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Hunter students celebrate star ATARs

Hunter students celebrate star ATARs

Stars: Elly Diamandis-Nikoletatos, Emma Nickel, Jess Mulhearn and Mariam Khalid. Emma has accepted an offer to medical engineering, Jess wants to pursue law or orthodontics and Mariam is aiming for medicine. Picture: Marina NeilELLY Diamandis-Nikoletatos’ mother made it clear she shouldn’t feel any pressure about her n Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
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“She said ‘You can get a mystery mark and we’d be proud of you, no matter what happens’,” Elly said.

Instead, the Merewether High student woke on Friday to news she had received an ATAR of 99.75, one of the highest in the region.

She is among six of the selective school’s students – all girls – to receive ATARs over 99.

Merewether’s Ruby Dempsey, who is in France, is understood to have achieved the Hunter’s highest, 99.9.

“It feels unreal, like I’m imagining it or someone else got it,” Elly said.

“It’s a relief. This year was incredibly stressful, but it paid off and I’m happy with the reward.”

Elly was named on Thursday as one of the school’s 15 all-round achievers, for receivingmarks in the top band possible for 10 or more units of study.

She came 12thin NSW in Legal Studies last year, when she completed it as an accelerated course.

“My mum asked me yesterday if I wanted to celebrate but I was against it, I didn’t want to be too sure,” she said.

“I wasn’t a good judge of how I would go, so it’s been a really great surprise.”

Elly said she had “worked really hard continuously”since the start of year 10.

She said she focused on completing tasks, instead of clocking hours –“I can get a lot done in one hour and sometimes not a lot done in three” –but still spent about nine hours studying each day in the lead up to exams.

“I always wanted to make the most of every opportunity I had,” she said.

“I’m very lucky to go to this school and have these teachers and resources. Some people can’t.

“Doing well in Legal showed me what I can achieve.”

Elly wants to study medicine.

Newcastle Grammar School studentsEmma Reid receivedan ATAR of 99.75 and Emily Elvish 99.70.

Belmont Christian College’s Makensie Toole got 99.65.

Lambton High’sRani Ruse received 99.6. Grammar’s Lucinda Watt got 99.45.

Lambton’s Charlie Ekin; Merewether’s Phoebe Gray, who is in Japan, and Merewether’s Jess Mulhearn all received 99.4.

Lambton High’s Riordan Davies, Merewether’s Emma Nickel and All Saints’ College (St Mary’s Campus) Bradley Montroyall achieved 99.2.

Merewether’s Mariam Khalid and Grammar’s Margot Roberts got 99.1.

Lambton’s Gwen Devoy received 99.05.

Merewether originally appeared to have two students on the Top Achievers list, but also has students who received state rankings in languages they studied by distance education.

Bade Gulmez was second in Turkish Continuers, Ruby Dempsey third in French Continuers, Zoe McTackett third in Korean Beginners, Jess Mulhearn fourth and Joshua Kershaw fifth in Indonesian Beginners.

Prison warning for Vic sex worker shooter

Prison warning for Vic sex worker shooter

Domenico Natale, 89, has been told he's likely to be jailed for shooting at a sex worker.An elderly man who shot himself in the stomach after firing twice at a sex worker he believed he was in a relationship with, has been told he's likely to go to jail.
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Domenico Natale, 89, said after the shooting outside Brunswick's Romantics Brothel that "she f***ing destroyed me".

He was a regular visitor to the woman and out of what she believed was kindness towards a lonely old man, she began to visit him at home, though not providing services.

Prosecutor Jeremy McWilliams told a Supreme Court plea hearing on Friday that Natale started booking her first appointment of the day and would initially meet her outside the brothel, later meeting her at a tram stop and walking with her to work.

When the woman returned from a year-long break, Natale continued to visit her and would tell her about other brothels he'd been to.

"She believes he thought she was his girlfriend, not his client," Mr McWilliams said.

One day in the lead-up to the shooting, Natale was asked to leave but became angry, grabbing the woman around the neck, prompting a struggle before he fled.

In the following days, he sent her stalking messages, telling her to "remember you've destroyed my f***ing life" and "I can forget you, I can't forgive you".

On July 21 last year, Natale drove his daughter's car to the brothel and waited for half an hour for the woman to arrive for work.

He removed a shotgun from the car and fired a shot at her from seven metres away, missing her.

He fired a second shot as she ran in the door, striking the entrance, but again missing her.

Natale got back in the car and fled, while women inside called police.

