In South-east Asia, cyber criminals make hay of government websites

Wednesday, 25. July 2018

Bangkok: A top level investigation into cyber crime across South-east Asia has identified nearly 9000 malware-laden servers and hundreds of compromised websites, including government portals.
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The international police agency Interpol said analysts identified 270 websites across the region that have been infected with malware code exploiting vulnerability in their design applications.

Among them were several government websites containing the personal data of their citizens. The governments were not named.

Derek Manky, global strategist at Fortinet, one of seven companies that collaborated with Interpol in the crackdown, said criminals are increasingly using a sophisticated web of compromised systems to launch attacks.

“Compounding these challenges, cyber criminals have no regard for political boundaries of national lines and will leverage various geopolitical protocols to their advantage,” he said.

One criminal based in Indonesia selling phishing kits via the dark web posted a YouTube video showing customers how to use the illicit software.

A number of phishing website operators were identified, including one with links to Nigeria.

Interpol said in a statement that threats were posed by 8800 comand-and-control (C2) active servers across eight countries, including various malware families that targeted financial institutions, spread ransomware – computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s device and then locks it – distributed spam and launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Investigations are ongoing.

Interpol said the operation highlighted the need for law enforcement to proactively investigate vulnerabilities exploited by cyber criminals, rather than waiting for reports from victims.

It said identifying different laws applicable to cybercrimes was an important part of the operation.

Singapore police assistant commissioner Cheng Khee Boon was quoted by the Straits Times as saying “we will spare no effort to track down cyber criminals who think they can operate under the impunity of cross-jurisdictions”.

An Interpol office was opened in Singapore in 2015. It works with companies to expose cybercrime.

Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, China and Vietnam provided intelligence for the crackdown.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Addressing trauma issues

Wednesday, 25. July 2018

NEED FOR SAFE ENVIRONMENT: Research strongly suggests that a high percentage of adult survivors of childhood trauma develop mental health problems.
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People exposed to traumatic experiences are at a higher risk of developing psychological and physiological health issues.

WIDE RANGE: Traumatic experiences can include single incident events, such as a car accident, or multiple adverse experiences such as abuse or neglect.

A traumatic experience can be described as an event that overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope, and can impact people of any age, sex, race or socio-economic background.

Traumatic experiences may include single-event experiences such as accidents or natural disasters, or more chronic exposure to traumatic events such as in domestic violence and childhood trauma.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have been defined as emotional, physical or sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, exposure to domestic violence or substance abuse, parental separation or having a family member incarcerated, or having a family member with a mental illness.

While the majority of us have been exposed to at least one ACE, research into its impact indicates that as a person’s number of ACEs increases, as does their risk for negative outcomes in medical, social and psychological health.

In terms of a person’s psychological health, some common manifestations of trauma may include difficulty with executive functions such as attention, memory and decision-making, low self-esteem, difficulty regulating emotions, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, irritability, dissociation, depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, suicidality, or engaging in high risk behaviours.

Affected people often note that issues feed into each other, compounding problems.

As well as being very distressing, the person’s symptoms can interfere with their ability to carry on with their everyday work, life and relationships.

People who are affected by traumatic experiences may have developed ways to manage their distress that may seem to help in the short term, such as avoidance, substance abuse, self harming and dissociation; however, these strategies can lead to greater problems in the long term.

Treatment aims to support the individual to develop healthier and more adaptive ways of managing and reducing distress so they are able to get on with their lives without experiencing the debilitating effects of trauma.

There are a range of medications and trauma-informed approaches available to support people in their recovery.

There are also several strategies that people can employ in their daily lives to support their general health and wellbeing including good diet and exercise, good sleep hygiene, engaging in social activities, having things to look forward to, yoga, and engaging in regular relaxation and mindfulness.

Several apps for smart phones have been developed to support people in this regard, including “What’s Up” which has a range of strategies to support emotion regulation and the “HeadSpace” and “Smiling Mind” apps which provide guided mindfulness and meditation strategies.

Support is available for survivors, their families and communities through professional phone, information and resources, advocacy and education.

