Steve Carell as you’ve never seen him before – angry, activist and very gay

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Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) and Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) in a scene from Freeheld Photo: eOne Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell) in a scene from Freeheld. Photo: eOne
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This is Steve Carell as you’ve never seen him before – angry, activist and very gay.

In this clip from the drama Freeheld, based on a true story, Carell plays Steven Goldstein, a lawyer and gay rights activist in New Jersey who acted in a landmark case for police lieutenant Laurel Hester (played here by Julianne Moore) and her partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page).

Hester had been diagnosed with cancer, and wanted to leave her estate, including her police pension, to Andree, but the elected officials of Ocean County – known as freeholders – refused to allow her pension to pass to a same-sex partner.

“What these freeholders are doing is unconscionable,” he tells Andree, Hester and fellow cop Dane Wells (Michael Shannon).

Goldstein floats the idea of a gay pride parade, to “show them we’re a force to be reckoned with”.

When Wells tells him he doesn’t understand the conservative nature of this community, calling him “Steve”, Goldstein responds: “It’s Steven, with a V – as in very gay – and when people disrespect my gay brothers and sisters, I rain terror on them. Shock and awe. Shock and awe.”

Zach Galifianakis – like Carell, an alumnus of Saturday Night Live (though Galifianakis joined as a writer and lasted only two weeks) – was originally slated for the role of Goldstein but dropped out last August due to a scheduling conflict.

The real Goldstein told New Jersey’s The Auditor he was delighted with the casting decision.

“I’m so glad Steve Carell is playing me in Freeheld, rather than The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” he said.

Though this is the most out-and-proud role Carell – who is married (to a woman) and the father of two children – has played, technically speaking it isn’t his first gay role.

In 1996, he and Stephen Colbert provided the voices of Gary and Ace in an animated superhero comedy series called The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

In 2006 he played a gay Proust scholar recovering from a suicide attempt who is forced to go on a family road trip to a juvenile beauty pageant in the downbeat comedy Little Miss Sunshine.

And in 2014, he starred in Foxcatcher as John E. du Pont, the mega-wealthy wrestling enthusiast who shot and killed Dave Schultz in 1996, and whose relationship with his protégé Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) in the film is tinged with a repressed homosexuality.

Freeheld, which is based on an Oscar-winning short documentary of the same name from 2007, opens in Thursday November 5.

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The two Chinan girls and their mother living in ‘jail’ at Villawood detention centre

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Villawood detention centre in Sydney. Photo: Jessica Hromas’Dad, why are we here?’ No life and a baby on the way on Nauru
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Salwa Abas stands out in the busy school drop off: she is the only child escorted by a guard. Classmates tease the five-year-old for living in a “jail” and when she returns home, each pocket of her bag is searched.

Salwa and her sister Yasmin, 3, are n citizens. But they have been living with their mother behind locked gates at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre for almost a year, after the federal government cancelled their mother’s visa.

In doing so, the government acknowledged the decision was not in the children’s best interests. Their mother Zahra, who is pregnant with her third child, has begged Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to intervene.

“They were happy n kids, why [did the government] do this to them, they don’t deserve to be here,” she told Fairfax Media from inside the detention centre.

“[My children] are really upset inside and they are asking me ‘What are we doing for Christmas, are we getting out? Why are we here?'”.

Ms Abas, originally from Iraq, arrived on a boat from Indonesia in 2009 with other family members. They were taken to Christmas Island then granted protection in .

Her father, known as Captain Emad, arrived in in 2010. He fled two years later, after ABC’s Four Corners program alleged he was running a people-smuggling racket from Canberra.

The case cast a spotlight on his family, and the Department of Immigration determined Ms Abas, who was 19 when arriving in , had falsified information on her visa application, including the reason why she needed protection.

Ms Abas said this week her father was “abusive, controlling and angry” and told the family to lie to immigration officials about their names and background.

“In Indonesia he wanted to break my legs because I wanted to run away from him, and he took a hammer and hit my leg and I got stitches from it,” she said.

“He told us to tell un-genuine information and I did, but my intention wasn’t anything bad, I just wanted to live [in] freedom without him abusing me any more.”

Under the former Labor government, the department said while Ms Abas had breached her obligations under migration law, her visa would not be cancelled.

But in December last year when the Coalition was in office, then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison personally intervened to cancel Ms Abas’ visa. She was informed on Christmas Eve.

In a letter to Ms Abas, the veracity of which the department did not dispute, Mr Morrison wrote that she had been living in Malaysia for many years, rather than in Iraq where she claimed to have suffered persecution, and should not have been granted a protection visa.

He said there was no evidence she was under duress from her father when applying for a visa.

“Notwithstanding that the best interests of the dependent children would be served by a decision not to cancel the mother’s visa, this is outweighed by the seriousness of the non-compliance,” Mr Morrison wrote.

Ms Abas was taken into detention in January, and lives in residential-style housing. Her n citizen husband suffers medical problems and depression after an accident and cannot care for the children, forcing them to live with their mother at Villawood indefinitely.

Ms Abas’ husband visits the family in detention and she is 21 weeks pregnant. She is also severely depressed and fears for the future of her unborn baby and young daughters.

Salwa, once a bubbly child with many friends who loved the film Frozen, is now lonely and suffers nightmares. Yasmin has become unhappy and clingy.

“Every day [Salwa] says ‘I had a really bad day, I hate this school, I hate you, I hate this place’, and then she goes in her room and cries. She doesn’t want to go out, she doesn’t want to eat,” Ms Abas said.

“It’s like a jail – you have no freedom, no control over your life or your children’s life.”

