It’s snowing at Perisher…in November

A surprise dump of snow at Perisher has social media users flipping for joy.
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No, you’re not dreaming, it really is snowing in November.

A spokesperson from Weatherzone said the snowfall was not unusual for this time of year and said the unexpected fall can even happen in December.

The late dump came about 7am on Monday, just 24 days out from summer, after it dropped to zero degrees overnight.

Melisha Liegl from Perisher said about 7cm of snow had fallen across the resort.

“It’s a real winter wonderland here in Perisher today and we can’t believe how much snow has fallen for this time of year, it’s amazing,” Ms Liegl said.

“The weather does change quickly in the mountains and it can snow at any time of the year as these cold fronts pass through.”

At lunchtime it was 1.6 degrees.

A video posted by Perisher Resort on Facebook has attracted more than 3500 reactions and 1300 comments.

The snowfall came as Canberra received 39.4mm of rain between midnight and 7.30pm on Monday, more than half the November rainfall average, as heavy rain and hail lashed the south coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning on Monday, saying that severe thunderstorms in the Illawarra and Sutherland areas could lead to flash flooding, with areas near West Wyalong, Young, Yass and Goulburn also affected.

A weak low pressure system off the southern New South Wales coast deepened and was expected to intensify further in the evening before rapidly moving away towards New Zealand on Tuesday.

It was forecast to be a chilly minus 2 degrees in Perisher on Monday night and the snowfall was expected to continue.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media.

Mark Stocco to appeal 40-year sentence for murder, shootings

Special Operations Group officers gather in Yea in a massive manhunt for the elusive father and son Gino and Mark Stocco in bush north of Melbournein October 2015. Picture: Jason SouthMark Stocco and his father Gino are notorious for spending years on the run. Now, Mark is making another dash for freedom.
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The younger Stocco will appeal his 40-year prison term on November 24 in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

He and his father were dubbed modern day bushrangers when they shot and sped their way to infamy in 2015.

Mark Stocco was sentenced to a minimum 30-year term for murder, recklessly destroy property by fire, and two charges of discharging a firearm to avoid apprehension.

Gino Stocco was also sentenced to 40 years, but is eligible for parole two years before his son.

The pair were charged in NSW in 2015, but have since been questioned by Victorian and Queensland detectives about crimes in those states, and have made full admissions.

Those states are expected to charge them – mostly with property-related offending – once the pair complete their NSW sentences.

In sentencing the men in March, Justice David Davies said Gino Stocco had been given a shorter non-parole term because of his age: he is 59, Mark is 38.

Gino Stocco will be 85 before he is due for release.

“It is likely he will spend his eighties in prison,” Justice Davies said.

“It may be accepted that imprisonment is more onerous for an older or elderly person and I find special circumstances in that regard. I do not accept that there are special circumstances in respect of Mark Stocco.

“The time he will spend on parole will be adequate for further rehabilitation and re-integration into the community.”

The pair pleaded guilty at an early stage, and were accordingly given a 25 per cent discount on their sentence.

But Detective Chief Inspector Michael Sheehy of NSW Police still described it as “exceptional”.

“Both Gino and Mark Stocco are callous, violent criminals who today have been held accountable for their actions,” Detective Chief Inspector Sheehy said.

“These individuals chose a path of crime.”

The Stoccos became itinerant farm workers in 2007 after being jailed in Victoria for robbing the Port Fairy Yacht Club, among other offences.

For the next eight years, they irrationally lashed out at farmers, stole without thought, and conducted vengeful acts of destruction under cover of darkness, but their bizarre crimes were relatively unknown until Gino was listed as one of ‘s most wanted.

Days later, the pairs shot at police near Wagga Wagga, sparking a 12-day manhunt and thrusting them further into the national spotlight.

When police found the Stoccos hunkered down at an isolated property east of Dubbo, they also uncovered the body of caretaker Rosario Cimone.

The pair had shot Cimone dead after a squabble about their work on the property.

Explosive reaction to Orica announcement

Gas prices are among the damaging conditions that have dragged down the profits of ‘s largest explosives manufacturer and led to a sharp fall in its share price.
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Shares in Orica tumbled more than 11 per cent on Monday morning, after the company revealed its revenue and underlying profits had been hit by the higher cost of raw materials – including gas and ammonia – and the rising n dollar.

The company’s underlying profit slid 1 per cent from the previous year and fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Orica chief executive Alberto Calderon told investors the company had delivered an encouraging result in the face of “substantial headwinds”.

