All My Friends: celebrating the songs and voice of Gregg Allman

GREGG Allman is one of rock’s most acclaimed and beloved icons, both as leader of the legendary Allman Brothers Band and for his superb solo recordings.
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This new double CD and single DVD set serves as the perfect tribute to the man and his songs.

Recorded live on January 10 this year at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, it features a multi-generational assortment of musicians from the worlds of rock, blues and country performing a swag of Allman staples.

Notable guest performers include Eric Church, Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Zac Brown and Brantley Gilbert.

Also included is performances by Taj Mahal and Gregg’s one time former roommate Jackson Browne.

While each interpretation is masterful in delivery an obvious standout of the set is the current Allman Brothers Band lineup – with Gregg singing – running through Dreams and a scorching rendition of Whipping Post.

The album will be available locally on May 2 through Rounder Records.

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Rubbish provokes outrage

Filthy: Hamilton Road residents are sick of rubbish lining their street.FAIRFIELD residents are outraged with the amount of rubbish they say is regularly dumped on their street.
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Hamilton Road resident Andrew Nicholson said the most recent pile of rubbish had been on the footpath for more than a week before the council came to remove it.

He said this was a regular occurrence.

“To make matters worse, there seems to be a broken sewerage pipe, which leaks waste across the footpath and into the roadside gutter,” Mr Nicholson said.

“This is utterly unacceptable and a danger to human health. Why do people on Hamilton Road have to put up with constant barricades of rubbish or push their children in strollers into oncoming traffic to try and escape an open sewer leaking across the council footpath?”

A Fairfield council spokeswoman said action had been taken.

“The council has dealt with the sewer overflow issue and an emergency order was issued last Friday to the managing agent to have the lines repaired in the coming days,” she said. “The occupier made arrangements last Thursday with waste enforcement to have the rubbish removed off the footpath.”

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Coca-Cola Amatil plays down ratings downgrades

Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola Amatil has played down the impact of credit rating downgrades by ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s in the wake of Friday’s shock profit warning.
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CCA says the credit downgrades will have no impact on its interest costs or ability to refinance debt in the short to medium term.

The ratings agencies cut their credit ratings or downgraded the credit outlook for CCA after the bottler shocked investors on Friday by warning that June-half earnings were expected to fall by 15 per cent.

Moody’s long term A3 rating has been maintained, but the outlook has changed from stable to negative. Standard & Poor’s reduced its long-term rating from A- to BBB+ but affirmed CCA’s short-term rating at A-2.

CCA said on Tuesday it has maintained an investment grade credit rating with both agencies and the changes to its credit rating are not expected to have any short to medium term impact on the company.

CCA has pre-funded maturing debt for approximately two years. All of the debt maturing in 2014 and 2015 has already been refinanced with cash held on term deposits at margins above associated borrowing costs.

According to CCA’s annual report, the bottler had $3.1 billion of interest-bearing debt at the end of 2013 but cash on hand and short term deposits totalling $1.4 billion.

The report also showed that former chief executive Terry Davis, who stepped down in March, took a 53 per cent pay cut last year after CCA’s underlying earnings fell 10 per cent.

Mr Davis’s base pay rose from $2.3 million to $2.7 million, but he received no short term bonus (vs $2.42 million in 2012) and superannuation benefits on short term incentives fell from $947,562 to $338,351.

In addition, long term incentives were reversed by $99,282 (vs long term incentives worth $1.14 million in 2012) after performance hurdles were not achieved.

Mr Davis’s total remuneration fell from $7.9 million to $3.7 million.

None of CCA’s senior management team, with the exception of NZ managing director Barry O’Connell, received their short term bonus.

CCA’s new chief executive, Alison Watkins, has launched a broad-based strategic review and flagged a “step-change” in CCA’s fixed costs and productivity in the wake of the profit decline.

CCA has been unable to recover higher costs in Australia because of aggressive pricing in supermarkets and weaker sales in the higher-margin route trade.

Earnings in Indonesia are also expected to fall this year because of increased competition from new rivals such as Big Cola, rising labour and fuel costs and currency depreciation.

Broker CIMB says CCA could cut costs by more than $100 million a year by culling excess stock keeping units or SKUs, closing bottling plants and reducing its merchandise field force.

Brokers such as Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley believe CCA needs to cut prices to better compete against Schweppes, which bottles Pepsi, and come up with new products to satisfy changing consumer tastes.

Standard & Poor’s says CCA’s operating expertise should enable it to arrest the volume and earnings decline in its Australian business in the next two years.

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NSW Waratahs assistant coach says injured Super Rugby players like Israel Folau should have a say on when they’re fit to play

Ready to play: Israel Folau trains with the Waratahs on Tuesday. Photo: Tamara DeanThe voice of players recovering from injury should be heard before a decision is made on whether they should be allowed to play, says Waratahs assistant coach Nathan Grey.
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On Tuesday. the Waratahs deferred naming their team for Saturday’s clash against the Bulls in Sydney, citing the case involving Israel Folau, who was ruled out by the ARU from NSW’s game against the Force last week due to concerns over a throat injury.

However, as the Waratahs wait for the ARU’s position on Folau this week, the team said on Tuesday that if he is given the green light, he will be named in the side for Saturday’s game at Allianz Stadium.

The star Wallabies fullback, who has maintained he is ready to play and was upset about his sidelining last week, trained for the full Waratahs session on Tuesday.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika kept quiet on Tuesday. His mind was focused on preparing his team for Saturday’s game, as well as his SANZAR judicial hearing over a verbal clash with a TV cameraman in Durban which is due on Wednesday.

When asked about Folau, Grey said: “Hopefully he will be cleared to play”.

Grey agreed the view of an injured player should be taken on board before a decision is made on whether he can play.

Folau was angry the ARU made its decision on Friday without speaking to him first, especially after he passed a fitness test during the week and was named in the Waratahs side to play the Force.

Asked if a player’s desire to play should be observed in such circumstances, Grey said on Tuesday: “Without doubt. You would like to think that the most important person concerned in the whole situation would be consulted.

“You take that information on board. Lots of different players have that [situation] during their career – to make those decisions based on experts’ opinions, based on their feelings and whether they are happy to adopt a certain level of risk.

“The welfare of the players is always at the forefront of the decision making, and players are definitely informed on what the risks are.

“It’s a consultative matter. You just have to take the right information, as much information as you can, and make the best decision.”

Grey said he had never experienced a situation where a national body had overruled a selection at such a late time.

But he said the ARU had set a precedent for future cases.

