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Tigers deliver the right stuff

22/07/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Tigers V Panthers in NRL Trial match at Kirkham Oval. Picture: Jonathan Ng Tigers V Panthers in NRL Trial match at Kirkham Oval. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Nanjing Night Net

WESTS Tigers coach Mick Potter was a happy man after his team’s 32-8 win over Penrith Panthers in the trial at Kirkham Oval on Saturday night.

Potter was looking for attitude from his players — a sign they wanted a spot in his NRL squad this season.

And that’s what he got, particularly in defence.

“You saw how important it was for them to stop the other team from scoring tries,” Potter told the Advertiser after the game.

“We had players everywhere trying to scramble and we were getting numbers in tackles.

“The way they worked together was really refreshing.

“It wasn’t a surprise but it was better than I was expecting at this time of the year.”

The Tigers dominated the Panthers, with sharp, quick ball movement and a smart kicking game the highlights in attack — thanks largely to young halfback Blake Austin who showed great confidence in barking orders and directing players around the field.

Austin may have played himself into the No.7 jersey ahead of young gun Luke Brooks who missed the trial because of injury.

Potter agreed it’s a hard choice between Austin and Brooks but he wouldn’t be drawn on who would make the run-on side.

“It’s a problem. It’s a good problem to have,” Potter said. “We’ll worry about that once we get to [the season opener on] March 9.”

Whoever gets the spot, Potter said it was likely they would be paired with the experience of Braith Anasta at five-eighth.

On a sour note, utility Dene Halatau broke his ankle during the game and will miss up to five months of footy after surgery.

■ Aaron Woods has re-signed with the Tigers for three years, with an option for a fourth.

“I’m really happy with the new deal, it’s great to get it out of the way before the season starts so I can concentrate on footy,” Woods said.

“We have a good platform for the next couple of years with talented young guys coming through and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to stay.”

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

Samuel L Jackson blasts TV reporter: ‘I’m not Laurence Fishburne’

22/07/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

A Los Angeles TV reporter has been roasted by Samuel L Jackson in a toe-curling on-air interview after he mistook the Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained star for Laurence Fishburne.
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KTLA entertainment anchor Sam Rubin asked Jackson about a Super Bowl commercial – the only problem was that it was Fishburne not Jackson who starred in the ad for Kia cars.

“What Super Bowl commercial?” said a visibly aghast Jackson. “I’m not Laurence Fishburne.”

Leaving Rubin tongue-tied, he went on: “We do not all look alike. We may be all black and famous but we do not all look alike.”

Obviously mortified, Rubin desperately tried to get the interview back on track, but Jackson was having none of it, at one point listing other black actors that he isn’t.

“You are the entertainment reporter for this station?” he asked the hapless Rubin. “There must be a very short life for your job.

“I’m the other guy,” he continued. “There is more than one black actor doing commercials.”

Half an hour later Rubin delivered an abject on-air apology for his “very amateur mistake”, insisting that he does, in fact, know Samuel L Jackson’s identity.

This is not the first time Jackson has been “mistaken” for Fishburne, but at least on that previous occasion he was in on the joke.

A 2005 episode of the Ricky Gervais series Extras featured Jackson as special guest – and a script in which Maggie (Ashley Jensen) humiliates herself by making the same error.

“I like lots of other things white or black. I like you for example,” she tells Jackson. “… I don’t normally watch films more than once but the Matrix … I loved it.”

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Simon Gittany jailed for 18 years for killing Lisa Harnum

22/07/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Sentenced today: Simon Gittany. Photo: Sahlan Hayes Showing support: Simon Gittany’s partner Rachelle Louise, left, holds a sign outside court with other protesters last week. Photo: Peter Rae
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Lisa Harnum: was thrown from a balcony by Gittany.

Simon Gittany with his girlfriend leaving the Supreme Court in Darlinghurst before the guilty verdict. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Breaking News: Simon Gittany has been jailed for a minimum of 18 years in jail with a non-parole period of 26 years.

The judge who is sentencing Simon Gittany for killing his fiancee Lisa Harnum by throwing her off a Sydney high rise has told the court she did not believe the murder had been premeditated or planned.

“The intention to kill was formed suddenly and in a state of rage,” Justice Lucy McCallum told the NSW Supreme Court today.

She did not believe Gittany had planned to kill Ms Harnum until the day of her death.

Justice McCallum said the offence was of sufficient seriousness that the standard non-parole period of 20 years would provide “a strong guide”.

Shortly after beginning her sentencing remarks, Justice McCallum found that Gittany’s act of throwing Ms Harnum off the balcony could “only have been done with the intention of killing her”.

“Ms Harnum must have been in a state of complete terror in the moments before her death.”

In November last year, Gittany, 40, was found guilty of murder by throwing Ms Harnum, 31, from the 15th floor of their luxury inner-city apartment block in 2011, in what the judge described as a “fit of rage”.

