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Phoenix foil Toronto’s plans for payback

TORONTO had waited all summer to make amends for their shock 4-2 preliminary final loss to Phoenix Charlestown last season.
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But there was to be no vengeance for the Tigers at Waterboard Oval on Sunday after they went down 7-3 in their first game of the season.

After sitting out the opening weekend of the Newcastle Major League with the bye, Toronto came out fired up to take a 2-1 lead after two innings.

They extended their advantage to 3-2 after six with Josh Judge keeping the Phoenix batters in check, allowing six hits and one walk.

But Phoenix found relief pitchers Michael Campbell and Kurt Eden more to their liking, scoring five runs from eight hits and two walks in the final three digs.

Phoenix also made a pitching change in the seventh as Scott Telfer replaced Adam Berwick, who had given up five hits and three walks.

Telfer managed to shut down the strong Toronto batting line-up for the rest of the game, conceding only one walk and no hits in three innings.

PITCHER: Adam Berwick

All nine members of the Phoenix team registered a hit. Martin Bell (three singles) and Telfer (two singles and a double) ledthe charge with two RBIs each.

Kenny Judge (single and double) and Eden (single and double) accounted for 80 per cent of Toronto’s five hits with a brace each.

Belmont cruised to a 13-2 mercy-rule victory at Stevenson Park in Sunday’s other round two match.

Belmont’s racked up 11 runs before Boomers had brought home one.

The home side got two back in the bottom of the fourth but a further two runs in the top of the seventh gave the Seagulls an early finish.

Jake Amos drove in four runs from two doubles and a home run.

Prisoner injured in Islamic State attack may not have been a veteran: David Elliott

NSW Corrective Services Minister David Elliott. Photo: Tim Hunter The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Kempsey. Photo: Supplied
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NSW Corrections Minister David Elliott says he has been unable find any evidence that a prisoner who was allegedly attacked by an Islamic State supporter at a jail on the NSW Mid North Coast was an Australian Army veteran.

The 40-year-old man’s radicalised cell mate, Bourhan Hraichie, 18, allegedly used a sharp object to carve “e4e” into his head inside the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Kempsey last week. The slogan was an apparent reference to the terrorist group’s “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” mantra.

The radicalised teenager also allegedly placed a towel over the victim’s face and poured boiling water over him, and allegedly broke the older man’s sternum.

It was reported that the injured man was a former Toowoomba-based army officer who had served in East Timor, and who was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

But Mr Elliott told Alan Jones on 2GB on Monday that he had not been able to confirm that the injured man was a former Australian soldier.

“I’ve got no evidence at the moment that he served in the Australian Army,” said Mr Elliott, who is also the Minister for Veterans Affairs and himself a former army officer.

“I don’t want to cast aspersions, but [after] my preliminary inquiries, I can’t find how anybody believes that this victim is a veteran. I don’t know who told the media that this guy is a veteran because I’ve got no evidence that he was.”

Regardless of whether the man was a veteran, Mr Elliott said the alleged attack was “disgusting” and “this is not the way that a civilised society treats its prisoners”.

Earlier, Jones said he had been inundated with messages from army veterans who were “white hot with rage” that the former soldier had been targeted.

“Is this the best we can do for a bloke who served his country?” Jones had asked.

“Who places a disturbed army veteran in jail to start with, and then in a cell with an Islamic State sympathiser, when our soldiers are overseas fighting this mob, and now for his trouble he gets tortured, and almost killed? Now if this is not an administrative disgrace, what is?”

Mr Elliott admitted that placing the injured man, who was a minimum-security prisoner, in a cell with the radicalised teenager, who was a maximum-security prisoner, was a mistake.

“That was a stuff-up,” Mr Elliott said, adding that the general manager of the prison had been stood down.

Mr Elliott said Muslims were over-represented in the Australian prison system, representing about 9 per cent of the prison population.

“In the last three months, we have implemented a new program called Prism which is deliberately designed to address radicalisation but … as you well know, this is something new.”

The victim was reported to be fighting for his life initially after the attack, but was now “close to being released back to a correctional centre”, the Department of Corrective Services said on Sunday.

