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Briefs

Briefs

Manslaughter for Dad[BB] AIKEN, South Carolina - A man was convicted of manslaughter for giving beer to his 15-year-old son and letting him drive a truck which crashed, killing the boy and his two brothers. Attorneys said Michael Batchelor, 37, would probably spend more than 30 years in prison for the 2002 wreck.
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Batchelor bought the beer for his three sons and three of their friends and then let the oldest son, who did not have a licence, drive the truck while he rode beside him in the cab.

The truck hit a car head-on, killing driver Ashton Groomes and his brothers, 13-year-old Brandon Batchelor and 11-year-old Drew Batchelor. The other boys were also hurt.

Call to fight drugs BANGKOK - The United Nations wants Australia to do more in the fight against drugs and corruption in Asia.

"A mature economy, a democratic society like Australia has indeed a responsibility to assist the countries in the region," UN's Office of Drugs and Crime executive director Antonio Maria Costa said.

Berlusconi to return ROME - Silvio Berlusconi seems set to form a new Government amid a crisis that forced his resignation as Italy's Prime Minister and raised the spectre of snap elections.

Mr Berlusconi quit on Wednesday after losing some coalition members.

He has apparently reached a deal with two key coalition partners; the centrist UDC and the right-wing National Alliance.

Gutierrez exile plans QUITO - Deposed President Lucio Gutierrez was holed up in the Brazilian embassy on Thursday awaiting a flight into exile. Ecuadoreans tried to return to normalcy after a week of street violence and political chaos.

Ecuadorean television showed video of police searching for another ex-president, Abdala Bucaram, whose return from eight years of exile helped spark the current crisis.

Government buildings were left in shambles after rioters set fires and threw rocks and bottles at anything connected to the Government, killing at least two people.

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Top referee’s verdict on Harry Kewell red card

Top referee’s verdict on Harry Kewell red card

Damien, 4, gives his referee dad, Strebre Delovski of West Wollongong, a red card.Australia's best whistleblower believes his Italian counterpart erred by sending off Harry Kewell against Ghana.Wollongong resident and Mercury columnist Strebre Delovski - the 2009-10 PFA and A-League referee of the year - disagreed with Roberto Rosetti's decision to show the Socceroos star a red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity.With Australia leading 1-0 on Sunday morning, Jonathan Mensah's shot struck Kewell - who was standing at the goal line - on the arm.Rosetti awarded a penalty - converted by Asamoah Gyan - and Australia played for more than an hour with 10 men for a gallant 1-1 draw that left their hopes of advancing hanging by a thread.Delovski, who controlled last season's A-League grand final, would have allowed play to continue as he didn't believe Kewell was guilty of handling the ball."He shouldn't have been sent off because the handball rule states you have got to make a deliberate movement towards the ball," Delovski said."Handball is either deliberate or not, had there been movement towards the ball fine, but that didn't happen. It wasn't a penalty, I would have blown play on."In my opinion it's not a send-off offence."Delovski - who watched the match with friends because he feared a controversial decision and an ensuing inquisition - cleared Kewell of two handball "red flags"."Harry was in his natural body posture, he didn't have his arm out and the ball hit him," he said. "A giveaway with handball is when the player is watching the ball, but Harry had his eyes closed."He didn't have time to move because the shot was struck so hard."Although he disagreed with the decision, Delovski said Rosetti had no choice but to become the second official to banish a Socceroo in as many World Cup finals matches."The red card was for denying a goal-scoring opportunity because he was on the goal line," Delovski said."There's no in between - it can't be just a yellow (card) or just a penalty."It comes down to the opinion of the referee, unfortunately that's the way it goes."However with Kewell automatically banned for the must-win Group D tie against Serbia on Thursday morning, Rosetti's decision could have effectively ruined Australia's hopes of progressing to the knockout phase."I'd hate to be in his shoes, he had to make a decision in a millisecond and he's gone for it," Delovski said. "He is human, after all. He doesn't have time to evaluate or review it from a million camera angles."Delovski also disagreed with Rosetti not adding to the three minutes of time added on after Black Stars defender John Pantsil was injured.He estimated that error cost Australia a precious 90 seconds as they pushed for a winner."If there is an injury during stoppage time, more time should have been added on," Delovski said. "He should have played an extra minute or 90 seconds."See Monday's Mercury for Delovski's take on Tim Cahill's red card against Germany.
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Bitter-sweet result for Mt Warrigal mum