The decision will be the culmination of an extraordinary trial and sentencing process, attracting media attention across the globe.

Rachelle Louise not in court

Gittany’s lover Rachelle Louise was not in court for his sentencing, amid reports she has signed a deal with Channel Seven to hold her silence.

A Sunday Night reporter had told journalists sitting in court that Ms Louise was not coming to hear how long Gittany would be sentenced to spend behind bars.

Gittany’s brother and sister and a few family members waited in the public gallery at 10am with no signs of Ms Louise.

Ms Louise’s no-show was a complete contrast to a circus-like protest she held last week during Gittany’s sentencing hearing.

She and the Gittany clan entered the Supreme Court complex holding a number of placards with points they claimed proved his innocence.

Ms Louise told Channel Seven she knew her boyfriend was innocent.

“I don’t make a statement based on something Simon’s told me. I have worked through the case completely,” she said.

“Simon is an innocent person and someone needs to help him, and that is exactly what I’m doing and I plan on standing by him until justice prevails,” she said.

Possessive rage

On the morning of the murder, Gittany grabbed Ms Harnum, a Canadian, by the throat in a possessive rage as she tried to flee and dragged her back inside.

Neighbours say they heard a woman screaming “Please help me! God, help me!” followed by a man’s voice, and then complete silence.

Gittany had knocked the young woman out, Justice McCallum found.

He then carried her out to the balcony and “unloaded” her over the edge.

This was Ms Harnum’s punishment for making one final, desperate attempt to leave her controlling, dominating boyfriend.

For weeks she had been planning to go, leaving bags of clothes with her personal trainer and a counsellor so that Gittany’s suspicions would not be aroused, and discussing one-way flights back to Canada with her mother.

When Gittany discovered the plan, he was consumed by rage.

“For all his vigilance, his errant fiancee had found a way to secretly remove her belongings,” Justice McCallum said.

Virtually from the start of his relationship with Ms Harnum, Gittany exhibited a burning need to control virtually every aspect of her life – how she dressed, where she went and how she behaved.

When police arrived at the murder scene on the corner of Liverpool and Elizabeth streets, they found a torn-up note in the woman’s jeans pocket with the words “there are surveillance cameras inside and outside the house” scrawled in her distinctive handwriting.

This was a reference to the near-constant surveillance Gittany kept his girlfriend under, including monitoring her text messages through a program he had secretly installed on her phone and a bristle of CCTV cameras monitoring the apartment.

During the sentencing process the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, described the murder as “cold and calculating”, submitting that that it warranted a minimum sentence of 20 years in jail.

The defence argued that the sentence should be “significantly less” than 20 years.

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Milicic Socceroos assistant coach

22/07/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has appointed highly-regarded tactician Ante Milicic as his new assistant coach for this year’s World Cup.
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Initally, Milicic will stay on in his present position, as assistant coach of the Western Sydney Wanderers, until the end of the season. He will then become full-time as Postecoglou’s assistant.

The Wanderers will permit the popular 39-year old to travel to London for the Socceroos friendly against Ecuador on March 5, his first interaction with the senior national team in his new role.

“I’m honoured to have been handed such a tremendous opportunity to work as an assistant coach with the Socceroos,” Milicic said. “As a former Socceroo I am passionate about the National team and I look forward to the challenge. I’m excited to be able to work with Ange, especially with the World Cup coming up as well as the Asian Cup in Australia and with so many talented players starting to break through.”

Milicic said he’d already learnt for the very best coaches and was ready for a new challenge.

“I’ve had a good apprenticeship under John van’t Schip and “Poppa” [Tony Popovic] as well as the 2009 and 2011 under-20 World Cups as an assistant to Jan Versleijen and I’m looking forward to continuing that under Ange,” he said. “I’d also like to thank the Western Sydney Wanderers for allowing me to take this opportunity and I am determined to finish the A-League season with the same passion and dedication I will take to the national team.”

Postecoglou will retain Aurelio Vidmar as his other assistant but said Milicic would bring his own qualities to the role.

“One of my priorities after becoming national team head coach was to secure quality staff to help drive the Socceroos and Ante is a driven coach who will fit into our environment,” Postecoglou said. “I wanted the best people to come in and contribute to the growth and success of the national team and I’m confident Ante will add further expertise to our existing staff.”

Postecoglou said Milicic would be pivotal to helping him reconstruct the senior team over the coming years.

“Ante has experience at domestic level and International level with both senior and junior national teams and will play a part in an exciting new era as we look to build the next golden generation of Australian footballers, ” he said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Western Sydney Wanderers for their cooperation to ensure I was able to appoint the people I thought were best for the job.”

Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman said the club would always keep their door open for Milicic if he wanted to return.

“The role of assistant coach of the Socceroos is a tremendous professional and career development opportunity for Ante and we wish him well, safe in the knowledge that should the time come in the future for him to return to a coaching role in the A-League it will be with our club,” he said.

