Sir Konstantin ‘Kostya’ Novoselov at Monash University, Clayton. Novoselov jointly won a Nobel prize in 2010, after he isolated graphene. Photo: Eddie JimIt may centre on logic and physics, but Sir Kostya Novoselov is adamant on the unpredictability of science.
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After all, it was in a moment of experimentation outside their regular research that he and colleague Andre Geim made the discovery that would earn them a joint Nobel Prize in 2010.

Who knew that something so simple as using a piece of sticky tape to peel a layer from a block of graphite, then peeling the layer again and again to make it progressively thinner, would yield the holy grail in materials research, the single-atom-thick carbon substance called graphene?

Stronger than diamond, lighter than a feather, more conductive than copper, flexible and transparent – it would take the rejection of two papers before the scientific community believed what sounded too good to be true.

“That’s part of the reason why it [graphene research] spread so quickly across the world — you only need some good graphite and some sticky tape,” he told Fairfax Media.

The discovery came in 2004 but the next major breakthrough will be in how to produce it on a commercial scale and realise its seemingly magical potential.

Graphene’s super-thin, lightweight, flexible structure and highly conductive properties mean it is poised to revolutionise numerous sectors from electronics and energy storage to manufacturing and biomedicine. It’s graphene that will make wacky concepts like foldable, fast-charging smartphones and lightweight, energy-efficient aircraft possible.

“It might take five, 10, 15 years before we know how to grow it in large areas – although, we had the same feeling about isolating graphene 10 years [or so] ago and the progress since then has been really enormous,” Novoselov says.

In pursuit of its potential, the British government has funded two flagship graphene research centres to the tune of £121 million ($260 million) at the University of Manchester, where Novoselov and Geim are based.

Among the growing list of companies partnering with the centres are Samsung, Sharp, Huawei, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens and Dyson.

But it’s Asia, home of consumer electronics manufacturing, and with most of the world’s graphite deposits in China, that is tipped to drive growth. A recent report put the Chinese graphene market at about $6.4 million, with compound annual growth at 95 per cent annually to 2020.

Some companies already dabbling: Samsung claims it has made longer-lasting batteries with graphene components, while a few Chinese companies are marketing smartphones with graphene touchscreens. It’s also being used in lightweight tennis racquets, and a University of Manchester spinout says it will be selling energy efficient graphene light bulbs soon.

But Novoselov isn’t moved by mere gadgets, or improving things we already make. He’s interested in making completely new things that only graphene or its composites make possible.

“Applications in bio- and life-science are the most interesting and most promising,” he says.

“We’re definitely going to see more and more nanomedicines being used, whether it’s sensors or drug delivery or artificial tissues.”

Because graphene can be made porous at the molecular level, it is set to have new applications in filtration processes and protective coatings. Think clean air and water like never before; houses that don’t corrode; packaging that preserves food much longer.

Australia is jostling for its position on this new frontier, with scientists countrywide researching applications for the material, and new explorations for graphite deposits.

The University of Adelaide has a graphene research group, and this week Monash University both opened a dedicated research centre and sponsored an international conference in Lorne, Victoria attracting some 250 graphene experts frome home and abroad, including Novoselov.

An Australian National University spinout, 2Dfab Innovations, is producing and exploring the uses of graphene in wearable technologies.

Novoselov can’t stress enough the importance of training in these new materials; for example, not just training today’s electrical engineers in how to work with silicon.

“The point is that it’s technology, and technology evolves,” he says.

“The only way you can compete is to maintain a healthy level of science in the country and then there is a good chance the next best technologies are going to be produced here.”

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The government’s tax review will determine whether rebates given to the wine industry should be allowed to continue. Photo: Jessica ShapiroWine Equalisation Tax rebate: a rort?
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The wine industry is at war with itself. In one corner are the mass producers of lower end table wines that led a cheap Australian charge on the world stage.

In the other, are the top end producers seeking to carve out a premium niche with the attendant price.

Passions run hot on both side sides as there are big dollars at stake and it will fall to the federal government to referee the stoush.

Bruce Tyrrell, a well-known Hunter Valley figure who is a fourth generation member of one Australia’s first families of wine, sums up the federal government’s choice on the wine tax debate pithily: “it would be a very brave government that would say, ‘I am going make cask wine more expensive and Grange cheaper’.”

He may well be right, but his views represent just one side of a debate that’s divided the industry.

The central issue is tax, although it collides with numerous others including the role of government support for an export industry worth $1.8 billion and employing more than 16,000 people across more than 2000 businesses as well as the basic economics of a massive supply glut that has put strain on all players. A divided industry

FARE believes any revenue gained by taxing wine based on volume should go back into drug and alcohol education programs.

The key, and hotly contested, question is whether wine should be taxed at a flat rate based on volume, rather than as a portion of its wholesale price?

This question pits lower-cost wine producers – who prefer paying a lower rate – against the premium-brand producers – who want the mass producers taxed harder.

In a market where 65 per cent of the wine bought in bottles retailed for less than $8, this is a fundamental question.

To demonstrate the depth of the split consider that Accolade Wines – which markets itself as the “world’s leading provider of new-world premium, commercial and value wines” (brands include Hardys and Jack Rabbit)and Wine Grape Growers Australia, which represent more than half of the nation’s 6200 grape growers, want the status quo. They’ve also got Cider Australia (which says that cider, as a fruit wine, should be taxed in the same manner as grape wine) in their corner.

