Ballarat breakfast reportMonday, January 11, 2016

Good morning Ballarat and happy Monday. We’ve got all the news headlines you need right here.
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Vintage cars nabbed by thievesA vintage car normally stored in Ballarat was stolen from a Tullamarine address over the weekend. Read more.

Elective surgery boost in BallaratBallarat patients waiting for elective hip, knee and eye operations may soon be expedited through the system thanks to the largest-ever one-off investment in Australia to tackle wait lists. Read more.

Ballarat’s train woes highlighted in reportWheel wear which has played havoc to Ballarat’s train services over the last three months has had a severe effect on service punctuality, recent performance results reveal. Read more.

Historic Ballarat mansion hits the marketOne of Webster Street’s finest multi-million dollar homesteads has hit the market. See inside the mansion here.

CHFL round one | how it happenedReviews of all nine Central Highlands Football League senior matches from Saturday. Read more.

WeatherIt’s going to be a top of 16 degrees today with a possible shower.

Source: Weatherzone.

Photo of the dayAnd finally, here is ourpicture of the day from Instagram. Simply upload your photo each day with the hashtag #ballarat to be in the running for your photo to appear.

@councilloraj Loving this pic by @visitballarat show casing beautiful Ballarat and our Lake Wendouree #ballarat #ballaratinautumn #wendouree #victoria #visitballarat #visitvictoria #photooftheday #picoftheday #instagood #instadaily #instaartist #swan #lake #lakewendouree #sunset #sun #beauty #beautiful

State of the nationNeed anational newssnapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.

Australian Aerial Patrol general manager Harry Mitchell. Picture: Sylvia Liber

► WOLLONGONG: The Illawarra’s iconic red and yellow shark-spotting planes were back in the skyon Saturday following a brief hiatus caused by internal turbulence.

The Australian Aerial Patrol (AAP) was grounded last month after theresignation of its chief pilot left the service without the operating licence required by theCivil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

More here.

►BENDIGO:WITH just a few kilometres left to goin one of Victoria’s toughest endurance events, Golden Square man Bruce Wright thought he could battle through crippling stomach pain.

The 50-year-oldhad already made it past 17 kilometres of the 2015 Tough Mudder event on Phillip Island in October, battling through thick mud and some of the toughest obstacles on earth. More here.

RECOVERY: Golden Square man Bruce Wright went into cardiac arrest twice during last year’s Tough Mudder event. Picture: DARREN HOWE

►BARNAWARTHA:It was a spectacular sight–110 trucks, polishedto the very last wheel nut, lined up for kilometres along Plunketts Road in Barnawartha.

The drivers were friends, colleagues,some just acquaintances–unitedto pay tribute to Barnawartha man Wayne ‘Marto’ Martin.

The truck driver, who died in a head-on collision with another truck on the Riverina Highway, touched so many peoplehis family had to put a cap on the number of trucksconvoying in hishonour to thefuneral on Saturday. More here.

Picture by Chris Ludlow

► BALLARAT:The Montague Street bridge is a light rail overpass, the lowest point of which is only three metres off the road. In the last six years, it has knocked the top off, knocked over, trapped and even exploded the canopies of 99 trucks and buses that were too tall to pass safely underneath. More here.

A bus that crashed into the Montague Street bridge. Photo: Jason South

►DUBBO:DUBBOnow has two world records under its belt after more than 1000 women and their bikes gathered on Saturday.

In 2014 the 2WheelBabes set a record for most women on bikes (221) at Ballina for the annual Babe Raid, but this record was beaten in August 2015 by a group of 246 women in the UK.

now has two world records under its belt after more than 1000 women and their bikes gathered on Saturday.

In 2014 the 2WheelBabes set a record for most women on bikes (221) at Ballina for the annual Babe Raid, but this record was beaten in August 2015 by a group of 246 women in the UK. More here.