Milicic played six times for the Socceroos and scored five goals between 2002 and 2005 and still holds the record transfer fee a domestic transfer when he moved from Sydney United to Sydney Olympic for $110,000 in 2002.

He enjoyed a prolific club career in Australia, the Netherlands, Croatia and Malaysia, bowing out of the A-League in 2008 after a year at Newcastle was followed by two years with Brisbane Roar, bagging 11 competition goals.

Since turning his hand to coaching, Milicic was in charge of Sydney United in the NSW Premier League before taking the assistant’s role with the under-20 national team.

Milicic has been hailed for his knowledgeable and hands-on approach to coaching, leading most of the drills at the Wanderers training while senior coach Tony Popovic observes.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that young defender Curtis Good is line to make his senior international debut in the match against Ecuador.

In what could spell the end for Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, 20-year old Good was told he could secure his place in the World Cup squad if he was able to find a club during the January transfer window where he would find regular football.

Good, who is contracted at Newcastle United until 2018 after a $600,000 move from Melbourne Heart, subsequently picked up a loan move to Scottish club Dundee United. The Terrors are currently fifth in the Scottish Premier League and Good has already made both his league and cup debuts.

The news that Postecoglou is grooming Good to step up is a further blow to Neill’s chances, which appear to be fading by the week.

Postecoglou has already promised he will not call-up players who are not playing regularly and Neill hasn’t played competitively since he was released by J-League club Omiya Ardija in December.

Neill’s quest for playing time has taken him back to England, where he has been allowed to turn out for under-21 side of his former club, Blackburn Rovers.

The ex-Rovers’ captain played 90 minutes in Monday’s night’s 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.

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Call for drought action

15/08/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

AS the drought deepens across New South Wales,NSWFarmersis calling on the Federal Government to urgently take action.
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Research byNSWFarmersrevealed that some areas inNSWhad not seen effective rain for more than two years and whilefarmerswere well prepared, some had distributed their last fodder and were down to core breeding stock.

NSWFarmersPresident Fiona Simson said: “Supportingfarmersat this time is providing an investment in rural communities andfarmingbusinesses for the future.”

“Comments this week by the Prime Minister about bringing a drought package forward are encouraging and indicate the Federal Coalition is willing to look at what needs to be done now,” she said.

“But the package set to be introduced in July was developed as part of a preparedness package and is not designed to supportfarmersin their current situation.

“We need to look at measures that will helpfarmershere and now. If we don’t we put at riskfarm businesses, families and rural communities which in the longer term impact beyond the individual to the Australian economy.”

Ms Simson said that just like the millennium drought, government and industry needed to work together to develop measures that were effective and beneficial in the long term.

“Ourfarmersare some of the most competitive and efficient in the world and providing bridging support in these extreme conditions complements our long term viable industry,” she said

“FarmersinNSWhave been proactive, they have been prepared for this drought but they need short term investment from the government to help them through this crisis until the drought breaks and food and fibre production returns to normal.”

A ‘WEATHERING the drought together’ seminar will be held tomorrow (Thursday) at Wingham Golf Club from10.45am to 1pm

Special guest speakers include Elders, Rural Financial Counselling and Rural Mental Health representatives. Book for catering purposes, call Natasha Yarrington, Youth Dairy Connection on 0400 136 229.

Fodder only for Wingham cattle as drought intensifies across NSW

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Greens to launch inquiry into security squads clash at Manus Island detention centre

15/08/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Refugee children on Manus Island. Photo: SuppliedFederal politics: full coverageIndonesian military commander reportedly accepts Navy incursions as accidental
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The Greens party will launch an inquiry into a violent clash that occurred on Manus Island’s detention centre between the notorious Papua New Guinea police mobile squad hired to secure the centre, and the PNG army.

The opposition government and the Greens accused Immigration Minister Scott Morrison of a ”cover up” after the incident in October last year led Australian staff to be evacuated, while local staff and asylum seekers were left behind.

The Greens will initiate the inquiry on Wednesday requesting the sequence of events that led to the incident, allegations of shots being fired, and what, if any, communication was given to Mr Morrison at the time.

”The government’s policy of rampant secrecy across the immigration network is dangerous and it needs to be exposed,” the Greens’ immigration spokeswoman, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

”A picture of confusion and chaos has emerged in regard to this incident on PNG and the government’s obsession with secrecy has left us with no option other than to launch an inquiry.

”Reports of staff evacuations, shots being fired and refugees being left to fend for themselves are very concerning.”

There are currently more than 1000 people being held on Manus Island, Ms Hanson-Young said.

”The government is arrogantly ignoring the Australian people and their right to know,” she said.

The inquiry comes after a Fairfax Media investigation revealed that amid the panic security guards left their posts, communications broke down, there was no official chain of command and no emergency response plan was made for an outside threat.

