Archive for July 2018

Wag: Newshound is looking for clever pooches and political watchdogs with a nose for news and the ability to sniff out a scoop.Have you got a clever pooch that brings in the paper every morning? How about a puppy that barks at the TV news?
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Well, the Mercury wants to know about it – Max the Mercury Newshound is looking for dogs that bring the news to Illawarra households.

Show us your dog’s news sniffing skills by sending in a creative photo of your dog gathering the news of the day.

Every entry will receive a $10 voucher for Pet Stock Wollongong or Albion Park.

The first prize winner will receive a Pet Stock dog package, to the value of $1000 while two runners-up will each win a $100 gift card for Pet Stock Wollongong or Albion Park.

The competition starts on Saturday. Email your photo to [email protected]南京夜网.au and visit the Mercury website to see if your entry is in our online gallery.

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File pictureFrom July 1, getting the National Broadband Network could cost some Illawarra residents as much as $300 while others will get it for free.
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Connecting to the NBN was free, but the federal government has decided to introduce a one-off $300 fee to NBN Co from July 1, after previously planning it to start on March 1.

“The charge only relates to new connections to new premises in new developments, not NBN connections to established premises,” a Department of Communications spokesman said.

“The July 1 date will provide the development and communications sectors with more time to adjust. From July 1, NBN Co will charge retail service providers. It will be up to retail service providers if and how they pass on the charge.”

The government has also introduced a $600 fee per home and $400 per apartment to developers for providing the NBN infrastructure in the building phase.

While this is now in force, the government will not collect any money until the second half of 2015.

“The government is introducing charges for telecommunications infrastructure in new developments to facilitate competition, which will promote long-term efficiency in the servicing of new developments,” the spokesman said.

“It should be noted that charging developers, who directly benefit from the deployment of essential infrastructure, is consistent with the approach of other utilities, such as water, electricity and gas providers.”

None of the charges will be retroactive.

Labor member for Throsby Stephen Jones feels the full cost of both the $600 developer fee and the $300 provider charge will ultimately be passed onto the homeowner.

Mr Jones claimed these charges were unfair as homeowners didn’t really have a choice as to whether they wanted to connect to the NBN.

“The copper network is being switched off and the NBN is being switched on,” he said.

“You’ve got no choice and the government is passing the cost onto the households.

“Labor took the view that this was something we need to do and we’ll absorb the cost of connection fees into the project.

“The new government is taking a different view and they’re passing the cost onto the consumer.”

Mr Jones expressed concerns the charges could create haves and have-nots.

“There is a risk it will create a digital divide,” Mr Jones said.

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File pictureCalories – it’s a term used widely everywhere, but what is an actual calorie?
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Calories are defined as: “A unit of heat equal to the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1000 grams of water by 1 degree.” This unit is used as a measure of the amount of heat energy released by food as it is digested by the body.

Now what does all this mean? Well, essentially it’s all to do with energy. Energy in versus energy out.

If we burn off more energy than what we consume we are ahead of the calorie equation and will maintain or lose weight.

However, once we start to increase our calorie ingestion or decrease our calorie burn rate then we start to get behind in this very simple equation.

Here are some tips regarding calories and their values:

■ To lose 1kg of weight we need to burn roughly 7300 calories.

■ There are 4.2 kilojoules in a calorie.

■ If we ingested 200 calories less or burnt 200 calories more per day we would lose 10kg over the course of one year.

■ Lean muscle burns more calories at rest, so ensure you are getting some form of resistance/weight training into your sessions each week. The more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn per hour while sitting at work or sleeping.

■ Always choose water over the higher calorie infused soft drinks and fruit juices.

Keeping on the right side of the calorie equation will not only benefit your health and wellbeing, it will benefit so many other facets of your life.

Happy training!

Lukas Chodat is the director of Chodat Fitness.

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State Labor’s plan to scrap the chemotherapy co-payment has been welcomed by Cancer Council NSW South Region spokeswoman Tina Hunt.
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Ms Hunt said abolishing the co-payment was one of five issues Cancer Council NSW had identified in its statewide campaign, Saving Life: Vision for Change.

She welcomed Keira MP Ryan Park’s announcement on Monday that the co-payment for the life-saving treatment would be abolished if Labor won this month’s state election.