“It’s crystal-balling a little bit, but a precedent has certainly been set on ensuring that the processes [are] set in place … they have just got to be followed,” Grey said.

Asked if he felt Folau would have been played by the Wallabies if last Saturday’s game had been a Test, Grey smiled and said: “It wasn’t so … again that’s crystal-balling. But who knows.”

While everyone agreed the Waratahs are stronger with Folau, Grey said his importance was not just in attack but defence as well.

“People forget that he is very, very good defensively as well,” Grey said.

“He is a very good organiser at the back and takes away a lot of play from his good positional sense.”

However, should Folau not be allowed to play, Grey said the Waratahs were ready to adapt.

“We don’t really know what’s happening there, but if he is out, we have plenty of options like playing Kurtley Beale at the back there,” Grey said.

“In terms of how we want to play the game, [it] doesn’t change very much at all in terms of having Israel at the back or not … but I’m not the only one who would be saying it would be pretty handy to have him there.”

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Wycliff Palu in danger of missing Bulls clash as he mourns father’s passing

Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu and his teammates will understand if their in-form back-rower Wycliff Palu is not able to play following the death of his father last week.
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But on Tuesday, Kepu did not play down the added value that the Wallabies No.8 would bring to the Waratahs for their must-win game against the Bulls in Sydney on Saturday should he muster the strength of will to play.

While the Waratahs last week said Palu’s unavailability for last week’s game against the Force was due to injury, team management revealed on Tuesday that it was because of the death of his father, Lua, in Sydney.

Palu is available for selection this week. Understandably, he did not train with the Waratahs on Tuesday, but whether the bruising ball-running back-rower does play is a question the Waratahs have left up to him to answer.

Kepu said on Tuesday that he has spoken to Palu, and that he and several of the Polynesian members of the Waratahs had planned to visit him and his family for a traditional homage.

“We are emotional people and he is very close to his father, hence why he spent the last few years living with his ‘olds’ [parents] … to help out,” Kepu said on Tuesday.

”He has felt the impact but he is holding himself together strong, and a few of us boys are going to head out tonight and do a traditional token of respect and show our love to him and his family.”

While doubt continues over Palu’s presence in Saturday’s game, Kepu said he hoped if his Tongan-heritaged mate plays he might find a way to “release those emotions and express himself and do what he loves doing outside of his family … and be the beast he can be”.

While he would understand if Palu did not play, he said that his absence in a game is always felt, so great is his impact when he is in top form and fitness.

“There are moments in the game that he can change, [with] big runs or [when he] flattens or turns the mental attitude, or weakens the opposition,” Kepu said. “He brings those attributes and [we] obviously miss that.

“But again, we have Will [Skelton], who has come in and he has done a really good job in the second row and allows ‘Potsy’ [Jacques Potgieter] to have a bit of a break on the side of the scrum from the pushing.”

“[Palu] is severely missed, but we have ability and depth, and if you can’t do that as a team you are not going to win the competition.”

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Eels directors chase pay hike

New blue: Parramatta may be flying on the field but a fresh round of infighting has commenced off it.Directors at Parramatta are asking for their annual payments to be doubled in a move that has sparked a fresh round of tension behind the scenes at a club resurgent on the field but continuing to be riven by factionalism off it.
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The Parramatta Leagues Club board on Tuesday released their resolutions to members ahead of next month’s annual general meeting and among a series of significant mooted changes at Pirtek Stadium is a pay hike for the seven directors.

Members will gather on May 5 and be asked to vote on a proposal to increase each director’s honorarium from $10,000 to $20,000 each year.

There are also two major constitutional changes that could be ticked off if approved by 75 per cent of the members.

Firstly, the board headed by premiership winner Steve Sharp wants elections to be held every three years rather than the present two in an effort to provide some stability to an organisation beset by internal wrangling and power struggles in recent years.

And there is also a bid to install an eighth ‘‘independent’’ director – to be appointed by the board.

However, it is the proposed spike in pay for chairman Sharp, deputy Tom Issa and other directors Peter Serrao, Robert Sassen, Lawrence Shepherd, Mario Libertini and Geoff Gerard that has raised eyebrows in some quarters.

Sharp’s rivals from the camp of Roy Spagnolo – the ex-chairman banned for two years from being a director and whose reign is the centre of a NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing investigation – have seized on the proposal to issue a scathing attack on the former second-rower.

In an email sent to Sharp by his ex-teammate and Spagnolo associate Terry Leabeater and since widely circulated around Parramatta it is alleged that the board originally intended to increase the chairman’s honorarium to $65,000 with a view to making the post a full-time job.

However, that claim was refuted on Tuesday by new Parramatta Leagues Club chief executive Bevan Paul, who drew up the pay rises after consulting Leagues Clubs Australia CEO Peter Turnbull on industry standards.

‘‘They came back with some numbers and I put those to the board and the board agreed with putting an increased honorarium (for all directors) to the members,’’ Paul said.

‘‘No one was really keen to increase the chairman’s honorarium. It was never going to go up to $65,000 and in fact the number wasn’t $65,000, it was $60,000. That’s what the benchmarking came back as. The directors never asked for any particular number.’’

The $20,000 honorarium that members will vote on would, for instance, be more than western Sydney rivals Canterbury pay their directors although their chairmen receive much higher fees. Bulldogs Leagues Club board members receive $12,000 a year but the chairman, George Peponis, gets $50,000 and vice-chairman Arthur Coorey receives $25,000. The Bulldogs football club pays directors a $4000 allowance and $8000 to those on the executive, while chairman Ray Dib gets $70,000 a year to conduct his duties.

By comparison South Sydney and Wests Tigers pay no allowance their board members.

The proposal, and then Sharp’s comments in a story published by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, set off the attack by Leabeater.

The Eels premiership-winning prop made a series of explosive allegations in the email sent to Sharp on Sunday and issued an expletive-ridden text message on Tuesday to the chairman that has also done the rounds at Parramatta.

Reacting to Sharp’s suggestion that ‘‘some background noises’’ remained at the Eels despite their strong start to the season Leabeater took aim at the perceived reference to Spagnolo, who he helped rise to power at Parramatta in 2009 before he was ousted by the Sharp-led ticket last year.

‘‘What you just said about Roy in the SMH article Sharpie means we part friendship permanently, ’’ Leabeater wrote in the text. ‘‘You are a f***ing disgrace denigrating the reputation of the greatest asset financially this club has ever had…I am now your worst enemy.’’

In his earlier email he wrote to Sharp: “Step back take a breath and have a look at the trail of destruction in your teams wake and the scenario that is about to unfold in front of you when you trot out these ludicrous proposed motions.”