They face off against the country’s biggest wine company Treasury Wine Estates (TWE). Its big brands include Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Rosemount Estate and Lindemans.

TWE is joined by the other big premium brand winemaker, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, which heads the Jacob’s Creek, Wyndham Estate, and Orlando Wines brands.

Another advocate for change to wine taxing arrangements is the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), although its position somewhat differs from the wine companies. FARE believes any revenue gained by taxing wine based on volume, and ending industry rebates, should go back into drug and alcohol education programs. The wine companies say it should go to helping the struggling industry compete in the export market. Cheap wine gets taxed less

Currently, cheap wine gets taxed less than more expensive wine.

This Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) is a tax based on the value of wine and other fruit-based alcohol products, and applied regardless of the amount of alcohol in the product.

All other alcohol products like beer and spirits are taxed on a volumetric basis, with the amount of tax paid determined by the volume of alcohol within the product and the category of alcohol (for example full-strength packaged beer is taxed differently to spirits).

The tax paid per standard drink on a $13 cask of wine is 5¢. Compare that to bottled wine, which is taxed at 15¢ for a $15 bottle of wine, and almost $1 for a $50 bottle of wine.

Pernod Ricard says that for wines retailing at $12, Australia’s rate is more than 40 times higher than France, seven times higher than South Africa and almost five times higher than the United States.

It argues that a change, that would see margins squeezed for some players, would help solve the glut.

“It will have a real impact on forcing uneconomic producers to change their business model or leave the industry,” its submission to the tax white paper says.

Its submission suggests transitional support, and restructuring assistance, to help to winemakers and growers that want out.

Pernod Ricard estimates that at the proposed volume-based rate of $2.20 per litre of wine, the price of cask wine would rise on average by $1.70 a litre.

Such a rate would “not substantially” impact the price of wines sold between $6 and $15 a bottle, but it would stimulate production of premium wines retailing for $15 a bottle or more. Communities would be ‘decimated’

Managing director of Casella Family Brands (behind the Yellow Tail brand), John Casella. Photo: James Brickwood

Overall this would be “revenue neutral” for the government, it says, and will improve the image of Australian wines “damaged by an influx of cheap wine”.

Industry veteran Brian Croser is deputy chairman of Wine Australia, the government body responsible for helping grow the Australian wine market. But he spoke to Fairfax Media in a personal capacity, as the man behind the family wine companies, Petaluma and Tapanappa located in South Australia’s Piccadilly Valley. He says wine has always, and should always, get preferential tax treatment and he hates the idea of volumetric tax.

“A volume-based tax would decimate those communities in the Riverland and MIA,” he says, referring to the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area in NSW.

Managing director of Casella Family Brands (behind the Yellow Tail brand), John Casella, also believes the issue has been exaggerated.

He says TWE and Pernod Ricard’s argument is that “wine needs to be expensive or no-one will buy it”.

“I mean please, what nonsense,” Casella says.

“If we want people to stop buying Corollas and instead buy Lexus, do we change the laws or do we change the way we market Corollas better? If industry wants people to drink better wine, it should promote it. I cannot believe the time that’s been wasted on this whole tax debate when we should be focusing on selling ourselves and our products to our customers and consumers overseas.”

But the chief winemaker for Jacob’s Creek, Ben Bryant, says the tax system is hurting its ability to do so. “​You have a tax structure that favours cheap wine… Unless you complement marketing with a fair tax system, you are not going to address these structural issues.” The end of an industry?​

South Australian Liberal Senator Sean Edwards. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Accolade’s submission by its chief executive John Ratcliffe suggests that an increase on the tax on wine “risks devastating the wine industry”.

He says four out of five bottles and casks of wine will increase in price if the federal government imposes a volumetric tax on the industry. “We would expect demand for [affordable] wines to fall dramatically given likely price rises – with significant negative economic impacts in regional Australia, particularly the River Murray related wine producing regions of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales,” Ratcliffe says.

“The scale of the impacts in those regions would be similar in economic and social outcomes to the restructure of the car industry, with the additional drawback that regional residents have fewer employment options, forcing many to choose between unemployment and leaving the region to find employment, further damaging the already straining fabric of rural communities.”

The greatest impact of increasing the price of cheaper wine will be on pensioners and other battlers who would be forced to give up one of “life’s little luxuries”.

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia – the national industry body for Australia’s winemakers – has chosen to stay silent (given its members are from both sides of the debate). Its chief executive Paul Evans told Fairfax Media it was a very “divisive” issue.

Wine Grape Growers Australia says that lifting the price of one type of alcohol is more likely to lead to a switch to the next available substitute rather than a reduction in consumption.

The major drivers of cheap wine isn’t tax, its submission says, but rather, retailer market power and promotions. It says the government needs to deal with such issues separately.

“A volumetric tax on wine would be regressive and discriminate against older and generally poorer consumers who would be most affected by the price increase, whereas consumers of luxury wines, generally wealthier, would make gains through price reductions,” it says.

Tyrrell says: “I see no reason why pensioners, who may have a glass of wine a day …should be hit.”

South Australian Liberal Senator Sean Edwards – himself a winemaker in the Clare Valley – says changing the way wine gets taxed is a “big benefit to multinationals and beer distributors” but not to “wine makers and Australian grape growers”.

He says those advocating for change to the way wine gets taxed “are just wage earners”.

