Diamonds beat Silver Ferns in race for young Giant

Australia have won back one of their most promising netball talents from the clutches of the New Zealand Silver Ferns, ensuring Jamie-Lee Price’s international future will forever be with the Diamonds.
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When the Giants midcourt star was selected in Australia’s World Youth Cup team this week to represent her country in July in Botswana, it formally severed her Silver Ferns link.

Just last year she had been part of New Zealand’s under-21s squad, and on the radar of the Silver Ferns. Fortunately for Australian netball, she was never picked to represent New Zealand.

Price’s convoluted rise to Australian representation is strangely entwined in the NRL.

She’s the daughter of Steve Price, the Canterbury, Queensland and Australian great, who moved to the New Zealand Warriors for the start of the 2005 season when his daughter was still in primary school.

Soon enough Price showed significant aptitude on the netball court, and she was just 17 years old when she made her ANZ Championship debut for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.

It was there she met coach Julie Fitzgerald, and following her to the Giants for the inaugural Super Netball season meant foregoing any plans of representing the Silver Ferns. She was simply told she wouldn’t be considered for selection if she wasn’t playing in New Zealand.

Tearing herself away from decade-long friends was difficult, but her move back to Sydney crystalised what she’d always believed – that Australia was where her heart belonged.

“Originally I always wanted to play for Australia because I am Australian, I was born here, all my family lived here,” Price said.

“Then I guess once I started getting to know all the Silver Fern girls, I did support them. At one stage I did want to play for them but my heart was always with Australia I guess.

“It’s definitely really exciting that I’ve made the under-21s team to Botswana. It’s like one step closer to my ultimate goal.”

The rest of Price’s family have also now moved back from New Zealand, and live on the Sunshine Coast.

But before she can allow her thoughts to turn to Botswana, more pressing matters await the wing defence, namely a desperate Queensland Firebirds outfit on Friday night.

With two rounds left the Giants can firm up their hold on the minor premiership, while Queensland must win their last two matches, and hope the Magpies lose both of theirs, to qualify for the top four.

The Giants come into Friday’s game off a season-defining win over the previously ladder-leading Melbourne Vixens, and Price said her side was determined to stampede towards the finals with every scrap of momentum possible.

“The Firebirds, they’re a really tough team,” Price said.

“This whole competition is tough, there’s no easy game so you’ve always got to be on your A-game. The Firebirds will definitely be coming out hard and so will we because we don’t want to lose either.

“I’m really enjoying the club. All the girls are really cool. I guess we’re just having a lot of fun and that’s probably the main thing.”

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Broadspectrum saga leaves a lasting legacy

THERE is no doubt that the University of Newcastle is one of the Hunter’s most significant, substantial and essential assets, and an institution of which the region, the state and Australia can be justifiably proud.
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For more than five decades the university has educated, fostered and nurtured extraordinary talent, broken new groundand blazed a trail in research areas which have had impacts across the globe.

The university is right to argue, as it has with its recent rebranding project, that it needs to promote its achievements and ambitions to ensure it develops even more. A spokeswoman described the university as a “quiet achiever” that had to celebrate its success.The “The World Needs New” project, launched on Monday, should have been the first day of that celebration.

Instead the university was faced with problems from the past andquestions from staff and students about the future.

The National Tertiary Education Union criticised the launch in the context of a restructure it says could see 170 of the more than 1700 professional staff facing redundancy. The National Union of Students supported staff and questioned the impact of cuts on standards.

The university responded by saying it had to respond to seismic shifts in the tertiary sector across Australia, including an end to the period when government funding followed the demand for university places.

All sides in this argument have good reasonto put their cases passionately and forcefully. Given this is a clash of ideas, ideals and, in some respects, ideologies, within a university context, we would expect nothingless. But there is another element that must be recognised, and that is trust.

This week theuniversity confirmed it will end its extremely controversial $88 million, five year contract with Broadspectrum –formerly known as Transfield –after only two years. That is a good thing.

The university has to accept its associationwith the company running Australia’s detention centres caused enormous reputational damage, and shocked and outragedmany staff,students, former students and community leaders. For many it was a moral issue requiring consistent, long term activism.

And so to this week.

The University of Newcastle needs to rebuild the trust it lost through the Broadspectrum episode. That will take acknowledgement and open communication.

Issue: 38,495.