They also show that, after reports of guns being drawn, only expats were ordered to be evacuated, without the knowledge of the G4S security officers.

A spokesman for the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, said he maintains there was no “evacuation” and there had been “no credible reports” that weapons had been drawn.

“As such any investigation into the alleged conflict is and remains a matter for PNG authorities,” the spokesman said.

This month Mr Morrison has continued to harden his asylum seeker policy. On Wednesday he will introduce changes to the Migration Act in the House of Representatives.

Under the proposed changes, supported by the Labor party, all asylum seekers who are given a negative assessment by ASIO will be automatically denied a permanent visa. They will, however, be allowed an independent review of their assessment.

Visas will also be applied effective immediately, rather than waiting until the person is informed and, if a person is denied a protection visa, they can never apply for one again.

Last Friday it was revealed the government had quietly reintroduced a temporary protection visa, which is revived by human rights groups as being inhumane and cruel.

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Jai Courtney leads race for Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genesis

15/08/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

A Good Day To Die Hard star Jai Courtney could be joining the Terminator franchise. Photo: Dennis Van Tine Soldier reboot … Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) in the original Terminator film franchise.
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Australian actor Jai Courtney has found himself in the final leg of the race to cast the lead role in the Hollywood’s reboot of the Terminator franchise.

Terminator: Genesis, which is slated for a 2015 release in cinemas, is one of the most anticipated blockbuster films in development in Los Angeles.

The industry news blog Deadline has named Courtney and actor Boyd Holbrook as the two actors left vying for the role of Kyle Reese.

Reese was played by Michael Biehn in the original Terminator film franchise.

Holbrook is a 32-year-old former model turned actor, whose credits include Milk, Hatfields & McCoys and Behind The Candelabra.

Sydney-born Courtney, 27, is best known for roles in Spartacus: Blood and Sand and A Good Day to Die Hard. Before moving to Hollywood, his Australian TV career included roles in Packed to the Rafters and All Saints.

Terminator: Genesis is already generating buzz because the franchise’s original superstar, actor turned California governor turned actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as the “terminator” cyborg.

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has already been signed to play Sarah Connor.

Another Australian actor, Jason Clarke, has been rumoured for the role of Sarah’s son John Connor.

Casting the film has been a long and sometimes public process.

Australian actress Margot Robbie was considered for the role of Sarah Connor, but ultimately lost to Emilia Clarke.

In addition to Courtney and Holbrook, Garrett Hedlund, Tom Hardy, Taylor Kitsch and Nicholas Hoult were all tested for the role of Kyle Reese but eventually ruled out.

The original Terminator, released in 1984, starred Schwarzenegger as a cyborg assassin, model T-800, which was sent back in time to kill a woman, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son would one day become a key resistance fighter.

The character of Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn, was a resistance fighter sent back in time to protect Connor and her son.

The film was a monumental hit, followed by three sequels: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and, more recently, Terminator Salvation.

Terminator: Genesis will be released on July 1, 2015.

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10 DIY valentines to make your true love

15/08/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Fortune Cookie Valentine’s Day Gift.This article first appeared on Mashable.
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Why waste your hard-earned cash on flowers and candy when you can give something that truly comes from the heart?

Holidays are the perfect time to break out your craft supplies and make some thoughtful gifts for friends and family. But Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the one you love most, so it’s important to go above and beyond construction paper hearts. If you really want to wow your significant other, you’ll have to be a little more creative.

There are plenty of easy and fun projects to do to show your sweetheart that you care. Not only will a beautiful handmade gift make your valentine smile, you’ll receive plenty of hugs and kisses in return.1. Fortune Cookie Valentines

Use a takeout box or small plate to dress up these adorable love notes for the apple of your eye. You can write as many sweet nothings as you like.2. Giant Crepe Paper Rose

Normal-sized roses are nice, but bigger is always better. This simple tutorial not only yields gorgeous results, your loved one will be reminded of how much you care for years to come.3. Celery Stamp Rose Card

Who knew you could show your love with groceries? Perfect for kids and adults alike.4. Paper Roll Owls

Use these cute little owls to hide love notes, or just hang them for decoration. Either way, they make a cute handmade gift for the one you love.5. Vintage Style Message Arrows

Be your own Cupid with these colorful and stylish message arrows. Write a short message or a whole sonnet and send it over to the object of your affection.6. Chalkboard Mug

Give your Valentine something personal and a great gift, all rolled into one. Write your own thoughtful message, Valentine’s Day drawing, or just a simple “Be Mine.”7. Personalized Tea Box

If your significant other loves tea, why not make it all their own? Grab their favorite brand and customize it for a Valentine’s Day treat.8. Duct Tape Rose Bouquet

Flowers are great, but duct tape lasts forever. A bouquet of realistic roses is stunning and ever lasting – kind of like your love. Have fun with the wide range of multi-colored duct tapes out there. Everyone loves a rainbow!9. Glitter Glass Jars

Add some sparkle to your Valentine’s Day gift with these jars. Fill them with candy, small gifts, or use them as votives to make them extra special.10. Felt Envelope Valentines

Don’t be afraid of a needle and thread to make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. These adorable felt envelopes are perfect for love notes or even wrapping gift cards.