For further information on how to access appropriate treatment, it is recommended that people talk to their General Practitioner (GP) for a referral to a trauma-informed psychiatrist or counsellor, or contact the Mental Health Information and Support Service on 1800 011 511, the Blue Knot Foundation 1300 657 380, or the Victims of Crime Counselling Service on 1800 633 063.

Tom Hardy, real-life action hero, chases down motorbike thief in London

Wednesday, 25. July 2018

It’s either horrible luck or the greatest story in a petty criminal’s life: you manage to swipe a motorbike, only to be run down by a marauding Mad Max.
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Actor Tom Hardly apprehended a teen thief who crashed a stolen motorbike in South London traffic, The Sun reports.

According to witnesses, the actor sprinted after the boy after he attempted to flee the scene.

“It was mental – like he’d switched to superhero mode in an action movie,” a witness told The Sun.

“Two boys on the nicked moped had jumped a red light and smashed into a car.

“Tom must have been walking down the road. He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious.

“I asked Tom what happened and he told me he chased him through my back garden and caught him around the block,” the witness said, adding that Hardy proudly pronounced “I caught the c—.”

“Tom Hardy’s clearly not a man you mess with. I think he even checked the kid’s ID before cops took over,” the witness said.

In what sounds like a scene from one of his films, The Sun said the star “vaulted walls as he sprinted after the crook – then grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and patted him down for concealed weapons.”

Scotland Yard police later confirmed the report, saying two 16-year-old males ran off and “one was detained by Tom Hardy”, although the actor’s spokesperson declined to comment, said BBC News.

Hardy, 39, who recently co-created and starred in the BBC period drama Taboo, will next be seen in Dunkirk, the upcoming WWII epic from his Dark Knight Rises and Inception director Christopher Nolan.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Final piece of jigsaw sells

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

Final piece of jigsaw sells AUCTION: The Municipal building on the corner of Hunter and Market Streets will go under the hammer on Thursday. It is expected to sell for in the vicinity of $2.5 million.
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AUCTION: The Municipal building on the corner of Hunter and Market Streets will go under the hammer on Thursday. It is expected to sell for in the vicinity of $2.5 million.

152 Hunter Street, left, is one of two buildings that will not be included in the redevelopment of Hunter Street mall by Iris Capital.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

TweetFacebookHALF A MILLION FOR DARK HORSEA building housing one of Wickham’s most popular coffee haunts has changed hands for $555,000.

The strata unit on Greenway Street is currently split into two tenancies, with the Dark Horse Espresso cafe in the front tenancy and the rear owner-occupied by a hairdressing salon.

Another hairdressing firm has purchased the building and plans to occupy the salon once the lease-back term of the current owners ends. The cafe will stay on in the front tenancy.

“This completes a run of four properties in a row we have sold in this Greenway Street complex,” said agent Jason Morris of Raine and Horne Commercial.

“We believe it’sbeen popular for its funky village-type feel and proximity to the CBD and the harbour.”

Greenway Street, Wickham

Poljak stuck in holding pattern

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Newcastle Jets midfielder Mateo Poljak. Picture: Getty Images
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JETS midfielder Mateo Poljak has lived in Australia for five years. He met and married wife, Katarina, here. His six-month-old daughter, Mia, is an Aussie. Newcastle has become home.

But the 27-year-old Croatian national is faced with the prospect of moving his young family overseas to continue his career.

Poljak applied for Australian citizenship in October. He was listed as a “priority process”. Seven months on, he is still waiting.

Until naturalised, Poljak is classed as a visa player in the A-League. Each club is permitted five visa players.If the status quo remains, it appears unlikely that the veteran of116 A-Leaguegames will be re-signed at the Jets.His chances of picking up a contract elsewhere are limited.

“I am obviously anxious about that,” Poljak said.“Something like that (citizenship) would give me a lot of options. It opens doors.Being a priority process, you would think it would be done by now. It can take up to one year.It is not going to happen in time for next season.”

Poljak’smost recent contact with the immigration department was on Friday. It took 14 calls to get though and he was 65thin the queue.

“Everything is out of my control,” he said.

“There is not one more piece of paper, piece of evidence, that I can provide to the department of immigration to speed up the process.I am already a priority process. I am literally on hold.”

Poljak is one of 10 players off contract at the Jets, whose fate will be determined by the new coach.