Revealed: the high-fee private schools to win big under Gonski changes

Perth College Perth 060517 AFR pic by Erin Jonasson. Perth College the private Girls School in Mt.Lawley. First use AFR please. Girls in the school grounds with folders, pencil cases, notes and books, senior and Junior private school education. winter uniform, cost of education, generic hold for files. SPECIALX 00051350 Photo: Erin JonassonFederal funding for some of Sydney and Melbourne’s most prestigious private schools – which charge fees up to $34,000 a year – will soar over the next decade under the Turnbull government’s “Gonski 2.0” changes, while others will have their funding slashed.
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The Catholic school sector argues the funding increases for high-fee schools show the federal government’s school funding formula is faulty and disadvantages their schools, which tend to charge relatively low fees.

While much attention has focused on the 350 private schools that will have their funding slowed over the next decade, some high-fee independent schools will receive significant funding increases because they are currently underfunded according to the Gonski formula.

For example the King’s School in North Parramatta, which charges $34,323 a year for senior students, will receive a total funding increase of $19.3 million funding increase over the next decade.

Per student funding for King’s will rise from $4527 this year to $6849 in 2027, a 50 per cent increase over the decade.

The government has committed to funding all non-government schools at 80 per cent of their needs-based funding entitlement.

King’s currently receives 77 per cent of its federal entitlement – well below overfunded schools such as Loreto Kirribilli and St Aloysius’ College in Milsons Point that will have their funding cut.

King’s headmaster Tim Hawkes praised the government for implementing a funding model that was “sector blind, transparent and consistently applied”.

“The sweetheart deals done in the past have created a funding landscape that lacks fairness,” he said.

“For example, the wealth of independent schools in the ACT was assessed by government as being greater than that of King’s, yet a sweetheart deal has resulted in them being funded at a significantly higher level.”

Newington College in Stanmore and Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, which charge fees of $32,000 and $22,000 respectively, will also receive funding increases of $19 million over the next decade.

They will receive similar per student funding as Catholic high schools such as Gilroy Catholic College in Castle Hill and St Leo’s College in Wahroonga which have the same socioeconomic profile but charge much lower fees.

Gilroy charges $2977 a year in fees while St Leo’s charges parents $6797 a year.

Funding for Melbourne’s Caulfield Grammar School, which charges fees of $29,355 for senior students, will grow by $34.8 million in total over the next decade.

Per student funding will rise from $4658 this year to $6864 in 2027.

Wesley College in the city centre and Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Burwood, which charge fees of $30,000 a year, will receive total funding increases of $22 million and $18 million over the decade.

Presentation College, a Catholic high school in Windsor, is assigned the same “capacity to contribute” score as PLC but charges $10,000 a year per student.

National Catholic Education Commission acting executive director Danielle Cronin said the government’s socioeconomic status model did not accurately measure parents’ ability to contribute to the cost of their child’s education and was leading to “perverse outcomes”.

“It seems implausible that for schools of the same SES, one is charging $27,000 per student per year and is, for Commonwealth funding purposes, treated similarly to schools that charge fees of $3000 to $5000 annually,” she said.

“By underestimating how much high-income families can contribute, while overestimating how much lower-income families can contribute, Catholic education contends that SES scores disadvantage Catholic schools serving lower- and middle-income families.

“It falsely assumes a homogeneous population with each parent having the same capacity to pay.”

The Gonski review noted that the SES model was susceptible to a “potentially large degree of inaccuracy” and should be replaced with a more accurate measure, she said.

The Catholic sector is furious with the government for stripping it of the right to fund schools on a system-wide basis and believes private schools have received a better deal.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the funding data showed the government was distributing funding in a “fair, consistent and needs-based way”.

“We remain committed to delivering a reform that doesn’t involve special deals with states or provide advantage to one non-government sector at the expense of another,” he said.

He said the SES model, first introduced in 2001, had “been refined, expanded and broadly accepted as a credible way to measure capacity to contribute and is embedded in these reforms to ensure parents continue to be supported to choose what is best for their family”.

A spokesman for the independent schools sector said it supported the use of the SES model and that the data is now quite “fine grained”.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Catholic and private schools enrol a similar proportion of students across all income brackets, he said.

Shelford Girls’ Grammar principal Polly Flanagan said government funding helped pay for new engineering and forensic science courses, teacher salaries, and specialised drug and alcohol sessions for senior students.