Bitter-sweet result for Mt Warrigal mum

Laurelle Rankmore, with son Keiran, hopes a lesson is learned after a company was fined for safety breaches relating to her son's death.A Mt Warrigal mother, distraught over the 2006 death of her son on a building site, hopes a court ruling against his former employer will raise awareness about workplace safety.Laurelle Rankmore says the $100,000 fine handed down to an Illawarra building company will not bring her son back, but will send a strong message to all employers, supervisors and their staff."I am pleased the NSW WorkCover Authority investigated this incident so thoroughly and then prosecuted," Mrs Rankmore said."If others can learn from this tragedy about the need for safe work practices, something has been achieved."Mrs Rankmore was responding to an Industrial Court of NSW ruling which penalised CKR Pty Limited for safety breaches relating to a workplace incident in which its employee, Aaron Rankmore, was fatally injured after he fell 5.3m from the first floor of a two-storey residential unit.Judge Anna Backman also handed down a $10,000 fine to Zoran Cvetkovski, the owner of the site where the unit was under construction.The incident happened on December 11, 2006, and Mr Rankmore, a 21-year-old carpenter, died in Wollongong Hospital four days later.Mrs Rankmore said the impact of Aaron's death on her and younger son Kieran, 20, had been devastating and they were still struggling with overwhelming grief."To have to sit here every day, hoping and waiting ..." she said, her voice trailing off. "It's been a long 3? years. It used to be Aaron, Kieran and me and now it's a triangle with one side missing, and it will never be the same."Mrs Rankmore said she was angry that Aaron's death was preventable."There were real breaches of safety (at the worksite). He was a polite, good young man who was down-to-earth and who cared about his family and friends. He had a lot to live for."A written judgment handed down by the court earlier this month found CKR supervisor Cord Tolson had instructed Mr Rankmore and another employee, Owen Smith, to stack timber wall frames, and while pulling on a frame Mr Rankmore fell 5.3m from the first floor through a makeshift work platform and landed on the floor below.In the judgment, Justice Blackman said the first-year carpenter was inadequately supervised on the day of the incident.She also said Mr Cvetkovski's failure to have safe procedures in place was a serious omission.
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Dragons’ winning culture ‘is safe’

Dragons’ winning culture ‘is safe’

St George Illawarra's five fallen NSW stars have vowed not to let the devastation of another losing State of Origin series corrupt the developing winning culture at the Dragons.Winger Brett Morris, second-rower Ben Creagh and centre Beau Scott are all expected to take the field against the Sharks at Toyota Stadium tomorrow after being part of the failed Blues campaign on Wednesday.Matt Cooper will miss the game with a hamstring injury, while prop Michael Weyman is also in doubt with groin soreness. Full coverage of the Dragons But with the harsh spotlight turned upon them as irate NSW fans call for heads to roll following a fifth straight series loss, they must now focus on continuing the Dragons' magical run at the top of the NRL ladder.Creagh said the NSW players needed to pick up the pieces without letting their latest dose of the Origin blues rub off on their club team-mates."It will be hard because I'm so disappointed about the game and the loss, but you can't carry it with you too long," Creagh said."I've got to go back to Saints and find the positives because it can spread very easily."I'll go back and be as upbeat as I can and prepare for the game."You really want to make amends (for the Origin loss) and come back fit for your club and I'll be doing everything I can for the Dragons. We'll be all right."But Cronulla duo Trent Barrett and Paul Gallen will also have their chance to bounce back tomorrow after the Sharks enforcer took an early plea for a high hit on Queensland's Nate Myles.There will be no such questions of motivation for triumphant Queensland pair Darius Boyd and Neville Costigan.Dragons fullback Boyd has been cleared of serious injury after being spear-tackled by NSW firebrand Luke O'Donnell on Wednesday night.There has been a long-standing questionmark over the Dragons' culture, having failed in previous finals series, including last year after winning the minor premiership.But there is little doubt about becoming a tougher outfit under coach Wayne Bennett, in his second season in charge.With the Red V flying high with a 10-3 record to be outright first, Scott was adamant he would put the loss in his Origin debut behind him.He admitted he was desperate to be part of a winning team again."You can use (Origin) as a motivator to get back out there and be in a winning team again," he said.
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West Dapto levy cuts leave council $400m short