Mr Dutton and the Department of Immigration refused to answer questions regarding Ms Abas, or explain why she was the only family member being detained. A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton said his department was “managing” the case.

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Mafia history of Gino and Mark Stocco’s alleged victim Rosario Cimone revealed

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Mark and Gino Stocco, who were captured on a property where Rosario Cimone’s body was also located. Photo: NSW Police Gino Stocco is led to a prison vehicle after appearing in Dubbo Local Court via video link. Photo: Wolter Peeters
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Mark Stocco is led to a prison vehicle after appearing in Dubbo Local Court via video link. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Mark Stocco at Dubbo police station on Wednesday. Photo: Nine News

Body of Rosario Cimone found on remote property​How the Stoccos evaded police​The tip-off that led to the final hide-outWill o’ the wisps in Kelly Gang country

The long-awaited capture of father and son fugitives Gino and Mark Stocco has taken another bizarre twist as links have emerged between their alleged victim and the Italian Mafia, long-term cannabis cultivation and a fatal electrocution last year.

The pair, who had been on the run for eight years, were charged on Thursday morning with the murder of Italian-born farm caretaker Rosario Cimone, 68, on October 7.

They did not appear in Dubbo Local Court on Thursday and magistrate Andrew Eckhold ordered they remain behind bars until their case returns on January 20.

Mr Cimone’s decomposed body was discovered in a shallow grave at Pinevale, a remote property near Dunedoo, in central western NSW, just hours after police captured the Stoccos in a dramatic, covert operation on Wednesday morning.

The elusive pair had worked on the extremely isolated property with Mr Cimone, who was reported missing to Green Valley police by his daughters, Maria and Vicenza, on October 8.

When a white ute, similar to the one allegedly stolen by the Stoccos, was spotted in bushland behind the property on Tuesday, police had their “final pieces of the jigsaw” and descended on the 385-hectare spot.

Fairfax Media can reveal Mr Cimone, from Green Valley, was a cannabis cultivator with a string of past convictions and a long history with the Calabrian Mafia in .

His son, Phillip, 35, was also convicted in 2013 of cultivating more than 1000 cannabis plants on a remote property near Bundarra, in the northern tablelands,

Rosario, known as Ross to his friends, was charged with cultivating substantial cannabis crops in the early 1980s, charged with the sale of cannabis in the mid-1980s and convicted in 2003 of a $30-million cannabis operation at a property in Nimmitabel, in far southern NSW.

He was sentenced to four years in prison for growing 14,000 cannabis plants and possessing unauthorised firearms.

He was one of a group of prisoners to be given early release, in exchange for bribes, under the corrupt 1980s prison boss, Rex Jackson.

One of his seven co-accused in the Nimmitabel drug gang, Mario Cataldo, 58, was killed in October last year when he was electrocuted by an illegal hydroponic set-up in Bringelly, on the western outskirts of Sydney.

He lay dead in a shed for two days, and his body was eventually found when his family called an ambulance because they had not heard from him.

Former friend, Giuseppe Mammone, said Mr Cimone was “a nice man” who used to own a butcher’s shop in Edensor Park in the 80s and loved going to the Marconi Club when he was in Green Valley. 

Former assistant police commissioner Clive Small, who is writing a book on the Calabrian Mafia in , said Mr Cimone played a “mid-level” role.

He had been working in the Dunedoo area in recent months but it is not known whether drugs were being grown on the rugged, isolated property, described by locals as a “perfect hideout”.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, told Fairfax Media that she had made calls to CrimeStoppers in recent years to report suspicious people working on the property, that had no farms.

It’s not known whether the Stoccos had direct involvement but Mr Small said they would most likely have been considered too unreliable by the Mafia.

They were erratic, conspiratorial characters who were known to move frequently, barely staying on farms for more than a few weeks.

“When [the Mafia] are recruiting people to be pickers or cultivators … or crop sitters, that is, people who might go there to plant the crops under supervision with others and just sit there and make sure no one steals it, they tend, generally, to deal with people they have had experience with in the past or whose families they know.”

He said the Mafia was well and truly alive in and had a violent but little-known history.

“There are probably a number of reasons why they’ve been able to get away with it,” he said. “If you deny it’s existence, then you don’t have to do anything about it.”

In addition to murder, Gino, 57, and Mark, 36, are each charged with 17 NSW offences, including shooting with intent to murder, dishonestly obtaining property by deception, police pursuit and discharging a firearm with intent to resist arrest.

Wanted for a string of property and violent offences in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, the men became the focus of a large-scale manhunt after police were shot at during a high speed pursuit near Wagga Wagga on October 16.

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‘Dehumanisation and stigmatisation’ of Rohingya Muslims based on Nazism: report

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A refugee bathes his child at the Kutupalong Camp in Teknaaf, Bangladesh. Photo: New York TimesWho are the Rohingya, and why are they being persecuted?Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi criticised for silence on Rohingya
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Bangkok: ​Nazi ideology and Islam-phobia are being used to stoke hatred of more than a million Rohingyas in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, according to the findings of an 18-month investigation.

The country’s military-backed government, state-level officials and Buddhist monks are orchestrating the mass annihilation of the Rohingya, say researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Drawing on leaked government documents, researchers say they have uncovered evidence that the persecution of the stateless Rohingya – including corralling them into ghettos, sporadic massacres and restrictions on movements – amounts to a longer term strategy by Myanmar’s government to isolate, weaken and eliminate the group.

In a report titled Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar researchers from the university-based International State Crime Initiative concluded that “dehumanisation and stigmatisation” techniques being used against Rohingyas warrant comparison with Germany in the 1930s and Rwanda in the early 1990s.