The private school in Brighton, which charges $22,145 in senior school fees, received $4306 in government funding this year per student. This will rise to $10,203 in 2027.

“We don’t go spending it on swimming pools,” Ms Flanagan said. “We don’t bank the money, we use it and we need it for day-to-day costs.

“If we didn’t have government funding, we would price parents out of the market.”

Simon Gipson, principal at St Michael’s Grammar School which will receive $5198 government funding per student in 2027 (an increase from $3460 this year), said the funding enabled the school to keep fees under control.

The school currently charges $30,168 for year 12 students.

“The reality is that if fees become unsustainable for a significant number of families, then that will precipitate a move into the government sector, and the cost to government would increase.”

Federal funding for Catholic systemic schools will grow by 3.5 per cent a year per student over the next decade compared to 4.1 per cent for private schools and 5.1 per cent for public schools according to the government.

High-fee private school winners in Melbourne under Gonski 2.0

Caulfield Grammar SchoolSES Score: 117Senior school fees: $29,355Per student funding 2017: $4658Per student funding 2027: $6864Total 10-year increase: $34.8 million

Wesley College, MelbourneSES Score: 120Senior school fees: $29,720Per student funding 2017: $3842Per student funding 2027: $5282Total 10-year increase: $22.1 million

Presbyterian Ladies’ College, BurwoodSES Score: 115Senior school fees: $29,924Per student funding 2017: $4872Per student funding 2027: $7390Total 10-year increase: $17.9 million

Methodist Ladies College, KewSES Score: 123Senior school fees: $29,700Per student funding 2017: $3148Per student funding 2027: $4435Total 10-year increase: $13.1 million

Scotch College, HawthornSES Score: 123Senior school fees: $30,528Per student funding 2017: $2904Per student funding 2027: $4309Total 10-year increase: $13.6 million

High-fee private school winners in Sydney under Gonski 2.0

The King’s School, ParramattaCurrent share of Schooling Resource Standard: 77%Senior school fees: $34,323Per student funding 2017: $4527Per student funding 2027: $7278Total 10-year increase: $19.3 million

Santa Sabina College, StrathfieldCurrent share of Schooling Resource Standard: 69%Senior school fees: $21,975Per student funding 2017: $5048Per student funding 2027: $8148Total 10-year increase: $19.1 million

Newington College, Stanmore Current share of Schooling Resource Standard: 75%Senior school fees: $31,662Per student funding 2017: $4178Per student funding 2027: $5948Total 10-year increase: $18.9 million

Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga Current share of Schooling Resource Standard: 78%Senior school fees: $30,600Per student funding 2017: $2300Per student funding 2027: $3228Total 10-year increase: $13.1 million

Sydney Church of England Grammar School, North SydneyCurrent share of Schooling Resource Standard: 76%Senior school fees: $29,940Per student funding 2017: $2029Per student funding 2027: $3423Total 10-year increase: $11.5 million

– with Timna Jacks

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Melissa McCarthy’s outtakes just as funny as SNL sketches

We now know why Melissa McCarthy is such a hit on Saturday Night Live.
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SNL has released a blooper reel from the comedian’s recent visit to downtown New York, proving she is hilarious regardless of whether or not she’s inside the NBC studios.

The video, which brings together several outtakes, shows McCarthy dressed as White House spokesman Sean Spicer. She motors through the streets of New York, dodging traffic on her motorised podium.

“C’mon!” she shouts, waving her hand and yelling at several bystanders to get out of her way. “Trump! Where are you? I know this is where you really live!”

The outtakes are spliced together from a recent SNL skit. In it, McCarthy’s character hit the streets of New York in an attempt to find Donald Trump and confront him about rumours he’s planning on giving the job of press secretary to a Fox News journalist.

At one point, McCarthy breaks character to acknowledge the large crowds that have gathered to watch her and take photos. Some even shout from the footpath in the hope of catching her attention.

“The good thing is nobody knows we’re shooting,” she joked. “I mean, this has definitely stayed under cover.”

Spicey’s attempts to find Trump are unsuccessful. However, McCarthy – never failing to take Spicer’s infamous glare off her face – remains determined.

“I just need a couple minutes in a bush to get it together,” she said.

Audiences have been lapping up McCarthy’s Spicer impression ever since she debuted it back in February.