Ernie Merrick is the front-runner for the position which will be finalised after owner Martin Lee conducts a final round of interviews in China on Tuesday.

“At the moment I do not have a clear picture on where I will be or where we will be,” he said.“We have a great bunch of boys here and the spirit is very strong.Having a six-month-old daughter, the best thing and easiest thing for us would be to stay.”

An industrious midfielder,Poljak joined Western Sydney for their inaugural campaign in 2012-13. He played 66 games for Wanderers, helping steer themto the minor premiership in year one and the Asian Champions League in 2014.

He signed withNewcastle for the 2015-16 season, was installed vice captain and startedall bar one game. However, this season he has not been an automatic selection.

Turning 28 next month, theDinamo Zagreb productbelieves he can still make an impact in the A-League.

​“I feelbeing here for five years, I know the league and I know my teammates and I know the other teams as well,” he said.“From the start of a career as a professional, you know you are going to be faced with a lot of challenges. There are so many people out there ready to take your spot. Me being a foreigner or not. I don’t think that will decide my future.”

If unsuccessful in securing an A-League contract, he will switch focus to overseas.

“If I have to try somewhere else, then get back,I would rather do that than play locally (semi professional),” he said. “I have come so far from my country, from my family, for one purpose –to play football.I am a fighter. I am sure something will come up.”

Shock at speedy coal mine approval

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

Shock at speedy coal mine approval Protests: Wollar residents stage a protest outside a NSW Planning Assessment Commission hearing considering expansion of Wilpinjong coal mine.
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Arrest: Wollar Progress Association spokesperson Bev Smiles is arrested early in April after a protest outside Wilpinjong mine.

Haul: A train ready to carry coal from Wilpinjong coal mine between Denman and Mudgee to service Bayswater and Liddell power stations.

Purchase: The Barigan Valley which is largely owned by Peabody Energy to provide offsets for its Wilpinjong coal mine.

TweetFacebook Shock speedy approval of Wilpinjong coal mine expansion NSW Planning Assessment Commission takes one week to approve mine expansionTHE NSW Planning Assessment Commission has approved expansion of Wilpinjong coal mine until 2033 only one week after receiving 284 objections to the proposal.

The commission rejected Wollar residents’ submissions that the expansion would spell the end of their village and agreed with a Department of Planning assessment that the “decline of Wollar was inevitable even without mining”.

The decision on Wednesday was only a week after the end of public submissions, and two weeks after Wollar Progress Association spokesperson Bev Smiles and two others werearrested and charged after a protest outside the mine between Denman and Mudgee.

The commission approved a new open cut pit at the Peabody Energy mine, expansion of existing pits, extension of mine operations from 2026 to 2033, an increase in annual coal production to 13 million tonnes, and further realignment of Ulan-Wollar Road.

The commission found the project was in the public interest because it would provide “significant benefits to the locality, region and state”, and failing to approve the expansion would have led to a decrease in mine operations and impact on jobs from 2017.

Approval would mean 625 on-site jobs during peak production, the commission said.

“The commission finds that the project would, subject to the mitigation measures proposed by (Peabody) and conditions recommended by the department, have acceptable impacts and that proposed conditions of consent represent an appropriate reflection on contemporary and best practice management for an open cut coal mine,” the commission said.

Objections on the basis of water, air quality, noise, blasting, biodiversity, social and Aboriginal heritage impacts were adequately assessed and addressed by the department and Peabody, it said.

Wollar residents were shocked by the decision only a week after the end of the public submission period when 284 objections were received.

“The commission’s decision to approve this mine after the barest possible timeframe for consideration is frankly devastating. They have completely ignored the key issues raised on the negative social impacts,” Ms Smiles said.

“Not only have they signed the death warrant for Wollar and its surrounding community, but they have failed to give acquisition rights to affected property owners that rely on the village. They will strand us beside this mine that has ruined our lives and leave us with nothing. There is no social justice in this decision.”

Ms Smiles said the commission had failed to give acquisition rights to the remaining members of Wollar community who argued they had “stranded assets” because of the extent of Peabody’s property acquisitions in the area, and because people would not want to buy into an area so close to coal mines.