“Despite these challenges, our continued focus on core disciplines and a program of business improvement initiatives enabled us to deliver a sound financial result,” he said.

“The market may disagree right now and seems to interpret it as bad news. … time will tell. We are quite excited about the future.”

At 11.25, Orica shares had plunged $2.55, or 11.93 per cent.

Orica is one of the world’s largest suppliers of explosives to the mining industry. The company on Tuesday said the mining industry had suffered a severe downturn in recent years, which was now improving.

Mr Calderon said the improvement would continue in 2018, but warned there would be a lag before it made a “material difference to the services sector”.

Orica is an energy-intensive business and is among a number of large n manufacturers who are suffering from the country’s soaring energy prices.

The company said a range of business-improvement initiatives had delivered net benefits of $127 million to offset the higher raw material costs that could not be recovered from existing contracts.

“The business improvement program is focused on embedding new ways of working that make Orica a better business by buying better, producing more efficiently, and bringing more value to our customers,” Mr Calderon said.

“This is starting to deliver material results, with initiatives across every part of Orica that generate revenue, reduce costs, and make us a more effective and efficient organisation.”

Mr Calderon said volumes across the Pacific and Indonesia regions had soared 10 per cent thanks to increased demand from n coal and iron ore miners.

Orica will pay shareholders an unfranked final dividend of 28?? a share.

10 things you can do if you don’t care about the Melbourne Cup

With every passing year it seems more and more people are vocal about their dislike of “the race that stops a nation”.
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Whether it’s because of animal welfare concerns or a complete lack of interest in horse racing as a sport and the attention it’s given, the movement is gaining momentum.

Some have even adopted the hashtag #nuptothecup to broadcast their dislike of all things Melbourne Cup.

Actually not sure what the #MelbourneCup is besides rich white people getting pissed & harming other beings for their own entertainment?

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Department store woes hit Scentre Group sales

Retail property giant Scentre Group has reported mixed sales for its third-quarter trading update, reflecting the general weaker state of consumer sentiment.
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Its department store tenants saw sales declines of 6.7 per cent for the nine months ending September 30, while the more popular, internet-proof food clients reported a rise of 0.9 per cent.

The launch of the new iPhone X helped push technology and appliances sales growth to 6.5 per cent.

Overall, the landlord expects full-year funds from operations growth to be in line with guidance of 4.25 per cent and has maintained the distribution per security of 21.73??, a growth of 2 per cent. Scentre has a December 31 balance date.

Scentre is the largest mall owner in the country and is seen as a market bellwether. Total sales for the period were $23 billion, up 1.7 per cent.

Group chief executive Peter Allen said the group had maintained its developments with $1.1 billion commenced this year with yields on cost in excess of 7 per cent including the start of the $160 million Westfield Kotara, Newcastle, and the completion of the $80 million Westfield Whitford City cinema and restaurant precinct in Western .

Mr Allen said customer visitation since opening of Chermside, Brisbane, in June 2017 was up 33 per cent.

CLSA analyst said Scentre, like other retail peers, had experienced softening retail sales, despite its higher quality.

“The silver lining is that its retail sales are holding up far better than peers of Vicinity and Stockland, with food retail and customer visitations still positive,” the brokers said.

“Completed developments should improve metrics and Scentre remains our preferred pure retail play in the sector.”

Macquarie Equities recently undertook a walk through of Westfield Bondi Junction, one of the most profitable in the Scentre portfolio, and said there had been a “heightened remixing” at the mall as a result of the lease expiries and space freed up from recent retail administrations.

This resulted in existing tenants expanding, such as Louis Vuitton, changing location of tenants and the arrival of new stores such as cosmetics giant Sephora.

“Our tour of other Scentre assets confirms that significant releasing projects appear asset specific, with limited hoardings seen across Chatswood and Parramatta,” the Macquarie analysts said.

“Given structural headwinds facing retail, we believe these larger remixing programs will become more prevalent across the sector as malls look to maintain relevance in an increasingly competitive market.”

Newcastle East Public School “major upgrade” expected to start next year

New look for Newcastle East Public Fresh face: Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in 2021. The project is one of 120 funded under a $4.2 billion school building program.
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Fresh face: Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in 2021. The project is one of 120 funded under a $4.2 billion school building program.

Fresh face: Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in 2021. The project is one of 120 funded under a $4.2 billion school building program.