►NOWRA:Personnel from 808 Squadron returned to HMAS Albatross after a five-week deployment on Operation Fiji Assist.

The aircrew, engineers and three MRH90 helicopters formed part of the Australian Defence Force’s humanitarian assistance relief to Fiji in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston. More here.

►QUEENSLAND:Every dog has its day and a 31-year-old Mudgeeraba man found that out the hard way.

Police spotted an allegedly stolen car in Eudlo on Saturday night and attempted to intercept it before a man fled the vehicle. More here.

►LAUNCESTON:Engines were revving at Symmons Plains on Sunday as motorsport legends gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Targa Tasmania.

Infamous duo, driver Jim Richards and his navigator Barry Oliver, prepared to take on their 24th Targa Tasmania together.

Over the years the pair have won eight Targa Tasmania’s through a combination of skilled driving, great machines and localroad knowledge. More here.

LEGENDS: Eight-time Targa Tasmania winners Jim Richards and Barry Oliver hit the track at Symmons Plains as they gear up for the 2016 event. Picture: Scott Gelston

►BLANEY:Outgoing member for Calare John Cobb has hit back at allegations he has endorsed Nationals Bathurst branch candidate Sam Farraway, but says he has a right to have his own view and exercise it.

Nationals sources have contacted the media expressing concern Mr Cobb is showing favouritism to Mr Farraway because he placed a picture of him, at the Gulgong show, on the front page of his four-page newsletter. More here.

►BUNDANOON: Theannual Brigadoon festival brought together Scottish and Southern Highlanders for a fun family day out.

Attendees were treated to performances by the official Brigadoon Ceilidh, Mary Kiani, the String Loaded Celtic Fiddle Band, Bundanoon Primary School choir, Bob McInnes, Jane Ellis and Jacob Casey as the Lone Piper. See the photos.

National news►An Australian television crew detained in Lebanon have not been charged and there is not expected to be movement in the case until Monday night Australian time, according to the Nine Network. More here.

►Seven Australian frog species are on the brink of extinction and will be wiped out by a killer fungus without immediate action, biologists have warned.

The scientists, from the University of Melbourne, Taronga Zoo,Southern Cross University (Lismore) and James Cook University, said that Australia still had a chance to save the frogs with a relatively small injection of funds for research and disease management. More here.

►Extra buses to Sydney Airport for people wanting an alternative to the city’s most expensive train trip remain a pipe dream, more than two years after the state government unveiled long-term plans to “improve bus access”.

The lack of any new buses comes as road traffic in and around Australia’s busiest airport continues to worsen. More here.

Any increase in bus services to Sydney Airport is still years away. Photo: Shu Yeung

►Sheep enthusiasts made their way to a small town just outside of Hay in Western NSW in record numbers on Saturday for the 18th Booligal Sheep Races.

Nomad travellers, locals from the regionand even families from Victoria were some of the 700-strong crowd that pitched their tentsinBooligal,which usually has a population of 15.

National weather radarInternational news►SINGAPORE: An unprecedented family feud between Singapore’s prime minister and his sister over the death of their father Lee Kuan Yew has burst into the open in the strictly-controlled city-state.More here.

►CHINA: Malcolm Turnbull is often fond of pointing out he and ChinesePresident XiJinpingshare an interest in the history of thePeloponnesianwar and theThucydidesTrap.More here.

► NEW DELHI: India’s transgenders are so despised that they use a little psychological trick to prevent their sense of worth being crushed under the weight of contempt.More here.

On this day2013:Kate Bushreceived her CBE for services to music from the Queen at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, England. The singer-songwriter, who was catapulted to fame in 1978 when Wuthering Heights topped the charts, said she was “incredibly thrilled”. The 54-year-old dedicated the award to her family and joked that it would have pride of place at the top of her Christmas tree.

The faces of Australia: Di Milne Therapy dogs Robert and Caddie with handler Di Milne bring smiles to the elderly residents they visit in Nowra.