Researchers said they found Nazi and SS paraphernalia such as t-shirts and helmets in official documents of the Arakan National Party, a Rahkine party.

Copies of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf are being sold on  Rakhine’s streets, they said.

The report quotes an editorial in an Arakan National Party magazine declaring in 2012 that “in order for a country’s survival …crimes against humanity or inhuman acts may be justifiably committed.”

“We will go down in history as cowards if we pass on these [Rohingya] issues to the next generation without getting it over and done with,” the editorial said.

Professor Penny Green, director of the initiative, said weakened and traumatised Rohingyas in camps and ghettos “endure the barest of lives and denial of basic human rights, with the ever-present fear of attack.”

Myanmar’s government officially refers to Rohingya as “Bengalis” from Bangladesh and claims they are mostly illegal immigrants in the country where 90 per cent of its 53 million people are Buddhists.

The report’s release comes ahead of landmark elections in Myanmar on November 8 that are seen as a test of progress in the country’s transition from half a century of often-brutal military rule to democracy.

Despite being described as Myanmar’s first free poll in 25 years, Muslims have been prevented from contesting and been the target of racial and religious abuse during campaigning by ultra-nationalist Buddhist groups like Ma Ba Tha, an acronym for the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups have warned of an imminent humanitarian disaster as Rohingya families take to unsafe people-smuggler boats to escape Myanmar now that the monsoon season has ended in the Bay of Bengal.

While many reports have documented the decades-long persecution of Rohingya, the Queen Mary University report controversially finds they face the final stages of genocide, which it said was not always visible in Rakhine.

“It can be stopped but not without confronting the fact that it is, indeed, genocide,” Professor Green said.

The finding is backed by Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN’s special rapporteur of human rights in Myanmar between 2008 and 2014.

“At this point, the situation of the Rohingya cannot be understood without considering a possible genocide,” he said in comments released with the report.

“For decades, the Rohingya people in Myanmar have been victims of widespread government violations that, when considered hollistically, and analysed systematically, reveal a bleak conclusion: the Rohingya people are being gradually decimated,” Mr Quintana said.

“This dramatic conclusion has not been drawn powerfully or often enough,” he said.

The report said Rohingyas “have been subjected to a virulent and official nationwide policy and propaganda campaign which has incrementally removed them from the State’s sphere of responsibility.”

“The State’s persistent and intensified ‘othering’ of the Rohingya as outsiders, illegal Bengali immigrants and potential terrorists has given a green light to Rakhine nationalist and [Islamophobic] monks to orchestrate invidious campaigns of race and religious hatred reminiscent of these witnessed in Germany in the 1930s and Rwanda in the early 1990s,” it said.

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Malcolm Turnbull defends plan to build $1b icebreaker overseas

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An artist’s impression of ‘s new icebreaker. Photo: Supplied An artist’s impression of ‘s new Antarctic ship. Photo: Supplied
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended the government’s decision to select a British-based operator and Dutch shipyard for ‘s $1 billion Antarctic icebreaker project.

The British Serco-owned n company, DMS Maritime, is close to sealing a deal with the government over the yet-to-be named icebreaker, to be commissioned in 2019.

It is being designed by Danish naval architects, Knud E. Hansen, and built by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands, which claims broad experience with commercial and naval vessels.

The choice of the foreign build marks another loss of a major vessel to the n ship-building industry.

Mr Turnbull said the business of building icebreakers was clearly a northern hemisphere speciality.

“I don’t think it’s surprising that all the tenderers were involved with an overseas yard,” Mr Turnbull said.

The current icebreaker, the P&O owned Aurora Australis, was built at Newcastle in 1989.

The new design that was unveiled in Hobart on Thursday shows a ship almost twice the size of Aurora.  It is expected to be central to the n Antarctic program until mid-century.

The new 156-metre long, 23,800-tonne vessel will have increased cargo and marine science capability but is expected to carry around the same number of passengers.

Its crucial ice-breaking capacity will give it the power to steam through 1.65-metre ice, compared to Aurora’s 1.23 metres.

DMS Maritime was the sole tenderer for the project after P&O withdrew in January, saying the tender forced the contractor to unnecessarily pile up costs.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the final stages of the tender were being overseen by the Department of Finance and accountants KPMG.

“Both have verified that we are on track to a very successful result for ,” Mr Hunt said. “We’re driving a hard bargain.”

The $1 billion cost would include building the ship and its lifetime operation, he said.

A national naming competition is to be held for the vessel, and Mr Turnbull said that would be a chance to engage young people with n Antarctic history.

Aurora has been refitted to take it through to May 2017. No decision has been taken yet on filling the gap until the new icebreaker is ready in late 2019, a Senate estimates hearing was told.

Comment was sought from DMS Maritime.

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Malcolm Turnbull’s five mistakes about coal

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants a ‘clear-eyed, cool-headed, rational’ approach to coal. Photo: Andrew Meares Train of thought: what’s the future of coal? Photo: Glenn Hunt
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Brown-coal fired power plant in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley. Photo: Paul Jones

The young woman leading the energy revolution

This week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that when it came to coal, it was “important to take the ideology out – just approach it in a very clear-eyed, cool-headed, rational way”.

The PM’s comments were made in response to a call by 61 leading ns for an international halt to new coal mines and mine expansions.

The signatories included Nobel-winning scientist Peter Doherty and former Reserve Bank Governor Bernie Fraser, individuals who may not be unfamiliar with logic and rationality.

Mr Turnbull’s comments drew widespread applause from the mining industry, so it is likely that we’ll hear them echoed repeatedly between now and the Paris climate summit next month from both the PM and his colleagues.

