Mining industry pushes coal power

VICTORIA’S peak mining body wants a new brown coal power station using the latest technology should be built in the Latrobe Valley.
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The Victorian division of the Minerals Council of Australia argues that in this way, the talents of hundreds of Latrobe Valley workers would not be wasted, and power prices would be lower and power supply would be more reliable.

“Victoria is an integral part of the NEM. We have a role to play in that,” Victoria’s MCA executive director Gavin Lind told the Gippsland Times, especially as Hazelwood was about to close and Yallourn W power station did not have a long scheduled life.

In discussions with the state government over its coal policy statement, due this month, Dr Lind said the council had urged keeping the option to use brown coal as an energy resource and contributor to the national market.

The MCA argues the Hazelwood (coal) reserve should not be destroyed.

“The end point is rehabilitation, a lake . . . the minute you do that, that resource is sterilised,” he said.

The closure of Hazelwood as an owner generator and ‘miner’ of brown coal also meant the government was losing a big royalty stream.

“It’s suddenly gone,” he said.

The MCA claimed it was the tripling of brown coal royalties that was paying for the government’s $250 million Latrobe Valley economic package.

“Non-energy users of brown coal will also have to get the coal from current brown coal users. There is community expectations about jobs and the closure of that pit, but whatever you do, do not sterilise that reserve.”

Dr Lind emphasised that new technology coal plants could deliver low-cost, reliable energy with up to 50 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

“There are more than 700 high-efficiency, low emissions (HELE) plants being built in Asia-Pacific.

“They come carbon capture and storage (CCS) ready. You can build it and it has CCS capabilities inherent in it,” he said.

The lower emissions from such plants also meant there was a lot less CO2 to capture in CCS units, creating lower operating costs.

Dr Lind said Victoria’s coal policy needed to cater for the future if someone wanted to build such an ultra-super critical power plant.

“HELE technology is a prerequisite for achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement,” he said.

About half of new coal-fired power plants being built were using HELE technology, such as supercritical, ultra-supercritical (USC) and integrated gasification combined cycle technologies coupled with advanced emission controls.

Dr Lind said Germany was replacing old brown coal plants with modern stations.

For example, the Neurath plant, with two 1100 megawatt units with net thermal efficiency of more than 40 per cent, was the world’s largest lignite (brown coal)-fired USC power plant.

“In 15 minutes, each unit can increase or decrease its output by more than 500MW to help offset intermittent renewable energy,” he said.

This meant they could be effectively used to cover gaps in wind or solar energy availability.

Germany also had to decide on how it was going to replace the more than 12,000MW of nuclear power base load power that was scheduled to be shut within six years.

Dr Lind said USC lignite-fired units were also in operation in China, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the USA.

“With bold vision, that could happen in Victoria,” he said.

Dr Lind said in Victoria, all the pilot projects private enterprise had invested in using brown coal had all been proven in concept, but had not gone further because of scale.

“This is a big challenge for Victoria; there needs to be scale for these things. We know the technology is there and the R and D is there, but we have to think about it differently – how to attract scale and investment,” he said.

“Who will be attracted to it when a state government wants to move out of fossil fuels? How can you attract an investor?”

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


Region’s harvest looks good but no record

Patchy: Water logging from the wet winter and spring has reduced yields in the south-west’s canola crops. This year’swet winter has takenits toll on south-west canola crops but other crops are set to deliver above average yields.
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While farmers further north are looking forward to bumper crops, the excitement about the impending harvest in the south-west is more subdued.

Southern Farming Systems Hamilton coordinator Michelle McClure said water logging had ruined parts of some south-west canola crops.

“But where the crops have survived, they have grown very well,” Ms McClure said.

She said the variable outcome could mean that canola yields ended up close to average.

Tarrington farmer Brent Herrmann said he expected his 810 hectares (2000 acres) of canola would produce below average yields because of waterlogging insome areas.

Mr Herrmann said crop performance “was all over the shop”.

“We are seeing some of the best and some of the worst results in the same paddock,” he said.

Mr Herrmann said much of his canola crop had been windrowed but mostof it had escaped damage from last week’s winds.Rain prior to thewindsput some weight in the windrows to reduce the damage, he said.

Mr Hermann said his canola had been more affected by waterlogging than his 729 ha (1800 acre) wheat crop because it was in full flower when heavy rains hit in mid-September and put it under stress.

The longer season wheat crop was not as well advanced in September and had since grown well to promise an “above average”crop, he said.

