04 Dec

Furious 7 is utter rubbish, and here’s why

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Can’t act, can barely speak: Vin Diesel. Photo: Supplied So that’s how you treat PTSD: Michelle Rodriguez as Letty in “Furious 7”. Photo: Supplied
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Indestructible: Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson in “Furious 7”. Photo: Universal

Paul Walker dangles from a bus that will soon hit the bottom of a cliff. Miraculously, no one will be hurt. Photo: Universal

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At the risk of being the guy who farts at Paul Walker’s wake, I’m just going to come right out and say it. Furious 7 is rubbish.

Sorry, that’s not quite right. This film is a stinking pile of crap.

Now, I know there are loads of people out there who think differently, and they’ll point as one to the 800 million reasons I’m wrong (that being the gross in US dollars at the time of writing), but if we can focus for a second on something other than money and call an end to the minute’s critical silence we’ve all observed in honour of Paul Walker, I’d like to point to a few reasons why Fast and Furious 7 – or as I prefer to think of it, Fatuous and Spurious 7 – is so bad. It’s a Road Runner cartoon masquerading as a movie

Cars crash off mountainsides. Cars smash through not one but three skyscrapers, and keep going. Cars get riddled with bullets fired at high speed from point-blank range. Cars get crushed by collapsing multi-storey car-parks.

And what happens to the drivers of these cars? They get out, brush themselves off, grunt something barely intelligible and move on to the next moment of mindless mayhem. In another car.

Not since Wile E. Coyote last dusted himself off at the bottom of a canyon, only for a boulder to land on his head and pulverise him (only for him re-emerge seconds later with an ACME missile in hand), has a non-superhero screen character survived such a litany of unsurvivable moments.

Of course the fans will say that’s all part of its charm. Magic charm, more like. It’s utterly ridiculous hogwash and I simply will not stand for it (and not only because the rev-heads in the seats behind me look like they might get furious, fast, if I don’t sit down). It doesn’t make sense. At all

It opens with raised-from-the dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) struggling with the prospect of getting behind the wheel of a car again; seconds later she’s drag racing a guy in front of thousands of people, red-lining her car, timing her run perfectly so his motor explodes just before the finishing line.

So that’s how you treat PTSD. Simple, really.

An Arab billionaire keeps a $3.4 million Lykan HyperSport – one of only seven ever built – in a penthouse 50-odd storeys above the streets of Abu Dhabi. How did he get it there? How does he get it downstairs when he needs to pop to the shops for a litre of milk? How does he make sure it doesn’t drip oil on the Axminster?

None of these questions is answered, but more to the point, why is he sticking a second-hand computer drive into his $3.4 million car, when he has no idea what’s on it or where it has been?

Do people really mod-chip a $3.4 million car anyway? I don’t think so. Vin Diesel can’t act

Let’s face it. The guy who has inherited the mantle of star of this franchise can’t act for peanuts. Hell, he can barely even speak (at least not without sounding like he’s got a mouthful of peanuts).

There have been few things as funny on screen in recent years as the sight of Diesel’s Dominic getting, ahem, “emotional” over saying goodbye to his mate Brian (Paul Walker) or reconnecting with his on-again/off-again/dead-again/alive-again girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).

Wooden? This guy is solid teak.

There is one good thing about Diesel’s acting, though. It makes the Rock look like Marlon Brando by comparison. The music. ‘Nuff said

Which came first, the movie or the soundtrack? It’s hard to tell but it often feels like the storytelling in Furious 7 is less important than the music selling.

And what music it is. It’s awful. It’s insistent. It’s overbearing. It’s rap with a capital C.

I know this kind of urban stuff is so successful because it appeals across demographics, genders, ethnicities and nationalities, and I’m all for diversity. But does it really have to sound this bad? It may never end because (almost) everyone is immortal

There’s a cruel irony in the fact that this film has become a de facto tribute to Paul Walker (and let’s spare a second for his mate Roger Rodas, who was also killed in that high-speed single-vehicle crash in November 2013). Because on screen, only the most villainous or minor characters ever die.

