EDITORIAL: University of Newcastle’s power deal points to the future

EDITORIAL: University of Newcastle’s power deal points to the future

Snowy Hydro managing director Paul BroadTHE University of Newcastle’s decision to buy all of its electricityfrom Snowy Hydro-backed Red Energyis another example of the dramatic change unfolding within the national electricity market.
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According to the university, the contract will cost it $48 million over seven years, with Red Energy supplying some 40 gigawatt hours a year of electricity, or enough to power 5000 average homes.

Red Energy, led by its gregarious Novocastrian managing director Paul Broad, has plans to become a major fourth force in the electricity retail market, whether or not itsSnowy Hydro 2.0 plans championed by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull are realised.

These ambitions were outlined on November 1 when Snowy Hydro announced it had signed long-term contracts with eight NSW and Victorian wind and solar providers that would allow it to provide wholesale prices to its customers of less than $70 a megawatt hour –a price that is seen as being considerably below the existing cost of coal-fired electricity.

It’s this power that Red Energy will sell to the university at prices that the institution is confident will save it money, while also allowing it to make a “positive environmental impact”.

Earlier this year, when Newcastle City Council announced it was going ahead with its Summerhill solar farm, it reported widespread interest from other local government authorities interested in following suit.

In a similar fashion, Red Energy hopes that its Newcastleannouncement will trigger similar interest from other universities, and has begun reaching out to other universities and business sectors across its broader market of NSW and Victoria. Last week it announced a similar deal to renewably power 40 commercial buildings owned by office tower landlord Dexus.

While the university deal has obvious positive social messages as far as fossil fuels and climate change are concerned –even if about one in five ns still have doubts over the link –it also locks the institution into a long-term arrangement at a time of massive change in the national electricity market.

Much of the uncertainty, unfortunately, comes from the years of energy wars in Canberra, but with our entire society effectively based around electricity,the industry and its major consumers mustforge on as best they can despite the political paralysis.

The Coalition government seems still determined to give a new coal-fired power station the best leg-up it can, and there is no doubt that fossil fuels will be needed for years to come in the n grid.

But Newcastle university’s determination to disassociate itself from fossil-fuel powerand Red Energy’s determination to build its business by supplying the clean alternative, shows that the market, and not the politicians, will be the final arbiters.

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Man stabbed girlfriend 32 times in Qld

Man stabbed girlfriend 32 times in Qld

Senthill Kumar Arumugam has been sentenced to life in jail for Meena Narayanan's stabbing murder.When Senthill Kumar Arumugam became convinced his girlfriend would leave him, he decided to make sure no one else would ever have her.
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He saw to that by stabbing Meena Narayanan 32 times and slitting her throat in his Brisbane hotel room in March 2014.

Ms Narayanan, from Singapore, was a living in as a student and had become estranged from Arumugam.

The pair had met via an arranged marriage website in 2013 and their families were in agreement they would marry.

But Arumugam, an Indian national living in South Africa, where he worked as an engineer, became enraged when Ms Narayanan indicated she did not want to marry him.

He believed she was cheating and travelled to , obtaining a knife before the pair fought at the Mt Gravatt property where she died.

She sustained bruises and cuts on her back, arms, hands and legs as she tried to defend herself, some of the injuries sustained while she was lying on her back.

She died from wounds to her chest and abdomen.

"Your conduct on the day in question was planned and persistent," Brisbane Supreme Court judge David Boddice said.

"The frenzied attack was ferocious. Your intent in taking the life of the deceased involved brutality beyond comprehension."

Arumugam, 36, was sentenced to life in jail on Friday after pleading guilty to murder.

After killing Ms Narayanan, Arumugam stabbed himself multiple times in the abdomen and called for help.

The pair were found bloodied, with Arumugam later telling investigators they had attempted a suicide pact after "she had asked him to help her die".

But her injuries were "entirely inconsistent" with those claims, Justice Boddice said.

He had told others he would slit her throat if she was cheating and said if he "could not have (her), nobody else will", the court heard.

With a mandatory non-parole period of 20 years, Arumugam will be eligible for release in 2035, having already spent 1125 days in custody.



May’s plea for Brexit help cast as failure

May’s plea for Brexit help cast as failure

Theresa May is said to be unsure of what she needs from EU leaders.British Prime Minister Theresa May's attempt to win assurances from the European Union on her Brexit deal has been cast by opponents as a humiliating failure that did nothing to ease a parliamentary deadlock.
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EU leaders all ruled out new legally binding accords to amend the package on Thursday, though they assured her it should not bind Britain forever to EU rules.

