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Woman tells royal commission of the night she realised her husband Grant Davies was a paedophile

The former wife of dance teacher Grant Davies fought back tears as she told a royal commission about the night she discovered her husband of more than a decade was a paedophile.
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The woman, given the pseudonym BZB, gave evidence that she was at home with the couple’s young daughter in April 2013 when she checked Davies’ computer.

She found messages he sent to a student, then aged about 13, and photos the student sent to him.

“The content of the messages was sexually explicit,” she said.

“There were messages in which Grant was saying ‘Delete the messages so your mum doesn’t see’. It seemed to me that Grant was grooming [the student]. I also found various photos of [the student] wearing a g-string.”

BZB printed out the material and contacted Davies’ sister and business partner in the RG Dance school, Rebecca Davies.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard BZB and Ms Davies reported the matter to police, against the wishes of other family members.

“[Grant’s parents] didn’t necessarily feel like it was something we needed to go to the police about,” she said.

Davies was arrested and charged with 63 child sex offences in May 2013, pleading guilty to a string of charges in September last year. He is in custody awaiting sentencing in May.

BZB told the commission Davies was violent towards her during their marriage and was the subject of two apprehended violence orders but, before her discovery of the material on his computer, she did not believe he would sexually abuse children.

“Even though I knew he was emotionally and physically abusing me, I never once through that Grant was capable of harming a child,” she said.

“He convinced me that he was a loving father, that he genuinely cared for his students and that he could be relied upon to have these children’s best interests at heart.”

She accused police and the Department of Family and Community Services of failing to properly address allegations about Davies which first surfaced in 2007 after parents complained he sent sexually explicit messages to teenage students.

“I believe that the authorities who had knowledge of both his domestic violence and the full nature of the allegations laid against him in 2007 did not do enough to protect those around him,” she said.

“I believe that the system failed us by not informing us of the danger he posed.”

Representatives from NSW Police and the Department of Family and Community Services are due to give evidence at the hearing into performing arts schools later this week.

BZB, a primary school teacher who used to perform comedy routines with Davies, said he would belittle her if she questioned his behaviour with students.

“I ended up feeling like I was the crazy one,” she said. “I ended up feeling like I was being silly.”

BZB divorced Davies in the middle of last year.

Rebecca Davies told the commission she could have done more to protect children at the school.

“I failed to do the right thing in seeing [Davies’ behaviour] as a red flag of paedophilia,” she said.

The inquiry before Justice Jennifer Coate continues.

For help or information call Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or the Royal Commission 1800 099 340.

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Australia sends asylum seekers back to Indonesia

Indonesian crewmen Isai Rano (left with blue towel) and Lajimu (right) from Kupang at the East Nusa Tenggara water police office. Photo: Joy Christian Three Bangadeshi nationals wait at the East Nusa Tenggara water police office after being returned to Indonesia.3 Bangladeshi2 indonesian crew with blue towels. Isai rano (brown shirt) lajimu (grey shirt) both from kupang. Photo: Joy Christian
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People smuggler cash scandalBoat turn-back payment to people smugglers the first of its kind

Jakarta:  Six Bangladeshis were returned to Indonesia on Indonesian fishermen’s boats after being intercepted by the Australian Border Force, according to an Indonesian police officer.

East Nusa Tenggara water police chief Teddy J.S. Marbun told Fairfax Media the six Bangladeshi “suspected illegal immigrants” left Kupang with two Indonesians on March  3. “They made it to Australian (waters) but their boat sunk,” he said. “The eight people then were rescued by an Australian customs ship for three days.”

Mr Teddy said the men were then transferred onto nearby Indonesian fishing boats that were fishing near Ashmore Reef. “They can’t understand each other’s language, so they just used sign language,” Mr Teddy said. “The fisherman were given fuel and supplies, they know if you breach Australian waters, they will turn you back. So they took the eight people back.”

Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg tweeted that Australian Border Force maritime patrol had assisted an Indonesian vessel in distress.

“The vessel was NOT scuttled – was unseaworthy and sank. Pax (passengers) assisted & okay,” he tweeted. The boat’s skipper, Isai Rano, 34, said he had been offered 92 million rupiah (about $AUD9000) to take the six Bangladeshis to Australia.

“We used 35million rupiah to buy a boat. We kept a fee of 10million and gave 47million to our family.”

Mr Isai said they left for Australia on the morning of March 3. “After sailing for three days, our boat sank, the Australian navy saved us. We were interrogated aboard the navy ship. When they found Indonesian fishing boats, we were transferred onto them on monday. We were given rice and life jackets and the fishermen were told to take us back to Kupang.”

The incident comes two weeks before the main regional forum to combat people smuggling is held in Bali. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will attend the Bali process, which is co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia.

Australia’s boat push-back policy is a sore point in the Indonesia-Australia relationship. Indonesia considers the policy an affront to its sovereignty and an example of one country pushing its responsibility onto another.

Mr Teddy said two days into the journey back to Indonesia some of the fishermen’s boats had engine problems. “That was when the water police found them. We evacuated them to the water police post.”

Mr Teddy said the skipper, Mr Isai, and the second Indonesian crew member were being interviewed by police. He said the six Bangladeshis were suspected illegal immigrants and were now being detained at an immigration detention centre in Kupang.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: “The government doesn’t comment on operational matters.”

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Western Sydney Wanderers marquee Dario Vidosic reveals Swiss hell at FC Sion

Doesn’t miss Swiss league: Wanderers star Dario Vidosic. Photo: Mark KolbeThe grass isn’t always greener for footballers aspiring for Europe, just ask Dario Vidosic.
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Misdiagnosed injuries, late payments, undelivered win bonuses and a short-tempered interventionist owner who made seven coaching changes in two years made his Swiss foray seem like torture. Despite making 51 appearances over two seasons with FC Sion and establishing himself as an entertaining player in the league, Vidosic has no plans to return to Europe. At 28, he plans to remain in Australia where for all the gulf in stature, players are afforded much greater working conditions than other more established leagues.

