Tourism increase

22/07/2018 // by admin

COULD Singleton become the main gateway to the Hunter Valley vineyards?
Nanjing Night Net

Broke Fordwich could be one of the big benefactors from an increase in visitors to the region.

That’s the thoughts and hopes of Singleton Council and local tourism operators after the Visitor Information and Enterprise Centre recorded a five per cent increase in visitors compared to this time last year.

The past two months were compared with last year and it showed a correlation between the opening of the Hunter Expressway and an increase in visitors.

With Singleton being the final stop on the highway and the vineyards only a short drive away, instead of just passing through the town, people are making a day out of seeing all there is to offer in the area.

“We’ve experienced an uptake of visitors to our region and we think it has a lot to do with the opening of the new Hunter Expressway,” Broke Fordwich Tourism Association president Eden Anthony said.

“Hopefully this leads to more employment and an increase in midweek traffic to the vineyards.”

Council is working to create more interest in Singleton and it’s surrounds through the revamp of its visitsingleton南京夜网 website.

“We have a unique opportunity to capitalise on the growing domestic market. With award-winning wineries, restaurants, events and accommodation just minutes from our town centre, the future for Singleton’s visitor economy looks bright,” Singleton Council general manager Lindy Hyam said.

Studies by Roy Morgan show that Australians are increasingly planning on holidaying with almost 58 per cent of intended holidays expected to be in Australia in the next 12 months.

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

OPINION: Amateur hunting hopelessly ineffective

22/07/2018 // by admin

By David Shoebridge, Greens Member of the Legislative Council
Nanjing Night Net

In reply to Gary Mallard’s opinion piece regarding”Greens deception over anti-killing stance”

In his defence of the blood-sport of amateur hunting Mr Mallard claims campaigns against amateur hunting fail to address effective control measures for introduced species.

Unfortunately for the pro-hunting lobby, the evidence is clear that amateur hunting is in fact hopelessly ineffective at controlling introduced species.

The government-funded “Game Council” received more than $15million of government funding to lobby for amateur hunting and license more than 20,000 amateur hunters to hunt in the twomillion hectares of state forests the government approved for hunting.

The data produced by the Game Council to show its “success” was an annual tally of animals that its licensed amateur hunters had killed.

The figures from 2009 to 2013 are as follows:

These figures show that, on average, a licensed amateur hunter in NSW killed just one introduced animal a year, and most often that was a rabbit.

None of the hunting carried out by amateur hunters in NSW is coordinated or incorporated into a pest management plan, but is instead determined by the ad hoc preferences of amateur hunters.

Amateur hunters kill hundreds, or in some cases a few thousand, introduced animals from populations that are in the millions.

The evidence is that Australia has about sevenmillion foxes, 18 million cats, threemillion goats, millions of rabbits and between fourand 24 million introduced pigs.

Introduced animals have such large populations primarily because they have extremely high reproduction rates with a large “doomed surplus” each year.

This means most young do not survive to adulthood, but those that dobreed at such high rates they fully replace last season’s population.

Killing small numbers of a given population will therefore have no effect, as other animals, whichwould otherwise have died from the range of natural causes, then fill this niche.

The proportion of a population that needs to be removed to achieve an overall reduction in population from one year to the next is as follows:

When you look at just one species, such as cats, the inevitable failure of amateur hunting is easily demonstrated.

To effectively control the population, 57 per cent would need to be removed to have fewer cats in an area the next year.

The Game Council’s own figures show that the combined effort of amateur hunters in 2013 removed a total of 290 wild cats from millions of hectares of public forest, from a population estimated in the millions.

Amateur hunting took only a tiny fraction of feral cats from the already “doomed surplus”.

Their removal has made not one jot of difference to the wild cat population anywhere in NSW.

The same analysis can be applied to every species of animal killed by Game Council-licensed hunters.

Apart from small areas of land thatare subject to intensive, scientific and professional animal control programs, over the rest of the country introduced animals are controlled by their environment.

Competition for food, for habitat and natural predation keeps their numbers in check, not hunters.

Putting to one side the almost inevitable cruelty of amateur hunting practices such as pig-dogging and bow hunting, the evidence backs up our call for an immediate end to state-sanctioned and taxpayer-subsidised amateur hunting in our public forests.

