Add your custom tagline here.

Medal honours Erebus rescuer

BRAVE: David Armstrong receives his medal from New Zealand High Commission military adviser Lieutenant-Colonel Darren Beck yesterday.ONE of only four Australians to help with the recovery effort after New Zealand’s worst air disaster in Antarctica in 1979 has been honoured with a special medal.
Nanjing Night Net

David Armstrong, of Jewells, was presented yesterday with the New Zealand Special Service Medal at Greenleaf Retirement Village.

Mr Armstrong was an air dispatch Warrant Officer in the army helping unload supplies at the McMurdo Base in Antarctica in November 1979 when Air New Zealand flight 901 crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board.

The flight was the first commercial route to Antarctica for sight seeing and on its 14th trip when the plane flew into the mountain in total ‘‘whiteout’’ conditions.

David Armstrong and his three men were Australia’s contribution to the recovery effort.

The men, whose day job was directing and unloading planes, had the daunting task over the next fortnight of recovering and identifying bodies and belongings, all in sub-zero conditions.

Mr Armstrong, 74, now suffering Parkinson’s disease, said he developed a stutter and shake because of the stress.

‘‘Nobody was to be blamed and everybody got on with the job,’’ he said.

‘‘You imagined what it would be like if your family was on the craft.’’

The special service medal was approved in 2006 and the New Zealand government has been tracking down those involved.

New Zealand High Commission military adviser Lieutenant-Colonel Darren Beck said rescue workers all went above their call of duty during an unprecedented event.

Those involved have spoken of working 24 hours a day covered in black human grease from burned bodies, warding off circling birds, surviving freezing conditions and finally being stranded by bad weather with supplies running low.

‘‘It was the work of people involved that really made it a little easier for families and brought closure to the lives of their loved ones,’’ Lieutenant-Colonel Beck said.

Read More

The Seabellies to play at home for NYE

The Seabellies.IT will be a return to an old stomping ground when Newcastle six-piece band The Seabellies play at the Great Northern Hotel on New Year’s Eve.
Nanjing Night Net

‘‘We used to do a residency at the Great Northern. It was a venue that really helped us hit our straps. We played there on a Sunday night for a couple of years,’’ frontman Trent Grenell told LIVE. ‘‘But we haven’t played there for maybe four years or 4 years. I really have no idea what to expect, so I’m looking forward to it.

‘‘It will be really interesting. We’re usually away on New Year’s Eve playing a show, so it’ll be nice to be home for a change.’’

The Seabellies formed in Newcastle in 2005 and two years later won the 2007 Garage to V competition, edging out more than 400 bands across the country. The win earnt The Seabellies the chance to play alongside the likes of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and The Pixies at Sydney’s V Festival.

The same year The Seabellies took out the major prizes at the 1233 ABC Music Awards .

Many festival gigs followed, along with several local and international supports, including for Evermore, Something for Kate and Augie March.

In 2010 the band released its debut album By Limbo Lake, which Rolling Stone magazine described as ‘‘bustling, widescreen indie rock’’.

Fans also warmed to their indie tunes with sweet melodies and trickling guitars including Young Cubs, Heart Heart Heart Out, Prairie, Trans Ending and Board the Apartment Up.

The six-piece is back in Newcastle ‘‘in full pre-production mode’’ for its next album after stints in Melbourne and Europe to write the material.

The Seabellies spent a month in Melbourne writing and playing shows in late 2010, when the band hit the headlines after a group of thugs attacked them.

They recuperated in Newcastle and played a few east coast festivals before heading to Europe on their own journeys, reconnecting later in Berlin to write.

‘‘We wanted to see how getting away would influence our writing, it was different in Melbourne but it wasn’t quite different enough. We were being influenced by similar things, but we had some different ideas in Berlin certainly,’’ Grenell said.

The frontman said that both a change of scene and exposure to new types of music in Germany helped kick-start the creative process.

‘‘It was a bit of both really, just different experiences from general life. There are a lot of different types of bands and genres of music across Europe,’’ he said. ‘‘It was six months in Berlin and we had access to a studio right in the city, the Eastern Bloc.’’