Since then, SNL has enjoyed a healthy ratings boost (kickstarted by Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression last year).

The show’s most recent episode, for example, featured a kiss between McCarthy and Baldwin and was the program’s most-watched May telecast in the past seven years.

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Trump’s Russia conversation ‘within expectations’

Foreign minister Julie Bishop speaking at the opening of the Kimberley Process in Perth on Monday May 1, 2017.?? Photo: SuppliedPresident Donald Trump’s now-famous White House conversation with Russian officials was within the norms of an international leader’s meeting, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Friday, as she defended the under-siege US administration.
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Speaking outside the United Nations headquarters in New York, Ms Bishop said Australia had a “very high level of confidence” in its strategic alliance with the US after President Trump revealed sensitive information, sourced from an intelligence-sharing ally, to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“Australia is a significant intelligence partner of the United States and we have a very close working relationship with them, and the conversations that the President has had are, to our understanding, within the type of conversations that one would expect leaders to hold,” Ms Bishop said.

“I believe that the US administration is governing appropriately for the people of this country. Our interest, of course, lies in ensuring that the United States remains a strong and powerful nation.”

Mr Trump defended his actions as his “absolute right” but has come under attack from figures across the political spectrum, with senior Republican congressman John McCain calling the reports “deeply disturbing” and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin accusing the President of being “dangerous” and “reckless”.

The US and Australia are members of the high-level “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing network, which also includes Britain, Canada and New Zealand. The intelligence Mr Trump disclosed to the Russians reportedly came from the Israeli government.

As the US continues to grapple with the ramifications of suspected Russian interference in last year’s election – and allegations of inappropriate collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign – Ms Bishop met with American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and other administration officials.

She also spoke with Henry Kissinger, former president Richard Nixon’s secretary of state and a confidant to President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, Mr Trump described himself as the victim of a “witch hunt” after the Department of Justice appointed a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian figures in the lead up to his November defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Former US national security adviser Michael Flynn and other advisers to Mr Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the presidential race, current and former US officials familiar with the exchanges have told Reuters.

Ms Bishop is in New York to push Australia’s case for a coveted seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council.

She rejected any suggestion that Australia’s strict and well-known asylum seeker policy was having a “negative” effect on the campaign.

“It has been raised in the context of what Australia is doing to protect its borders and stem the flow of people smuggling, human trafficking. It is raised in that context. But certainly not in the context for our bid for a seat on the Human Rights Council.”

The Foreign Minister said “Australia is seen as a principled and pragmatic advocate for human rights”.

Ms Bishop also defended her criticisms of the former Rudd government’s campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council, accusing the former prime minister of using foreign aid money to buy votes.

“I wasn’t critical of the principle of seeking to play our role at the United Nations. I was critical of the way he went about it,” she said.

“And the use of our aid budget to buy votes was not a practice that I supported nor do I support it now.”

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Football’s lost years in Tasmania

Chris Fagan, Rodney Eade and Brendon BoltonThe magnitude of what the AFL lost when it turned its back on Tasmania some two decades ago was not lost on anyone among the 500 who attended Wednesday night’s celebration of Tasmanian Football.
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In fact anyone lucky enough to move from Lou Richards’ state funeral earlier in the day to the unique Tasmanian football function at the other end of town ended their day emotionally drenched not so much with sadness but melancholy – nostalgia for a football time that somehow disappeared from within our grasp when we weren’t concentrating.

Chris Fagan, the Queenstown boy who became a hall of famer in his home state and now Brisbane Lions coach, captured the so-called “elephant in the room” when he declared there was a “higher purpose” facing head office. That higher purpose said Fagan was not about marketing or economics.

“I’m talking about heritage and culture and legacy,” said Fagan, a panellist at the function alongside fellow Tasmanians Rodney Eade and Brendon Bolton. “The AFL won’t be truly complete until there is a Tasmanian team. They [the AFL] would do a magnificent thing if they were to have a Tasmanian team.” Peter Hudson presented the narrative, Alastair Lynch the interviews which featured Nick Riewoldt and his equally passionate Tasmanian cousin Jack, a keynote speech by Matthew Richardson, who lovingly described a football pathway journeying along north-west Tasmania that he fears is no longer available to children from his home state.