* Tables fromInvasive Species Fact Sheet, “Recreational Hunting NSW: claims vs facts”

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

Signs of ringworm in animals

22/07/2018 // by admin

RINGWORM: An example of the fungal infection STORY: Ringworm cases on rise in cats, dogs
Nanjing Night Net

RINGWORM is a fungal disease which creates scaly skin with a red outer rim.

The infection spreads through contact, and can be transferred from cats and dogs to humans.

Typical areas of infection in animals are the face, paws, ears and tail, and the infection often results in hair loss.

Scabs and crusts are often formed.

Common treatments include tablets and antibiotic antifungal creams.

Bendigo vet Max Tori said it was important pet owners sought treatment for their pets.

Some cases of ringworm will naturally cease, while others require multiple treatments. Environmental management is also important.

Vets recommend pets are well-groomed and regular brushing will help remove fungal spores.

Vacuuming also helps to remove contagious hair from flooring, and it’s recommended the bedding of infected animals is thrown away.

Pets should also be kept isolated from other animals.

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

Greens candidate John Brownfights plan to cut rail

15/09/2019 // by admin

JOHN BROWNMAITLAND Greens convenor John Brown has been endorsed as the party’s candidate for next year’s state election.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Brown will contest the seat against Maitland MP Robyn Parker and Labor candidate for Maitland Jenny Aitchison and opposing the government’s plan to truncate the rail line into Newcastle is his first priority.

Mr Brown, a freelance journalist from Bolwarra Heights, said there was a strong movement of people who did not want the heavy line cut, and he would continue to fight to stop it.

“There is still time to stop it, it will affect people of all walks of life going into the city whether it be young people going to the beach or mothers with prams,” he said.

“The rail line will be the platform of my election campaign. The reality is that light rail will be years away and in the meantime a huge amount of people are going to be negatively affected.”

Mr Brown said the election was an opportunity for voters to pave a new way for the future.

“People have a choice – they can continue along the path of ‘business as usual’ with the two old parties, or choose to take a new direction, down the road to a cleaner and greener future with more jobs and fewer scandals,” he said.

“Clean not only means looking after the environment but also stamping out the greed which appears to have captured many of our state and federal MPs from the old parties.”

Mr Brown was the Greens candidate in the federal election last year where he ran against long-standing MP Bob Baldwin.

He received positive results on polling day and hopes to build on that when voters go to the polls next year.

“I was very happy to see the Greens vote increase in Paterson,” he said.

“It goes to show that voters are beginning to realise that the accusations thrown against the Greens by Labor and Liberal are not true.

“We are ordinary people dedicated to a better future for our children.”

The Greens want a cleaner future, to cease the rush into coal seam gas, and ensure water supplies are protected.

The party also wants more emphasis on renewable energy.

Daniel Ammann to hit back after learning from loss

15/09/2019 // by admin

BIGGER PICTURE: Daniel Ammann is looking overseas for future challenges. Picture: Simone de PeakDANIEL ‘‘the Doberman’’ Ammann may be lacing up for a third Australian cruiserweight boxing title on Saturday night but he remains focused on the international market.
Nanjing Night Net

The Stockton southpaw’s last foray on the global stage was halted on February 22 when he lost his Commonwealth cruiserweight title bout in London against England’s Tony Conquest.

On that night a bloodied and bruised Ammann was out-boxed and lost on a unanimous points decision.

However, the 31-year-old’s trainer, Peter Hallett, said there were plenty of positives in defeat.

‘‘He’s just got to come back and learn from that,’’ Hallett said.

‘‘He changed his style around a little bit. He learnt things from it, so he changed his style to suit that type of fighter.

‘‘The little changes we’ve made, I reckon he’s twice the fighter now.’’

Ammann’s sixth loss in his 36-fight career has forced a change to his boxing stance to enable him to move in closer and deliver more punches.

Those changes will be on display at the Townsville Entertainment Centre on Saturday night when he fights local boy Mark ‘‘Bam Bam’’ Flanagan for the vacant Australian cruiserweight strap.

PETER HALLETT on Daniel Ammann

Ammann was the champion until he was forced to relinquish the title before he challenged for the Commonwealth crown.

Not since May 2004 has an Australian cruiserweight title match not featured Ammann.

He has made 10 successful title defences since first capturing the belt in 2006.

The 23-year-old Flanagan is a renowned big-hitter.