Lock the Gate Alliance Hunter regional coordinator Steve Phillips said, “We are reeling from the speed and callousness of this process and appealing to the State government to overhaul the planning process and give the public back some basic rights and protections.

“The Hunter region cannot cope with more damage, ruined villages, lost heritage and abused public trust. We will be ramping up our efforts to appeal to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts to restore balance in the Hunter and give the region a future.”

Good life grows

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

FRUITFUL: Digging the permaculture vibe at Purple Pear Farm.Years ago when I first heard about an innovative permaculture property starting in suburban Maitland, near Rutherford, I was a bit baffled. In my mind it was zoned only grey roofs and project homes, not the place for a green oasis spilling over with organic edibles. And yet it’s in part this juxtaposition that makes Purple Pear Farm and Education Centre truly pioneering.
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Owners Kate Beveridge and Mark Brown moved to the area from Dungog a decade ago. At the time, they were market gardening in Dungog, and helped establish a community garden. The move was prompted by a desire to be closer to the clientele for their organic produce.

“We decided that we should come to Maitland and grow the food where it’s being eaten,” Mark says.

Mark and Kate bought a 14 acre property 10 years ago, with the dream of it becoming not just a small-scale organic farm, but a showpiece and education centre for biodynamics, permaculture and sustainable living.Their story brings to mind the British comedy The Good Life, where Barbara and Tom give up corporate life to try their hand at subsistence farming on their quarter acre plot. Like Tom and Barbara, Kate and Mark’s life revolves around food. Feeding the immediate household is one thing, but making a living by selling it in this era is another.Purple Pear provides about 25 subscribers with a weekly organic vegetable box under a Community Supported Agriculture system, whereby the families commit to sourcing their fresh food from the farm so that the farmers can plan how much to plant each season with the assurance of it having a market.

It’s the in-between seasons – like now – that can get a bit tricky, Mark says. The farm is still picking eggplant and capsicum from summer, as well as snake beans, Asian greens, kale and shallots. The brassicas are all in, ready for winter. However, rather than relying on annual crops, Mark is keen to try new ideas such as perennial crops.Mark is also looking to add nutritious weeds to the basket.

“Purslane carried us through the heat wave. We put recipes in the boxes and explained the nutritional benefits and how to prepare them,” he says.

The farm has diversified its income through education such as permaculture design, compost making and courses in food preservation, sour dough bread, cheese and yoghurt making. Kate’s passion for working with kids has led to sustainable living programs for schoolsand the new mums and bubs tours, whichgive children a chance to feed and cuddle guinea pigs, ponies, cows, ducks, pigs and chickens.

To celebrate International Permaculture day, Permaculture Hunter is welcoming people tojoin them on a field trip to Purple Pear on May 14.For more information see the Permaculture Hunter Facebook group.

For more information see the Permaculture Hunter Facebook group.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches. Contact her at [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

Lake council clashes over GM exit date

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

CONCERNED: Liberal Councillor Jason Pauling believes Brian Bell’s decision to take extended leave before retiring will cost ratepayers too much. LAKEMacquarie’s outgoing general manager Brian Bell has issued a stern warning to Lake Macquarie councillors trying to force him toquit before he’s ready, telling them it is “not for council to determine” when he’ll leave.
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After 11 years in the top job, Mr Bell announced last week that he will retire from local government.

Mr Bell plans to leave the job in Junebefore taking a period of “extended leave”, during which an acting general manager will be appointed.

But Liberal councillors Jason Pauling and Kevin Baker have instead sought to force Mr Bell out earlier, saying it “doesn’t serve ourratepayers” for Mr Bell to continue to collect his salary after bowing out.

Angry that the full terms of Mr Bell’s retirement–including his final employment date and the cost of his decision to take leave –are not being made public, at Monday’s meeting Cr Pauling demanded to know“when the general managerwill retire and finalise his employment with this council”.

“He’s given more than four weeks written notice and then intends to take an extended period of leave that appears to not serve our ratepayers in any capacity other than frustrate the recruitment process and allow him to dictate and appoint the acting general manager into the future,” he said.

Prior to the meeting Cr Pauling sought to lodge a number of notice of motions calling for Mr Bell to leavea “mutually agreed”four weeks after Monday’s council meeting.