Jackson Thurlow of the Cats. Picture: Getty Images

Geelong’s Jackson Thurlow represented the increasingly rare example of a young Tasmanian footballer in the AFL, while the Robert Shaw-coached state team including Scott Clayton, Graham Wright, Simon Atkins and the Gale brothers thatdefeated Victoria took the stage.

Triple Brownlow medallist Ian Stewart, a rare public performer moved to speech by what he witnessed, declared his ongoing embarrassment whenever he is compared to the “greatest footballer I’ve seen” Darrel Baldock –whose grandchildren attended the function. Of the three living Tasmanian Australian Football Hall of Fame legends only Royce Hart failed to show.

But none of the above compared with the montage of ovals across the state from Penguin to Sandy Bay, football ovals by rivers and along the coast and nestling into historic building and featuring empty club rooms –ovals where, according to the Tasmanian Football Foundation’s James Henderson, football is no longer played.

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan

If ever the message was to resonate it was on Wednesdaynight. AFL chief Gillon McLachlan, two other league commissioners, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman and four other AFL executives along with the presidents of Hawthorn and North Melbourne all attended.

McLachlan restated his supportfor a single Tasmanian team, a view he has to date failed to act upon. The sight of all those historic grounds lying empty when the Sydney and GWS reserves struggle to find grounds to play on could not have been lost on the game’s decision-makers. Still this was not a night of recriminations or finger-pointing; more celebration and hope.

“My view has been a single united Tasmanian team and I’ve been very public about that,” said McLachlan, urging Tasmanians not to give up on their dream of a stand-alone team before entering the Crown function.

“…The biggest challenge to a single model is the two incumbents with long-term deals and we respect those. There is no easy solution other than just working towards a prosperous football state and working with all the stakeholders.” The problem being that those AFL club stakeholders being Hawthorn and North Melbourne –particularly Hawthorn who first went to Tasmania 16 years ago –have proved significantly more interested in taking money out of the state than putting football in.

How else do you explain the fact that no Tasmanian player wasdrafted last year? The beautiful but stark and empty ovals –some no longer in existence? The fact that the Hawks did not even bother to apply for a women’s licence the first time around or engage with the state in a united push?

McLachlan’s task in part involves negotiating the Hawks out of Tasmania –which will come at a price –unless that club is prepared to play football across the state. Or convince the Kangaroos with their new multicultural Tasmanian academy to do the same.

Again, where North is concerned, it’s all largely about the money.

Should the new deal at Etihad Stadium prove as generous as the Docklands home clubs had hoped, there is no chance the Kangaroos will play more than three home games in Tasmania. Should they prove successful in enlisting the help of that state in gaining a women’s licence, the state government should insist upon naming the club the Tasmanian Kangaroos.

More preferable altogether would be a stand-alone Tasmanian women’s team. And, as impossible as it seems now, an AFL men’s team. The irony was that two of the three Tasmanian-bred coaches who appeared on stage in Eade and Fagan coach the AFL’s two biggest problem children.

Andrew Demetriou

And as Andrew Demetriousaid recently, if the Gold Coast will only ever be a modest football club why not consider Tasmania and the potential membership of tens of thousands of expats as a fall-back position should the AFL’s clout and that of the Suns’ new CEO Mark Evans fail to ignite the competition’s 17th club?

Still, as one elder statesman of the Tasmanian cause pointed out last night, the baton has been handed over. Perhaps the passion shared by a group including the Riewoldts, Richo and the significant clout of the Tasmanian Football Foundation, combined with McLachlan’s stated philosophy, will finally shift the game’s thinking.

And the view that the game cannot grow without a game each week in southern Queensland might not prove the deal breaker it was a decade ago. That perhaps ploughing millions of dollars into a small and financially struggling state bursting with football heritage and passion and creating its own AFL side could actually succeed.

Certainly the prospect of a Tasmanian team in the AFL does not seem as unthinkable as a national women’s league televised in prime time and actually winning its time slot did even five years ago.

Get started with Hudson

BREAK THE RENT CYCLE: Hudson Homes helps qualified first-home buyers like the Robinson family at Gillieston Heights get started with just three easy steps and an initial payment of $5000.If you’re a first-home buyer wondering how to get into the market, Hudson Homes can help with a free information session on their Help Me Get Started Program at East Maitland on May 31.
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Hudson Home’sHelp Me Get Startedprogram assists qualified first home buyers bust out of the rent cycle with just a $5000 initial payment.