‘‘Bam Bam’’ has knocked out 10 opponents in his 15 career wins, his last four victories coming in under three minutes. The last of his four losses was more than two years ago.

‘‘He’s big, he’s strong and he has a very good knockout record,’’ Hallett said.

‘‘He’s a fair fighting machine.’’

If Ammann can successfully regain the Australian title for a third time, Hallett said his protege would again focus on overseas challengers.

‘‘We’re getting ready for the international market pretty good,’’ he said.

‘‘You’ve got to go over and fight those top-quality fights and learn, because if you stay in Australia all your life you’re not going to improve.

‘‘You’ve got to fight the best and improve.’’

MOVIE REVIEW: The Babadook

15/09/2019 // by admin

HAUNTED HOUSE: Noah Wiseman and Essie Davis in a scene from The Babadook.THE BABADOOK (M)
Nanjing Night Net

Stars: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney

Director: Jennifer Kent

Screening: selected cinemas

Rating: ★★★

IN The Babadook, Essie Davis could use a little help from her unflappable alter ego, the TV sleuth Phryne Fisher. She’s gently falling apart in an old house so dimly lit and so well-endowed with cobwebby corners, you can tell a haunting is imminent.

As Amelia, she’s still grieving for her husband who was killed in a car accident six years earlier while driving her to the hospital for the birth of their son.

And the boy, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), is even more disturbed than she is. He’s already seeing monsters – an obsession that brings on tantrums and panic attacks.

The school is worried, and Amelia’s sister, Claire (Hayley McElhinney), and her friends are close to giving up on her. Then the monster materialises.

He’s the Babadook, a scary figure with cloak and top hat who looks as if he’s related to a nightmare dreamed up by German expressionist master F.W. Murnau. The film’s Australian writer-director, Jennifer Kent, acknowledges the German expressionists as an influence, along with Roman Polanski at his spookiest.

The film grew out of Monster, a short feature of Kent’s widely seen on the international festival circuit. This one, too, has had a festival showing – this year at Sundance, where it impressed with the potency of its atmosphere and the strength of its performances.

It’s basically a two-hander. Teachers, social workers, friends and family hover on the fringes, but the essentials occur in the house as Amelia and Samuel grapple with the menacing presence of their demon-in-residence.

It’s Wiseman’s first film, but his wide-eyed yet knowing portrayal of a troubled little boy is so unnerving that it upstages the horror movie contrivances that surround it. I have to admit I’m no fan of horror movies, but this one delivers a powerful study in domestic havoc.

MOVIE REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past

15/09/2019 // by admin

ROLE SHIFT: Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (M)
Nanjing Night Net

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page

Director: Bryan Singer

Screening: general release

Rating: ★★★

IN the X-Men series, psychology is an important part of the spectacle.

Its mutant heroes might have cool, physics-defying powers, but what they think and feel is crucial.

And underpinning it all is a contrast between two central characters and their ways of approaching the world: Charles Xavier/Professor X is a teacher and conciliator, and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto a man of action and aggression.

They’ve been friends and they’ve been enemies; in X-Men: Days of Future Past they are both.

To begin with we see them in old age, played once again by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, and they’re allies – but in this time-travelling film we also see them as their younger antagonistic selves, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (as was the case in X-Men: First Class).

We begin with a near-future that looks particularly grim.

Huge mutant-seeking machines known as Sentinels are hunting them down, with devastating success.

The decisive moment, it turns out, was in 1973, when Raven, aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the blue-bodied shapeshifter, decided to turn assassin. She targeted Dr Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the scientist who masterminded the Sentinels.

It seems this misfired, and rather than saving mutants her action had the opposite effect.

A plan is hatched to go back in time and change the course of history, courtesy of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), who has the ability to transport a person’s consciousness and allow it to inhabit the body of his or her younger self.

The delegated time-traveller is Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

His task – a suitably paradoxical one – is to save the man who wants to destroy him and his kind.

Back in 1973, Wolverine wakes up on a water bed with a lava lamp in his line of sight and a mission that looks almost impossible.

Mystique is mad as hell; Xavier is a shadow of his former self; and Lehnsherr is in heavily guarded solitary confinement.

It’s hard enough getting them together in one place, let alone convincing Mystique to stand down.