However the motions were blocked by Mr Bell, who sent a memo to councillors on Monday afternoon before the meeting saying he’d refused them on the basis they were “unlawful” because, he said, they were “ultra vires”, or, beyond the council’s power.

Instead, Cr Pauling sought to lodge the motions again in the chamber, arguing they were “valid”, but was blocked by Labor mayor KayFraserwho said his comments about Mr Bell were “petty” and “disgraceful”.

“An agreement is not required between the council and the general manager before retiring, as is standard practice in most professions,” she said.

“I don’t think we’re hear to say the general manager will retire when we want him to …that’s not how it works in the real world.”

But at the meeting Mr Bell offered his ownrebuke to Cr Pauling, saying there was “no need” for him to explain the terms of his retirement to the full council.

“The reality is that I have put my notice in and the moment I put my notice in it was done in terms of it being received by the council,” he said.

“I made it really clear in my email that I will be physically leaving the administration in June and that I will take extended leave.

“It is normal standard practice …I do take exception to the suggestion that I might be playing the council, I stand on my record and I say that this is simply not an appropriate thing to say about my circumstances.”

In a separate mayoral minute put by Cr Fraser, the majority of councillors agreedto begin the process of hiring a general manager to replace Mr Bell.

Hamilton in cash plea

Wednesday, 13. February 2019

VISION: Hamilton Business Chamber president Nathan Errington at James Street Plaza on Wednesday. The chamber is pushing for an upgrade of the area. Picture: Brodie OwenHAMILTON Business Chamber is banking on the state government and council to come to the table and rejuvenate the suburb they say hasn’t seen significant investment since the 1989 earthquake.
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The chamber met with businesses and residents on Wednesday to map out ideas for the James Street Plaza – located on Beaumont Street near the Clock Tower – andspearhead a renewal of the area, which has seen an increase incrime and anti-social behaviour since the truncation of the rail line.

The ideas proposed included new playgrounds, lighting, an amphitheatre and more pedestrian zones.

Chamber president Nathan Errington said he wanted Hamilton to have a “new look” to ward off negative perceptions of the suburb.

“We believe as a chamber that since the earthquake,Hamilton hasn’t had any money spent since then,” he said.

“We want to attract families and new people to come to Hamilton.”

Mr Errington said the increase in anti-social behaviour was concerning to many people in the suburb, and some business owners felt unsafeas they left work.

TheNewcastle Heraldhas reported of several armed robberies, assaults –including on police officers –and brawls on Beaumont Street in the last 12 months.

The chamber has in the past been critical of the state government’s willingness to fix Hamilton’s crime problems after a delay in receiving funding for a CCTV proposal.

However, Mr Errington said the chamber is now in regular contact with parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald.

Police have alsoincreased patrols in Hamilton.

And it is hoped the recent show of good faith extends to when the chamber asks for funding from the state government and council to fund its James Street Plaza vision.

Mr Errington believes the proposal could be a reality by next year, depending on council approvals.

“We’re doing this ourselves because we want to make sure we’re doing something to rectify the problems,” he said.

“So we’re working with the state government and Scot MacDonald, and also council, to come up with the funding and work out what the best grants are for James Street.”

Ashley Bryant’s suicide at centre of inquest into police officers’ trauma

Wednesday, 13. February 2019

Det Sgt Ashley Bryant investigating officer of Masoud Faroughi 33 yrs who was shot dead when he opened his front door in his kellyville home in Febuary 25 ,2006. Copy pic supplied smh,news,191207 Photo: Brendan Esposito
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On December 15, 2013, former police officer Ashley Bryant sent Christmas cards, two weeks early, to his children.

Twenty-four-hours later, he drove to a picturesque national park on the NSW North Coast with beer and a bottle of scotch whisky.

He made a chilling phone call to triple zero, telling the operator he had post-traumatic stress disorder and wanted the effects of his debilitating mental illness to be investigated.

A few minutes later he died by suicide.

“I understand this is being recorded and I suffer from PTSD,” he told the operator in a call played in the NSW Coroner’s Court on Wednesday.