Here we have Jason Statham as a villain who can take more punishment than Arnie’s Terminator, up against Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Vin Diesel’s Dominic, men for whom an iron bar to the head is about as troubling as a mosquito buzzing in the ear for the rest of us.

Statham’s Deckard Shaw is a former soldier turned criminal out for revenge against the guys who put his brother in a coma … or something. But everyone has played both sides of the law in this series, so we’ll probably see him join the good guys (is that what they are? It’s so hard to tell) before it’s all done and dusted.

And yes, there will be more films. Universal, the studio that has already milked more than $4 billion from this empty-headed series, has suggested it could stretch to at least 10 titles.

Please, somebody, wave the chequered flag and bring this drone to an end. It’s nothing but a crashing bore.

On twitter: @karlkwin

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04 Dec

Newington College hit by allegations of child sexual abuse

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The grounds of Newington College in Stanmore. A court will hear allegations of abuse at Newington College. Photo: Steve Christo
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Newington College has become the latest private boys school to be embroiled in claims of child sexual abuse.

In an email sent to parents and former students on Monday, headmaster David Mulford said an upcoming court case involved allegations of abuse at the school.

“I regret to inform you that a matter is to come before the courts involving alleged offences at Newington from more than 35 years ago,” Dr Mulford wrote.

He called on anyone with grievances to come forward.

“The sad cases about child sexual abuse and the poor institutional responses at the time have received considerable press coverage.”

Dr Mulford did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged offences or whether the matter was a criminal or civil case.

He made reference to the royal commission set up to investigate institutional failures to protect children against sexual abuse but pointed out the college had not been called before it to give evidence.

“Sadly, many institutions with a long history, including Newington, have past incidents that require investigation and effective follow up,” Dr Mulford, who has been headmaster since 2009, wrote.

“The commission’s activities will no doubt, and justifiably, encourage those abused to come forward if they haven’t already done so,” he said.

“All of us have been appalled at the revelations coming from the Royal Commission sessions across the country. We feel deeply for the victims of such abuse,” Dr Mulford wrote.

It is understood that during an end-of-term meeting Dr Mulford forewarned Newington staff that an incident was likely to garner media attention, though no further details were divulged.

He encouraged anyone who may have felt aggrieved to contact the authorities or him directly, saying all matters would be treated confidentially.

Newington would continue to co-operate fully with the police, he said.

In response to inquiries from Fairfax Media, Dr Mulford said given the case was before the courts, it was not appropriate to make any further statements about it.

“Our communication today to the current Newington families and old boys was done in the interests of keeping them informed regarding this matter and to ensure that they hear the key messages from the college rather than third parties,” he said.

The royal commission has been investigating claims of sexual abuse at another private boys school – Knox Grammar. Hearings will resume on Tuesday.

In March, the principal of St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, also sent a letter to former students to inform them of allegations concerning of child sex abuse over 30 years ago. The school launched an investigation into the decades-old allegations and informed NSW police.

And earlier this month a former teacher from Sydney’s Trinity Grammar School had been charged with the sexual assault of students in the 1970s.

Do you know more? [email protected]上海龙凤419m.au

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04 Dec

RBA May rate cut key as ASX heads to 6000

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The Australian sharemarket is set to flirt once again with the magic 6000 point level, but with a week of subdued economic data looming speculation about a May rate cut will again take centre stage.
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SPI futures are pointing to a positive start on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 on Monday, up 22 points. It follows modest performances on Wall Street on Friday night, with all three major indexes post gains about 0.5 per cent.

The ASX 200 goes into this week just over 31 points short of 6000, a mark which investors have tested several times over the last month, but have not breached since February 2008.

However, Credit Suisse analyst Hasan Tevfik argues that compared with when the ASX 200 first moved above 6000 in 2007, Australian shares are now on a more sustainable footing.

“Valuations are more attractive, balance sheets are stronger and the RBA is cutting rates, not raising them. We expect Aussie equities to re-rate from here and further overshoot long-term average valuations,” Mr Tevfik said.