The Seabellies didn’t play shows during their six months in Berlin. They focused instead on writing and demo-ing songs ready to record next year in Sydney.

‘‘We’d just come off our album cycle and toured five singles and so we all just took off and did our own thing and reconnected in Berlin. We just started getting back into it, it was more of a writing mission than anything,’’ Grenell said.

‘‘It’s been five years of touring so at the end of the album cycle we just took a few months off. It’s hard to schedule six different lives and you don’t have a lot of down time when you have singles to tour, so it was nice to have a little breather. It doesn’t take long before you realise you’re itching to play again; I can’t wait.’’

The new album, which is as yet unnamed, will be recorded with what Grenell refers to as the ‘‘A Team’’: Berkfinger from Philadelphia Grand Jury and Tim Whitten (Powderfinger, Hoodoo Gurus, Augie March).

Grenell said the new material had a link to By Limbo Lake but also marked a progression for the band.

‘‘Melodically it’s not a far cry from what we’ve done before but it’s going into a bit more experimental territory. Essentially we’re a melodic-based band,’’ he said.

‘‘Our first album was written while talking to a lot of record companies so we had a lot of mixed messages and were pandering to a lot of people. It was kind of not-the-most comfortable and natural situation to make an album. But this time we’re completely comfortable and had a lot of support from our publisher. It’s a more natural and organic way to make a record.’’

Grenell said the band had learnt lessons during the six years since forming and is in a good place to record its sophomore album.

‘‘We’ve got the things in place that make it a lot easier for us these days. It’s still a very tough industry, but we’ve managed to get a lot of support for our music and we just want to put albums out and tour and things like that.’’ Despite assumptions that country cousins can face more of a struggle to get into the music industry, Grenell said coming from Newcastle worked in the band’s favour.

‘‘Initially when we started to try and hit the Sydney scene it was a positive. It seemed to work out for us. When it comes to photo and video shoots, people from Sydney love the fact we’re from Newcastle and are always pushing to do things in Newcastle. It’s a different vibe.’’

Sadly, Grenell has witnessed an increasing number of live venues closing in both regional and capital cities in the years since The Seabellies formed.

‘‘Some have closed in Newcastle and Sydney recently. In the last year Sydney has just been decimated,’’ he said.

While the band has no New Year’s resolutions yet, scoring a spot in the triple j Hottest 100 for its song Board The Apartment Up would be a bonus. To vote click here.

The Seabellies will play at the Great Northern Hotel on December 31, with support from The Owls. Tickets at thegreatnorthern.oztix南京夜网.au.

Read More

Pattinson out due to injured left foot

James Pattinson, Shaun Marsh and David Warner celebrate after Pattinson takes the wicket of Virat Kohli.SYDNEY – Australian quick James Pattinson has been ruled out for the remainder of the Test series against India due to a left foot injury.
Nanjing Night Net

Pattinson reported pain in his foot during India’s second innings of Australia’s innings and 86-run win at the SCG.

The 21-year-old was taken for X-rays and scans shortly after the end of the second Test yesterday where he was cleared of stress fractures but it was revealed that he had developed the early stage of stress-related bone trauma on his left metatarsal.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarity said the Victorian right-armer, who has taken 25 wickets since making his Test debut against New Zealand in Brisbane, would probably have been rested for the Perth Test regardless of his injury status.

Pattinson becomes the second young quick to fall foul of a foot injury with New South Wales teenager Patrick Cummins ruled out of the entire summer after injuring his heel in his stunning Test debut against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Queensland paceman Ryan Harris is now all but certain to come into the Test line-up after missing every Test this summer in his own recovery from injury.

NSW left-armer Mitchell Starc, who featured in both Tests against New Zealand but has yet to feature in the Indian series, will come into the squad for the third Test as Pattinson’s replacement.

“This young man has played in four Test matches over a period of just five weeks,” Inverarity said of Pattinson.

“This intention to rest Pattinson has become a necessity after post-match scans have revealed James’s foot injury.”

Australian physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said the paceman would be managed for the “next few weeks” and ruled him out of the remainder of the series.

