Archive for May, 2019
18 May

Kavanaugh accuser lauded as honest, brave

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Christine Blasey Ford has been lauded as brave and honest after testifying against Brett Kavanaugh.Christine Blasey Ford began her testimony in front of a Senate committee by saying she was “terrified,” and at times she looked it.

But by the time she finished detailing her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, Ford was being widely praised as credible and brave.

Before the Senate hearing on Thursday, Ford had never appeared on camera, and was only depicted in news media reports with a grainy photo lifted from the internet.

She emerged in the eyes of many American women as a compelling figure in the #MeToo movement that is usually associated less with the names of victims and more with a list of high-profile men accused of misconduct.

Thousands of conservatives took to social media to accuse Ford of lying to bring down Kavanaugh, who angrily and tearfully denied her accusations in a day of dramatic, high-stakes testimony from both the accused and the accuser.

While Republican senators depicted her testimony as part of a partisan attack orchestrated by Democrats, they – and Kavanaugh – were careful not to attack Ford personally.

And outside Congress, even many prominent conservatives were willing to praise Ford.

“Dr. Ford comes across as a credible person who has suffered the serious emotional impact of a disturbing incident in her teens,” said Alice Stewart, a conservative strategist who has worked on several Republican presidential campaigns.

“This will boil down to the sincere credibility of someone with nothing to gain versus the sincere credibility of someone with everything to lose.”

Right-wing commentator Mike Cernovich tweeted, “Ford seems kind. This doesn’t strike me as partisan.”

Fox News commentator Chris Wallace called Ford’s testimony “extremely credible” and a “disaster for the Republicans.”

Moira Donegan, a writer and prominent voice in the #MeToo movement, said Ford struck a chord among American women.

“So many women around the country were watching it together in rooms and texting one another about what they were seeing, identifying with her,” said Donegan said.

Still, even many Republicans who believed Ford was honestly recounting what happened to her took the view that it was a case of mistaken identity, believing Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony that he was not there and did not attack her.

Ford, a 51-year-old psychology professor from California, began her appearance by asking for a cup of coffee, her jaw tight with nerves. Her voice cracked at times as she then gave an emotional account of the alleged assault in 1982.

When a male senator read Kavanaugh’s denial, Ford appeared to shudder. She appeared to be close to tears at times, but she was firm and dignified throughout.

A GoFundMe page to support Ford and pay for her security and legal expenses quickly doubled its fundraising total after it was mentioned during the hearing.

It had already raised the initial target of $US150,000 ($A206,500) before the hearing and that jumped about $US250,000 on Thursday to over $US412,000.

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18 May

NSW man who killed mum with hammer jailed

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A mentally ill Sydney man who used a hammer to kill his sleeping mother in her bed in the middle of the night has been jailed for at least three years.

Nathan Connors had pleaded guilty to the May 2017 manslaughter of Lynda Connors, 55, at the Sylvania home they shared with his older brother.

The plea was based on substantial impairment of the mind at the time due to his untreated and longstanding undiagnosed mental illness schizophrenia.

Connors, 29, had become convinced unidentified people would come and take his mother’s soul and if this occurred it would be trapped and she wouldn’t be able to get to heaven, the NSW Supreme Court previously heard.

Justice Robert Allan Hulme on Friday sentenced Connors to five years and eight months in jail with a non-parole period of three years. He will be eligible for release in mid-May 2020.

At the sentencing, the judge said he accepted that Connors’ capacity to judge whether his actions were right or wrong and his capacity to control himself were “more than substantially impaired by his abnormality of mind arising from his mental illness”.

“The brutality and inhumanity of the killing is shocking but the circumstances in which it occurred make the case one that is tragic at a number of levels,” Justice Hulme said.

Connors told psychiatrist Dr Andrew Ellis that on the day he killed his mother he saw signs in the clouds which told him someone was plotting to take his mother’s soul, Justice Hulme said on Friday.

That night a deep voice told him to “take your mother’s soul before someone else does” and he decided to act immediately, killing his mother with a hammer.

Connors told Dr Ellis the act haunts him but he still believes he “had to do it, it was meant to happen, it was destiny”.

He still hears voices every day and believes people are watching him through the television, the court heard.

He told Dr Ellis he doesn’t know what he would do if he saw someone he thought was a demon or someone whose soul he believed needed saving by killing them.

Connors told the psychiatrist he hates himself for having killed his mother and there was probably another way to protect her.

Connors said he should have just told her she was under threat from demons.