One source said May had no solid answers on what she wanted when grilled by EU leaders.

May, having on Wednesday survived a plot in her party to oust her, asked for EU help at a summit in Brussels after admitting the Brexit deal she struck last month would be defeated in the British parliament.

"It seems that the prime minister has failed in her bid to deliver meaningful changes to her Brexit deal," the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said.

"We cannot go on like this. The prime minister should reinstate the vote on her deal next week and let parliament take back control," he said.

British newspapers said May had been humiliated.

"EU leaders reject May's idea to salvage floundering Brexit deal," The Guardian said.

"Stabbed in the backstop: EU leaders tell PM to get stuffed," The Sun newspaper's headline said.

May sought help to overcome opposition at home to the treaty's "Irish backstop" - an insurance clause obliging Britain to follow EU trade regulations until a better way is found to avoid a damaging "hard border" across the island of Ireland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others ruled out any reopening of last month's treaty aimed at easing Britain out of the bloc on March 29.

With British politics in crisis, the ultimate outcome of Brexit is unclear, with possible courses ranging from a disorderly Brexit with no deal to another referendum on EU membership.

May's de-facto deputy, David Lidington, said the summit was a welcome first step.

But her opponents saw it as a failure.

"I think what you saw last night was the complete failure of the British negotiating position laid bare," Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said.

Diplomats said May indicated she would want to come back for a second bite of "assurances" with "legal force" and some said they would be willing to listen and try to accommodate.

But leaders also warned the EU was prepared for Britain to leave without a deal rather than risk unravelling its own system of close integration: "We have postponed the showdown moment. It will come back in January," one EU diplomat said.

"There is little we can actually do to save the deal. If it falls it's because there is no will in the UK parliament."



Dushku got $13m harassment settlement

Dushku got $13m harassment settlement

Eliza Dushku says she was the subject of sexual remarks and jokes on the set of Bull.Actress Eliza Dushku received a $US9.5 million ($A13.2m) settlement from CBS after the actress alleged she was the subject of several inappropriate comments on the set of the TV series Bull, according to the New York Times.
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Dushku appeared in the first season of the procedural, initially being brought on for a three-episode arc with plans to make her a regular cast member.

But during her time on set, Dushku says that series star Michael Weatherly repeatedly made sexual remarks and jokes in her presence.

In one such instance, Dushku says her character held up three fingers in a scene, after which Weatherly made a joke about engaging in a threesome with her and another man.

She also said Weatherly made a comment about spanking her in front of the cast and crew, and invited her to his "rape van" (which Weatherly told the Times was a reference to a line in "Bull").

Dushku said she approached Weatherly to say the remarks made her uncomfortable. Shortly thereafter, her character was written off the show.

Weatherly issued an apology to the Times, saying, "During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script. When Eliza told me that she wasn't comfortable with my language and attempt at humour, I was mortified to have offended her and immediately apologised.

"After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza."

The actor, however, maintained that he did not push for Dushku to be removed from the show.

"It's my recollection that I didn't tell anyone how they should do their job regarding the hiring or firing of anybody," he said.

"The allegations in Ms. Dushku's claims are an example that, while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace, our work is far from done," CBS told the NYT in a statement.

"The settlement of these claims reflects the projected amount that Ms. Dushku would have received for the balance of her contract as a series regular, and was determined in a mutually agreed upon mediation process at the time."

News of the settlement comes after a raft of sexual harassment and assault allegations at the highest levels of CBS, the corporate owners of 's Channel 10.

CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves was ousted from the company after multiple women accused him of sexual assault.

CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose was also fired after multiple women accused him of harassment, while 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager was forced out following similar accusations.



Corica jumps to Sky Blues’ defence

Corica jumps to Sky Blues’ defence

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica pinpoints a strong start as the priority against Western Sydney.Sydney FC coach Steve Corica is backing his defence despite his team conceding three goals for the first time in almost 32 months.
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The Sky Blues turned in their worst performance of the season - and arguably their worst in three years - in last week's 3-1 defeat to Wellington.

And if the title heavyweights fall to cross-town rivals Western Sydney on Saturday, the heat could quickly ramp up on the rookie coach.

Corica is likely to follow through on his threat of wielding the axe after the loss, with marquee Siem de Jong and Danny De Silva likely starters at ANZ Stadium.

"We had Siem on the bench last week and I want to get him back into the team as soon as possible because he's a marquee," Corica said on Friday.