The film has a slightly episodic narrative, a series of set-pieces strung together, with an interesting adversary rather than a villain – Dinklage brings a sense of conviction to a slightly under-developed character.

The scenes in the future, with battling mutants under fire from the Sentinels, don’t feel as character-driven as the ’70s sequences do, even the action-oriented ones.

McAvoy does the hardcore emoting; Jackman – playing a less irate Wolverine – is laconic; and Fassbender is coolly decisive.

Lawrence, in head-to-toe near-naked blue flesh, tends to look like a special effect most of the time.

There are a few moments that will only make sense to franchise devotees, but they don’t affect the story all that much – they might add to a sense of confusion, however.

Peter hedges bets for Challenge heats

15/09/2019 // by admin

Peter HedgesGILLIESTON Heights trainer-driver Peter Hedges believes his chances in the NSW Breeders Challenge heats at Newcastle are fighting for second place against two smart Sydney pacers tonight.
Nanjing Night Net

But second would do just fine.

Hedges will race Sporty Belle in the two-year-old fillies heat and I’m Saint Anthony in the two-year-old colts and geldings qualifier for the group1 series.

Winners will progress in the respective series and a second place will secure a spot in semi-finals if all 10 heats statewide are held. A fastest third place could also lead to a semis berth.

A change in rules means local pacers gain preference for starts in the respective NSW Breeders Challenge heats and Hedges is one of several Hunter trainers with chances tonight.

However, visitors, both from gate one, seemingly hold the upper hand in the heats. Paul Fitzpatrick’s Sally Fletcher will be the filly to beat, while Belinda McCarthy’s Ominous Warning should set the pace in the other $15,000 heat.

Hedges’ charges have both drawn six and he will drive for luck in the hope of snaring a place in the next round of the series.

‘‘I’m Saint Anthony’s a place hope,’’ Hedges said.

‘‘I don’t think we can beat the one. He’s a really nice horse of McCarthy’s, but my fella’s honest and hopefully he can run around the money somewhere.

‘‘Sally Fletcher’s a really nice horse and probably should have won the Gold Tiara at the Bathurst, but she galloped.

‘‘I think she will probably win the whole thing, to be honest.

‘‘But mine’s an honest pacer and only a little horse but she tries really hard.

‘‘She trialled well at Maitland on Monday, running fourth against older horses, and the other guy was third in his trial and did well also.’’

Hedges, who juggles a full-time job with driving locally and training his own small team, will also take the reins of Jedi Superstar for Ken Natty and Miss Aquaville for Darren Reay in other races on the 10-event card tonight.

■ Keinbah trainer Shane Tritton has reached the magical 100 winners for the season in NSW five weeks earlier than last year but he faces an uphill battle to crack the century in Newcastle.

Last year Tritton became the first Hunter Valley trainer to hit 100 winners in a NSW season but fell just five short of the mark at Newcastle alone, finishing on a remarkable 95.

He hit the ton statewide with four victories at Menangle last Saturday and of his 103 victories from 465 starters statewide, Tritton has racked up 59 at Newcastle in just under nine months of racing.

The numbers highlight the four-time defending Newcastle premiership winner’s great efforts and success outside the region this season.

Tritton told Harness Racing NSW he was happy to reach the century but had hoped to achieve it earlier this season after making a flying start to the campaign.

He praised the efforts of his drivers Lauren Panella, David Morris and Jack Trainor and his other stable staff.

Tritton also told HRNSW that Suave Stuey Lombo was scratched last Saturday night due to a virus which caused elevated temperatures in 14 of his horses.

He said all recovered quickly and Suave Stuey Lombo would lead a team of up to a dozen horses in a campaign at the Queensland winter carnival.

Ardghal, Yayas Hot Spot, Aspiring Artist, Marty Monkhouser and possibly stable star Mach Beauty and Light In Every Day would be among the team.

Meanwhile, after a busy night at Menangle tomorrow, Tritton and Panella will head to Dubbo on Sunday to race Pas Ultimate Delight in the $25,000 Red Ochre Mares Classic final.

■ Newcastle-Maitland Mini-Trotting Club will hold an information and training day at Stanford Merthyr Pony Club ground on Sunday from 8.30am.

HRNSW is helping the club stage the event designed to introduce children from five to 16 years of age to general horse care and mini trotting.

Horses and equipment will be supplied for the day, which is already fully booked.