West Dapto levy cuts leave council $400m short

New caps on developer levies will leave Wollongong City Council with a $400 million shortfall on funds needed to provide community infrastructure for West Dapto.Section 94 development contributions - collected by councils to pay for basic infrastructure such as roads, drains and parks - were capped at $20,000 per residential lot in this week's state budget.The announcement came during the council's public exhibition of its draft West Dapto developer contribution plan, which proposes fees of up to $41,000 for each residential lot.The council has estimated West Dapto will need $756 million worth of infrastructure during the next 50 years but the cap means the council can collect only half that amount.General manager David Farmer yesterday said the council was seeking urgent talks with the State Government."The cap on Section 94 levies is extremely concerning and will place significant pressure on the successful development of West Dapto," he said."We're seeking formal talks with the State Government to explore strategies that will allow them to satisfy the need to reduce costs of development while ensuring adequate infrastructure is provided to service new greenfield developments."The alternatives were to scaleback West Dapto infrastructure or apply for a city-wide rate rise to fund the shortfall.Major West Dapto landholder and developer Stockland welcomed the changes."At $41,000 per lot it would put land out of reach of people down there and would probably mean releasing fewer lots," said Barry Mann, Stockland's general manager of residential development for NSW."We now will be able to produce more lots at a lower price and more people in the area will be able to afford to buy them."Meanwhile, Shellharbour City Council is facing a different dilemma.General manager Brian Weir wasn't worried about the size of the cap, but was concerned councils could now only charge for "essential infrastructure" specific to each new development. He said Shellharbour council had relied on developer levies to help fund city-wide infrastructure as the city grew, but that would no longer be allowed."Our section 94 levies range from $9000 to $14,000 per lot. But we are absolutely committed to the need for a city-wide levy as well as the precinct levy," he said.Ultimately, he said the scheme would push up rates for all residents."This new system advantages new subdivisions at the expense of existing communities," Mr Weir said.Local Government Association president Genia McCaffery backed councils opposed to the changes and said Camden council could be left with a funding gap of $1.3 billion over 20 years."The Government made these changes with minimal consultation with councils, no transitional arrangements and no understanding of the magnitude of the financial impact on many councils, ratepayers and local communities," she said.
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Fish-and-chip shops cop a serve over small portions

Fish-and-chip shops cop a serve over small portions

Picture: KEN ROBERTSONLong and skinny or short and stubby, Australians have an undeniable love affair with the humble hot chip.While a kilogram of potatoes is a relatively straightforward proposition, asking for a ''minimum'' or ''small'' serve of chips can produce portions ranging from princely to miserly.The Herald visited five fish-and-chip shops around Sydney to test who is dishing up the most generous servings, and those committing salt and battery on our wallets.At Glebe Fish Bite, the smallest order of chips delivered 220 grams of golden fries for $1.50, making it the best value at 68 cents for 100 grams. It was closely followed by Olde Fashioned Fish & Chips in Naremburn, which cost 83 cents for 100 grams. The poorest value was at Bondi Seafood Market ($1.36/100g) and Peters Fish Market at the Sydney Fish Market ($1.25/100g), which was the only outlet that did not cook the chips fresh.Across the Tasman, consumers have had a skinful of fish-and-chip shops' stinginess with the scoop. The Chip Group - comprising New Zealand potato growers, oil companies and health groups - wants to standardise the size of a ''scoop'' of chips. The Chip Group has already developed standards concerning the cooking, draining and salting of hot chips which have the potential to lower the fat content of chips by 20 per cent. The Heart Foundation has been working with fast food chains and outlets to reduce saturated fat levels by switching to so-called healthier oils. It has also backed a government initiative that would force fast-food chains to display the kilojoule, saturated fat and salt content of their products at the point of sale.''Consumers have a right to know what they're eating and they don't get that when they go to these quick service restaurants,'' said the NSW head of the Heart Foundation, Tony Thirlwell.Australians consume about 359,000 tonnes of hot chips each year, or 16 kilograms per person, while New Zealanders eat their way through about 27 kilograms. ''[Hot chips] don't have to be laden with unhealthy saturated fats. The oils will make the difference because they get absorbed,'' Mr Thirlwell said. Source: smh南京夜网.au
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Shape your online image, or others will shape it for you