TweetFacebook Newcastle East Public School major upgrade.HISTORIC Newcastle East Public School will undergo a “major upgrade” from next year,designed to provide more space to accommodate its current oversupply of students, as well as future population growth within the city.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes will announce on Tuesdaythe government is preparing to take the works to tender, which will include removing the existing roof of the covered outdoor learning area (COLA) and building a new structure over the top comprising four new permanent classrooms.

The existing COLA concrete floor structure will remain and be resurfaced.

“The design is an excellent example of how innovative thinking can maximise the utility of an inner-urban site,” said Mr Stokes, who will visit the Hunter onTuesday.

“The project will improve and grow the school with new future-focused learning spaces designed to accommodate new and emerging teaching methods and technologies, while respecting the heritage value of the original school buildings.”

The roof on the heritage building will be replaced and two demountables removed to provide more play space.

Newcastle East principal Mick McCann said the school was “excited” aboutthe upgrade “and hasbeen involved and consulted with from day one in this process”.

The announcement comes asHunter Water confirmed it is planning to fence, improvestair access and removetrip hazards on the roof of thecity’sfirst drinking reservoir so students can use it as a playground from next April.

A department spokesmansaid it expectedgrowth within the area willincrease moderately over the next 15 years,“with growth of around 18 per centin projected enrolments for government primary students”.

The school’s 247 students remainsabove its enrolment ceiling of 211.

Newcastle East School Councilpresident Mike Giles said he “couldn’t emphasise enough” the school’s happiness about the new facilities.

He was on the Project Reference Group, which comprised representatives from the school, the parents and citizens committee and the department.

“This was the best option we looked at, but one of the more expensive ones because we didn’t want to lose any space,” he said.

Mr Giles said the new classrooms would fill quickly.

Two will replace the two outgoing demountables, while a third could easily be filled if classes were restructured.

“This gives us breathing space…but we remain concerned there’s still going to be issues of where kids are going to go to school three or four years down the line.

“We hope the department does not stop here, but continues to look at the long term.

“There is not going to be enough space [here] for a lot of the new families moving in with all the development going on within the school zone.”

‘I’m not involved’: Sun of a gun forces first use of special protocol

A conflict of interest protocol established at a Cricket management meeting and agreed by the board two years ago is set to be called into action after Jake Lehmann announced himself as a genuine Ashes contender.
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The 24-year-old has surged into calculations to make a Test debut at the Gabba on November 23 for an n team that is crying out for a No.6 batsman in form.

With at least two and possibly three spots in Steve Smith’s top seven undecided heading into the Sheffield Shield rounds that precede the Ashes, the narrative of a pressurised and high-stakes play-off for places around the country was deliberately pushed by CA and selectors.

The reward is a position in Smith’s XI against England and Lehmann, having put his name up in lights while others have missed opportunities, appears to be all of a sudden right in the conversation.

It is one that his father Darren, the n coach and one of four national selectors, will not be able to sit in on.

Soon after Lehmann jnr made his first-class debut in 2015 CA management raised the subject of how it would handle the situation, if it ever came up, of him figuring in n calculations.

The result was a determination, run past the CA board, that Lehmann would excuse himself from any discussion about his son at the national selection table if he was in contention for a call-up. The same, it was ruled, would go for other potential conflict of interest scenarios such as if Steve Waugh’s teenage son Austin was to rise to the cusp of international level and Mark Waugh, another selector, was still on the panel.

Lehmann snr has no issue with the ruling and CA insist the panel is not a democracy in any case, with the final decision resting with selection chairman Trevor Hohns. “I’m not involved,” Lehmann said when asked last year about about the prospect of Jake being spoken about by selectors, “and I’d be that nervous anyway I probably wouldn’t be coach, I’d probably just go to the bar.”

While Western ‘s Hilton Cartwright entered the second round of the shield competition as the strong favourite to be the n No.6 in Brisbane, with Peter Nevill having his head in front to be the Test wicketkeeper, Lehmann’s efforts in Melbourne will likely see him added to the middle order shortlist at the very least. Averaging 41.6 before South ‘s match against Victoria the left-hander followed a first-innings century at the MCG with 93 on Monday.

Another to put their hand up in the second round is Cameron Bancroft, whose unbeaten 76 carrying his bat for WA against NSW’s Test attack at Hurstville Oval will not easily be ignored.