Another day will be held soon and information can be found on nswminitrots南京夜网 or by calling 0418433979.

Thailand military coup: Australians face travel insurance issues

15/08/2019 // by admin

Australians in Thailand have been told to check their travel insurance now that political unrest has turned into an army coup, with at least one leading insurer refusing to cover those planning to visit the country.
Nanjing Night Net

Rob Whelan, chief executive of the Insurance Council of Australia, said policies would not be voided due to the coup but exclusions would apply.

“Though travel insurance will usually not cover you for claims arising from military insurrection, including any restrictions on your activities, travellers remain covered for normal travel-related claims,” he said.

Customers of InsureandGo trying to travel to Thailand are “currently unable to purchase a policy with the company”, according to Julius Paramour, operations manager.

He said that InsureandGo is advising its customers already in Thailand to monitor the advice and warnings of the Federal Government’s SmartTraveller website, “to exercise a high degree of caution and be aware of exclusion zones”.

Thailand is Australia’s fourth most popular overseas holiday destination with well over half-a-million Australians visiting there in 2011-12. But visitor numbers to the once popular but now strife-torn capital, Bangkok, have declined sharply following ongoing violent protests over recent months.

Mr Paramour said that “as per standard practice”, InsureandGo will assess each claim from customers in Thailand on an individual basis. “InsureandGo will take all reasonable measures to assist its customers in Thailand.”

Most, if not all, travel insurance policies exclude claims involving martial law and coups in the fine print of their product disclosure statements.

Earlier this week martial law was unexpectedly declared in Thailand with a war of semantics developing over whether the act constituted an actual coup d’etat.  But that debate has now been settled by the Thai military.

The army has imposed a nationwide curfew from 10pm until 5am, which Australians and other visitors in the country will have to obey.

Leading travel insurers CoverMore and Medibank Private list as exclusions “claims arising as a result of war, invasion, act of foreign enemy, hostilities (whether war be declared or not), civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection or military or usurped power”.

However, a spokeswoman for Medibank said that if a policy was purchased prior to the imposition of military or usurped power the customer will still be covered for their trip. She said: “Claims that are not born as a direct consequence of the situation will also still be covered (for example, if an airline loses luggage).”

The spokeswoman said that Medibank’s agents check travel warnings daily and advise customers travelling to affected destinations. They also advise on “associated conditions and exclusions on the travel policy”, as a result of travelling to the affected country.

“There is also information on Medibank’s website regarding travel advice and warnings, and we urge travellers to read this to prior to making travel arrangements, to ensure they are briefed on their intended destination.”

A spokesman for the Insurance Council of Australia said that individual insurers will decide their own “terms and conditions” in regards to travel to Thailand with many having policy exclusions for civil war and civil unrest.

He said that travel insurers may elect to introduce a “new policy embargo”, meaning that they will refuse to “write a policy” covering travel to Thailand.

Earlier this week Singapore Airlines issued a statement alerting passengers to the potential for traffic jams in Bangkok due to road closures as a result of the imposition of martial law and to leave for the airport at four hours prior to departure and where possible to use the airport rail link.

The airline also informed passengers that it will waive administrative fees and penalties for refunds, rebooking or re-routing for customers holding confirmed tickets issue on or before May 19, 2014, for travel to and from Bangkok, on or before May 31, 2014.

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

Brisbane West Wellcamp airlines almost lined up: Wagner

15/08/2019 // by admin

The runway starts to take shape at the Wellcamp airport at Toowoomba. Photo: Supplied Bosses of Wellcamp airport at Toowoomba expect to be open for business this year. Photo: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

The operators of Australia’s first privately-built major public airport say passenger airlines will be flying in and out of Toowoomba as soon as construction is finished in October.

And the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, under construction about 17 kilometres west of Toowoomba, could also operate as a landing strip for diverted international flights, according to project chairman John Wagner.

That would potentially see Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s landing at the Darling Downs airport.

“Typically, when Brisbane goes out so does the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast – the Gold Coast is very marginal with weather, they’ve got a short runway so they can’t take a jumbo or an A380, but we can,” Mr Wagner told a Rural Press Club lunch in Brisbane on Tuesday.

“… If we’re going to take international flights in, we’re going to need to have people like AQIS, Customs and Immigration ready to move to be able to accommodate that, rather than sending everyone to Sydney and putting those people a good day out of their way.”

