Flight Test: Singapore Airlines premium economy

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Airbus A350-900; Singapore Airlines has 16 in its fleet with 51 on order. The A350 has revolutionary wings that adapt intelligently throughout the flight, reducing air resistance and providing a smoother ride. THE ROUTE

SQ323 Amsterdam to Singapore THE LOYALTY SCHEME

KrisFlyer, which belongs to Star Alliance, whose 27 member airlines include Lufthansa and Air New Zealand. CLASS

Premium economy, seat 32A, in a 24-seat cabin. DURATION

12 hours, 30 minutes. FREQUENCY


The window seat in a 2-4-2 configuration includes power outlet and USB port for personal devices, adjustable reading lamp, built-in armrest tray table, decent-sized seat-back pouch and water bottle stowage. Seat width is 48.3 centimetres, at least 3.8cm better than economy. Recline is 20.3 centimetres with a 96.5-centimetre pitch, about 15.2cm more than economy. The footrest is useful to relieve back-of-leg pressure though the calf rest is tricky to extend. BAGGAGE

Thirty-five kilograms checked baggage and seven kilograms for carry-on. Spacious lockers accommodate oversized carry-on baggage delinquents. COMFORT

It’s a stark fact that the two-seaters offer more comfort than the middle four seats. I experienced both and felt the difference. The slender console between the four-seaters’ middle two seats compares unfavourably with the wider console between other seats, giving a cramped feel to all four seats. Twenty-four premium economy passengers and 51 economy passengers share four toilets. It’s not enough, especially as they also service some passengers from the back section of economy. The amenities pouch has socks and toothbrush but no eye mask or earplugs. ENTERTAINMENT

KrisWorld’s inflight entertainment system has a 33.7-centimetre HD-enabled touchscreen monitor with noise-cancelling headphones. There are hundreds of entertainment options – movies, TV programs, music, games and apps, internet connectivity, and text and multimedia messaging. I enjoy the terrific batch of TV series, but would appreciate more first-release movies. The front row of premium economy has wall video screens, which may not be to everyone’s taste. SERVICE

Extremely charming on this day flight, so we avoid the unseemly rush to feed and bed that can accompany a night flight. We would have enjoyed a welcome glass of something on boarding, which is what Qantas premium economy offers. We do receive a pre-dinner drink with almonds/cashews (not offered on the night flight), with our pleasant stewardess offering, unprompted, to replace the thimble with a larger glass because “a bigger glass of champagne is always appreciated!”. It’s not that big and it’s plastic, but the personal touch is appreciated. Lots of water is offered, plus fruit and snacks and our names are always used. FOOD

We pre-order premium economy “Book the Cook” dishes, but will probably go with on-board meal choices in future. Meals arrive early and the drinks trolley only appears with general meals, by which stage we’ve finished. The salmon mousse entree is just OK but I enjoy my tasty beef rendang. The rice isn’t heated to a crisp as on a previous leg. Love the gouda cheese with crackers. Dessert is a rock-hard ice-cream block with coffee innards; the actual coffee is too bitter for my taste. Breakfast is fresh, sweet fruit, croissant, cheese, ham and yoghurt and orange juice. Nice. THE LAST WORD

Sleep is a precious gift on long flights and this seat is comfortable enough for a decent snooze. It’s a pricier but worthwhile choice, so treat yourself if you can.

The writer flew with the assistance of APT.

Park gets sporting chance

CHANGES: The Croudace Bay Sports Complex, which is the subject of a draft masterplan for future upgrades.Facilities that improve liveability–that’s the driving force behind Lake Macquarie City Council’s plan for up to$4.5 million worth ofmajor upgrades forCroudace Bay Sports Complex, mayor Kay Fraser says.
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The draft master plan for the sports complexis open for public feedback on council’s website until mid-February.

It focuses on upgradesfor athletes who take part in the five sports that are played there–football, rugby league, tennis, cricket and netball, with extra playing surfaces, training facilitiesand new amenities on the cards.

The draft masterplan includes two new full-sized and junior grass sporting fields, an extra tennis court and an extra cricket practice net.It also proposes anothernetball court, because of the high popularity of the sport in Lake Macquarie.