Among the allegations raised by Leabeater in the email to Sharp included a claim that the chairman and deputy Issa had been banned from the dressing room by coach Brad Arthur over claims of non-payment of third-party sponsorship to players.

Eels chief executive Scott Seward said the claims about third-party payments were ‘‘factually incorrect’’ and that no one had been blocked from entering the dressing room. Instead, he said a new protocol had been put in place this year by Arthur to keep non-players out of the room until 15 minutes after full-time.

‘‘I don’t think it’s unreasonable. It’s a place of employment, it’s about being professional as a football club,’’ Seward said. ‘‘But no one is banned.’’

Sharp did not return calls.

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Cameron White rewarded with four-year contract extension

Cameron White is to set to finish his Victorian career rivalling Brad Hodge and Darren Berry for most appearances after his robust form was rewarded with a four-year contract extension.
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White has followed James Muirhead (four years) and Aaron Finch (three years) in signing a long-term deal with the Bushrangers.

The Bushrangers endured a miserable 2013-14 Sheffield Shield season but are poised to keep faith with a squad featuring no major changes. They did make a concerted bid to lure all-rounder Sean Abbott, a 22-year-old who bowls with good pace, from NSW but he elected to remain with the Blues.

Apart from the White deal, one of the most interesting aspects of the squad composition, after the first round of contracts, is that it features three spinners: Muirhead, Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland. The latter, favoured during the Ryobi Cup, was off contract but was nevertheless retained.

The confirmed casualties of the re-contracting period are batsman Michael Hill, all-rounder WIll Sheridan and fast-bowler Jayde Herrick. Neither Sheridan nor Herrick played a shield match this season – both were hampered by injury – while Hill made only 21 runs in his three innings. Uncapped all-rounder Ian Holland has also been released.

Late-season debutant Jake Reed, a 23-year-old fast-bowler from Geelong, has been given a full contract, while rookie contracts have been awarded to swing-bowler Ben Askhenazi, 19, and batsman Seb Gotch, 20.

Gotch’s selection came after an ill-fated attempt to pursue an AFL career. Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said he was pleased at the commitment shown by the right-hander since his return to cricket.

“He did it the tough way and came back through the twos, but once he got to Premier Cricket firsts he was a real stand-out player for Melbourne,” Shipperd said.

Veteran David Hussey is poised to accept a player-coach deal that would involve him being captain-coach of the Bushrangers’ Futures League and 2nd XI teams, as well as a backup player for the Shield team. The 36-year-old was dropped during the season but selectors’ intent to move on to younger batsmen was complicated by the team’s poor form and the good form of Hussey, who finished the season with 573 runs at an average of 52.09.

The contract for White will run until mid-2018, shortly before his 35th birthday. It came after a season in which he was named Domestic Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal, won the Ryobi Cup player of the year and returned to Australia’s Twenty20 team. Earlier this month he was also chosen to play for Australia A in a home quadrangular series in August-September.

White has played 98 shield matches for Victoria and within two years is likely to trail only Hodge (140) and Berry (129) for appearances. He has he was “very happy” to have sealed a long-term deal to remain at the Bushrangers.

“I was pretty happy with the way I played. From a red-ball point of view it could have been a lot better – I only made one hundred and probably could have made three or four – and left plenty of runs out there,” he said.

“I can sit back and say I’ve come  . . . and that over the past two years I’ve played as well as I’ve ever played.”

While White’s personal aim is to make Australia’s World Cup squad next year he also desperately hopes to for a return to team success with the Bushrangers.

“It’s an unusual position for Victorian cricket – we haven’t been down the bottom of the table for a long time – so I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some of the young fellas step up and take the team back to the right end of the table,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how we bounce back in the next year or two, or however long it takes.”

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Opportunity knocks for buyers

106/12 Macleay Street Potts Point, exterior. 106/12 Macleay Street, Potts Point, interior.
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10/99 Marriott Street, Redfern.

7 Brisbane Street, Bondi Junction, is now listed for sale at $1.25 million.

3/45 Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill.

The full list of results from Monday night’s Cooley auctions

The advertisement billed it as a unique opportunity in the tightly held inner-city block the Macleay Regis, but at Monday night’s auctions no-one put their hand up.

The apartment at 106/12 Macleay Street, Potts Point, is just one of the properties left on the shelf in the lead up to Easter.

This and many others could be good buying opportunities, coming after the biggest auction day Sydney’s ever seen when 1100 properties were scheduled on Saturday.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley, who presided over Monday’s event at the Double Bay Auction Centre in which just half of the 30 properties sold – nine of those prior – reckons buyers are in the box seat to negotiate a deal before Easter.

‘‘Absolutely, no question,’’ Mr Cooley said.

‘‘There are a lot of vendors who want to sell.’’

Despite a solid 78.1 per cent clearance rate for Saturday, some agents and analysts were wondering whether Monday’s 50 per cent result might have signalled a turn in the market.

Yet Mr Cooley doesn’t think so.

‘‘I think last night was, just to be frank, the type of property we were selling,’’ he said. Most of it was in the upper price range.

Even the agent for the company-title Macleay Regis apartment, Harold Wolf of Belle Property Potts Point, had a logical explanation for the two-bedroom apartment passing in on a vendor bid of $1.35 million.

The reserve was $1.58 million.

‘‘I think the vendor expected a bit too much,’’ Mr Wolf said.

‘‘It was obvious during the campaign that people thought it was in a price range that most people thought was a bit over the top.’’

Australian Property Monitors data shows the vendor had previously tried to sell the apartment in 2011 for $1.85 million and then again last year for $1.65 million.

Mr Wolf said there was one interested candidate who turned up to the auction but didn’t bid. ‘‘They have made an offer which I now need to discuss with the vendor,’’ he said.

Other properties looking for buyers after Monday night included a renovated 115 sqm courtyard apartment with private entrance and north-easterly aspect at 3/45 Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill. That was passed in on a vendor bid for $950,000 through LJ Levi Real Estate.

Its advertisement now shows it as a ‘‘forthcoming auction’’.

A two-bedroom semi at 7 Brisbane Street, Bondi Junction, was also passed in on a vendor bid of $1.1 million. It’s now listed for sale at $1.25 million.

Ray White Bondi Junction/Coogee agent Sam Capra said a couple of people registered to bid but didn’t show their hand.

‘‘I was slightly surprised it didn’t sell,’’ Mr Capra said.

‘‘The last six weeks have been unbelievably busy and it doesn’t help that we’re very close to Easter.