Discussions had been held with Toowoomba-based bus company Stonestreets about transporting passengers from Wellcamp to Brisbane.

“If we do take a diversion from Brisbane, we’ll be able to get them off, process them and get them to Brisbane in a reasonable timeframe,” Mr Wagner said.

Mr Wagner said his family was spending “north of $100 million” on the airport, which will be the first privately funded major public airport in Australia.

Mr Wagner told the lunch he expected up to 500,000 passengers to go through the airport in its first year of operation, which could grow to 1½ million passengers within five years.

“We’re in final discussions with two of the major airlines and one of the secondary airlines and I believe we’ll have at least two – maybe three – airlines running out of Wellcamp in October this year,” he said.

An announcement is understood to be imminent.

But Mr Wagner conceded the 2.87-kilometre runway – which would allow it to accommodate the larger passenger jets – was not necessarily required in the region.

“The reason we took on that decision making process and agreed to do it was that we had one opportunity from a town planning perspective, and particularly a federal government perspective, to get this through the system,” he said.

“Our view is that Toowoomba really only needed an 1800-metre- long runway, which is similar to the Sunshine Coast, however what (the longer runway) gave us was a piece of infrastructure that will see my children and my grandchildren out without having to go through any more approval processes.

“At the end of the day, it’s really only more gravel, more concrete and a few more lights and what it allows us to do is take a 747, fully loaded, direct to Asia.”

The Wagners have identified Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Canberra, Adelaide, Roma, Mackay and Emerald as potential regular destinations from Brisbane West Wellcamp.

Mr Wagner said the runway was on track to be completed next month, while the passenger terminal was expected to be finished in September.

Work on the airport started in April last year.

The Wagner family, with its background in cement, has owned the airport site since 1994, when it bought it for use as a quarry.

Along with the airport, the company is building a large business park.

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

Thailand army chief announces coup

15/08/2019 // by admin

CoupTop Thailand’s military has launched a coup three days after insisting its troops would not stage a full takeover. Photo: Apichart Weerawong
Nanjing Night Net

How the military seized control in ThailandTravel insurance may be declared voidDo you know more? Email us, or message us on Twitter @smh or @theage

The pro-government Red Shirt centre has warned the country to “stand-by for retaliation” after Thailand’s military launched a coup, three days after it initiated martial law.

A nationwide curfew has been imposed from 10pm until 5am, which Australians and other visitors in the country will have to obey.

General Prayuth will head a military council that is now in-charge of the country, an army spokesman said.

In his official announcement that the coup had taken place, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said: “In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again … and to reform the structure of the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power.”

After this announcement, the army suspended the constitution and banned gatherings of more than five people. Although the 2007 constitution has been suspended, the Senate upper house will continue to function.

The army named 17 people on television who should report to the army. First on the list was deposed Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.

An army spokesman said people should remain calm and continue to go about their normal activities.

“We will provide security for foreigners,” he said.

The curfew will affect tens of thousands of tourists in resort areas like Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. It is also expected to create chaos for travellers arriving into and leaving the country and will affect dozens of flights, because passengers are prohibited from travelling after 10pm.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urged all Australians travelling to Thailand, or already in Thailand, to continue to exercise a high degree of caution and to pay close attention to their personal security.

“Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok are operating normally,” the spokesperson said.

“Authorities have advised that the curfew will not apply if travelling to or from an airport. Travellers should have passports and tickets with them when travelling to and from the airport.

“Australians should follow the instructions of local authorities and avoid all demonstrations, protest sites, political events and large-scale public gatherings. Australians travelling to Thailand should visit www.smartraveller.gov.au, familiarise themselves with the travel advice, subscribe to receive regular updates and register their travel plans.”

Embassies around the world advised their citizens in Thailand to exercise extreme caution.

Many Thais will not know about the curfew because Thai television and radio stations have been taken off the air, although the internet and social media sites like Twitter are still operating.

International television stations like the ABC’s Australia Network, CCN and BBC were taken off at least one cable channel provider. The Cartoon channel was even taken off air.

Troops have been deployed in large numbers across Bangkok, where major shopping centres have closed early and restaurants, bars and other businesses are shuttered.

They entered television stations that were not already closed and the stations that remain open began playing soothing music. Troops were also in newspaper offices.

