. Todd Sampson, Wil Anderson and Russell Howcroft from The Gruen Transfer.
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Todd Sampson, Wil Anderson and Russell Howcroft from The Gruen Transfer.

Todd Sampson, Wil Anderson and Russell Howcroft from The Gruen Transfer.

Despite being on its fifth CEO in five years, it’s good to see the brains trust is remaining “on message” at Network Ten.

Russell Howcroft, the broadcaster’s executive general manager – and minor celebrity thanks to his days as a Gruen Transfer panellist – is about to publish his first book: When it’s Right to be Wrong – fight for ideas they’re worth it.

It isn’t actually an apologist tome for Lachlan Murdoch’s failed strategy to take Ten back to being a low-cost, youth-focused niche network.

Rather, it harks back to Howcroft’s previous work as an ad man.

“Whether he’s selling beer, health insurance or the army, former adman Russel believes in the power of the idea, and that creativity is needed to make good things happen. Whether it’s about business or everyday life, Russel knows sometimes you simply have to go against the tide,” says the book blurb.

At least Howcroft seems to have a proper day job, unlike his Gruen co-panellist Todd Sampson, whose CEO title at Leo Burnett does not seem to interfere with his extensive extracurricular activities.

This includes his own TV show, Redesign My Brain, and boardroom roles at CBD publisher Fairfax Media, and Qantas.

His long list of activities means he does not even have space on his Twitter page to include his role at Leo Burnett. Surely he is not worried about second-hand smoke issues from the ad agency’s close role with big tobacco?

It probably helps that the Twitterati are suitably distracted by the slow striptease, which has recently seen Sampson swap his trademark T-shirt for a bare torso – all in the name of publicity, of course.

How times have changed. Going back five years, CBD found a publicity still from The Gruen Transfer that shows Sampson was willing to don a long-sleeve, collared shirt on at least one occasion. Ex MasterChef 

Speaking of Ten. The former executive chairman who fell on his sword for Rupert Murdoch on Monday, Hamish McLennan, may have been displaying a sense of humour by lunching at Sydney pasta bowl Machiavelli on Wednesday.

He was suited up but no sign of a CV.

Ad man Harold Mitchell, who chairs Free TV, was at a separate table viewing the portraits he curated for the corporate diner.     Cabin fever  

Virgin Australia’s workaholic rev head, John Borghetti, will have to a burn a bit more of the midnight oil to catch his Qantas nemesis, Alan Joyce.

Virgin reported a $94 million net loss for the 2014-15 financial year, slightly behind the flying roo’s resurgent earnings for the same period that are expected to fall just shy of the $1 billion mark.

Virgin’s number crunchers would argue that Qantas has given itself quite a financial tailwind with the recent multibillion-dollar write-offs, but it is the bottom-line numbers that will have everyone’s attention.

The big question is whether Borghetti is focused on this race, or the supermarket aisles at Woolies?  Fair cop 

So, Greg Medcraft’s corporate cop shop has offered a bit more clarity on the user-pays model it is adopting, now that Treasurer Joe Hockey has stiffed ASIC on the funding front.

It will make the corporate wrongdoers foot the bill for its work. Pity it isn’t backdating its billing given the extensive work it has done on our big banks and their wealth-stripping operations.

It would be a great place to start given the restrictions ASIC is placing on its recovery efforts, which include judging the offender’s ability to pay.

As bank robber Willie Sutton reputedly told a reporter who asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is”.

Of course, ASIC has to actually win its actions before it can send the bill, which is easier said than done. Just ask ABC Learning’s Eddy Groves, and Fortescue’s Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest.   Wealth effect 

We can do the final numbers on NAB’s grand adventure in the American mid west with Great Western Bank.

The exit, engineered by new broom Andrew Thorburn, yielded $1.464 billion in sales proceeds for a bank now worth just under $2 billion in Aussie peso.

So that’s a big thanks from the new shareholders whose investment has performed much better than NAB’s shares in the same period.

NAB will also be wearing a $400 million loss on the valuation in its book valuation, just to rub salt into the wounds for Aussie investors.

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Squatters to blame for torching heritage-listed Wagga home: resident

WHERE TO START?: One of the tenants looks at the ruins of his home. Photo: KIEREN TILLYTHE resident of a heritage-listed home that erupted in flames on Tuesday night has blamed squatters for the blaze.
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The man claims he was locked out of his own home when a squatter invited local teens to a wild party at the Johnston Street residence.

Speaking toThe Daily Advertiser, the tenant said he had lost everything“but the shirt on my back” in the fire.

He claimed the fire stemmed from a dispute with ahomeless woman who had been invited into the property two weeks earlier.

On the day of the fire, police evicted the woman from the property and the landlord had secured the house.

Police labelled the fire as suspicious and have started an investigation.

After offering to help someone out, the tenant described the blaze as a“kick in the guts”.

“You don’t expect it to backfire,” said the tenant, who wished only to be known as Gareth

“Destroyingeverything someone owns with no thought is pretty selfish.”

After losing more than 40 years of memories and possessions, he did not know where to start rebuilding his life.

Wagga policecrime manager Inspector Darren Cloake said several young people were moved on from the property on Tuesday.

“Officers spoke to a number of youth from a nearby refuge who were making use of the property at the time,” Inspector Cloake said.

The cause of the fire hasnot been determined and forensic officers yesterday scoured the scene for clues.

Fire crews took close to an hour to control the fire after arriving just after 7pm.

Turvey Park station commander Geoff Edwards said no entry was made to the premises due to extensive damage.

“We couldn’t get inside because of the structural damage,” Mr Edwards said.

The roof had collapsed and much of the floor of the property hadbeen burned away – exposing bearings and joints.

Mr Edwards said the closest property was just three metres away from the burning building connected by an awning.

The neighbouring building suffered heat damage but firefighters prevented the fire spreading to units behind the property.

Mr Edwards praised the actions of one Johnston Street resident who located a fire hydrant on the road as firefighters arrived.

A neighbour said they heard nothing before their dog began barking, thinking it might have been an intruder in the backyard they went outside to find the neighbouring property engulfed by fire.

Earlier at 6.50pm, another neighbour returned from town and heard what were thought to be crackers only to see fire across the road.

The owner of the propertysaid the property will likely be pulled down.

Story from The Daily Advertiser