After an impressive six months at FC Sion, the problems began to surface. The fractures began with their outspoken and volatile president Christian Constantin who was twice so furious with performances of coaches that he took charge of the coaching duties and officiated games from the dugout.

“We had this one guy who does what he wants. There were times he delayed payments, win bonuses were promised and he wouldn’t pay. It was a circus. You leave your family, you leave your friends, you want professionalism and good coaching. I can’t even describe how we were treated at times,” Vidosic said. “He was probably the most crazy [football] president in Europe, I’d say.”

It continued with the club’s coaches ignoring medical advice, diminishing a ruptured posterior ligament in his knee as a simple knock. A month-long stint on the sidelines extended to 14 weeks due to their refusal to allow proper medical treatment.

Amid the pressure of a president happy to sack coaches, it wasn’t long before players became scapegoats for poor results. Vidosic was publicly said to have given up on the club and lost interest when absent from a game despite being hospitalised with a serious virus.

“I was sent to hospital, had a bad rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, had a bad virus. My face was swollen and turned purple and even my teammates feared for me a little bit,” Vidosic said. “I was sick for two weeks in hospital and then the coach comes out and says I was saving myself for the World Cup.”

Despite having other options to remain in Europe, the experience at FC Sion prompted Vidosic to return to Australia. He says the standard of the A-League is not far off that of the Swiss league with the fewer number of games the only major detraction. However, the standard of player welfare offered in the A-League is significantly greater than he experienced at Sion.

“The A-League provides a level of professionalism that sometimes Europe doesn’t. When you’re young you just think of going to Europe. There’s a lot of leagues there, a lot of good football and a lot of good coaches. You want these things but you don’t always get that,” he said.

Vidosic missed the Wanderers’ 3-2 defeat to Brisbane Roar last weekend due to a hamstring injury the previous week against Perth Glory but is confident of returning to play Newcastle on Sunday having returned to full training on Wednesday. 

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Students display a culture of talent

NATURAL: Neal Booth is presenting Hidden, his first solo show, at Newcastle Art Space.THEREare big changes ahead in the local art scene with the announcement by the University of Newcastle that it will no longer be offering a Bachelor of Fine Art course from 2017. This occurred in the same week that over 10 of its graduates and a multitude of current students feature in high quality exhibitions across five city galleries.
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REFLECT: Digital photo by James Rhodes, is part of Ahn Wells’ exhibition.

As part of the university’s New Futures Strategic Plan, (extensively illustrated with paintings by Fine Art honours graduate Nicole Chaffey) the schools of Design, Fine Art and the internationally acclaimedNatural History Illustration will now be merged to form the fully vocational School of Creative Industries. The details of this new school are yet to be announced.

BOUNDS: Fun with Magritte photogram by Chris Byrnes at Gallery 139.

The Expanded Print is the feature exhibition at the university’s inner city art gallery, Watt Space displaying artists’ books, photographs, prints and 3D pieces from 20 Fine Art staff and students who use traditional and digital printing techniques to reinterpret the relationship between text, books and printmaking. The supporting exhibitions are; Travelling Birds by April Collison and Tallulah Cunningham who are recent graduates from the School of Natural History Illustration; the enchanting Tiny People drawings from Amy Hamilton and photographs by Mark Mason. Until March 20.

At Back to Back Gallery another UoN Fine Art graduate, Maddyson Hatton presents her first solo show Pulling the Wool, a thoughtfully realised project exploring ideas of surveillance and control through the successful employment of recurrent motifs in her drawings, prints and ceramic pieces. Until March 20.

PULLING THE WOOL: A ceramic piece from Maddyson Hatton at Back to Back.

Master of Fine Art graduate Neal Booth presents Hidden at Newcastle Art Space. This is his first solo exhibition of two and three dimensional work since 2011 and it is natural materials and the earth itself that continue to dominate his practice, both as artistic mediums and the source of his inspiration. In his atmospheric, timeless abstractions he uses paints made from pigments discovered in the inland where he also gathered the sticks that form the giant bird’s nest on the gallery floor.

Like so many other exhibitions, Hidden would be stronger with more judicious editing and the removal of a few works that actually detract from the overall exhibition. This over-hanging situation is amplified in the second NAS gallery where Vasanth Rao’s No Distance Left to Run assails us with a high energy explosion of line, colour and form. While intentionally overwhelming, the impact would be further enhanced by thinning things out, so each of the complex works is given some breathing space, allowing the eye to settle, if only for a bit. Until March 20.

The run of high quality photographic exhibitions we have seen in Newcastle this year rolls on. 139 Gallery, which is owned and operated by another Fine Art honours graduate, Ahn Wells, gives us The Bounds of Photography, highly individual works from six local photographers of whom half are Fine Art graduates. Through traditional means along with contemporary digital and video techniques, this group stretches our appreciation of the discipline in a tight, engaging exhibition. Ends March 12

It is good to see Forsight Gallery reopen with a strong new show after a long lay-off. Monday brings together seven skilled artists, many of whom are also Fine Art graduates, who work under the guidance of highly respected artist and former Newcastle Art School senior painting teacher, John Morris. Until March 20.C Studios presents The Gift of Nature from the prolific Newcastle Art School graduate Ros Elkin. Until March 27.

While it is true that art will continue to be created with or without institutions and despite shifting political values, thank goodness we still have the Newcastle Art School which has withstood a battering of its own over recent years but continues to offer quality courses and produce high class practitioners across all artistic mediums.

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Film review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

John Gallagher jnr as Emmett, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, and John Goodman as Howard in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Photo: Michele K. ShortMore on 10 Cloverfield LaneMovie session timesFull movies coverage
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/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”;}Normal★★★½

First, a warning: the title 10 Cloverfield Lane is basically a marketing device. Beyond a few nudging details probably inserted at the last moment, there’s no direct link between this low-budget thriller and the original 2008 Cloverfield, an authentically ruthless Godzilla knock-off that stands as one of the peaks of “found footage” horror.