Theirinitiative brings together three of the most important elements required for first home ownership: the finance, the land and the home.

Hudson will put you in touch with a selectednetwork of professional financiers who can tailor a package that best suits your needs and budget.

They’ll help you find the right block of land in the nicest housing estates. And they will put you in touch with a house design and inclusion package that’s right for you.

Marcelli Firlej and his wife are first home buyers who got started with Hudson.

“My wife visited Kotara Shopping Centre in 2015 and saw the Hudson stand advertising ‘Build your house for $5000’,” Marcelli recalls.

“My wife said, ‘I have $5000, build my home for me.’ A consultant came out to where we were living at the time, we played ping pong and that’s how it started.”

Hudson consultants organised finance, a selection of land choices and home designs.

Building started in April 2015 and the Firlejs moved in by Christmas that year.

“I would recommend anyone having trouble getting started as a first home buyer to use Hudson Homes,” Marcelli said.

Daniel Harrison built on the Central Coast and was also full of praise.

“I don’t think we would have got in the market if we tried to do it ourselves,” he said.

“Other builders wouldn’t work with us, Hudson did and that takes a huge stress off –the way they manage the process and guide you through.

“It’s been a great experience and we’re definitely not complaining about the equity we now have in the bank.”

Nehemia Kamanda was another first home buyer who was wondering how he was going to get a “fresh home”.

“They assisted us from beginning to end, and the result was good, especially on the financial aspects,” Nehemia said.

“I was wondering, ‘Where am I going to get 10 per cent for deposit?’Hudson Homes said they could help and they did. They took my initial $5000 and tailored my finance to suit my needs.”

Register at helpmegetstarted南京夜网419论坛 for the Information session on Wednesday, May 31. It will take place from 6.30pm for 7pm start at the corner of New England Highway and Banks Street, East Maitland.

Or for more information, call 1800 246 600 to discuss, or visit梧桐夜网hudsonhomes南京夜网419论坛.

Why you might be seeing more mice in your home this winter

MOUSE activity is on the rise, with farmers reporting higher numbers of the rodents and pest controllersexperiencing an increase in rodent-related calls.
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CSIRO research officer Steve Henry said an “exceptional” cropping season and a good spring last yearhad seen mice begin to breed early, and continue breeding throughout summer and autumn.

The high yields of the cropshad left plenty of stubble too, providing shelter for the rodents.

The CSIRO’s latest mouse monitoring report from March said mouse abundance was increasing across the state.

Mr Henry said mouse numbers had been higher than expected, but were “patchy”, with numbers high in some areas and low in others.

The Wimmera and Mallee regions are the most affected, but reports of mouse activity have been made in central Victoria.

Mr Henry said farmers were being advised that they might findmicein paddocks at a number that would cause economic damage: 200 mice or more per hectare

He advised farmers to check paddocks on foot for mouse activityand if they thought they had a problem, they probably did.

Farmers can check for mouse activity reports and make their own at theMouse Alert website.

John Pay, from Go Pest Bendigo, said rodent activityhad grown both in rural areas and within Bendigo itself.

To prevent mice setting up home in houses, Mr Pay advised people to clean up food scraps, look at where pets were fed because their food might attract pests, and be mindful of their environment in general.

He said those who found mice in their home could engage a pest controller or purchase their own bait, but warned these had to be used very carefully as they could prove fatal for pets if misused or used carelessly.

Mr Henry said the continued growth of mouse numbers would depend on the upcoming cropping season and the weather in winter, which would establish the base numbers from which mice would breed in spring.

Teenager flown to Australia and ‘kept as sexual slave’

A teenage girl says she was kept as a sexual slave in a Sydney house before she was able to escape and alert authorities, sparking an investigation into human trafficking and sexual servitude.
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The 17-year-old, from Guinea in western Africa,sought help at the Asylum Seekers Centre on Bedford Street in Newtown late last month, saying she had just escaped from a house somewhere in Sydney’s metropolitan area where she had been held captive, police said.

The teenagerwas dropped at the centre by agood Samaritan, believed to be named Nicole, who saw the girl running down a street and picked her up in her car.

NSW Police and Australian Federal Police have appealed for that woman, who was driving a small red car, believed to be a hatchback, to come forward to help with the investigation.