The shadow minister for the Illawarra said a Labor government would provide $6.2 million to ensure that chemotherapy was free to all cancer patients in NSW public hospitals.

“It is heartening to see political parties acknowledge the financial burden on cancer patients, and recognise the role that state government can play in helping patients and carers at a difficult time in their lives,” Ms Hunt said.

“We know that some cancer patients can pay up to $180 in co-payment fees for their initial chemotherapy treatment and may be charged even more for further treatment.

“Removing this financial cost will help ease the burden for cancer patients and their families.”

Ms Hunt said over the past seven months Cancer Council supporters had held over 100 meetings with local MPs and candidates about the five issues where state government action would make the most difference to cancer.

Mr Park said the chemotherapy co-payment was introduced by the state’s Liberal-National Government in 2012, and NSW was the only state where it existed.

He said the co-payment was required for the first prescription of each chemotherapy drug. As the first round of chemotherapy could involve four or five separate drugs, it was common for patients to pay around $180 for their first treatment.

If the treatment program changed and new chemotherapy medicines were prescribed, patients must then pay another co-payment, on top of other medical costs.

“It is a critical thing that people who are going through chemotherapy don’t need any additional stress, particularly financial stress, as they are battling what is a very traumatic disease,” Mr Park said.

“We want to make sure that patients – their families and loved ones – are not hit with additional payments and bills for this necessary treatment.”

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said co-payments for drugs dispensed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme were the policy responsibility of the Commonwealth Government, which introduced co-payments in 1960.

However, Ms Skinner said the NSW government was considering options regarding the removal of co-payments for all public hospital outpatients across a number of diseases, including cancer.

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Mi-Sex is one of the acts that will be headlining at Solid Gold, a touring show featuring some of the best-known bands from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.There are a lot of illnesses and accidents you expect to befall a musician.
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But a stroke is not one of them. And yet that’s just what happened to Mi-Sex keyboard player Murray Burns while on stage at a gig in the Yarra Valley.

“I had a stroke, believe it or not,” Burns says.

“I couldn’t stand up. I just had no idea, it was just the most surreal feeling you could ever imagine. I basically went to sleep within about 10 minutes and I woke up three days later.

“I thought I was OK but apparently it was quite funny to hear me talk because there wasn’t much happening.

“I had to learn how to walk again, but I feel fantastic now.”

But, while he’s better, guitarist Kevin Stanton has had to leave the band due to ongoing back problems.

They’re not the sort of injuries the band would have had to deal with in their heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The band best known for the song Computer Games got a surprising rebirth, when former Noiseworks member Steve Balbi said he was keen to sing for the band.

Balbi replaces original lead singer Steve Gilpin, who died in a car accident in 1992.

“We stopped playing when Steve died and we really never gave it much thought,” Burns says of a reunion. “Don [Martin, bass player] had been involved in other things that weren’t to do with music. He said, ‘right, time to put down my pen and computer. I’d like to play again occasionally, just for fun’.

“Steve Balbi and Don got together and Steve said, ‘I’d love to sing for you if you ever decided to play again’.”

A one-off show went so well that Balbi became the new frontman for the band. While Gilpin had a very distinctive voice, Burns says Balbi doesn’t try and copy him but rather brings his own approach to the songs. “He has a totally, totally different voice,” Burns says.

“Steve Balbi really relates to the theatrical side of a lot of Kevin Stanton’s lyrics.

“He doesn’t sound in any way like Steve and we don’t expect him to.

“In fact we love that he brings his own flavour to Mi-Sex songs.

“Some of them, he does his own thing with the songs. The songs are still strong enough to stand up on their own and be totally recognisable.”

He’ll be putting his own take on some of those songs when the band takes part in Solid Gold, a touring show featuring bands from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

For Burns, the shows – and the reunion as whole – gives the band’s younger fans a chance to see them play live.

“Because we stopped playing at the end of 1983, there would have been people 13, 14 years old who watched us on Countdown but never actually got to see us play live because they weren’t old enough to get into pubs,” Burn says.