Set your monster-movie expectations aside, however, and what remains is a highly suspenseful B-movie about a young woman trapped underground by a disturbed patriarch— a premise seemingly everywhere in pop culture at present, whether exploited for arthouse kudos in Room or played for laughs in TV’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

In this instance, the young woman is Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead​ ) who wakes after a car accident to find herself chained in a cinderblock bunker with an IV drip in her arm. Her self-styled rescuer is Howard Stambler (John Goodman), a morose survivalist with a Navy background, a fixation on his absent daughter, and the tastes of a Generation X hipster, who has crammed his do-it-yourself bomb shelter with enough 1980s memorabilia – teen magazines, board games, VHS tapes – to stock a chain of retro cafes.

By Howard’s account, the US has suffered a “major attack” by unknown, possibly extra-terrestrial foes. Whatever may be signified by the rumblings overhead, the safest course is to remain underground for a year or two – giving Howard the chance to play out his fantasy of family togetherness, aided by the unwilling Michelle and by her fellow prisoner Emmett (John Gallagher jnr), an amiable young yokel seemingly willing to fit in with other people’s plans.

Three writers are credited with the film’s script, including Whiplash director Damian Chazelle, and there are clearly multiple artistic agendas in play: the ending packs a punch, but doesn’t entirely resolve what has come before. That said, the project as a whole has a cold-blooded expertise that recognisably belongs to workaholic producer J.J. Abrams, filling in time between duties as emperor of the Star Wars universe.

First-time director Dan Trachtenberg is a talent in his own right: though he sometimes over does the cartoonish humour, he has thought carefully about how to use the confined space of the bunker. Locked-down master shots emphasise Howard’s inflexibility, while rapid, unsteady close-ups are used to highlight furtive gestures – most of them performed by Michelle, whose background as an aspiring fashion designer gives her a dexterity that comes in handy for pilfering keys, stitching up wounds and more.

Above all 10 Cloverfield Lane is a showcase for Goodman, a consummate actor whose ability to terrify has rarely been exploited so thoroughly – and who makes Howard as absurd and pathetic as he is alarming. It’s possible that future historians will identify this in retrospect as the first horror film of the Trump era: a portrait of a blowhard who may or may not believe his own scaremongering, while the filmmakers themselves hedge their bets on whether the true threat comes from outside or from within.

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Pink criticises Kim Kardashian’s naked selfie, ex-foe Amber Rose defends her

The Kim Kardashian picture that started the Twitter war. Photo: Kim Kardashian/Twitter Hell has frozen over: The most unlikely person rode in on a white steed to back up Kim and her nakedness – ex-foe, Amber Rose. Photo: Kim Kardashian/Instagram
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Kim Kardashian in Twitter war over nude selfies​Kanye West’s embarrassing misspelling and Zuckerberg’s $1 billion response

Another day, another Twitter drama for Kim Kardashian. This time she has a new opponent, singer Pink.

It seems Kanye West has passed on the spectacle-stealing baton to his wife of almost two years as she wages a war for posting a naked selfie on Monday.

Kim, 35, was publicly criticised at first by Bette Midler, Chloe Moretz and Piers Morgan, but she hit back in glorious form on Twitter and later penned an essay on her website, titled Happy International Women’s Day in which she wrote:

“I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives. I don’t do drugs, I hardly drink, I’ve never committed a crime – and yet I’m a bad role model for being proud of my body?” Kim wrote.

She spoke about the sex tape she made 13 years ago with ex-boyfriend Ray J and said she’s moved on from the scandal.

“I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”

And just when we thought the dust might be settling and Bette, Chloe and Piers were regaining consciousness after Kim’s savage retort, enter Pink, real name Alecia Moore, who goes and stirs up the furore again. In a thinly veiled message on Twitter, the Raise Your Glass singer told women that using their bodies for “attention” was self-degrading.

“Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their ‘magic’ that they were born with, that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much ‘attention’ or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don’t need that kind of ‘attention,'” the singer wrote. “In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention, you will feel something called pride and self respect. Keep on resisting the urge to cave. You’ll never have to make silly excuses for yourself.”

Keyboard warrior and actor Chloe was quick to defend Pink and tweeted, “Smart, strong statement. My sentiments exactly.”

Unfortunately, Kim has yet to respond, but watch this space. When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL pic.twitter南京夜网/UlSLZb1fp1— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 7, 2016pic.twitter南京夜网/NPRoOcF0y9— P!nk (@Pink) March 9, [email protected] smart, strong statement. My sentiments exactly ..— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) March 9, 2016

The most unlikely person rode in on a white steed to back up Kim and her nakedness. No, not quarrelsome Ye – it was his ex-girlfriend (who he just had an almighty war with) Amber Rose. First she took aim at Pink, reminding her that she often preforms in leotards that show off a lot of skin.

“Damn Pink we were all born naked society sexualises our breast and bodies. If a grown mother of 2 is comfortable with her body and wants to show it off that’s none of ur business or anyone else’s,” Amber started out. “Now, if u wanna talk to kids and be a mentor to young teens, tell them to go to school and to not use their bodies to get ahead?! I’m all for it! But please as a grown woman let another grown woman live as she wishes. That’s our problem! We’re so quick to down each other instead of uplifting! Pink, We’ve seen u damn near naked swinging from a rope (Beautifully) but what’s the difference between a rope, a pole and a pic on Instagram? Classism. Because u sing while ur half naked does that make it “Classy” or is it because u have a “talent”? I’m not dissing at all Pink just curious after u said “You’ll never have to make a silly excuse for yourself” (sic).”   A photo posted by King Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Mar 9, 2016 at 11:22am PST

​Then Amber (who made amends with The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star recently) reposted the second naked selfie Kim shared and invited her to go on the annual Slut Walk (a global movement sparked by a policeman’s comment that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid falling victim to sexual assault).