Here are some of his comments and why the PM failed his own test:

Coal is a very important part…the largest single part of the global energy mix and likely to remain that way for a very long time. So that is not my forecast but the International Energy Agency’s forecast and many others.

​True, coal vies with oil as the largest share of the energy mix, at 29 per cent versus oil’s 31 per cent stake, according the IEA’s 2014 World Energy Outlook.

But the IEA, like Nostradamus, says many things about the future.

In its Energy and Climate Change report released in June, the agency proposes a peak in energy-related within five years in order to ensure global warming can be limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels (we are about half way).

“In the Bridge Scenario, coal use peaks before 2020 and then declines while oil demand rises to 2020 and then plateaus,” the agency says.

That prospect doesn’t point to the need for a lot of new coal mines. Opening up the giant Galilee coal province in Queensland could raise the amount of internationally traded coal by as much as 273 million tonnes if all 10 projects got developed, according to Tim Buckley, a former Citi analyst and now director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Not taking action to curb coal and other fossil fuels would leave the world on a course to 3.6 degrees of warming. Yes, that is also an IEA forecast, but to avoid that fate would require the entire world becoming “carbon neutral” – with emissions countered by storage – by 2040.

“Since emissions are not going to drop suddenly to zero once this point is reached, it is clear that the 2-degrees objective requires urgent action to steer the energy system on to a safer path,” the IEA said in its outlook report.

I don’t agree with the idea of a moratorium on exploiting coal…If stopped exporting coal, the countries to which we export it would simply buy it from somewhere else.

Actually, very few groups demand that every bit of the black rock has to be left in the ground. The call is for an end to new coal mines or the expansion of them – at home and abroad.

If, as the IEA calls for, coal use peaks with a few years, implying that the issue won’t just be a matter of buying the fuel from elsewhere.

But let’s entertain the prospect of an export halt by  – would that make a difference to prices?

Well, last year accounted for 186 million tonnes of the 310 million tonnes of internationally traded coking coal used in steel making – that’s 60 per cent, according the government’s own figures.

Even for thermal coal used in power stations – which is really the fuel substitution issue at stake – ‘s 201 million tonnes of coal exported in 2014 amounted to just under one-fifth of the globally traded commodity.

Mr Buckley says that as a major player in global coal markets, ‘s actions – even to cap exports – would have a big impact on markets.

“It’s just nonsensical from an economics point of view, what Turnbull was saying,” Mr Buckley said.

So if were to stop all of its coal exports … it would not reduce global emissions one iota. In fact, arguably it would increase them because our coal, by and large, is cleaner than the coal in many other countries.

Two problems here.

As above, ‘s actions to limit, cut or even ban exports – even taken alone – would likely lift the price of coal.

Alternative fuels almost always produce fewer emissions, especially if the source is renewable, such as solar, wind and hydro, all of which have virtually zero emissions once the plants are installed. The higher the price of coal, the more “iotas” of emissions reduction.

But how clean is n coal?

The Newcastle thermal benchmark is typically cleaner than Indian domestic coal. The energy content per tonne of the former is 6000 kilocalories per tonne, with a 12-14 ash content, Mr Buckley notes. By contrast, the Indian variety typically generates 4400 kcal with a 20-45 ash content.

However, the big Galilee coal province – which a focus of much of the opposition in to new coal mines – has a relatively poor quality.

According to details released to Mr Buckley by Adani, the proposed developer of the giant Carmichael mine earmarked to supply India, the average energy content will be 4950 kcal, with a 25-30 per cent ash content.

Once the coal has been dug up and carted hundreds of kilometres to the coast and shipped thousands more to India, the Carmichael coal will struggle to be cleaner than whatever it displaced.

People talk about different forms of energy and often, and some people talk about it in an ideological way, as though one type of coal is better or worse than wind which is better or worse than solar which is better or worse than nuclear power.

These are all things. They don’t have any moral characteristics. They are things. They have certain physical characteristics and financial characteristics.

One this point, Mr Turnbull is closer to the mark, although his comments do contradict his own Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg, who argued earlier this month  had a “strong moral case” to proceed with the $16 billion Carmichael mine.

Mr Frydenberg’s argument is that the coal would help ease the energy poverty of hundreds of millions of Indians by lowering the cost of electricity to a point where more of them could afford to join the grid for the first time.

If morality were the driver for such a worthwhile goal, then why not take a smaller profit to start with by lowering the coal price? Or perhaps donate our royalties to ensure more poor people could enjoy our coal (rather than slashing our aid budgets)?

But back to Mr Turnbull. Does every thing really have a value solely for its “physical and financial characteristics”?

Does it matter whether we exclude the cost of burning fossil fuels from its price, given the impact we know the greenhouse gas will have on global warming?

We know from Mr Turnbull’s turbulent time as Opposition Leader that he used to think a carbon price was a good thing. (The US government has made this stab at estimating the social cost of a tonne of CO2.)

Does it matter that those most likely to bear the brunt of the impacts of the more extreme weather we can count on from climate change are the very people whom we purport to be so concerned about when it comes to “energy poverty”?

Finally, what price, say, does a species made extinct by our actions have, or perhaps that is an “ideological” question.

Hugh Bowman hopes his good fortune rolls again in the Victoria Derby

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Ready for the Derby: Hugh Bowman is hoping Shards will continue his great run in the Victorian Derby. Photo: Bradleyphotos杭州龙凤论坛m.auWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFollow our Derby Day tips to find a winner
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There is a  healthy dose of serendipity when it comes to the Victoria Derby for Hugh Bowman.

He has won the blue ribbon  three times and two have been like his ride this year, Shards, late pick-ups.  “It has been a lucky race for me,” said Bowman, who has won Derbies on Sangster, Lion Tamer and Polanski in the past five years.