‘‘Last night was also Passover for the Jewish people, so a lot of those people weren’t there and a lot have already gone on holidays.’’

He also isn’t seeing the result as an ominous sign.

‘‘It was just a bit of a flat night, it hasn’t been the tradition.

‘‘Probably within the week we will have it sold.

‘‘We had auctions the week before – in my office we had seven and we sold all seven.

‘‘We have auctions tomorrow night at Crown Plaza at Coogee and I think most of those will go reasonably well.’’

There are also opportunities for buyers in the wash-up from Saturday’s huge auction day, with many vendors who failed to find a buyer now prepared to talk turkey ahead of Easter.

In inner-city Redfern, which was the suburb with most auctions at 17, not all properties found a buyer. Bresic Whitney co-director Ivan Bresic said his vendors at sought-after block The Printery at 10/99 Marriott Street had dropped their price from $1,125,000 to $1,095,000 on Tuesday. It was passed in on a vendor bid of $1.05 million on Saturday.

Both bedrooms open to terraces and both bathrooms and the kitchen have been recently renovated. The pet-friendly apartment also has a courtyard and a garage.

It looks to be good value considering a smaller, less renovated apartment with just one balcony at 13/83 Marriott Street sold for $999,000 just 10 days ago.

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Bondi’s Tea Garden for sale at $40m

On the market … the Tea Gardens Hotel in Bondi. Photo: Tamara VoninskiThe popular Tea Gardens pub at Bondi Junction is on the market with a price tag of about $40 million.
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It comes amid a flurry of pub deals, most recently being the sales of the Bellevue in Woollahra by the John Singleton-backed Riversdale Group, the Beach Palace Hotel in Coogee, worth about $30 million, by Justin Hemmes of Merivale and the Evening Star in Surry Hills.

The Tea Gardens selling agent, Andrew Jolliffe of Ray White Hotels Australia, said it was rare for a freehold asset of this magnitude, position, heritage and earnings capacity to come onto the market.

The seller is an interstate investment group who has owned the asset for the past seven years, which is a typical investment cycle time frame.

‘‘This is undoubtedly a blue chip freehold hotel asset and its close proximity to Westfield’s and Myer’s flagship stores in Bondi, as well as the respective train and bus station interchanges nearby, meaning the level of passing trade and local pedestrian and car activity is staggering,’’ Mr Jolliffe said.

It is set over two levels with in excess of 800 square metres of land including, outdoor areas, a highly sought after balcony, large kitchen operation and 30 gaming machines.

‘‘The latest quarterly Top 200 gaming rankings highlight the hotel’s sizeable jump from 121 in September 2013 to 88 in the state of NSW for the December 2013 quarter,’’ Mr Jolloffe said.

‘‘The annual profit delivered regularly by the Tea Gardens puts it firmly in the A-Grade asset class, irrespective of category, and means that it enjoys similar status to the Coogee Bay Hotel, the Golden Sheaf in Double Bay, the Newport Arms and the recently traded Steyne in Manly and Watsons Bay hotels.’’

Mr Jolliffe expects interest to come from many sources, including experienced long term hoteliers who have been active in the market in the past two years, as well as several sophisticated and well funded investment groups who have also been quietly amassing an enviable suite of high performance and strategic hotel assets.

‘‘Assets like the Tea Gardens are iconic for a reason. The barriers to entry for competitors in such a highly developed area are high, the number of hotels in the broader area is comparatively low to others, and the sheer volume of people in and around the hotel is the very reason assets of this grade are seldom traded.’’

Elsewhere, the management of the Riversdale Group has undergone a restructure, as it prepares to go public later this year.

The co-founder and chief executive of Riversdale, Paddy Coughlan has moved to a new role to focus on boosting the portfolio, through new acquisitions and will work with the backers, Mr Singelton, ex head of Qantas Geoff Dixon and investment advisor Mark Carnegie to create new areas of investment and growth for the group.

Riversdale co-founder Rod ‘‘Ned’’ Kelly will work from Brisbane, where two pubs there now generate about 40 per cent of the business.

The Australian Pub Fund, which owns the hotels and will look to float, will look for a new chief executive to oversee the corporate arm of the business.

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NBN Co spending big to fight off cherry-picking telcos

“This is not just a TPG response plan. This is our plan to bring forward those revenues and also at the same time make it clear that we will respond to competitive threats.” Photo: Daniel MunozNBN Co is set to ramp up its spending to fight would be competitors such as TPG Telecom in an effort to shore up its profitability which it claims is under threat.
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The strategy is part of NBN Co’s response to TPG Telecom’s plan to connect lucrative urban apartment-dwellers with a rival fibre to the basement network.

NBN Co will speed up the launch of its fibre to the premise and basement services for apartments and office blocks to stop TPG from locking customers and building owners into exclusive contracts.

TPG’s share price fell 26¢ on Tuesday to $5.69 per share.

NBN Co’s chief customer officer John Simon is in charge of the project and said the government-funded project had to act quickly to stop TPG and other telcos from destroying its business case.

“If TPG can do it then why can’t six or seven other players do it?” he asked. “Then all of a sudden what you find is the more commercial or lucrative sectors of the market get picked off and you end up with a swiss cheese network.

“This is not just a TPG response plan. This is our plan to bring forward those revenues and also at the same time make it clear that we will respond to competitive threats.”

Mr Simon said NBN Co would not slowdown its construction in regional and rural areas, instead it would ramp up building in metropolitan areas.

TPG’s planned network depends on a legal exception that lets networks built before 2010 to be extended by up to 1 kilometre giving them access to apartment and office buildings. Telstra, SingTel-Optus and Vocus Communications have said they would be interested in using the same loophole to deploy similar networks in competition with NBN Co if TPG is allowed to do so.

Mr Simon said the Federal Government’s latest statement of expectations was partly the catalyst for the new and aggressive plan.

While senior telco industry executives have expressed concerns that NBN Co is using taxpayer funds to shut down potentially competitive markets, Mr Simon said his priority was to keep the company profitable.

“In the absence of a clear statement about any regulatory position we have no choice but to protect the integrity of the plan NBN has and also remembering we have 43 other RSPs that are our customers…and if we didn’t do anything then effectively we’re diminishing our relevance,” he said. “It is taxpayer funded and that’s why it’s important we protect that investment and get the right return for the taxpayers.

“We have no other choice but to make sure we deliver services to these key market segments and also respond to competitive moves.”

TPG declined to comment.

TPG Telecom’s rivals have welcomed NBN Co’s move to tackle the company head on with a ramped up broadband construction rollout.