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Boral profit lifts on home building uptick

15/08/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Boral chief executive officer Mike Kane.An uptick in residential housing construction, favourable weather and cost cutting helped Boral to a 73 per cent jump in half-year profit to $90.4 million.
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Boral, which is Australia’s largest construction materials and building products group, reported higher earnings for all four of its divisions and a 4 per cent rise in revenue to $2.87 billion for the six months ended 31 December, 2013.

Investors will not be surprised by the numbers given Boral pre-released its $90 million earnings number two weeks ago to correct some low-ball earnings forecasts in the market.

Boral chief executive Mike Kane, who is been in the job for a little over a year, said the improved performance reflects the benefits of costs realignment and restructuring, together with higher volumes from major projects.

Mr Kane has cut 1,000 jobs, moved Boral’s head office from the Sydney CBD to North Sydney and overhauled his senior executive team in a bid to shake costs out of the business.

Boral said on Wednesday that cost-cutting delivered a $60 million benefit in the half-year and the company expects annualised savings of $130 million in fiscal 2014.

“Our focus on improving Boral’s return on funds employed through the ‘fix, execute, transform’ program is delivering tangible results,” Mr Kane said.

Favourable weather has seen Boral’s work on the mammoth Curtis Island LNG projects in Queensland pulled forward and earnings in the second-half are expected to be weaker as a result.

Boral’s building products divisions delivered a $23 million turnaround as residential housing construction rebounds in New South Wales and Western Australia.

Including significant items, Boral reported a net loss after tax of $26.3 million due to non-trading items associated with the $US1.6 billion joint venture the company has formed with Chicago-based plasterboard technology company USG Corp.

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Toyota closure another hit for regional Australia

15/07/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Source: The Courier
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THE impact of Toyota’s decision to stop producing cars in Australia from 2017 goes far wider than the Japanese company’s plant in Altona.

Ballarat’s once-vibrant car parts manufacturing industry has also taken yet another hit.

Australian Industry Group regional manager Kay Macauley described Toyota’s announcement on Monday as another “dark day” for Ballarat manufacturers with much broader ramifications for the community.

“A few years ago we had a very strong car parts manufacturing and components industry in Ballarat. We’ve probably got only two or three left,” she said.

“It’s not just those companies. They use the local cleaners, local caterers, accountants, lawyers, and bank services. A lot of these (manufacturing) companies outsourced these services so it will obviously affect those suppliers too.

“Manufacturing companies will need to look at how they can use their existing equipment to transition into other areas. In five years time they might be manufacturing parts for another type of industry.

“The government needs to have a role in working with industry to ensure the viability of the manufacturing sector.

“We know going forward, businesses that are going to be sustainable are those which look into new technologies. There will not be a lot of job creation but we will need apprentices but perhaps at a higher skill-level.

“We hear a lot about new industries and new jobs but we don’t know what those are.”

Kay Macauley, Australian Industry Group.The Courier was unable to contact OzPress but, in an interview on goauto南京夜网.au, director Mark Dwyer said the company would go on but would shift away from the automotive sector.

“We are confident of OzPress life post-Toyota,” Mr Dwyer said. “Will it be as big as today? Obviously not. What will be the size of it and what business it will actually be doing? We are not sure, but we are confident of survival.

“We are just beginning to produce some mining products, although most is happening in China because of the cost-base.

“We are building some tools for some mining products here and we just won a small contract with the defence industry so hopefully we can build that.”

Mr Dwyer said Australia had the highest wages in the world, making it one of the most expensive places to manufacture anything.

He also blamed free-trade agreements with other countries that were anything but free.

[email protected]南京夜网.au

Liddell, Bayswater on block for $1.5 billion

15/07/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

THE state government has agreed to sell Macquarie Generation to AGL Energy, raising about $700 million for infrastructure spending provided the national competition watchdog doesn’t block the deal.
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Treasurer Mike Baird said this morning the gross proceeds consisted of $1.505 billion from AGL Energy and cash of $220 million held by Macquarie Generation, which operates the Bayswater and Liddell power stations in the Hunter.

After its debts are settled, the sale would raise $1.165 billion, although further transaction-related costs and superannuation payments would leave about $700 million that the government would place in its Restart NSW infrastructure fund.

However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has raised concerns that AGL’s acquisition ‘‘is likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market’’ for the retail supply of electricity in NSW, and for the wholesale supply of electricity in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

It will give a decision on March 4.

Three bids were made for Macquarie Generation, but only AGL’s exceeded the government’s retention value for the generator, Mr Baird said.

He said the government would not proceed with a sale if the ACCC blocked the AGL bid.