The teenagerhas told police she was in her home country of Guineain January this year when she met a man who offered to bring her to Australia to work as his cleaner.

She agreed and, in early April, the man and the teenager flew from Guinea to Paris, and then on to Sydney.

The teenager says she was then taken to the house somewhere in Sydney, where she was held captive in a room and regularly sexually assaulted by a number of men. She feared for her life, she told police.

In the early hours of April 27, the teenager managed to escape from the house and ran until she was picked up by the woman and taken to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown.

Police said the centre consulted theAnti-Slavery Unit at the University of Technology in Sydneyand the girl was treated at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Sheis now in the care of Family and Community Services.

The Australian Federal Police’s Human Trafficking Unit has launched an investigation into the incidentand is attempting to identify the man who brought the teenager to Australia.

Specialist detectives from the NSW PoliceSex Crimes Squad have also formed Strike Force Stockallto investigate the circumstances surrounding her ordeal.

Police have appealed for the woman who drove the teenager to Newtown, or anyone who heard or saw the teenagerafter she escaped from the house on April 27, to contactCrime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the AFP on 131 237.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: St Heliers Heavy Horse Field DaysPHOTOS

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days | PHOTOS St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015
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St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2015

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

HORSING AROUND: A big crowd has converged on the St Heliers Heavy Horse Heritage Field Days 2014.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

SOAKING UP THE ATMOSPHERE: The 17th St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days 2013.

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What you need to know about hand, foot and mouth disease

A leading emergency doctor has given general advice about the highly contagioushand, foot and mouth disease which has been reported in schools in Australia.
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While the condition is highly contagious, Dr Nigel Beck said the key message was the name tended to spark worry for what was mostly fairly benign.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not notifiable to the health department. It is also confused to the unrelated foot and mouth disease, which infects animals.

Dr Beck, who is Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital emergency department deputy director, said part of the challenge was children were often not particularly sick, more in discomfort, and it was best to see a general practitioner for treatment.

“Because there is no immunisation schedule for hand, foot and mouth, this is one of the few remaining ones that tends to cause outbreaks,” Dr Beck said.

“One of the unusual things is that because the rash forms early in the virus, and it’s very specific where it forms, naming it hand, foot and mouth disease helps doctors remember and quickly identify it, rather than using the medical term.”

Hand, foot and mouth disease tends to spread among children aged under five.

There is no set quarantine period for affected children, or their families, but Dr Beck said like other viral diseases, children should be kept home until blisters have dried.

The lesions are predominantly found on the soles of feet, in palms and inside the mouth. Fluid in the blisters is infectious, as is other bodily fluids.

Most incidents of the disease are in summer and autumn, according to the Victorian Health Department, with an incubation period of three to seven days. Symptoms can persist for up to 10 days.

Tips to prevent spreading hand, foot and mouth diseaseExclusion from school/child care until all blisters have driedcovering lesions on hands and feet, if possible, and allowing them to dry naturallyAvoiding piercing lesions, as the fluid within the blisters is infectiousGood handwashing, and cleaning and disposal of soiled articlesAvoiding close contactor sharing eating and drinking utensils

The six things Australians blame for high property prices

Strong price results for most housing markets to start the year – more to comeSydney’s loss is Melbourne’s gain: House prices push young families interstateForget Sydney, investors have their eye on a new booming hotspot in NSW
Nanjing Night Net

Property prices in the country’s biggest capital cities have soared over the past five years, but a new survey shows Australians don’t all agree on what caused the boom.

Foreign investment was seen as the biggest culprit for high house prices by more than half of those asked by Galaxy Market Research on behalf of State Custodians in April.

And the older the survey respondent, the more likely they were to say this was a factor.

In Gen Y, 49 per cent thought foreign buyers were to blame for high house prices, while 72 per cent of those aged 65 plus said the same.

The other factors all respondents believed were contributing to house price growth were overpopulation, property investment and negative gearing incentives, high transaction costs, low interest rates and low supply.

While all these factors likely had an impact, it was the “perfect storm of all of them together leading to the market we are experiencing today”, State Custodians general manager Joanna Pretty said.

Foreign investment was targeted in the government’s 2017 budget, restricting the number of homes able to be sold in a new development to just half the properties and an introduction of a tax for those who don’t put their investments up for rent.

