Catching rain in the capital as spring’s whispers begin

31/01/2019 // by admin

Taylor Smith, 15 of Jerrabomberra collects water from underneath the Monaro Highway bridge after the family car broke down and needed water for the radiator.Motorists were puzzled yesterday afternoon by the sight of a woman near the new Monaro Highway bridge holding up a plastic bottle in an attempt to capture the rain.
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The Smith family, of Jerrabomberra, were driving near the bridge when their car broke down because the radiator needed water.

The family had water inside the car but decided to collect some extra fluid as it fell from the sky as wel, in order to see how long it took to fill a plastic bottle.

Mum Tanya Smith said other motorists were visibly puzzled by what was going on.

“People must have thought I was mad,” she said.

But the water was dirty and the Smiths gave up after a few minutes.

“The water was filthy because it was coming off the bridge,” Mrs Smith said.

Yesterday’s cold and wet conditions come in stark contrast to Wednesday’s spring-like top of 19 degrees.

But, ironically, we have the same weather phenomenon to thank for both days, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Nick Bright says – a cold front.

Cold fronts are generally preceeded by bursts of hotter air from the north west, bringing yesterday’s warmth, before the actual front hits with rain and its associated cooler, and often unstable, conditions.

While there were a few storms over Canberra last night, yesterday’s showers weree mild in comparison with a band of storms north of the capital.

Severe weather and thunderstorm warnings had been issued for large tracts of NSW, with storms stretching from north of Goulburn right up through the Central Tablelands almost to the Queensland border.

Thousands of homes in Sydney were left without power as winds battered the city and surrounding area, bringing down trees and creating traffic chaos.

Last night a warning remained in place for the ACT and surrounding areas, with the bureau predicting rain and strong winds  in the lead up to the weekend.

Mr Bright said the capital should expect a few more showers up until the afternoon today, and a chilly maximum temperature of just 12 degrees. ‘‘It will feel cold because we’ve got winds forecast to reach up to 35km/h in the afternoon,’’ Mr Bright said. The cool will stick around for the weekend, before the ACT rebounds to a forecast top of 19 degrees again by next Wednesday.

The whispers of spring in the warm weather shouldn’t be discounted, Mr Bright said.

‘‘When you’re in the middle of winter, the temperature doesn’t vary much. But as you get closer to spring, you get these swings,’’ he said.

It might not feel like it, but spring is definitely in the air.

with Hamish Boland-Rudder

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

Johnny Depp to earn $90m for pirate reprise

31/01/2019 // by admin

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.Johnny Depp’s latest role looks set to be a veritable treasure trove for the Hollywood heavyweight and Pirates of the Caribbean star.
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The 49-year-old actor will reportedly return as Captain Jack Sparrow in a fifth instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, netting about £60 million ($A90 million).

The Sun quotes a source as saying Depp is wary of overexposure and is “being very careful he does not sign on for too many films”.

“This huge deal for Pirates means he will be able to pick his other roles very carefully on the strength of their script rather than their salary,” the source told the British tabloid.

According to Forbes magazine’s Celebrity 100 list, Depp – who this year split with long-time girlfriend Vanessa Paradis after 14 years – earned an estimated $US30 million in the 12 months to May.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film in the franchise, was released last year and collected $US1 billion at the global box office. According to imdb南京夜网, that film had an estimated budget of $US250 million.

It appears Walt Disney Pictures, the studio behind the franchise, no longer has reservations about Depp’s character in the films.

In an interview with the legendary rocker Patti Smith for the January 2011 edition of Vanity Fair, Depp said Disney “couldn’t stand” Captain Jack Sparrow in the original film and one person there even asked if the character was gay.

“They couldn’t stand him. They just couldn’t stand him,” Depp was quoted as saying.

“I think it was Michael Eisner, the head of Disney at the time, who was quoted as saying, ‘He’s [Sparrow] ruining the movie’.

“It was that extreme – memos, and paper trails, and madness, and phone calls, and agents, and lawyers, and people screaming, and me getting phone calls direct from, you know, upper-echelon Disney-ites, going, ‘What’s wrong with him? Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay?'”.

with AP and BANG Showbiz

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

Fresh charge to lower power prices

31/01/2019 // by admin

Power companies are in for a shake-up with a renewed drive to stem so-called “gold-plating” of the electricity network, the main driver of surging power prices that have pushed up household bills by more than 50 per cent over the past few years.
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New powers are to be finalised so that costs can be forced down and efficiencies increased at electricity distributors such as Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.

“Pricing rules for transmission businesses (2006) and distribution businesses (2008) were made at a time when the biggest concerns were the risk of underinvestment in infrastructure and meeting reliability standards,” the head of the Australian Energy Markets Commission and former NSW Treasury secretary, John Pierce, said.

Now he wants a more flexible approach that can force companies such as Ausgrid and Transgrid to operate more efficiently.