New clubbuildings, including change rooms,improved lighting and an extra 60 car parking spaces –taking the total to 310 –are also part of the draft plan. The netball and tennis courts will be moved to another part of the parkto allow space for the extra grass fields.

Valentine-Eleebana Football Club president Steve Screen said he expected the new change rooms for football and rugby league teams would be similar to the facilities at Warners Bay and would be “second to none”.

“Because the infrastructure for both soccer and rugby league was built in the 70s, they just don’t meet the community standards,” he said.

Cr Fraser said the plan was aimed at improving liveability for families in the city.

She said Section 94 contributions –the compulsory funds that developers pay to councils for infrastructure when they have a development approved –wouldpay for the overhaul.

“There’s a number of big ticket items there,” Cr Fraser said.

Community land planner for sports Steve Cowan said council had “worked extensively with local sporting clubs” to come up with the draft plan.

“The draft plan details new and improved sports field surfaces, sports courts and lighting as well as proposing new and refurbished amenity buildings to service the courts and fields for all sporting codes,” he said.

Last month, council’s community planning acting manager Wes Hain said the upgrades would enhance the range of sporting opportunities in Lake Macquarie and the Hunter.

“The enhancement of the multi-functional sporting precinct at Croudace Bay will help us to nurture local talent as well as provide our community with numerous sport and recreational opportunities,” he said.

Visitshape.lakemac南京夜网419论坛/master-plan to view the master plan before February 16.

Ben Cousins released from jail

Ben Cousins has been released from jail on Wednesday morning. Ben Cousins has been released from prison just shy of completing his one year sentence for stalking his ex-partner.
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The former West Coast Eagles captain was collected from Acacia Prison by his father Bryan on Wednesday morning and returned to the family’s Bicton home.

The 39-year-old was sentenced to 12 months jail in March and fined $2400 for repeated breaches of a violence restraining orderagainst his ex-partner, Maylea Tinecheff, and two drug related charges.

During his sentencing, the courtheard Cousins hadn’t had regular employment since shortly after his playing career ended in 2010.

His lawyer Michael Tudori said the former Brownlow Medallist had “hit rock bottom” in relation to his addiction, and wanted to seek help so he could continue to see his two young children.

At the timehe confessed to havinga two-gram-a-day methamphetamine habit.

Cousins failed a drug test while in prison, delaying an earlier opportunity for parole.

He was reportedly smiling as he returned to his family’s home on Wednesday morning.

Former Eagle Ben Cousins has been released from jail. (File photo) Photo: Heather McNeill

Ben Cousins:a descent into drug addiction1996:A 17-year-old Ben Cousins debuts for the West Coast Eagles, kicking two goals in his first game. He goes on to win the AFL’s Rising Star award that same year.

1997 – 2006:Cousins is awarded almost every honour during his playing career at the Eagles including a Brownlow Medal in 2005, an AFL premiership the following year, captaincy of the West Coast Eagles from 2001 to 2005 and six All-Australian jumpers.

May 2005:Cousins and teammate Michael Gardiner are interviewed by police after a shootout at a Perth nightclub allegedly involving bikie gangs and John Kizon.No charges are laid against the pair.

September 2005:Cousins wins the Brownlow Medal.

February 2006:Cousinsabandons his car near a Perth booze buswith his then-girlfriend in the passenger’s seat. He runs and then swims across the Swan River to avoid police. Two weeks later, he relinquisheshis captaincy at West Coast.

September 2006:Although no longer captain, Cousins stars in the Eagles’ thrilling one-point win against Sydney in the 2006 grand final and is still considered by many the “spiritual leader” of the club.

December 2006:Cousins is arrested after being found asleep outside Crown Casino in Melbourne.

March 2007:Cousins misses a training session and is suspended by West Coast for the first 15 rounds of the season. Rumours of his drug addiction begin to swirl in the media.

April 2007:Cousins flies to the United States and spends a month at an expensive drug rehabilitation centre. He returns to the club and apologises for his conduct. In his come-back match, Cousins has 38 touches in a blistering performance against Sydney.