Pattinson’s omission is the only change from the squad which defeated India in Sydney, with all-rounder Shane Watson still not deemed fit enough to be considered for selection.

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

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

Read More

Ash Grunwald loves the troubadour life

FREE AS AIR: Provided he’s got that good old guitar, Ash Grunwald’s halfway to heaven.THERE’S a special bond between a blues man and his guitar, whether it is on the road or on stage. Blues and roots musician Ash Grunwald is no exception.
Nanjing Night Net

‘‘I’m so thankful to that guitar for taking me around Australia and around the world and seeing it in that much detail,’’ Grunwald told LIVE. ‘‘I love the one man band format, that’s what I did for so many years. There’s a different purity in just doing a solo set.’’

‘‘I took to the whole touring thing with a lot of vigour. I really do love that about the job. The tough life on the road was romanticised for me and that’s what I wanted, I never even had aspirations to play overseas and now I’ve played over the world.’’

Grunwald has spent the best part of a decade travelling around the country with his guitar in tow and has released eight EPs and albums along the way.

His track Breakout won the APRA Music Award for Blues and Roots Work of the Year in 2010. His album Hot Mama Vibes was nominated for the ARIA for Best Blues and Roots Album alongside the work of Dan Sultan, Jeff Lang, the John Butler Trio and The Wilson Pickers.

As well as critical acclaim, Grunwald has also built a loyal legion of fans who lap up his blues, funk and progressive sound.

By now, he’s well accustomed to playing both as a solo musician and with a band. He relishes touring and travelling alone (‘‘you’re more open to new experiences’’) and casually brushes off perceptions of the difficulties of being on stage alone.

‘‘I’ve got to say, it’s actually a bit of a scam really. People often say wow, it’s amazing how you can hold an audience, it must be lonely up there or whatever,’’ Grunwald told LIVE. ‘‘But if you’re up there by yourself on stage, you draw the audience in as your friends. As soon as you have one harmonica player with you or one guy on percussion, then it’s you and the team presenting to the audience and you’ve lost the link you had when you were solo. So I think its easier to connect with audiences solo for sure.’’

Grunwald also has a following overseas and has played gigs across Europe and Asia. Surprisingly, the blues and roots musician said audiences in different countries seemed to connect with his sound in the same way.

‘‘The most startling thing is a lack of difference. The two most interesting places are probably France and Japan,’’ he said. ‘‘To see those people reacting the same way as Australian audiences is amazing. You think, wow, the power of music and, I’ve been working so hard on crafting these lyrics and they can’t even understand what I’m saying and it’s still the same. There’s probably more we get from music on that animal level than we do on an intellectual level.’’

Next year Grunwald will tour Canada and Europe and play his first shows in New Zealand. Even after years on the road, it’s obvious he still enjoys playing to live audiences the world over, whether it’s in brief sojourns or longer journeys.

‘‘As time has worn on, especially when my touring entourage got bigger and bigger, it became more of those blocks – you go out and do the album tour and that’s it. But then there is more of the blues troubadour in me that just wants me to just keep gigging and stay on the road.

‘‘For me, the road has often been more of my home than my home. It’s where I write my songs, where I test stuff and a lot of my songs over the years have been written as I perform them. That influence has kept me kicking [on with touring] a little bit more than your average camper.’’

This tour is no exception when it comes to road testing new material, with Grunwald planning on playing some of the 16 or so new songs he’s already recorded for the album, which should be finished by April or May.

The tracks were recorded at Grunwald’s home studio – his pride and joy – stacked with vintage gear.

‘‘My studio I am absolutely in love with and as it was being built I was on eBay buying really good gear and I’ve been really happy with the way it has been going,’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted to get stuff to be able to do something absolutely 100per cent record quality so that every time you record something it’s valid.’’

Ash Grunwald plays Lizotte’s Newcastle on December 28. More information and tickets at newcastle.lizottes南京夜网.au/live/.