“I now live with the trauma of it and I know this will go to the coroner. There needs to be more things put in place for partners of those that suffer … “

Mr Bryant, through a wavering voice, provided his date of birth, registered police number and spelling of his last name.

The operator asked him if he could wait for police to get to him.

“No, I’ll be gone before they arrive, thank you,” Mr Bryant replied before the line went dead.

His death is at the centre of an inquest examining whether Mr Bryant received adequate support from the NSW Police Force for his psychological issues, which stemmed from traumatic incidents on the job.

The inquest will also examine whether the force needs to change the way it assesses the risk of officers developing mental health issues and how it supports former and serving officers with mental health diagnosis.

By the time Mr Bryant, a “hardworking” detective sergeant with 24 years in the police, was medically discharged in 2012, he had been diagnosed with PTSD, depression and alcohol abuse.

He worked in stations across the state, including Bourke and Ballina as well as in the Homicide Squad.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Ian Bourke, told the court Mr Bryant had responded to drownings, suicides, murders and other traumatic jobs over the course of his career.

He said there was evidence Mr Bryant’s problems dated back to at least 1995, when his wife, Deborah Bryant, noticed he was abusing alcohol.

In 1999, after he was referred to the police’s healthy lifestyle unit for assessment, he told a support office he had blackouts virtually every time he drank and had been drunk at work.

Over the years, he was advised by an array of medical professionals to stop drinking. Sometimes he did but often slipped back into abusing alcohol.

In 2009, the family moved from Bourke to Ballina and Mrs Bryant was becoming seriously concerned at Mr Bryant’s behaviour.

“He told her on more than one occasion that he didn’t think he could work in the police for much longer,” Mr Bourke said.

Two years later he was drinking heavily again and engaging in risky behaviour at work in the hope he would get hurt, he added.

He also thought about walking into the surf and shooting himself but didn’t want to subject his family to the stigma associated with suicide, Mr Bourke said.

By the end of 2012, after a three-week stint in hospital where he was treated for his PTSD and alcohol dependency, he was discharged, medically unfit, from the police force.

Mr Bryant then awaited a decision on whether he would get an early superannuation payout, which depended on whether he was assessed as having a full-time disability.

However in 2013, a psychologist – on behalf of the superannuation fund – assessed Mr Bryant as someone who could also return to work in a job less stressful than police work.

In turn, he would get partial, not full, remuneration.

By the end of 2013, Mr Bryant was drinking heavily and his wife agreed he should move away from the family home.

“Distraught and ashamed”, Mr Bryant told a psychiatrist he had been verbally abusive towards his wife and feared he could hurt his family.

Studying part-time for a law degree at Southern Cross University, Mr Bryant moved into student accommodation in Lismore on December 13, 2013.

He returned to Coffs Harbour three days later and his wife told him during a psychologist’s appointment that he could return home if he stopped drinking.

Mr Bourke said Mr Bryant walked out after stating, “I can’t do this any more.”

“After leaving the room, Ashley must have driven directly to Minyon Falls, getting beer and a bottle of whisky on the way,” he said.

The inquest continues.

??? Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

You can keep your Hollywood glam – we like our heroes modest

Wednesday, 13. February 2019

The hit films Lion, Last Cab To Darwin and Oddball didn’t make it. Neither did Kath & Kimderella, Mystery Road, Paper Planes, Snowtown, Holding The Man or The Turning.
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Screen Australia has revealed the top 10 financial performers since the federal government agency starting funding films in 2008. While it doesn’t invest in every Australian film – The Great Gatsby and Mad Max: Fury Road were backed by Hollywood studios using Australian filming incentives, for example – the list is surprisingly revealing.

On top is a film you may not even have heard of – the modern day western Red Hill, which had Ryan Kwanten as a young cop facing an escaped killer in a country town. It was the 2010 debut for commercials and shorts director Patrick Hughes, who has since made The Expendables 3 and the coming Ryan Reynolds action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard in Hollywood.

Next on the list are the horror film The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014), canine charmer Red Dog (Kriv Stenders, 2011), musical drama The Sapphires (Wayne Blair, 2012) and sci-fi thriller Predestination (Peter and Michael Spierig, 2014).