AGRiSULTS agronomist Craig Henson of Dunkeld said the region’s wheat crops, whichwere due to be harvested from January, were shaping up to be ”the best crops for a long time”.

Some good crops of barley had also been grown, Mr Henson said.

“It’s the same everywhere. The wet areas are not yielding too well,” he said.

“We had too much rain.”

While cereals such as wheat and barley are expected to produce good yields, prices for feed wheat and feed barley were comparatively low, he said.

But Mr Henson said prices for canola were above average.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) hasreaffirmed its estimates of a recordnational wheat harvest this season, at 32.6 million tonnes, up 35 per cent on last year’s harvest.

​The nation’s total harvest of all key winter crops is estimatedat 52.4 million tonnes, including a record-breaking 10.6 million tonne barley crop and the third-biggest canola crop at 3.6 million tonnes.

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


Course divides councillors

Goulburn Mulwaree Council general manager Warwick Bennett.
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Some Goulburn Mulwaree councillors will take advantage of a company directors’ training course costing almost $7000 each.

But Cr Andrew Banfield does not support the move, saying the amount is well above the budget allocation.

Council general manager Warwick Bennett reported on details of the Australian Institute of Directors five-day training course to the most recent meeting. The course, at Orange from April 3 to 7, 2017, costs $6,699 per head, not including travel, accommodation and meals, estimated to be an extra $1000.

Current council policy restricts training expenditure for individualcouncillors to $3500 each. But Mr Bennett said they could change this by resolution if they wished.

He did not specifically recommend that councillors take it up but urged consideration.

“It’s invaluable to your role. Councillors have responsibility for leading a growing community and the expenditure of many millions of dollars,” Mr Bennett wrote.“Coupled with that (is) the responsibility of setting well defined policy and strategic directions and getting the governance process right is critical.”

He argued councillors’ roles were similar to that of a board director, possibly greater, given the public forum and community expectations. The course is not specifically aimed at councillors and contains modules on decision making, directors’ duties and responsibilities and the board’s legal environment.

But Cr Andrew Banfield said he wouldn’t support the allocation.

“We should discuss it in a workshop first … to talk about the benefits to councillors and the community.It’s a big expense and well above the allocated budget,” he said.

Mayor Bob Kirk pointed out it was previously discussed in a workshop.

In response to a question from Cr Peter Walker about future requirements of councillors, Mr Bennett said it was very much part of the state government’s thrust.

“If it makes us more qualified, why not?” Cr Carol James said.

But rather than making it mandatory, councillors decided that if individuals wanted to do the company directors course, the council would meet direct and associated costs.

Mayor Bob Kirk said he was considering taking up the opportunity but felt not many other councillors would due to the five-day time commitment.

“I potentially see it as helpful…I will consider it but only on the basis that the community would expect me to be suitably informed and educated as chairman of that body (council),” he said.

Cr Kirk said it was a “little surprising” that the State Government and NSW Local Government Department had signaled that councillors in the future would need to have qualifications to serve.

He, former Mayor Geoff Kettle and Cr Andrew Banfield undertook an intensive Local Government course in Sydney before the last election.

The Australian Institute of Directors had regularly attended the annual NSW Local Government conference as exhibitors. Cr Kirk suggested to Mr Bennett that their course be offered to Goulburn Mulwaree councillors. He believed the council would draw maximum benefit from the investment this early in the term.

Cr Kirk said while $6699 seemed like a large amount in the context of the maximum $3500 annual allocation for individual councillor training, very few would have reached this each year.

“And if I were to do the course, I’d be very surprised if I exceeded the budget total, so I don’t see it as an expense. It’s no more than the community expects,” he said.

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


Glenn Maxwell has leadership potential, says Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming

Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming sees leadership potential in Glenn Maxwell and is looking forward to spending time with the mercurial all-rounder on the golf course in coming days.
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After a tumultuous few months, Maxwell has joined Stars teammates ahead of the Big Bash League, travelling with the majority of the squad to Albury on Monday ahead of practice matches against Sydney Thunder on Tuesday.

Fleming, who captained New Zealand in a national record 80 Tests, said he was looking forward to again working with Maxwell, with whom he forged a strong working relationship last summer – Fleming’s first as Stars coach.

Fleming said he didn’t want to pigeonhole Maxwell as hard to manage. Rather, he  suggested he could learn things from the at-times brilliant batsman, and that Maxwell had leadership qualities. “My relationship with Glenn is very strong,” Fleming told Fairfax Media.

