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Pope urges faithful to find humility

Pope Benedict XVI greets Korean children during the Christmas mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica.VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI hailed Christ’s humility, urging the faithful to look beyond the Christmas ”glitter” and “enlightened reason”, and issued a powerful message for peace.
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”Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity,” the Pope told thousands at mass in Saint Peter’s basilica.

”Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light,” the 84-year-old pontiff said.

The German Pope also called for a strengthening of faith over liberal reason, drawing an analogy with the small doorway of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem intended to defend the church from raiders on horseback.

”It seems to me that a deeper truth is revealed here, which should touch our hearts on this holy night: if we want to find the God who appeared as a child, then we must dismount from the high horse of our ‘enlightened’ reason.

”We must set aside our false certainties, our intellectual pride, which prevent us from recognising God’s closeness.”

He also issued a scathing rebuke against “oppressors” and warmongers across the world saying Christ would be victorious over them.

”At this hour when the world is continually threatened by violence in so many places and in so many different ways, when over and over again there are oppressors’ rods and bloodstained cloaks, we cry out to the Lord,” he said.

”In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause the oppressors’ rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle to be burnt, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours.”

The Pope also voiced a special prayer for those ”in poverty, in suffering, as migrants”.

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

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Tassie boys break national record

FOUR of Tasmania’s most promising young distance runners got an early Christmas present after breaking the 24-year-old Australian record for the under 16 4x1500m relay at the St Leonards Track in Launceston on Friday night.
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In an event held in conjunction with Athletics Tasmania’s Northern Branch’s pre-Christmas interclub meet, the quartet of Ben Robinson, Biniyam Hagos, Hugh Nicklason and Kale Adams shaved nearly three seconds off the mark of 17:08.08 set by New South Wales in November 1987.

The talented Tassie foursome set a new time of 17:05.35.

Athletics Tasmania president Brian Roe said that it was a wonderful result for the athletes and for the state’s youth development program.

“It is really pleasing to see such depth once again in male middle distance running in Tasmania,” Roe said.

“It has been our long-term traditional area of strength but in recent years it has been the throwers and the women distance runners who have produced most of our success.

“This group together with the likes of 16-year-old Jacob Birtwhistle, who has dominated his age categories at national level for the past two years, show that the dedication of our coaches and their young charges, together with our programs like the ATIS development program jointly run by AT and the TIS are enabling athletics in Tasmania to make real progress across the broad spectrum of events.”

Roe said the result was not that surprising considering the talent within the group, but it nonetheless required some additional skills.

“Kale, Bini and Hugh have each been national individual champions in the past 18 months and Ben is showing real improvement which often happens when the age group is strong in a particular discipline,” he said.

“But running individual legs of a 4x1500m relay one after one another is quite different to running as a group to gain individual personal bests in a regular 1500m race.”

He said that the result was particularly impressive when it is considered that Robinson turned 15 earlier this month and Hagos has not yet had his 14th birthday.

The boys will now concentrate on individual success for the rest of the season focusing on the Australian Age Championships in Sydney in March followed a week later by the IGA Tasmanian Track and Field Championships.

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

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Price is right on Knights-Jets disparity

WHAT’S in a jumper? Plenty, going by the Knights and Jets fans.
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The Knights released their 2012 playing jersey last week which included a heritage strip, carrying red-and-blue vertical stripes.

The jersey, which is to mark the club’s 25th anniversary, was inspired by the premiership-winning kits of 1997 and 2001.

It will be worn in several NRL games next season.

The heritage jumper is almost identical to Hunter Sports Group stablemate the Newcastle Jets’ home strip.

The only noticeable difference is that the Knights jumpers has a white collar and trim on the arms, and the Jets have a gold, round neck collar.

Both are produced by HSG’s apparel supplier ISC. But the release has raised questions from fans of both teams.

Knights jumpers are available now at $140 for members ($160 for non-members). The Jets kit will cost $95 ($119.95 for non-members) and won’t be available until next month, a third of the way through the season.

Sidelines has done some investigating – we spoke to the merchandise manager at HSC – and can explain the difference.

The Knights jumpers are made in Australia and therefore can be produced quicker.

They are more expensive because they cost more to make.

A rugby league jumper by design needs to be more durable.

It weighs approximately 195grams and is made up of eight sewn sections, compared to a soccer shirt, which weighs 125grams and is comprised of two sections.