Perth-based service provider iiNet supported NBN Co’s latest push to take on TPG. Its head of regulatory affairs Steve Dalby said he was worried about TPG being both a supplier of services and competitor against his company in the telecommunications market.

“We have clarity on how we can deliver services to our customers over the NBN whatever the technology platform is but in terms of TPG we don’t have a relationship there,” he said. “So from our perspective we back NBN Co and say ‘get on with it’.

“TPG is a competitor and has a potential conflict of interest about being a supplier and competitor .. and its mandate is to act in the interests of shareholders [but] NBN Co’s mandate is to provide wholesale access to retail service providers.”

But Mr Dalby said the Federal Government had to bear some of the blame for NBN Co being forced to tackle TPG because it had not locked in its NBN plan.

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Alice in Wonderland festival decision due at Cessnock

ADVENTURE: Sydney residents are expected to attend.A MUSIC festival that aims to create an “Alice in Wonderland experience” in the Hunter Valley will go before Cessnock councillors on Wednesday.
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Council staff recommended approval for the festival, which is planned for a May weekend on land at Cedars Mount View resort.

The plan has attracted controversy, with residents in the area divided on its merits.

Festival co-organiser Matt Weir said the focus had been on “residents who are opposed to our event”.

“We feel that there hasn’t been enough focus on the positives that the event could bring to the area,” Mr Weir said.

“There are quite a few residents in the direct vicinity and surrounding area who are looking forward to the festival.

“This is an event that would never usually be in an area like Mount View and I believe they think this is a good thing.”

The festival planned to attract 1500 people, with about 500 vehicles expected from Sydney, along with trucks, 27 portable toilets and 20 showers.

Opponents said the area had a narrow and winding gravel mountain road, which could not handle festival traffic.

They were concerned about noise pollution affecting residents, pets, livestock and native fauna.

Millfield resident Bruce Parkin said some opponents “can’t see past the end of their driveway and sacrifice one or two nights of the year for the benefit of the community at large”.

“There are many local businesses who will do well out of this event, including wineries and holiday cottages,” Mr Parkin said.

A council report said the event was “not incompatible with the existing rural character of the site and surrounding land”.

“The proposal has been modified during the assessment process to ensure the intensity of the festival will not compromise rural land uses of the site or the surrounding area,” the report said.

Oscar Pistorius trial: contradictions mount as athlete faces fifth day of cross-examination

BlogGood morning from Pretoria, where we are in readiness for day 23 of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.The Blade Runner has arrived in court. 
Nanjing Night Net

Walking the gauntlet – Oscar Pistorius arrives for day 23 of his murder trial #OscarTrialpic.twitter南京夜网/xH8ZGhqTRR— Tom Steinfort (@tomsteinfort) April 15, 2014

As ever, much talk this morning about how much longer state prosecutor Gerrie Nel’s cross-examination can go on. Today is the fifth day he has questioned Pistorius – quite a long time by any court standards, I would have thought. But Mr Nel once cross-examined a police chief accused of fraud for eight days, so suppose anything is possible!

As he concluded yesterday, Mr Nel told the court he would this morning embark on a series of questions about “the toilet”. We finished about five minutes early because the prosecutor said he did not wish to start and then have to repeat them in the morning.

So that’s where we’ll resume, I suppose.

Judge Masipa arriving now…

Mr Nel is making an application to adjourn the case later this week for a slightly extended period because the prosecutors need to turn their attention to the rest of their case load. He says the case has gone way over the expected period and says his junior counsel has a matter she must attend in court in next week.

He says he will today conclude his cross-examination, and asks the case resume on May 5.

Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux does not object to the adjournment, and he says the defence case will wrap within a couple of weeks after thatn.

Judge Masipa says she wants to think about it, and will give decision tomorrow.

Mr Nel resumes his cross examination with a good point: “on your version, the deceased must have opened the bathroom window.”

Pistorius agrees: “yes, before she went to the toilet.”

Nel goes on: if his version is true, Reeva would have had to have time to “void her bladder” AND get dressed BEFORE shutting the door.

Pistorius: That’s correct.

It’s a point we haven’t yet heard: the prosecution says there is simply enough time for Reeva to open window in the bathroom, go to the toilet, close and lock the door before Pistorius entered with his gun on his version of events.

Compelling argument – Pistorius doesn’t agree.

Nel suggests, & #Pistorius agrees, that Reeva would have peed with the toilet door open- only closing & locking it as he advanced with gun— Jerome Starkey (@jeromestarkey) April 15, 2014

Nel again compares previous versions, reading parts of Pistorius’ bail application affidavit, and points to differences in versions. There’s no mention of “wood moving” sound.

Q: WHy would you fire when you heard the magazine rack?

A: I didn’t have time to interpret that.

Q: Why would you fire at the magazine rack?

A: I thought it was the door opening … it could only have been the magazine rack in retrospect.

Q: You see, that’s your problem Mr Pistorius – you are thinking of the version, you’re not answering the question.

A: It’s not true my lady.

Q: It’s getting more and more improbable and you’re tailoring as you go.

A: It’s not true, my lady.

#OscarPistorius Nel pointing out if he didnt hear noise of door opening but it was mag rack instead, why was he so scared he had to shoot?— Alex Crawford (@AlexCrawfordSky) April 15, 2014

Nel returns to the jeans, says the fact they are inside out would indicate Ms Steenkamp took them off quickly.

Pistorius now says Reeva was already in her pyjamas when he arrived home, so he doesn’t know why the jeans were on the floor.

Nel: It’s because of what happened int hat room. You had an argument she wanted to leave … that’s the only reason they would be in that state”.

Pistorius says not.

Nel seems to be mopping up a few final details here – zipping from one piece of #OscarPistorius evidence to another.— andrew harding (@BBCAndrewH) April 15, 2014

Interestingly, June Steenkamp is not in court today. Wonder if that’s because she’s been tipped off about a dramatic/graphic climax, like the way Nel started his questioning?

Pistorius: I was screaming. I remember one of the shots hit the frame of the door, it shocked my hands.

Nel asks why if he was doing everything possible to get into the door once he believed he had shot Reeva, why he didn’t put his gun down?

Pistorius: I don’t know, my lady.

He says he was “crying out more desperate”, crying out “Reeva, Reeva”.

#OscarPistorius: I placed the gun on the carpet as I ran into the bathroom with a cricket bat. Nel: so you shoulder charged door with gun— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) April 15, 2014

Nel wants Pistorius to do another demonstration of how he struck the door with the cricket bat.