“I enjoyed my time with him last season. We worked on some stuff away from the game just around the captaincy and leadership and other aspects, which I really enjoyed talking to him about.”

After winning Australia’s one-day player of the year award in January, Maxwell credited his rapport with Fleming for helping his growth as a cricketer.

Fleming said he relished the chance to discuss captaincy with the 28-year-old, who is touted as a possible inclusion for the upcoming Test tour of India. “Sometimes players who you don’t see as potential leaders are the ones who are most interested,” Fleming said.

“So that’s just one of the projects that we work on. And sometimes people surprise you about what some of their goals are. From my point of view it’s just understanding players, not boxing players into a certain category.”

Fleming did not rule out the prospect of Maxwell captaining a professional team in the future. “Maybe? Who knows? To me it’s about building leaders. It doesn’t matter whether they captain or whether they just lead themselves or lead others around them,” he said.

“Leadership isn’t just, we’ve got to groom them to be captain. Leadership is about how Glenn is perceived, what he works on, on and off the field, and what he wants to become.

“The workings of it can be quite interesting, both ways. And even for me to learn off Glenn, the way he goes about his cricket, is a lot different to how I played and how a lot of my contemporaries played.

“So it’s not just one-way traffic either. There’s a leadership aspect that we’ve been able to feed off.”

While they are yet to taste ultimate success, the Stars have made the top four in every BBL season to date, and have managed to fit divisive English superstar Kevin Pietersen comfortably into the side. The Stars generally feel that Maxwell is happy while with them, and Fleming agreed. “When he’s been with the Stars – certainly during my involvement – he’s been very good.”

The BBL window looms as somewhat of a sanctuary for Maxwell, who has endured a turbulent season  with both Victoria and Australia.

Having unsuccessfully sought a move to NSW in the off-season, the all-rounder was overlooked for the Bushrangers’ first Sheffield Shield match of the season. He was eventually recalled, but consistently batted below wicketkeeper and captain Matthew Wade.

When both were picked for Australia’s recent ODI series against NZ, Maxwell sensationally criticised Wade for placing himself above Maxwell in the batting order, suggesting it made Maxwell’s quest to return to Australia’s Test team more difficult.

Maxwell was subsequently fined by the Australian team leadership over the comments, and left out of the Australian XI for all three matches against the Black Caps.


Time, not money, the reason for split with Nine, says James Brayshaw

Now that James Brayshaw has hung up his two most prominent caps, at Channel 9 and as chairman of North Melbourne, he admits that having several of them jammed on his head at once took a toll that he hopes he can remediate.
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The severest was on his family. Brayshaw, 49, is divorced with four sons, aged nine to 22. “I’ve got to get better at being a dad, and a partner, being around a bit more, not being stressed and knackered when I am,” he said. “That’s the part of my life I’ve got horribly wrong for too long. That’s priority No.1.”

There are also his parents, Ian and Joan, who he visited recently at their home in southern WA. “It was the first time I’d been to see them for two-and-a-half years,” he said. “That’s just appalling. I have no doubt I got the balance wrong.

“In our business, you do run the risk of becoming a bit lost in yourself. I have, anyway. I’ve been guilty of letting what I do dictate the life I lead. I have the chance to do better.”

Brayshaw needed time. This, he said, was the issue at Channel 9, not money. “I’ve never once argued with Nine about money in the whole time I was there,” he said. “None of this dispute had anything to do with money. The money was absolutely fine, right from the start.

“I wanted to have some flexibility to do other things. Nine were clear they weren’t comfortable with that. I understood their position. I don’t leave with any bitterness or resentment. I have enormous regard for the place, great friends and great memories. I wished them well on departure, as they did me.”

Brayshaw had 16 years in television, beginning at Channel 7, 11 years as co-host of Channel 9’s Footy Show, also calling cricket for the network, and nine years as Kangaroos chief. He still has his role as co-host of MMM’s Rush Hour, and a six-year contract to call footy for the station.

Brayshaw said the single highlight of his time at Nine was five years of calling live footy. Though he forged his name as an able first-class cricketer for a decade, this was his dream realised. “Live footy is a special thing,” he said. “It has its own rhythm, especially on TV.”

But sometimes, the broadcaster knew what only the footy club chairman should, and he slept uneasily. “There were definitely times when it was tough, especially when the brown stuff hit the fan,” he said. “You had to walk a fine line between doing what was right for the club and also being honest. There were times when that was very difficult.”