October 2007:One of Cousins’ closest friends and former West Coast star, Chris Mainwaring, dies at his Cottesloe home after overdosing on cocaine. Cousins was with him hours before he died.

October 2007:Six months after leaving rehab, a shirtless Cousins is arrested on the side of the road for alleged drug possession after police search his vehicle. A photo of Cousins with his ‘Such is Life’ tattoo inked across his torso is splashed across the media. The charges against him are eventually dropped.

November 2007:Cousins issuspended from the AFL for 12monthsafter being found guilty bringing the game into disrepute and again checks into a U.S based rehabilitation clinic. The league encourages Cousins to address his drug addiction.

October 2008:One of the conditions of Cousins returning to the AFL is that he passes a hair sample test designed to detect if he has taken illicit drugs in the past three months.Cousins shaves his head and waxes his body before the test, and passes.

2009:Following his suspension, the league re-registersCousins and Richmond offers him a football lifeline, recruiting him to the east after he waspassed over during the national draft. He plays for the Tigers for two seasons before retiring from football. He played 270 games during his 15-year playing career.

2010:Cousins releases a two-part documentary into his life titled,Such is Life, and his autobiographyBen Cousins: My Life Story– both providing a candid insight into his personal life, drug addiction and recovery.

2011:Cousins has his first child, Bobby, with his then-partner Maylea Tinecheff.

January 2012:Cousins is again undergoing rehabilitation for his drug addiction issues and is committed to a suburban mental health unit after suffering a drug-induced psychosis.

March 2012:Cousins goes into hiding after being caught by police at anairport trying to smuggle 4.65 grams of methamphetamine, hidden in his anus, into an Esperance-based rehabilitation facility.

April 2012:Cousins is pulled over by police in North Beach and arrested after they discover cannabis and a meth pipe in his car.He pleads guilty and is fined less than $1000 for the March and April incidents.

June 2013:Cousins and his then-partner Ms Tinecheff welcome their second child, a daughter.

March 2015:Cousins leads police on a nine kilometre’slow speed chase’through the streets of Perth and is charged with three driving-related offences. He later pleadsguilty and is fined $2679.

March 2015:Cousinsscales two fences at the headquarters of Australia’s elite SAS regiment in Swanbourneand is taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

March 2015:Cousins is detained by police after driving erraticallyand then scaling roofs in Canning Vale to avoid police. He later pleads guilty and is fined $800 for trespassing and property damage.

Mid-2015:Cousins moves to Collie to take up afencing job.

May 2016:Cousins’ former partner MsTinecheff takes out a violence restraining order against him.

June 2016:Cousins is discharged from hospital after being found by police’directing traffic’ on Canning Highwaywhile in a dazed state. He misses the Eagles’ 10 year anniversary for its 2006 Premiership which took place thesame week.

October 2016:Cousins isarrested in Canning Vale house andchargedwith breaching a violence restraining order and drug possession.

November 2016:Cousins is involved in a late night car crash with a truck hours after failing to attend an Armadale court hearing in relation to his October charges. He had earlier toldthecourt, through his lawyer, he was unwell.Police charge him with possessing methamphetamine and breaching bail while Cousins is in hospital recovering from minor injuries.

December 2016:Cousins avoids jail and is fined $600 and then $2000 forbreaches ofthe VRO taken out by his former partner and drug charges.The court hears Cousins is seeking counselling to try and beat his drug habitand has no permanent home.

February 2017:Cousins is arrested again, this time for aggravated stalking, breaching his VRO and drug possession. Most of the charges relate to Cousins trying to see his two young children, his lawyer says.His bail is denied and he goes on to spend more than a month behind bars.

March 2017:Cousins pleads guilty to 11 charges and is due to be sentenced in the Perth Magistrates Court on March 28. His lawyer pushes for Cousins to be able to complete a residential rehabilitation program, with the fallen star”happy and willing”to seek treatment. He is sentenced to 12 months jail, eligible for parole after six months.

August 2017:Cousins fails a drug test in prison and is denied parole.

January 2018:Cousins is released from prison.