Hraichie has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and intentionally choking a person.

He has been moved out of the prison’s maximum security section, and is due to face Kempsey Local Court on May 23.

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Telstra inks $1.6b NBN deal, ACCC raises concerns

Telstra will help with the rollout of the HFC network. Photo: Rob HomerThe competition watchdog is concerned Telstra may have advantages over its rivals in the national broadband network rollout after the telco inked a $1.6 billion  deal to upgrade the cable television and internet assets it sold to the government’s NBN in 2014.
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Telstra will provide planning, design, construction and construction management services for the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network it sold two years ago to NBN with the aim of completing the upgrade by 2020.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said the watchdog was concerned about the implications of Telstra’s involvement in the NBN rollout. Competitive advantage

“We have raised several concerns with Telstra and NBN Co, including that Telstra may receive a competitive advantage if it has access to better information than other service providers or if it is able to use infrastructure built for the NBN network before that infrastructure becomes available to other retail service providers,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC acknowledged that Telstra’s technical expertise would help with a faster rollout of the NBN, but is worried that construction and maintenance deals, including Monday’s announcement, could give rise to competition issues.

The watchdog said the two parties have recently provided proposals to try to address these concerns.

“We are looking at the parties’ proposals carefully to consider to what extent these proposals address our concerns. It is important that Telstra doesn’t get a head start selling retail services over the NBN just because its technical expertise is being used in the construction and maintenance of the NBN,” Mr Sims said.

An NBN spokesperson said the deal was not subject to approval from the ACCC.

“We have already provided a significant amount of information to the ACCC.  We continue to work closely with the commission and we are pleased that the ACCC recognises that the transaction will contribute to a quicker rollout of the NBN,” the spokesperson said.

“We were very mindful of these perceived issues when we structured the deal and have also offered the ACCC additional measures around monitoring and reporting back to the ACCC.”

The spokesperson said NBN has every incentive to make sure all retail service providers have the same chance to access the network.

Telstra’s HFC footprint includes areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide. Optus deal to come

NBN is still in negotiations with Optus over the upgrading of its formerly-owned HFC network.

NBN paid Optus $800 million for the network as part of a deal struck in 2014 during the renegotiation of contracts done under the Coalition government, which Optus, at the time, said was equivalent to its 2011 signed under the Labor government.

Fairfax Media revealed last year that NBN was considering replacing Optus’s HFC network.

The networks are an important pillar in the Coalition government’s multi-technology mix national broadband network plan, after it abandoned the previous Labor government’s plan for fibre-to-the-premise.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten confirmed on Monday that, if elected, it would move towards a “hybrid” rollout of the NBN, involving more fibre cables, rather than revert to its previous policy.

The new deal with Telstra should come as no surprise with NBN chief executive Bill Morrow flagging at the time the two signed an $11 billion renegotiated contract in 2014 that Telstra  progressively sell its copper and HFC networks to NBN and that Telstra would be an important partner in the construction of the NBN.

The previous contracts, signed in 2011, would have seen Telstra progressively shut off its copper and HFC networks under an all-fibre rollout.

“We’re going to give them some of that business only if it’s at ­market competitive rates and I hope they respond in that way because they do have a lot of knowledge we can use,” Mr Morrow said at the time.

After signing a memorandum of understanding in December, Telstra has begun to support the build of the HFC network.

“We have a very strong relationship with NBN and I am pleased that we have reached an agreement and can support NBN in building out the NBN network in the existing Telstra HFC footprint,” Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said.

“Telstra has a long and proud history in network construction and we believe we will bring great expertise to this important part of the NBN network. We are already mobilising our workforce to ensure we support NBN in their rollout schedule.”

Mr Morrow said the new deal with Telstra would help roll out the NBN to millions more homes.

“Telstra has enormous experience in HFC design and construction, and the rollout will be greatly assisted by having them as a key partner in the delivery of this part of the network,” Mr Morrow said.

“This is a significant milestone in NBN’s goal of finishing the rollout by 2020 and connecting 8 million homes and businesses.”

