DIARY

DIARY

RSVP: Katrina Marshall on 64523441.
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APRIL 23: Northern Hunt Club masquerade ball from 7pm. Music by Midnight Rendezvous, supper provided. Details: Nevil Reed on 63966160.

APRIL 30: Launceston Horticultural Society autumn show, 2pm-5pm today and 9am-4pm tomorrow. Details: President Pat Wellington on 63442259.

¤To have an item included in the rural diary contact Peter Sanders on 63367367, fax 63347328, or e-mail [email protected]南京夜网.au and mark it for the rural diary.

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Simon, Markham back Tahu’s decision to walk

Simon, Markham back Tahu’s decision to walk

John SimonFormer NSW and Steelers representative John Simon has thrown his support behind Timana Tahu's decision to walk out on tonight's Origin game, following racist comments from NSW assistant coach Andrew Johns.Simon - who played alongside Johns in the 1997 series - said that, while he admired Tahu's decision, he believes it could end up leaving a sour taste in the mouths of NSW selectors."I certainly support what he has done, there was no need for those comments aimed at Inglis or whoever else. It's just unnecessary," he said."Personally, during the earlier stages of my career I wouldn't have reacted that way but as you get older you need to set an example for your own kids and all other kids as well."Making his Origin debut at only 19, Simon had to wait another five years before he was selected again.He believes the major reason other players haven't spoken out is because they fear it may jeopardise their future selection hopes."It's something that in the early part of your career you would probably tolerate because you're young, you want to play Origin and you don't want to rock the boat," he said."Don't get me wrong, you would still have a reaction to it, but maybe not as big as Tahu's decision.""I think it comes down to the individual, really. Whoever makes these kind of comments are the ones tarnishing our game."Simon's sentiments have been echoed by the former parliamentary secretary for Aboriginal affairs Colin Markham."This incident says to me that racism is still alive and evil within our society, not just in rugby league and not just in sport," he said."What Johns said was totally unacceptable but I've got no doubt he's not the only person in that level of rugby league saying similar sorts of things."Mr Markham believes league's reputation has taken a backward step."I thought the league had made a real step in the right direction with the Indigenous All Stars match . This has undone much of that," he said.
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BRIEFS

BRIEFS

Democrats to table
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abortion choice bill

CANBERRA - The Australian Democrats will introduce a bill to Parliament supporting women's choice on abortions, party leader Lyn Allison said yesterday. The move follows the announcement of a private member's bill by Nationals Senator Ron Boswell on the level of abortion in Australia. Figures compiled by the Department of Health and Ageing in response to questions placed on notice in January by Senator Boswell showed there were 91,000 terminations of pregnancy procedures in Australia in 2003-04.

The Queensland Senator wants a debate on the issue.

Senator Allison said: "I want to send a very strong message to Senator Boswell to say that he doesn't speak for the whole Parliament."

Howard plays down

Japan FTA prospect

TOKYO - Prime Minister John Howard was talking down the prospects of Australia and Japan agreeing to study the feasibility of a free trade agreement ahead of a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last night.

Even getting to the negotiating table with Japan would be difficult as the Japanese are strongly opposed to the inclusion of agriculture in any prospective agreement.

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Danger for UOW in reliance on foreign students

Danger for UOW in reliance on foreign students

International students contributed $132 million in revenue to UOW last year - more than a quarter of its total turnover.The financial risk posed by the University of Wollongong's heavy reliance on international students has been called into question, amid figures showing they injected more than $130 million into the institution's coffers last year.An auditor-general report into the finances of the state's universities found UOW was in sound fiscal shape, but warned against the perils of an over-dependence on the lucrative but unstable overseas student market."Almost 40 per cent of (the university's enrolments) are made up of international students - it needs to be careful and manage that because it's a more volatile source of revenue (than government-supported students)," an auditor-general spokesman said.The report showed international students comprised 37 per cent of the university's student body in 2008, second only to Sydney's Macquarie University.Chinese students made up the largest number of enrolments, followed by those from India, Saudi Arabia and the United States.Figures supplied by the university showed international students contributed $132 million in revenue last year - more than a quarter of its total turnover, and 7 per cent above the state average.Studies show overseas students inject a further $150 million into the Illawarra economy each year.The report also raised concern over the uni's ageing workforce, finding almost 40 per cent of its academic staff were aged over 50."The university needs to ensure it has adequate staff with the right skills to replace people when they retire (or) it risks being able to provide the high-quality education that it is set up to do," the spokesman said.A university spokesman said it was managing the risk posed by overseas student income by branching into a range of markets and student types."The university is not only actively targeting a range of overseas countries but ensures it reaches a good balance of undergraduate and postgraduate students," the spokesman said.The university was addressing its ageing staff base through development programs for early career researchers, PhD scholarships, retention planning and a transition to retirement process.He said the staff age profile for UOW was almost identical to other NSW universities.The report also found the university had recovered well from the global financial crisis, which wiped almost $26 million from the value of its investments in 2008.More than $16 million was recovered the following year.But the auditor-general urged caution as UOW forges ahead with $320 million in capital works over the next few years, including a further $71 million to be spent on the Innovation Campus, warning the global recovery was "fragile".
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Choice of cards of little benefits