“Lion Tamer is the only one I would say I was riding a long way out. I rode him in Sydney first-up and then I missed a couple of runs on him and was back on in the Vase when was a good second,” Bowman remembered.

“Then a week later he came out and scored a huge win on a very wet day. Sangster I was lucky to pick up when they were looking for another jockey after [the] Caulfield Classic. It was the same with Polanski, I picked him up because his jockey was suspended for the Caulfield Classic. I managed to win it on him and retained the ride for the Derby.”

So getting the call up from Godolphin on Sunday morning to ride for them doesn’t faze Bowman. Either does the fact that he was shifted from Etymology to Shards after retained  jockey James McDonald changed his mind on what he wanted to ride in the Derby.

There is not a better jockey in the country than Bowman at the moment and he is riding on a high after winning four of the past five group 1s he has ridden in, including the Cox Plate on Winx.

Bowman is one of the best judges of a staying race in the land as  his Derby record shows. He feels there are similarities in Shards’ Vase second to the effort of Lion Tamer in the same race.

“I take confidence that he ran very well in the Vase last week. My horse ran second and is double figures and the $2.40 favourite for the Derby [Tarzino] ran third,” Bowman said.

“Look, Lion Tamer ran a very similar race to what Shards did in the Vase. I’m not anticipating that he will come out and do what Lion Tamer did but he is a live chance going into the race.”

Tarzino has been the punters’ elect since an impressive win at Caulfield in September and his runs in the Caulfield Guineas and Vase have caught the eye. He looks like 2500 metres will suit but the draw of 10 has to be of concern because of his lack of tactical speed.

Blake Shinn, who rides Lizard Island, made the point that because of the nature of the Derby, where horses don’t stay and drop out, those back in the field often have run their race before they get to the business end.

“I have watched a few Derbies on preparing for the race and horses like Complacent and Criterion got back and gave up too much ground to the leaders,” Shinn said. “They are great horses but they had to make runs that were too long.

“I think you need to be in the first half of the field and my bloke [Lizard Island] is going to be from the good draw.”

Lizard Island was runner-up in the Caulfield Guineas and Caulfield Classic, which would usually entitle him to a single-figure quote but he is $13 at Crownbet.

“I think people believe he is suspect at the trip but watching his last run in the Caulfield Classic over 2000m, I’m comfortable,” Shinn said. “I thought he was fairly strong at the end of 2000m after doing some work and he is going to get the gun run from the barrier on Saturday.”

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Dear Nauru: Why Chinan journalists will keep asking you questions

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n journalists keep asking questions, trying to find out the truth of life on the island. Photo: Angela Wylie Asylum seekers during recreational time at Nauru detention centre. Photo: Angela Wylie
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Nauru President Baron Waqa Photo: Michelle Smith

We don’t need to answer your questions: Nauru

Dear government of Nauru,

Thanks for your note on Wednesday. I wanted to reply by sending a friend request on Facebook, but, well, you banned it in your country.

That’s one sure way to stifle any domestic dissent. But your other strongarm tactics have been inspired. Suspending the opposition from Parliament without pay – genius! Revoking visas and deporting the judiciary – bravo!

And then stripping the pensions from citizens who dared to participate in a protest this year at the Parliament, which you called a riot, even though they have not been convicted of a crime. Way to exert control.

Oh, but there I go again, just another n journalist displaying what you dismiss as “great arrogance and an air of racial superiority”. Pesky questions and all.

But here’s the thing. I was on Nauru in 2013, and I still have my blue “Nauru sport fishing” hat. It was just a few months before you slapped an $8000 price tag on a visa application for a media visit (that’s for the application, remember, not necessarily an approved travel document).

I went to report on the aftermath of an undisputed riot, one that levelled the detention “camp” – President Baron Waqa’s word when I interviewed him beforehand.

That riot was started by the asylum seekers that you – and your predecessors, remember, those opposition MPs? – had agreed to host on behalf of .

And I reported the distress of the Nauru people, their fear at events potentially spiralling out of control and what might happen to their kids. And I heard the resentment of people who believed the asylum seekers “had it all good and they burnt it down”.

But I was also there when you began censoring the local television, to stop the opposition from questioning your deal with a desperate Labor government in to resettle people found to be refugees. Questions like are they to live in Nauru permanently, or not quite? Will these refugees be given passports to travel off the island and return with supplies, as many local like to do?

Then followed your refusal to allow United Nations officials to visit, the selective lock-out of foreign media (no ABC, no al-Jazeera), the shrill allegations against the opposition MPs before they have been convicted of any crimes, and complaints they have spoken critically of you to people like me in the international media.

And how about those rude Kiwis, huh? Scrapping aid to you over concerns about meddling with the judiciary. Outrageous.

Yes, there are all the claims, and counter-claims, about the treatment of refugees. If journalists were allowed on the island, you say, “refugees who are now living peacefully would – under the direction of n based advocates – start to protest and riot for the cameras”.

But that didn’t happen when you finally allowed The n to visit last week, and good on you for testing this out.

What little trouble I had on the island two years ago was with overly-zealous n officials, and never with Nauru’s. Locals warned me of “Naurumours”, and there is no doubt these stories get around.

The key reason n journalists keep asking you questions, trying to find out the truth of life on the island, is the n government is paying you to be a deterrent for asylum seeker boats.

And like any country, I found many contrasting views in my week on Nauru. Ain’t democracy a tremendous thing? (So look forward to watching your elections in June. Reckon opposition will be in jail by then?)

So before you next summarily declare someone a “prohibited immigrant” and deport them from the island, or take aim at “biased international media”, keep calm.