Shape your online image, or others will shape it for you

My story begins with a fax machine. A fax machine in a walk-in stationery cupboard at a law firm at the start of my working life.It was new and fandangled, the height of whiz-bang. We were all taught to work it but no one understood it, so it wasn't long before a paralegal - thankfully not me - got in strife. Something he'd faxed had fallen into the wrong hands."A fax is like a postcard," a partner informed a hastily gathered assemblage in none-too-measured tones. He had a walrus moustache and baggy suit pants anchored by a belt to his ample hips. "It is not private!"Years later, nothing has changed. Broadcast mediums come and go but the principle remains the same. Whether you're faxing, podcasting, blogging, tweeting, retweeting or posting a photo/video/link to your or someone else's MySpace or Facebook page, it's all in the public domain. And if you say it, you must own it, along with any downstream consequences.Privacy has recently been cast by vested interests as a value of yesteryear. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: "When we got started … the question a lot of people asked was, 'Why would I want to put any information on the internet at all?' [But now] people have really gotten comfortable, not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people."Last week's about-face by Facebook on some aspects of its controversial and complex "opt-out" privacy settings suggests that reports of privacy's death may be greatly exaggerated.But even if Zuckerberg is correct that social norms around personal privacy are relaxing, he left something out.For people to make informed and voluntary decisions about the exchange of their personal privacy for the benefits of social interaction, recognition and celebrity, they must understand the risks and benefits the choice entails.In particular, they must recognise that the snail trail of their online life can be matched, mashed, collated, broadcast and rebroadcast by anybody, in any context, for any reason, for many years into the future.What's out there - however partial, slanted, decontextualised or downright wrong - comprises your online, and contributes to your real-world, reputation.Reputation is an old fashioned word, but today - as in yesteryear - it still matters. What others think about you is a compendium of what you look like, say and do over time, as well as how these elements complement or contradict each other.Reputation matters because people must often make decisions about you before they know you. To do this, they must rely on reputation, or its protean precursor, first impressions.In a world where "no privacy" is the chosen or default setting, there will be a broad range of data out there - a personality test sat long ago, a tweet sent after a first date, photos of a drunken night - from which an interested party can build an image of you. That image may make implicit or explicit claims about your wisdom, competency or character.That our broadcasts may have consequences for our lives often gets missed. This is because most of what we do online attracts little attention. Usually, we are trying - and failing - to be heard.But at some point in nearly everyone's life someone will surface with the time and inclination to track back through the digital detritus of our online existence. They will decide whether to trust, respect, like or do business with us - and advise others to do the same - on the basis of what they see, hear and read.We can't control this process, but we can influence it. We can affect it by taking care with what we allow into the public domain in the first place. We can also proactively develop and nurture our personal brand in the hope that if and when others say false or malicious things about us, they roll like water off a duck's back.Build your image or others will shape it for you, an image consultant told me. "People will think things about you. You can either passively allow that to happen or get actively involved in shaping your reputation," he advised.Leslie Cannold is a Melbourne academic and writer.
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Geelong to host Nitro Circus event

Geelong to host Nitro Circus event

GEELONG has snared Nitro Circus Live after it was knocked back in Ballarat.
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The motorcycle action show had to look for a new Victorian regional host in August after Ballarat’s City Oval and Eureka Stadium were ruled out.

At the time, Nitro Circus Live promoter Michael Porra said he couldn’t understand why Ballarat couldn’t host the event.

“We’re pretty upset about it and we feel sorry for the people in the area,” Mr Porra said.

He was unable to be contacted for comment yesterday.

Nitro Circus Live was initially meant to be hosted by Eureka Stadium next March but it was too close to the start of the VFL season.

The City Oval was the next choice, but lighting restrictions and lease arrangements were among the reasons it was also ruled out.

The event will now be held on Wednesday, March 20, at Simonds Stadium, home of the Geelong Football Club.

Ballarat Regional Tourism has put the value of the Nitro Circus Live event at nearly $1 million, with 15,000 people expected to attend the Geelong event.

The one-off show will feature 40 motorcyclists performing daredevil stunts, and will be be one of the last in regional Victoria before Nitro Circus Live begins a worldwide tour next year.

Ballarat Regional Tourism chairman Stuart Benjamin said they had worked with all possible venues in Ballarat to host the event.

“However, we were unable to find one suitable for Nitro Circus,” Mr Benjamin said. “We would have liked to have seen it in Ballarat, but (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) restrictions ruled the City Oval out, though it met all other conditions.”

Mr Benjamin said BRT had written to Ballarat City Council asking it to investigate solutions to the lighting issue.

“We want to come up with a solution to activate that space.”