"He's been out for six weeks and I think we've missed him."

De Silva could also be in line for his first look at the run-on side after being plagued by a hamstring injury over the opening seven rounds.

"He went away with the Olympic boys last week in Canberra and got back on Thursday," Corica said.

"He missed a bit of week's training but he had a great week down there.

"(He) is a very attacking player, positive, great with the ball, and you need players like that in our team to create goals and score goals as well."

Corica is unlikely to make changes to his back line and still maintains they are still the best in the league.

Not since Sydney FC were emphatically beaten 3-1 by the Phoenix in March 2016 had they conceded three goals and lost by more than two.

"Up until last week's game we only conceded five goals - it was the best in the league," Corica said.

"I still think we still are the best in the league, even conceding three goals."

Instead, the former Sydney FC midfielder prioritised a strong start on Saturday.

The Sky Blues have conceded the first goal in their past three league matches - two of which they lost - leaving them in danger of dropping out of the top six.

They have also lost only one of their past 15 contests against the Wanderers and claimed a controversial 2-0 win in their first match-up in round two.

"I'm more interested about the way we start games and how we approach them and the way we want to play football."

For the Wanderers, import Patrick Ziegler is in some doubt after aggravating a knee injury that kept him out of the opening six games of the season.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Sydney FC are looking to be the first side to record four straight victories in the history of their derby with Western Sydney.

* Each of Western Sydney's past seven wins in the competition have come against teams currently ranked below them on the ladder.

* Western Sydney have made a league-high 109 shots this season, but are shooting at a league-lowest 40 per cent on target.



Mental support lacking in stroke recovery

Mental support lacking in stroke recovery

New data shows that stroke rehabilitation services are lacking in mental health support.Clive Kempson met with plenty of medical professionals during the weeks he spent in a rehabilitation centre after experiencing a stroke.
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There were experts at hand to help the Melbourne man learn how to walk again, regain movement in his arm and deal with speech issues.

But something was missing.

"At no point did anyone say do you want to speak to a counsellor, or a psychologist," Mr Kempson told AAP.

That's an offer the now 54-year-old wishes had been made, given he spent several months after being discharged from a rehabilitation centre in December 2015 struggling with his mental health.

Coming to terms with a new lack of independence, including an inability to drive, was among factors that made life challenging.

He wasn't accustomed to asking for support and was tough on himself when he couldn't do what he used to, with his thoughts soon turning dark and his then-marriage put under strain.

It was not until his occupational therapist suggested he see a psychologist that he did so and kicked off a process that turned things around.

"Accepting what had happened and that it was never going to go back to the way it was, was probably the biggest hurdle," he said.

"Once I'd got myself to a point where I could actually look forward...that's when my mental state sort of took a turn and we were in a better position then."

According to a national annual audit of stroke rehabilitation services by the Stroke Foundation, Mr Kempson's experience is not unique.

The data, published on Friday, has found a third of rehabilitation services don't have access to clinical or neuro psychologists, and one-in-three don't assess people for depression or anxiety.

That's despite half of those who have experienced a stroke reporting problems with their mood.

Stroke Foundation clinical advisor Natasha Lannin says the system is designed to focus on physical issues such as learning to walk and talk, and while that's important, it is not the whole picture.

"Families are suffering because stroke survivors are being denied the specialist mental health assessment, information and care they need to maximise their recovery," Associate Professor Lannin said.

The audit of 120 rehabilitation services in found just four achieved all 10 elements of a best practice framework.

But about a fifth of services met less than half of the elements.

The Stroke Foundation is calling on clinicians, healthcare administrators and governments to work together to improve the quality of care provided.

"We know what world-class stroke care looks like, now we must ensure all n stroke patients have access to it," foundation chief executive Sharon McGowan said.

There are 56,000 strokes experienced in each year.



NSW girlfriend killer jailed for 19 years

NSW girlfriend killer jailed for 19 years

Russell Brian Wood has been jailed for murdering his estranged girlfriend.An alcoholic who choked and stabbed his estranged girlfriend to death in Sydney told police after the killing: "No AVO was ever going to keep me away from her."
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Russell Brian Wood, 27, pleaded guilty in October to murdering 34-year-old Sarah Brown, who he attacked with a kitchen knife inside her Whalan home in September 2017.

There was an apprehended violence order in place at the time prohibiting him from approaching or contacting Ms Brown - or going within 250 metres of her home or workplace.

"I just did a domestic violence course," he told police after the murder.