From his car Natale called the woman and when her colleague answered, he told the colleague: "You know what happens when a person falls in love with someone" and "she f***ing destroyed me".

Natale then threatened to shoot the colleague too, before turning the gun on himself and shooting himself in the stomach.

Natale's lawyer Simon Moglia said with home visits and text messages between Natale and the woman in the lead-up to the shooting, the relationship had strayed into "murky territory".

"The relationship between them went beyond the bounds of the purely commercial," he said.

But Mr McWilliams said Natale had disregarded the woman's humanity and treated her as an object.

"His response to her ending of that subjectively romantic relationship is a deeply disturbing one and a deeply concerning one," he said.

Justice Lesley Taylor will sentence Natale in February, warning him prison is "looking like a likely option".



No-ball dramas on Sharma’s mind: Fleming

No-ball dramas on Sharma’s mind: Fleming

Ishant Sharma is worried about bowling no-balls and therefore under performing, says Damien Fleming.A week after setting the tone by skittling Aaron Finch's stumps in Adelaide, Ishant Sharma's skittish start to the second Test suggested the spearhead's no-ball dramas may be playing on his mind.
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Sharma started his first spell of the four-Test series in emphatic fashion, uprooting two stumps while dismissing Finch for a duck to put India on track for a 31-run victory.

The veteran was far less threatening during his four-over spell in Perth on Friday morning, when he was handed the new ball and asked to create chaos on a green-tinged pitch.

Sharma was taken out of the attack after struggling to hit the 130 km/h mark in his fourth over, which featured three boundaries and a no-ball.

Former paceman Damien Fleming suggested recent scrutiny of Sharma's habit of overstepping may have been a factor in his ineffectual opening spell.

"We saw in his first over he wasn't pushing the line," Fleming said on Seven.

"Maybe he's running in looking at the line and not focusing on where he wants the ball to go.

"The radar isn't working for Ishant today, he has been all over the place. He has been too wide.

"He is really conscious of bowling no-balls."

Mark Waugh, calling the game for Fox Cricket, suggested Sharma looked "awkward" and not at all comfortable.

Sharma has been a near-constant presence in the headlines since the end of the first Test, with footage revealing he should have been called for 16 no-balls in 's first innings of the series opener.

Sharma was denied the scalp of Finch in 's second innings of the first Test because of a no-ball then overstepped again when he looked to have captured the final wicket of the thrilling match.

Tim Paine urged umpires to crackdown on no-balls during his pre-match press conference in Perth.

"I'm glad it's been brought up and certainly been spoken about," Paine said.

"I don't think it's a great look for the game.

"Hopefully they police it really well this game."



LNP Qld president Gary Spence steps down

LNP Qld president Gary Spence steps down

Mr Spence has been at the centre of tensions between the Qld LNP's party and parliamentary wings.The president of Queensland's Liberal National Party will step down, blaming new developer donation laws introduced by the state's Labor government.
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Gary Spence, who is also chairman of engineering consultancy firm PeakUrban, announced his resignation on Friday after a meeting of the party executive.

Mr Spence blamed recent Queensland laws banning developer donations to political parties for his decision, saying his position at PeakUrban makes him a "prohibited donor" subject to hefty fines and even prison time if he stayed in both roles.

"Thirty years ago I joined the Liberal party as a 23 year old. Thirty years later my values haven't changed.

"But what has changed is if I do my job as the LNP president in the lead-up to the next federal election I could go to jail for two years," Mr Spence told reporters after the meeting.

Nationals federal president Larry Anthony heaped praise on Mr Spence, saying he deserved much credit for creating the LNP and had made the party a "powerful force".

"It is a travesty that the Labor state government has wilfully used the legislative process to restrict the ability of the sitting president to do his job," Mr Anthony said.

Mr Spence said he received legal advice earlier this week that because his party's High Court challenge to the laws had been pushed back by several months, it was now likely there wouldn't be a decision before the next federal election.

That means if he solicited donations for the party as its president he could be found in breach of the laws because he is also technically a developer.

"The government of the day (has taken) steps to ensure their competitor is prohibited from participating in an election campaign," he said, adding he remained confident the High Court challenge would eventually succeed.

Mr Spence has recently been at the centre of tensions between the LNP's party and parliamentary wings, after threatening the preselections of three MPs, including former opposition leader Tim Nicholls, for voting with the Labor government to decriminalise abortion.

All LNP MPs had been granted a conscience vote on the issue but Mr Spence slammed the three MPs, saying they had "defied the party".