It would be a shock omission if Test opener Matt Renshaw was left out of the n side at the Gabba, but the Queenslander’s 19 from 109 balls in the second innings against Tasmania on Monday wasn’t the emphatic message he would have liked to have sent to selectors.

Bancroft has been in the good books of selectors before, having been chosen to tour Bangladesh for a Test series there in 2015 that was ultimately cancelled. The 24-year-old, who has also worn the gloves against the Blues in Sydney, his third time in a shield game, averaged only 28 in the competition last season but a tough outing against Test quartet Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon is about as useful an audition as he could have wanted.

In the same match NSW batsman Kurtis Patterson has an opportunity to make a play for a Test debut as well on Tuesday after accompanying Smith (74 not out) to stumps unbeaten on 60 at the end of the third day.

Elsewhere, South ‘s Callum Ferguson, whose one and only Test came at the wrong place at the wrong time as capitulated in Hobart last November, issued a reminder to selectors with a century against Victoria.

Raj’s a palace for the spicy palate

Corner on success: Paramjit Atwal, Ravneet Kaur, Kristy Dobos, Baljit Kaur and Sylvia Sangha. Pictures: Jonathan CarrollThere’s something about Raj’s Corner that just gets people hooked.
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One dedicated customer who moved to Melbourne brings a freezer bag with him when he visits Newcastle so he can fill it up with a supply of Raj’s curries to take home.

“When he comes in to see us he asks us if we will open a Melbourne store,” the woman behind the successful Newcastle Indian takeaway, Sylvia Sangha, says.

“This is something we hear regularly.”

She says Newcastle parents with children living in Sydney can also be spotted stocking up on food.

“On their way down to visit their kids they will stop in here because their children have been telling them that they miss Raj’s Corner.”

Newcastle has been getting their spice fix from Raj’s Corner since Sylvia and her husband Kuldip Sangha opened their first store on Beaumont Street, Hamilton in 1998.

The couple began a similar business model in Coogee in 1991 called Flavours of North India. They opened up several of these stores across Sydney but have since sold them. It was during this time that Kuldip worked tirelessly on perfecting his recipes, using customer feedback and demand to create the very menu you will see today at Raj’s Corner.

Sylvia was born in , but Kuldip was born inBudhlada, in the Punjab region of Northern India, and most of the curries you will find at Raj’s reflect that. Store manager Paramjit Atwal, who has worked with the Sanghas since they started out in Sydney, also comes from the same area of India.

Some of their curries in popular demand include chicken tikka masala, lamb korma and rogan josh but when asked to pick a clear customer favourite Sylvia doesn’t hesitate for a second.

“Absolutely it’s butter chicken without a doubt,” she says.

“Customers cannot get enough of the rich flavours of our sauce and the chicken which has been marinated in yoghurt and spices”.

Sylvia explains that their chicken is marinated overnight before being skewered, cooked to perfection in the tandoor and added to the gravy.

Raj’s offers 22 curries on display,with another 20 items on special order, likedosa andbirayni (for catering purposes).

HOT SPOT: Raj’s Corner in Beaumont Street, Hamilton, is always humming.

When Sylvia and Kuldip decided to bring their business to Newcastle 19 years ago it was a gamble as to whether the community was ready for what they had to offer.

“From day one people warmed to the idea,” Sylvia recalls.

Their loyal customer base grew at an exponential rate, seeing them open Darby Raj on Darby Street, Cooks Hill, in 2002 before extending Raj’s Corner Hamilton in 2011. The following year they opened Raj’s Spice shop on Beaumont Street and Raj’s Corner Glendale.

Their restaurant, Kings Xl, then opened on Beaumont street earlier this year following demand from customers who wanted the taste of Raj’s Corner in a more fine dining setting.

While their son, Jason, a highly-rated NSW teenage cricketer, does not work in the business, a niece,Bella, manages the Glendale store and Kings XI restaurant.

Given the rate of their success Sylvia said she could have franchised the store 10 years ago, but has chosen not to for fear of losing their great reputation.

“We get offered locations and deals regularly, but our main focus is our current stores,” she said.

“It’s about doing it properly. It’s not about franchising.”

Sylvia says their business model is about consistently providing the people of Newcastle with tasty, affordable and fresh food.

Everything is made on site daily; from the pastry for their samosas and dough for the naan bread to their dips and sauces.

“We demand the freshest and best quality of meats and vegetables. We pay for fresh not frozen,” Sylvia says.