"I didn't think I'd be this statistic, you know. Always thought I was better ... but obviously not. Just a piece of s***."

Wood said he couldn't remember what they had been fighting over but she had told him to get out of the house.

"I grabbed her, spun her around, grabbed her by the neck, dropped her to the ground, wrapped my legs around her legs and stretched her out," Wood, who had Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, said.

Police arrived at the property at 2.08am to find Wood curled up next to Ms Brown, crying and saying: "Please don't be dead, baby. You can't be dead."

He had earlier called his father, saying: "I need you to come over here. Something has happened with Sarah."

In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew jailed Wood for 25-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of 19 years and one month.

He said Wood had a "flagrant disregard" for orders made to protect Ms Brown, having breached them before.

"There is no escaping the fact that the deceased was murdered in an atmosphere of serious domestic violence," he said.

Wood appeared ashen-faced as Ms Brown's injuries were read out and had to temporarily leave the dock. She suffered stab wounds, neck abrasions, a fractured rib and bruises to her face, arms and legs.

Justice Bellew concluded the murder was aggravated by Wood's intoxication.

The "on-again, off-again" couple had been drinking together earlier that evening at a Mount Druitt tavern, but Woods left before Ms Brown and waited at her home until she arrived about midnight.

Their relationship had ended one week prior to her death, according to the agreed facts.

It was "inconceivable" based on his record of domestic violence that the self-confessed alcoholic "did not realise" drinking excessively would cause him to become violent, Justice Bellew said.

The judge said regrettably it was too late to protect Ms Brown but not too late to impose a sentence that would deter others who "might be minded to act" as Wood did.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Brown's daughter - who was 18 at the time - said her mother was "full of life" and a happy, loud and courageous person.

Wood's sentence was backdated, meaning he'll be eligible for parole in October 2036 when he'll be 45.

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Courtroom moved to tears during sentencing

Courtroom moved to tears during sentencing

David Desper shot and killed a teenage woman as they jockeyed to merge on a highway.A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a recent high school graduate in a fit of road rage should spend at least 20 years in prison after an emotional sentencing at which he, the victim's family and even the judge cried.
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David Desper was sentenced to 20 to 40 years, and the judge told him she didn't believe he acted out of fear as he contended.

"If you're afraid, you hit the brakes. I believe it was anger," she told him, tearing up. He faced a maximum of 45 years in prison.

Desper, 29, pleaded guilty to shooting 18-year-old Bianca Roberson in the head last year after they jockeyed for space while merging onto a highway.

Before the sentencing, Roberson's mother told the court her 22-year-old son had died and Bianca was her only remaining child. She said she'll never "get to hear that word, 'Mom,' again," then looked at Desper and shouted, "I hate you!" WPVI-TV reported.

In a separate statement, the girl's father said his questions for Desper were simple.

"Why in God's name did you shoot my daughter? Because she was young? Because she was black? Because she was a girl? Because you wanted to go first on the road? Because you had a bad day?" he asked.

Desper, who is white, looked down and cried as the family spoke. He later addressed the court, sobbing.

"I'd do anything to take it back," he told the judge, and then turned to face the Roberson family, saying through tears, "I really would. I'm so sorry."

He repeatedly apologised to them.

The defence said Desper was driving home when a car came up and startled him. He took the gun and fired it in what his lawyer called a mistake.

Desper's mother, Wendy Desper, testified she shared a story about the shooting on Facebook right after it happened, saying she wanted police to find "the jerk who killed that high school graduate," only to later learn it was her son.

"I understand that she's not a mom anymore because of my son and his actions," she said of Roberson's mother, adding she prays for Bianca.



Port Stephens town centre works to pay off in extra millions: report

Port Stephens town centre works to pay off in extra millions: report

PICTURE THIS: A sketch of potential upgrades to William Street at Raymond Terrace under a mooted town centre upgrade if a council push for a rate rise wins approval. A REPORT into a Port Stephens Council plan to spend $43 million on its town centres as part of a proposed rate hike has found the plan would eventually deliver more than $100 million to the area’s economy.
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The council plans improvements at Raymond Terrace, Medowie, Nelson Bay, Anna Bay, Fern Bay, Fingal Bay, Karuah, Lemon Tree Passage and Seaham if the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approves its bid to lift rates beyond the statewide cap.

A Morrison Low business case report commissioned for the council argues the council’s spend on the nine upgrades will be multiplied in the benefits derived from it, which it estimates at more than $129 million.