“They don’t have family businesses which are generations old,” he says. “I hear the word rationalisation in this conversation all the time – but what does that mean in practice? It means receivers and managers get appointed … it means there is going to be a loss of assets for the industry. … How long before we have no vineyards left because of this rationalisation that the industry is talking about?​” The social consequences

In 2013-14, the Government raised $5.1 billion in alcohol tax revenue. Photo: Michele Mossop

The Australia Institute modelling shows that if wine were taxed in the same way as beer, an extra $1.4 billion in tax revenue could be raised each year.

The potential gain is measured both in terms of extra tax revenue, as well as social benefits that can be realised by reducing alcohol-related harm.

The 2010 Henry tax review – which had recommended a volumetric tax rate be applied to alcoholic beverages including wine – argued that it would raise the price of cheap wine, and thereby reduce the costs associated with alcohol abuse.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) submission says that the “current alcohol taxation system is illogical, incoherent and does not adequately recognise the extent of harms that result from the consumption of alcohol in Australia”.

It says the WET has contributed to wine being the cheapest form of alcohol available for sale, with some wine in Australia being sold for as little as 24 cents per standard drink and the majority of bottled wine (about 65 per cent) being sold for under $8.00.

“There is strong evidence to demonstrate that the lower the price of alcohol, the higher the levels of consumption,” its submission says. “The WET must move to a volumetric tax rate as a matter of urgency.”

In 2013-14, the Government raised $5.1 billion in alcohol tax revenue (via the tax on beer, spirits and other excisable beverages).

This is despite the economic impact of alcohol on the Australian community costing $14.3 billion, according to the FARE submission, which cites Marsden Jacobs Associates (MJA) research. That research found the total costs of alcohol harm in Australia would be easily in excess of $15 billion per year.

FARE says the alcohol industry has been quick to innovate and “take advantage of the perverse incentives offered by the current taxation arrangements”.

It says spirit-like products such as TriVoski or Divas Vodkat are examples of products that are produced to imitate Vodka, but are actually ‘wine-based.’

“Because these products are taxed under the WET and not at the higher spirits rate, they are able to be taxed as wine and sold at cheap prices,” FARE says. For example, a 750ml bottle of TriVoski containing 13 standard drinks can be purchased for $9.95, equating to 77 cents per standard drink. The cost to the consumer

‘Australians will be economically better off’, says FARE’s Michael Thorn.

FARE chief executive, Michael Thorn, says the WET is corporate welfare at its worst.

“It simply beggars belief that ordinary Australians continue to foot the bill for the significant health and social costs of alcohol, while the majority of wine producers are profiting from favourable tax arrangements that encourage production of cheap alcohol that we know is targeted at, and consumed by problem drinkers,” he says.

Thorn says the price increase for pensioners will be so minuscule that it will not make a difference.

“The vast majority of Australians will be economically better off by taxing wine in a similar way to the way we tax draught beer,” he says.

FARE cites research by Allen Consulting that shows that if the WET is removed and replaced with a volumetric tax rate of $13.03 per litre of alcohol, it would result in an increase in the price of cask wine of 24.7 per cent and a decrease in the price of premium wine of 3.9 per cent.

The research estimates the change would decrease consumption of cask wine by 26.2 per cent or 6.98 million litres of pure alcohol.

However, there would be a 5.1 per cent increase in premium wine consumption, equivalent to 2.2 million litres of pure alcohol, and a substitution towards premium wine from other alcohol types by 1.8 per cent or 0.23 million litres of alcohol.

Total alcohol consumption would drop though, by 2.6 per cent or 4.9 million litres of pure alcohol.

Accolade and Wine Grape Growers Australia says while overall consumption may fall, price rises of one product will not stop binge drinking. Both submissions rightfully argue that those determined to drink will simply move to another product.

Accolade says that education and targeted programs about responsible drinking would be a better response. Tough choices

Bruce Tyrrell sees ‘no reason why pensioners, who may have a glass of wine a day …should be hit.’ Photo: Emma-Jane Pitsch

With wine consumption in Australia already at a 50-year lows, the impact of such drastic change to a tax system that the industry has so long relied on, will be devastating for some players.

As various submissions to the tax white paper noted, wine grape prices have halved over the past 15 years. And the size of the industry has shrunk in value by almost 25 per cent between 2003 and 2012.

In 2014, 84 per cent of Australian wine grapes were produced at a loss. Exports, while improving in some core markets such as China, overall remain subdued.

That leaves a conundrum for the government. Do they kill part of the industry to benefit another? Do they do more damage than good by meddling with the tax system?

Pernod Ricard says “tough choices need to be made if Australia’s wine industry is to achieve its full potential”.

But Tyrrell says if the government changes the system that generations of winemakers have relied it, it will not only destroy them, but local tourism.

“There are 3 million tourists driven to the Hunter Valley every year,” he says. “The small wine makers are an incredibly important part of that. It’s very easy to be pragmatic sitting in an office in Melbourne, but look at the country towns that are growing- they all have a tourism aspect to them. We’ve got to be careful we don’t take that away.”

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Police at a house in East Bentleigh where a man was shot on October 30. Photo: Joe ArmaoMan fighting for his life after shooting in city’s west
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A person has been injured or killed by gunfire on average every nine days in Victoria so far this year.

Almost one in three shootings resulting in death and injury over the past 10 months  were concentrated in a small pocket in Melbourne’s outer north, a Fairfax analysis found.

October has been  the worst month for gun violence this year, with 11 incidents, including the ambush of a man who was gunned down in Bentleigh East on Friday morning and a man shot after a fight in the city’s west late on Friday night.