Each eatery has its own fully equipped kitchen where fragrant curries bubble on the stove, samosas are wrapped by hand and piping hot naans are pulled fresh from the tandoor.

The way their customers are served at the front counter is also paramount to their vision. Sylvia says the girls who work the front counter are “worth their weight in gold” in ensuring the customers are kept happy.

“The Newcastle community to us is everything,” Sylvia offers.

“They have supported us from day one. They drive, at times, more than 30 minutes just to get to us.”

Their diverse diners can range from uni students scraping together a few dollars for sauce on rice with a cheese naan, to tourists who have been tipped off about Raj’s Corner, or even people requesting them to cater for their wedding.

“We are in this for the long haul and to do right by our customers,” Sylvia says.

“We hope to continue to serve the people of Newcastle for another 20 years.”

Cyber armies, info wars and fake news add to Syria’s suffering

Moademiyeh. A severely ill child is evaculated by ambulance by Syrian Arab Red Crescent first aiders from the besieged city during a joint aid operation by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ICRC.”Fake news” in the Syria war. Photo: KRZYSIEK, Pawel “Fake news” in the Syria war.Rural Damascus, Madaya. head of ICRC delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser, speaks to residents as they gathered around an aid convoy.Photo n Red Cross
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An intense information war being waged alongside armed hostilities in Syria is affecting efforts to help victims of the conflict, a senior humanitarian official says.

Pawel Krzysiek, the spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Syria, says there is an atmosphere of “information chaos” as adversaries spread misinformation to discredit one another using social media and other digital channels.

“This war is being conducted very heavily in cyberspace – the regular armed groups also have cyber armies,” he said. “There are multiple sources pushing their own agendas.”

Krzysiek, an Arab-speaker who has been based in Syria since 2015, said Syria’s cyber-combatants regularly “hack each other” and constantly “troll the news” in a bid to counter information disseminated by their opponents.

The result is a stream of fake news that makes it difficult to get credible information about what is really happening within Syria.

“There is a proliferation of militias and armed groups controlling places – it is really chaotic and this is all reflected in the media sphere,” he said.

The misinformation has an effect on life-saving humanitarian operations in Syria.

“It makes the humanitarian response extremely complicated,” Krzysiek said.

Aid convoys in Syria carrying emergency supplies are now routinely “broadcast live” by local observers using social media platforms such as Facebook.

“Today with citizen journalists your convoys are broadcast right away in real time ??? people are there on the check points filming you. All they need is a smartphone.”

Aid agencies have no control over how this type of information is portrayed by those broadcasting the images.

Krzysiek said this makes it more difficult for humanitarian organisations to give local people reliable information about the purpose of their operations.

“This is a big challenge today,” he said. “The risks are very high.”

There was international condemnation for the bombing of a 31-truck United Nations convoy carrying food, medicines and supplies bound for rebel-held areas of Syria’s western Aleppo Province in September last year.

A Syrian Arab Red Crescent worker was among 20 people killed in the attack.

“The Syrian crisis is absolutely unprecedented in terms of how many humanitarian workers have died while on duty,” Krzysiek said.

At least 65 Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have been killed during Syria’s six-year civil war.

Pawel Krzysiek has crossed the frontlines in Syria many times, including in the besieged town of Madaya when aid convoys made it through to starving people in early 2016.

He gave the keynote address about the media’s portrayal of the Syrian conflict at the n Red Cross International Humanitarian Law and Journalism Symposium at Sydney University on Thursday November 2.

Mr Krzysiek said the dangerous conditions in Syria coupled with the challenges of verifying sources had made it difficult for journalists working for mainstream media organisations to accurately report events in Syria.

“It is a very tough game for the journalists covering the Syria conflict today,” he said.

The Red Cross has often played the role of a “humanitarian news agency” because of the way it has been able to verify facts for reporters, he said.

The Lowedown: Newcastle’s positive play pays off

The politicians might choose to call it an educational trip, travelling to Melbourne to watch the top two sides clash in the A-league, but I won’t even try to sneak that one past the taxman.
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It’s true I had to forego the Jets v Wellington, on a wet night in Newcastle, to go to Flemington on Derby Day, but these are the sacrifices you make in concession to passing years, friendship and tradition!

So it seems did many other Novocastrians, and a big hello to the statuesque Tanya Wood of Maitland (close enough to qualify) and her hubby Tim, and Adam D, representing a famous rugby league family in Newcastle, and the 2291 postcode, with much pride.