“We raise our ASX 200 year-end index target to 6500 from 6000 previously. Our new forecast suggests Aussie investors should enjoy around 25 per cent total returns in calendar 2015. Our FX forecasts imply Aussie equity returns in the US dollars will be closer to 10 per cent.” Sub-trend

Whether the ASX breaches the 6000 level may depend on market reaction the week’s economy data and all eyes will be on business and consumer confidence this week as well as the unemployment rate – which remains at near 11-year highs.

“Pretty much all the evidence suggests that employment grew by enough in March to prevent the unemployment rate from rising further. We doubt this will continue for long, though,” Capital Economics chief Australia economist Paul Dales said.

Tuesday will see the release of the NAB Business conditions and confidence surveys for March – both measures remain at deflated levels.

This will be followed up on Wednesday by the Westpac/Melbourne Institute consumer confidence survey and the Australia Bureau of Statistics jobs data on Thursday.

Contango chief investment officer George Boubouras said this week’s data releases would reaffirm Australia’s domestic growth profile was still sub-trend, implying additional stimulus will still be needed. Recovery phase

Should the data be soft, it will add to the case the Reserve Bank of Australia cuts interest rates at its May meeting. Markets are currently pricing in a 70 per cent chance of a rate cut in May.

“That is why risk assets are rallying. At this stage of the cycle, with more stimulus expected and sub-trend growth, that’s when people start pricing in a recovery phase,” Mr Boubouras said.

“Currently, equity valuations are pricing in further RBA rate cuts, if they don’t come through, you’ve got a bit of a problem there.”

Mr Boubouras said while the RBA cuts have helped equity markets, there is very little action on the capital expenditure side of Australian corporates.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed overall capital expenditure fell by 2.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2014, worse than the market forecast of a 1.6 per cent drop.

“The companies that are being rewarded are the ones who continue to do capital management programs, passing on special dividends, continuing the cost out phase,” Mr Boubouras said.

“That is not conducive to capex programs in the future being upgraded. Therefore, it is not conducive to economic activity picking up in a hurry.”

Other events to watch this week will be China’s trade balance, industrial production and retail sales figures, as well as US retail sales and a pick-up in their reporting season, which should get insights into how the stronger US dollar is impacting earnings.

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04 Dec

Canberra Gunners coach urges team to lift after lacklustre loss in SEABL opener

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Lacklustre performance: Gunners coach Shaun McEachin says loss was disappointing. Photo: Melissa AdamsCanberra Gunners coach Shaun McEachin insists a less than ideal pre-season was no excuse for their lacklustre performance in a season-opening 97-57 SEABL road loss to Albury-Wodonga on Saturday night.
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The Bandits had far too many weapons for the new-look Gunners, Cory Dixon (27 points, 10 rebounds) and Claybrin McMath (22 points) and Donte Nicholas (19 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) leading the way.

Canberra’s preparation was rushed with many players only joining the squad late in the piece, but McEachin challenged his squad to earn respect.

“We weren’t able to get organised until well into January which made things difficult but I’m not making excuses, we didn’t play hard,” McEachin said.

“If you want to be a legitimate SEABL team you need to put in the effort, I’m disappointed in the boys and they’re disappointed in themselves.”

Albury-Wodonga shot 53 per cent from the field, outscored Canberra 44-16 in the paint and won the rebounding tally 39-22.

Canberra has a number of new players including former Sydney King Ben Allen and import Nnaebuka Anyaorah, and McEachin said things can only get better.

“We can only go one way from here, we can’t play any worse,” he said.

“We weren’t disciplined and while there was a lot of points in the paint it wasn’t just post ups, they had a lot of penetration.

“Offensively we just didn’t respect the ball and didn’t execute offensively.

“It’s reflective of the pre-season we had, we’re not fit and yet to understand what we’re doing and it showed.

“We looked like a bunch of amateur blokes together playing in a professional competition.”

AT A GLANCE

ALBURY WODONGA 97 (C Dixon 27, C McMath 22, D Nicholas 19) bt CANBERRA GUNNERS 57 (D Jackson 14, N Anyaorah 14, D Joyce 12) at Albury on Saturday night.

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04 Dec

Elite Criterion has more to give after Queen Elizabeth Stakes win

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David Hayes is excited about the challenges over the next 12 months as Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Criterion targets the best races around the world.
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The Sebring four-year-old’s romp in the star act of The Championships didn’t surprise Hayes as much as it confirmed his belief in Criterion, which he will have for at least another year.