Brayshaw admits to having been an ingenue in the North job when it fell to him, having led the resistance to an AFL-engineered move to the Gold Coast. He is proud of what has ensued.

“We took over something that was in a pretty parlous state and it is now a very, very well-performed business,” he said. North didn’t win a flag in his time, but nor did 12 other clubs. “Otherwise, when you look at the health of the club now, I defy anyone to say it would have been a good option to leave,” he said.

Inescapably, Brayshaw has lived in, and enjoyed, a blokey world. At times, this has led to uncomfortable pinches, on the Footy Show and most recently in so-called Caro-gate.

Brayshaw said the football industry had only by degrees come to a realisation that women were not merely extras in the show. “When I started in the ’90s. there was no appropriate understanding of that,” he said. “There is now.”

His conscience was clear, he said. “I don’t think I have a misogynist bone in my body. I have great relationships with all the women in my life, including my ex-wife, my partner now, my mum, my sister when she was with us. I worship all those people for different reasons.

“But having said that, I continue to learn about the appropriate way to broadcast every day. I’m not arrogant enough to think I haven’t got lots to learn in lots of ways as a broadcaster.”

In the many-mirrored modern sports landscape, a broadcaster now is as much opined upon as he/she opines. “I can’t remember a time when there has been so much commentary on commentators,” Brayshaw said. Years ago, Ian Chappell said to him that he could only ever please half the people. Then, Brayshaw thought Chappell was exaggerating. Now he knows he was not, and accepts it.

“I will say that the one thing you can’t be in 2016 is vanilla,” he said. “You can’t sit on the fence. You’ve got to have an opinion. If people like it, great. If they don’t, great. But that’s so much better than not caring.”

A broadcaster also needed a thick skin, he said. Ten years of first-class cricket meant that he came to the job with the necessary hide. “I love Merv Hughes. I loved every minute of playing against him. He’s a great friend now,” Brayshaw said. “But if I took offence at everything he said to me on the cricket field, I’d still be sucking my thumb in the corner.”


University of Newcastle deal could double students in the city

PARTNERS: University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen, Chief Operationg Officer Nat McGregor and NSW Premier Mike Baird on the rooftop of the NeW Space building. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE University of Newcastle’s decision to movepart of its campusto two hectares of Honeysuckle and railway corridor land will double the number of students coming into the city in the coming years to 6000, Premier Mike Baird said.
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The Newcastle Heraldrevealed on Mondaythat the new university site is across Hunter Street from itsNeW Space building, which isunder construction.

Broken into three parcels, the new sitehas height limits of 30 metres, or eight to nine storeys, and includes Honeysuckle’s Wright Lane car park next to the rail corridor.

In a visit to Newcastle on Monday, Mr Baird said the announcement that the university would “anchor” the redevelopment of the former heavy rail corridor marked “an exciting time for the city”.

“It has the potential to bring another 3000 students, so up to 6000 students that could be undertaking their studies right here in the city of Newcastle,” he said.

“The expectation is for additional facilities for students, potentially accommodation, we’re excited to be announcing that.”

The government still has work to do to get the corridor rezoning passed, but Mr Baird said the announcement marked an important point in the city’s regeneration.

“What you’re starting to see is how great Newcastle will be,” he said. “The trend around the world is very clear, the great cities are seeing great universities come back toward the centre.

“In terms of renewal and in terms of revitalisation, university campusesare leading that, the innovation to come, the energy, and the opportunities are boundless.”

The announcement marks the first confirmed use of the former heavy rail corridor, a stretch of land that hasbeen bitterly contested along party lines since the government announced it would run light rail down Hunter Street.

Butwhile protesters made their displeasure known outside Mr Baird’s appearance at a Property Council lunch, Newcastle’s Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp welcomed the decision.

“I’ll be happy to see the university in the city, I can only see that as a positive thing,” he said.

Mr Baird said the deal with the university should provide “assurance” to those opposed to the government’s plans, and that the university would anchor the future of the area.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen said theagreement “builds opportunities for an integrated city precinct that could double the numberofstudents in theNewcastle CBD”.

She said that subject tothe finalisationofbusiness cases and development approvals, construction on the land could start from late 2018.