The report said it focused on “the costs and benefits directly attributable to the project and project components.”It argues tourism will deliver some of the return at Nelson Bay.“The Hunter is emerging as a very strong and popular short-stay destination for the burgeoning Sydney market,” the report states. “Port Stephens currently enjoys 1,437,000 visitors a year …council data suggests that with enhanced public facilities and infrastructure, a 2 per cent annual growth could be achieved if the revitalisation works go ahead, resulting in annual benefit of around $880,000 to the Port Stephens local government area.”

The biggest estimates are from works at Nelson Bay ($15 million for a $49 million boost), Medowie ($5 million for a $16 million boost) and Raymond Terrace ($15 million for a $38 million boost).

Mayor Ryan Palmer said the report demonstrated the importance of the investment, which is proposed as part of a proposed rate rise to be sought next year.

“In addition to construction, there’s also more than $65 million in associated benefits projected to flow into Port Stephens over the next two decades,” Cr Palmersaid.“Without the additional funds from a special rate variation, we simply won’t be able to undertake the kind of transformational works that we’re proposing.”

The council has proposed four options for rates that vary from present levelsto a 77 per cent increase over the next seven years.

The town centre plans are funded under all options except existingrate levels.

Maintenance is also expressed to rise $11.2 million over 10 years.

JEFF CORBETT: A glimpse at nudity, bikinis and string theory

JEFF CORBETT: A glimpse at nudity, bikinis and string theory

I am not one to perve.
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To ogle and leer is at the very least inelegant for a mature man, and it's a base response that reduces the people ogled, who in my case would be women, to sex objects.

You may recall that the fear of being accused of seeing a woman as a sex object a couple of decades ago converted an entire generation of males to sensitive new age guys, and they're still slinking about with eyes down.

Sowhen a fellow camper at Diamond Head on the Mid North Coast a few weeks ago remarked that he'd just seen a woman walk past my car in a bikini even briefer than a thong I made my way casually to the front of my campsite.

The evolution of the bikini has always interested me, in the sociological sense.

But she was gone, out of sight, nowhere to be seen. When she returned an hour later I happened to be polishing my bullbar and what I saw was a piece of black string.

It was about as thick as the twine you might use to tie a tomato bush to a stake or to wrap a gift.

An hour or so later when she came down the track from the other direction it just so happened that I was still polishing the bullbar and I saw that at the front two pieces of string held in place a narrow wedge of cloth.

Back and front, this was a significant step in the evolution of the bikini.

To my amazement I saw these string bikinis everywhere as I made my way up the coast, everywhere I cast my gaze, until at Byron Bay I decided to hightail it home to Newcastle before I started to look even more like Benny Hill.

It may be that this string bikini has been playing hide and seek on Newcastle's beaches unbeknownst to me for a year or two, because I'm not a beachgoer since I came face to face with a shark straight out of a coffee table book 15 years ago, but it was a new source of wonderment for me late last month.

What forces are at work here? I mean, men are covering up more than ever, with ponderous board shorts that are heading towards the knees and with long-sleeved rash shirts, and men in budgie smugglers are deemed to have a few issues that need to be addressed professionally.

My wife and children would have such an outpouring of disgust whenever I presented in budgie smugglers that these days I spare everyone the agony.

So while men are waterlogged with clothing at the beach, women are using string to position three tiny pieces of cloth, not one of the three big enough to wipe a baby's nose, so as to be only technically distinct from nudity.

Wolf whistlers will be arrested!

Not that I wolf whistle, and that may or may not be because I can't whistle, although I do like to people watch.

You know, watching the passing parade, trying to guess his or her occupation, the state of the relationship of the couple walking single file, whether his or her arrogant bearing is justified, the progression of the bikini.

What next for the bikini?

If the string bikini's coverage is merely indicative, and the bikini as clothing has been growing ever more indicative since it made its appearance 70 or so years ago, then the next step must be more indicative, perhaps a stamp of pigment applied to the three points to provide an even more tenuous illusion of modesty.

If ever you've seen a woman with body-paint clothing you'll know that the image tricks the mind to see her as clothed, and if someone is perceived as dressed they are dressed, right?

The illusion does not, err, work for men.

Perhaps next in the evolution of the bikini will be simply a string around the waist, and that's all, as worn by some tribal women in Papua New Guinea and South America. They could hang a few trinkets from the string belt.

Nudity doesn't bother me, not even my own, and for people who want to be nude it must be a wonderful thing. I barely look, and then only selectively.

What does bother me is how to look without perving.

You're only perving when you're seen to be perving, otherwise you're just looking.

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