If you or someone you know requires help and support for alcohol or drug use the Alcohol and Drug Support Line is a confidential, non-judgemental telephone counselling, information and referral service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1800 198 024.

– WAtoday

Driving NSW’s shocking heavy vehicle deaths down

MEAN AND GREEN: Shane Burkinshaw from Burkinshaw’s Transport, with an all-American semi. Picture: Les Smith Shane Burkinshaw hasbeen in thebusiness about 20 years, but he’s been around trucks as long as he can remember.
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“I learntfrom my dad, he’s been driving nearly 50 years and I’d go out with him as a kid,” he said.

Children rarely ride in large rigs anymore, and it’s not the only safety change Shane’s seen during his career.

“It’s changed a lot- we have to take breaks more regularly, there are point-to-point cameras everywhere and the log books tellyouwhen you have to sleep,” he said.

Drivers are heavily regulated, but it hasn’t stopped the NSW fatalities involving heavy vehicles going up a staggering 86 per cent in 12 months.

In the 12 months to September, deaths involving articulated vehicleshave leapt from 29 to 54, according to data released by theBureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. In all other states, fatalitiesdecreased in the same quarter.

Geoff Crouch, chair of peak industry body the Australian Trucking Association and managing director of Wagga’s Ron Crouch Transport, says something needs to change.

“Truck drivers’work and rest times are already very tightly regulated and the regulations we have, have been demonstrated to work by the reduction in heavy serious accidents in every other state,” he said.

“It’sonly in NSW and the NTthey are not working and there’s no definitive data detailing the cause.

“We need to have the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigate these accidents and come back with recommendations and at the moment that’s not being done.”

According to the BITRE, around80 per cent of multi-vehicle crashes involving trucks aren’t the truck driver’s fault.

Shanesays there’s a definite lack of awareness among many car drivers of truckies’ blind spots and stopping distances.

“People often pull into gaps and cut into spaces we’ve left to be safe behind traffic, you’ve really got to be on the ball all the time,” he said.

The NSW Department for Transport were contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

RELATEDTruck safety is every road user’s problemBrendan Farrell on the road again ahead of Australia Day hay runTruck driving, one of the deadliest workplaces in AustraliaThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Sydney beaches deserted after violent storms bring pollution

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, SMH – January 9: Seaweed washed up Tamarama Beach on December 9, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Christopher Pearce/Fairfax Media) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, SMH – January 9: Seaweed washed up Tamarama Beach on December 9, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Christopher Pearce/Fairfax Media)
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Several of Sydney’s beaches were deserted on Wednesday after storms caused major pollution across the eastern suburbs and the northern beaches.

The NSW government has issued warnings about debris and faecal contamination for many parts of Sydney’s coast, encouraging members of the public not to go swimming.

North Curl Curl and Tamarama beaches were officially closed due to the likely possibility of pollution and dangerous surf conditions, while warnings to avoid swimming were issued for many other popular beaches, including Manly, Collaroy, Bondi, Bronte and Coogee beach.

Only 4 out of 62 beaches in the Sydney and Pittwater regions were reported to have no pollution in the water.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning just after 6pm on Tuesday for the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury region, Greater Wollongong, Sydney, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee???.

The storms caused 40.5 millimetres of rainfall, 20 to 30km/h winds and 22,000 lightning strikes, which caused 11,000 homes and businesses to lose power across Sydney.

Endeavour Energy said it was “bringing in extra crews to assist with restoration efforts, but asked customers to be patient due to the extensive damages to the network”.

By Wednesday morning, power had been restored to all but 2100 customers.

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage said on its website that “the most obvious signs of stormwater pollution are water discolouration as well as debris in the water and on the tide line”.

The possible diseases a person can be exposed to when swimming in polluted waters include gastroenteritis, ear, nose and throat infection and in more serious instances, deep tissue or blood infections.

More storms are expected over the coming week with as much as 20 millimetres of rain expected in Penrith on Saturday, the bureau said.