“And @kimkardashian I don’t know u well but I saw u speak about slut shaming and as u know I’m an activist feminist so it spoke to me. Being Slut shamed and ridiculed is not fun it’s hurtful and mean. Us women deal with it everyday and I’m happy u can speak openly on this now because if anyone knows what it’s like to be Slut Shamed it’s u! Live it Kim! Make a difference and speak on it! Not only when it’s convenient for u but when u can help others. Last year at my Slutwalk I told my Slut shaming story. This year I would love for u to come and tell urs. This is an open invite from me to u and ur sisters are welcomed too Let’s let the naysayers know u are so much more then a sex tape (13 years ago) Fuck it own it. Ur a mom and a business woman, a wife, sister and daughter. Hope we can make this happen (sic).”

Again, Kim seems to be taking some time out from her epic put-downs and has yet to reveal whether she will unite with Amber. But again, watch this space.

Youngest sister Kylie Jenner, 18, also shared her own version of Kim’s naked bathroom selfie using a black two-piece instead of the bars.

Kanye also has his wife’s back and told his fans he couldn’t wait to return from Paris Fashion Week to see her and their two children, North, two, and Saint, four months, but other than that he has been relatively quiet (in Kanye Twitter terms), and just tweeting his stream of consciousness. muse pic.twitter南京夜网/JeXMTsZKmQ— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 8, 2016can’t wait to get home to North, Saint and my wife…— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 9, 2016

Oh, and he also wants you to know he believes in his Yeezy Season Three collection that has been likened to homeless wear. OK? All these journalists can give their opinions well these are mine…yes I believe in my ripped homeless sweaters!!!— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 9, 2016

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What doesn’t kill the US bull market may make it stronger

It’s been a rollercoaster ride, especially this year, but the US sharemarket’s bull run nevertheless managed to enter its eighth year this week. Photo: Michael Nagle”How low can stocks go,” the Wall Street Journal wondered on March 9, 2009, as the financial crisis was wiping away trillions of dollars from American equities, the deepest rout since the Great Depression. That day, of course, marked the bottom. The US bull market that entered its eighth year this week has restored $US14 trillion ($18.7 trillion) to stock values, pushing up the US benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index by almost 200 per cent.
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Now, investors are awash in angst, showing little faith the run can continue. They worry about contracting corporate earnings, slowing Chinese growth and uncertainty over interest rates. And they’re walking the talk by pulling cash from stocks at almost the fastest rate on record. It’s not unwarranted — the S&P 500 has gained just 0.5 per cent in the last 18 months. Yet if history is any guide, that very cynicism provides a compelling case for the run to persist, at least by traditional market analysis. Bull markets usually die amid excessive optimism, and that’s nowhere to be found. “This pervasive pessimism, skepticism and unwillingness to invest in equities anywhere near the degree we’ve seen in past bull markets has been a very unique characteristic,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. That contrarian sentiment constitutes “the wall of worry that stocks like to climb,” she said.

Consider all that money flowing out of equities. Investors took out almost $US140 billion from equity mutual and exchange-traded funds in the last 12 months, more than double the peak outflows experienced over any comparable periods during the global financial crisis. Yet when people withdraw money, stocks inversely tend to rise later, according to data since 1984. In the 12 instances when funds experienced monthly outflows that were at least 2 standard deviations from the historic mean, the S&P 500 rose an average 7.1 per cent six months later, compared with a normal return of 3.9 per cent, data compiled by Bloomberg and Investment Company Institute show.

Even the horrendous start to 2016 showed how skittishness may eventually work in favour of bulls. The first six weeks delivered the worst-ever beginning of a year for US equities – and other sharemarkets around the world, including Australia’s which entered bear market territory, hitting a more than 2 1/2 year low on February 12. Since then, the S&P/ASX 200 has gained 8.2 per cent. But once things start to turn around, bears will be forced to buy. From February 11 through Monday, a Goldman Sachs index of the most-shorted companies outperformed the S&P 500 by almost 16 percentage points, the most in data going back to 2008. Distrust also creates bargains and emboldens future buyers. That’s the case with financial shares, which led the latest rebound from the February low. US banks and insurers, the biggest profit generator in America’s sharemarket with $US228 billion in income last year, still get little respect from investors after being blamed for the market turmoil during the downturn. At 13.6 times earnings, the group was handed the lowest valuations among 10 industries and traded at a 24 per cent discount to the S&P 500. As the market started to recover, financial companies rallied. So did some of the most-hated stocks such as energy and materials producers that had been borrowed and sold in a practice known as a short sale, a bet on falling share prices. The forced buying from bears therefore added additional fuel to the S&P 500’s gain from a 22-month low.

What happens next? Wall Street strategists see the bull market in the US lasting at least through December, with the S&P 500 rising to 2158, or an 9 per cent increase from Tuesday’s close, according to the average of 21 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. If the run lasts until the end of April, this bull will become the second oldest on record. Coincidentally or not, the last two ended near the eighth year of an election cycle. The benchmark index rose 0.3 per cent at 9:50 am in New York. Tom Mangan, senior vice president of James Investment Research in Xenia, Ohio, which oversees about $US6.5 billion, isn’t ready to throw in the towel. “There are too many bears versus bulls and there is too much cash on the sidelines,” he said. “That means the market can do better.”

Bloomberg

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Five worst ever bits of travel advice

Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran Bay, Bali.”Don’t lock your bags and thieves will think there’s nothing worth stealing, don’t book until the last minute and you’ll score a bargain, carry your passport at all times”– travellers get all kinds of lousy advice hurled their way. Much of it will shrivel under the bright light of logic but some can lead you into darkness. Here are five bits of travel advice that should never be believed. Everything is cheaper duty-free
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A few things are, most are not. Cigarettes are the standout, duty-free booze is quite a bit cheaper but the rest? The duty we pay in Australia on perfumes, clothing, electronics and watches is the GST, just 10 per cent. Right now the Australian dollar is tracking low and prices in retail stores in our cities are competitive so buying duty-free overseas is not likely to deliver a bargain. If you’re buying duty-free, you’re probably making your purchase in an airport and airport retail space is expensive. To cover their rent, airport shops must jack up their prices. There are a few places where you can get a better deal on computers, electronics and cameras, for example New York and Hong Kong, but if something goes wrong with that Phantom Quadcopter drone or the Apple iBook Pro you bought overseas, chances are the local retailer won’t honour your warranty.

