Monthly Archives: September 2018

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Vintage ‘flagship’ flies home

Wheels up: Wagga City Aero Club president Geoff Breust with fellow members John Smith and Malcolm Robertson at the tale-off of one of two flying Constellations. A plane, only three in Australia can pilot, took flight from Wagga’s airport on Saturday afternoon.

TheLockheedSuperConstellation, “Connie” made its way home to Wollongong, after spending five months in the Riverina for a paint job.

Wagga City Aero Club presidentGeoff Breust said it was “fantastic” to have the only flying Constellation in the southern hemisphere callWagga home for a little while.

He said there wasone other flyable vessel in the world.

“It used to be a four-day journey to London in that in the 1950s,” Mr Breust said.

“Hopefully it will be flying for many more years to come.”

AmericansuccessHoward Hughes created the Constellation to be in competition withPan AmTWA.

Reg Darwell, one of the few men who can pilot the plane, said it wasQuantas’ front-lineinternational aircraftuntil the 707s took over.

The Historic Aircraft Restoration Society owned plane returned home to Albion Park with its crew, followed closely by the men who keep itflying.

For Wollongong-based engineers Tony Eyre, Jim Marshall and Eric Farrell, Connie is more than just a restored plane.

“For us it’s the flagship,” Mr Marshall said.

“It’s not a walk down memory lane, we livein memory lane.”

The two eldest of the three engineers said they had beenapprentices, working on the same planes until the last one left Qantas in1963.

The four-engine passenger aircraft was found in a“boneyard” overseasin 1991, riddled with birds nests, defecation and dust.

In 1996 it returned to Australia, where it has remained.

The Daily Advertiser

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Michael Cheika says Wallabies should have beaten All Blacks and takes swipe at referees

One that got away: Michael Cheika looks on after the shattering loss to New Zealand. Photo: AAPWallabies coach Michael Cheika believes Australia deserved to beat the All Blacks given how well they played but is refusing to be a gallant loser after his side went down by six points at the death.

Cheika also took a swipe at referee Nigel Owens and his assistants, saying they were tough on the Wallabies throughout the match.

The Wallabies, who got out to a 17-0 lead after 15 minutes to stun the home side, were mowed down after Beauden Barrett scored a match-winner with 144 seconds remaining to give his team a famous 35-29 victory.

While the Wallabies’ fighting spirit might change the narrative of Australian rugby for the time being, Cheika was a shattered man afterwards.

“I am not angry. I am just very, very disappointed because I felt like we did enough to win the game,” Cheika said. “We put everything into it and we wanted to get something out of it.

“The gallant loser thing’s not on. We should have won that game. We know it.

“The people who have been giving it to us will say the other mob had a bad day. I don’t know.

“Over my three years as we have been together, we have got better but we can’t afford to wait that long because we have to win game one and two. It’s just really disappointing that the series is not alive anymore.”

Captain Michael Hooper said: “I was proud of the way we bounced back this week during training. But I am not happy with the result. It still shows an ‘L’ next to the scoresheet. We came here to win, we had confidence we were going to win and we didn’t get that.”

Afterwards, Cheika took aim at match officials and while being interviewed on the field, said: “We did enough and had a few key calls against us at really important times. That’s the way she rolls, maybe the script was written.”

Pressed further on the comments, the Wallabies boss decided to express his confusion as to why All Blacks second-rower Brodie Retallick did not get in trouble for a supposed lifting tackle on Australian back-rower Ned Hanigan.

“The guy can’t end up on his head any other way but then it’s a freebie … just as well he didn’t break his neck,” Cheika said. “I have to tread lightly here. It was clear to everyone he [Retallick] has picked one of our blokes up and put him on his head. Categorically. He has his arm through his leg and picked him up.

“It’s irrelevant if it was fair or not because that’s the way it was officiated. That stuff does not in any way excuse not finishing that game off, with three minutes to go and a kick-off to us.

“There were some calls last year in Auckland and we have been hit again here. I suppose it is just disappointing.”

After having 54 points put on them in the opening 48 minutes of last week’s match in Sydney, the Wallabies restored a degree of public pride with an improved defence and attitude.

“I am always proud and pleased with the team … even last week when it was harder to be proud,” Cheika said. “Because I see what they’re doing off the field. I know chaps are throwing eggs and bombs and everything our way, that’s the way she rolls.

“We dropped a few kick-offs that were really crucial. I was pretty pleased with the game and just some of the improvements in some of the areas that we wanted to work on. At the end of the day, you’ve got to win from there.”

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was relieved after the match and knew his men were below their best in a match they were expected to win comfortably.

“It’s hard to tell whether they [Australia] have turned the corner,” Hansen said. “They’ve always been a good side. They played some good rugby tonight and they’ll be disappointed. They could have easily won the match.