‘‘There’s no doubt that would be a blow, but…we’ve heard from AGL through our advisers they remain confident that they can meet the concerns raised by the ACCC,’’ he said.

He rejected suggestions less competition could mean higher electricity prices.

‘‘I believe that having a robust competitor in the market adds to competition which puts downward pressure on prices.’’

If the sale is completed, the $700 million would be spent on infrastructure, with the government having promised about 30 per cent would be spent in regional areas.

It is understood the government has earmarked some of the cash to top up its Resources for Regions program for spending in mining-affected communities, such as Muswellbrook and Singleton.

However, Mr Baird declined to confirm that this morning, but said the sale was ‘‘good news’’ for infrastructure spending.

‘‘In terms of the Hunter Region that is a key consideration,’’ he said.

Four year job guarantees and transfer payments would apply for employees.

Bayswater power station.

Evolve: the natural next step after Left 4 Dead

15/07/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Guess who’s coming for dinner? Evolve pits a single giant monster against a team of four humans, with all five controlled by players.You know a game preview is going well when a bunch of video game journalists decline a trip to the pub so they can play one more round.
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Evolve is still at least eight months away from release, but it is already astonishingly well-balanced, tightly designed, and just plain fun. I have never before seen a room full of video game journalists turn down a trip to the pub so they could play one more game.

The brainchild of Turtle Rock, the amateur team of Half-Life modders who turned professional on Counter-Strike, and then produced the seminal co-operative shooter in Left 4 Dead, Evolve feels like a hybrid of everything they have done previously, but turned up a notch.

Like Left 4 Dead, it features a team of four human players who have to work together to overcome a monstrous threat, but in Counter-Strike style these four are now distinct classes with extremely diverse skills. The enemy itself is something new: a human-controlled monster that grows and evolves over the course of the game, becoming larger and more dangerous with each new stage. This four-against-one gameplay is the core of Evolve, with all other game design fitting around it.

During the preview event I had the opportunity to speak to Michael J. Boccieri, Senior Producer at publisher 2K Games, who is overseeing the entire project. As we sat down to speak, I joked that there wasn’t much to say; we could just write “from the makers of Left 4 Dead” and millions of gamers would just start throwing money. Boccieri laughed and agreed. “Yeah, it’s an easy product to sell. We really just have to get people to play it, and it just sells itself from there.”

He wasn’t kidding. Rarely have I seen a room full of game journalists, a notoriously picky and hard-to-please bunch, completely engrossed in a game, complete with celebratory fist-pumps and anguished cries of “No!” Considering it won’t be released until late in the year, it already feels remarkably complete.

Evolve’s origins lie back in the days just before Left 4 Dead was released, when Turtle Rock was considering what they might like to do next. “They came up with the initial idea back in 2008, but they put it to bed while they finished off their DLC for Left 4 Dead 2,” Boccieri told me. “There’s been a lot added to it, a lot of polish, but at its core it’s still that same core idea: monster versus hunters.”

The idea would sit on the backburner for several years while Turtle Rock worked on other projects, but in late 2010 they had split amicably from Valve and become an independent studio and they decided that the time was right to make Evolve. At first it was set to be published by THQ, but after the publisher’s bankruptcy the title was picked up by 2K.

Boccieri explained where the core design came from. “They focused on the idea of four classes on the hunter side because of what they’d learned about co-operative play on Left 4 Dead,” he said. “Four is the magic number, the greatest number of allied players that a player can meaningfully keep in their head and still know what everyone is doing. Outside of that becomes a little more broad, and you end up just putting your head down and doing your own thing, like in Call of Duty or Battlefield, and that doesn’t lend itself to co-operative gameplay.”

“On the class side, that was Turtle Rock wanting to build a little more depth into co-operative play. In Left 4 Dead, even though there’s strong characterisation, the four character pretty much play the same,” he said. “In Evolve, we still have the deep characterisation, but each one has a completely different set of abilities.”

The classes seem familiar at a glance, but the longer you look, the more interesting they become. Take the medic, for example. Her core class ability is called the healing burst, a momentary aura that heals all allies within range as well as the medic herself. She also has a healing gun that can only be used on other players, not herself. So far so standard.

Things get odd when you look at her other abilities. Her offensive weapon is a slow-loading but powerful sniper rifle with a long-range zoom and the ability to punch holes in the monster’s armour that become weak points where her teammates can shoot for bonus damage. Her other weapon is a dart gun, which both tranquilises the monster, slowing it down, but also tags it for ten seconds or so, meaning the whole team can see where it is.

The other classes are equally quirky. The support class has a handheld shield gun that he can use to shield teammates from harm. As long as he keeps the beam on them, they cannot be hurt. However, he can also call down a devastating orbital strike that takes several seconds to warm up, so he needs his teammates to hold the monster in position. He can also cloak himself, an ability that also cloaks any teammates standing near him.