Rounding out the top 10 are the post-apocalyptic thriller The Rover (David Michod, 2014), war survivor drama The Railway Man (Jonathan Teplitzky, 2013), comic drama The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 2015), crime thriller Animal Kingdom (David Michod, 2010) and outback drama Tracks (John Curran, 2013).

The report’s writers, Sandy George and Bernadette Rheinberger, note that none of the 94 films studied have become profitable yet. So don’t go into Australian film to get rich.

They also note the top 10 are very different films – different stories and styles of film, a wide range of budgets, with various forms of financing and ways of earning revenue – and that Lion, once the dollars flow back from its worldwide success, will be on the list soon.

When you look closely at what these films have in common, it tells us a lot about what works.

Most of these films take a fresh approach to a traditional film genre – the western, horror film or the crime thriller, for example.

They tell emotionally engaging stories with satisfying – largely upbeat – endings. And they were made by filmmakers telling a story that clearly meant something to them personally.

Some hadlow budgets, which helps when it comes to being profitable. But a good film can still be relatively profitable with a budget that’s big enough to attract international stars, including Kate Winslet for The Dressmaker and Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth for The Railway Man.

Most of these films were acclaimed at a major overseas festival so they had a profile when they opened here. But they still earned most of their revenue when they sold overseas.

Their scripts were largely developed over time – often based on a successful novel or play – so they were in good shape. And these films were made about as well as they could be.

But for every one of these characteristics, there is at least one exception, so there is no formula.

The one feature they have in common is also shared with the biggest Australian hits in local cinemas – a list headed by Crocodile Dundee, Australia, Babe and Happy Feet. It’s also true for such classic films as Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle.

The top 10 largely centre on unassuming Australian heroes.

Hollywood movies regularly feature heroes facing villains who threaten cities, the entire world or even the galaxy.

They feature characters with grand ambitions: in La La Land, Ryan Gosling’s character wants to save jazz. Their achievements are grand: in Hidden Figures, the mathematicians don’t just succeed, they get the first American into space. In Loving, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga’s characters overturn decades of institutionalised racism.

Australian films are much more likely to have ordinary people taking on modest foes with their biggest enemy often their own internal demons.

Kwanten plays a young cop with a pregnant wife on his first day in an unfriendly new town in Red Hill. Essie Davis is a mother protecting her young son from a monster who might well be inside her head in The Babadook. Firth plays a former prisoner of war who wants revenge on his Japanese captor in The Railway Man.

Hollywood has focused on “the hero’s journey” for decades. Stories about reluctant heroes who go through stages the screenwriting books describe as the “Call to Adventure”, “Meeting With The Mentor” and the “Supreme Ordeal” right up to “Return With Elixar”.

These are common elements in everything from The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars to Deadpool and Doctor Strange.

But Australian heroes are often loners who face an opponent, do their best, survive and get on with life. No fist-pumping, no triumphalism, no moments that set up a sequel.

The best of Australia that comes out during bushfires, floods and other disasters has fed into many of our most successful films.

Twitter @gmaddox

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer’s $245 million parachute

Wednesday, 13. February 2019

As Yahoo nears its much-delayed vote on June 8 over the sale of its internet business to Verizon, the company released a market statement on Monday, which spelled out the deal for shareholders.
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The filing also served as an eye-popping reminder of the hefty stock compensation its CEO, Marissa Mayer, has amassed during her tumultuous tenure at the faded internet pioneer.

The number was made even more substantial by its release on the date that Yahoo’s stock closed near its 52-week high. As the New York Times and others reported, Mayer’s Yahoo shares, stock options and restricted stock units were worth $US186 million ($245m) as of Monday, according to data in the filing and based on Yahoo’s Monday closing price of $US48.15 a share, well higher than the five-day average following the deal’s announcement last summer the company used in its calculation.

Yet while there is little question Mayer’s equity compensation at Yahoo has been hefty, particularly given her unsuccessful efforts to turn around the struggling internet giant, characterising the $US186 million as special terms Mayer is getting as a result of the sale is not correct, said John Roe, head of ISS Analytics, part of influential proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services.

Such numbers have also been tallied before, putting her total in cash and equity compensation during her tenure north of $US200 million. (The $US186 million tally does not include salary and bonuses she has received, or stock she has sold.)