Choice of cards of little benefits

Australians have a choice of about 240 different credit cards, with new ones appearing all the time, such as the new Aussie Home Loans card launched just last week.
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Andrew Willink, managing director of the Cannex research company, says increased choice hasn't yet brought increased benefit to the consumer.

"We have a lot of choice. We have great special offers. We have a fantastic payments system. We have innovative rewards," Mr Willink told The International Consumer Credit Card Summit.

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Wollongong Hospital scores $5m teaching facility

Wollongong Hospital scores $5m teaching facility

Health Minister Nicola Roxon, Wollongong MP Noreen Hay and area health service chief executive Terry Clout after announcing the $5 million teaching and accommodation facility and the 12-bed short stay unit.Picture: ROBERT PEETVisiting medical students of the future will spend their stay in a $5 million teaching and accommodation facility aimed at ensuring their experience of Wollongong is a positive one.And a 12-bed short stay unit will be set up next month to ease pressure on the city's emergency department.Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced federal funding for the dual improvements yesterday in a visit intended to showcase Wollongong's share of the benefit borne of NSW's signing of the health reform agreement.The funding will come from a $1.1 billion kitty paid to the states over four years, with the Federal Government to also take over the running costs of seven about-to-come-online emergency beds announced by the state last April.In all, federal dollars would support 21 new beds at Wollongong Hospital, Ms Roxon said.The announcements are the first example of how the Federal Government's involvement in the health system will work.All were put up for consideration by state authorities and approved and funded by the Commonwealth."The Government is not taking over these decisions," Ms Roxon said. "But we do approve those decisions."Throsby MP Jennie George said the new teaching and accommodation facility would benefit students of medicine, nursing, midwifery, allied health including physiotherapy, speech pathology, psychology, occupational therapy, dietetics and social work.Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Don Iverson welcomed the development, saying it would be "easier for students to fall in love with Wollongong" if they spent their stay in good accommodation.The funds pay for the purchase of an as yet undetermined piece of land "adjacent to the hospital".Prof Iverson said the site should be no more than a five-minute walk from the hospital. "You have to have it close or the doctors and nurses won't go and teach there," he said.Wollongong MP Noreen Hay welcomed the funding."We have been a long time without the serious kind of federal assistance that we need in terms of health service delivery," she said.
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Another interest rise likely

Another interest rise likely

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations yesterday said skilled vacancies across all major occupations increased by 1.5 per cent in April.
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Its Skilled Vacancies Index for April is now 2.0 per cent higher than a year ago and 12.2 per cent higher than the most recent trough in May 2003.

DEWR said professional vacancies rose by 1.7 per cent.

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MPs critical of Wollongong’s environmental rating