See: Why airport shopping is so hard to avoidSteer clear of street food

Chowing down on a veg samosa in Old Delhi, a murtabak in Malaysia or a beef noodle soup in Vietnam has brought joy and sustenance to my heart as well as my stomach. It’s a cultural as well as a culinary foray and it’s low risk, but I have rules. It has to be cooked to order in front of me, it must be served hot, the cook should look healthy and I’ll like it even better if those plastic plates are getting a thorough wash with detergent between servings. Fruit smoothies and ice cream I’d be more careful about but if the stall looks sparkling clean and it’s popular I’ll probably go for it. Peeled fruit or anything that’s sitting around in big pots waiting to be served are no-go items.

See: The world’s best places for street food namedSee Australia first

Why? This advice is sometimes offered to the young when they’re contemplating their first solo foray into the wider world. Many thousands of youthful travellers come from overseas to explore Australia every year. For them it’s exotic, unfamiliar and a long way from their parents – a mind-expanding experience. For exactly the same reason many thousands of young Australians depart our own shores and set off to explore Europe, Asia or South America. Most will return with expanded horizons, having absorbed ideas and experienced wonders that are not to be found within our own shores, and that enriches them and us. See Australia, sure, it’s got some world beaters, but it doesn’t have to be a first solo outing. Besides, a foray into the wider world might just show you why the country you call home is a pretty terrific place to live.

See: The 10 things Australia does better than anywhere elseBali is for bogans

No it’s not. For many Kuta is the reason they go to Bali but it’s not my Bali. My Bali is a soul-stealing place with the sound of water trickling through the rice terraces, with mossy temples and spirit houses in the rice fields with their faded, flapping shreds of yellow cloth, where soaring bamboo penjors arch above the roadsides and the sweet, musky smell of kretek cigarettes perfume the air, where women head off for midday prayers with a pyramid of fruit and flowers piled on their heads and the night air caries the staccato rush of a gamelan orchestra. It’s fresh lime juice with sugar syrup on the side, the smoky taste of Bali coffee, siting over a Bintang in the evening watching geckos stalking insects drawn to a wall light, the sticky heat of midday and long, indolent afternoons on the massage table. And in my book that comes pretty close to heaven.

See: 20 things that will shock first-time visitors to BaliTake a guided tour and you’ll see everything

A guided tour gives you certainty. You get to tick off the highlights and you’ll know almost exactly when and where you’re going to be. If you have limited time, if you’re in a place well outside your comfort zone, if you’re travelling on your own, if you’re concerned about your personal safety or your belongings then a guided tour might be your best option. On the flip side, wrestling with timetables, figuring out where you’ll stay and for how long, ordering food from a foreign menu and getting your tongue around “Where is the toilet?” in a strange language brings its own special currency to your travels. When you organise your own travels you’re more engaged with the place you’re in. You might even find out how great you are at getting about in the world, and that’s one of the best gifts travel can give you.

See also: 18 signs you need to go travelling again

See also: The 15 most pointless travel items

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Target store displays video games in cigarette-style plain packaging

Games including Beyond: Two Souls, The Witcher 3 and Mortal Kombat X are displayed with plain packaging at a South Australian Target.Since 2012, plain tobacco packaging laws forced stores to sell cigarettes absent of all branding in an attempt to dissuade young people from buying them.
Nanjing Night Net

A few Target stores in South Australia seemed to be doing the same thing with video games.

They believed they were following the letter of the law and — bizarrely — they might be right.

The above picture was taken by NeoGAF user nephilimdj in Target Edwardstown, South Australia, in the Castle Plaza shopping centre.

As you can see, all R18+ games have been placed in plain packaging with the warning “you must be 18 years or over” to purchase.

This is a rare sight in Australia, rare enough that it was a surprise to many when it was posted — even those living in South Australia. Rare enough that, when we saw it, we contacted Target Australia directly to ask what was going on. Was this a Target policy at the South Australian state level? Was this something they did across all stores? Or was this one rogue store acting on their own impulses?

Target Australia responded with this statement:

“The photo you sent to us is not company standard. The store in question took itself to action the display featured in the photo you provided. Target Australia complies with the relevant legislation in each state on the display of 18+ games. We have tracked down the store and this has now been corrected.”

In short: this was not company policy.

We decided to speak to the Target store in question to ask why the games section had been altered in this way.

We were informed that the store had been inserting plain packaging into its video games as seen in the image above. We were also told that the store would continue doing this, because it is asked of them by South Australian legislation. The store representative confirmed this wasn’t specific to video games — that Blu-rays and DVDs were being treated similarly.

We checked the legislation. In 2011 IGN Australia reported that plain packaging laws could be applied to video games in South Australia. The reality: this legislation had already been passed and put into place in January 2010 and was already applicable to video games.

Of course, in 2010 Australia didn’t have an R18+ rating for video games. Australia’s first R18+ game was released over three years later in 2013. When that happened it was assumed games would fall under the same state legislation in South Australia.

The applicable section reads as follows:

An occupier of premises (other than adult-only premises) at which computer games with a classification lower than R 18+ are sold must not display material for a computer game classified R 18+ at the premises—

(a) unless— (i) the material is displayed in a different area (including, for example, in a different aisle or on a different shelving case, stand or table) from that in which material for other computer games is displayed; and (ii) the area is marked as an area displaying material for computer games classified R 18+ by a notice complying with subsection (2) displayed in a prominent place near the area; and (iii) the surface area of the material that is on display (for example, the cover of a casing containing the game, where that is on display) isnot more than 300 cm²; or

(b) unless, at all times while on display, the material bears no images or markings other than— (i) the name of the computer game in letters of 10 millimetres or less in height; and (ii) the determined markings relevant to its classification

The key words in this section are “or” and “unless”.