At least half of the eight fatal shootings this year were drug-related, the victims suspected or convicted traffickers, or  associated with some of Melbourne’s most notorious criminal networks.

The month’s violence came to a head this week, as police guarded the Bentleigh East victim in hospital  and a man slain in a drive-by attack on Tuesday was mourned by his family.

Rachad Adra, 54, was killed in a drive-by attack on his Thomastown home, and his family continued the traditional Muslim three-day mourning period of Azza on Friday.

The father of three had been sleeping with his youngest son, four-year-old Kareem, when at least six shots ripped through two rooms of their brick home, fatally wounding him and leaving the boy in a serious condition.

Police are investigating whether his older sons, who work in the family’s heating and cooling business, were the intended targets of the shooting.

The deadly shooting occurred in a triangle about 20 kilometres north of the city, which has Roxburgh Park at its northern point, Broadmeadows to the west and Thomastown to the east, and has been plagued by gun violence this year.

The triangle is part of the so-called Red Zone in Melbourne’s north-west, which Fairfax revealed this year had recorded unprecedented levels of firearm seizures.

The latest shooting, the 38th this year resulting in death or injury, was in a far quieter area for gun crime – Melbourne’s south-east.

A 21-year-old was shot in the chest during an ambush by three men who followed him home early on Friday. Paramedics were called to the South Road, Bentleigh East house about 6.30am.

Inspector Bernie Edwards said police believed three men in a light-coloured sedan followed the young man to his family’s home, before one got out of the car and opened fire.

The man’s family was “understandably distressed”, while neighbours were concerned by the incident, Inspector Edwards said.

“But there’s no reason for [neighbours] to be concerned at this stage,” he said.

One of them, Selena Fang, said her parents-in-law heard up to six gunshots and then silence.

Ms Fang said she hoped the attack had not been random. “I’ve got a two-month-old baby, it’s very scary,” she said.

The Andrews government moved this week to speed up proposed changes to firearm trafficking laws, amid fears the state was awash with guns that were easily traded and increasingly being used by low-level criminals for protection.

But Crime Statistics Agency figures show that the rate of crimes against the person involving firearms has been relatively steady since 2011.

In the year to June, 2015, handguns were the gun most used by offenders, and were used more than twice as often as shotguns, the next most popular firearm.

The rate of stolen firearms is also steady, but rural properties and gun shops are still considered vulnerable by police; a sports store was burgled in Seymour on Monday, with several firearms stolen. The store owner declined to comment.

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The pouring rain didn’t dampen fans’ enthusiasm for Fleetwood Mac at Domain Stadium on Friday night. Photo: Eugene Fastcar/Twitter. Fleetwood Mac were back in Perth to play their first show since 2009. Photo: Matt Mindlin
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I have never been so wet in my life.

This was the thought running through my head as I walked away from Domain Stadium on Friday night completely drenched, with my water-filled shoes making an ungainly squelching sound with every step.

But, it was quickly followed by another – it was worth it to see Fleetwood Mac in concert again.

The last time the band came to Perth in 2009 was the first concert my wife and I watched together, not long after we had started dating.

So when an opportunity arose to review Fleetwood Mac’s return to Perth I jumped at the opportunity, thinking it was a chance to relive some wonderful memories.

However, I wasn’t prepared for the wild night which lay ahead – filled with sizzling guitar, mystical vocals, die-hard fans and never-ending rain.

No sooner had we taken our seats when Fleetwood Mac’s smash hit The Chain lit up the stadium, much to the crowd’s delight.

From there the band’s three main songwriters shared the spotlight with Christine McVie welcomed back to Perth with a rendition of You Make Loving Fun, followed by Stevie Nicks’ Dreams and Lindsay Buckingham’s Second Hand News.

As the heavens opened it also rained down hits with Rhiannon, Everywhere, Tusk, Sara and Say You Love Me enchanting the 25,000 fans who turned out for the show.

Then the two McVies, Nicks and drummer Mick Fleetwood vanished from the stage while Buckingham delivered an outstanding solo, guitar-only, version of Big Love.

The rest of the band returned in style and the hits continued and then the rain started to ease up as Nicks explained to fans the story behind the next song Gypsy.

As the song progressed Nicks twirled on screen mesmerizingly almost in what looked like a rain dance.

And, as if on cue, the rain started bucketing down heavier than before, ending any hope concert goers had of leaving Domain Stadium without being completely soaked.

Although no-one in the crowd seemed to mind as they were straight up out of their seats to dance as Little Lies, another of Christine McVie’s creations, resonated around the stadium.

Nicks’ mystical twirling continued as the band launched in to Gold Dust Woman and then the focus shifted to Buckingham who showed he has lost none of his guitar prowess with a stunning guitar solo to finish off I’m So Afraid.

Buckingham received rambunctious cheers for his bewitching effort which, turned to an even bigger roar as Fleetwood Mac quickly moved into Go Your Own Way to finish off their main set.

The upbeat tune lifted any remaining seated fans to their feet and when the song finished the band received a standing ovation who’s enthusiasm was never dampened despite the pouring rain all night long.

Christine McVie’s return to the the band, after 16 years of semi-retirement, appeared seamless and her vocals added another layer to the Mac’s allure, taking fans back to their golden days.

The excitement was evident on the faces of fans every time one of her songs started up with some of the biggest cheers of the night reserved for the encore when Don’t Stop rocked the stadium and the second encore as Songbird closed a memorable, but wet, Fleetwood Mac performance.