The “process of coming to terms with his responsibility for ending her life in such a terrible way is something that he will find exceedingly difficult and probably impossible,” Justice Hulme said.

Upon his release, Connors would be returning to the community without the best support he’d had in life – his mother, the judge concluded.

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18 May

Merewether Golf Club members vote for seniors living redevelopment

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Merewether Golf Club members vote for seniors living redevelopment GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the Merewether Golf Club redevelopment, including a new clubhouse, left, and seniors village. The development is subject to council approval.

The pool in the seniors village.

The car park and clubhouse entry.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the Merewether Golf Club redevelopment.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldreported last year that the club was investigating redevelopment plans to shore upits long-term financial position.

Those initial plansincludedbetween 115 and 150 “high-end” apartments catering for up to 200 seniors on the club’s existing car park and short ninth hole.

SomeHunter golfclubs are in financial difficultydue to a general downturn in the industry and an ageing membership base.

But it is understood Merewether, which has 1100 members, is in a relatively strong financial position.

Ms Heritage said on Friday that the deal with Thirdi would provide the club with long-term lease revenue and a replacement for its dilapidated clubhouse.

“Our membership is great, but the membership alone is not going to replace our facility,” Ms Heritage said.

An artist’s impression of the pool in the proposed seniors village.

Shortland Waters, Cessnock, Newcastle (Fern Bay) and Belmont are among other Hunter golf clubs to have entertained redevelopments to prop up their finances.

Cessnock has gone into voluntary administrationthis year with debts of more than $11million after entering into a $30 million joint venture with Daracon Group in 2005.

Shortland Waters also went into administration this year and has fallenout with aged care company Aveoover a seniors development and partial course rebuild.

The Shortland club’s use oftemporary holes during construction work has discouragedgolfers from playing at the course and cutthe club’s revenue.

Ms Heritage said all work on the Merewether course would be completebefore the clubhouse and apartment construction began.

“We have learnt a very big lesson,” she said. “…We will always have an 18-hole golf course throughout this project.”

Mr Berry described the joint venture as the “perfect templateon how a club can engage with a developer and create a win-win for both companies at the time of the development and well into the future”.

Ms Heritage said the club plannedto upgrade the Merewether course to a significantly higher standard.

“It will be a five-star course when we have finished,” she said.

“It will be a fantastic facility. We’re looking to make this a premier inner-city course.”

The club will hold a briefing for nearby residents on October 8.

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18 May

ADVERTISING FEATURE: Capitalise on opportunity

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EXPERT KNOWLEDGE: Hicksons Newcastle lawyer Kylie Wai is one of two Registered Migration Agents at the firm who can can assist businesses and individuals with migration services.ADVERTISING FEATURE’s skilled visa migration program should, and often does, play a crucial role in assisting n businesses to fill identified skills shortages and improve their business productivity.

With many local Hunter Valley businesses either already operating in or seeking exposure to foreign markets, considering engaging overseas workers can offer new international opportunities.

As a city of innovation and a National Geographic Smart City,Newcastle is ideally placed to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the digital revolution.

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Hicksons NewcastleBut applying for and obtaining n visas is a complex process and potentially expensive if not navigated successfully.

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“Lodging a quality application which addresses all of the Department’s requirements is vital to not only secure a visa grant, but also to minimise the time and money lost on unsuccessful, poor quality applications.”

The NSW Business Chamber has found that 25 per cent of Hunter businesses are currently experiencing difficulties accessing suitably qualified staff.

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Hicksons are committed to creating sustainable value for their clients. With a focus on innovation, Hicksons delivers legal and consultancy services and solutions to assist government, organisations and individuals domestically and throughout Asia.

In operation for over 65 years, and established in Newcastle since 2006, HIcksons also offers a migration assistance service for people wanting to travel to to visit, migrate, work or study, as well as their sponsors.

Hicksons Newcastle has two lawyers who are Registered Migration Agents – Mr Marhaba and Kylie Wai. Najeh speaks both English and Arabic, and Kylie English and Cantonese.

“Our breadth of expertise is reflected in our diverse practice groupsand complemented by our industry andsector focus,” Mr Marhaba said. “We work across geographies with smart technology to keep connected to our clients and we pride ourselves on our energy and authenticity to drive client solutions, attract and develop talent and serve our broader community.“

Newcastle also has a long history of welcoming International students. There areover 7000 students from around the world currently enrolled at Newcastle University, and some seek to stay longer after study.