“We want a process of continuous improvement,” he said. At present spending plans are approved for five-year periods.

“But things change, and as it does, then reprioritise projects within the [spending] cap, rather than simply add new spending on top.”

Specifically, Mr Pierce wants the Australian Energy Regulator, the arm of the ACCC that reviews the spending of power groups, to benchmark their operations against private operators, and to take into account other factors such as how efficient a company is being operated when spending plans are being reviewed.

The regulator is to be given “new tools to determine efficient costs for each regulated business – and enabling [the regulator] to decide what costs are efficient.”

Electricity prices are influenced by a range of factors, from demand to management efficiencies and the role of government, as the owner of these businesses in NSW, in ensuring they are run efficiently, Mr Pierce said.

The AEMC wants the regulator to be given new powers to ensure it can “determine network price increases so consumers don’t pay any more than necessary for the reliable supply of electicity and gas”.

The overhaul will also establish more flexible rates of return, along with a tougher review of spending, so that inefficient spending will be excluded from the so-called “regulatory asset base” that is used to decide approved capital spending.

A range of factors have pushed up power prices, from spending to meet rising demand at peak times, mostly afternoons and evenings during very hot and very cold weather, to the need to upgrade old equipment and limit blackouts.

The AEMC said the new rules will boost efficiencies, which should limit future price movements.

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

AIHL wrap: Ice’s ‘abnormal’ threepeat tilt

31/01/2019 // by admin

Melbourne Ice recruit Doug Wilson jnr. Newcastle North Stars have been just ahead of Melbourne Ice all season.
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With only one weekend’s worth of regular season games to play, the 2012 AIHL finalists must decide whether to rest players, or treat their final games as full dress rehearsals for the knock-out finals a week later.

Last week’s fixtures confirmed that Adelaide would be the fourth team to compete for the Goodall Cup in Newcastle on the first weekend in September. After five months of struggle, and upsets galore, we have the same four finalists as a year ago – Newcastle North Stars, Melbourne Ice, Sydney Ice Dogs and Adelaide Adrenaline.

Melbourne Ice import Doug Wilson says his team doesn’t have the “luxury” of easing up in its final game against Gold Coast on Thursday night.

Ice, despite leading the Easton Conference comfortably for most of the season, has been dogged by injuries and suspensions from the outset, and it is yet to put its best team on the ice. Remarkably, that looks like occurring for the first time in their sudden death semi-final against the Sydney Ice Dogs on Saturday week, when Australian representative Todd Graham flies back from college in America to help Ice attempt to win their third successive championship.

Wilson says last Sunday’s 4-2 road win over Perth Thunder was Ice’s “first game as a full team and we played well”.

“We worked on some systems and the third line played unreal, it was by far their best game of the year. We finally got Joey Hughes back and I was healthy…”

Wilson had been troubled by a niggling groin complaint and Hughes, Ice’s 2011 finals MVP, had missed five games, including a clash with title favourites Newcastle, through suspension.

Coach Paul ‘Jaffa’ Watson implored his battle-weary champions to keep the momentum going against the Blue Tongues, and Wilson sees the game as an important step to keep up the team’s confidence going into the deciders.

Wilson says Watson has an ‘abnormal’ approach to Melbourne Ice’s threepeat challenge.

“Everyone is saying that this year the league overall probably has more talent than it ever has and teams have been loading up to try and get at us.

“So what was normal for us the last two seasons, that’s where everyone else already is, so for us to advance up and be the three time winner we have to go beyond what we’ve already been doing.

“So what Jaffa likes to say is we have to play “abnormal” because everyone has already come up to our normal standards.”

Ice will be glad that Perth fell just short of the finals in their incredible first AIHL season. He said they gave Ice as much trouble as any team in the competition. Thunder took Saturday’s game against Ice 3-1, but Adelaide’s two tight wins over a game Melbourne Mustangs outfit meant that Thunder could not bridge the gap to the second playoff position.

Perth has won 10 games, lost 10 and drawn two to be the fifth-best performed club so far in 2012. Coach Stan Scott says Ice is the best team Thunder has faced – “they have depth all around in every position” – but he is tipping Newcastle to win the title.

“They are playing at home and are scoring lots of goals at the moment the Ice are struggling on defence.”

Wilson recognises that Melbourne Ice’s team leaders have to stay out of the penalty box if the champions are to retain their title.

Conceding too many penalties has been the Achilles heel of Melbourne Ice all season, and the wildest game of their season came against Sydney Ice Dogs on the road. The Dogs are their semi-final opponent. If Ice can get through that challenge, they come up against Newcastle, the best-performed unit of the regular season, who defeated ice at home and away.