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Kyrgyzstan plan? Immigration Minister Peter Dutton Photo: Alex EllinghausenIn Kyrgyzstan they call it “ala kachuu”. Loosely translated it means: grab a woman and run away.
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It’s an ancient form of bride kidnapping said to have its roots in nomadic custom. It was outlawed under Soviet rule but it’s back in a big way: men drive around looking for women to kidnap and force into marriage and the authorities don’t do much to stop it.

Sometimes it’s consensual – an elaborate ritual – but usually not. It can involve rape and other forms of violence. Local civil society groups say thousands of women are forced into sexual and domestic servitude this way every year and the problem’s only getting worse.

Indeed, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns travellers about it in its Kyrgyzstan travel advice.

“Women travelling alone and after dark should take extra care for their own security as kidnapping local women for marriage is an ongoing occurrence in the Kyrgyz Republic, and foreigners could mistakenly fall victim to such kidnappings,” it says.

It also warns about the threat of violent crime, gangs, robbery, terrorism, militants, civil unrest, treacherous roads, endemic diseases, bad hospitals, strict laws, police harassment, earthquakes and avalanches.

And if that’s not enough, Human Rights Watch also warns of torture, widespread judicial corruption, attacks on minorities such as gay and lesbian people, entrenched racism and the terrible treatment of refugees. The country’s capital, Bishkek​, lies along heroin smuggling routes from Afghanistan into Russia and Europe.

Nonetheless, Kyrgyzstan is reportedly the latest place to which the Turnbull government is considering sending refugees – particularly Hazara Afghans – currently languishing in Australian detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island. */]]>

The government is under pressure to find countries that will agree to resettle the 1500 asylum seekers  sent offshore after coming to Australia by boat. The Immigration Minister’s office has declined to confirm or deny the Kyrgyzstan claims, only referring Fairfax Media to his October 9 statement that the government is in talks with a “number” of other countries.

The search comes as a result of the failure of the government’s so-called Cambodian solution, which saw just four people resettled in the south-east Asian nation despite costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was tight-lipped when pressed about the reports during a television appearance on Saturday.

“I’m not going to speculate about an unconfirmed story,” he told Sky News.

“We are having conversations with other countries to support our offshore processing arrangements and when we’re in a position to make relevant announcements, no doubt the minister for immigration will do so.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Cambodian deal was a “failed experiment” and the government should remove the “blanket of secrecy” and be up front about its future plans.

“The government should come clean, tell the Australian people what’s going on,” he told reporters.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 30: Nigel Boogaard of the Jets and Stefan Mauk of City collide into each other during the round four A-League match between Melbourne City FC and Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on October 30, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) Photo: Quinn Rooney MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 30: Nigel Boogaard of the Jets and Stefan Mauk of City collide into each other during the round four A-League match between Melbourne City FC and Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on October 30, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) Photo: Quinn Rooney
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 30: Nigel Boogaard of the Jets and Stefan Mauk of City collide into each other during the round four A-League match between Melbourne City FC and Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on October 30, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) Photo: Quinn Rooney

Melbourne City might, in an alternative competition, think about changing their name to Melbourne Brittle.

No matter how comfortable they ever seem to look in a game, John Van ‘t Schip’s side rarely look as though they can be guaranteed to put their opposition away, even if they are a couple of goals to the good and in control of the game.

It was a familiar story for City’s long-suffering fans, who turned out at AAMI Park on Friday night for their clash with surprise early season pacesetters Newcastle Jets.

The latter arrived in town having won two of their opening three games, and while most pundits were pleased for new coach Scott Miller and delighted to see a club that had become something of a basket case begin to get its act in order, no one seriously expected the Novocastrians to stay in such a productive groove.

And those opinions seemed justified in a first half where the visitors were played off the park. City romped to a two-goal lead through Aaron Mooy and Stefan Mauk, the latter finishing off an intricate passing move that displayed the best of what City can offer, and it looked all over bar the shouting.

Mooy was pulling the strings in midfield, City were rotating the ball well – at least for the first half hour, anyway – and the Jets rarely threatened. If anyone had predicted, correctly, at the interval that there would be another three second-half goals most punters, given the option, would probably have lumped on a 4-1 or 5-0 scoreline by game’s end.

But that, of course, would have been to ignore City’s famous capacity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It would also have underestimated Newcastle’s growing powers of self-belief and commitment, forged by those two early wins, an off-season of turmoil and uncertainty and faith in a hard-edged young coach who commands the respect of the dressing room.

When Ben Kantarovski, thrown into a more attacking role as a result of a half-time reshuffle – one that Miller tactfully described afterwards as containing an “honest” self-appraisal by his players – headed home just before the hour mark this match was very definitely on.

A palpable sense went round the ground that the Jets might well get something out of the game, so often have regulars seen and endured City’s capacity for implosion.

And it was entirely in keeping with the hosts’ fate that the game hinged on two penalties, one given, one ruled out.

With City and Van ‘t Schip screaming for a spot kick for a foul on Corey Gameiro as they clung to a 2-1 lead, referee Jared Gillett ignored the home side’s pleas.

At the other end, when a hopeful cross in from the right by former City utility Jason Hoffman struck Wade Dekker on the arm and bounced out for a corner, the assistant referee raised his flag, Gillett pointed to the spot and Milos Trifunovic calmly netted the equaliser.

It is not just games, but seasons, sometimes jobs, that can hinge on decisions such as that and on one unfortunate result.

The spotlight will inevitably fall, once again, on the Dutchman in the hot seat at the City Football Academy after this defeat – not so much because of the scoreline but because of the way it occurred.