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Third-warmest and fourth-coldest? Canberra’s year of extremes

Early morning trackwork on a sub-zero winter morning at canberra’s Thoroughbred Park race course. Photo by Karleen Minney.The days were warmer and the nights were colder in 2017 during a year of extremes for Canberra.
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As much of eastern Australia endured record heat, the territory had its third-warmest year on record – and its lowest annual rainfall since 2009 – in what was also the third-warmest year for Australia overall.

Yet the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual report revealed last winter was actually Canberra’s coldest since 1982, and its fourth-coolest on record.

The capital shivered through 109 nights below 2 degrees in 2017, 16 more than average. That included a memorably frosty morning on July 1, when the mercury plunged to minus 8.7 degrees in the coldest temperature recorded in almost fifty years.

After a consistently wet 2016, Bureau climatologist Dr Linden Ashcroft said 2017 brought “a lot of variability” to the nation’s capital.

“It was frostier than usual this winter, even for Canberra,” she said. “But it was also very dry and very warm.”

The year kicked off to a steamy start, notching up its warmest mean temperature for January ever recorded at 32.8 degrees.

Daytime temperatures for every month except April also hit their top ten warmest, and over summer, 46 nights failed to drop below 15 degrees, compared to an average of 29 nights.

Canberra’s hottest day for 2017 came on February 11 with a high of 41.6 degrees but 56 days in total reached at least 30 degrees.

That’s more than the long-term average of 33 days, but on par with recent years, which have seen global warming trends continue to drive up temperatures around Australia.

“We also had a really interesting warming event in September where Canberra hit 30 degrees on the 23rd, that’s it’s hottest day for that [time of year] ever,” Dr Ashcroft said.

“So that was interesting. Scary but interesting.” So what was up with that winter?

A lack of rainfall in the territory meant lots of cold, cloudless nights come winter, Dr Ashcroft said, as heat from the day escaped.

“But, counter-intuitively frost can also show the fingerprints of climate change,” she said.

A recent study by researchers at the bureau linked clear winter nights to the movement of high pressure systems carrying rain further south.

“And that’s consistent with what climate models say will happen in a warming world,” Dr Ashcroft said. How did the rest of Australia fare?

For the nation, 2017 was also the third-warmest on record, with the eastern half including NSW and Queensland notching their hottest annual readings.

Only 2013 and 2005 were warmer years in records going back to 1910.

“Australia has warmed by about one degree since the middle of the 20th century,” Dr Ashcroft said.

Our unusually warm temperatures were in line with global ones. In the coming weeks, Dr Ashcroft said international agencies will likely confirm 2017 as the second or third-warmest on record based on average land and sea-surface temperatures going back to the 19th century.

The great majority of scientists attribute the rise in global temperatures to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

“This year is even more interesting because it’s the first we’ve seen globally without an El Nino event, which has always been linked to our warmest years,” Dr Ashcroft said. What about 2018?

As for what this year has in store for Canberra, Dr Ashcroft said more rain could be on the cards.

“There’s a La Nina system happening and that usually means slightly wetter than average and it can mean slightly cooler than average too, but the system is quite weak,” she said.

“The models are suggesting this will not kick on for much longer than early autumn.”

The year began in much the same fashion as the last with a run of hot days, climbing into 40 degrees, followed by lashing wind and rain on Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday is expected to reach a top of 28, with more rain on the way Thursday.

with Peter Hannam

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Tightly held Hickson Street offering

EXTENSIVE VIEW: This five-bedroom home in Merewether’s tightly held Hickson Street on nearly 800 square metres has been listed for sale. It continued to be one of the region’s suburbs setting the pace for sales in 2017 and the trend looks set to continue for Merewether with a string of homes in stand-out locations hitting the market in the new year.
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According to Australian Property Monitors data, the beachside suburb experienced 20.5 per cent growth last year as its median sale price rose to $1.38 million. It meant roughly $125 million wasspent in the sought-after suburb.

The last sale of the year was on December 22 when 1 Curry Street opposite Merewether Ocean Baths was sold for $2.399 million.

The first sale of 2018 was $2.4 million for a brand new home on less than 300 square metres in Short Street with ocean views.

A home in tightly held Hickson Street has hit the market and is expected to garner plenty of interest at its first open home today.