MPs critical of Wollongong’s environmental rating

Picture: KIRK GILMOURIllawarra MPs have slammed a damning national report which casts doubt on Wollongong's environmental credentials.The Australian Conservation Foundation's Sustainable Cities Index, which rated the nation's 20 largest cities, found Wollongong was the most likely to struggle under major environmental stress such as climate change.The finding was based on Year 12 retention rates, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, levels of volunteerism and a lack of local food production.The city also ranked worst in air quality and household loan repayments. VOTE: What do you think of the region's environmental credentials?In terms of overall sustainability, Wollongong came in 17th, while Darwin took first place.Kiama MP Matt Brown questioned the validity of the report, which pitted Wollongong against metropolitan centres such as Sydney and Melbourne."It's a ridiculous comparison - how can you compare a small city area with these other cities?" Mr Brown said."It's a simple and unhelpful dump on Wollongong."He disputed the claim the city lagged behind in volunteerism and suffered low rates of local food production."I'd hate to rely on the desert around Darwin to sustain me, when you've got beautiful areas around the Southern Highlands, Albion Park and Kiama which have very rich pastures."His criticism was echoed by Wollongong MP Noreen Hay, who said it was unfair to liken industrial cities like Wollongong to "resort" cities such as the Sunshine Coast."We have blue collar industry as well as development in the areas of finance and IT - we're moving forward, but this kind of listing doesn't give the true picture," she said.Minister for the Illawarra Paul McLeay said Wollongong led the pack in the uptake of environmental initiatives such as the NSW Home Saver Rebates, which assist people to make their homes more water and energy efficient."Illawarra households are saving 125 million litres of water, 10,000 tonnes of carbon pollution and collectively $1 million on water and energy bills a year," he said.The report's author, Matthew Trigg, conceded the study's methodology - based on publicly available data across 15 narrow indicators - left room for improvement."It's not perfect and no ranking system can be, but the whole idea is to invigorate debate and encourage healthy competition between cities," Mr Trigg said.
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Socceroos mauled by Germany

Socceroos mauled by Germany

Tim Cahill receives a red card. Picture: VINCE CALIGIURI Tim Cahill tackles Philipp Lahm. Picture: VINCE CALIGIURI
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erman player Miroslav Klose celebrates his goal. Picture: STEVE CHRISTO

Dejected Socceroos fans after the loss. Picture: VINCE CALIGUIRI

Australia have a mountain to climb if they are to stay alive in this World Cup after their campaign opened in the worst possible fashion when Tim Cahill was sent off and Pim Verbeek’s team was completely outclassed 4-0 by a slick and skilful Germany.The Germans handed out a footballing lesson and had enough chances to double their winning margin, such was their domination.Australia must now win their next match against Ghana, victors over Serbia earlier in the day, to have any hope of staying alive in this tournament. On this effort that looks a forlorn hope.GALLERY: See all the action from the gameVerbeek takes blame for Socceroos defeatComplete, utter disaster for Verbeek and the SocceroosCahill, who had little impact on the match, was shown a straight red card in the 57th minute after a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger when Australia were 2-0 down.Cahill broke down in tears after the game as he was asked about his controversial sending off.Moments earlier Schweinsteiger stopped, tapped him on the shoulder and said : "That was not a red card."A clearly moved Cahill said: "Coming from him, that meant a lot."The Socceroos never looked likely to threaten a German team which played with pace, power and precision and made good on their threat to rip Australia apart down the wings, particularly in the first half, when their movement and mobility caused constant problems for Australia’s ageing defence.Australia’s best moment came just after kick off, when a Cahill header from a Luke Wilkshire corner was cleared and Richie Garcia’s shot from the rebound was blocked.But that was as good as it got.Germany soon found their rhythm, and took the lead after eight minutes when Lukas Podolski produced a slashing drive to finish off a terrific move. Mesut Ozil rounded Jason Culina to set up Thomas Mueller whose cross was met first time by Podolski.Germany took Australia apart down the right, with captain Phillip Lahm combining with Mueller and Ozil to create numerous opportunities.Miroslav Klose put Germany two up in the 26th minute, bravely getting his head to a Lahm cross from the right before Mark Schwarzer’s flailing fist to nod home.Ozil should have made it three when he sprung the Australian defensive line after Klose's through ball, his clever chip over Schwarzer just a little too casual, allowing Lucas Neill to get back and clear off the line.Substitute Brett Holman shot wide shortly after the restart, but Australia’s agony only intensified following Cahill’s dismissal.Mueller, who had taunted Australia on the wing, came inside to fire home in the 68th minute, and two minutes later substitute Cacau, set up by the hugely impressive Oezil, made it four and complete Australia’s humiliation.Klose, top scorer in the 2006 World Cup, said: "Everything worked well and it is important that things went well in the first game."We have earned some respect. You could see that we had fun playing football out there. I know what I can do. I feel great."Germany coach Joachim Loew was delighted too."I am very happy about the performance, we showed some quick passing and good speed," he said. Source: smh南京夜网.au

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Man in court over Tunnel home invasion

Man in court over Tunnel home invasion

Nathan Patrick Mayne, of Talbot Rd, Launceston, was charged with aggravated armed robbery and aggravated burglary.
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He appeared in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday but has not yet entered a plea.

It was alleged he participated in the burglary of a home at Tunnel, a remote area north of Lilydale, on February 8.

Chief Magistrate Arnold Shott adjourned the matter to May 3 at 9.15am.

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