You are indeed a “sovereign” country, as you declare, and that is precisely why wants to keep you on side.

Oh, and don’t forget to friend me.

Daniel

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Dear North, you can tell paps to go away, but you should chat to your mum first

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Dear North West,
杭州桑拿

There’s a video of you going around on the internet at the moment.

It shows you wearing one of your signature Balmain coats as you walk with an adult friend into the ballet studio where you have been taking classes for the best part of this year.

As you walk through the carpark outside, about 10 adult men start shoving cameras in your face, blocking your path.

“I said no pictures!” you say, in a move that has prompted headlines like “Here’s North West yelling at paparazzi just like her dad” and “North West is a sassy little ballerina in adorable tutu as she heads to a dance class.

You are two years old and you are visibly upset.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty common scenario for you. The child of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, you really didn’t have a choice in whether or not your every move would be documented by hordes of men with long lenses. She’s so god damn cute RT @WORLDSTARC0MEDY: North West: “I said no pictures” daddy’s girl pic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/I7omQS5ITY— sabrina (@ssabrinajulevic) October 28, 2015

That’s not to say your parents haven’t made some effort to protect your privacy.

You are largely kept off the family’s E! reality television show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

But, while you continue to appear in her Instagram feed and accompanying her to red carpet events, that’s a bit of a moot point, because we’ve probably reached a point where it’s reductive to call your mum a “reality television star”.

Kim is best described simply as a “celebrity”, and she isn’t a celebrity who became famous for being a great actor or singer or athlete or physicist (kidding, kidding); she’s a celebrity who became famous by being a great celebrity. She became famous because of her private life.

That means, while other celebrities can decry interest in their private life as invasive, your mum (and your aunts, and your grandparents) kind of can’t.

Your family make a lot of money off their personal brands (roughly $US300 million – $422 million – at last count), building profiles on social media and in public in order to make people think buying a book full of their selfies or a waist trainer they are being paid to promote is a good idea.

Your mum has professionalised her personal life.

She sees some problems with this, sure.

“I like sharing my world with people,” she told Vogue earlier this year. “Although I wish there could be just maybe a little bit more privacy just for our daughter.

“But it is what it is.”

This “it” is your problem, North.

You could have more privacy, but you won’t, because you are a part of your mother’s personal life and, right now, that personal life is putting food on the table.

Let’s take your tiny tots ballet career as an example. Your mum has been known to post pictures photographers took of you going to and from ballet on her Instagram account with funny captions, or details about where your clothes are from.

See here:   #PaparazziGotMeLike…A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on May 28, 2015 at 9:05pm PDT

And here:   Ballet in BalmainA photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on May 28, 2015 at 11:52am PDT

Westpac’s Bill Evans says inflation drop not enough to force RBA cut

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Readjustment: inflation surprised but healthy export volumes point to a GDP pick-up. Photo: Jim Rice Wednesday’s surprisingly soft inflation for the third quarter has economists nationwide revisiting their forecasts for next Tuesday’s interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank of .
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Those who predicted a cut, to 1.75 per cent, early next year said governor Glenn Stevens might now bring it forward to the November 3 meeting; those discounting any chance of a reduction agreed a case could now be made for further easing.

Finally, those who had stuck to their guns on a November cut said “told you so”.

At least one forecaster who won’t be swayed, however, is Westpac chief economist Bill Evans, who remains adamant – albeit slightly less – that the RBA will leave rates where they are, at 2 per cent, until such time that it has to start lifting them again.

He argues the RBA has looked past surprises in the consumer price index before, and third-quarter economic activity indicators – such as retails sales, export volumes and construction – are sufficiently strong to give the central bank this luxury once again.

The RBA’s decision to cut the cash rate in February was prompted not by an unexpected slowdown in September-quarter core inflation, he points out, but by the quarter’s alarmingly weak gross domestic product figures, which are published much later.

“The drop in core inflation was known at both the November and December [RBA] meetings, but it was the surprise slump in growth that was recorded in the September-quarter GDP report that printed the day after the December board meeting that prompted the rate cut,” he wrote in response to Wednesday’s data.

“The surprise drop in the inflation measure is not unique and, in the past, the bank has looked through a one-off number.

“The motivation for cutting next week would be a significant downward revision to the growth outlook, [and] the data flow and the RBA’s recent commentary does not point to such an event,” he said.

Nomura rate strategist Andrew Ticehurst agrees third-quarter GDP growth looks to have picked up after weak June-quarter activity but  the CPI shock, added to recent bank credit tightening through higher mortgage rates, at least makes the case for a November cash rate cut.

Despite this, he is sticking to an earlier forecast for a February cut to the cash rate.

“If the RBA would like to lower the cash rate next week, they can mount a very solid case to justify the move,” Mr Ticehurst said on Thursday.

“They can acknowledge that global growth and regional growth is looking a little bit weaker; they could note that the domestic economy seems to be holding up relatively well, based on recent data.

“But they could say that the recent lower-than-expected inflation data allows the move, and they could also make some non-specific reference to modest tightening in financial conditions coming from decisions recently made by major lenders.”

Wednesday’s CPI surprise was just enough to convince HSBC chief economist for Paul Bloxham to change his cash rate forecast.

From an “on hold until further notice” view, he now believes the RBA will cut rates either next week or in December.

He said the recent round of home loan rate increases by the big banks “alone, was unlikely to see the RBA consider cutting its cash rate, given concerns about rising risks in the property market”.

“However, when combined with the downside surprise to inflation, the RBA now has multiple reasons to consider a cut,” Mr Bloxham said.

Regardless of their stance on next week’s RBA meeting, many economists question the value of any further cash rate cuts, given the law of diminishing returns.