Two little white balls of fluffare bringing smiles to elderly people around Nowra.

Caddie and Robert, a mother and son duo are trained therapy dogs and make it their mission to bring happiness to nursing homes.

Handler Di Milne said the pedigree shih tzus are loved by many for their kind hearts and calm nature.

‘There was a lady called Marjorie in Bupa who we visited for three years and she adored Caddie,” she said.

“Caddie knew where Marjorie was so she used to march into Marjorie’s room and Marjorie would put her hands either side of her face and kiss her and say ‘I love you Caddie.” Read on.

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

Seven Australian frogs you might never see again

Under threat: the southern corroboree frog. Photo: Michael McFadden/Taronga Zoo Spotted tree frog. Photo: Dr David Hunter/NPWS
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A baw baw frog. Photo: Daniel Pockett

The northern corroboree frog. Photo: Michael McFadden/Taronga Zoo

The ancient fungus threatening our frogs

Seven Australian frog species are on the brink of extinction and will be wiped out by a killer fungus without immediate action, biologists have warned.

The scientists, from the University of Melbourne, Taronga Zoo, Southern Cross University (Lismore) and James Cook University, said that Australia still had a chance to save the frogs with a relatively small injection of funds for research and disease management.

“With a research and management program of about $15 million over five years, we believe we can save these frogs from extinction,” said Lee Skerratt, lead author and principal research fellow at the University of Melbourne.

The frogs at risk are the southern and northern corroboree frogs from Mount Kosciuszko National Park (NSW), the baw baw frog (Victoria), spotted tree frog (Victorian alps), Tasmanian tree frog, Kroombit tinker frog (Queensland) and the armoured mist frog (Queensland).

“The deadly chytrid fungus has already wiped out six frog species since it reached Australia in 1978,” said David Newell from Southern Cross University (Lismore). “There are no second chances when you’re talking about extinction.”

The scientists’ study is published on Monday in Wildlife Research.

A spokesman for the Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, directed all enquiries about funding to the federal Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews.

Mr Andrews said: “Putting a cost on a program before it has been designed is like asking how long is a piece of string.”

However, he said: “I wholeheartedly agree that we need to urgently tackle the chytrid fungus that threatens our frogs.”

His office runs a $150,000 program aimed at protecting the southern corroboree frog.

“When we found out there were only four male southern corroboree frogs calling in the wild we moved immediately.

“We built large chytrid-free outdoor enclosures in Kosciuszko National Park. We now have more than 200 in these enclosures, with a goal to have them to at 600 within a year.”

Dr Newell said this is good work that needs further support.

However, he says if it wasn’t for the active husbandry of southern corroboree frogs in captivity, such as at Taronga Zoo, this emergency measure wouldn’t have been possible.

“Our work on the corroboree frog isn’t finished. At this stage we don’t know how we can release the species back into the wild and survive.”

Dr Newell said that there is no concerted monitoring effort or active husbandry program for the six other threatened species. He said that the request for $15 million over five years was a “ballpark figure” based on the expert opinion of the country’s best chytrid fungus scientists.

The Southern Cross University scientist said “this isn’t a cash grab. It’s quite simple: unless we act, they’ll be gone”.

He said the money was needed in part to “develop captive husbandry techniques” to maintain threatened frog populations in captivity.

“The fungus affects different species differently,” he said. “Some species had catastrophic declines and were wiped out. Some were relatively unaffected. Others have been pushed to the brink and subsequently recovered.

“If we can understand recovery in a natural setting, we can use that information to help these threatened species survive. We may be able to develop inoculations.”

The study also identifies another 22 frog species that are at a moderate to low risk of extinction from the fungus.

The authors warn: “Procrastination on this issue will likely result in additional extinction of Australia’s amphibians in the near future.”

The chytrid fungus was likely introduced to Australia in the 1950s via the African clawed frog. These frogs were used in Australia as pregnancy tests – the frogs would ovulate within 12 hours of being injected with urine from a pregnant woman.