South Australian legislation requires only that stores do one or the other: they either create a marked R18+ specific section or they cover R18+ games as seen in the above image.

As you might expect, most stores opt for the simpler R18+ specific section, like this Big W store:

Or this JB Hi-Fi:

But plenty of stores ignore the legislation completely:

We’ve been informed that a large number of stores in South Australia don’t bother following the guidelines at all.

But these few Target stores appear to be following both suggestions at once. They appear to be creating an R18+ specific section and obscuring the front covers, despite it not being store policy or a legal requirement.

And Target Australia has practically confirmed this to us over the phone, informing us that this was the result of a miscommunication between stores.

According to Target Australia the display shown in the image above is being dismantled as we speak. celebrates video game culture with news, reviews and long form features.

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

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Maria Sharapova: Star’s letter to her fans after meldonium drug positive as Rafael Nadal vehemently denies drug rumours

Sharapova may ask for therapeutic exemption
Nanjing Night Net

Rafael Nadal is among those sad to hear the “terrible news” for tennis, and sport, of Maria Sharapova’s positive drugs test, while stressing the need for the game to not only be clean, but to look spotless, and vigorously defending himself against longstanding doping-related rumours.

“I don’t know nothing about this medicine, but it’s obvious that since this year that’s forbidden,” Nadal said at the Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells of Sharapova’s admitted use of the newly banned substance meldonium. “So, sorry for her, but she make a negligence and she now she has to pay for it, so we’ll see how the trial goes.”

With Sharapova back home in Los Angeles, where she was photographed playing beach tennis after sending a thank-you letter to her fans via social media and her personal website, the topic was still a predictably hot one about 200 kilometres east in the California desert.

The preparatory list of likely questions and suggested answers the WTA sent to its players having been obtained and published by Sports Illustrated, the Sharapova subject was the main theme of pre-tournament media day, Novak Djokovic having expressed his support at an LA Lakers basketball game the night before.

“I obviously wish her all the best. I know her a long time and I feel for her what’s happening,” the world No.1 told website TMZ. “I just hope she gets out of this stronger. That’s all I can say.”

Nadal said a fair bit more, praising the sport’s anti-doping system while robustly defending himself against long-standing doping speculation with an indignant “no f—ing way”, denying there had ever been any temptation to transgress, and stressing the importance of the example sports set for society and its children. “If I am doing something against that, then I am lying to myself, lying to my opponents. That would be something really bad for me.

“I am 100 per cent confident with my team, and at the same time, I know all the things I am taking. It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but everyone can make mistakes. I want to believe that for sure it was a mistake for Maria, that she didn’t want to do it, but it is a result of negligence. But the rules are like this, and it’s fair, and now she must pay for it.”

Czech Tomas Berdych stressed he would check “10 times” a medicine’s status via multiple sources, including WADA’s prohibited list, while a surprised and saddened Kei Nishikori, with whom Sharapova shares a management company, suggested that “maybe she has to take care a little more with her team”.

Richard Gasquet, who served a two-month provisional ban for cocaine use in 2009 before eventually being cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, said it had been “very difficult to return” to tennis. “In France, there were a lot of people talking about it, and all the time, you see your name on TV. It took one year for me to take that off my mind.”

Dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said she was “shocked”, and that every player should know “what we are putting into our body. It was a huge mistake and she is taking responsibility for it.” Third-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska called it an unexpected and “sad day for tennis”.

In London, WADA president Craig Reedie questioned why Sharapova was prescribed meldonium as a teenager, while the agency’s former chief, Dick Pound, labelled as “wilful negligence” the 28-year-old’s failure to check on the legal status of the substance despite reports there had been up to five advance warnings issued of changes to the banned list.

“The WADA publication is out there. She didn’t pay any attention to it. The tennis association issued several warnings, none of which she apparently read,” said Pound, claiming there appeared to be few mitigating factors to spare Sharapova the maximum four-year ban.

Even the Kremlin weighed in, claiming Sharapova’s case and other similar incidents should not be considered a reflection of Russian sport collectively, despite another five of the nation’s athletes having also been caught taking the Latvian-manufactured substance.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for president Vladimir Putin, said on Wednesday the meldonium cases shouldn’t be “projected onto all of Russian sport” and do not “cast a shadow on Russian sport, on the amazing achievements of our athletes”. He said: “Attempts to politicise sports, attempts to add character to sports of some kind of political instrument for achieving some aims, are destructive … and are unacceptable and inexcusable.”

But as tennis goes on without her at the $8.2 million combined event to which Venus Williams is returning after a 15-year boycott, Sharapova reiterated her desire to return after whatever penalty is determined at an ITF hearing expected later next month. The former world No.1’s provisional suspension starts on Saturday.

In a message of thanks posted on her website and Facebook as well as to her 2 million Twitter followers, Sharapova said she had woken to an inbox “in full capacity of love and compassion” on Wednesday.

“On average, I love the mornings. New day, new start. It is fair to say that this day was not average. Nothing came to mind at 6am, except that I am determined to play tennis again and I hope I will have the chance to do so. I wish I didn’t have to go through this, but I do – and I will,” she wrote.

“I needed to sweat, to push through and grind as I have done most of my life, so I made my way to the gym. That’s when I realised a bunch of tinted windowed cars were following me. The good old paparazzi, back on the trail.”

Revealing that her recent internet exposure had been mostly limited to the search for an antique coffee table, Sharapova said friends had created a collage of many of the many positive messages posted online, with hashtags such as ‪#‎IStandWithMaria‬ and ‪#‎LetMariaPlay‬.

“I spent the afternoon reading them next to my dog, who couldn’t quite understand why this was more important than the walk he was expecting to take,” wrote the five-time major winner and former No.1, whose admission that she had taken the WADA-banned drug has stunned the sporting world.