There is always pressure in football, so Van ‘t Schip is under no more than the average coach in the competition. And he is well used to it, having taken charge at big clubs such as Ajax and also worked as assistant manager during a World Cup and a European championship of the famously fractious Dutch squad.

But he would not want to preside over many more such fadeouts during the rest of the season, especially if the well-fancied City, who look to have a stronger and better balanced squad than in previous seasons, are battling to make the playoffs.

City will strengthen for the midweek clash with Adelaide.

Aaron Hughes, who has been missing all season, should be available to play at least some sort of role, the Northern Ireland international veteran having recovered from injury and regained fitness. Robert Koren, the Slovenian playmaker sidelined for the past few games, may also come back into consideration, while there could also be a return for French winger Harry Novillo, another who has missed this season through injury.

Van ‘t Schip could only lament Gillett’s inability to find in favour of his side at a critical point of the match, and also rail at his team’s inability to continue dominating a game they should have had wrapped up long before the interval.

“At 2-1 we should have had a clear penalty, again,” the coach said. “It’s the third one we didn’t get this year, clear penalties. I don’t know why it is the case … it’s unbelievable when you see it happening, when he’s not brave enough to point to the penalty spot. It’s not consistent in how they are making their decisions, it’s very frustrating.

“We stopped playing. Going two up after 30 minutes, then we were not playing the game we did in the first 30 minutes. We started to play long. We gave away our possession. We didn’t open up. We start from the back, we try to get the ball going around and into the midfield, but that didn’t happen. We started taking too long with free kicks, then every ball goes long. We continued with that in the second half. We were not able to change it.

“We were not jelling with what we were doing in the first 30 minutes. We were pressing and creating chances out of good football. We should have made the score bigger than 2-0.

“If we stop playing football we are vulnerable. I tell them to play freely and keep on looking for solutions on the pitch. There is too much of a difference in the past two games. It has happened when we have experienced players on the park too.”

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Oscar-winning actor Hilary Swank at Flemington on Derby Day. Photo: Eddie Jim Hilary Swank in her Christopher Esber outfit. Photo: Eddie Jim
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Most Derby Day celebrities spend months planning their outfits. But Academy Award-winning actor Hilary Swank had less than 24 hours to organise her frock and hat.

The star of Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby and Freedom Writers was in Sydney this week visiting some friends. Swisse? got wind of this, snaffling her as its guest of honour in its opulent, China-themed Birdcage marquee.

Naturally, there was no shortage of designers willing to dress her.

“Christopher Esber? came to my rescue, and a beautiful hat was made for me, too,” Swank tells Fairfax Media.

While she has never been to Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival, she has toured the city before ? 21 years ago. Indeed, she celebrated her 20th birthday in the Victorian town of Hepburn Springs, near Daylesford.

“Victoria is one of my favourite places. The people, the culture and the country are just stunning. I remember the food being great. I wish I had more time to spend here.”

She even picked up a little Strine the first time around; “goodonya” being her favourite Aussie-ism. Having just returned, she’s already broadened her vocabulary.

Swank quickly learned that “Coffee, please” is the best response to “Cuppa?”.

“Oh, and ‘Is Bob your uncle?’,” she adds. “I’m like, ‘No, my uncle is Dave! I think ‘Is Bob your uncle?’ means, ‘Of course’.”

Fellow Swisse ambassador, model Ash Hart, normally chooses Australian designers but went for a Dolce & Gabbana frock this year, to reflect the company’s international expansion. While Hart and her female friends went to a lot of effort, she’s pleased the blokes did, too.

“Men are pushing the boundaries in fashion,” she says. “Even when it comes to the simplicity of black and white on Derby Day, they’re being more daring. It’s great to see.”

As Swisse’s marquee becomes more impressive, so do its competitors. Emirates’ marquee resembles an old English building ? a double-storey edifice with a sit-down restaurant. Appropriately, its guest list includes Lady Kitty Spencer, niece of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Serving the estimated crowd of 90,000 on Saturday are 1200 Victorian Racing workers and 1600 catering staff. A frantic 180 of them will do nothing but restock fridges, trying to keep pace with thirsty racegoers. Over the next four days, about 65,000 glasses of Mumm French champagne will be drunk (or, occasionally, spilled).

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Jay Ford will ride On A Shining Star. Photo: Jeffrey ChanWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingPhantom call: the greatest Melbourne Cup horses
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There are few bigger satisfactions for country trainers than winning a feature on their home track and on the horses-for-courses policy alone Ken Callaughan must be a huge chance in the $25,000 Anniversary Cup at Goulburn.

His ultra-consistent chestnut On A Shining Star has only raced five times at Goulburn for four wins and is yet to win on any other track.

“The last time Roly [Saxon] rode him there and he jumped and was three wide and didn’t let him go too,” Callaughan said. “He likes a firm track. I’ve scratched him a few times when it’s been wet, but if it’s a nice firm track he will run a nice race with no weight on him. He’s always been carrying big weights before.”

Jay Ford will take over for the main fare on Sunday with On A Shining Star, who is a half-brother to Callaughan’s recent Warwick Farm winner Keikosan and out of the mare Bella Arena he trained for breeder Dennis Rex.

“She was a leader and used to be up and running and this bloke is a bit the same,” Callaughan said.