The reason the soccer shirts are made overseas is because the quality is not available in Australia.

If it is any consolation, both the Knights and the Jets replica jerseys are the cheapest to buy in their respective leagues.

While on playing jerseys, fans may have noticed the Jets altered their away strip in Adelaide on Friday night.

The gold numbers and names on the back were replaced with black.

The change was in response to calls from the fans who found it difficult to read the gold.

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Brewer returns home for Craft Beer Week

DROP: Richard Watkins wants Newcastle to be a hub for craft beer. – Picture by Peter StoopRICHARD Watkins knows a thing or two about what makes a good beer and he wants to share his secrets with his home town.
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Mr Watkins, who grew up at Bolton Point, is the head brewer at the iconic Canberra brewpub the Wig and Pen.

He recently knocked up 2000 batches in the brewery at the back of the cramped pub, which specialises in ‘‘real ales’’ and is revered in craft beer circles as one of Australia’s best beer venues.

In town for Newcastle Craft Beer Week, Mr Watkins said he was keen to showcase his beers in Newcastle.

‘‘[Fellow brewer] Lachlan McBean told me how Newcastle has a growing craft beer scene,’’ he said.

‘‘I said to him that if you start [an event] I’ll send some beers. I ended up coming up for it as well.’’

Mr Watkins said he wanted to help establish Newcastle as a hub for craft beer.

On Monday night, he hosted a beer tasting at the Burwood Inn at Merewether, which featured some of his favourite Wig and Pen beers.

For the rest of the week, some of his brews will rotate at Wickham’s Albion Hotel.

Those lucky enough to have booked for the official Craft Beer Week dinner at the Albion Hotel on Thursday night will sample one of his unique beers, a ‘‘funky’’ Belgian-style ale called Bob’s Armpit.

The dinner features seven beers, all paired with a different course.

Bob’s Armpit has been paired with cheese because of its ‘‘strong flavours’’.

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Maitland could get own Arc de Triomphe

– Digital mischief by Tracy PetersMOTORISTS arriving in Maitland could soon be forgiven for thinking they are en route to the Champs-Elysées, with councillors flagging plans for grandiose entrance signs to the city.
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A debate that started with a call for a welcome sign at the city’s western boundary has ended with a call for all of the city’s gateways to be signposted, with some councillors suggesting Arc de Triomphe-style entrances.

Cr Philip Penfold’s notice of motion to define the city’s western gateway was certainly a sign of bigger and better things to come, when his idea snowballed at a meeting on Tuesday night during a ‘‘passionate’’ 15-minute debate.

Councillors voted unanimously for a report on the preferred locations, cost estimates and a recommended plan to erect ‘‘Welcome to Maitland’’ signs at each entry point.

Cr Loretta Baker said that some councillors’ visions for the signs were too grand, likening them to Paris’s Arc de Triomphe.

Cr Peter Garnham said the city’s existing welcome signs were from old promotional campaigns and needed a revamp.

‘‘New signage will instil a great pride of place for the residents of the city,’’ Cr Penfold said.

‘‘It will also add tourism appeal and highlight that we are a city of our own and not what may be seen to be an extension of Newcastle.

‘‘Hopefully a future council resolution, after the report is complete, will allow us to proudly welcome residents and visitors to Maitland with clearly defined signage.’’

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Bush bandit evades capture

SYDNEY – New South Wales’s most wanted man, Malcolm Naden, is probably surviving on raw kangaroo or wombat and won’t be captured any time soon, the mayor of the region where he is believed to be hiding says.
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Locals are fast gaining a grudging admiration for Mr Naden and his ability to use the rugged northern tablelands to evade capture, Walcha mayor Bill Heazlett says.

Mr Naden, a former abattoir worker, has a $250,000 bounty on his head for the alleged murder of his two cousins and the rape of a 15-year-old girl.

But despite a large manhunt involving camouflaged police, high-tech heat-seeking devices, aerial patrols and mobile command posts, he continues to evade capture.

“I think in the short term, they haven’t got much of a hope (of catching him),” Mr Heazlett said.

“In a sense we’re all sort of saying, these Aboriginal bushmen . . . it shows you how good he really is.”

Mr Heazlett, a farmer, said Mr Naden would be more than capable of surviving – as long he wasn’t fussy.

“If he has a gun, there’d be that much kangaroos and wallabies and wombats if you’re prepared to eat them,” he said.