WIN Entertainment Centre, May 30

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Chocolate, along with pizza, chips and ice-cream, has been identified by researchers as one of the most addictive of foods.There are foods you cannot seem to stop eating, no matter how hard you try. The concept of food addiction has been employed without a clear definition for some time, with associations made between certain types of food being consumed and the physiological and behavioural effects of drug use, such as increased impulsivity and emotional reactivity as well as specific patterns of brain activity.
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Now, recent research completed by the Icahn School of Medicine, in Mount Sinai, and published online by the Public Library of Science, has furthered knowledge in this area.

Some highly processed foods (including fast food, chocolate, ice-cream, cakes and biscuits) have post-consumption effects similar to those of drugs, therefore researchers hypothesised that they could also be linked to addictive eating behaviours. It was thought that foods that contain concentrated amounts of physiological stimulants (sugars and fats), and had quick absorption rates in the body (high glycaemic load), would create pronounced physiological, addictive experiences.

Two studies investigated which foods were rated as most and least addictive by participants. Participants then applied these highly and lowly rated foods to the Yale Food Addiction Scale.

They described their food-related experiences using statements such as “I eat to the point where I feel physically ill”.

This allowed researchers to identify links between particular types of food and associated addictive food behaviours. Foods were then rated from most to least problematic when it came to their addictive tendencies.

As expected, the most highly processed foods rated most highly for their addictive properties, while more nutrient-dense, low-calorie options such as salad vegetables and wholegrains were ranked least addictive.

The findings support the consumption of plain, unprocessed foods, which control feeding behaviour long term.

Here are some of the most and least addictive types of food:

Pizza

Rich in processed carbs, fat and salt, the mix of flavour, processed starches used to make the base, and fatty ingredients, give the brain a stimulation overload. If you love pizza, control your intake by choosing thin, baked bases with minimal toppings.

Chocolate

We are not talking about 85 per cent cocoa chocolate here, but the sickly-sweet milk variety many of us cannot stop eating once we open a block. If chocolate is your vice, stick to small serving sizes and the darker the better.

Potato chips

Another carb and fat overload packed with appealing flavours, which may explain why an entire bag disappears in no time. Again, purchase smaller packets if you must indulge, and plain is much better than flavoured options.

Cookies

Less popular in Australia, the mix of white flour, sugar and fat gives the brain a stimulation overload. Make your own with natural ingredients.

Ice-cream

With so many flavours to choose from, and with confectionery, syrups, nuts and chocolate often added, it is no surprise that we cannot stop at a single scoop. Seek out lower calorie sorbets or gelato in a single scoop when the lure of ice-cream calls.

Cucumber

Mostly water, adding a cucumber a day to your diet will help reduce bloating and boost your fibre and potassium intake for very few calories.

Carrots

Another nutrient-rich salad vegetable that will boost your beta carotene and fibre intake with minimal calories.

Beans

Legumes are a protein and nutrient-rich option that can benefit all of us, not just the vegetarians – add to salads, mince dishes and soups to boost your nutrition.

Apples

Need a sweet hit? Look no further than a humble apple, which can serve as a perfect sugar hit mid-afternoon, especially if enjoyed with a little cheese or a nut spread.

Brown rice

Though relatively high in carbs, for active people, a little carb with your lunch or dinner may even help to prevent sugar cravings later on.

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Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua will consider changing call plays against the Western Force on Friday night. Photo: Quinn RooneyThe ACT Brumbies are preparing to outwit the Western Force and will consider changing their plays to prevent former players Zach Holmes and Ian Prior from using inside information to their advantage.
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The Brumbies won’t be taking the Force lightly as they aim to extend their perfect record against Australian teams at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

The Force knocked off the Brumbies 31-21 in a trial game in January, with Holmes and Prior identifying the Brumbies’ plays to help nullify their attack.

Both players spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Brumbies before making the move to the Force last year in search of greater opportunities.

Holmes has established himself in the No.10 jersey for the Force, while Prior is coming off the bench at scrumhalf.

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua kept a bit of mystery with his team’s tactics, suggesting they could switch things up to keep his former teammates on their toes.

“We’ve heard them call out plays out there during the trial matches, so we might change calls or we might double bluff them and keep them the same, we’ll see,” Toomua said.

“We called a couple plays and they knew exactly what was going on.

“(Holmes) knows my game quite well, I know his game quite well.

“You do a lot of review on every guy every week, but having that inside knowledge with a guy like Zach helps, but I’m sure he says the same thing about me.”

