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TOPICS: In the spirit of figs

DMZ: Fig guardians, above, and security guards, below, who don’t always wear their hard hats. – Main picture by Phil HearneWITH the figs on borrowed time, their watchers cling to each milestone.
Nanjing Night Net

Save Our Figs’ Sharon Healey told us she’d found a diary entry from December 14 last year, about a council resolution she’d thought guaranteed the trees’ future.

Supporters defiantly celebrated that decision’s one-year anniversary.

‘‘Moral to the story: don’t take your eyes off the political ball,’’ Ms Healey told us.

With the figs seemingly safe until the end of the year, the group has invited people to celebrate what they refuse to accept will be their last Christmas.

‘‘You are invited to the Fig Kids Christmas Picnic in gorgeous, fig-lined Civic Park on Sunday’’, a flyer says, brightly.

At the cage fences that lock the street, sprawled supporters keep watch.

Some get there at 4.30am, and are joined after sunrise by pro-fig councillors with coffee.

Like North and South Korean soldiers at the edge of the demilitarised zone, they’re within talking distance of the security guards.

‘‘Some are friendly, others are highly suspicious,’’ SOF sentry Roz Ramplin said.

The watchers are on first-name terms with some of the guards, who don’t all wear the recommended hard hats.

Fig supporters’ phones were busy on Friday morning when a truck and a cherry-picker roared into Laman Street, but it was a false alarm.

They were there to trim trees at the corner of Auckland Street. When the figs’ day arrives, we suspect the city will find there’s life in this protest yet.

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Warning as poisonous jellyfish wash ashore

Binalong Bay beachgoers have reported bluebottle jellyfish sightings for a week.THEY may only be small but their long tentacles pack a punch.
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Known as the “Portuguese Man ‘o’ War”, bluebottle jellyfish have been washing up on popular East Coast beaches and they are revelling in the warmer-than-usual water temperatures.

Although there have been no reported deaths in Australia as a result of a bluebottle sting, the poison leaves human in serious pain.

”The immediate pain usually lasts about 30 minutes with typical oval-shaped welts surrounding redness of the skin,” a St Johns Ambulance Tasmanian spokesman said yesterday.

”The pain is like someone sticking needles into you.

”Some people feel the pain straight away and others feel the effects later on.”

If stung, run hot water over it and if that doesn’t work use an ice pack, the spokesman said.

It is advised people apply the treatment as soon as possible without touching the sting zone as the bluebottle poison spreads further if touched.

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

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Change of priorities for Swansea MP

SURVIVORS: Garry Edwards recuperating with his father Keith in Belmont. – Picture by Natalie GronoSWANSEA MP Garry Edwards says he is reassessing his life and wants to make sure he is around to see his grandchildren grow up.
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As reported last month, Mr Edwards is recovering from an operation to remove a cancerous lung.

‘‘I’ve had to very quickly re-evaluate my whole being,’’ Mr Edwards, 61, said. ‘‘I realise I’m not bullet-proof.’’

Mr Edwards said he would have to make changes to his lifestyle to achieve goals he had set.

‘‘I want to be around to see my grandchildren grow up,’’ he said.

He is recuperating in Belmont, where he is staying with his wife Patria and parents, Keith and Betty.

He said his father, aged 86, was an inspiration.

‘‘He’s survived two heart-bypass surgeries,’’ he said.

‘‘He survived some near misses in the Pacific while in the navy during World War II, including kamikaze attacks. He’s watching his great grandchildren grow up and I’d love to be able to do that too.’’

Mr Edwards, also a Lake Macquarie councillor, said his experience had given him greater empathy.

‘‘It has given me a much greater appreciation of what people, who come to see me with their own dilemmas, are going through.’’

Mr Edwards was grateful for the support and encouragement he had received from family, friends, parliamentary colleagues and residents.

‘‘It’s been touching to see the response from the community, given I’ve been in the seat such a short time,’’ he said.