“There are a number of options for students and their families to remain in after completing their qualification, but with the Department cancelling almost 100,000 student visas since 2010, it’s important that international students are aware of and abide by their visa conditions,” MrMarhaba said.“Our Agents also have a focus on supporting international students, including identifying potential residency pathways after course completion.”

For more information, ring(02) 4907 5600or visitwww.hicksons成都夜总会招聘.au.

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18 May

Cronk’s NRL romance set for fairytale date

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Sydney Roosters player Cooper Cronk addresses the media at the NRL grand-final press conference.It’s the modern-day rugby league romance that could finish with a fairytale ending.

The tale of a champion halfback, one of the best of his generation, cutting ties with a decade worth of friendships. A club he was synonymous with for 14 years.

A year ago, Cooper Cronk declared to the world he was skipping town for love.

“I’ve been pretty selfish in my approach to my football career and I think it’s time to put someone else and something else first,” Cronk said last April.

It didn’t come without some heartache.

Cooper’s long-time teammate for club, state and country, the both of whom had formed two of the Storm’s big three, remembers when Cronk broke the news to him.

“I was caught off-guard a little bit. I didn’t really expect that to happen, that he was going to leave our club,” says Cameron Smith.

But he understood the reasons why.

For over a decade, Cronk watched on as Smith, and the other member of the trio in Billy Slater, started and grew a family in a city where most rugby league players have little family support.

Engaged to Fox Sports presenter Tara Rushton, Cronk yearned to come home to family.

“We’re all from interstate, or from overseas somewhere, all down there together just looking after ourselves. We knew the situation with Coops, and Tara being in Sydney,” Smith says.

“That was really the extent of it for me.

“I was caught off-guard a little bit when Coops told me, but that was it. I don’t know where the other theories and suggestions come from.”

Smith is referring to reports of a falling out between him and Cronk, a breakdown exacerbated when the Storm captain was met with a cold handshake in their only clash so far in May.

There were also claims he was upset about Cronk joining a modern-day rival, a team he knew was a chance of denying them a shot being the first time in over 20 years to defend their title.

“The grand finals that both these clubs have been involved in since the early to mid-2000s is quite a bit. There was every likelihood of (them meeting the Roosters),” Smith says.

“But I think it’s great for our game that two strong clubs are vying for the trophy on Sunday.”

Cronk’s once unbreakable bond with Smith wasn’t the only heartbreak of his decision.

For months the former Kangaroos halfback was linked with the Sydney Roosters, who have renowned for splashing the cash in chase of the game’s best superstars.

From Arthur Beetson to Ron Coote, Russell Fairfax, Bob Fulton, Brad Fittler and Sonny Bill Williams, the glamour club have long been the envy of rivals clubs for luring the missing piece.

And it was no different in their pursuit of Cronk.

Not only did he play the position of a club favourite, but he had also been the source of sustained State of Origin heartache for Mitchell Pearce that made him an Origin punching bag.

When confirmation came of Cronk’s prized signing – barely a month after the Roosters fell one game short of a grand final – there were instant rumours of unhappiness in the playing group.

It didn’t take long for Pearce to wave goodbye and leave town for Newcastle.

“We had to deal with it because it was a bit abrupt, but that’s footy. Pearcey got his role up there in Newcastle and Coops came here and now it is what it is,” Jake Friend tells AAP.

“Coops is here now. He’s one of us and he’s a big reason why we’re here in this grand final.”

All year, Cronk refused to consider the possibility of meeting his old club in the decider.

But this week, sitting on the opposite end of the table of Smith and Storm coach Craig Bellamy at the traditional pre-grand-final press conference this week, he is anxious.

“The team on the far left of the table (Melbourne) have contributed to me being the person and the player I am today,” Cronks says.

“The team on this side has allowed me to have the two loves of football and my family, together. I think they can contribute to an immense amount.

“If I had stayed in Melbourne, I wouldn’t have gotten married and have a beautiful family.”

Ironically, it’s the physical pain of a shoulder injury that could lead to the heartbreak of him missing out of a grand-final appearance against his former club.

All year he’s shouldered the burden of leaving a club he loved, in pursuit of a woman he loved, while carrying the hopes of a club he’s grown to love.

And he is refusing to let a tear in his shoulder be the final page in his script.

“(The Roosters) have sacrificed a hell of a lot for me to be here. And that’s part of the reason why I’m working around the clock to be right for Sunday,” he says.

“While it’s great to play football for yourself and individual accolades, I think these guys have given up a lot for me to be here. And I think it’s only fair that I return that favour back.”

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