Workers rushed to public transport to get home before the 10pm curfew. Roads were also choked with people going home. Troops manned dozens of check points at major intersections.

As commanders appeared on television about 5pm Bangkok time (8pm AEST) to declare they had taken over, the leaders of both rival political parties in Thailand were taken away in a vans amid dramatic scenes at the Army Club in central Bangkok, where talks were being held to try to find a resolution to six months of sometimes violent unrest.

A military source said the leaders were told “we will keep you together until you understand and love each other”.

Formally announcing the coup on television, General Prayuth said martial law had moved to a full-blown coup, to quell political violence and “ensure fairness for every side”.

”To restore peace back to the country in a short time and to reform the country’s politics, economy and society, the Thai military, army, navy, air force and police have seized power from May 22 onward,” General Prayuth said.

“I ask the people to remain calm and carry on with their business as usual.”

Not long after the announcement of the coup, a burst of gunfire was heard on Uttayan Road, where the pro-government Red Shirt protesters have been camped.

Earlier, soldiers who arrived in trucks at a Red Shirt campsite on the western outskirts of Bangkok said they would take people home. They arrested key Red Shirt leaders who were on stage at their rally site.

Reports said soldiers had asked Red Shirt protesters to stay put and lie face down on the ground. A photo shared via Twitter showed Red Shirt guards and protesters ducking down as soldiers moved in on the protest.

The Red Shirt group posted on Twitter: “Now it is a coup – stand-by for retaliation.”

At least five top Democrat opposition party officials were in detention, including leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. The Democrat party boycotted elections in February that were later annulled by the Constitution Court.

Soldiers surrounded the house of veteran politician and former Labor minister Chalerm Yumbumrung and detained him and two of his sons.

The Red Shirt centre posted another message on Twitter saying “many of our co-leaders have been detained without whereabouts (known) – they are most likely detained at an army base.”

Interim Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan learnt of the coup while at the Commerce Ministry. He had stayed away from the Army Club talks.

Mr Niwattumrong said he then went to offices of the former ruling Pheu Thai party and then to an unknown location.

Staff in the prime minister’s office said they did not know where Mr Niwattamrong was, and the US embassy denied he had taken shelter there.

Unconfirmed reports said he had been arrested.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Niwattumrong insisted he would not resign and said his caretaker cabinet would remain in office until a new elected government was formed.

The army declared that the coup commanders were operating through a body called the National Peacekeeping Committee.

The coup is the 19th staged by the country’s powerful armed forces since 1932.

The takeover will enrage Red Shirt supporters of the caretaker government that wanted to push ahead with fresh elections.

Red Shirt leaders had vowed to rise up if the government that was elected in a landslide victory in 2011 was unconstitutionally deposed.

The military’s move is expected to be condemned by countries around the world, including Australia.

The US will consider imposing sanctions on the military, a close ally.

General Prayuth is expected to move swiftly to appoint a new government.

A front-runner for the prime ministership is Kittipong Kittayarak, a former Permanent Secretary of the Justice Ministry. Dr Kitttipong has been involved in judicial reform in Thailand for more than a decade.

A graduate of Cornell Law School in the United States, he is on the board of Transparency International Thailand and has lectured at major Thai universities.

Political analyst Thittinan Pongsudshirak said it was likely a new military-backed government would be installed within days.

“I am afraid over in the coming days and weeks there will be turmoil,” he said.

“Pro-government Red Shirts are likely to come out in large numbers.”

10:18pm – RT @chrissychrzan: Here’s Khao San Road right now #Bangkok#Thailand#ThaiCouppic.twitter南京夜网/4t3KVADV1H— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) May 22, 2014

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

Three-year-old Abbass Farhat fights for life after being hit by car

15/08/2019 // by admin

Abbass Farhat’s neighbour had tears in his eyes as he described the adventurous three-year-old boy who is fighting for his life after being struck by a car in western Sydney.
Nanjing Night Net

Abbass remains in a critical condition after he was hit by a silver car outside of his Blacktown house on Wednesday afternoon.

Several witnesses said the boy darted out onto the road, which has a 60km/h speed limit.

“He is an adventurous, beautiful, little kid,” the neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said.

“It really upset me to see him like that. He would always see me out the front or over the fence and jump up and wave.”