His electorate office was operating as normal.

‘‘I encourage people to continue to contact my staff for assistance on local issues,’’ he said. “I look forward to getting back to work as quickly as possible.’’

He wished everyone a happy and safe Christmas nd New Year.

Mr Edwards, a Liberal Party member, was elected to Parliament in March, after defeating former Labor MP Robert Coombs by fewer than 1000 votes.

He has served as a councillor since being elected in September 2008.

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Steyn punishes Sri Lankans

Jacques Kallis celebrates his double ton.CAPE TOWN – South African fast bowler Dale Steyn took three wickets to plunge Sri Lanka into deep trouble on the third day of the third and final Test at Newlands yesterday.
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Sri Lanka was 7-219 at lunch, still 361 runs behind South Africa’s first innings total of 4-580 declared.

Steyn dismissed Kumar Sangkkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews as Sri Lanka slumped from their overnight 2-149, adding only 70 runs for the loss of five wickets, despite a flurry of scoring by Dinesh Chandimal, who was unbeaten on 25.

Steyn had figures of 3-56.

Earlier, Jacques Kallis made 224 and made AB de Villiers 160 not out as South Africa made 4-580 (dec).

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

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King Edward Park comes alive with sounds of Christmas

Cadence King, 3yrs, Olivia King, 6yrs, and Shelbi Olive, 6yrs, at the King Edward Park carols. Picture by Ryan OslandTHE air filled with song at King Edward Park last night for the Newcastle Herald Carols by Candlelight.
Nanjing Night Net

An enthusiastic audience of about 9000 took their picnic blankets and settled in for the night to hear festive classics from a range of performers.

Ultra Swing Lounge joined local favourite Adam Scicluna to lead the carols, which were accompanied by the Milton Ward Orchestra.

To see more picturs of the Newcastle Herald Carols by Candlelight, click on the image below.

A number of other performers entertained the crowd sprawled across the grass including the Herald Angels choir and the Scallywagz.

Lord mayor John Tate officially started proceedings at 7pm and celebrations continued long into the night.

The park was packed out with families as young and old got involved in the festive spirit.

Many of the spectators donned reindeer ears and other festive decorations and when the sun went down the candles and glow sticks came out to light up the night.

A special appearance from Santa Claus just days before his big world trip capped off a perfect evening.

If you’re looking for a carols event to attend this evening, Pacific Park will be holding theirs at 6pm. Northlakes Salvation Army Carols by Candlelight is also on tonight at Macquarie College Wallsend. Gates are open now, the main show is at 8pm and fireworks at 9.30pm.

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Legal risk for aldermen

LAUNCESTON aldermen risk Supreme Court action if they privately visit proposed developments or attend public meetings.
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Tasmania’s planning laws lay down precise requirements that permit authorities must follow when determining developments or they face being challenged under the Judicial Review Act.

Legal advice recently prevented four Hobart aldermen from voting on a subdivision near Lady Franklin Museum after they attended a public meeting surrounding the divisive development.

Aldermen and councillors are free to inspect proposed development sites but doing so without following proper procedure, like being accompanied by a council officer, could lead to grounds for appeal in the Supreme Court.

Launceston aldermen regularly inspect proposed developments as a group chaperoned by council building officers.

“The onus is on individual aldermen to deal with a planning proposal on its planning merits within the requirements of applicable legislation,” council acting general manager Rod Sweetnam said.

“According to the government it’s more a case of doing everything right rather than doing anything wrong.

“I understand the challenges that arise when elected officials are required to balance their role as representative of the community and their statutory role to support the land use planning processes,” Minister for Planning and Local Government Bryan Green said.

“ All councils need to make sure that appropriate processes are in place and that decisions are transparent.”

The Hobart subdivision which highlighted the issue was later approved by Hobart City Council’s development and environmental services director after aldermen could not form a quorum.