The Brumbies are leading the Australian conference, a two-point loss to the Waikato Chiefs a fortnight ago their only blemish.

They are coming off a gritty 20-15 win on the road against the Melbourne Rebels, while the Force slipped to 1-2 after being thrashed 42-13 by the Wellington Hurricanes.

It is the Brumbies’ second of four straight games against teams from the Australian conference leading into their first bye.

They take on the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next weekend before facing defending champions, the NSW Waratahs, in Sydney.

“It’s massive,” Toomua said.

“You top your conference you go into the finals, so any local derbies are always big ones.

“We don’t want to look too far ahead, but we know we’ve got three to go then we’re on a break.

“Four points you get is four points you take off them, which is important in the conference, it’s much more than just a normal game.”

The Force will welcome back Wallabies winger Nick Cummins for his first game of the season after recovering from ankle surgery.

Openside flanker Chris Alcock is also likely to return, blindside flanker Gus Cottrell is in doubt with an ankle injury and captain Matt Hodgson is still a few weeks away with a hamstring injury.

Brumbies fullback Robbie Coleman said the Force was renowned for its tough play in the forwards.

“They can really get you caught in that grindy style of rugby and they’ve had a really good start to the season,” Coleman said.

“They can force you into a sloppy game, so we want to play our style no matter how they’re doing it.

“It’s a huge game for us and we want to put in a good performance.”

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Benn Robinson has instructed Michael Cheika to tear up his contract if the Waratahs prop ever loses his “hunger”.
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In his 10th season of Super Rugby and a few days out from a game that will make him the most-capped Waratah in the province’s history, Robinson said he had lost none of the drive that propelled him to the top of Australian rugby.

“I said to the coach before: ‘When I start losing that hunger, I’ll let you know and you can tear up that contract of mine’,” he said.

“If I lose that hunger, then I know it’s probably not the place to be around any more.”

Robinson will overtake his idol and former captain Phil Waugh when he plays his 137th game in a Waratahs jersey against the Reds in Brisbane this weekend.

The 72-Test veteran said he found the milestone hard to come to terms with.

“It’s a difficult one to fathom. When I first started playing footy, I just loved what I did, and I still love what I do now,” he said.

“It still feels like my first couple of years of playing rugby. I think that’s got to do with the group I’m in at the moment, making me work really hard, making me strive to become a better person and player.

“I don’t think any player goes out there and tries to break records.”

A strong scrummager but victim in recent years of the selection axe at Test level, Robinson said he had never let the disappointing days get him down. The worst of those came in 2011, when a knee injury ruled him out of the Wallabies’ world cup campaign.

“You could say it’s a judge of character or trait of mine, I don’t know,” he said. “When things are down, I’m not one to shy away or hide from that challenge. Whether there’s been a drop [in form], or an injury or whatever it is, I’ve always had that belief that I can get back.”

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The media were detained in a pen to observe Jillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appear before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares Members of the media almost trip over a bollard after a Parliamentary security guard put it in their way while interviewing Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Malcolm Turnbull described journalist Latika Bourke as the Florence Nightingale of the press gallery after she cleared away a potential tripping hazard. Photo: Andrew Meares

Journalists were kept in a pen to observe Gillian Triggs appear at Senate estimates last month. Photo: Andrew Meares

Reporters seek comment from Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday morning. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The media were detained in a pen to observe Jillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appear before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares

The media were detained in a pen to observe Jillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appear before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares

Media pen at ministerial entrance at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Like seagulls on a hot chip, journalists will swoop on Malcolm Turnbull at any opportunity. Whether he’s waiting for a bus near his Point Piper home or downing a banana split with Clive Palmer, the Minister for Communications always draws a crowd.

So it was at Parliament House on Tuesday when Turnbull emerged from an International Women’s Day breakfast. While Prime Minister Tony Abbott evaded media questioning, Turnbull entertained the press pack with tales about his use of the self-destructing messaging service Wickr. It was a cordial affair until one security guard placed a rope bollard behind the mass of reporters, photographers and camera operators.

It was a dangerous decision given the media were walking backwards and many were clutching heavy, expensive equipment. The guard smiled, acknowledging he knew what he was up to. This happened in the Mural Hall, an area where media access is classed as unrestricted.