No price guide has yet been set for No.46, which is being marketed by Mark Kentwell of PRDnationwide Newcastle Lake Macquarie and will be taken to auction on February 21.

Houses in the street offerarguably the best vantage point in Newcastle with panoramic views of the ocean and region.

There have been six sales in the past three years, ranging from $1.9 million to a street record of $3.5 million early last year.

Location is expected to be the key attraction for buyers as well as holding position on one of the largest blocks in the street. The five-bedroom home is onland of nearly 800 square metres which has three street frontages.

Its first open house is at 1pm on Saturday.

Historic saleTanilba House, builtby convicts in 1831, went on the market late last year and sold before the year was out in the upper range of its $1.2 million to $1.4 million guide.

The property was marketed by Dean Pinter of Century 21 Novocastrian, who had plenty of interest in the unique offering.

A Sydney couple with a passion for heritagebought the estate with plans for restoration and renovation with a view to opening aboutique wedding venue.

NEW OWNERS: Historic Tanilba House, built by convicts in the 1800s has been bought by a Sydney couple with big plans for the Port Stephens Estate.

WICKHAM WOWThere is plenty of activity in Wickham with several apartment developments underway and more in the planning stages.

Apartments are proving popular there with most complexes selling fast. The latest offering, Eaton on Union, is reportedly nearly 60 per sent sold.

But it is not only apartments doing well. According to Australian Property Monitors, the median sale price for a property in the inner city suburb rose from $530,000 in 2015 to $760,000 last year.

Walkom Real Estate’s Thomas Hook has listed 63 Robert Streetwith a price guide of $800,000. The three-bedroom homebuilt in the 1900s hashad a “high end” renovation.

“Hannell House” retains original features such as leadlight windows and dado boards but new additions include a striking green subway splashback and a black toilet.

STYLISH: A black toilet and brass tapware are features of this striking bathroom in a renovated home in Robert Street, Wickham.

WHAT’S SELLINGThe market may have slowed down for a few days over Christmas but properties continue to sell well in the new year.

A four-bedroom home on over 800 square metres on City Road, Adamstown Heights has sold for $830,000 andAdamstown’s Regan Street recordedits first million-dollar sale when a five-bedroom residence with a pool sold for $1.2 million.

A three-bedroom Cardiff home in Arthur Street, which hadbeen in the same family for three generations, sold for $500,000.

A two-bedroom home in Diana Street, Wallsend was bought for $405,000.

In Maitland, a 17.33 acre property in Gillieston Road sold for $1.2 million.

Littlewood to bat on despite groin injury

BATTING: Belmont skipper Mark Littlewood. Picture: Jonathan CarrollINJURED skipper MarkLittlewood will try to resume his innings and salvage an unlikely win for Belmont on Saturday.
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The club and Newcastle representative skipper will return to Ron Hill Oval with a torn groin, suffered duringday one of their two-day encounter against Toronto.

The all-rounder failed to finish his seventh over when bowling and then dropped down a few places in the batting order to No.7.

He remains six not out, but Belmont are in serious trouble at 9-78 in reply to the Kookaburras’175.

Less running and more hitting may be the preferred option for Littlewood.

R10: Magpies 132 v Wests 4-146; Toronto 175 v Belmont 9-78; Cardiff 3-60 v Stockton 188; City 1-31 v Wallsend 235; Uni 2-12 v Hamwicks 267; Waratah 168 v Lions 1-68.

* WARATAH-MAYFIELDare celebrating the 20thanniversary of their annual sevens competition this week.

Following pool matches on Tuesday and Wednesday the finals will take place at Waratah Oval on Sunday.

The Buds and Sid’s Scorchers have so far fared better than winless Burke’s Backyarders.

Meanwhile, first grade skipper Scott Mackenzie is in the midst of his 150thgame for the club with “old boys”to be marked at home this Saturday afternoon.

* MEREWETHER’S Harrison Colbert claimed a double hat-trick in second grade.

* JAKE Ball may be a name familiar for more reasons than one.

Not only was he one of several English quicks injured throughout this Ashes tour, the 26-year-old spraining his ankle in a warm-up game, but in 2013-2014 he played five matches for Newcastle first grade side Toronto.