Chytridiomycosis is now a notifiable disease after it was identified in dead frogs in Queensland in 1993.

Mr Andrews said that Mr Hunt, through the office of the Threatened Species Commissioner, was committed to tackling chytrid.

“Australia is leading the way to solve this global problem.”

Dr Newell said: “Research into chytrid here is valuable for hundreds of species globally. We once led the world, but there is a lot left to do.”

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

Sydney Airport: New buses off the radar as road congestion worsens

Any increase in bus services to Sydney Airport is still years away. Photo: Shu Yeung Duncan Gay has described the situation on roads around Sydney Airport as “a bloody mess”. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
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Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the situation on the roads near the airport “could only be described in technical terms as a bloody mess”. Photo: Nick Moir

Extra buses to Sydney Airport for people wanting an alternative to the city’s most expensive train trip remain a pipe dream, more than two years after the state government unveiled long-term plans to “improve bus access”.

The lack of any new buses comes as road traffic in and around Australia’s busiest airport continues to worsen.

The gridlock prompted the Baird government to recently introduce immediate new traffic measures and urge people to travel to Kingsford Smith by train instead of car.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay put it bluntly last month when he said the situation on the roads near the airport “could only be described in technical terms as a bloody mess”.

Unveiled in late 2013, the blueprint for improving Sydney’s bus network included better east-west and southern links to Kingsford Smith.

Other proposals were for more buses from the inner west and Bondi Junction and Kingsford to the airport, and a new route from Chatswood via the CBD.

But it has now emerged that those policies are unlikely to be put in place before the end of the decade.

Transport for NSW said changes to the “broader south-east bus network” would happen once the $2.1 billion light rail line from the CBD to the eastern suburbs of Randwick and Kensington was running in 2019.

“This will support the introduction of extra bus services that provide more connections to and from the airport,” a spokesman said.

“Commuters are encouraged to use the existing train services, which continue to provide timely, regular access to Sydney Airport.”

A one-way trip on the privately owned rail line to or from the airport costs up to $17.40, making it the most expensive trip for train passengers in Sydney.

The high cost of the train is due to a station access fee of $13.40 for the airport terminals – the vast majority of which ends up in government coffers.

The aim to “improve bus access” to the airport was stage two of “Sydney’s Bus Future”, and was made without definitive timeframes.

Transport officials were also tasked with investigating the possibility of new links from the airport to major centres.

More than two years on, the 400 service between Bondi Junction and Burwood remains the only public service that stops at the airport’s domestic and international terminals.

A clause in a contract between the government and the operator of the train line to the airport gives “protections” to the latter from a competing bus service between the CBD and Kingsford Smith.

If competing bus services began, it would most likely require the government to offer some form of compensation to the Airport Link Company.

However, it does not stop the government from starting bus services from other parts of the city to the airport.

Labor’s transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said the focus needed to switch from roads to public transport measures such as more bus connections to help solve gridlock on roads around the airport.

“It seems a no-brainer to put on more buses.”

Ms McKay said the government had been eager to unveil glossy documents trumpeting a blueprint for the bus network but had not delivered on the plans.

“They are so focused on the CBD that they are forgetting that there are areas of enormous growth,” she said. “They have not moved forward at all.”

Emphasising that “Sydney’s Bus Future” was a 20-year plan, Transport for NSW said an extra 490 services a week had been put on routes to and from Green Square in Sydney’s inner south since March 2011.

In total, more than 13,000 extra weekly bus services had been introduced across Sydney since 2011.

A spokesman for Sydney Airport said it would welcome additional government bus routes to help cater for the 150,000 people who travel to and from the airport every day.

As part of a major redevelopment, Sydney Airport is building a seven-storey interchange at the domestic terminal which will include a drop-off and pick-up area for buses as large as double-deckers. Construction of the interchange is expected to be completed by 2018.