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Sacked reporter Scott McIntyre and SBS resolve dispute over Anzac Day tweets

Scott McIntyre has settled his dispute with SBS management.Sacked SBS sports reporter Scott McIntyre has settled his unfair dismissal case with broadcaster SBS over a series of controversial tweets he made on Anzac Day last year.
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In joint statement released on Monday morning, an hour before McIntyre and SBS were due to begin a three day hearing in the NSW Federal Court, the parties confirmed the dispute over his termination had been resolved.

McIntyre, who had worked at SBS since 2003 and was employed as a sports reporter since 2008, had been suing SBS for unlawful termination under the Fair Work Act and sought a court order requiring SBS to pay compensation and damages.

McIntyre found himself at the epicentre of controversy after he referred to the commemoration of Anzac Day as “remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan”.

In another tweet he wrote: “Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered.”

In the statement, McIntyre acknowledged the views expressed in his tweets were “contentious” and regretted “any attribution of his views to SBS and acknowledges that SBS was drawn into controversy following the expression of his views”.

The broadcaster said in the statement that “Mr McIntyre was a well respected sports reporter with SBS for a period spanning over a decade, and SBS is disappointed that it was unable to continue with his services following his tweets”.

Amid the controversy, which spiralled into a debate around free-speech and the limits around using employer-linked twitter accounts to express personal views, then-communications minister Malcolm Turnbull publicly condemned Mr McIntyre’s comments describing then as “despicable remarks which deserved to be condemned”.

The Minister then discussed the issue directly with the broadcaster’s managing director Michael Ebeid in a late-night phone call on April 25, 2015.

McIntyre was sacked the next morning.

However, both SBS and Mr Turnbull denied the Minister had directed SBS to take any action in relation to McIntyre’s employment.

In a hearing in the Federal Court in December last year, lawyers for SBS maintained Mr McIntyre was not sacked because of the political views he held, but because the tweets were in breach of the broadcaster’s social media policy and code of conduct.

The court heard SBS director of sport, Ken Shipp​, had repeatedly told Mr McIntyre to delete the tweets and apologise, but he had refused.

Mr McIntyre’s lawyers refuted this, claiming that at no stage prior to his sacking did SBS direct him to delete the tweets, apologise, or inform him that he had breached the code of conduct or social media guidelines.

He said he was denied procedural fairness and that he was sacked, in part, because of “his expression of political opinion”.

The terms of the McIntyre’s settlement with the broadcaster remain undisclosed. The tweetsThe cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society.— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered.— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan.— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015Not forgetting that the largest single-day terrorist attacks in history were committed by this nation & their allies in Hiroshima & Nagasaki— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015Innocent children, on the way to school, murdered. Their shadows seared into the concrete of Hiroshima. pic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/DQOGXiKxEb— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015

– with Louise Hall

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‘Springfield monorail of Australian politics’: how a Very Fast Train is a very pre-election promise

Former prime minister John Howard takes a close look at a model of a ‘Speedrail’, the winning tender for a proposed Sydney to Canberra service. Photo: Andrew Meares Former infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese releases a report examining high-speed rail in 2013. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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The Simpsons watch on as Springfield’s monorail is built.

New Melbourne to Sydney rail pitch destined for Malcolm Turnbull’s desk

If Australia’s high speed train is as reliable as the rate at which it is promised by politicians, it will be a truly remarkable service.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to soon flag plans to once again pursue a high speed rail link down the country’s east coast – a veritable favourite for Australian pollies under pressure.

It’s a bit like our version of the Springfield monorail from The Simpsons – a transport project sold with great fanfare to an adoring public that turns out to be a bit of a pup.

Over the years, politicians have promised high speed rail with such alarming regularity that SBS Comedy’s The Feed predicted this very occurrence only weeks ago, jibing that it was “like a tired old lover teasing their partner with a sex toy they’re too scared to open”.

Indeed, the elusive fast train has now cropped up for three elections on the trot – great fun for headline writers and satirists, but doing very little to inspire public confidence in politics.

