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   Mar 21

Rohan Dennis is ‘the guy who can most challenge’ for Bradley Wiggins’ world hour record

Stage by stage coverageMore Tour de France
Nanjing Night Net

After stage 1: 13.8km time trial in Utrecht

UTRECHT: It was only a matter of time before Rohan Dennis pulled off a ride like the one he produced in the first stage of this year’s Tour de France on Saturday.

Not only did he win, but in record speed to also take the yellow race leader’s jersey.

Rohan has been second so many times in time trials since he turned professional in 2013, so a breakthrough win like his in the 13.8-kilometre race time trial in Utrecht was not that much of a surprise.

But boy … it was an impressive performance, even if it initially demoralised me.

When I went through halfway and I was 22 seconds down already, I thought I was on a shocker, but then a lot of riders struggled so I wasn’t that far off by finishing 1 minute, 6 seconds down … at least compared to the general classification guys like Rohan’s leader at BMC, the American Tejay Van Garderen, who was at 42s, or the Italian defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at 43s, our ace in the deck, Briton Chris Froome (Sky) at 50s, Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) at 58s, and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at 1:01s.

I am not the big, explosive power rider you needed to be for a course like Saturday’s. That let me down, but then the heat played a big role. It was so hot. You couldn’t breath, not properly anyhow.

When I heard that Rohan had trained specifically in the heat between 2pm-5pm in readiness for what Saturday dished out it all made sense – and good on him for actually doing that.

Rohan has come on in so many ways this season. We all knew he had buckets of talent and class, but now his commitment to work and his maturity is paying off in a big way – as it should too.

I had to really earn my national time-trial title back in January, in which Rohan was second, but then it’s all happened for him since.

Rohan had a brilliant Tour Down Under the week after that, winning that World Tour race overall. And then, we all saw Rohan back-up in February with his word hour record ride in Switzerland.

Maybe he will go back and make another hour record sometime in his career?

Bradley Wiggins’ current record of 54.526km will be hard to beat, but if Rohan can continue on from how he rode on Saturday, I reckon he is the guy who can most challenge it.

There is also a lot of talk now about Rohan’s potential to become a grand tour rider.

Firstly, apart from being able to time trial, he can climb, which is a must for a grand tour rider.

I’ve seen how well he can climb first-hand. On the stage I won up Old Willunga Hill in this year’s Tour Down Under, I didn’t put that much time into him on the climb with my stage-winning attack.

But for a better marker, I still go back to the 2013 Criterium du Dauphine race after Rohan took the leader’s yellow jersey on the stage-four time trial

The next day, Froome and I gave it to him on the climb up to the finish at Valmorel, where Froome won the stage to take the leader’s jersey off Rohan who hung in there to the bitter end, despite how hard we rode against him. We only just managed to drop him – and that was two years ago

Glimpses like that show he has got the horsepower. With age he will climb better, and by time-trialling like he does, he should be a contender – if not for grand tours then definitely for eight-day races.

* Australian Team Sky rider Richie Porte is racing his fourth Tour de France

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   Mar 21

Neighbourhood fence laws under review

Laws surrounding dividing fences are under review in Queensland. Photo: Steven SiewertIt is perhaps the most likely of legal disputes in which many people would find themselves.
Nanjing Night Net

The policing of the property boundary, the root cause of so many neighbourhood disputes, is in the midst of a legal review.

Queensland Law Reform Commission chairman David Jackson said the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act, which passed Parliament in 2011, had been operating for three years.

Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie referred the legislation to the QLRC last October.

As such, the QLRC had been asked to review its operation and effectiveness and its discussion paper has since been published for public comment.

“The commission wants to hear the views of the community about how the Act is working in practice and whether it can be improved,” Justice Jackson said.

Justice Jackson said the Act clearly set out what neighbours can and cannot do if a dispute arose.

“The Act provides rules about each neighbour’s responsibility for dividing fences and for trees so that neighbours are able to resolve any issues about dividing fences and trees without a dispute arising,” he said.

“Where neighbours are not able to resolve those issues, the Act has different mechanisms to help neighbours facilitate the resolution of any disputes about dividing fences or trees.”