Mr Spence was also involved in the ousting of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year, advocating behind the scenes for challenger Peter Dutton, who failed to gain the leadership, with former Treasurer Scott Morrison eventually taking the top job.

However Mr Spence rejected suggestions the recent issues had contributed to his decision to leave, and insisted there had been no internal pressure for him to go.

LNP State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington wished Mr Spence all the best for the future.

"Mr Spence is passionate about the LNP and his work to merge the party and his service should never be forgotten," she said in a statement.

Mr Spence's replacement will be chosen at another party meeting on Tuesday with both LNP City Vice-President David Hutchinson and former opposition leader Lawrence Springborg understood to be among a shortlist of candidates to take over the role.



Lambton High marks best ever HSC results

Lambton High marks best ever HSC results

Well done: Riordan Davies, Rani Ruse, Charlie Ekin and Gwendolyn Devoy. Charlie said teacher mentors and group study sessions "made the HSC more bearable" and were "empowering and uplifting". Picture: Max Mason-HubersLAMBTON High is celebrating its best ever Higher School Certificate results, which have been attributed to a “perfect storm” of capable and hard-working students, professional development for teachers and a senior learning centre where pupils receive study support.
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Deputy principal Peter Riley said theschool community was “incredibly proud” of the students’performance.

“It’s phenomenal,” Mr Riley said. “To get these results for a non-selective state school is just out of the box.”

Lambton High is 100thon a list of the state’s top 150 schools, ranked by calculating eachschool’s number of band six scores as a percentage of its completed courses.

It is preceded only by Newcastle Grammar at 35th, Central Coast Grammar at 56th, Gosford High at 58th, Merewether High at59thand Hunter Valley Grammar School at 70th.

Mr Riley said Lambtonis the highest ranking non-selective state school in the Hunter and Central Coast and the ninth highest ranking comprehensive school in the state.

“We’ve been building for five years and havemade a lot of changes that have helped get a mark here orthere, push a band four to a band five,” he said.

“The biggest challenge in education is helping kids reach their true potential and we think we’re getting close to getting them to 98 or 100 per cent of their potential.”

He said at least 25 students achieved an ATAR of 90 or above, including four students above 99: Rani Ruse got99.6, dux Charlie Ekin99.4,Riordan Davies 99.2andGwen Devoy 99.05.

“No-one expected this many over 90,” Mr Riley said.

Charlie said he “didn’t think I would touch 99” and was “speechless” when he saw his ATAR.

“It’s a sense of fulfilment that my hard work has paid off. Ithas opened more doorsfor me.”

Mr Riley said Lambtonhad achieved the most band six or equivalent results among non-selective Hunter state schools every year since 2016.

This year, its students achieved 116 band six or equivalents and 245 band fives, up from 76 band sixesand 184 band fives in 2017 and 79 band sixes and 189 band fives in 2016.

“In 45 per cent of all exams sat, the students get a band five or six,” Mr Riley said.

“It’s been three years, it’s not a fluke –it’s an endorsement what we’re doing is right.”

Lambton had four all-round achievers.

Second Test: Aussie openers start well in Perth

Second Test: Aussie openers start well in Perth

Aussies start well in Second Test n opening batsman Marcus Harris (right) and Aaron Finch.
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Ishant Sharma

India's Virat Kohli, center, addresses his players.

India's Rishabh Pant dives for a ball hit by 's Marcus Harris.

India's Kuldeep Yadav prepares to bowl

Aaron Finch of dives for his crease.

Jasprit Bumrah

Indian captain Virat Kohli (centre) gestures to n batsman Aaron Finch following an appeal.

Virat Kohli of India fields on day one.

Marcus Harris of bats on day one.

TweetFacebookPaine urges umps to crackdown on no-ballsTim Paine has implored umpires to crackdown on no-balls in the second Test, having taken the unusual step of raising the matter mid-match at the Adelaide Oval.

The scorecard from the first Test shows Ishant Sharma delivered five no-balls in India's 31-run victory.

Closer examination of footage reveals that Sharma bowled 16 no-balls in 's first innings, including an over in which all six deliveries were illegal.

It has reignited debate about how umpires can better police overstepping and whether the International Cricket Council (ICC) should do more, such as funding technology.

"I'm glad it's been brought up and certainly been spoken about," Paine told reporters on the eve of the second Test.

"I don't think it's a great look for the game when things like that are happening, you put your trust in the people that are in those jobs to control it.