Sporting complex planned for Creek Road at Maryland if Newcastle Council approves Glencore land transfer

FORWARD THINKING: Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, pictured at the site, said in 20 years it could a “showpiece” for the western suburbs. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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A MULTI-MILLIONdollar sport and recreation complex willbe built to servicethe growing population belt west ofNewcastle, under a plan set to go before Newcastle Council on Tuesday.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the long-term vision was to create a first-class sporting precinct inMarylandthat could rivalNational Park at Cooks Hill.

But the plans hinge on whether councillors agree to accept the transfer of a 15.5-hectare parcel of land at 40 Creek Road, that has been offered up by mining company Glencore free of charge.

Fletcher Parkwould also be absorbed into the precinct,taking itstotal size to about 20 hectares.

Including the construction ofa “special event venue”, thestaged development would takebetween five and 10 years.

A $12 million concept plan designed by ADW Johnson includes soccer and AFLplaying fields, cricket pitches, 180 parking spaces, a playground, cycle paths and an amenities block.

EXPANSIVE: A $12 million concept plan developed by ADW Johnson includes playing fields, cricket pitches, 180 parking spaces, a playground and amenities block.

However Cr Nelmes said it was only a“mud map” andwhat was offered at the complex would be decided after community consultation. Agrandstand, netball and tennis courts were also in the mix, she said.

“Because it is adjacent to the Hunter Wetlands National Park, we’re looking atthings like boardwalks through thelow-lying areas,” she said.

A masterplan would be developed to link thecomplex to the sporting facilities at Callaghan College, Federal Park and Wallsend pool, and to the Wallsend CBD through pedestrian pathways.

“This will give us enough land to create an area that we can turn into a showpiece of sporting facilities for all of the western suburbs of Newcastle,” Cr Nelmes said.

The city alreadyhas six large-scale sporting complexes, but the furthest west is at New Lambton.

If the deal goes ahead, the Wallsend New Lambton Pony Club will eventually need relocation and councilwill have to pay $5000 to $10,000 in land transfer costs. However astaff report stressed it was unlikely another suitable site could be found in the Fletcher/Minmi area, which is forecast to grow in population from over 11,000 in 2011 to nearly 28,000 by 2036.


‘Puzzling’: Potent greenhouse gas spike prompts calls for climate action

Agriculture, including animal husbandry, seems “to be a major, possibly dominant, cause” of the jump in methane emissions. Photo: Brendon ThorneRice paddies and flatulent cows appear to be behind a surge in the potent greenhouse gas methane over the past decade, a shift that threatens to counter efforts to curb global warming, scientists say.
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After growing at the rate of half a part per billion annually for the first six years of this century, atmospheric levels of methane have “experienced puzzling dynamics”, increasing more than 10-fold since 2007, researchers said in a paper published Monday in Environmental Research Letters.

The team, including Pep Canadell from the CSIRO, said expanded agriculture including rice fields and animal husbandry seems “to be a major, possibly dominant, cause” of the jump in emissions.

The finding has implications for the ability to reduce humans’ impact on the climate, as well as “the need to balance food security and environmental protection”, the paper said.

“Keeping global warming below 2 degrees is already a challenging target, with most of the attention placed on carbon-dioxide emissions,” the paper said.

“Such a target will become increasingly difficult if methane reductions are not also addressed strongly and rapidly.”

Methane’s impact on warming can be as much as 100 times more than CO₂ over a couple of decades and 34 times the warming potential over a century.

Although CO₂ is about 200 times more abundant, methane has contributed about one-sixth of recent warming, NASA says.

While a consensus on the source of the extra methane remains elusive, the paper said agriculture, fossil-fuel related emissions and a decrease in biomass burning were likely the biggest contributors. (See chart below in annual methane emissions by region for the 2003-2012 decade.)

“While methane is not warming the planet for centuries like CO₂, slowing down the impacts in the nearer future will depend on us adopting a less meat-rich diet, and a transition to renewables rather than investments into gas as a temporary ‘transition fuel’,” said Malte Meinshausen, director of Melbourne University’s Climate & Energy College.

“Luckily, those switches can come with a number of benefits,” Professor Meinshausen said. “For one, a healthier diet, and in addition, the avoidance of sunken investments into a gas energy infrastructure that does not fit well with a zero-emissions future sketched by the Paris [climate] agreement.”

Natural methane sources include wetlands, particularly in the tropics. “Some scientists think tropical wetlands have gotten a bit wetter and are releasing more gas,” NASA said in an online methane feature.

Humans do not have a direct influence on methane sinks, unlike CO₂, in which extra tree planting can take some of that gas out of the atmosphere, Professor Meinshausen said.