“She is walking away with a tremendous sum,” Roe said in an interview. “But the sum is tremendous not because of a sweetheart arrangement in the transaction, but because of the value the counterparty is willing to pay for Yahoo.”

Since Mayer took over Yahoo in 2012, shares in the company have risen 208 per cent, thanks in large part to an increase in the value of its investments in Asia rather than the performance of the company’s core business. And since Verizon announced its deal last July, shares have risen some 25 per cent.

According to company filings, Mayer holds $US77 million in shares outright that she would have access to whether a sale occurred or not. Another $US84 million in stock options, Roe pointed out, have already vested, meaning Mayer has the ability to exercise them and they would not be accelerated, according to company filings released in March and back in 2015.

Just $US25 million – if one can put “just” in front of a number of that size – is part of the “golden parachute” terms that would accelerate Mayer’s restricted stock units in the event of a sale and her departure from the company. (Roe notes the number of those units will go down slightly each month as more vest; all numbers are based on the closing value of Monday’s share price, at $US48.15.) Mayer is also in line to receive about $US3 million in cash payments and benefits if she leaves the company under the terms of the agreements.

Whether that will happen after the deal goes through is not clear. The company has announced a new CEO for the remaining portion of Yahoo that will not be sold to Verizon. And though reports have pointed to her exit, Mayer has said only that “for me personally, I’m planning to stay. I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It’s important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter.”

A Yahoo spokesman declined to comment further on the company’s leadership or Mayer’s compensation, beyond the numbers in the proxy.

Still, $US186 million is a big number by any measure, however much Mayer may already be vested.

Yet it could have been even larger: In March, the company said it would not award Mayer her cash bonus for 2016 and accepted her offer to forgo her annual equity award, a punishment for her team’s handling of epic data breaches in 2014 the board said members of the executive team and legal and IT staff “did not properly comprehend or investigate, and therefore failed to act sufficiently upon.” Mayer’s pay cut was expected to be at least $US12 million.

The Washington Post

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Mills hammers Grizzlies with knockout blows

Wednesday, 13. February 2019

Patrick Mills hit the Memphis Grizzlies with four knockout blows to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a crucial NBA play-offs win on Wednesday.
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The Canberra point guard sent the San Antonio crowd into a frenzy with a stunning final quarter blitz, highlighted by four three-pointers in a game-winning stretch.

The Spurs beat the Grizzlies 116-103 and now hold a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series to begin the play-off campaign.

The Grizzlies had managed to contain Mills in the first four games, but he broke the shackles with a 20-point haul in game five to enhance his reputation as a big-game player.

“Overall it was just one of those games where you’re fortunate enough to make shots,” Mills said.

“Defensively, [the Grizzlies] do a great job of packing the paint … and they close out hard. It’s daily routine of practising different shots.

“They’re the same shots we had in the first three or four games … they just dropped tonight. It’s definitely a good feeling when you see some go in.”

If the Spurs win the series against the Grizzlies, they will move on to a Western Conference semi-finals clash against the Houston Rockets.

Mills’ $12 million contract with the Spurs expires at the end of this season. The 28-year-old three-time Olympian has put off negotiations until after his bid for another championship.

But star performances in the play-offs will boost his earning potential with the former Marist College student expected to land a massive pay rise.

The Spurs will hope to beat the Grizzlies in game six on Friday morning to advance to the next stage of the play-offs.

“I think the energy we all brought off the bench is what we need to lift the pressure off [Kawai Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge],” Mills said.

“They’re doing a hell of a job. They’re busting their behind to help the team but we need to lift our weight as well. What we did as a bench group tonight is what we need.”

Have a game, bala, have a game!

20 points for @Patty_Mills tonight and a monster fourth quarter! pic.twitter南京夜网/r20xEKhfVY

??? San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 26, 2017

THIS GUY RIGHT NOW ???? pic.twitter南京夜网/jbAXIDQiqw

??? Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) April 26, 2017

Patty knocks down his fourth three of the night and we’re up 109-97 with 3:48 to play! #GOSPURSGOpic.twitter南京夜网/QEhEzde8hl

??? San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 26, 2017

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