Just 12 days out from the last election, a flailing Kevin Rudd announced plans to buy a rail corridor between Sydney and Canberra, and to reserve land for a line south to Melbourne. The then deputy prime minister Anthony Albanese predicted trains could be operational by 2030.

It followed a 2010 election undertaking, when Labor committed $20 million to study the feasibility of high speed rail. That report concluded the line could be profitable, but would require a substantially taxpayer-funded investment of $114 billion in construction costs.

Rewind just a little further to 1998, and it was John Howard himself who ventured down those time-honoured tracks, commissioning the Speedrail Consortium to submit a detailed proposal for a $3.5 billion link between Sydney and Canberra. It was wiped away when the government could not be satisfied the project could be financed without subsidies.

As the Greens’ Adam Bandt observed on Monday: “High Speed Rail seems to be the train that only ever runs in election years.”

Of course, the saga goes back much further. It was the dawn of the optimistic 1980s when the Institution of Engineers first lobbed the grenade of high speed rail into Australian politics. Three years later, the CSIRO proposed the Very Fast Train – a 350km/h bullet train based on the French TGV. It would have linked Sydney to Melbourne in about three hours and cost $2.5 billion in 1984 money.

For a while, it looked as though the VFT might actually leave the station. There were joint ventures, reports, conferences and protests. There were also thought bubbles, with alternative technologies including magnetic levitation and a tilt train coming under consideration. Bob Hawke’s government eventually rejected a proposal to allow tax concessions for investors in the project, and the consortium of infrastructure-builders folds in 1991.

This time around, the government has a different and more innovative approach. Mr Turnbull has previously spoken at length about the virtues of value capture infrastructure – an investment instrument in you use the increased land values that arise from a piece of infrastructure to finance its construction.

The Australian, which reported the government’s high speed rail plans on Monday, described value capture as a “radical new” funding approach. But it is neither, having been used regularly in the US and other countries for decades.

Indeed, in an ABC radio interview last month, Mr Turnbull explained that 19th century railroad projects were “in effect property deals” because they boosted the value of surrounding land.

“This is increasingly what is being done again in the United States,” he said. “In a sense it’s back to the future because people are really remembering that what good transport infrastructure does is transform the amenity and hence the value of real estate.”

Professor of Urban Policy at the University of Sydney, Ed Blakely, said while value capture would not fund the entire cost of a high speed rail line, it could be used to finance land acquisition for stations, the stations themselves and the construction of apartments and other amenities at major junctions.

He rated the chance of the project actually coming to fruition as “better than 50 per cent” because of the added incentive provided by the proposed Badgerys Creek airport.

“I think you have to do it,” Professor Blakely said. “I think if we press on this thing when we have the second airport it’ll get done, because it actually reinforces what we’re doing there.”

But even in those circumstances, Labor – a keen proponent of high speed rail in the not-so-distant past – was unwilling to applaud.

“This is a desperate Malcolm Turnbull clutching at straws,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. “Talk is cheap, but it’s actions that really matter.”

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Asbestos dump concerns

Alarmed: Ruth Sevil said the painted pieces of asbestos dumped in her front yard may be from a child’s cubbyhouse. Picture: Jonathan CarrollRUTH Sevil fears her whole street is at risk of asbestos contamination, after the toxic material was moved several times between her neighbours’ propertiesand dumped in her front yard.
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Mrs Sevil said she contacted Lake Macquarie City Council on April 8 to ask how andwhen the broken pieces ofolder-style asbestos sheeting outside her Arcadia Vale property would be removed, but is yet to receive a confirmed pick-up date.

“I have two children and I’m concerned the street is now contaminated,” Mrs Sevil said.“It only takes one fibre to get into someone’s lungs.”

Mrs Sevil said other residentsin the street sometimesleftitems for waste pick up outside her next door neighbour’s house.

Shealleged unknown personsleft a number of items,including the asbestos, outside herneighbour’s house about three weeks ago.

The councilpicked up all of the items,except for the asbestos.