Methane also has a positive feedback loop, in which the higher the concentration of the gas, the longer its atmospheric lifetime, he said.

While atmospheric CO₂ levels have increased about 30 per cent since the Industrial Revolution began, methane levels have roughly doubled. (See NASA chart below, showing levels now exceed 1800 parts per billion.)

Another feedback is expected to come if a warming world triggers, as expected, a thawing of methane-rich permafrost.

For now, though, the paper found “no significant increase from Arctic regions”.

Research agencies are stepping up efforts to get a better fix on the sources of the extra methane, with the Franco-German Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission satellite – dubbed Merlin – due for launch in 2020.

Dimitri Lafleur, a former Shell engineer and PhD researcher at Melbourne University, said debate continues about the contribution of methane from the fossil fuel sector, with emissions apparently varying widely from basin to basin.

“When US fossil-fuel related emissions can be seen on satellite images then the potential differences on a basin level become quite clear,” Mr Lafleur said.

“It would be really valuable if we would have more measurements in Australia to understand the methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry and agriculture,” he added. “Currently we don’t have a good understanding who is responsible for how much.”

Follow Peter Hannam on Twitter and Facebook.


The Mehajer family’s latest diversion tactic involves balloons, babies and a party

Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer married in August. Photo: Emilio B Photography & Mehajer Pty LtdIn a bid to become Australia’s answer to the Kardashians, the Mehajer family of Sydney’s western suburbs are instead resembling Jim Carrey at the height of his comedic fame. When the pressure from negative news gets too much, the knee jerk reaction is to pull on a happy mask and declare, “It’s party time!”
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P.A.R.T why? Because they gotta.

Days after the parents of former Auburn deputy mayor Salim – Mohamad and Amal Mehajer – declared themselves bankrupt just hours before they were due in court over a $10 million tax debt, the Mehajers banded together over the weekend and staged a glittery smoke screen this time in the form of a baby announcement and sex reveal party.

Just three months after celebrating at a lavish wedding that made a Baz Luhrmann film look like a community repertory production, Khadijeh ‘Kat’ Mehajer and her husband Ibraham Sakalaki have announced they are expecting their first child sometime next year.

Instead of a cryptic social media post, a laLara and Sam Worthington, the couple shared the news by opening up Kat’s usually restricted Instagram account and hosting a “gender reveal” party.

Photos and videos thanking caterers and a dress boutique for providing the mother-to-be with an Alex Perry frock plastered the family’s social media platforms, all except brother and budding Halal certified toiletries entrepeneur Salim, who has deleted his account.

It’s been a busy few months for the couple, who, due to their Muslim faith only began spending time alone together after their marriage back in late August.

“1 + 1 = 3. We are pleased to announce Baby IKS2017,” the new Mrs Sakalaki posted to Instagram in late November, along with a photograph of her cradling a baby bump.

At Sunday’s function it was revealed they have conceived a child that will carry the XY chromosome.

“Whatever it is let’s not be upset,” Ibraham said before popping a balloon filled with blue confetti.

The couple were reluctant to comment when approached by Fairfax Media to discuss the baby news. Instead prefacing an interview with a written statement.

“Ibraham and I are happy to answer these questions so long that we are assured no negative stories/stigma is attached to our story,” Mehajer said.


‘Get stuffed’: Trump’s likely message to Australia taxing US multinationals

KPMG tax partner Grant Wardell-Johnson says Trump would tell the world to “get stuffed” when it comes taxing US multinationals. Photo: Daniel MunozAustralia may have tougher laws aimed at recouping more tax from multinationals, but that won’t stop the incoming US President Donald Trump telling us to “get stuffed” in the fight for more revenue from US-based companies, a KPMG tax expert says.
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President-elect Donald Trump has two major changes affecting multinationals under his tax reform agenda. First, he wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Second, he wants to introduce a special corporate tax repatriation holiday rate whereby corporations with money stashed overseas would be able to pay a tax rate of just 10 per cent on that income in order to bring it back into the United States.

Such a move would benefit multinationals like Apple and Microsoft which currently have billions stashed overseas.

But it would not be great for Australia, said the leader of KPMG’s Australia Tax Centre, Grant Wardell-Johnson.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said if Trump gets his tax reform passed, it wouldn’t really matter how strong Australia’s laws, or those of other countries, are.

Trump would be likely to be of the view that they can “get stuffed”, he said.