"Hopefully they police it really well this game."

Paine revealed he spoke with officials at Adelaide Oval regarding the issue, which former skipper Mark Taylor suggested has the potential to "embarrass the game".

"I was watching the telecast in the changerooms (and it showed some of the no-balls that weren't called)," he said.

"(It was) just to get an idea of whether they were communicating to the umpires in the middle. Which they said they were.

"It's not an easy job ... as long as we're aware of it and looking at solutions that can help that process, then I'm all for it."

One school of thought is that the responsibility of calling no-balls should fall to the third umpire, which would release the standing umpire to focus on the action in front of them.

The ICC conducted a successful trial in 2016 that involved a dedicated camera focused on no-balls but didn't introduce the innovation.

"It will embarrass the game if it becomes something we’re focusing on too much," Taylor told wwos苏州夜总会招聘.au

“I’d love to see a system where a red light comes on if it’s a no-ball, and we know within seconds that it wasn’t a legal delivery."

Sharma was denied the scalp of Aaron Finch in 's second innings of the first Test because of a no-ball then overstepped again when he looked to have captured the final wicket of the thrilling match.

As India celebrated in Adelaide, the veteran paceman was still filthy with himself.

"He's a responsible cricketer, he's been around a long time and he understands what needs to be corrected," India captain Virat Kohli said.

"He's keen to rectify it. I don't think it was something that needed to be spoken about again and again."

Holocaust survivor killed crossing street

Holocaust survivor killed crossing street

Alter Wiener, seen in 2001, with a photo of himself taken two months after he was liberated in 1945.A 92-year-old man who survived Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust was struck and killed by a car while crossing a street near his home in Oregon.
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Alter Wiener died Tuesday and was pronounced dead at a hospital, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Wiener endured three years in concentration camps and later in life wrote an autobiography titled, From a Name to a Number: A Holocaust Survivor's Autobiography.

He spoke to thousands of Oregonians about his experiences, making nearly 1000 appearances at schools, libraries, churches, conferences and charitable events.

Wiener appeared before Oregon lawmakers in September to press for mandatory statewide curriculum standards that would require teachers to educate students about the Holocaust and genocide.

"There can be no better tribute to Alter Wiener and all survivors of the Holocaust but for this mandate to come to fruition in the next legislative session," the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education said in a statement.

"May the memory of Alter Wiener be a blessing for his family and for those of us who were privileged to know him."

US Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, remembered Wiener as "a true Oregonian and total mensch who transformed his Holocaust survival into a lesson that taught all of us about the need to fight prejudice always and everywhere."

Wiener was born in 1926 in Chrzanow, Poland, a small town near the German border. Germans invaded his hometown in 1939, and Wiener, his stepmother and his brothers fled, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

His father was required to stay behind to supply groceries from his business to Polish troops. When the family returned three months later, they learned the Germans had murdered him. Wiener was 13.

Wiener was soon forbidden from attending school and two years later, he was sent to a concentration camp. For three years, he moved from camp to camp, until the Russians freed him from Gross Masselwitz in May 1945.

He returned to his Polish hometown and found 123 of his relatives had perished. Only five cousins were still alive, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education said.



A-League: Jets to draw on community strength against Perth

A-League: Jets to draw on community strength against Perth

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Captain Nigel Boogaard believes the Newcastle Jets owe it to the fans to deliver the goods against Perth Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Picture: AAPCAPTAIN Nigel Boogaard reckons the Newcastle Jets have 13,320 reasons to perform against unbeaten leaders Perth Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
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Jets membership climbed to that number on Friday, surpassing the previous best of 13,007for the 2012-13 season when Emile Heskey was the marquee player.

The milestone was not lost on Boogaard, who is determined to repay the faith shown in the club.

“It is great to see the local community get behind us,” said Boogaard, who is one of four home-grown players in the squad. “Towards the back end of last year, with the good performances and good results, the crowds kept building.We have to provide an entertaining style of football that they want to come and watch. We have done that in patches this year and we are keen to improve on that.”

The Jets have had a far stronger presence in the community since Lawrie McKinna was appointed chief executive two years ago.

That has worked hand-in-hand with a much improved record at McDonald Jones Stadium, where the Jets won nine games last season.