He has asked cricket-bat-door-expert Colonel Vermeulen to assist, by putting the bat first in the position in the door HE claims it was struck at, and gets Pistorius to hold the bat’s handle in that position.

OP asked to move back and do it again and accidentally bangs the door slightly. #Pistorius— lucy thornton (@lucethornton) April 15, 2014

Pistorius now describes what happened when he broke the door, reaching inside and getting key from the floor.

“I ripped off a bigger panel (of the door) and tried to get in.”

Nel says it’s “important” he explains Ms Steenkamp’s position when he first got into the cubicle.

“She was (pause) sitting on the floor to the right of the toilet..(cries) with her right arm on top of toilet bowl…”

He is crying as he looks at a photograph of the blood-soaked toilet cubicle.

Points at the screen, where there’s “a lot of blood on the seat”.

Pistorius closes his eyes as computer operator scrolls through the pictures. His sister Aimee is in tears watching her brother’s testimony.

Pistorius says the rack wasn’t where it is depicted in the picture – recalls it being to the far right of the picture. That’s another fresh detail we haven’t heard before.

Crying openly now but still composed, as he describes how he “crouched over” his girlfriend, checked to see if she was breathing or had a pulse. Didn’t think she did so pulled her onto him in a bid to try and get her out.

Then he heard her breathing so “I tried to get her up and out of the toilet.” He struggled, as he was on his stumps.

“I placed her halfway between the toilet and the bathroom and tried to pick her up but couldn’t.”

He then saw her phone, tried to use it to call for help but it had a passcode on it so couldn’t get into it, so ran to the bedroom to get his phone.

We now move onto the phones.

Pistorius says it’s possible he put the phone where it is, partially under towel, so the cover came off. But says he can’t be sure because police have moved things and “tampered” with the scene.

The iconic close-up image of the gun, blood, phone and bathmat appears on screen again. #OscarPistorius— andrew harding (@BBCAndrewH) April 15, 2014

Nel says now that he’s found Reeva, would he not have been screaming his loudest, his most upset?

“I don’t understand what the purpose of screaming is,” says he was overcome with sadness at what had happened.

Says when he screamed it was the “state of panic, the not knowing … I wouldn’t have screamed out”.

Nel: “You would expect you then to scream at Reeva. Talk to her.”

Pistorius: “No, I was broken, I was overcome with sadness.”

#OscarPistorius Nel: so you were running up and down screaming but when you saw her you didn’t scream? Oscar: No.— Gia Nicolaides (@GiaNicolaides) April 15, 2014

Pistorius says he carried her downstairs and when he got there he was met by estate manager Stander and her daughter, who said “Ozzy put her down”. He says he beseeched them to help take Reeva to hospital.

Pistorius says he “talked to her … crying ‘Baby please hold on.’ I was talking to her all the time….Reeva..I was praying for her.”

The athlete says he doesn’t remember a lot of what happened immediately afterward.

Nel asking about him telling security ‘everything is fine’, says it was a “mistake” to phone him. That’s how prosecution explains that when the security guard Baba phoned back, Pistorius told him “everything is fine”.

Pistorius rejects the assessment, says it “doesn’t make sense”.

Nel says everything from the time Pistorius picked Ms Steenkamp up and carried her downstairs, is not in dispute. It’s what happens prior to that, that doesn’t add up.”

The prosecutor returns to a picture showing the the magazine rack leg in a pool of blood – it doesn’t appear that it moved, he submits.

“That’s correct, my lady”, Pistorius replies.

Mr Nel says he’s getting lots of notes from his legal team and asks for five minutes to confer with them.

Suspect he’s getting close to the end of his examination in chief. As is often the case as cross-examination concludes, expect there to be a big finish.

Nel will likely put the whole state case to him in graphic detail – making it sound as compelling as possible – and highlight the implausibility of Pistorius’ version.

Mr Nel resumes: “What I’m going to try and show you is there isn’t any blood on the magazine rack and the rack hasn’t moved.”

He reminds Pistorius that his own legal team’s pathologist/expert says the marks on Ms Steenkmap’s back were caused by the magazine rack – not, as the state alleges, by the ricocheting bullet from the shot that missed her.

But you testified that the rack was in the far right of the cubicle – two separate versions,” Mr Nel submits.

Pistorius disagrees – when Reeva fell she might have bumped and moved the rack.

#Pistorius Nel claims blood smears on magazine rack means her head must have hit it.— NickiGoulding_CNN (@NickiGoulding) April 15, 2014

Photo close-up shows that there is indeed blood on the magazine rack. The one leg in the pool of blood shows no movement.

Pistorius dogmatically says the rack wasn’t there, because that’s where Reeva was.

We return to the fact that Pistorius said he had himself to blame for taking Reeva’s live.

Q: Who should we blame for the fact that you shot her? Who should we blame? Should we blame Reeva?

A: No my lady.

Q: She never told you she was going to the toilet, we could blame it on her?

A: No my lady.

Q: Should we blame the government? You must blame somebody.

A: I thought there was someone coming out of the toilet to attack me.

Q: I’m putting to you that there were only two people in the house that night. You killed Reeva and you’re the only person who can give a version of what happened that night. Do you agree?

A: I do, my lady.

Q: I’m putting to you Mr P that it’s so improbable it cannot be possibly true.

A: It is true my lady.

Q: Reeva ate within three hours of you having shot her dead.

A: It’s not true my lady… I can’t possibly believe she has eaten.

Mr Nel is now putting together the whole state’s case, I think he is almost finished.

Q: “You shot four shots through that door, while knowing she was standing behind that door.

A: It’s not true my lady.

Q: you know because she was talking.

A: It’s not true.

Q: She locked herself in the toilet, you armed yourself with the “sole purpose of shooting her dead” and that’s when you did it.

A: It’s not true.

Q: Afterwards you were overcome by what you had done.

A: That’s true…

Q: Because you intended to kil her.

A: That’s not true.

And after four days of cross-examination, Mr Nel sits down.

Extraordinary: #Pistorius psychologist on the relatives bench clapped her hands in silent applause applause when Nel ended his x-examination— Jerome Starkey (@jeromestarkey) April 15, 2014

Mr Roux asks for a short adjournment, Judge Masipa wraps it into morning tea break.

As she has done almost every time there is a break in proceedings, Pistorius’ sister Aimee rushes to her brother’s side to hug him.

Standing in the courtroom, Pistorius can talk to his lawyers for the first time in almost a week. Might be quite an awkward conversation, given how many times he blamed them for missteps during his cross-examination.

He is also warmly embraced by his uncle Arnold. Lots of back-slapping and support. They have avoided him – in court, at least – for much of the past week.