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

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Bond after threat to cut officer’s wife’s throat, urinating in dock

VIOLENT PAST: Kelvin Rees.A MAN who threatened to track down a Newcastle police officer’s wife and daughter and ‘‘cut their throats’’ avoided a jail sentence yesterday after a magistrate said the officer would have had genuine fears given the offender’s violent past.
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Kelvin John Rees, 46, was arrested on August 30 after he sent a number of threatening text messages to his former partner and threatened to burn her house down, a statement of facts said.

Police later arrested Rees when he tried to flee over the back fence of his Metcalfe Street, Wallsend, home.

He was sitting in the dock of Waratah police station when he told an officer: ‘‘When I get out of here I’m gonna f—ing kill you and your family. For $50 I’ll get you shot in the head. I’ll have you shot next month c—. I know your face now. When I get out [my former partner] is f—ed. I’m gonna follow you and your family one day. Wait till I get hold of your daughter and missus. I’ll cut their throats.’’

He later stood up in the dock and urinated on the floor.

Rees pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court to stalking and intimidation, intimidating a police officer and damaging property.

Magistrate Mark Buscombe said it was ‘‘hard to imagine a more threatening threat’’.

As well as several convictions for drink-driving, Rees had numerous convictions for assault and breaching apprehended violence orders including several jail terms.

Mr Buscombe put Rees on an 18-month good behaviour bond and an intensive corrections order for one year.

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New car excitement for champion Vettel

Two-time formula one champion Sebastian Vettel has spoken about his excitement at watching the new Red Bull car he hopes will deliver him a third consecutive title being born.
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The German, in an interview with BBC Sport, said: “We are all curious about the car.

“We see it coming together. It’s like a child being born. I’m not a father but they tell me that’s how it feels.”

Vettel proved he was no one-hit wonder in 2011, cruising to a runaway defence of his title in Japan in October to become, at just 24 years and 98 days, the youngest back-to-back world champion.

He was joining a select club of nine including Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher of drivers to successfully defend the title.

He also established a new world record for most pole positions in a season, his 15 (from 19 races) surpassing Nigel Mansell’s previous mark set in 1992.

In the BBC interview due to be broadcast on January 1, he said he was enjoying the Christmas break after a long season.

“There isn’t much of an off-season, so it’s really important to use that to shut the system down, calm down and charge the batteries – not forget about F1 but forget for a while about all the stress,” he said.

“It all starts from zero again and we all have the same chance.

“I’m looking forward to the competition. We are all very happy with this year, so it wouldn’t be right to ask for more.”

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

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READER’S CHOICE: Cool video of the day

Today’s video of the day features some talented jazz musicians playing to a captive audience. That audience just happens to be made up of cows.
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Check out the video below to see the bovine fans enjoying the music and finding the best vantage point.

Watch this space

Each day we’ll have a new video to provide you with a little light entertainment and we want your help to find them.

Do you have a favourite video you would like to share with us?

Tell us on Facebook or @newcastleherald on Twitter.

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Green backs Forestry bid to operate coastal mill

Bryan GreenActing Premier Bryan Green has backed Forestry Tasmania’s bid to operate the Triabunna woodchip mill as a last resort.
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He said Forestry Tasmania’s willingness to operate the mill if no suitable private operator could be found would test if the new owners were serious about reopening the mill.

On Thursday, the mill’s general manager Alec Marr said Forestry Tasmania would have to stop logging within 572,000 hectares before it would even consider its application.

Mr Green said Mr Marr’s expectations were unreasonable.

“Ruling out any party at this stage as a possible operator of the Triabunna mill is disingenuous and pre-empts the work of the verification group which is assessing proposed high conservation value forests,” Mr Green said.

The forestry industry is already preparing for the likelihood of the Triabunna mill remaining closed and investigating alternative options, but Mr Green said it was vital it be opened as quickly as possible.

Liberal forestry spokesman Peter Gutwein said the permanent closure of Triabunna would provide the government with an opportunity to walk away from the forestry inter-governmental agreement.

But Greens forestry spokesman Kim Booth said the “industrial dinosaur” was irrelevant to the success of the inter-governmental agreement and the transition out of high conservation forests.

“It’s preposterous that Forestry Tasmania would even contemplate such a ridiculous move,” Mr Booth said.

Forestry Tasmania and Aprin Logging, which tried to buy the mill from Gunns earlier this year, are among about eight companies to respond to the call from Triabunna Investments for expressions of interest.

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

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