The project, being undertaken by former state treasurer David Crean, will go before the council again on January 30.

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

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English TV presenter delves into Newcastle’s history

Tony Robinson was in Newcastle today.ENGLISH television presenter Tony Robinson was in Newcastle today, delving into some of the city’s fascinating history.
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Tony Robinson’s Time Walks will feature on the History Channel next year and explores different Australian cities in 10 episodes.

The enthusiastic history buff, who has already travelled to Bendigo and Hobart, has a long-running program called Time Team.

The filming follows the success of Tony Robinson Explores Australia, which featured on Foxtel’s History Channel in June this year.

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Continuing work required on StHelens barway

The St Helens barway was dredged recently, but it is unknown whether that was successful.THE St Helens barway is in reasonable condition but still requires ongoing maintenance, according to St Helens Barway Committee president John McGiveron.
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The channel that runs alongside the rock wall was propeller-dredged three weeks ago, but it is unknown whether that made any substantial difference.

Mr McGiveron said the Pelican Point dredging in March last year made no significant difference.

“It’s pretty much back to the way it was before – that didn’t really solve the problem,” he said.

“It was meant to deepen the channel at Pelican Point but it had no real effect.

“The barway seems to be reasonably stable at this time, but we are still looking for ways to improve the situation.

“We are unsure as to what that work will be but we are not giving up on it.”

Mr McGiveron said the removal of 256,000 cubic metres of sand from behind Blanche Beach in August 2009 stabilised the situation.

“The barway for 18 months was the best it has been for a long time, so it did have an impact, but with the amount of sand there it may need additional work,” he said.

“People should keep it in mind that it will always be a barway and they will never be able to sail big boats or cruise ships in there even at the best of times.”

The sunken 17-metre scallop fishing trawler Anmaropa remains an obstacle but there is no urgency to remove it from the barway.

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

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Newcastle man stabbed in Bali

Kuta Beach in Bali.Two Australian men, including a Newcastle resident, were stabbed during a bar fight in Bali.
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Jake Whitehead, of Newcastle, needed 20 stitches after he was slashed across the chest.

He said he was trying to protect a Balinese man, while inside the Bounty Discotheque near Kuta Beach on Friday.

The other Australian, who lives in Bali, was stabbed in the belly and is in a serious but stable condition.

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Bikie had gun when shot dead in street

SYDNEY – Neal Todorovski armed himself with a loaded handgun moments before his murderer scrambled for his own gun and shot the Lone Wolf bikie dead in Sydney.
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Police allege the 37-year-old and his fellow bikie members John Haper Leger, 32, and Matthew Edward Lewis, 23, were armed when they approached the man in Sans Souci on Wednesday.

Detectives are searching for a dark-coloured Land Rover, which they believe the shooter used to escape the scene.

Leger and Lewis appeared in Parramatta Bail Court yesterday charged with a number of offences including concealing a serious indictable offence.

According to a police statement of facts supplied by the court, Leger, Lewis and Todorovski’s wife were standing over his lifeless body when police arrived.

Lewis, an unemployed Queensland resident, refused to co-operate with police about what happened.

”I’m not telling youse (sic) nothing,” police allege Lewis said.

He was also charged with affray and gave a false name and birth date when first interviewed by police.

Leger allegedly told detectives: ”I’m telling you nothing.”

Police also charged Leger with affray and possessing or using a prohibited weapon without a permit.

The statement of facts alleges that Todorovski had a .22 calibre semi-automatic pistol, Leger had knuckledusters and Lewis had a kitchen knife with a 30 centimetre blade when they left Todorovski’s unit just before noon on Wednesday.

The trio had a brief conversation with a man standing next to the Land Rover, which was parked outside the unit.

Witnesses in the street told police Leger was wearing the knuckledusters when he struck the man in the head before Leger and Lewis continued to assault him. The man broke free, removed a handgun from the vehicle and fired numerous gunshots at the trio.

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

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