Among the review’s terms of reference were: Whether the allocation of responsibilities, liabilities and rights under the Act promoted resolution by neighbours of issues relating to dividing fences and trees;Whether dispute resolution processes under the Act were fair, just and effective;The simplicity and ease of use of the Act for members of the community;Whether the Act provided the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal with sufficient powers to resolve issues;The remedies and penalties provided in the Act;QCAT’s power to make orders to protect the severe obstruction of a view;The ability of a neighbour to serve a notice on a tree owner to prune overhanging branches; and Whether the scope of the Act should be expanded to include disputes about retaining walls built on neighbouring properties’ boundaries.

The deadline for public submissions is Monday, August 10.

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   Mar 21

Racially abused Aboriginal girl finally meets Queen Elsa

Three-year-old Samara Muir, who was racially vilified at a Disney Frozen event in May, attends a Melbourne high tea to meet the Norwegian sisters she adores, ‘Anna’ and ‘Elsa’. Photo: Arsineh HouspianA three-year-old Aboriginalgirlwho was racially vilified at a Frozen-themedchildren’sfunction last month had one thing she wantedto say to her favourite film character, Queen Elsa ofArendelle, when she finally got to meet her: “I love you”.
Nanjing Night Net

After being specially invited toa Frozenhigh tea at the Langham hotel, Samara Muir was excited to meet a “real-life”Queen Elsa, telling the ruler thatshe admired her strength and her magical ability to manipulate ice from her hands.

The experience comes afterSamara was racially abused at aDisney princess event at ashopping centre in Taylors Lakes in May. The girl’s mother, RachelMuir, said her daughterwas dressed up in a sparkling blue Elsa costume while they waited in thequeueto go into the centre’s snow-pit installationwhen awoman in the line aheadturned to them and said:”‘I don’t know why you’re dressed up for because Queen Elsa isn’t black”.

Three-year-old Samara Muir, who was racially vilified at a Disney Frozen event in May, attends a Melbourne high tea to meet the Norwegian sisters she adores, ‘Anna’ and ‘Elsa’. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

Samara began to cry and, after the event, Ms Muir said she startedto refuse to attend herAboriginal dance classes and starting trying to “scrub off her black skin”. Saddened by her little girl’s dramatic change in behaviour,Ms Muir shared the experienceon Facebook, quickly receivingthousands of messages of support from across the country.

“It was heartbreaking for me,” recalls Ms Muir. “But withall the messages from everybody it hasbeen overwhelming. She’s not scrubbing her skin any more. I read her all the messages she receives, including a [video] messagefrom Queen Elsa, messages frompeople telling her not to be ashamed of who she is and to be proud.

“I thinkall those those messages have sunk in.”

Samara has also been invited to several events, including being asked to perform in the Disney On Ice Dare to Dreamperformance at Hisense arena on Friday, where she met PrincessCinderellaand helped PrincessRapunzellift a lantern into the air as part of the show. But absent at the performance was Samara’s favourite characters, Norwegian sisters Elsa and Anna.

On Sunday afternoon, after being invited to the high tea when staff heard of her experiences, Samara again donned her blue Elsa costume and set out to meet her idol.

“She makes magic and turns everything to ice,” Samara said of Elsa. “I love her. And Anna.”

Samara joinedmore than 240 other Frozen-obsessed pre-schoolers for the high teaparty.At a hefty $79 a ticket, the event included a high tea frosty feast ofsnowflake cookies, reindeer cupcakes,white chocolate crackles and more traditional fare such asfluffyscones and fairy bread.

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   Mar 21

‘I’m very emotional’: Melbourne’s Greek community braces for vote

Joseph Xiradakis hopes the country will vote in favour of the measures.As children chased the pigeons outside a Melbourne Greek Orthodox parish, the adults’ emotions were similarly stirred over the crisis back in the motherland.
Nanjing Night Net

Greeks headed to the polls at 2pm Sunday, Australian time, to vote for or against more stringent austerity measures.

The referendum comes after Greece defaulted on an International Monetary Fund loan of 1.5 billion euros ($A2.18 billion).