The trapper is stranger still, with a wonderfully diverse set of abilities. He can plant sound-detecting spikes in the ground to detect the monster’s movement, harpoon the creature with an electric tether that may hold it in place just long enough for the orbital strike to warm up, and can also drop what’s called the “mobile arena”, a glowing dome that traps the monster in a small area to be shot to pieces.

The most straightforward is the assault class, which Boccieri and I both referred to as the “bullet hose”. He has a powerful lightning gun that only works at short range, and a weaker machine gun for longer range. He can also drop mines all over the battlefield and enable a personal shield that stops him being hurt for a few seconds.

Here’s the kicker, though: in Turtle Rock’s opinion, these four aren’t diverse enough. “Within each class there’ll be different hunters, and while they’ll fit the description of what that class does, they will have completely different abilities from other hunters in the same class,” Boccieri told me. “They’ll be a variation on the idea of an assault class or a medic class. They really get right down to the core of what any one class is supposed to and really pushing the boundaries of how that role can be performed.”

So while every medic will have the healing burst and every trapper the portable arena, every other weapon and tool will be part of a larger pool that can be mixed and matched, completely changing how that class is played. Even the monster is variable, with Boccieri explaining that the development team considers it to be another class. In the time I played, it could choose between a leaping attack, throwing boulders, breathing fire, and a powerful charge, but I am told there will be even more to choose from in the final game.

On top of that there is an advancement scheme for each weapon and tool, with all of them gradually improving as they are used successfully in matches, and also unlockable perks that can be shared across all hunter classes. “We’re still tuning the final numbers, but there’ll probably be about twelve hours of play to completely max out one character, but then you’ll have all the other characters to try,” Boccieri said.

With all this customisation, then, is there any chance that Turtle Rock will be able to make sure the game remains balanced? “Absolutely,” Boccieri assured me. “The Turtle Rock team playtests every day, and in order for Evolve to balance between being co-operative and competitive, the win rates have to net out towards 50/50. That is the design team’s goal, over time. Any time they tune anything, it’s tuning toward that balance.”

“It’s kind of a bold goal, making the game as balanced as possible while also allowing this breadth of experience that allows players to come back to it again and again, but I think that the pedigree of this team , given their background with Counterstrike and left 4 Dead, means they could really pull it off. It helps that they’ve limited the scope in all cases to four versus one, which keeps it refined enough that the design decisions don’t broadly impact the game and throw things way out of kilter.”

There will also be a variety of game modes, though no others have so far been revealed. Even so, Boccieri explained that they will all share a common theme. “Every game mode is a variation of the four versus one gameplay, where the hunters will have to co-operate to win and the monster is always alone. Other than that, the other modes will be variations on that core structure. There’s also a whole lot of different maps, with a variety of different environments, different wildlife.”

Oh yes, the wildlife. The maps are populated with AI-controlled animals, most of which are benign, but some are aggressively territorial or just plain hungry. The monster can kill and eat these creatures to gain armour and work toward evolving to a new level, while the hunters will just have to defend against them. There will also be tougher elite monsters that will drop a temporary upgrade, like regenerating health or faster reload times, and both the monster and the hunters will want to pick those up.

There is little more I need to say other than, “It’s by the Left 4 Dead guys. Get excited.” It really is a great game on its own merits, though. The monster can be tricky to learn, but it’s exhilarating to play such an unusual character – loping through the dense jungle, eating other animals, clambering up cliffs, and then smashing those puny humans. The hunters are more straightforward, but are still a huge amount of fun to play.

Evolve will be launching during Spring 2014, so somewhere between September and October, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.

– James “DexX” Dominguez

Screen Play is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

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

Goodman Fielder foreshadows turnaround after $64.8 million loss

15/07/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Goodman Fielder chief executive officer Chris Delaney.One-off costs that continue to evaporate savings are ‘‘not good enough’’ Goodman Fielder chief executive Chris Delaney said, with profit expected to improve significantly from the $64.8 million loss in the first half.
Nanjing Night Net

Record milk prices and rising Australian dollar-based wheat prices also heavily impacted the bottom-line in the first half of the 2014 financial year.

The company said further increases in the farmgate milk price in 2014, combined with aggressive competitor pricing, will impact second-half earnings by around $5 million.

In the six months to the end of 2013, farmgate milk prices increased more than 40 per cent, weighing on Goodman Fielder’s dairy arm, as pre-tax earnings fell 39 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

Goodman Fielder increased dairy sales volumes in the first half and Mr Delaney said he was confident that global dairy pricing would be more favourable in the next fiscal year, which would improve margins.

A continuing disparity between US wheat prices and Australian wheat prices in the first half also weighed on earnings. Mr Delaney said the company will be implementing a small price increase in bakeries to mitigate the cost of Australian wheat.