“I spoke to the owner Sir Owen Glenn and he was thinking whether we should retire him this year but I said to him he has more to give,” Hayes said.

That will include a trip around the world and possibly a return to defend his crown in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes next year. Criterion has found a new lease of life as Hayes has focused on keeping freshness in his legs.

“When I got him after the Melbourne spring from David Payne, who had done a great job, I knew was getting a group 1 horse,” Hayes said. “What we have discovered is he is an elite group 1 horse that can go anywhere in the world and be competitive. They don’t come along too often. What he did on Saturday, only real top group 1 horses do.”

Criterion won at group 2 level as a two-year-old, the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby at three, and the 2½-length Queen Elizabeth Stakes win could be only the start as a four-year-old.

Since joining Hayes, Criterion ran third in the Hong Kong International Cup in December, then this autumn third in the Canterbury Stakes, was a narrow runner-up in the George Ryder Stakes and a decisive winner of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It would make him a valuable stallion with several studs interested.

“He is champion racehorse and that is what he is going be for some time,” Glenn said after the Queen Elizabeth win.

The plan always included more travel for Criterion. His agenda will see him hop on a plane to Hong Kong on Monday night with Saturday’s runner-up Red Cadeaux, and run in the Queen Elizabeth Cup there before a date at Royal Ascot.

“I have wanted to take an elite horse over there and I think he will be very competitive,” Hayes said. “The way we train him, keeping him fresh, makes him the perfect horse to take over.

“We will decide between the Queen Anne Stakes and Prince Of Wales Stakes [at Royal Ascot] then there might be another run but we want to be back here for the Cox Plate and another crack at the Hong Kong Internationals.”

Hayes will only have the one starter at the close of the Randwick carnival on Saturday, with his stable focussing on the Super VOBIS day in Melbourne.

“Fast ‘N’ Rocking will be nominated for the All Aged Stakes and Hall Mark Stakes and run at Randwick. “The All Aged looks very tough race,” Hayes said. “We have a big day down here [in Melbourne] and have set eight horses for the VOBIS final day.”

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04 Dec

BELINDA SMITH: Live a life of curiosity

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THE 1978 best-selling author/psychiatrist M Scott Peck coined the popular phrase the road less travelled, via his anthemic tome of the same name that described the attributes of a fulfilled human being.
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Love him, loathe him, or never heard of him, by longevity alone his work provides us as individuals, business leaders and community members with an attractive proposition – living a life of curiosity, challenging the status quo and seeking to take the moral and spiritual high ground at those compelling “sliding doors” moments in our lives.

If you are familiar with the viral youtube clip by Derek Sivers, “leadership lessons from a dancing guy”, I am preaching to the converted. To the initiated or the virginal among you, please read on…

Sivers says “a leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous”… sound familiar? Had a great idea that most people around you said would never work? “Guitar groups are one the way out”.. said a record company executive to the Beatles in 1962; “No civil war picture ever made a nickel”… said a movie mogul to Louis B Mayer when he was trying to sell Gone with the Wind… similar stories for Alexander Graham Bell (and the telephone) and Steve Jobs (the iphone).

In this vein, we can look at leadership and where the fork in the road ultimately tests who is mediocre and who is exceptional. Imagine for a moment we are on the road less travelled with a group of most amazing individuals. Often not the most recognised or celebrated in their industry, and certainly not the most highly paid or visible, these incredible people make grand visions a reality, transform ideas into followings are a very rare and special collective we can refer to as First Followers.

Our friend, M Scott Peck also said “The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost”

And this is where the First Follower comes into their own. Embraced by the leader as an equal, the gutsy first follower is instrumental in not just declaring the leader a genius (rather than a nut job), but bringing second, third, fourth followers (and ultimately a crowd) into the fold and creating a movement, a vehicle to take the leader’s idea, vision and inspiration and transform it into a tangible, marketable and often commercial vehicle.