Its promotional material about its bulk waste collection specifies thatasbestos and fibro sheeting is “unacceptable” for collection. It requires residents who want to dispose asbestos to register the waste online with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)and provide 24 hours notice to theAwaba Waste Management Facility.

Mrs Sevil returned from work on April 7 to find theasbestos had been moved to outside her home.

“I don’t get involved with what my neighbours do and so rang the council on Friday,” she said.

“They said not to touch it and that someone would be out to remove it.

“But they should have picked it up by now –they can’t say they did not know it was asbestos weeks ago.”

The council declined to comment on how and when the asbestos would be removed.

“Council is still investigating who was responsible for dumping the material and the exact nature of it.”

An EPA spokesperson said it had not been aware of the situation.

“The EPA understands that the Regional Illegal Dumping Squad (through Lake Macquarie City Council) is aware and is dealing with the possibility of asbestos in this situation.”

Parkinson’s disease cluster has pulses racing

CONCERN: Barry Clugston, on a property just outside of Stawell, lives with Parkinson’s disease. A new study shows a spike in people developing Parkinson’s disease in particular agricultural areas in regional Victoria. Picture: SIMON O’DWYERA cluster of Parkinson’s disease has been discovered in a key Victorian barley, chick pea and lentil farming region where researchers sayits prevalenceis up to 78 per cent higher than the rest of the state.
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The discoveryby a team of health researchers and scientistshas sparked calls for urgent research into links withpesticides and other farming techniques used in the Grampiansand Loddon Mallee regions.

The abnormally high rates werefound in four neighbouring local government areas in the north west thatall produce barley and pulses (chickpeas, beans and lentils), by a joint Monash University and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health study.

Theyreportthe rate of Parkinson’s was78 per cent higher than the state average of .5 per cent in theBulokeShire, 76 per cent higherinHorsham, 57 per cent higher in theNorthern Grampians and 34 per cent higher inYarriambiack.

The research, expected to be published in late 2016, was funded by Parkinson’s Victoria and lead by a husband and wife duo:health services researcherDrDarshiniAytonandneuroscientistDr ScottAyton.

Their work with Dr Narelle Warrenbuilds on international studies that have alreadyfound strong links between the pesticides Rotenone andParaquat,and Parkinson’s disease.

Although people living in the identified areas are more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those in other areas, the prevalence of the condition is still only about 1 per cent of the population in those communities and researchers sayis not cause for panic.

The idea for a geographical study was conceived when DrDarshiniAytoncame home one night to tell her husband all these people from farming areas she’d interviewed blamed pesticides for their Parkinson’s disease.

“Because he’s a laboratory scientist, he said they use pesticides in high doses to induce Parkinson’s disease in a laboratory,” she said. “That’s when we started working together on the project.”

Hoping to determine whether there wasa greater likelihood of developing Parkinson’sinthecountry than the city (there’s not), theyoverlayeddata from the pharmaceutical benefits scheme with ABS dataand discovered something else entirely: a cluster.

“We were shocked…It is a surprise but we’re really now looking for the answers to it,”DrDarshiniAytonsaid.”This research by no means says that pesticides caused Parkinson’s disease here but we need to do further research to find out what actually happened in these four areas.”

Theiranalysiswas done using percentages, rather than raw numbers, to account for differences in population size andage.

BarryClugston, 69, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about eight years ago, lives in the NorthernGrampiansand has spent most of his life in farming regions.

He believes it’s possible that chemicals used in pulse farming could be linked to his disease but wants to see proof. “There’s a lot of discussion in the community about these things and yet nobody can prove it,” he said.

“The area that’s been detected is a key broad acre cereal growing area of Victoria so it would be a high concentration of chemicals being used there.

“Ifchemicals are one of the causes for Parkinson’s I’d be really keen to have some scientific basis.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects about 27,000 people in Victoria and70,000 nationally, which Parkinson’s Victoria chair, Associate ProfessorDavidFinkelstein, said is expected todouble over the next 15 years.

Associate ProfessorFinkelsteinsaid there was agrowing internationalbody of research pointing to a link between pesticides and Parkinson’s, but”no smoking gun”. “All these little bits of evidence are coming together to point to pesticides,” he said.