From profit to loss 

The loss entails $94.9 million in significant items after tax, including $15.5 million in restructuring costs and $97.3 million in asset impairments related its biscuits, meats and pizza businesses which have been sold. It will receive $35 million in proceeds from the sale of those assets in the second half.

The loss in the first half of the current financial year is down 287.9 per cent from the period corresponding period, where Goodman Fielder reported a $34.5 million profit.

Goodman Fielder said full-year pre-tax earnings are expected to be broadly in line with the last financial year, around $185.6 million.

Shares in the food processor were down 7.4 per cent to 63 cents in early afternoon trade.

Mr Delaney said it was extremely frustrating to see one-off costs undoing all the hard work that Goodman Fielder has been doing in cost savings. Cost savings within the group remain on target to achieve $100 million by the 2015 financial year, and the company has identified a further $25 million in savings to be achieved by the end of fiscal 2016.

‘‘We understand we need to do more, sooner, better, and create our own luck and not just sit here are say they’re one-offs, that’s not good enough, we understand that,’’ Mr Delaney said.

‘‘I’m absolutely convinced what we’re doing is right for the long term. I’m incredibly disappointed to stand in front of you today with the outlook that I’ve just given. It is not what we wanted and we don’t think that’s what the shareholder deserves.’’

Savings to improve

Goodman Fielder is forecasting around $20 million in savings this year from improvements in distribution and manufacturing in its Australian baking arm, and supply chains savings in its New Zealand baking arm.

‘‘I think they’re going about improving the business the right way, it’s clearly happening at a pace that’s slower than we would have hoped for and certainly they would have indicated,’’ CLSA analyst David Thomas said.

‘‘The issue is you’ve got some relatively tired assets that they’re trying to regenerate, some brands that have been underinvested in and a distribution route to market that’s pretty challenging. Hiccups are coming through but unfortunately a bit bigger and a bit more frequently than we would have hoped.’’

Price increases helped lift pre-tax earnings in its bread business by 22 per cent from the previous year, despite lower volumes, however analysts had been expected better returns from the low base considering the new contracts signed with supermarket Coles to provide private label bread.

The grocery business struggled after failing to convince a major customer to stoke its new MeadowLea HeartPlus products. Volumes, revenue and pre-tax earnings all slipped by single digit percentage points.

Revenue in the first half of the 2014 financial year increased 5 per cent to $1.1 billion, boosted by the pricing in baking and dairy products, and currency benefits from the strong New Zealand dollar.

Goodman Fielder’s debt increased by $115 million to $549 million in the first half, impacted by timing on tax in Papua New Guinea, last year’s final dividend and a revaluation of $NZ debt relative to the Australian dollar.

Goodman will issue an interim dividend of 1¢ with the franked amount per security 30 per cent.

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

Farina defends position with blog post

15/07/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Embattled Sydney FC coach Frank Farina has responded to public criticism with a post on his blog, What I’m Thinking, entitled “Fans, Sydney FC, decisions and back to fans”.
Nanjing Night Net

Matters game to a head for the Sky Blues during Saturday night’s 3-0 loss to Adelaide United, the club’s third straight home loss.

Coach Frank Farina bore the brunt of the criticism and even the contents of a beer cup from a disgruntled member of the crowd.

“I would have to be living on another planet not to be aware of the ‘noise’ in relation to Sydney FC, me and various incidents on the weekend,” writes Farina, who has come under pressure following Sydney FC’s disappointing run of form.

Members of The Cove held up two banners protesting the leadership of their club, however security moved quickly to confiscate them.

A leader of the fan group was then reportedly ejected, before other fans joined in a protest outside the venue that began while the game was still being played.

“I would have to be living on another planet not to be aware of the ‘noise’ in relation to Sydney FC, me and various incidents on the weekend,” writes Farina, whose position has come under harsh scrutiny.

Farina writes that managing a football club is “not a popularity contest,” and backed the fans’ right to voice their opinions.

“I also don’t have a problem with seeing the sign #FarinaOut” stated the Sydney FC manager.

He reacted to the revelation that the banner in Russian Cyrillic referred to Scott Barlow and Tony Pignata by strongly defending the pair.

“’I’ve worked in many clubs and environments in football, and Sydney FC is one of the more professional organisations I’ve experienced. “

Farina went on to endorse his own decisions at the club, calling notice to his achievements as both a player and coach during his career in the game.

“You might disagree with what I do, but one thing I’m not is “clueless” when it comes to football,” he maintained.

Defending his side’s tactics, Farina wrote: “I’m looking for in the seemingly defensive midfield position is a deep-lying playmaker who can use space and time on the ball to create moves in multiple ways, not just attacks on goals. Think Pirlo, Xavi, Paul Scholes. With Alessandro del Piero in the side as the club’s marquee player, we don’t need a second number 10.”

Farina ended the lengthy post thanking the fans, and insisting that they were “always appreciated and never under-valued.”

Sydney FC face Perth Glory at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.


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