Channel Nine’s bureau chief has written a letter of complaint about the incident; so has the Press Gallery Committee.

“We have asked the sergeant-at-arms for an explanation of what happened this morning and to clarify whether this was a deliberate attempt to trip up media crews,” Sky News’ David Speers, the president of the committee, said.

A skirmish such as this could – like the fight for the Liberal Party leadership or alleged job offers for the President of the Human Rights Commission – be dismissed as “Canberra insider nonsense”. But this was no isolated incident.

Press gallery veterans insist that, under the guise of improved security, journalists are increasingly being corralled, controlled and restricted in their efforts to inform the public about what is happening in Parliament House.

“I fear the terrorist threat is being used as an opportunity to manage the media,” Fairfax Media’s chief press gallery photographer Andrew Meares said.

While security arrangements may have been too lax before – epitomised by NSW Senator Bill Heffernan smuggling a replica pipe bomb into the building – there is a fear the pendulum has swung too far the other way since the Australian Federal Police took over internal security last September.

Once allowed to roam relatively freely, journalists and camera crews now find they are regularly placed in cordoned-off areas, penned in by velvet ropes. It was announced a week ago that a restricted area for filming would be introduced outside the ministerial entrance to Parliament House. The routine task of filming the Prime Minister and other senior politicians arriving at Parliament is now circumscribed.

Journalists can no longer use the ministerial entrance and must tell security guards who they are meeting with in order to access the ministerial wing.

A veteran radio reporter said waiting for politicians at the airport is now the best shot journalists have at an impromptu press conference with senior politicians.

Parliament House, he said, is “becoming more organised, structured and artificial”.

A similar cordoned-off system has been introduced for the morning doorstop press conferences. And photographers at last week’s electric Senate estimates hearing starring Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs and Attorney-General George Brandis were held behind rope – an unusual decision.

It goes on. As Laurie Oakes recently reported, politicians including Tony Abbott have set up broadcast-quality equipment in their offices so interviews are conducted on their turf, not the media’s. This allows them to avoid the “walk of shame” through the press gallery, minimising the chance of any surprise encounters with reporters.

The atmosphere has also changed. Guards with large guns now patrol the entrance to Parliament House; police officers routinely prowl the exterior of the building with sniffer dogs. Many thought the security crackdown approached high farce in January when West Australian journalist Nick Butterly was asked by a guard to remove a T-shirt featuring the “offensive” New York Post headline “Headless body in topless bar”.

Meanwhile, this reporter accidentally brought a 30-centimetre, razor-sharp kitchen knife through Parliament’s security scans last week. It could certainly have done more damage than a T-shirt.

Not a question was asked, not an eyebrow was raised.

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Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares

A senior government senator has continued to attack Gillian Triggs over the Human Rights Commission’s report on children in immigration detention despite admitting he had not read the report.

Senator Ian Macdonald raised the report during the meeting of government MPs yesterday, describing it as “unnecessary, irrelevant and inaccurate” and “not worth the paper it was written on”.

During questioning on Professor Triggs before a Senate committee last week, Senator Macdonald boasted that he had not read the report. He later issued a statement claiming he read an an addendum that confirmed his decision “not to waste my time on a report which was clearly partisan”.

His comments came as the Senate passed a motion commending the commission and its president, Professor Triggs, on the report and noting that allegations of abuse of children in detention had been referred to police for action.

“Many Australians have been appalled by the Abbott government’s hysterical attack on the Human Rights Commission and now the Senate has taken a stand,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Meanwhile, the President of Nauru has criticised “faceless” refugee advocates of trying to provoke violence in the detention camp in order to achieve their “political agenda”. On Friday around 150 asylum seekers were reportedly protesting on the small Pacific island, saying they were not safe in the community. Refugee advocates claim that there were a small number of minor injuries as a result.

But President Baron Waqa said all refugees living in the country were safe and that reports contrary to this were “blatant lies spread by Australian advocates and lawyers”.

“The government of Nauru is doing what we can to make their stay here pleasant and productive, and it is greatly distressing that these political activists are trying to stir up trouble,”  Mr Waqa said in a statement.

“There has been no violence against refugees from police, but police will continue to enforce the law which includes preventing mobile protests that endanger lives,” he said.

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