The OECD’ plan aimed at ensuring profits are taxed where economic activity is earned, known as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), will be implemented by governments around the world over the coming years.

Tax experts have already warned this could usher in tax revenue wars.

This was highlighted in a recent case where the European Commission found Apple was not entitled to a special tax deal in Ireland.

Apple was ordered to pay up to €13 billion ($19 billion) in back taxes, plus interest, to Ireland after the Commission found the software giant had received “illegal state aid”.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said Trump’s proposed policies would increase the odds of such disagreements.

He said the United States had sided with Apple in viewing that decision as being “out-of-step, retrospective and quite extreme”.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said countries that do not cut their tax rates would be “outliers” and this would have a negative impact on their economy.

KPMG chairman Peter Nash said we could see “bidding wars” between nations to attract investment. “We would be very exposed should that [bidding] war erupt,” Mr Nash said.

On Friday it was revealed that almost 700 multinationals with operations in Australia paid zero tax in years gone by.

The corporate tax transparency report published by the Australian Taxation Office showed that more than a third of large public and private companies paid no tax in 2014-15.

The ATO says it is now fighting seven large multinationals for about $2 billion in revenue.

Follow Nassim Khadem on Facebook.


VIDEO: Youths damage police van in Mayfield rampage

SMASHED: A discarded pram is used to smash a window on the parked police van at Mayfield on Saturday night. Officers were able to identify some suspects and make arrests. Pictures: Supplied.IT was Newcastle’s own chapter of William Golding’s masterpiece about young men falling into a state of anarchy.
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Long-time Stagand Hunter publican Aaron Hogg saidhe was at a loss to explain thebehaviour of a group of out-of-control teens any other way after they smashed windows and kicked in panels of a police van and yelled obscenities at officers.

The youths are believed to have emerged from a house party in a nearby Mayfield street just before midnight on Saturday before unleashing their fury on the parked van as officers were away dealing with other unruly behaviour.

WARNING: Explicit languageA video shot by a witness on a smart phone shows several young men kicking and lashing out at the van, with several of them usinga discarded pram as a missilebefore it eventually smashes a large side window.

They run into the middle of Hanbury Street and Maitland Road, wildly congratulate each other and repeatedly yell “f— the police” before returning for some more flying kicks.

They even grab the pram for a second round, trying desperately to smashed the driver’s side front window before taking off again.

Mr Hogg said he could only compare it to scenes in William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord Of The Flies, about a group of British boys who fail to govern themselves on a deserted island.

“I have been here 13 years and have seen plenty, but this was just anarchy,’’ Mr Hogg said.

“There was probably about half a dozen of them, maybe a dozen at times, all having their own little Lord of the Flies moment.

“Nobody was wantingto belt anyone else, it was all just a big parade to show their disdain to the coppers.

“It was a complete disrespect for any sort of authority that I have neverseen before. It was extraordinary.’’

But the anarchy was restored when officers returned to their car and surveyed the damage.

KICKED: The vision shows several suspects kicking panels of the van as others encourage them while officers are busy dealing with a party.

A police statement said the officerssaw four people running east along Maitland Road and started tochase the suspects on foot.

Four teenage boys were arrested and taken to Newcastle police station were they were questioned and charged.

Two 14-year-old boys,and one 16-year-old youth, werecharged with destroying or damagingproperty in company and granted conditional bail to appear at a children’s court on December 19.

DAMAGED: The footage shows several youths returning to the parked van a couple of times to continue the rampage.

The fourth boy, a 16-year-old boy, was charged with destroying or damaging property in company and refused bail.

Investigations are continuing and any other witnesses are urged to contact police.


EDITORIAL: State government unveils light rail and university expansion plans

HIGH up above the city, at the top of the University of Newcastle’s futuristic NeW Space building, NSW Premier Mike Baird and his transport minister, Andrew Constance, are glowing withgoodwill about the benefits they say will flow from their Revitalising Newcastle program.
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Meanwhile, in the shade of nearby Civic Park, a crowd of about 40 people has gatheredto hear Save Our Rail founder Joan Dawson and other speaks determined to keepup the fight. To them, the Wickham transport interchange, the light rail line on Hunter Street and the promise of new university buildings at Honeysuckle are nothing more than a property grab by the government’s developer mates, paid for with taxpayer dollars. Even at this late stage of the debate, their mantra remains: “Bring back the track”. To be fair to Save Our Rail, they are not the only ones still questioningthe decision to opt for a hybrid light rail that runson the corridor between Wickham and Worth Place before moving out onto Hunter Street and Scott Street. Indeed, the Newcastle Herald has voiced suchconcerns. And the government has only invited criticism by refusing to release key documents related to the Newcastle light rail:especially the business case, which would surely quieten the critics if it turned out to be as strong as the government implies that it is.