“We compare what we found with what’s been found overseas, different research teams using different research methods, are finding the same thing.”

A cool city that just isn’t so hot anymore

They’re killing the cool, man, he said to me.
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I am in San Francisco and I’ve just had a day out.

San Francisco is delightful. The city is built in and around a large bay. The downtown spreads across the southern isthmus of two that enclose the harbour. To enter the harbour, you sail under the Golden Gate Bridge (if you come by boat).

Beyond the harbour is the mighty Pacific Ocean. Cities by its edges are grander. This is a well-known geographic fact.

San Francisco is hilly too, so you are always catching views of sparkling waters in both directions, and of neighbourhoods perched along ridges and then down in valleys. The landscape breaks the city into communities, not by class or ethnicity in the first instance but by simple geography.

My outing started on Market Street, in the centre of expensive boutiques and the stunning old girl, Bloomingdale’s, the upscale department store.

Right in front of where I was walking, a homeless man dropped his trousers, squatted and started defecating onto the pavement. My breakfast barely held.

I walked on to Second Street to Alexander’s for a book I hoped would frame my day: Joan Didion’s essays Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Didion is a famous US writer. In the sixties she wrote newspaper columns recording what was happening in a nation gripped by Vietnam War protests, struggles for race and gender equality, and widespread disaffection with where America was headed.

The essay I wanted to read was about Haight-Ashbury, the community high on the ridge of the southern isthmus where hippies came from all across the US in the mid-1960s, and San Francisco became known as the coolest place on earth.

My cab ride to The District, as Didion calls it, took 20 minutes. The driver was twitchy. And he sniffed, a lot. His cab wandered across the tram tracks like an old Holden with too much weight in the boot. He said he’d played in bands in San Francisco for four decades – and in studios all around here as he stretched both arms from the wheel and waved them every which way.

But now these tech heads have moved in, he said. They’re killing the cool.

I sat in Golden Gate Park, where Didion did a lot of her observing, and ate a BLT sandwich and drank designer lemon squash and read the essay.

It is a sad piece. Didion describes heavy drug taking in the so-called Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967. There are directionless teenagers, neglected children and overly-ambitious and exploitative radical movements. And the main participants, says Didion, are young middle class drop-outs with a cash lifeline to parents back east; not so much refugees from society as children who do not quite understand it.

Today’s Haight-Ashbury exploits the myths about those days. Shop after shop sells tie-dyed T-shirts and kaftans, funky beads, and flowers for your hair. These are the images we saw from Australia nearly five decades ago.

I walk two blocks from Haight-Ashbury and see gentrified Victorian triple-storey wood and shingle houses. A real estate agency lists them at over US$3 million. Rich techies and geeks (although I think these are the same people) and their venture capital (VC) backers are the buyers.

And they are probably upset when tourists like me walk down their streets looking for the cool.

Phillip O’Neill is a professorial research fellow at the University of Western Sydney

Cut the crap and join the movement

Bummed Out: Striped red and white “bum shorts” raise awareness of bowel cancer.
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Humour is the best medicine, it is said.

Another famous saying goes: “The most wasted of all days are ones without laughter”.

What we’re saying is, there’s a place for humour even amid life’s serious and sad topics.Bowel cancer is one of those topics.

Bowel Cancer Australia, like any advocacy organisation, works hard to communicate messages about the disease.

This includes the fact that the federal government sends a free test to people aged over 50 to screen for bowel cancer.

Of those in the Hunter that receive the free test, only 32 per cent do it. The rest throw it out.

Not everyone receives the test, but it can be bought for about $40 at pharmacies and obtained from some GPs through bulk billing. So there’s no excuse for people not to do it.

Bowel Cancer Australia recommends that people aged over 50 do the test every one to two years.

It’s literally a matter of life and death.

One of the reasons people appear reluctant to take the test is because it involves taking a stool sample and sending it through the post.

A clever colleague of ours had a marketing suggestion for Bowel Cancer Australia to tackle this barrier.

The slogan went like this: “Sendyour shit to the government to show how you feel about their policies”.