Read More

Causing no offence

Do I ever regret offending anyone? Of course I do, especially when the offence is unintended or unwarranted! The problem is that I don’t think I’ve offended anyone without intention or good reason this year, and so I’ve been having great difficulty writing my annual column of regrets. To help flesh out the required space, in the newspaper at least, I’ve been reduced to regretting offence that was warranted, although in some cases I could not, despite my need, offer even a fleeting regret.
Nanjing Night Net

My list of possibly regretful columns includes labelling female donkey drivers as jennies and my call a few weeks later to bring back the curtsy. However, even including warranted offence in my regrets list is not enough to express regret for unifying the thousands of pear-shaped Ulysseans and their pear-shaped boilers who spent days wobbling about the Lower Hunter on their ocean liner bikes in March, but there is one teeny little matter. When I suggested that people checking out the Saturday display of bikes might be wise to find out exactly when the 89-year-old Ulyssean with the Russian motorbike would be riding back to Queensland I didn’t mean to enrage him. Not at 89.

As short as I am of 2011 regrets I cannot bring myself to regret the offence caused to some men by my column in May describing their use of public toilets as sex venues as posing a threat to children.

In writing about the monster steak and monster burger eating challenges at Cardiff Panthers and Wests Mayfield in August I offended people of Cardiff and Mayfield by describing those suburbs as epicentres of obesity. This was, I accept, unduly unkind to Mayfield.

And what about my cat’s broken leg! My decision, after careful inspection and consideration, that Tilly would do a fine job of mending her broken leg came under sustained attack from almost everyone, and the fact that Tilly’s leg did mend seamlessly didn’t seem to matter to them. Well, I’m sorry, but I have to say that when I think of the money I saved on veterinary bills I’m not very sorry.

Have I offended you this year? Today’s the day to demand an apology or give me a lashing, or both.

Read More

Cyclists warned about blocking

BALLARAT – Australian road cycling championships boss John Craven has warned against ”blocking” tactics in the weekend’s bumper races, warning riders face disqualification.
Nanjing Night Net

Technically, the men’s and women’s elite road races at the national titles are individual events and collusion is banned.

But road racing is essentially a team sport and the new Australian GreenEDGE squad will have a massive presence in today’s 102 kilometre race for women and the men’s elite 162km race tomorrow.

There will be much smaller teams outside the men’s GreenEDGE team and the women’s GreenEDGE-AIS squad and riders will clearly form alliances in a bid to combat the new ”super team”.

GreenEDGE will have 16 entries in the men’s elite field of about 150.

GreenEDGE’s presence adds an intriguing new element and Craven predicts the men’s event will be one of the best road races in Australian cycling history.

”It’s the responsibility of the chief commissaire and his deputies to make sure the race is run fairly and with integrity,” race director Craven said.

`”Any unfair tactics, such as blocking, will, I am sure, be dealt with severely.”

Craven said it was practically impossible to stop riders working with each other, regardless of whether they were wearing the same jersey.

”It’s more than a grey area – in a lot of cases, it’s an unidentifiable area,” he said.

But some of Australia’s top commissaires, including chief judge Peter Tomlinson, will be in charge of the weekend’s road races and Craven strongly backed their ability to officiate properly.

The biggest potential concern for Craven is blocking, where riders impede opponents who are trying to chase down a break.

”I have absolute confidence in the commissaire’s panel to deal with any situation as it arises and they will do it with commonsense and integrity,” he said.

New GreenEDGE recruit Alexis Rhodes will defend her national road race title today, two days after winning her fourth national criterium championship.

It was her first race since surgery last July, but she blasted away from the field for an outstanding solo win.

”Obviously there’s a bit of form there,” she said.

”Defending champion, everyone is going to be watching me and I did show my cards on Thursday, which wasn’t really part of the plan.

”The good thing is, while I may or may not win it, I have some pretty good teammates.”

The men’s under-23 122.4km road race will start at 9.30am today, followed by the women’s event from 1.30pm.

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

Read More

Thief targets cancer charity

Deborah De Williams and dog Molly with Running Pink collection buckets similar to those that were stolen. Picture: SCOTT GELSTONBREAST cancer survivor Deborah De Williams is outraged that a woman has stolen funds raised for people dealing with breast cancer.
Nanjing Night Net

Ms De Williams dispatched 10 donation tins to Launceston businesses late last year to raise funds for her charity, Running Pink.