As things stand, the community is compelled to take the government on trust.Andtrust is in short supply when it comes to the public and politicians. But there is nothing in it for the government to come here and destroy the place. Having truncated the old heavy rail line, it now needs to make this venture work. Keolis-Downer, which will run the bus, ferry and light rail services, has a contract in which itsincentives are based around patronage. The more passengers it has, the more it will be paid. This alone should be incentive enough to design a public transport system that people want to use.

In the meantime, therewill be delays while the light rail tracks are installed. And the protests will continue, although Keolis-Downer says the usual response in cities that have received light rail is for the protests to be replaced by calls for track extensions. For the time being, though, Monday’sannouncements mark a major milestone on the road to the city’s reinvention. There will be no turning back, as Newcastle embraces its destiny, whatever that may be.

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Fetch TV launches Australia’s first 24-hour eSports and gaming channel

International team OG, which recently added Australian player Ana (right), won their third Boston Major against up-and-coming Greek team Ad Finem. eGG talent: Pinda Rika, Faisal Ariffin, Natasha Hidayah, Abdul Mu’adz, Danelie Purdue and Faraz Shababi.
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Australian eSports stars are stepping onto the world stage, as our country’s first 24/7 eSports and gaming network has begun live coverage of multi-million dollar international gaming tournaments.

The local launch of the Malaysian-based eGG “Every Good Game” network arrived on Fetch TV just in time for the finals of the Dota 2 Boston Major over the weekend, the first event of the 2016/17 Dota 2 championship season. Three Australian gamers were in the mix as 16 international teams competed for a slice of the $4 million prize pool, playing Valve’s super-popular team-based arena game.

It was an appropriate time for the channel’s launch as OG — the team that would go on to win Sunday’s $US1 million grand final — has an Australian as one if its members. Anatham Pham, who goes by the name “Ana”, became the first Australian to have ever won a Valve-sponsored event.

While competitive gaming is traditionally associated with South Korea and China, it has a growing following in South East Asia including Australia, says eGG’s Australian co-host and eSports commentator Danelie Purdue.

“eSports in Australia doesn’t always get the attention it deserves,” Purdue says. “It has a lot of passionate followers but unfortunately it tends to fly under the radar even though there are plenty of tournaments in Australia.”

“Sometimes it feels like Australian eSports fans have resigned themselves to the fact that it won’t go mainstream but I don’t think that’s true – it perhaps needs a bit of a kickstart and hopefully eGG coming to Australia can play a part in that.”

One of three Australian eSports casters on the eGG network, Purdue works alongside former competitive Call of Duty player Toby “TobiWan” Dawson and Australian eSports promoter David “GoDz” Parker who was one of the first eSports casters to offer English coverage of the Asian Dota 2 scene.

The network offers coverage of international eSports tournaments covering games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Along with live coverage of tournaments and highlights packages, eGG also focuses on gaming culture including game reviews, coverage from gaming conventions and couch-based talk shows similar to traditional sports networks.

Competitive gaming is attracting significant audiences around the globe, with 36 million fans watching the 2015 League of Legends world championships streamed live online. While the tournament was streamed on YouTube, twitch.tv and Azubu, with a peak audience of 14 million concurrent viewers during the final, traditional broadcaster BBC also streamed live matches within the United Kingdom.

Purdue moved from Australia to Malaysia last year to become a commentator with eGG. A passionate amateur eSports caster, she took a year off from studying games art and design at Perth’s Murdoch University to move to Malaysia in the hope of landing work as a professional commentator and was offered the job with eGG only a week before she was due to return to Australia.

“It was a big gamble for me, moving to Malaysia to build my connections in the eSports world, but it paid off — it’s a huge opportunity and I really believe Malaysia has the potential to be the eSports capital of South East Asia,” she says. “That could be great news for Australian eSports — we have a couple of players on the world stage but they’re playing for different foreign teams and we’re yet to see an Australian team in there.”

“Right now I’m not sure there’s enough local talent to produce an Australian team but, as with many sports, once a few Aussie players find international success it opens the doors for others to play and train overseas and builds a foundation for a future on the world stage.”

With Tim Biggs