Leadership is no longer about the loud and proud alpha-male steering the ship, flying the flag and pressing the flesh. Leadership in this decade is about selecting the best First Followers. Those intelligent, charismatic, determined and influential individuals who have the will and the power to challenge and change hearts and minds, foster early adopters, nurture raving fans and build the infrastructure that delivers on the leader’s vision.

No second fiddle, the First Followers are road less travelled veterans, putting themselves out there on those dark and lonely side streets, converting the hearts and minds of the non-believers, selling the message and growing the movement.

Wise to the ancient truth of “the more you give the more you get”, whilst they may not receive the accolades or profile of the leaders, they are content in the knowledge that as influencers, connectors and movement creators, they are changing their world for the better. As the proliferators of great ideas, smart technology and solid common sense, they are building a better quality human experience for their corporate village.

The most successful leaders are those who are able to choose the best First Followers. And the most successful organisations this decade will be those who incorporate great leaders, followers and movements into their cultures.

We can’t all be The Leader. And we can’t all be First Followers. But we each have a part to play in our village, be it a corporate, community or family cooperative, and acknowledge that as a Leader, a First Follower or a willing accomplice, together by choosing the road less travelled, rather than that well worn, amply lit, predictable bitumen path to certain mediocrity, we each have a critical, once in a generation role to play in creating an exquisitely amazing human experience for ourselves and our fellow villagers.

So, which one are you, and how will you play your part today?

Belinda Smith is a freelance writer, former Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year and equity advocate

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04 Dec

Fairbridge Folk Festival 2015PHOTOS

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Fairbridge Folk Festival 2015 | PHOTOS Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.
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Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

Fairbridge Festival 2015. Pics: Kate Hedley.

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04 Dec

Takedown turns low expectations into a Champagne run

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There have never been great expectations of Takedown, so for the hulking two-year-old to even be starting in Saturday’s Champagne Stakes at Randwick is somewhat of a surprise.
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The son of Stratum has shown improvement with every race and he arrives fresh and fit for a group 1 challenge that his owners and trainer did not see coming at the beginning of the season.

“I was talking to [Widden Stud boss] Antony Thompson when I just got back and asked him to give me a horse because our families go back a long way,” trainer Gary Moore said. “My dad and his dad were close and he said to me there is one being broken-in at Scone, I don’t know how good it is but you can have it. It was Takedown.

“I don’t think they thought it would be a two-year-old and when he arrived at our stable, most of us thought the same.  Here was this big horse that looked as if he would need a lot of time but we got him to races and he has shown his talent.

“He actually keeps putting on weight because of the muscle he is developing. It is great to see him in this race.”

Takedown, which was gelded because of his size, was third to Exosphere at Kembla Grange on debut but wins at Hawkesbury, in the Black Opal at Canberra and a group 3 over 1400m at Rosehill on March 28 have followed.

“He always showed us he could gallop but we didn’t think we would be in a group 1 as a two-year-old,” Moore said.  “It is exciting for us as a stable because we have only been back here seven months and if he can get the job done, I would rate it up with being the champion jockey in France in my achievements in racing.”

Takedown has a dominating style of racing, using gate speed that is surprising in a big horse to get to the front and then takes his rivals out of their comfort zone.

“He is such a big horse that he covers a lot of ground [in his stride length] and he seems to have others scrambling behind him when he really lengthens,” Moore said. “He is still a little green but Kerrin McEvoy knows a bit more about him after that win at Rosehill. We saw how good Kerrin is at rating a front runner on Saturday [when he won the Queen Of The Turf on Amanpour] and I think he is a real advantage we have in the Champagne.”

The final Sydney juvenile group 1 lacks the star factor with Sires Produce Stakes winner Pride Of Dubai spelling as is Regeese, which ran third in the two-year-old group 1 during The Championships, and Golden Slipper winner Vancouver.

Sires runner-up Odyssey Moon is the likely favourite for the Champagne Stakes but Takedown will have admirers.

Moore’s confidence was boosted after Takedown worked over 1000m on Saturday morning at Rosehill.

“He picked up his mate and we will put the blinkers on him on Tuesday for a final blow out. He wears them in his races but we tend to keep them up our sleeve on the training track until that final gallop,” Moore said.