With two cuts this year already leaving the cash rate at a historic low, and growing signs this has helped re-engineer the n economy away from its dependence on resource-related investment, a third reduction this year might do little more than spook business, consumers and other investors into thinking things are worse than they really are, they say.

“There is an array of factors that the Reserve Bank needs to take into account at next week’s board meeting,” says CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian.

“What is clear is that the collapse in the terms of trade and weaker inflation forecasts certainly doesn’t stand in the way of a rate cut.

“The key question is, does the central bank believe that another rate cut will actually boost spending and activity?” he said.

In any case, argues Western Asset heads of investment in Anthony Kirkham, the RBA should “keep its powder dry” until it really needs an emergency third cut.

“The RBA has been clever in their desire to not move lower unless forced to, and that would be because of some sort of calamity in China and the rest of the world,” he said.

Newcastle Jets star Leonardo holds few surprises for Melbourne City boss John van ‘t Schip

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No surprises: Leonardo in action against the Victory. Photo: Max Mason HubersMelbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip is expecting Friday night’s opponents, Newcastle Jets, to be defensively organised and to try to hit his side on the counter as they look to continue their strong start to the new campaign, a bright beginning that has confounded many pundits who predicted the Jets would continue to struggle.
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They are tactics that have helped the Jets pick up six points from their first three games, including tough matches against both of last season’s grand finalists, champions Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, and a tough road trip to Wellington.

The Jets, under youthful new coach Scott Miller, have beaten Victory and the Phoenix, but lost at home to Sydney.

Brazilian attacking midfielder Leonardo, who joined the Novocastrians in the off-season, looms as a key player in the Jets’ quick transition from defence to counterattack. But he won’t hold too many surprises for City’s Dutch manager, who has both coached Leonardo and coached against him as a senior player and as a junior in the Netherlands.

The Brazilian has spent most of his career in Holland, starting at the big Rotterdam club Feyenoord but also playing for Amsterdam giants Ajax as well as having two spells at NAC Breda.

Van ‘t Schip coached him at Ajax and against him as a youngster, when the Rio De Janeiro-born Leonardo was a prodigy in the Feyenoord youth set-up and van ‘t Schip was working with the Ajax juniors from the club’s famed development academy.

“He can create something out of nothing. He was, and he still is, fast, he can score goals, give assists, he is all these things,” van ‘t Schip said.

“He had some injuries in the past and some knee problems, but in general he was one of the most talented players. I worked with him but I know him from when he was 17 or 18 when he was playing in the youth at Feyenoord and I was coach from the youth of Ajax.

“We played against each other with the youth teams, and in that period he was unbelievable. But he got setbacks with knee operations. He still stayed on a good level, but it didn’t help him fulfil his talent to the highest possibilities. He is a great guy as well. I wish him all the best, but not tomorrow.”

City played the Jets in a pre-season game which ended in a 1-1 draw at the City Football Academy in August.

But, as van ‘t Schip says, there have been plenty of changes since then. The Jets have strengthened with the addition of Leonardo and Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic and their confidence will be high after their bright start to the new season.

“They had a few additions with their striker and Leonardo for example. It’s a very solid team. Defensively they have a good structure and going forward Trifunovic is a pure striker,” he said.

“They have shown out of their defensive structure they have gained confidence and played some good football, and scored goals and have done this against top teams in the league.

“It’s a credit to them … we have to focus on our game. They have been getting results because they want to frustrate their opponent, so the longer it stays 0-0 for them the better.

“That’s their approach until now, but it can change. With getting points, the confidence, wins and players start playing a bit more differently, so does the team.

“We have to be ready for every kind of approach they could have. We just have to be patient. When we have the ball it’s about being aware that when you lose the ball that is where their danger starts. We have to make sure we can defend immediately and are in good positions.”

It is expected that City will retain the same squad that defeated Central Coast 3-1 in a highly entertaining encounter at AAMI Park last Sunday.

Club captain Patrick Kisnorbo, dropped for the FFA Cup semi-final defeat in Perth, responded well to being restored to the line-up by scoring the team’s opener, while another experienced player who has been left out, Erik Paartalu, is not guaranteed any quick return while youngsters like Jacob Melling, who have returned from injury and taken his place, have done well.

Marquee player Robert Koren is still not available with a calf injury, while Michael Zullo is also on the easy list.

“Koren and Zullo are not ready yet. And Harry is not ready … Erik is fit, so he’s in contention for selection. Koren is almost ready to play but he needs a little bit more. It’s a little injury. The medical staff said to start him tomorrow could be a bit of a risk,” van ‘t Schip said at the pre-match press conference.

“Paartalu has to work hard, and wait for his chance. Other players get their opportunity now. Adelaide [where City play on November 5] is maybe too early for Michael. Hopefully he can be close to the game against Western Sydney [on November 14]. We have to see that day by day. He is getting closer so that’s something.”

City’s coach did not want to get involved in the politics of the FFA’s decision to warn Wellington Phoenix that it could be axed at the end of the season, but said it was a shame for the players and the club’s fans.

“The only thing I can say is that Wellington Phoenix has a good team. It would be very sad if those players or the club would not be able to play any more … but that’s my own opinion and I think the competition should grow.

“If you take away a team, it doesn’t mean that you are growing, or there maybe should be other plans that other teams are coming into the league. I think they have thought about it very carefully, they will come with an explanation why.”