A local shopkeeper said he heard the screams of Abbass’ mother as she tried to cradle her son on busy Reservoir Road.

“She was just totally hysterical, screaming out for everybody.”

She was soon told to leave her son in the hands of an off-duty nurse who witnessed the accident. Within seconds he had ripped off the boy’s shirt and tried to resuscitate him.

“If it wasn’t for the nurse then he certainly would not have made it to hospital,” the shopkeeper said.

He said the family of the little boy mistakenly thought the nurse had been the driver who had run into him.

“They started bashing the nurse’s car,” he said.

One witness said the nurse who tried to save the the boy deserved a medal.

“That guy- what he did – boy, heap praise on him because he deserves it.”

The accident occurred 15 minutes after a two-year-old was hospitalised following a hit and run at Haberfield.

There were four children hit by cars in NSW this week, and the carnage on the road got worse on Thursday.

Jesse Kelly, the man behind a deadly police chase which sparked the Macquarie Fields riots, was involved in a serious crash outside a western Sydney school.

Police say he was one of three men in a Ford Falcon which crashed into two cars outside of Leumeah high school.

Mr Kelly suffered cuts to his legs in the crash and his brother and cousin, who were also in the car, remained in hospital on Thursday night in a stable condition.

Asked as he left hospital what happened, Mr Kelly would only say that  ‘‘there was a car accident ’’ and claimed that his cousin was driving. Police are still investigating who was behind the wheel.

Mr Kelly’s license is suspended.‘‘I’m just a piece of shit,’’ he told waiting media.

The 2005 Macquarie Fields riots were sparked after Mr Kelly crashed a stolen car into a tree and killed two passengers during a  police pursuit.

He served jail time after pleading guilty to dangerous driving  causing the deaths of of 17-year-old Dylan Raywood and 19-year-old Matthew Robertson.

Mr Kelly was released in 2011 but in the three years since his release he has been before the courts again for a series of driving offences.

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

Social workers being squeezed out

15/08/2019 // by admin

Blue Gum Community School student welfare officer Ruth Pickard. Photo: Graham Tidy0As a school-based student welfare worker, Ruth Pickard is one of the earliest intervention tools to keep children mentally well and engaged in education, a key part of avoiding future unemployment.
Nanjing Night Net

But at the end of the year, Ms Pickard will be out of a job, as she is a secular worker funded by the School Chaplaincy Program, which the federal government announced last week will return to its religious beginnings.

The change has been labelled “a step backwards” by social workers and schools.

It will leave at least 14 ACT schools without a social welfare officer, and the ACT based Australian Student Welfare Association’s ten employees who service them, unemployed; about half of whom are also under 30 and subject to tougher new dole restrictions.

“The biggest factor from our perspective isn’t so much our staff – obviously we’re disappointed about that – but … that ACT schools that just do not have the community support for chaplaincy now don’t have an option [for welfare support in their school],” the association’s director, Ross Sutherland, said.

Ms Pickard, who supports children with issues ranging from making friends in the playground to major family issues at home, said the loss of support to those students will be seen in the future.

“You don’t notice what we’re doing because the problems are minimised; you don’t really see the results of what we’re doing except in the fact people are happy and coming to school … without it, who knows what’s going to happen.”

The national president of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Karen Healy, said the change, in conjunction with other welfare cuts, had the capacity to escalate youth homelessness to crisis point.

“Many people who are long-term unemployed or who find it hard to stay in employment – their problems start way back in school,” Professor Healy said.

“We’ve now got a situation where young people are back in this highly vulnerable circumstance because they lack access to decent benefits, and if there’s a cut back in support services in school, more young people get disconnected from school [and] that increases their chance of unemployment and other things like homelessness.”

While the chaplaincy program will still offer a religious alternative, many ACT schools are unlikely to apply, with surveys finding 70 per cent of government school communities in favour of a secular worker over a chaplain.

“Many schools are going to lose their staff member and not be able to apply for the chaplaincy program due to lack of community support,” Mr Sutherland said.

Blue Gum Community School, where Ms Pickard works, is one such school.

It has a number of Jewish, Christian and atheist families, and executive director Maureen Hartung said to opt for a chaplain “would send a message that we value one faith over another”.

“We think it’s a form of religious discrimination, fundamentally – we’re being denied it because we’re not prepared to choose one religion over another,” Ms Hartung said.

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