BODY AND SOUL: Newcastle attackers Andrew Nabbout and Joey Champness battle with Wellington’s Daniel Mullen. Picture: Darren Pateman, AAP

That little posse didn’t brave the cold on Friday night and head to AAMI Park, but if they had they would have watched Sydney FC surgically dismantle Melbourne City for much of the 90 minutes.

The margin (1-0) wasn’t large, but Graham Arnold’s team bossed the game, and having tipped you all into the $1.90 about them to win the minor premiership last week, I am more convinced than ever that quest is nearly a fait accompli.

Most impressive was the way Sydney played through a pretty decent City line-up, pulling them one way before finding an outlet for a switch of play, almost at will, until the hosts had to push on, man on man, and chase the game.

Sydney were slick, functional, and very professional, which is more than can be said for the shuttle train back to town from Flemington, post-battle.

Ready to roll at 6:15, plenty of time for a quick shower, and to take up a prime position at the casino’s sports bar, or so we thought.

More than an hour later, and stuck after going about 500 metres due to drunken (I suspect) trespassers on the tracks, I started to worry about missing the Jets’ kick-off time.

Apparently Wellington did, but that is incidental, if you can picture a 54-year-old man, with a 54-year-old bladder sitting in a stationary train, jam packed with well-dressed folk, between stations, and nary a toilet in sight.

My silent but urgent scouting for empty bottles had just begun, when the offenders were apprehended, and we were thankfully on our way. A quick update on the boys’ phones confirmed it was 0-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium, so no damage done, in either respect.

Still 0-0 when we find the big screen, just in time to watch the Phoenix commit hari-kari, and go from a shaky position at 40 minutes to a disastrous two goals down, and all but out of the game at half-time.

Roy O’Donovan, in rare touch, had an unlikely miss from a gilt-edged opportunity earlier, but was Johnny on the spot twice inside five minutes to profit from some awful defending.

There was no commentary on offer, the Great Britain v Lebanon rugby league International (pffttt) booming on the audio, but I imagine the analysts on Foxsports, “Bozza”in particular, would hardly have been complimentary about Wellington.

From a Newcastleperspective, they don’t need to care about what Wellington did, or didn’t offer.

Job done, three points banked, momentum maintained, and as my roomie PT pointed out, the chance to open up a little gap between themselves and the Wanderers, who should have had a stern test at Melbourne Victory last night.

O’Donovan’s brace takes him comfortably clear at the top of the goalscoring charts, and Andrew Nabbout would have silenced any questions about his goalscoring form, with his first of the season, a pretty curling peach from about 20 metres out at the top of the penalty box.

Communication and information can be scarce down here in Mexico at this time of the year, particularly when you are reliant on a $22 phone, but I imagine Jets coach Ernie Merrick is trying to keep a lid on emotions and gazing too far ahead, instead concentrating week to week.

“Can the Jets keep it going like this?”has become are you very popular question in the past fortnight, and Merrick will probably be posing that very inquiry to his squad for motivational purposes at this time.

There are bigger challenges ahead, have no doubt.Sydney FC, Melbourne City, and Melbourne Victory (despite their slow start) spring straight to mind, but you can only beat the team that’s put in front of you.

This busy week, the opponent is Adelaide, who are competitive, robust, and quite dangerous, particularly at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Another solid, positive performance will give the Jets a real chance of of snaring three points and maintaining their roll, and will keep a happy throng of supporters smiling.

A healthy result and performance in Honduras by the Socceroos, will also lead to miles of smiles, in anticipation of World Cup qualification next Wednesday night.

This two-legged tie is a million miles away from being a small hurdle, and the logistical challenges faced by the team have been further exacerbated by suspensions, injuriesand games to be completed by some players over the weekend just past.

I know Ange has declared the team will be bold, but I’m hoping to go to Sydney in just over a week’s time to celebrate comfortably, not cringe and curse as we chase goals.

A good solid away performance, with some key troops absent, and then a pretty much full deck to choose from in the second leg, with a monster home crowd to add some energy and belief, will do me for a scenario at this stage.

I had hoped as a side benefit of this work-related weekend away, to confidently tip you the winner of the Melbourne cup today, but it is as open as Wellington’s porous defence was on Saturday night.

I will stick my neck out just for the faithful and say that I believe it will be an imported horse wearing an odd numbered saddle cloth between five and nine.

Is it asking too much for that, a draw at least in San Pedro Sula for the Socceroos on Saturday morning our time, and then a Jets win later that day in Adelaide? Let’s hope not.