“For everyone from the players, staff, sponsors and community to buy into what we’re doing has been so important – we want to be a community club and we want to keep engaging with our fans."‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍The boss, Lawrie McKinna reacts to today's good news! #MadeOfNewcastlepic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/FL7CFAKcBC

— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) December 14, 2018Record broken! We surpass our all-time Membership record in a HUGE milestone for the Club, thanks to all of our Members for their continued support #MadeOfNewcastle ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍📰 https://t苏州夜场招聘/qqflQQl28Lpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/QT8knwt2li

— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) December 13, 2018The Glory have been transformed under Tony Popovic. The arrival of Chris Ikonomidis and wingbacks Ivan Franjic and Jason Davidson has added a new dimension to their attack and, like all Popovic-coached teams, they aresupremely fit.

“The way they set up (3-5-2) throws up a few different scenarios with regards to who marks who in open play,” Boogaard said. “Diego Castro is quality and is back fit now. Up front, Andy Keogh and Chris Ikonomidis are dangerous. They are obviously well organised under Popa. We have done enough on the [training] park this week to counteract that. We are confident that, if we do the right things defensively, we will create chances against any team.”

Girl, 7, dies after being detained by US

Girl, 7, dies after being detained by US

Migrants have been trying to enter the US illegally and then hand them in to Border Patrol agents.A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala has died of dehydration and shock hours after she was taken into US Border Patrol custody, according to the Washington Post.
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The girl and her father had been detained by immigration authorities on December 6 in New Mexico as part of a group of 163 people who approached US agents to turn themselves in, the Post reported on Thursday.

Early on December 7, the girl started having seizures, and emergency responders measured her body temperature at 40.9C, the Post said. She was taken to a hospital, where she died, according to the Post.

US Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

A spokeswoman at Providence Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where the Post reported the child was taken, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The names of the girl and her father were not released. The agency, which typically provides food and water to migrants in its custody, is investigating the incident to ensure whether appropriate policies were followed, the Post said.

The head of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Customs and Border Protection, will appear in front of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee next week, Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the panel, said on Twitter. "We will be demanding immediate answers to this tragedy," Nadler said.

US President Donald Trump has made toughening immigration policies a central tenet of his presidency and has vowed to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.

This summer, his administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which resulted in separating children arriving at the border with their parents, caused a national outcry. The policy was mostly reversed.



Extremism ‘renounced’ by terror plotters

Extremism ‘renounced’ by terror plotters

Accused terror plotter Sameh Bayda says he believes in Christ and regularly reads the Bible.A young Sydney woman who aspired to be part of a "jihadi Bonnie and Clyde" has told a judge she's now shed her hijab and her "disgusting" fanatical extremist views.
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Alo-Bridget Namoa testified that her texts encouraging Sameh Bayda to carry out a terrorist attack were the actions of a "childish, inquisitive hypothetically-thinking" teenager.

The 21-year-old, who wore a hijab during her Supreme Court trial and at the first day of her sentencing hearing a week ago, did not wear the head-covering in court on Friday when she gave evidence.

Namoa and Bayda, both 18 when they married in an Islamic ceremony in 2015, were found guilty in October of conspiring between early December 2015 and late January 2016 to do an act in preparation for a terrorist act.

The Crown contended their plan was for a New Years Eve attack by Bayda, who sent his new wife a selfie of him masked and giving the ISIS one-finger salute.

Their phones contained a vast amount of extremist material, including graphic images and videos of beheadings and soldiers carrying Islamic flags, and communications to each other.

Namoa referred to them as a jihadi Bonnie and Clyde.

Bayda on Friday denied he's only pretending to have renounced Islam and found Christianity in a bid to get a lighter sentence.

While he still loved Namoa and wished to stay with her, he said he did not now consider them to be married as the ceremony was under Sharia law, not n law.

"The marriage was broken since we both left the religion," he said.

Namoa told the court her parents were from Tonga and she was brought up Catholic.

She converted to Islam before getting together with Bayda but, she said, she stopped practising in September during their trial after she "got put off" when seeing extremist propaganda material again.

"I don't practice anything at the moment," Namoa told the court.

She kept wearing the hijab because if other Muslim women inmates knew she was no longer practising they may have tried to attack her or yell out at her.

Before her arrest, police had found a sheathed hunting knife and black Shahada flag in her handbag, items which the prosecution said were part of their plot.

But Namoa said Bayda gave her the knife for protection after a man had tried to hug her and pull her tights down in a park. She said she managed to escape.

Bayda also gave her the flag because "I just wanted to have it in my room".

She agreed she had decided to abandon Islam because her husband had, but said she would not go back to it if he changed his mind.

Justice Des Fagan will sentence them on January 31.