SCRATCHING FOR A DATE

Stewards are still waiting to set a date for an adjourned inquiry into the dramatic scratching of Queanbeyan Cup favourite Scene Of The Crime last Sunday. The Matthew Dale-trained gelding was ordered out of the race after being found to have unapproved front shoes and pads when arriving at the start after a farrier mix-up. It was deemed there was insufficient time for the horse to be re-plated.

AND THEY’RE RACING

No fewer than 13 bush tracks will host non-TAB meetings on Melbourne Cup day, with meetings scheduled from Murwillumbah down to Wagga. Grafton’s Jacaranda Cup (Wednesday) and the Kempsey Cup (Friday) will be feature races later in the week.

TAB MEETINGS

Sunday – Goulburn, Muswellbrook. Monday – Ballina. Wednesday – Grafton. Thursday – Albury. Friday – Kempsey. Saturday – Goulburn.

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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Debut: Lauren Cheatle has been ranked as among the nation’s 10 fastest bowlers.Australian Test squad selected with a new era in mind
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Sixteen-year-old fast bowler Lauren Cheatle will make her senior state debut for the NSW Breakers when she’s unleashed against Queensland in Sunday’s WNCL match at Hurstville Oval.

The teenager from Bowral, who was picked in the Breakers squad at 15, has been selected to exploit the ground’s conditions with her left-arm fast-medium deliveries.

“The fact that we’re on a fast, flat track helped earn Lauren selection,” said Breakers coach Jo Broadbent. “Even though the WACA pitch in our first two games was like that as well, we wanted to go in with an extra batter in those first two rounds.

“We feel our batting is going along nicely now, and we do want to try and get wicket-takers into the side and we see Lauren as someone who can play that role.”

Cheatle, whose father Giles was a spin bowler in England and played for Sussex and Surrey, has already represented Australia A and was last season ranked by Broadbent among the nation’s 10 fastest bowlers.

“She’ll go as far as the amount of work that she puts in,” said Broadbent of Cheatle’s  potential. “She’s still very young but there is that Australian level she could reach – provided she can keep her body fit.”

With internationals Alex Blackwell, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Rene Farrell and Laura Marsh surrounding Cheatle, Broadbent said the teenager won’t lack support against a Queensland team that’s recorded impressive victories over Tasmania and the ACT.

“She’s been chosen for what she has shown already, she has the toolbox of being able to bowl in-swing and across the right-handers as well,” she said. “We’re not going to ask her to do anything she hasn’t done already.”

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A camel-drawn water cart near Aden, in Yemen, a region usually very short of water. Photo: Brent StirtonA rare intense tropical cyclone has formed in the Arabian Seaand is forecast to dump eightyears of rain in about 48 hourson typically arid regions of the Arabian Peninsula.
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Cyclone Chapala has already generated sustained winds of 95 knots(175 km/h), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. It was also producing significant wave heights of more than seven metres.

Eric Holthaus, a US meteorologist, estimates the storm will dump as much as eight times the annual rainfall of coastal regions of Yemen and Oman. These regions typically collect just 100-130 millimetresof rain a year.

The projected path of Chapala indicates it will reach Yemen on Monday. Photo: Joint Typhoon Warning Centre

The port city ofSalahah,in Oman, may face acoastal storm surge of as much as 4.5metres, Mr Holthaus said, adding that it is likely to be heavy deluge and flooding that may pose the bigger threat.

“Tropical cyclones arean extreme raritynear the Arabian Peninsula,” Mr Holthaus said.”Since reliable records begin in 1979, there have been only two hurricane-strength storms to make landfall in Oman, andthe only stormto hit Yemen topped out with winds at a paltry 35 miles per hour[56 km/h], barely tropical storm strength.”

Cyclone Chapala is the latest in a year of extreme weather.

Vredendal in South Africa earlier this week set the hottest Octobertemperature recorded anywhere and in any yearwith 48.4 degrees, according Jeff Master of the Weather Underground blog.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Patricia intensified into the strongest tropical storm ever recorded in the western hemisphere in just a few days.

The Pacific Ocean has also seen an unusually large number of intense tropical cyclones this year, including Cyclone Racquel, the earliest large storm to form off Australia’s north-east coast.

Global temperatures are also tracking well above previous levels so far in 2015 as the powerful El Nino event in the Pacific adds to background warming from climate change.


DUO: Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance are set for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images.
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DARREN Weir believes a good barrier draw is crucial to Prince of Penzance’s chances in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, 3200m.

The Ballarat trainer told The Courier an inside gate was vital if the horse was to run a forward race in the $6.2 million feature.

“For him to be a top 10 chance, he needs to draw inside barrier 10,” Weir said.

“We are happy with the order of him and we’re thinking we are a realistic top 10 chance if we can draw a barrier.

“It certainly won’t stop us from running if we draw a wide barrier, but it will make us a better chance if we drew in.”

Weir admitted it was hard to see the $81 chance on the TAB winning the race, but admitted he had enjoyed a good campaign.

“I couldn’t see him winning it, but I could see him running top 10. It’s $100,000 to run top 10,” he said.

With a number of runners being ruled out of the race in recent weeks, Prince of Penzance is now assured of a Melbourne Cup start, where he will be ridden by regular jockey Michelle Payne.

Payne has been with the horse in 22 of his 23 starts and all six of his career wins.

“She has done all the work on the horse and she gets on well with it so I’m more than happy to have her on,” Weir said.

Payne put Prince of Penzance – who ran second in last weekend’s Moonee Valley Cup – through his final piece of work on Friday.