“In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans. Within hours of my announcement, you showed me support and loyalty, which I could only expect to hear when someone would be at the top of their profession.

“I wanted to let you know that your wonderful words put a smile on my face. I’d like to play again and hope to have the chance to do so. Your messages give me great encouragement. This message isn’t anything else but to say thank you. Thank you very much.”

– with agencies

I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion. The first email I immediately…Posted by Maria Sharapova on  Wednesday, 9 March 2016This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Stairs lead us to Apex

HERITAGE: Port Stephens researcher Rex Coombes is intrigued by the failure of the 19th century fish processing plant at Apex Park.
Nanjing Night Net

DOWN on the Port Stephens waterfront at Nelson Bay are the remains of a small, bypassed set of concrete memorial stairs marked ‘1929’.

STRANGE OBJECT: The Cooks Hill brass plaque which might have been souvenired from the mighty ocean liner Queen Elizabeth by an unknown Novocastrian in 1941.

Located by the road behind the modern D’Albora Marina, these steps replaced the original ones made of wood in the mid 1910s.

The steps, just below Apex Park on Victoria Parade right at in the centre of Nelson Bay, seem at first glance to be the park’s only obvious older heritage item among various war memorials.

For there is a lot of overlooked past history here, although you mightn’t realise it at first glance.

For example, during World War II the Apex Park site was vital as a fuel store depot for the nearby HMAS Assault, a shore-based facility training assault boat crews and those on larger landing vessels.

Scores of huts once lined the foreshore with a large naval boatshed nearby, plus the longest (124 metres) and certainly the oldest wharf in Nelson Bay being located just below.

For between 1942 and 1945, some 20,000 American and 2000 Australian troops were trained locally in amphibious warfare.

It was also about this time rumours surfaced that perhaps the giant troops transport, the former Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth, had quietly slipped into port (it hadn’t).

But you’d never guess any of this these days as even the iconic, if decaying, long wharf from 1880 was swept away when port development, including major new breakwalls, transformed the area from 1987 to 1993.

The modern Nelson Bay marina is probably as significant in 2016 to Port Stephens as Circular Quay is to Sydney Harbour. And now the area, well, Apex Park above it, actually, is in the news again with Port Stephens councillors embracing a new $1.2 million vision for a new park master plan, despite concerns apparently from the Port Stephens Heritage Advisory committee.

Some people today obviously feel the park today is “a little bit neglected”, so here is some historical background.

Beside the original Worimi natives, the bay’s other early fishing industry pioneers here were groups of visiting Chinese. Then a Royal Commission of inquiry into the fishing industry in 1880 nominated Port Stephens as “probably the grandest fishing station on the entire seaboard of Australia”.

Up to eight fishing boats were then operating full-time inside the Port Stephens waterway. Not bad for a village not even connected by a sealed road to Newcastle until the 1940s.

The NSW Fish Company Ltd soon developed a massive, now forgotten, fish processing plant with even a rail line on what is now Apex Park in 1880.

Just below it was built the 124-metre “long wharf”, familiar now only in old photos, and it was customary to see fishermen’s nets and lobster pots along its entire length.

“What happened then? Well, these 19th century businessmen/parliamentarians operated it for about two years, then the company went bankrupt,” historian Rex Coombes told Weekender recently.

“To me, it’s a mystery why it went under. Buildings and equipment had completely covered the present Apex Park,” Coombes, the senior researcher at Port Stephens Historical Society, said.

“No one else, to my knowledge, has ever researched and printed details of this complex. It was a very speculative venture. Today there’s no trace.

“Did they have no idea of the problems they might encounter? Did they have insufficient sales?

“Everything was dismantled and sold off, except for the wharf, which lasted 106 years and became the focus of much bay activity. The area was not officially dedicated as Nelson Bay Park until 1934, but changed its name to Apex Park in 1964.

“I think people might be surprised at Apex Park’s background. There were also tennis courts there and an aquarium below, part of the salt baths on the long wharf, which are all long gone,” he said.

“That’s why I think more information about the birth of the park is very appropriate right now,” Coombes said.

A ROYAL MYSTERYEVER wonder if something might lie hidden at the bottom of a garden?

A Wickham resident, who’s a bit of a scrounger, discovered one such object years ago, but it wasn’t until he read last Saturday’s history page article called Queen of the Ocean did it all start to make sense.

And now he thinks he may just own a long lost relic (pictured) of the defunct but once mighty ocean liner, the original Queen Elizabeth (1940-1972), which served as a troopship in World War II, when it made voyages to Australia.

He’s asked for anonymity, so I call him Colin Razor.

This is his story.

“I was helping renovate an old house in Cooks Hill many years ago when among the yard debris I came across this sort of palm-sized brass plaque with strange wording on it.

“I took this mystery object home to clean it up. It had the words ‘tourist plate & silver washing’ and had obviously been screwed onto something,” Colin said.

“Someone regarded it as important enough to keep for ages. It also has words scratched on the back. It reads, ‘Off Queen Elizabeth 11-4-41’, then a misspelling of ‘Elisebth 11-4-41’, then a third, correct spelling of ‘Elizabeth’.

“But it was only an odd object to me until I read your history article last Saturday. You mentioned the liner Queen Elizabeth berthed in Sydney Harbour in April 1941, taking our men to the Middle East, including some from Williamtown RAAF base.

“I’m betting someone from Newcastle souvenired this plaque during the voyage as a memento of maybe their first, big overseas adventure. My bet is this plaque was taken off a dishwasher onboard the Queen Elizabeth. She became a luxury liner for tourists after WWII, but then, as you wrote, was destroyed by fire in Hong Kong in 1972,” Colin said.

“It’s a bit different, isn’t it? I’ve a mind now to contact the Cunard Line to see what they think,” he said.