While under cross-examination, no witness is allowed to confer with the counsel.

Update on June Steenkamp – apparently she is sick today, that’s why she is not at court.

Mr Roux has had meetings with his client and team, and will begin his re-examination shortly.

Rules of re-examination are quite strict – he cannot introduce any new material, can only revisit things already said.

Not saying Barry Roux has a temper, but if I were #OscarPistorius I’d be begging for protective custody before he takes me to his chambers.— Phillip de Wet (@phillipdewet) April 15, 2014

Mr Roux resumes. He will be trying to clarify a number of issues.

Roux asks about Pistorius’ claim his gun fired accidentally.

Pistorius: The situation as a whole, it wasn’t meant to be.

Roux: But you pulled the trigger?

Pistrious: I pulled the trigger.

#OscarPistorius Tells Roux what he was thinking, feeling as he stood in front of door. Told Nel he wasn’t thinking at all— Gerald Imray (@GeraldImrayAP) April 15, 2014

Nel has objected to leading questions as Roux tries to resurrect the defence of “self-defence” by showing Pistorius was not acting involuntarily.

Now see a picture of the jeans, and the duvet, as taken by the crime scene photographer. Pistorius says in one photograph the jeans are inside out, in another they’re not.

Roux scrolling quickly through issues raised in cross-examination.

Regarding his bail affidavit, he says he made it without access to any of the statement’s in the state’s case. Mentions Hilton Botha, the disgraced original officer in charge as a reminder about the claims of a dodgy police investigation.

Mr Roux now tenders the Valentine’s Day card Reeva left for Pistorius the night before she was killed.

The athlete struggles with his emotions again as he says the envelope had “Ozzy” written on the front.

Inside, Ms Steenkamp had written: “I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you.”

Pistorius: She signed her name and put some kisses.

Roux has now finished his re-examination. Incredibly brief.

Just two quick questions from one of Judge Masipa’s assessors:

Q: Could Reeva Steenkamp activate and reactivate the alarm?

Pistorius: I’m not sure if she knew how to … but she could if she had the remote.

Q: Was the light in the toilet working or not?

A: It wasn’t working my lady.

Extraordinarily, Pistorius’ evidence has now finished.

He makes his way back to his seat in the dock, where he is once again approached by family members including sister Aimee.

He blows his nose and gathers in a huddle with defence.

Mr Roux requests half an hour to get the paperwork he needs to call next witness; says was caught off guard and thought he wouldn’t need to do that until lunchtime.Back underway. Mr Roux calls Roger Dixon, former forensic geologist with South African Police Service, is now on the witness stand.He was used to be Col Vermeulen’s boss.

He is running through his resume…

#OscarPistorius is sitting back in his usual seat, like a relay runner who has no further control over this particular race.— andrew harding (@BBCAndrewH) April 15, 2014

Dixon says he was asked to examine the lighting in Pistorius’ bedroom. Says to test the level of darkness he closed curtain, turned all lights off.

He says with all lights off includ electronic equipment, you could see nothing at all in bedroom “not even hand in front of face”.

He says the morning of the shooting was a “moonless night”.

Dixon tells the court he went back to house last night.

With the curtain closed, two tiny light-switch lights, CD player on, moon in sky. Still was very dark in Pistorius’ room.

He says the CD player gives off just a little bit of light. With your back to it, you wouldn’t see anything.

Also confirms the toilet light was not working.

Dixon also says he went to the home belonging to the home belonging to neighbours Dr Johan Stipp.

Says a new building now obscures view from Stipp’s house to Pistorius’.

A night time photo is shown of Stipps small bedroom balcony from street at night.

Defence is looking to challenge neighbor Dr. Stipp’s evidence with this expert, Dixon.

#oscarpistorius The Defence is trying to discredit the Stipps’ evidence about what they saw that night.— Laurel Irving (@laurelirving7) April 15, 2014

Dixon points out if your eyes were exposed to light, like closing the curtains, the would take time to readjust to darkness.

He says if toilet door is open, light from the bathroom enter cubicle and light can be seen from both windows.

Series of photos addressing Johan Stipp’s evidence: he saw dim light in the loo window. Dixon shows loo door had to be open. #OscarPistorius— Nastasya Tay (@NastasyaTay) April 15, 2014

Dixon now turns to the toilet door, and the blows to it.

He says there were only three blows to door with cricket bat: upper right hand corner damaged by bat.

Dixon says he took a duplicate door from another room in the house and “did tests in which we hit the door as well as fired bullets through it in order to replicate the effects that would arise when it is hit, damaged, abused in the fashion which is evidence on the door.”

“I hit the door with the cricket bat … it takes a lot of force to break that door.”

Mr Roux says he is going to play the sound recorded by this demonstration. As they get it ready, Pistorius leans forward and puts fingers in his ears.

Ahhh, technical difficulties. Can’t make it work. “I’ll come back to it,” says Roux.

They all want the two week adjournment, so he’s mindful not to waste any court time.

Dixon says they did the bullet tests on a shooting range at night to try to replicate conditions.

One recording station was at 60m, other at 120m.

Brief moment of levity as the assistant’s computer blares another noise.

OP head down, hands holding his head as we hear tests of sounds of shots.— Sarah Carter (@sarzss) April 15, 2014

The court is played the sounds, and must be said they sound remarkably similar.

#OscarPistorius’ team has released this image of the Valentine’s Day card Reeva left for him #[email protected]南京夜网/2LPNmAF9OP— Lisa Davies (@lisazdavies) April 15, 2014

Most reporters are in agreement – while we are no experts, we would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two.

Dixon agrees with evidence of state’s expert Vermeulen on this point: the cricket bat hit door AFTER gunshots.

On an analysis of the door, Dixon says white fibres found there are consistent with this fibre is the white socks worn over Pistorius’ prosthesis.

We take the lunch break.

Fair to say the evidence following Pistorius’ testimony is dull by comparison. Very crucial though, and defence will hammering away at the forensic details.

We resume with Dixon, the defence’s expert on all things door/noise.

We return to the white tufts – Dixon says they are unlikely to have ended up there with a mere “stumbling” into it as the state’s witness Vermeulen asserted.

He also says the varnish on the soles ofthe prosthesis must mean he kicked door very hard.

#Pistorius looks close to complete exhaustion today.— NickiGoulding_CNN (@NickiGoulding) April 15, 2014

Dixon says all marks on the door are similar and share same features, all “in my interpretation, cricket bat marks”.

Now onto image of cricket bat “tip” with a blood smear and blood spots on it.