Ball lined up for the Kookaburras inJanuary and February, collecting seven wickets at an average of 27.57.

He remains in Australia as part of England’s one-day squad.

Journalists appear in court as Bill Clinton urges their release

Bangkok: It was a trap reminiscent of the darkest days of the Myanmar army’s half-century of repressive rule.
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On December 12 as world outrage was growing over a pogrom against Rohingya Muslims two young and ambitious Reuters reporters received an invitation journalists dream about.

They were invited for dinner on the outskirts of Yangon with a pair of police officers who had worked in townships in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state where Rohingya survivors had pointed to a mass grave as evidence of army-led atrocities.

Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were handed rolled-up documents and told they could view them once they got home, according to sources familiar with the case.

But as they walked along a road shortly after they were confronted by a group of about eight police, handcuffed and then held incommunicado for two weeks, accused of acquiring “important secret papers.”

A few days after the arrests Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw, a close ally and confidant of the country’s de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, authorised police to proceed with charges against them under the country’s Official Secrets Act.

The law dating back to the days of British colonial rule carries a prison sentence of 14 years.

The case and those of at least 32 other journalists charged, mostly under draconian colonial-era laws, since Suu Kyi was swept into power at historic elections in 2016 on a wave of democratic euphoria, shows the army has returned to the same treachery it used to intimidate the media under decades of military rule.

“Such arrests and laws were widely used by the military junta to shut us down,” said Maung Saungkha, founder of a local group called We Support Journalists.

“But it’s sad to see media freedom is even worse under the so-called democratic government.”

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were charged with violating the Official Secrets Act when they appeared in court on Wednesday. Their case has sparked international outrage.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said they show how press freedom is deteriorating in Myanmar and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for their release.

On Tuesday, former US President Bill Clinton joined the calls, tweeting that the arrests are unacceptable and saying the journalists should be released immediately. A free press is critical to a free society???the detention of journalists anywhere is unacceptable. The Reuters journalists being held in Myanmar should be released immediately.??? Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) January 9, 2018This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

South Australia planning to build the world’s largest thermal solar plant

Following the success of the world’s largest battery, South Australia is aiming to build the world’s largest thermal solar plant.
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SolarReserve’s $650 million, 150 megawatt Aurora solar thermal plant has received state development approval.

Construction of the facility will begin this year.

South Australian acting energy minister Chris Picton called the project a welcome development for the state.

“It’s fantastic that SolarReserve has received development approval to move forward with this world-leading project that will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals and schools,” Mr Picton said

“South Australia is fast becoming a global centre for the development of renewable energy with storage, with a range of other projects set to come online over the next few years.”

Commenting on the latest approvals, SolarReserve chief executive Kevin Smith said it is a major milestone.

“It is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring clean power generation technology to South Australia,” Mr Smith said.

The Clean Energy Council executive general manager Natalie Collard told Fairfax Media, “the price that the government will pay for power is remarkably low, considering solar thermal is a very young technology in Australia.

“The state has taken a series of positive steps towards greater energy independence which are really starting to pay off. And it has already met its target of 50 per cent renewable energy almost a decade early,” she said.

“South Australia is providing the rest of the country a glimpse of a renewable energy future. Our electricity system is rapidly moving towards one which will be smarter and cleaner, with a range of technologies providing high-tech, reliable, lower-cost power.”

The power plant will be able to generate 500-gigawatt hours of energy annually, providing power to around 90,000 homes, with eight hours of full load storage.

Once constructed, the facility will be the world’s largest single-tower solar thermal power plant.

It works by using multiple heliostats – which are in essence turning mirrors – to focus solar energy onto a single central tower.

This tower uses molten salt technology to store this heat, which it can later use to create steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity when needed.

The plant will displace the equivalent of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

AGL has a small 9.3-megawatt facility built to support its Liddell coal-fired power plant in NSW, although it is not a single-tower style of thermal solar plant.

South Australia drew international focus late last year when, in a partnership with Tesla, it installed the world’s largest single battery unit, capable of powering 30,000 homes.

The new plant will be located 30 kilometres north of Port Augusta, in South Australia.

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