“To be 17 points down and come back, you’ve got to have good composure and to lose the lead again … a lot of sides would have chucked it in but they didn’t and they got the reward for it.”

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Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor: Australian trainers give Irishman no chance

Not a chance: Australian boxing trainers think Conor McGregor has no chance of winning his fight against Floyd Mayweather. Photo: APSee the match live here.

This might as well be the combat sports version of The Kramer portrait fromSeinfeld. Conor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather is a loathsome, offensive brute of a thing, yet nobody can find themselves looking away.

Some of Australia’s best boxing minds are predicting that McGregor, the Irish mixed martial arts star, won’t be resembling an oil painting when he leaves the ring in Las Vegas on Sunday (AEST), with Mayweather an overwhelming pick to not only beat his upstart opponent but embarrass him.

There’s always a puncher’s chance in the fight game. But nobody has been able to take it to Mayweather, the 49-0 five-division champion who has returned from a two-year retirement to try totake his record to a perfect 50 and bank $200 million in the process.

McGregor has fulfilled his end of the bargain pre-fight, hyping it beyond all imagination. Yet once the bell rings and he finds himself in a new sport against one of its modern greats, that’s where most are predicting the words to ring hollow.

“It’s not even close – I don’t think he could hit Floyd with a handful of rice,” says Noel Thornberry, who trained Alex Leapai to a heavyweight title shot against Wladimir Klitschko.

“People can change, but they don’t put that much emphasis on stand-up fighting in MMA. Mayweather has lived and breathed it. I know he’s 40 years old and has been retired two years, but it’s like getting the Brisbane Broncos to play the Sydney Swans in AFL.”

Glenn Rushton, who recently masterminded Jeff Horn’s victory overMannyPacquiaoin Brisbane, said he’dlove to dream up a scenario where McGregor is competitive.

He can’t.

“If McGregor won, I’d be stunned,” Rushton said. “He’d have to pick up the corner stool and smash him over the head. I know everyone has a puncher’s chance, but I simply can’t conceive how he could win this fight.

“I seeMayweatherwinning a shut out. He’ll win every round. McGregor will come in and try to rush him with some big things. It will look a bit like the bull and the matador.Floydwill be precise. I can see him clipping him, controlling the gap, moving around.

“As the fight goes on, McGregor will start running out of options. He’ll probably try something, maybe crash-tackling him, a few tactics. I doubt he’ll go for the ear biting … that’s been done before. There might be an elbow, aheadbutt, who knows?

“He’s got to do something. He’s a performer, but he’s a tough guy. My concern is thatMayweatherwon’t engage long enough with him in the pocket to get a KO, so that’s why I think it will be a clear points victory.”

The challenges awaiting McGregor are immense on his boxing debut. He’s an elite athlete in MMA, but there’s no guarantee that will translate in boxing, where the stamina and cardio requirements are brutal as fights click through the rounds.

Thornberry doesn’t think it will take long for McGregor to start showing signs of wear and tear. Once that happens, he says, Mayweather will clinically pick him apart, then potentially cut him down late in the bout.

“Conor McGregor will tireinside three rounds,” Thornberry said. “He’s just never boxed at this level before. They will blame it on his diet, all sorts of things. The truth of the matter is, he’s not a world-class boxer.

“He might land one punch. Floyd Mayweather has been punched before and by guys that crack a hell of a lot harder than him.

“They don’t stand in the danger zone in MMA. They stand on the outside, then jump in then get out. They wait and they wait and they wait. Floyd Mayweather will take him straight into the danger zone. After a few rounds, Mayweather will just walk him down and beat him up.”

Both trainers agree the bout has captured the imagination of each sideof the combat sports divide. A circus in boxing is hardly a new concept, while McGregor has already won big with his $100 million cheque and priceless air time for self-promotion.

“He’s going to struggle immensely,” Rushton said. “But he knows he’s in for a huge pay day. He’s a smart guy.”

And Thornberry: “It’s interesting. People say it’s bad for the sport. The whole world is watching, so how bad can it be?”

Sydney Morning Herald

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Billionaire James Packer’s big 5-0 birthday plans

James Packer is turning 50 on September 8. Photo: Van Tine DennisThe big cheese of Australian gambling is turning 50 next month, but how will James Packer celebrate such a monumental milestone?

The only son of the late media mogul Kerry Packer is not so fond of big birthday soirees and has a habit of skipping out on his family’s, including ex-wife Erica Packer’s three-day, VIP-filled 40th bash last week in Aspen, Colorado, and his sister Gretel’s intimate 50th celebrations held at Chiswick in eastern Sydney’s Woollahra last year.

He also dodged his niece Francesca Packer Barham’s 21st when she hired out Luna Park and filled it with several hundred of her nearest and dearest in November 2015.