The defence forensic expert says the blow from the cricket bat would have made the tiles come off the wall.

#oscartrial Dixon makes point door was extremely strong one. OP must have hit it with some incredible force to have smashed thro in 3 blows— Alex Crawford (@AlexCrawfordSky) April 15, 2014

Dixon adds that he couldn’t hit the door hard enough with the cricket bat to make the marks Pistorius did.

Expert explaining angle of bullets and the splinters of the wood after bullets went through door.

Dixon: “Looking at the bullet exit hole – the splinters are larger on the left as opposed to the right of the holes.

“Most unprofessional” – that’s how Dixon has described police walking through crime scene.

He goes on to explain how to minimise compromising the scene – something the Pistorius investigators did not do.

Dixon: One of the shot prints is over a bullet hole – whatever evidence was there has been compromised.

He is talking about the prints found on the door after it was in a police chief’s office for a week.

So true:

Vibe in court so different. Quieter, more sedate without Nel’s flamboyant, dogged prosecuting style taking centre stage. #OscarPistorius— Robyn Curnow (@RobynCurnowCNN) April 15, 2014

Pistorius has put his hands over his ears again and is bending forward – as details of wood splinters are talked about.

Dixon suggests Reeva must have been within 20cm of the door when Pistorius shot her, judging by the arm splinters around wounds. State claims she fell back almost a metre.

The pictures we’ve seen on other days, of the bullet wounds on Reeva’s back, are back up on the screen. Defence says they were caused by magazine rack, but state’s pathologist says by ricocheting from bullet that did not strike her.

Pistorius has his head down, hands over eyes and thumbs in ears.

Dixon: my interpretation of the that they came from when Reeva feel against a hard object, like the magazine rack @eNCAnews— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) April 15, 2014

Mr Roux hands Pistorius a photograph he does not wish to show on the screens “for obvious reasons”. It is a rather graphic photo of Ms Steenkamp, showing her wounds.

Well, even on day 23, we see something we haven’t yet.

The magazine rack has been brought into the court, and passed over to the witness. It now sits atop the desk in the witness box, three metres from the toilet door, still centre stage in court.

Roux brings up police ballistic expert Captain Mangena’s evidence. They want to discredit that.

He says Ms Steenkmap was sitting on the rack for the last two shots.

On Captain Mangena’s evidence that Ms Steenkamp was sitting on the magazine rack, witness says: “I can’t see it happening.”

Mr Dixon says the size of bullet core retrieved from the toilet bowl itself is “inconsistent with having come from one of the bullets that went into the body”.

Dixon is trying to account for all the “bits and pieces” of bullet fragments to back up his theory that marks on RS back from magazine rack.— andrew harding (@BBCAndrewH) April 15, 2014

As it is now 3pm, we adjourn. Another extraordinary day, and tomorrow is day 24.

Back at 9.30am, when Judge Masipa will either grant or reject application by both parties to adjourn on Thursday for two weeks.

That would mean case resumes on May 5.

Pistorius looks utterly exhausted as he hugs his sister and brother closely, before going to talk with his lawyers.

Eyes are sunken in his head and he looks sweaty and tired. No doubt the past few days have been extremely difficult.

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

Labor senator Louise Pratt ‘ashamed’ of factional deal after West Australian election disaster

Penny Wong weighs in Labor debate on policy and reform
Nanjing Night Net

West Australian senator Louise Pratt has broken her silence about the “disastrous” Senate election and declared she is “ashamed” of the factional deal that will cause her to lose her seat to Labor colleague Joe Bullock.

In an admission that it will be almost impossible for her to sneak past Liberal candidate Linda Reynolds with about 5 per cent of votes left to count, Senator Pratt launched an extensive attack on Mr Bullock and sections of the West Australian branch of the party.

Speaking exclusively to Fairfax Media, Senator Pratt said the party was facing “a disastrous result that goes to the heart of the need for reform of the Labor Party”.

She lashed the factional deal between the Right-aligned Shop, Distributive and Allied workers union and the Left-aligned United Voice union that forced her out.

Under the deal, Senator Pratt was pushed down to No.2 on the Senate ticket and Mr Bullock installed as No.1 in exchange for Mr Bullock backing former United Voice secretary Dave Kelly for the state seat of Bassendean.

“The SDA is a large voting bloc in the ALP and they consistently use this bloc to preselect members of Parliament who are anti-marriage equality and anti-choice,” she said.

“I’m ashamed that a factional power grab was privileged over principles held by an overwhelming number of party members in Western Australia.”

Ms Pratt welcomed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s plan for sweeping reforms of the Labor Party that would empower rank and file members, rein in powerbrokers’ influence over candidates and lead to fewer factional bosses  – like Mr Bullock – being preselected for the Senate.

Mr Shorten plans to call for changes to Senate preselection rules that would broaden the talent pool from which Labor chooses its senators.

Senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese told ABC radio on Wednesday that the party needed more rank-and-file participation to prevent the kind of factional deals that were seen in WA.

Mr Albanese, who narrowly missed out on the Labor leadership despite winning a majority of votes among rank-and-file members, backed moves to give the party’s membership a greater say in preselections.

“I think one of the things that we do need to examine is a way in which we make sure that we increase participation in the Labor Party in a way that ensures that you can’t just have a small number of people making the decisions,” he said.

“I think certainly there’s a need for a rank-and-file component.”

Senator Pratt’s departure would be a ‘‘big loss’’ for Labor, he said.

‘‘She was a very good senator. She will remain one until June and I just hope to see her back in some capacity,’’ he said.

“Louise Pratt is very highly regarded in Western Australia and I think it is a very poor result for the Labor Party that we appear to only have returned one senator out of six.”

Senator Pratt declined to be drawn on the need for direct intervention in the WA branch by the national office of the party.

“There is a deep need for reform, however it is delivered,” she said. “I’ll be watching and waiting on that front.”

There is a growing school of thought among some members of the ALP’s 21-member national executive committee that intervention may be needed in the WA branch.

Labor’s campaign in the west was rocked in the final days before the vote when it emerged Mr Bullock gave a speech last year ridiculing Senator Pratt’s sexuality, saying he did not always vote Labor and describing some members of his own party as “mad”.

The current United Voice WA state secretary, Carolyn Smith, has called for Mr Bullock to resign after the result. Labor has won just 21.7 per cent of the vote at this stage.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said that, with about 5 per cent of the vote left to count, “I can’t see how she can get elected from here”.

“Louise Pratt has been falling farther behind ever since they started counting postal votes,” he said. “Liberal votes are well up on postals, the Greens vote is way down.”

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