However, when she went to collect the tins, she found many had already been taken by a woman posing to assist the charity.

Ms De Williams said the woman – described as middle-aged, medium height and with dark hair – had flashed a driver’s licence to shop assistants and pretended she was friends with Ms De Williams before taking off with the tins and money.

It is estimated the four stolen tins contained more than $1500 in total.

“What upsets me the most is that she’s a female taking from other women,” Ms De Williams said.

All funds raised through Running Pink are donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to assist with its research and survivor programs.

For Ms De Williams, the theft is disheartening as she knows what it’s like to deal with the life-threatening disease after being diagnosed with it in 2006.

She said the funds were vital to help people who had gone through the disease and to assist in research.

“Running Pink is about helping women gain back self-esteem and self-confidence and giving them inspiration to go forward after breast cancer,” she said.

“I’m a survivor so I know what it’s like. It’s something that changes your life. It’s very personal and dramatic. You’re never the same.”

She said it was hurtful that a woman would stoop to such a low level.

“I want to see this woman who has taken the money from the other women and say to her, I hope you never get breast cancer, because it’s a terrible disease that affects your physical and emotional well-being for a very long time.”

Ms De Williams has reported the theft to the police.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Launceston CIB on 6336 3915 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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

Read More

Kade in pole position for All Stars selection

Kade Snowden is the Knights’ top pick so far for the All Stars match. – Picture by Simone De PeakKNIGHTS ‘‘big three’’ Kurt Gidley, Aku Uate and Darius Boyd are unavailable for the NRL All Stars game in February, leaving former NSW and Australian prop Kade Snowden as the club’s most popular player in the final days of preliminary voting.
Nanjing Night Net

Gidley represented the Knights in the first two All Stars games. He was voted in by the public for the inaugural match in 2010 and was one of coach Wayne Bennett’s two selections this year.

Uate was voted in as the Knights’ representative this year and, as a NSW and Australian player and two-time Dally M winger of the year, would have been a runaway pick for the game against the Indigenous All Stars at Skilled Park on February 4 if available.

But the Fijian-born flyer underwent minor surgery on his knee late last month and he and Gidley, who had clean-up operations on his ankle and knee in October which ruled him out of the Four Nations tour, are yet to begin full pre-season training.

Boyd, who like Uate represented Australia in the Four Nations tournament in the United Kingdom last month, was excused from summer conditioning with his new Newcastle teammates until they returned from their Christmas break on January 2.

Gidley suffered a knee injury when tackled by former Knights teammate Cory Paterson in the inaugural All Stars game and missed the first five rounds of the NRL season.

Snowden and former Queensland forward Neville Costigan are leading the Newcastle voting, ahead of Chris Houston, Junior Sa’u, Jarrod Mullen and Wes Naiqama.

Former Knights captain Danny Buderus, who has recently been added to the voting list, could make a late surge this week to challenge Snowden and Costigan as the club’s two forwards.

If there is no change to the current order by midnight Friday, Snowden and Costigan (forwards) and Sa’u and Mullen (backs) will be the four Newcastle players on the final short list of 64.

A Belmont North junior who captained the Knights to an SGBall (under-18) premiership and Jersey Flegg (under-20) grand final, Snowden has rejoined the Knights after spending the past four seasons at Cronulla, from where he represented NSW and Australia.

The 24-year-old former Australian Schoolboys skipper must still prove he has overcome a bulging disc in his neck. If he struggles with contact drills at training next month he may have surgery which could delay his start to next season.

Online stage-one voting at www.nrl南京夜网.au/allstars closes at 11.59pm on Friday, and the top two forwards and backs from each club will form a final short list of 64 players.

Bennett, who took the reins at the Knights three weeks ago and is preparing for his third game as NRL All Stars coach, will then classify them into positions for final selections.