We put this to Bowel Cancer Australia chief executive Julien Wiggins.While Julien said bowel cancer was a serious subject, he agreed that “humour can play a role”.

“With humour, we can break the ice and have a conversation,” he said.

“I’m always open for any inventive campaign.”

We believe him, given his organisation has a campaign called “Join the Bowel Movement”.

They also use striped redand white“bum shorts” to promote the cause, with the Bowel Cancer Australia logo on the right cheek.

Other suggested campaigns were “Get Shit Done” and “Cut the Crap”, although we’re not sure whether the organisation will take theseup.

“If any reader has ideas, they’re more than welcome to send them,” Julien said.

“It’s only through creative advertising and imagination that we can come up with a really good campaign.”

Choccy MilkAs A-League fans would know, the Newcastle Jets thumped Central Coast Mariners 4-2 at Gosford at the weekend.

The first goal came after only 37 seconds when Mariners goalkeeper Paul Izzo rushed out of his box and collided with a Jets player, knocking himself out in the process.

A Topics spy said a Mariners fan could be overheard saying it was “the dumbest goal of the year”.

Jets fans responded to the goal with the gracious taunt of “you’re so shit it’s unbelievable”.

Topics can also report that much-maligned Mariners coach Tony Walmsley was spotted at the game sucking chocolate milk out of a straw from a popper-type drink container.

Our spy said a Mariners fan yelled: “How will your players respect you Tony, when you’re drinking choccy milk from a straw!”.

In all fairness to Tony, we suspect it may have been a protein shake. Nevertheless, Topics suggests that next time he should seriously consider smashing a Moove or downing a Solo to earn the fans’ respect.

A Great DebateTopics reported last Thursday about the “legendary Godfrey Tanner”.

A Peter Lewis cartoon of the late Professor Godfrey Tanner.

Godfrey was considered one of three academics who brought the great University of Newcastle into existence.

He also had a bar named in his honour at the university’s Callaghan campus.Topics was reliably informed that quite a few students recall drinking with him at the bar.

Which brings us tothis year’s “Godfrey Tanner Great Debate”, which will be held at 6pm on Tuesday at… where else but the Godfrey Tanner Bar.

The comedy-style debate pits a team of students against a team of academics in “a battle of wits”.

The debate could become a tad feisty. The topic is: “the role of a university should be to conduct research as opposed to teaching and learning”.

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The cost of the Hunter Wetlands’ fox invasionphotos, poll

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.AS Mary-Anne Addington snappedphotos of water birds foragingin the Hunter Wetlands Centre, a killing shattered the peace.
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Ms Addington, from Sydney, was touringthe wetlands last week when a mangyfox ambushed anegretin the scrub.

It mauled its prey andsnatched another birdfrom theair.

As the fox feastedin a flurry of feathers,Ms Addington’s camera clicked.

“I was rooted to the spot,” she said.

“It dropped that bird, another white egret flew along and it just grabbed it. It was surprising to see a fox in broad daylight, just killing birds.”

Ms Addington’s picturesconfirmthe fears of the wetlandscentre’s chief executive Stuart Blanch, who wagesa daily war on the foxes on behalf of thebirds and smalleranimals they kill.

Mr Blanchhas successfully applied toHunter Local Land Servicesfor permissionto use1080 poison bait, shoot and trap the foxes thatstalkthe 43 hectares of the conservation land.

The centre’s most recent baiting permit expired at the end of March, anda fox cub died fromeating a poisonpellet last Tuesday.

Mr Blanch said he hoped to start another baiting campaign in July.

The cost of the Hunter Wetlands’ fox invasion | photos, poll Hunter Wetlands chief executive Stuart Blanch, with a fox cub killed by poison bait.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

TweetFacebookButconservationeffortsare thwarted by thefoxes’ ability todig under the perimeter and push their lithe bodiesthrough thelinks.

Staff findtufts of fur in the fence and some foxes, Mr Blanch believes, swim acrossIronbark Creek.

Red foxes were introduced to Australiaas hunting quarry, and now number an estimatedsix million.