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Rhodes rides her way to victory

Alexis RhodesBALLARAT – Alexis Rhodes has marked another dramatic turning point in her cycling career with a commanding win on day one of the Australian road championships.
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Six months after season-ending surgery and two months after her professional team suddenly folded, the 27-year-old staged a daring solo break to win the women’s elite criterium title on the main street of Ballarat.

Also last night, Anthony Giacoppo again showed he was a rising star by winning his first Mars senior national title in the men’s elite criterium.

It was Rhodes’s fourth senior Australian title in the criterium and she is also defending champion for tomorrow’s road race at nearby Buninyong.

“I can never seem to get away from them, actually – they seem to follow me everywhere,” Rhodes joked of her latest criterium crown.

This was Rhodes’s first race since July’s operation to fix a blockage in the artery that supplies blood to her legs.

Fellow cyclists Stuart O’Grady and Travis Meyer have needed the same surgery.

“I had a lot of scar tissue there, so they had to open my stomach up, clean my artery out and make a little graft and sew it back together again,” she said.

Rhodes had returned to training when she found out via a text message in late November that the Garmin women’s team had folded.

After some frantic negotiations, she was able to join the new GreenEDGE-AIS women’s team.

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

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Gerrans wants early edge for Europe

MELBOURNE – Australian cycling star Simon Gerrans has double the motivation for a big result at Sunday’s national road race championships.
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Gerrans is a key rider in the event for new Australian professional team GreenEDGE, which has made no secret of its determination to take the prized national champion’s jersey into its first European season.

GreenEDGE has stacked the 163.2-kilometre race, entering 16 riders in the quality field of more than 150.

Gerrans finished third in the race last year and the hilly 10-kilometre circuit at Ballarat suits his strengths.

But the 31-year-old Victorian is also riding the Tour Down Under in Adelaide next month with ambitions for the Ardennes Classics.

The three classics in Belgium and The Netherlands are among road cycling’s biggest one-day races.

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

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Raymond Terrace p-plate driver allegedly caught speeding

A p-plate driver was allegedly caught travelling at 158 kilometres per hour in a 110km speed zone at Raymond Terrace yesterday.
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Police were conducting patrols on the Pacific Highway, when they detected the vehicle allegedly travelling above the speed limit around 2.30pm.

Police stopped the car and spoke to the 21-year-old driver before issuing him a fine for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45kmh. His drivers licence was immediately suspended.

Traffic Services Branch Operations Commander Superintendent Stuart Smith said the fine for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45kmh was $1915.

In another incident, shortly after 4pm, a 16-year-old male driver was stopped on the F3 at Berowra after police noticed the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.

Police found that the driver and his front-seat passenger only held learners permits. A passenger in the back of the car held a current NSW licence.

The boy was reported for being an unaccompanied learner driver, not displaying ‘L’ plates, and driving with an unrestrained passenger. His licence was suspended.

Police said both incidents were a reminder to stick to the speed limit and to wear a seat belt.

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Jail term for ex-cop unchanged

JAILED: Former policeman Michael Sills has had his appeal quashed.A FORMER police officer jailed for his role in the theft of $134,000 from Toronto RSL Club has failed in his bid to have his sentence reduced.
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Michael Sills was jailed for three years with a non-parole period of 18months earlier this year and will be eligible for parole next May.

The Court of Criminal Appeal rejected his appeal last week.

Sills was a bankrupt gambling addict when his sister, Merrissa Sills, hid inside the club until the early hours of August 10, 2008, then removed the cash from a safe.

The money was never recovered and the club was only partially insured.

Ms Sills was previously sentenced to three years’ jail. She claimed that she received only $20,000 from the heist while her brother took the rest.

Michael Sills claimed that he only received $3800 and pleaded guilty to assisting Ms Sills after the theft and receiving some of the cash.

Ms Sills had been a shift manager at the club until she lost her job several months before the theft.

She secreted herself in a part of the club closed to the public then emerged after the club had shut.

She broke into the count room and knew where to find the combination for the safe before opening it and removing the cash.

She then opened the front door and walked to her brother, who was waiting in a car.

Michael Sills, formerly of Bateau Bay and The Entrance, was a police officer who later worked as a civilian with the force before going on sick leave.

Justice Clifton Hoeben said that ‘‘in the circumstances of this case, the sentence was modest’’.

He said the sentence was necessary due to the nature of the crime.

‘‘Given the obvious planning involved and the significant sum of money taken, of which none has been recovered, I am of the opinion that no lesser sentence than that passed … is warranted,’’ Justice Hoeben said.

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Pup the top dog

Michael Clarke.Australian captain Michael Clarke is hoping his decision to call time on the standout innings of his career will pay dividends with an SCG Test win over India.
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Clarke scored a tremendous 329 not out – the highest Test score at the SCG – yesterday but surprised everyone in the iconic ground when he declared midway through the day with Australia on 4-659 in reply to India’s 191.

At stumps on day three the tourists were 2-114, still 354 runs in arrears with Gautam Gambhir (68) and Sachin Tendulkar (8) at the crease.

Clarke’s knock was the fourth-highest by an Australian in Tests but with Sir Donald Bradman and Mark Taylor’s 334 in sight, Matthew Hayden’s 380 and even Brian Lara’s world record 400 coming into consideration, his decision to declare baffled many.

Clarke, who ended the innings with Michael Hussey unbeaten on 150 after the pair put together a 334-run fifth-wicket partnership, said personal honours hadn’t come into his mind as he aims to put Australia into an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.

“If I managed to pass them before we got a 450-run lead then it would have been fantastic,” Clarke said of the records.

“I didn’t expect to score 300 in one innings so the fact I’ve done that, I’m just stoked with that. All the other records, well, I’m happy where I sit to be honest.

“It feels pretty good but I don’t think it’ll sink in properly until we win the Test match.”

Clarke and Hussey helped Australia post its largest team total since July 2009 when it made 6(dec)-674 against England in Cardiff.

It was also the first time since that Ashes Test that three or more batsmen have scored centuries for Australia, with Ricky Ponting making 134 on day 2.

It completed a remarkable turnaround for the hosts, who lost just 1-622 runs after Clarke joined Ponting at the crease when Australia was 3-37 on day 1. In the end, Clarke batted for 617 minutes, hammering 39 fours and one six, and he said mental application to stay at the crease was the toughest part of his mammoth knock.

“I’ve never batted that long in any form of the game, in any team in my career,” he said.

“Physically I felt pretty good . . . it’s just the mental application and concentration.”

Ben Hilfenhaus (2-37) rewarded his captain’s sacrifice when he removed Indian opener Virender Sehwag (4) before tea.

The Tasmanian came back after the break to snap an 82-run stand by bowling Rahul Dravid (29) just as the Indian veteran appeared to be settling in for one of his trademark marathon efforts.

The day could have finished on an even higher note but wicketkeeper Brad Haddin dropped a late chance when Gambhir edged a James Pattinson delivery.

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

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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.
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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.
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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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