Canberra Grammar School goes co-ed: Arguments for and against co-education

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There is evidence to support both sides of the argument – depending on which evidence you want to put forward. Photo: Erin JonassonCanberra Grammar School to become co-educationalGirls Grammar responds to co-ed announcementCanberra Grammar switch to co-ed divides parentsEditorial: Canberra Grammar’s move a long time coming
杭州桑拿

In April 1951, there was a debate organised by the Telopea Park Parents’ and Citizens’ Association on the merits or otherwise of co-education.

Although a Canberra Times article from the time quotes the school’s headmaster as saying the trend is “definitely towards co-education”, which is “said to be the most natural arrangement”, more than 60 years later the debate lives on.

This is a subject unlikely to be settled anytime soon, with Canberra Grammar’s intention to enrol girls after 86 years of boys-only education dividing parents.

There has been a prolific number of studies on the topic over many decades. There is evidence to support both sides of the argument, depending on which one you want to put forward, as the headmaster of Sydney’s King’s School recently wrote.

Then the people who review those studies overall say that co-education is neither here nor there when compared to single-sex schools on quality of education and academic achievement. The arguments for co-education

The Armidale School will turn its back on 123 years of tradition next year when it allows girls to enrol.

Its headmaster of 18 years, Murray Guest, said the decision was about growing the size of the school overall, and being able to offer the breadth of programs, specialisation of teachers and resourcing that comes with size and tuition fees of those extra students.

His own review of the research dismissed pre-conceptions about how children fare better in programs that are designed for their gender, he said.

“The problem with it was those tailored programs tend to reinforce stereotypes of maleness or femaleness that are probably not healthy, and are not ones that we would like put forward.”

He argued that opposition to the change at The Armidale School was based on people valuing the tradition of single-sex education over the tradition of providing high-quality education.

“It wasn’t the fact that there were only boys here that made this a good school,” he said, adding that there is a place for both single-sex and co-educational schools.

When it comes to gendered teaching styles, Professor Judith Gill, a leading researcher in the field, has previously argued that the similarities within the population of boys or girls is much greater than the differences between them. The arguments for single-sex education

Fran Reddan is the president of the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia. She argued that movement toward co-education is often driven by economic rather than educational outcomes, especially for girls.

“Single-sex schools give girls and boys the opportunity to be taught in relevant ways to suit their different stages of development,” she said. “Parents also choose girls’ schools for their safe, nurturing environment [and] for the quality of pastoral care that is designed specifically for girls.”

Professor Alice Sullivan, a British researcher on the subject whose work the Alliance refers to, has reported findings that suggest gender stereotyping is worse in co-educational schools. For example, she found that after the age of 16 in single-sex schools, boys were more likely to take english and modern language subjects, and girls more likely to take maths and science subjects than their counterparts in co-educational schools.

The Alliance says the distinguishing factor in girls’ schools “is that there are no boys in the classroom to distract, discourage or intimidate girls, and nor are teachers trying to teach to two groups who have differing needs and interests”.

In the n context, the Alliance says NAPLAN data shows that 46 out of 109 schools ranked in ‘s Top 100 Secondary Schools are girls schools, despite only 7 per cent of n secondary schools being girls-only.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments below.

Fact: Sharks pretty much only bite men. Here’s why

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Maneater: NSW has seen a spike in shark attacks in 2015. Photo: istock Men, perhaps, need to be less foolhardy when it comes to swimming with sharks Photo: Darren Pateman
杭州桑拿

Maneater.

There are exceptions to the rule. American professional surfer Bethany Hamilton had her left arm bitten off by a shark in 2003. Photo: Darren Pateman DJP

Are you a woman? Good news: you’re probably not going to get bitten by a shark.

In fact, nearly every single person ever bitten by a shark, in and around the world, since records begun, has been a man.

Go on ladies, dip your toes in the water. The odds are forever in your favour.

In there have been 1132 recorded shark attacks since 1941. Of those, 968 involved men and only 64 involved women (there were also 100 attacks without a victim’s gender recorded).

For every 100 shark attacks, a little over six will involve women, according to data from the global shark attack file. And the disparity holds up pretty much across the world.

That number has been on the increase over recent decades as more women take to the water. Between 1940 and 1959, only four women were involved in incidents compared with 139 men (2.8 per cent). But 29 of the 283 incidents between 1990 and 2015 involved women (10.2 per cent). But male incidents vastly overrate female incidents.

“It reflects a historic pattern of more males engaged in marine aquatic activities, especially those that put humans most at risk, for example surfing, diving, long distance swimming, kayaking, etcetera,” he told Fairfax Media.

“It in no way can be attributed to sharks ‘preferring’ males over females. In recent times proportionately more females are being attacked because more females are engaging themselves in riskier, formerly male dominated water activities.”

So you’re being attacked by a shark…

The International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History is responsible for this amazing graph, which shows the responses of people being attacked by sharks, and the effectiveness of those responses.

Striking a shark seems to be by far the most useful option, with a near-65-per-cent effectiveness rate. Don’t bother with poking, which is just as likely to make the shark more aggressive.

To minimise the risk of shark attack, the ASAF recommends:Swim at beaches patrolled by Surf Life Savers (they are there to keep an eye on your safety, to look for signs of danger and to assist if you get into trouble).Do not swim in dirty or turbid water (there is little chance of seeing a shark in these conditions).Avoid swimming at dusk, dawn or at night (many sharks are more active during these times and in low light conditions you may not be able to see an approaching shark).Avoid swimming well offshore, near deep channels or along drop-offs to deeper water (sharks are more likely to inhabit the deeper water).Avoid entering the ocean near a river mouth, especially after a rainstorm (rain can wash potential food items into the sea that might attract fish and sharks).If schooling fish congregate in large numbers, leave the water (sharks can be feeding on the baitfish schools).Do not swim near people fishing or spear fishing (as these activities can attract sharks).

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