The government and Sydney Airport are about 18 months into a five-year upgrade of roads in and around Kingsford Smith at a cost of $500 million.

Corinne Mulley, the chair in public transport at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney, said buses provided a flexibility to public transport as their routes could change to meet new needs quickly.

However, road access to airports was always a “tricky” proposition because of the high number of travellers and workers who drove.

Professor Mulley said “Sydney’s Bus Future” had been more of a “philosophical approach” to bus planning, and revolved around the idea that interchange allowed more destinations to be reached in a high-frequency network. “It has advantages in freeing up capacity,” she said.

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

Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong at war with sister over Lee Kuan Yew commemorations

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Photo: Joseph Nair/AP Lee Hsien Loong at the start of his election campaign. Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
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An unprecedented family feud between Singapore’s prime minister and his sister over the death of their father Lee Kuan Yew has burst into the open in the strictly-controlled city-state.

Lee Hsien Loong said that he is “deeply saddened” that his sister Lee Wei Ling had accused him of abusing his power to commemorate the first anniversary of their father’s death in order to establish a dynasty.

“The accusations are untrue,” the prime minister said of the comments by Dr Lee, a well known neurosurgeon, on her Facebook page.

The feud is a political bombshell in Singapore where the People’s Action Party founded by the elder Mr Lee has remained solidly united since taking power in 1959.

Prime Minister Lee has in the past sued critics for suggesting nepotism in his government.

The feud is being reported openly in Singapore’s state-controlled media.

The Straits Times reported on Monday that Dr Lee had written a series of posts on Facebook over the past fortnight expressing her disagreement over the activities held to mark the anniversary on March 23.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died aged 91, was a towering figure on the international stage who turned Singapore from being a backwater island at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula into a glittering regional financial and technology powerhouse with a US$300 billion a year economy.

Channel News Asia, a government-supported television station and website, reported that Dr Lee posted on Facebook on Sunday that the government was trying to use the occasion of her father’s anniversary to “hero worship” him.

Dr Lee had reproduced correspondence she had had with editors of the Straits Times over the draft of an opinion piece on the anniversary programs she had written.

The piece was not published by the Straits Times and was eventually posted in full on Dr Lee’s Facebook page.

Channel News Asia said that in one of the emails released by Dr Lee, she said she and her brother “are at odds on a matter of principle” with regard to the commemoration and that her brother had “no qualms (about) abusing his power to (have) a commemoration just one year after Lee Kuan Yew died.”

She added: “Let’s be real, last year’s event was so vivid, no-one will forget it in one (year). But if the power that be wants to establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by a dishonourable son.”

The post was taken down later on Sunday, but the prime minister fired back on his own Facebook page a few hours later, saying the idea that he wanted to establish a dynasty does not make sense.

“Meritocracy is a fundamental value of our society, and neither I, the PAP, nor the Singapore public would tolerate any such attempt,” he said.

Prime Minister Lee said the first anniversary of a person’s passing was a significant moment “to remember him and reflect on what he meant to us.”

“The more so with Lee Kuan Yew,” he said.

The prime minister said his cabinet had discussed how the occasion should be marked and his advice was that it should be left to ground-up efforts, with observances kept in proportion, and focused on the future.

“The cabinet recognised the strong desire of many Singaporeans to show their respect for Mr Lee, and honour what he did for us,” he said.”

“We reviewed the events and observances that different groups had planned and agreed that they were generally appropriate … they expressed the sincerity felt sentiments of Singaporeans, which my cabinet colleagues and I deeply appreciate.”

Mr Lew Kuan Yew ruled Singapore from 1959 until 1990.

His death sparked a massive outpouring of grief among Singaporeans and more than 100 events were held to mark the one year anniversary.

Prime minister Lee, 64, has ruled the country since 2004.