“Dandino and Prince of Penzance galloped a lap from winning post to winning post at Terang and both horses worked really well,” Weir said.

“That’s (Prince’s) final hit out. He will go to the sand dunes on Sunday and that’s it.”

Weir has two other Melbourne Cup hopefuls and will know their fate when the field is confirmed on Saturday evening.

Dandino is just outside the 24-horse cut off and requires a couple of scratchings above him, while stablemate Zanteca must win Saturday’s Lexus Stakes to find her way into the field.

Weir has had four previous runners in the race that stops a nation, with Signoff placing fourth last year.

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A new partnership will provide the shire’s cancer patients with reduced rate accommodation options when they are required to travel to Sydney for their cancer treatment.
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Cancer Council NSW and AccorHotels will help ease the financial burden by providing cancer patients, carers and their family members access to hundreds of affordable rooms. The service will be available across 62 AccorHotels properties close to treatment facilities in greater Sydney and other locations across NSW.

The new partnership will complement the current NSW Government’s Isolated Patients Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS). The overall financial burden of cancer will be reduced for these patients when they claim the commercial IPTAAS rate on these rooms.

Brenna Smith of Cancer Council NSW said it’s concerning to hear of patients who have chosen to forfeit vital treatment because of the financial burden and lack of available accommodation options when being treated away from their home region.

“When you are diagnosed with cancer, your time should be spent on getting to your radiation and chemotherapy treatments, eating properly and staying focused on the goal of getting better,” Ms Smith said.

“This new service will help local cancer patients and their families rest easy knowing accommodation options close to their treatment facility will be available at a cost affordable to them.”

Hotel staff will be trained to deal with specific dietary and housekeeping requirements. Rooms will have a Cancer Council NSW support pack providing information on other cancer support services, which will aid patients and their families during treatment away from home.

Cancer patients who require accommodation are encouraged to visit 梧桐夜网cancercouncil南京夜网419论坛/accommodation or call Cancer Council NSW on 131-120 to discuss their options.

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Derby Day 2015: Fashions, celebs and more | Photos Fashions on the Field entrants pose in the Fashion on the Field enclosure on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse. Pictures: GETTY IMAGES
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Johanna Griggs poses at the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day. Pictures: GETTY IMAGES

A Fashions on the Field entrant poses in the Fashion on the Field enclosure. Pictures: GETTY IMAGES

A Fashions on the Field entrant poses in the Fashion on the Field enclosure on Derby Day.

Jessica Gomes poses at the Lexus Marquee.

Myer Fashions on the Field judge Kate Peck poses in the Fashion on the Field enclosure.

Hilary Swank arrives carrying an umbrella at the Swisse Marquee on Derby Day.

Myer Fashions on the Field judges Lauren Phillips, Viktoria Novak, Myer Fashions on the Field ambassador Gigi Connolly and Kate Peck pose in the Fashion on the Field enclosure on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

A detailed view of a Fashions on the Field entrant’s shoes.

A Fashions on the Field entrant poses in the enclosure on Derby Day.

British milliner Stephen Jones poses at the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day.

Jennifer Hawkins, wearing Alex Perry and millinery by Ann Shoebridge, poses at the Myer Marquee.

Jennifer Hawkins, wearing Alex Perry and millinery by Ann Shoebridge, and Kate Peck, wearing White Suede and millinery by Phillip Rhodes, pose at the Myer Marquee.

A Fashions on the Field entrant.

Lindy Klim attends on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

Jennifer Hawkins on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

British milliner Stephen Jones poses at the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day.

Nikki Phillips speaks at the Fashion on the Field enclosure on Derby Day.

Nikki Phillips and James Tobin speak at the Fashion on the Field enclosure.

Jennifer Hawkins, wearing Alex Perry and millinery by Ann Shoebridge, and Kris Smith, wearing Dom Bagnato, pose at the Myer Marquee

Kate Peck, wearing White Suede and millinery by Phillip Rhodes, poses at the Myer Marquee on Derby Day.

Jennifer Hawkins.

Kate Peck, wearing White Suede and millinery by Phillip Rhodes, poses at the Myer Marquee on Derby Day.

Johanna Griggs poses at the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

Fashions on the Field entrants pose on Derby Day.

Ashley Hart poses at the Swisse Marquee on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

Millie Mackintosh poses with milliner Stephen Jones at the Emirates Marquee.

Lauren Phillips, wearing Asilio and millinery by Viktoria Novak, poses at the Myer Marquee.

Fashions on the Field entrants pose in the Fashion on the Field enclosure.

Lindy Klim and Michael Klim attend on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

Michael Klim arrives to Derby Day.

Ashley Hart poses at the Swisse Marquee.

Millie Mackintosh poses at the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day.

Millie Mackintosh arrives to the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

A Fashions on the Field entrant poses on Derby Day.

Fashions on the Field entrants pose in the enclosure.

Fashions on the Field entrants.

Rebecca Maddern poses at the Myer Marquee on Derby Day.

Kris Smith, wearing Dom Bagnato.

Margaret Zhang poses at the Swisse Marquee on Derby Day.

American actrees Hilary Swank poses at the Swisse Marquee on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

Kerrie McCallum and Myer Ambassador Jodi Anasta pose in the Fashion on the Field enclosure.

One of the Fashions on the Field entrants.

A Fashions on the Field entrant.

A Fashions on the Field entrant poses in the enclosure.

A Fashions on the Field entrant poses in the enclosure.

TweetFacebookIT’S Derby Day and while the racing will be fierce, so are the fashions.