Canberra Knights coach Donald McDonald sums up why the North Stars will be so hard to beat:

“They can roll three solid lines… their defence was strong and they have a solid goalie. Their team play was probably the best of all the teams we played this year. Offensively they have good puck support and play well positionally. Defensively, they all knew their responsibilities and played a tight system. They were very disciplined and rarely took penalties.”

It’s a complete package, but Doug Wilson’s words echo what every player and official has said all yea: Anyone can beat anyone in this league”.

A full-strength Ice has the capacity to match it with the Ice Dogs and North Stars, if they can tighten their defence and keep out of the penalty box.

An exciting season is about to undergo a thrilling finale.

Next week:* AIHL clubs give their exclusive verdict on the finals, the best players in the league and the health of the game in Australia.*Full coverage of the AIHL finals series matches.

RESULTS

Friday, August 17

Gold Coast Blue Tongues 5 v Sydney Ice Dogs 4

Saturday, August 18

Perth Thunder 1 v Melbourne Ice 3 Melbourne Mustangs 0 v Adelaide Adrenaline 1 Canberra Knights 6 v Newcastle North Stars 7 (SO)

Sunday, August 19

Perth Thunder 2 v Melbourne Ice 4 Melbourne Mustangs 4 v Adelaide Adrenaline 6 Sydney Bears 4 v Newcastle North Stars 0 Sydney Ice Dogs 9 v Canberra Knights 7

This week: 

Thursday, August 23Gold Coast Blue Tongues v Melbourne Ice, Icehouse, Docklands, 7.00pm*

Saturday, August 24Adelaide Adrenaline v Gold Coast Blue Tongues, 4.30pmNewcastle North Stars v Perth Thunder, 5.00pmCanberra Knights v Melbourne Mustangs, 5.30pm

Sunday, August 25Adelaide Adrenaline v Gold Coast Blue Tongues, 4.30pmSydney Ice Dogs v Perth Thunder, 5.00pmSydney Bears v Melbourne Mustangs, 5.00pm

2012 AIHL FINALS SERIES

Saturday 1 September:3.30pm: Newcastle North Stars vs Adelaide Adrenaline7.00pm: Melbourne Ice vs Sydney Ice Dogs

Sunday 2 September:4.00pm: Winners of Semi #1 and Semi #2

Australian Ice Hockey league at a glance:

– There are nine teams, playing in two conferences

– The top two teams from each conference make the sudden death finals on the first weekend in September, in Newcastle. The semi-finals are played on Saturday, with the grand final played the following day.

– Each team is allowed four imports, usually professionals from European or junior North American leagues. The league is completely amateur, though imports are allowed to receive assistance to help with accommodation etc.

– Melbourne Ice has won the past two championships.

* Gold Coast is playing the remainder of its home matches this season in Brisbane at the Acacia Ridge rink.

 Full Standings – click here

Leading scorers – click here

Melbourne Ice (including live webcasts of Ice games) – click here

Melbourne Mustangs – click here

AIHL – click here

Melbourne Icehouse – click here

To check out Resolution Media’s Melbourne Ice doco: click here.

A crash course in hockey rules, courtesy Newcastle North Stars: click here

Hewitt Sports Network AIHL news – click here

For a great read on the voyage of a new hockey fan – Nick Place’s hockey blog

River Road hockey blog  – click here 

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

Public vision emerging in survey

31/01/2019 // by admin

A COMMUNITY vision has emerged for the new-look Maitland Heritage Mall with calls for family friendly space, regular activities, a diverse range of shops and a vibrant night-time economy.
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Maitland City Council has collated 350 suggestions from visitors to the central business district during last weekend’s Aroma Festival, which helped create a vision for the mall’s future.

Council general manager David Evans said while more detailed analysis was continuing, clear trends were beginning to emerge.

The weekend survey explored a range of drivers that influenced consumer behaviour patterns.

Responses around the question relating to parking varied, with respondents saying they would be willing to walk anywhere from 50metres to three kilometres.

Newcastle’s ‘‘eat streets’’ and the Hunter wineries were cited as preferred dining and entertainment choices, strengthening the case for the establishment of a vibrant night-time economy in central Maitland.

‘‘There was also strong support for central Maitland to re-establish itself as the heart of the city,’’ Mr Evans said.

‘‘While it is becoming clear what the broader community wants to see from the redeveloped mall, it’s important that the project also meets the current and future needs of the business community.’’

On Monday, urban design consultants McGregor Coxall will hold two workshops, with the Vibrant River City Reference Panel and the Central Maitland business community.

Mr Evans said this was an opportunity for businesses to provide input at a critical stage in the project.

At the workshops consultants will present up to 10 guiding principles that will support the strategic positioning, economic and lifestyle objectives that will underpin the design phase of the project and identify what council wants to achieve through its investment in central Maitland.

The community and business will continue to have input over the coming weeks through forums, which will go live on the website maitlandyoursay南京夜网.au following the workshops.

MALL: Public input is being considered.Picture by PETER STOOP