With agencies

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

Kerri-Anne Kennerley bares all for Mike Willesee on Sunday Night

Barely any make-up: Kerri-Anne Kennerley on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program. Photo: Channel Seven Kerri-Anne Kerri-Anne and John Kennerley in happier times. Photo: Channel Seven
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Kerri-Anne Kennerley broke down in tears during the interview. Photo: Sunday Night, Channel Seven

Kerri-Anne Kennerley became visibly upset during her interview with Mike Willesee. Photo: Sunday Night, Channel Seven

Kerri-Anne Kennerley paid $350,000 by Channel Seven’Fee for Kerri-Anne’s story is going to a good cause’John Kennerley in an induced coma after fall

Over many decades, Australian audiences have seen Kerri-Anne Kennerley do just about everything from making friendly with Hollywood superstars to doing the Macarena with the treasurer (take a bow, Peter Costello). She has, at every twist and turn, appeared immaculate and immersed in the moment – the ultimate TV pro.

Then came Seven’s Sunday Night, when the woman who is arguably the medium’s greatest survivor fronted the cameras as a survivor of a different stripe – one who found herself shedding the “immaculate” tag for a confrontation with the camera that ditched razzamatazz in favour of raw, real life as it presently confronts her.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley – a mostly permanent, mostly beaming fixture on Australian TV screens since 1967 – cried.

“All those thousands and thousands of hours on national television…,” said interviewer and friend and fellow television institution Mike Willesee as KAK’s tears flowed.

KAK: “It’s always someone else. It’s not me.”

Willesee: “And now you don’t care about your make-up.”

KAK: “Couldn’t give a toss.”

And you couldn’t blame her.

Kennerley was appearing on Seven’s current affairs flagship to talk about the recent trauma of a freak accident involving her husband of 32 years, John, now confined to intensive care, unable to breathe unassisted, as he awaits – and it will be a long wait – a medical verdict on the permanent implications of a catastrophic spinal injury.

Willesee, and Seven’s cameras, took us from his flower-bearing arrival on Kennerley’s doorstep, to the actual bedside of her husband, and then to the scene of the actual accident at a Coffs Harbour golf club.

There were the happy memories of a life together. There was the trauma of the accident and its aftermath. And there were the tears contemplating the future that may await.

It was undeniably moving.

It would take a hard heart not to be jolted by John Kennerley’s whispered smiles and jokes and obvious love for his wife, and she for him. And the humour that marked a doctor’s request for Willesee and crew to leave: a smiling John Kennerley mouthing “piss off” at the celebrity reporter – apparently in jest – was a standout moment.

But, inevitably, this high-profile tell-all raised some other uncomfortable questions – ranging from what the cameras were doing in an ICU in the first place, to why the emotional crescendo needed to happen at the distant north coast golf course where the accident happened. And then there is the reported $350,000 cheque heading Kennerley’s way for sharing her story – a payday that may well hold the answer to those previous two questions.

When TV producers dig out that sort of money, they’re paying for results – and while they can’t buy loose tear ducts, they can secure a prime location in which those tears might best be induced. In the world of chequebook journalism, it was ever thus.

Was it worth it? Seven will find out when the ratings numbers drop on Monday morning.

And on the other side of the chequebook equation, it seems a brutal moment to question Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s motives or her means of achieving them. Anyone who’s ever been in or witnessed the horror of a similar situation knows that the tears flow easily and that the fear follows soon after – the fear of finding both the strength and the funds to face a life of the unknown.

Kennerley herself – noting that life as she and her husband have known it is over – related her husband’s recent dream.

“He said, ‘I dreamt you got fed up of all this and left me’ … I said, ‘That’s never gonna happen’. People don’t see me angry too often, but my husband knows it’s not pretty.

Willesee: “Nobody’s seen you with make-up like that either.”

KAK: “Yeah, that’s right. I get things done. People very rarely see it. John’s only seen it a few times. And I’ll get angry enough to get a great result. Whatever it takes. Because he deserves it. Just got to figure it out.”

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