Stage-two voting will be held from December 27 until January 18, allowing the public to choose one player from each club. Those 16 will join New Zealand Test captain Benji Marshall, who will lead the NRL All Stars, interim Australian captain Cameron Smith, and two ‘‘coach’s picks’’ in the final 20-man squad.

The Knights do not have an Indigenous All Stars representative.

Read More

Call for Mubarak to hang

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is facing trial for the death of protesters.CAIRO – Prosecutors have called for Hosni Mubarak to be hanged, saying he bears full responsibility for the killing of protesters during the uprising against him, in a courtroom moment unthinkable only a year ago when Egypt’s longtime leader held unquestioned power.
Nanjing Night Net

The demand for the death penalty at the 83-year-old former president’s trial played to the widespread resentment of Mr Mubarak among Egyptians who hoped that punishment for his oppressive rule would be fruit of the Arab Spring.

Still, some of the activists who helped topple him are sceptical the sentence would ever be carried out, if he is convicted.

A conviction would be followed by a possibly lengthy appeals process that the ailing Mr Mubarak’s lawyer would likely draw out, and Egypt’s new rulers – the military – have the power to veto a death sentence.

Mr Mubarak has been brought to every hearing since his trial began on August 3 on a hospital gurney, wheeled into the courtroom cage where defendants are held, alongside his two sons, former security chief and six top police commanders.

Yesterday, prosecutor Mustafa Khater gave a passionate speech demanding the death penalty for Mr Mubarak, former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly and four of the police commanders.

They are charged with complicity in the deaths of some 800 protesters during the 18-day uprising that led to Mr Mubarak’s fall on February 11.

“Retribution is the solution. Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants,” said Mr Khater, one of five prosecutors in the case.

“We feel the spirits of the martyrs flying over this hall of sacred justice, and those who lost their sight by the bullets of the defendants are stumbling around it to reach the judge and demand fair retribution from those who attacked them,” he said.

“The nation and the people are awaiting a word of justice and righteousness.”

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

Read More

Green turning focus to improved putting

HIT AND MISS: Nathan Green in action during the Australian Masters at Victoria Golf Club.NATHAN Green will reassess his putting style for next year’s US PGA Tour after his form on the greens cost him a chance of winning the Australian Masters on Sunday at the Victoria Golf Club.
Nanjing Night Net

The Toronto touring professional was equal third at nine under par, four shots behind 54-hole leader Geoff Ogilvy and two adrift of eventual winner Ian Poulter, going into the final round.

But eight bogeys on Sunday ruined his winning chances and he finished equal ninth with a five-under total of 279 – 10 shots behind Poulter.

‘‘I still finished top 10 but I felt going into the last round that if I played the way I had been I was a chance, but it depended on what the top guys did and Ian had an unbelievable round,’’ Green said.

‘‘The first two rounds I was doing it pretty cruisy and hitting them solid.

‘‘I had seven or eight three-putts for the week, which isn’t good, but I gave myself opportunities and my attitude was good until the last seven or eight holes when I ran out of steam.’’

It is the high number of three-putts which is Green’s main concern heading into the Christmas break.

This season Green has switched mid-tournament between a normal and cross-handed putting grip, and he did so again at the Masters.

‘‘I putt decent cross-handed, so if I feel a bit nervous I can change and it doesn’t affect me a great deal,’’ he said.

‘‘I’d prefer to putt normal handed, but sometimes it doesn’t feel too solid. I’m going to have a look over the next couple of weeks before I head back to work out what method or what I’m going to use.

‘‘I’ll have to persist with what I’m doing or try something different.’’

The cross-handed grip allows your shoulders to line up square with the target, but has an uncomfortable feel.

Green has always used a short putter but said he was open to trialling a belly putter or a long putter, which Australian Adam Scott has switched to with success.

Today Green will line up at Cypress Lakes for the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic.

His celebrity partner at the annual social charity event will be Channel Nine sports presenter Tim Gilbert.

‘‘It’s a bit of wind down and I’ve only played at one tournament in Australia this year so I haven’t really caught up with many of the people there,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s like a Christmas party for golfers.

‘‘I came through the Jack Newton Junior Golf program, so it’s always something I’m happy to come back for.’’

Read More