Out the front of South Melbourne’s St Eustathios parish on Sunday morning, people were concerned for their relatives facing hardship in Greece.

Joseph Xiradakis said he believed if the country voted no to the austerity measures, its economy would collapse.

“If it is going out from the Euro, it doesn’t have the dough to go on,” he said.

“But if it stays in the Euro… there is a little bit more safety.”

Mr Xiradakis, who moved to Melbourne almost 50 years ago, said he felt helpless for his relatives in Crete.

“People are trying to do something,” he said, “but the trouble is, what can you do? You can’t do much. Greece is right in the bottom. It’s a very bad thing.”

But over in Brunswick, recently arrived Olga Grammenou was a “definite no” to more austerity.

“All the years, the governments we’ve had were full in corruption and they weren’t really care [caring] about the people in Greece,” she said.

“This government shows that she fights about people’s rights, that she cares.”

The cafe worker moved to Melbourne from Corfu more than two years ago after losing her 17-year job as an optical dispenser and was unable to find a new one.

She and her son, now 6, joined her husband, who came the year before to escape the country’s dire financial situation.

Ms Grammenou said her friends back in Greece were struggling even to buy food.

She thought most of them would vote no, but said many were were confused because of propaganda from the European Union.

“They’re terrifying them,” she said echoing the words of Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis who has accused his country’s creditors of “terrorism”.

“I’m very emotional about the situation.”

Back in South Melbourne, Terry Charalambous described the mood in Melbourne’s Greek community as “worried and anxious”.

He said it was divided on which way the country should vote, with passion on both sides.

“I fear the worse if they don’t [vote yes],” he said.

Maria Kypriotis agreed: “We think it’s a good thing for the Greeks to change their habits and start again.”

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   Mar 21

Reigning Cats down stubborn Bulldogs

NEWLYN has kept its fading finals hopes alive with a thrilling eight-point victory over Daylesford atVictoria Park.
Nanjing Night Net

Saturday’s win leavesthe Cats in 10thposition on the Central Highlands Football League ladder, three games behind eighth-placed Ballan.

The spirited resistance of the Bulldogs was on display from the opening ball-up, as they stunnedthe Cats to establisha three-goal lead.

Jeremy Steen, Michael Cummings and Emlyn Nettleton were in fine form for the Bulldogs, whichwere clearly driven to avoid another thrashing after their 130-point loss to Springbank a week earlier.

However, with their slimfinals hopes on the line, the Cats clicked into gear andreduced the lead to three-points by the main break.

For the visitors, star onballer Dan Wehrung was running riot, while Lachlan Shaw also got on thescoreboard.

With both sides determined not to lose the four points, a relentless half of footy followed withconstant goal­for-­goal action.

Cats forward Will Young, coaching with Wehrung in the absence of brother Kal, finally came into his own withtwo goals.However, the Bulldogs’ Patrick Rowe and Robert Rodgers matched his efforts to land athree-point advantageby the final change.

The ever-­improving Cats held strong in the last quarter to gather a crucial victory, which Wehrung said was an attribute his side had learned in the past year.

Young finished with four majors to his name -including a set shot goal on the final siren -whileWehrung nabbed three of his own in another strong performance.

The Bulldogs, while deflated after their gallant efforts went unrewarded, were best served byRowe,Rodgers and Sam Winnard.

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   Feb 21

McKinnon blasts ‘disgusting’ Smith

Preview: AlexMcKinnonon 60 Minutes
Nanjing Night Net

Melbourne have defended Cameron Smith after Alex McKinnon described as “disgusting” the Storm captain’s on-field comments about the incident that ended his NRL career.

Former Newcastle forward McKinnon suffered a severe spinal injury after landing head first in a three-man tackle when playing against Melbourne in March last year.

Cameron Smith stands in the background as Alex McKinnon receives attention. Photo: Getty Images

Speaking to Channel Nine’s60 Minutesprogram, which airs on Sunday night, McKinnon has described Smith’s on-field actions after the tackle as “f—ing ridiculous”.

He believed comments Smith made on the field at the time implied that he was somewhat to blame for the injury.

“If he doesn’t duck his head, that doesn’t happen,” Smith was heard telling referees.