“That work on Saturday has me very confident he will run the mile right out. He is still a fresh horse and the three weeks between runs seems to work for him. The mile won’t be a problem for him because he is relaxed and seems to do it within himself.”

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04 Dec

ROSS TAGGART: Business wants fair penalty rates

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SMALL business plays a vital role in the local, regional, state and national economies.
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Many small businesses sit within the supply chain for medium or large businesses, enabling those businesses to operate efficiently and profitably. Other small businesses provide goods or services to local communities that ensure economic growth and maintain strong local employment.

These small businesses cross almost every industry sector and play a very importantrole in our everyday lives. Often small business operators walk a fine line between profitability and business survival. I know first-hand because I have operated a small business for nearly 30 years and work with other small business owners on a daily basis.

Operating a small business is often referred to as a labour of love, particularly for those business owners operating with few or no staff. This means a lot of long days and nights spent actually working in the business.

Couple this with the many rules and regulations they operate under, and the hours you need to dedicate to administering the business, and there is time for little else.

Fair work requirements keep business in check and this is no different for small business.

When the issue of penalty rates came up last week I was appalled to see the backlash afforded to those businesses who spoke out about the impact of excessive penalty rates on their business.

Business is not asking for penalty rates to be abolished, business is asking that penalty rates are fair and reasonable and there is recognition of the cost to business and the community of excessive penalty rates. Excessive penalty rates weaken viability, reduce profitability and remove jobs from our community. There needs to be a discussion held about excessive penalty rates within the community and at all levels of government.

Doing nothing isn’t an option if we want to maintain a growing state and regional economy as well as maintaining a low level of unemployment.

On a less controversial topic for small business, the NSW Business Chamber’s Small Business Friendly Council’s Program is aimed at addressing some disconnect between small business and local government. Through structured engagement and a commitment to continuous improvement business can more effectively engage with their local councils to create a better operating environment.

It was great to see Lake Macquarie Council sign on to the Small Business Friendly Council’s Program last week as a demonstration of the value they place on the presence of small business in the community.

The NSW Business Chamber has members across all local government areas in NSW, and by highlighting some of the good, and often simple, initiatives that various local councils have implemented to make it easier to do business in their area, we might provide the encouragement others need, to follow.

Local small businesses including cafes, restaurants, butchers, hairdressers, newsagents and retailers help provide employment to more than 7 million Australians.

They ensure that our communities remain vibrant and strong and that we have one of the best standards of living in the world.

These businesses deserve support from government at all levels, as sustainable small business maintains high levels of employment which should be the end goal.

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04 Dec

California police under investigation for bashing suspect after horse chase

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Ten deputies have been placed on administrative leave after accusations that they used excessive force when arresting Francis Jared Pusok, who had fled on a stolen horse. Photo: Screengrab taken from NBC helicopter footageDeputy sheriffs in southern California are under investigation after a TV news helicopter caught them on video kicking and beating a suspect who was fleeing on horseback.
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Francis Jared Pusok, 30, a white male with a criminal record, was kicked 13 times, punched 37 times and struck four times with batons, according to KNBC television in Los Angeles.

“I’m disturbed by what I see in the video,” San Bernardino County sheriff John McMahon told the station, whose chopper hovered over the scene.

He ordered an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred in desert scrub in Apple Valley, 130 kilometres from Los Angeles.

It came five days after a white police officer in the South Carolina city of North Charleston was caught on video gunning down a fleeing African American suspect.

The officer, Michael Slager, has since been charged with the murder of Walter Scott, 50, and fired from the force, in the latest fatal confrontation in the US between white police officers and unarmed black suspects.

Pusok was being served a warrant related to an identity theft investigation when he first fled on foot, then stole a horse, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said on Friday.

From the KNBC video, it appeared Pusok was zapped with a Taser when he fell off the horse, after which up to 11 deputies began striking him.

He remained on the ground for 45 minutes, getting no medical attention before he was taken to hospital, the television station reported.

The sheriff’s department acknowledged that “use of force occurred” after the Taser proved ineffective due to “loose clothing” that Pusok was wearing.

Three deputies also got medical treatment – two for dehydration and a third who got kicked by the horse, which itself sustained “numerous injuries”.

AFP

 

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