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IN ACTION: Nitro Circus

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Saffy vows vengeance on Raiders

Saffy vows vengeance on Raiders

Jarrod Saffy has vowed to avenge St George Illawarra's humiliating defeat on Sunday. Picture: MELANIE RUSSELLSt George Illawarra hard man Jarrod Saffy yesterday declared he wanted revenge on the Raiders.The 25-year-old has vowed to avenge Sunday's humiliating 32-16 defeat in the nation's capital if the two teams were to meet again in September.The loss at Canberra Stadium has opened the door for the green machine to sneak into eighth position, possibly setting up a week one finals showdown with the Dragons. Full coverage of the Dragons Despite failing to register a victory in five appearances against the Raiders, Saffy said he would be happy to take on Canberra in the qualifying final."We owe them one if they come back up here," he said."It would be nice to play them in week one."While the Raiders have proven to be St George Illawarra's bogey team over the past decade, it is the Dragons' recent record against Brisbane which will have fans concerned.The Broncos, who sit on the cusp of the top eight with two weeks remaining, are expected to be fighting for eighth position when they clash with the Raiders in round 26.The red and whites have lost three of their past four games against the Broncos, including last year's semi-final defeat at Suncorp Stadium.While some players will argue statistics count for very little on the paddock, Wayne Bennett's troops can't ignore the losses to Canberra and Brisbane in the last month.Despite losing those respective matches, the Dragons gave their fans a glimmer of hope when they produced dazzling attacking football in the dying stages.But by the time St George Illawarra started playing the attractive brand of football, it was too late.An inability to produce points saw the Dragons bundled out of last year's premiership race in straight sets, and despite copping a barrage of criticism again in 2010, Saffy insists his side aren't about to change their ways."That's the style we feel we need to play going into the finals," the South African-born forward said."I don't think we're going to go away from what works for us."We might throw the ball around a little bit but I don't think things will change too much."Newcastle play a similar style to the Raiders and will be desperate to upset the competition leaders at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Saturday night.The resurgent Knights, who must win against the Dragons to have any chance of playing in the finals, have captured the imagination of the rugby league fraternity with their flair and imagination with the footy.But Saffy said the best way to shut the Knights down was to stick to plan A."They're a big forward pack, so wrestle and line speed will be important," he said."They are going to throw the ball around so they'll test our defence but we'll get back to what works for us."Jeremy Smith and Beau Scott will return for the match, forcing Nick Emmett and Ricky Thorby back to the NSW Cup.
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Can you count on Lady Luck?

Can you count on Lady Luck?

You'd think in this high-tech age that superstitions would be irrelevant. But they are not, and I am as guilty as anyone in believing them.Whenever I see a single pigeon, I desperately start looking for another because the ditty "One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy" runs through my head.I don't want sorrow, I only want joy. I need to find two birds.And why pigeons and not magpies, which is the bird of choice of most Australian believers? Probably because we didn't have maggies in Fiji where I grew up.So the superstition is altered to fit the circumstances, which must surely undermine its authority.My hubby tells a story of arriving at a motel very late with his former wife and two young daughters.His then spouse took one look at the green bedspread and flatly refused to stay in the room because green was bad luck.And who hasn't avoided walking under a ladder, crossed themselves after seeing a black cat, tossed a pinch of salt over their left shoulder and tugged on a wishbone.Eleven days ago it was Friday, August 13. Without thinking of the significance, I rang a supplier to order 13 bedside lamps for the motel."Oh no," he spluttered."You can't order 13 lamps on Friday the 13th. You must make it 14."I immediately changed the order, but in hindsight perhaps I just fell for a clever marketing ploy.Interestingly, businesses generally experience a downturn on this fateful day as fewer people travel on Friday the 13th and some people don't even leave the house.Actually, you have to feel sorrow for the number 13; it comes in for a lot of flak. Motels avoid a room numbered 13, many high-rise buildings skip the 13th floor and some streets don't have a 13 house number.Many sports, including the Harlem Globetrotters and New York Jets, have retired the number 13 and no Formula One driver has had the number 13 on his car since 1976.However, in Greece and Spain 13 is only unlucky if it falls on a Tuesday and in Russia it is a bad omen on Monday.This fear of the number 13 even has a name: triskaidekaphobia.Mind you, if you live in China, Japan, Korea or Hawaii it is the number four that is considered unlucky.Maybe Lady Luck was always going to be against Julia Gillard in Saturday's federal election. There are multiple myths about redheads and who knows which ones played a part in our voting decision.The superstitions include that redheaded women can be violent and false, glib and vain, and when they die they will turn into vampires.In New Zealand they are sacred and have a clear road to heaven, but in ancient Egypt they were considered unlucky and each year a Titian-haired maiden was burnt alive.And while some people might think it lucky to rub Julia's head, others who passed her on the street might spit and turn around.Being a Catholic, Tony Abbott would regard superstitions as sinful, but then others would argue that all religious beliefs are superstitions.The only superstition I perhaps can adapt to him is my ditty pertaining to pigeons/maggies.If he has just smuggled one budgie into his swimming trunks he won't be our next prime minister, but if there happens to be two secreted within he might squeak over the line.
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