McKinnon said he was still angry with Smith and said he had not heard from him since the incident.

Melbourne on Sunday released a statement saying Smith had no idea of the extent of McKinnon’s injury when on the field and had attempted to contact the injured player several times afterwards.

The Storm also pointed out that Smith had helped launch the Rise for Alex fundraising NRL round last year and that Melbourne had raised $20,000 for McKinnon on that match day alone.

Smith refused to comment at Queensland training on the Gold Coast on Sunday ahead of Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.

“At the time of this tragic accident, no one on the field had any idea of the severity of the injury Alex had suffered,” the Storm statement said.

“All at Storm and especially the playing group were shocked and horrified to learn of Alex’s injuries in the days after the event.Storm players led by captain Cameron Smith requested to visit Alex in hospital numerous times while he was in Melbourne.

“The requests were declined, which was totally understandable given Alex needed to focus on the initial stages of his recovery.

“Storm’s football director continued to liaise with his Newcastle equivalent regarding the right time for club players to contact Alex in the weeks and months after the incident.”

The Storm said Smith tried to support McKinnon by launching the Rise for Alex campaign with NSW counterpart Paul Gallen last year.

“Cameron Smith was proud to launch the #riseforalex round last year alongside Paul Gallen, as well as to wear Alex’s jersey number at Storm’s game in Melbourne in the same round,” it said.”Storm’s fans raised more than $20,000 for Alex that day alone.”

Fairfax sports columnist Danny Weidlersaid Smith will be under particularly intense pressure as he goes into the Origin decider on Wednesday night.

Weidlerwrote that Smith is a smart and well-respected player, who misread the McKinnon situation, and will have a tough time explaining his behaviour.

“His conduct on the field have left the [McKinnon] family upset – it is not going too far to say that the family and Alex have dealt with their feelings when it comes to Jordan McLean, the player who made the tackle,” Weidler wrote.

AAP

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   Feb 21

Points vs Rovers action galleryNAIDOC Week

Points vs Rovers action gallery | NAIDOC Week The Points and Rovers pay tribute to Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh after their NAIDOC Week clash.
Nanjing Night Net

The Points and Rovers pay tribute to Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh after their NAIDOC Week clash.

The Points and Rovers pay tribute to Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh after their NAIDOC Week clash.

All the action from the Points vs Rovers NAIDOC Week clash.

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   Feb 21

Day of recognition for local service men and women

Day of recognition for local service men and women Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil
Nanjing Night Net

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookIT IS the recognition they richly deserve.

On Saturday, hundreds of service men and women from across the army, navy and air force marched on Civic Park as part of the 2015 Reserve Day March.

The march, which was addressed by Tim Fischer, the chairman of the Australian Reserve Forces Council and former deputy-prime minister, has run in cities across the country since 1988, and attempts to raise the profile of reservists.

Marching beside the reservists on Saturday were the 14 members of the Hunter-based Australian Armed Forced Re-enactment Heritage Unit, who will, next month, travel to Malaysia to mark the 70th anniversary of the infamous Sandakan death march.

Secretary Richard Kieida was part of the 60th anniversary ceremony in Malaysia in 2005, and said it was an honour to be invited back for the 70th anniversary ceremony on August 15.

He said the Sandakan Death March was the “single worst recorded atrocity against Australia soldiers” during World War II.

In late 1944, as the allied forces advanced, the Japanese sent 2000 Australian and British prisoners on a 260 kilometre journey along jungle tracks to Ranau.

The prisoners were weak and sick, and many died on the way.

Residents who were caught helping the prisoners were tortured and killed, but Mr Kieida said the Sandakan people “risked their lives to provide food, water and intelligence” for the soldiers trapped in prisoner of war camps.

Two prisoners of war who survived the death camp will return to Sandakan for the event.

“We feel that this campaign is a significant part of Australian’s military history, but it is a campaign that is seldom spoken about and does not receive the same level of public recognition as other events, such as Gallipoli,” Mr Kieida said.

The unit, which numbered 54 when it was founded in 1995, conducts ceremonial duties during war anniversaries and Anzac Day services when the Australian Defence Force or cadet units cannot participate.