If marking his previous milestones are anything to go by, it will be another low-key affair. In 1997, a then nearly married Packer spent his 30th having a “quiet dinner … with just a few of his good friends, given fiance Kate [Fischer’s] absence overseas.”

It was the same for his 40th in 2007, with a source telling this publication an “intimate get-together” with friends and his then second wife, Erica Packer, was planned.

He has celebrated most in the company of his birthday twin and close friend Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert.

In 2010, they took their model wives Erica and Sarah on a double dinner date to The Winery in Surry Hills, the year after Packer hosted the fellow media magnate’s 40th on his beloved superyacht, the Arctic P.

While in 2013, Murdoch joined him on board again for their birthday, which fell a day after Packer announced his split from his wife of six years, Erica.

“I haven’t known him to have a party at all, he doesn’t like them,” a source who knows him told Fairfax Media.

In recent years, the father-of-three has rung in his birthdays on the 88-metre luxury super vessel.

“At this time of year, he usually comes down from the south of France and stays in Ibiza a while. Different friends come on at different times, he prefers smaller groups, so keeps them separate,” they added.

In past years, those friends have included Today’s Karl Stefanovic, former Nine boss and Packer’s ex-sparring partner David Gyngell, motorcycle champ Mick Doohan, Perth millionaire Tim Roberts, Packer’s ex-wife and The Upside creator Jodhi Meares, American film producer Brett Ratner and his ex-fiancee Mariah Carey.

But with the Arctic P still moored in French Polynesia, where Stefanovic, 43, his girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough, 33, and her model friend, Rose Ashton, joined Packer for some quality downtime and jet ski racing in June, it seems Packer might be looking for a change of scenery for his semi-centennial.

Since his high-profile split with Carey in October last year, the notoriously private businessman has been keeping an even lower profile than usual, focusing on his business ventures – rejoining the board of Crown Resorts, pulling out of ailing Network Ten and investing millions in a Tel Aviv 3D and virtual reality start-up – so the source added that details are being kept “hush-hush”.

If Carey was still in the picture he could have done as his late father Kerry did for his 40th in 1977, when model Julie Ismay leapt out of the birthday cake.

After gifting Packer a Cartier wedding band for his 49th, Carey, 47, certainly has no plans to join him this time around with her on/off relationship with backing dancer Bryan Tanaka, 34, currently back on.

The pair have not remained friends, and when asked about his whereabouts recently, she said: “I don’t know where the motherf—er is.”

Fairfax Media has asked James Packer for comment.

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

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Computers replace humans in assessing inmates

A computer algorithm has replaced humans to assess the security risk of asylum seekers, criminals and visa overstayers in Australian immigration detention centres.

The new Security Risk Assessment Tool, designed to assess “individuals who are considered to pose an unacceptable risk to the community”, was quietly rolled out in September.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the SRAT was guided by the detainee’s behaviour both during and prior to detention, any signs of violent or aggressive behaviour and their known associations.

“It also considers a each detainee’s individual circumstances including age and health,” she said.

“As a result of these and other changes there has been a significant decrease in incidents in detention including assaults and self-harm.”

But the former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has accused the department of abandoning professional judgment.

She said she was first made aware of the program when she visited the Yongah Hill detention centre in Western Australia earlier this year.

“I could hardly believe my ears,” she told UNSW’s Power to Persuade conference in Canberra this week. “The use of an algorithm to replace professional judgements – I thought this can’t be true, I must be back in 1984.”

After referencing George Orwell’s dystopian novel, she said an algorithm was never going to make up for a human’s discretion.

“They pump in statistical details and out comes a response that dictates whether they are in a high-security area or whether they are allowed certain privileges within the detention centre,” she said.

For example, an inmate’s risk rating determines which facility they are sent to, and whether they require mechanical constraints to attend medical appointments.

In January, the Turnbull government announced a $27.4 million upgrade to Yongah Hill, a 250-person detention centre 90 kilometres east of Perth, to turn it into a high-security centre that would house high-risk foreigners.

In a submission for the centre’s upgrade, the department argued it would be used to house “the growing number of the detention population have had their visas cancelled on character grounds, due to criminal convictions and links to organised crime or outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

The SRAT has now been rolled out across the 13 detention centres in the immigration network, including Villawood in Sydney and Maribyrnong in Melbourne.

Department figures showed there were 1262 people in immigration detention as of June 30, including 281 people on Christmas Island (but excluding those held offshore on Manus Island and Nauru).

Of the 1262 inmates, 450 were criminals who had their visas cancelled, 342 were asylum seekers who arrived by boat, and 470 were in other categories.

Natasha Blucher, detention rights advocate at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said the risk assessment algorithm was “very black and white”, and a high-risk rating could rarely be challenged or undone.

“The big problem with it is that it’s based on incident reports in immigration detention as well as history,” she said. “They don’t take into consideration people’s mental health.”

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