“The budget changes go some way to help regarding the foreign investment levels, but the other factors still exist and there is still a lot of work to be done regarding affordability generally,” Ms Pretty said.

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Low interest rates were likely having a bigger impact than overseas investors, The Successful Investor founder Michael Sloan said.

“It’s easy to blame foreign buyers for increasing house prices but that is not the reason property prices are increasing,” he said.

“Anyone who can buy at these low rates is buying and this puts more buyers in the market and that pushes up prices.”

Mr Sloan said property investors were an “easy target’ and population growth was good for the economy.

“Of course, home buyers don’t like to see prices rising but property prices have stayed ahead of inflation for decades. So that means it is a normal part of the cycle.”

Compass Economics chief economist Hans Kunnen was also adamant that foreign investors didn’t affect house values, but they could be causing apartment prices to rise.

“Foreign investors buy apartments more than houses and when you’re looking at house prices it’s not foreign investors pushing prices up,” he said.

He did think they had an impact on apartment prices, but noted house prices had risen far more quickly than apartment values had.

Predominantly, the problem was a low supply of properties being built – something he was surprised wasn’t ranked higher.

But Property Finance Made Simple author Andrew Crossley said the list of reasons was “little surprise” to him.

Given the restrictions on foreign buyers he “did not agree that foreigners should take the full blame”, instead saying they were a contributing factor.

He agreed population growth and investment properties had made an impact, but said it was low interest rates that were the biggest contributing factor as they allowed people to afford bigger mortgages.

“The reality is that the housing affordability crisis is mostly centred around Melbourne and Sydney, this has not been a normal cycle of growth in these cities, it has been extreme,” he said.???

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Killer lures Sydney schoolgirl to US via Snapchat

A Sydney schoolgirl was rescued from the basement of the home of a convicted killer after the American man allegedly lured her on the social media app Snapchat to fly from Australia to the US, police say.
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When NYPD officers raided the home of 39-year-old Sean Price in the New York borough of Queens last week, they allegedly discovered Price and the 16-year-old girl, from Sydney’s upper north shore, hiding in the basement of the property.

Price has allegedly admitted to police that he paid for the girl to fly to the US and took her on a cross-country road trip, having sex with her along the way.

Price reportedly has a lengthy criminal history, including criminally negligent homicide for the death of a passenger in a car crash. He has now been charged with a range of new offences, including rape in the third degree, police say.

The officers had gone to the house Price shares with his mother after receiving a tip-off from Australian police that the teenage girl had boarded a plane from Sydney to Los Angeles on April 11, court documents say.

The girl’s parents had reported her missing from their Sydney home at that time and a search of flight records revealed she had left the country. Six months of messages

Court documents state that a confidential source had told Australian police that the girl, who is referred to as Jane Doe in the court documents, had been communicating online with Price from December, 2016.

In court documents filed with the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, Homeland Security special agent Miguel Collazo alleges Price had admitted that he initiated communications with the girl on Snapchat even earlier, in October last year.

Mr Collazo wrote in the criminal complaint that Price sent $US1500 ($2010) to the girl in Australia via several Western Union transfers under his name.

The girl then bought a plane ticket and flew to Los Angeles when she met Price, who had flown there from New York.

Price then hired a car and drove the girl from California to New York, making various stops along the way, the court documents say.

“[The] defendant acknowledged being aware of Jane Doe’s age over the course of their travel from California to New York, and stated that he had engaged in sexual intercourse with Jane Doe in multiple states, including New York State,” Mr Collazo says.

When police searched Price’s phone, they also allegedly found a number of explicit photos of the girl dating back to February. Found in basement

The raid on Price’s house occurred on May 11, the same day Australian authorities alerted US police.

When NYPD officers knocked on the front door of the house in Queens, Price’s mother answered the door.

“Initially, she denied that [Price] was home,” court documents say.

“An NYPD officer stationed at the rear of the home, however, observed an adult male and female attempting to leave the home through the rear of the house. That officer alerted his fellow officers by shouting.

“In response, the defendant and the minor re-entered the home, and the officers likewise entered the residence … so as to locate the minor.

“The defendant and Jane Doe were found in the basement of the defendant’s home.”

The girl has since returned to her Australia, police said.

Brooklyn Federal Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky denied Price bail, despite Price offering the house he shared with his mother as surety.

“Any offer doesn’t give the court much confidence,” the magistrate said.

– With AAP

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