It operates to make sure the sacrifices Australian soldiers made are always remembered.

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   Feb 21

Uni pride on the table

CSU team captains Mathew Dunn and Olivia Patterson help launch the games at the MTC.
Nanjing Night Net

IT’S just as much about forging friendships off the field as it is chasing the coveted bragging rights on the field.

The Eastern University Games, officially launched at the MTC last night, will see 3000 students from 22 universities compete in 16 different sports.

For 22-year-old Olivia Patterson, attending her fifth Uni Games is all about chasing a medal and having fun.

The CSU Bathurst PE teaching student is CSU touch football and basketball team captain.

Australian Catholic University students Sam White, Emily Carroll and Nigel Price enter the games.

“It’s a big thing, everyone gets involved,” she said.

“There’s a lot of pride at stake.”

CSU’s330 athletes competing will share their campus with visiting teams over the next four days.

“I love it, it’s such an experience and you meet new people,” Miss Patterson said.

“As soon as you’re on the field, give it everything or don’t bother.

“We’re aiming for a medal in both sports.”

GOOD TIMES: Red Bull’s Monique Ellis and Kath Evans make sure students are hydrated. Picture: Les Smith

The 2014 champions, The University of Newcastle, will defend their title, but these CSU students are hoping tocapitalise on their home ground advantage over the next four days.

CSU squash and ultimate frisbee team captainMathew Dunn, 21, is chasing his second gold medal at his sixth Uni Games.

“Looking at the draw, I’m hoping for a medal,” he said.

The Leeton import, who studies Agricultural Science at CSU Wagga, says the event provides students with an opportunity to meet people they may not meet otherwise.

“It’s good fun,” he said.

“You’re meeting so many new people.”

It is the largest team CSU has ever submitted.

The Eastern University Games are the largest of the three regional university games events to be held simultaneouslyand will bring in an estimated $1.8 million in visitor expenditure to the local economy.

The games are being held in partnership with Destination NSW, Charles SturtUniversity and WaggaCity Council.

“Waggais known as the City of Good Sports and the Games are the fourth major sportingevent we’ve hosted this year, which is a testament to our fantastic facilities and our community’ssupport for sporting events,” Mayor Rod Kendall said.

The Eastern University Games act as a qualifying competition for the Australian University Games,which will be held on the Gold Coast fromSeptember 27 to October 2 in selected sports.

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   Feb 21

Abbott’s whirlwind tour of the south-westPhotos

Abbott’s whirlwind tour of the south-west | Photos Prime Minister Tony Abbott runs with organisers of the Surf’T’Surf fun run, and local MP Dan Tehan (right). Picture: ROB GUNSTONE
Nanjing Night Net

Tony Abbott steps off his RAAF plane after arriving at the Hamilton Airport. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Tony Abbott bites into a scone from the South-West Health Woolsthorpe Auxillary, provided by Roma Britnell, after the launch of the Agricultural Competition White Paper. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Framlingham’s Ariana Taylor, 5, and Andrew Taylor, 4, meet Tony Abbott at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

An onlooker takes a photo of Tony Abbott as he mingles with the crowd at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe after the launch of the Agricultural Competition White Paper. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Tony Abbott (centre), with organisers of Warrnambool’s Surf’T’Surf fun run, and local MP Dan Tehan (right), before setting off for a training run in Warrnambool. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Prime Minister Tony Abbott (centre), with organisers of Warrnambool’s Surf’T’Surf run, and Wannon MP Dan Tehan (right), before setting off for a training run in Warrnambool. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Roma Britnell, Glenn Britnell, Tessa Britnell, 12, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott and Member for Wannon Dan Tehan at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Members of the media at the Agricultural Competition White Paper launch press conference at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott and Member for Wannon Dan Tehan share a launch of the Agricultural Competition White Paper at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce at the launch of the Agricultural Competition White Paper in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Tony Abbott mingles with the crowd at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Senator Richard Colbeck, Dan Tehan and Tony Abbott at the Britnell’s farm in Woolsthorpe. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott and Dan Tehan. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Tony Abbott, Member for Wannon Dan Tehan and Barnaby Joyce. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Dan Tehan, Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

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