Enjoy your sporting week comrades.

Passengers’ feedback positive after first day of park and ride service between Broadmeadow and Newcastle CBD

Last stop: Passengers step off the park and ride service at McDonald Jones Stadium on Monday afternoon, after a day at work in the CBD.Commuters were positive in their feedback after the first day of Newcastle’s new park and ride service between Broadmeadow and the CBD.
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Almost 100 people used the service on Monday, despite the rainy weather, which took workers from their cars at McDonald Jones Stadium and into the city in the morning, before it returned them in the afternoon.

Several commuters who spoke to theNewcastle Herald said they were pleased with the service and planned to use it again.

Though onepassengersaid an extra service in the morning, closer to 9am, would be beneficial for workers who started their day at 9.30am.

“It was easy, I got here at about 7am, walked straight up here and jumped on the busand off we went,” said Todd Lloyd, who lives in Glendale and works in Hunter Street.

Newcastle City Council interim CEO Jeremy Bath said the level of patronage on day one was“a great result, given the inclement weather”.

Mr Bath said council would analyse passenger numbers in the coming weeks to determine whether it needed to“tinker with” theservice’s start and finish times.

“Based on the positive feedback from commuters and the continuing increase in registrations, we expect to see patronage rise every day this week,” he said.

“Many people mentioned they were going to share their positive park and ride experience with their family, friends and colleagues.

“One of the interesting lessons learnt today was the number of people who were dropped off at the stadium and made use of the free bus ride.

“Council’s view on this is the more people the better using public transport to access the CBD.”

Council, along with Newcastle Transport, Transport for NSW, Hunter Development Corporation, Venues NSW and Revitalising Newcastle, announced the new initiative last week.

It is expected to take up to 350 vehicles out of the CBD daily and save motorists as much as $1400 a year in parking fees.

Commuters mustfirst register for a free permit either online atnewcastle.nsw.gov.au/parkandrideorby calling council on4974 2000.

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WestConnex chief says reintroduction of M4 toll is ‘exciting’

Traffic on the M4 after toll commenced , Homebush. Pic Nick Moir 15 aug 2017The chief executive of the company building the $16.8 billion WestConnex motorway has described the reintroduction of tolls on the widened M4 as “exciting” while ridiculing concerns about the health impact of exhaust ventilation stacks.
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At a conference on Monday, Dennis Cliche also said 17 million toll “transactions” had taken place with about 150,000 vehicles using the 7.5km widened section of the M4 on weekdays.

Mr Cliche confirmed that since the reintroduction of tolls in August there had been a 25 per cent drop in traffic using the widened section of the M4 – stage one of the three stage, 33km WestConnex – pushing more cars onto congested Parramatta Road.

But in his speech to the Infrastructure Partnerships conference, he said the result is “a really great story” because the drop off is far less than the 40 per cent forecast.

As well, motorists were saving up to 18 minutes between Burwood and Pendle Hill, he said.

The decision to reintroduce a toll on the widened section of the M4 to prove up traffic numbers and help pay for WestConnex has been controversial, with the state opposition describing it as “a tax on western Sydney motorists”.

The new distance-based tolls between Parramatta and Homebush range from $1.77 to $4.56 each way for cars and motorbikes and $5.30 to $13.67 for trucks and other heavy vehicles.

But Mr Cliche – who earns a base salary of $717,000 a year plus bonuses – said the members of the Sydney Motorway Corporation are “now all very excited because previously we were just spending money”.

“And it’s a very strange position to be in as a chief executive when you have no revenue,” he said.

“So the day we turned on the tap and started collecting tolls was very exciting for us.”

Bringing up a slide of a Parramatta Road exhaust ventilation stack under construction, Mr Cliche joked it was “where all those nasty exhaust gases come up, you know, and kill the community and all the rest of it”.

He insisted that “I would have no problem living underneath one”.

“We do a huge amount of modelling and air studies and I won’t quote, but the submission from the chief scientist of NSW was extremely complimentary on the [Environmental Impact Statement] work we had done on our ventilation facilities,” he said.

Mr Cliche also said reporting of how his corporation had treated the residents of the inner west suburb of St Peters, the site of a major interchange, “gets me a little bit irate”.

He pointed out that Sydney Motorway Corporation had cleaned up a major landfill site in the area.

The NSW government is selling a 51 per cent stake in the Sydney Motorway Corporation to the private sector, with the winning tenderer expected to be announced in June next year.