[email protected]南京夜网

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Stream to future with torrent of abuse

WHEN it comes to TV streaming,progress is often relativein the never-ending questto achieve the promise of tomorrow’s repeats, today.
Nanjing Night Net

Specifically I am talking about Netflix, but in homage to the endlessphone calls I madetrying to get it to work,I’ll refer to it as NeckCricks.

NeckCricksis the dream portal that means nothing to someone like me, unless it comes free with my latest internet deal.

Not that I rushed into this deal, given the user-friendlessimpact bedding down the last internet deal. Again, endless on-hold waits to call centres in the sub-continent, frantic searching under beds for line access, cricked necks and florid language.It left a distinct aversion to dealing with technology unless absolutely necessary.That is, unless the internet stops working.

But the internet was working andI wasn’t thinking new internet deal: untilI got a letter from my provider which read “thanks loyal customer, we are hereby throwing you off your now non-existent plan, and onto one you didn’t choose.”Which gets us closer to NeckCricks, but not yet.

I tried ringing up someone to discuss what seemed like a violation of contract law 101.But you probably wouldn’t be surprised how hard it is to phone someone at a phone company.So I went to a phone shop and put it to them in person that this sucked.And typical of customer service these days, the customer is alwayswrong, and I was pointed to my options, whichhad one common factor.They were all unlike the previous deal I’d had, which had suited me fine.

I could change service providers, butthat might mean the internet would be off for a day or two. And no one was prepared to risk something that profound.So I looked at the packages and signed up for one which would give me enough computing power to put Will Robinson in orbit.And with that I was informed I’d get a box that would give me free NeckCricks for some mumbled amount of time (read the fine print, I think there was a catch).

There is no shortage of lame TV, so why would I want access to more?But eventually the box came and like anything related to Pandora, it had to be opened.Thus triggering a series of unwrapping events leading toa 45-minute discussion with Indira in Mumbai, who was having chicken curry for dinner that night because hubby doesn’t cook. Yes, we had time to chat as programs installed and it was interesting to find out she has two children, both in college, and her company provides her with travel home each day, which is approximately an hour from the office, as she works a seven-day split roster.

But once installed, adeeper and far darker question was triggered next day when I got home from work–do I have a NeckCricks account? In the tradition of Adam and Eve, now that we had access,someone had tried to pluck the apple.

But to spark up NeckCricksyou need an account, and to get an account, you need to redeem codes. And to redeem codes, you need to find them. And in the tradition of DaVinci, the codeswere illusive,texted to phones on plans that may not soon exist and allegedly emailed to computers back in November, although I could find no trace.

Anyhow, once re-texted, the code had to becopied from phone to computer in order to trigger the websites which make it “THAT easy” to redeem yourself.However, hand typing off a phone “https://梧桐夜网jesusweptthisisfrustrating南京夜网419论坛.shop/promotions/NeckCricks-redemption?_a=9783249704870297204709274” is not “THAT easy”.Particularly when you’re starting to crack up.Not that you would have known that unless you entered into a NeckCricks online chat room to discuss your burgeoning mental issues, because of course, you can’t ring anyone.

PING! Enter perky “Online Barry” who is going to escort me back to sanity today.By informing me I need to get a redemption code for my phone before I can use the redemption code for NeckCricks, so just type in the code.

But did he mean the first code or the second code now? And into the phone website or the NeckCricks website?And does it always take so long for the computer to tick over? And do I have to type out a novel each time I try to describe to Barry not only what I’ve done, am doing, but amgoing to do?Because really, “IT DOESN’T SEEMTHAT EASY!!!!”

Sorry Barry, for using CAPS lock, but it had the effect on Barry of taking over my email account and getting to the source of the problem.Which apparently no longer existedbecause, NeckCricks started working.

Which I’m not really sure amounts to progress or not, because really, what have I gained? Except the chance that in six months time I’ll forget that the promotion has run out and they’ll start billing me for something I never really wanted in the first place.

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Social Justiz is served from a happy ground

Helen Keevers Poetic justice: Helen Keevers has traded working for big organisations to go back to basics and help people at a grass roots level with her latest venture, Justiz.
Nanjing Night Net

Social justice campaignerHELEN Keevers has worked for big not-for-profits with big budgets to achieve some big things.

But since stepping out of mainstream corporate welfare after 35 years, Ms Keevers has enjoyed getting back to basics.

She recently set up the small, not-for-profit social justice agency, Justiz, which operates out of Free Spirit Gallery Aboriginal Gallery in Mayfield.

“I wanted to get back to grass roots work and really listening to communities,” she said.

“I’ve worked in big not-for-profits. I was the regional director of The Benevolent Society with a very big budget. I’ve worked for the church, I just didn’t want to work with big organisations anymore.

“I wanted to work much closer to the ground and much closer to the community, and to assist themwith what they wanted.”

With fellow director of Justiz, Elsie Randall, Ms Keevers does a lot of work with the Aboriginal community and survivors of abuse.

Justiz helps Aboriginal people whoneed help finding out about services they can access, or who need direction in tracingtheir families.

Itprovides advice and support to Aboriginal children in out-of-home care, as well asnon-Aboriginal families caring for Aboriginal children.

“We also do cultural competency training,” she said.

“We have some beautiful modules that Elsie has developed to offer cultural competency training to organisations and groups who want to understand more about working with the Aboriginal community. “

In a previous role, Ms Keevers worked as a professional standards director for the Catholic Church in Newcastle.

“Itwas during a time wherewe worked to address a lot of issues around priests offending, and as a result, four priests were convicted,” she said.

“I am passionately committed to working and supporting survivors of church abuse.”

That passion has fed into Justiz, which supports the The Clergy Abused Network.

“Elsie and I both say this doesn’tfeel like work,” Ms Keevers said.

“We just have a ball every day.

“Even though we are dealing with difficult situations, we really can make a difference.

“I have a strong belief that relationships lie at the centre of all successful work with communities and with individuals, and I’ve enjoyed being able to form direct relationships with the people we support.”

People wanting tosupport the work ofJustiz can popin to the gallery or findJustiz Community on Facebook.

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