$10,000 bet on fairytale horse that could cost a bookie $500,000


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British hopes of plundering a first Melbourne Cup continue to grow with Marmelo poised to start a commanding favourite as the race’s fairytale horse Single Gaze stands to be a horror result for bookmakers after an erratic Call of the Card.

Nervous bookmakers turned away a flood of money intended to back the popular Marmelo during Monday’s event, which included a single bet of $10,000 on Single Gaze at $51, which threatens to rip more than $500,000 from CrownBet’s coffers.

Stubborn bagmen wouldn’t budge from an $8.50 quote about Marmelo on the eve of ‘s biggest betting race as punters shied away from Lloyd Williams’ Almandin making it back-to-back wins.

Marmelo’s fast-finishing sixth in the Caulfield Cup has seen him elevated to the top of betting markets with most bookmakers – and they are convinced he will start even shorter.

William Hill boss Tom Waterhouse was among the Call of the Card audience frustrated in not being able to get set on Marmelo. He had a bet to win $100,000 blocked.

Punters’ dream shot: Melbourne Cup outsider Single Gaze attracted big bets at the Call of the Card. Photo: AAP

But a frenzy of smaller bets flowed for Hugh Bowman’s mount, which is destined to be Britain’s best hope of snapping their Melbourne Cup curse.

“I’ve marked him $6 and I think he’ll run close to that,” CrownBet’s Matt Tripp said.

“You go back a couple of years and Fame Game’s run in the Caulfield Cup was almost identical. It ran $5.50, I think this is a weaker race and I just can’t see why it won’t run much shorter than the $8 or $8.50 quote.

“I just thought in his Caulfield Cup run he was on the wrong leg the whole way and every time he balanced up and got a bit of momentum he improved in the run. He kept wanting to spit the bit out and I don’t think Caulfield suited him.

“A big track at Flemington drawn to possie up seventh or eighth as the race tempo builds he’s going to be right in the finish.”

Tripp did his best to inspire a subdued Crown auditorium, holding the initial call on more than half of the Cup field.

It is believed he held close to twice the sum of the other three bookmakers fielding at the function, Robbie Waterhouse, Mark Sampieri and Warren Woodcock.

Tom Waterhouse backed Wall Of Fire ($14-$13) to win $200,000 with the Melbourne Storm part-owner Tripp and also stands to win $100,000 if Big Duke or Libran are successful.

The 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite ($16 to $15), one of three runners in the race for Irish training genius Willie Mullins, was one of the most popular runners at the Call of the Card alongside Humidor ($11 to $10) and Johannes Vermeer ($11).

One punter had a bet to win $1 million on Cox Plate runner-up Humidor with Woodcock shaved back to a potential collect of $250,000, while Waterhouse’s father Rob stands to lose a quarter of a million if Single Gaze ($51 to $41), trained by Canberra’s Nick Olive, can win.

He initially refused the punter to win $1 million on the mare, agreeing to part with $250,000 if Single Gaze helps Kathy O’Hara be the second female jockey to win the race in the last three years.

“I hope it gets beaten,” Rob Waterhouse said. “I didn’t like it. I make lots of mistakes, but I marked it 100s. I thought Wall Of Fire has got a great chance. On form Humidor looks to have a really good chance in the race, I just don’t think it will be suited by the 3200 [metres].”

Tom Waterhouse was adamant Marmelo and Wall Of Fire, both of who include Melbourne entrepreneur Aziz Kheir in the ownership, were the leading chances.

“You saw here all the tough money wanted to be on [Marmelo] and the bookies didn’t want to lay it,” he said. “I think the bookies were keen to lay Almandin and I like Gai’s horse [Cismontane] down the bottom as a roughie.

“I think it’s a great Cup to bet in and I think we have to lay them all and let the punters work it out.”

Sportsbet bucked the Marmelo ($8) trend until late on Monday night, finally posting him favourite over defending champion Almandin ($9).

“We’ve taken so much money on Marmelo that we simply had to make him the new favourite,” Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen said.

“More than twice as much money has been placed on Marmelo compared to Almandin, who’s the second most popular in the eyes of the punters.

“We’re scared stiff of Almandin, which will be a terrible result for us. We think he’s still the horse to beat despite the last start disappointment and the rise in weight from last year.

“Punters are also latching on to the Single Gaze fairytale which is fine by us and we’re happy to lay her.”